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11-02-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
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Move from 18-135 to 16-50 + 50-135 DA* Lenses

Today I have the K-5 and I am using the 18-135 lens, it's good but not fantastic, do you think it's worth the investment in the combination of DA* lenses 16-50 and 50-135 ?, I am looking for better DR and low light capability with the WR component as well. To be honest the 18-135 it's good, but I have high expectations for the DA* lenses.

I know that there has been some issues with the SDM system, but I will be purchasing them with my American Express card and they automatically offer one additional year of warranty after the Pentax (1 year) warranty has expired, so I will be covered for 2 years.

What are your thoughts ?, this is a $2K investment, thanks a lot

Bernard
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11-02-2011, 08:10 PM   #2
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Bernard,

I don't have the 18-135 but have both of the DA* lenses. I can say that I'm sufficiently happy with them although, I didn't pay anywhere near $2k for them. I've had them for a few years. The SDM on the 16-50 has gone intermittent on me, the 50-135 is fine. Both, IMO, are stellar performers.

Pentax DA*16-50 SDM - a set on Flickr

Pentax DA*50-135 SDM - a set on Flickr

11-02-2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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I checked their price in B&H and it's around $900 each, did you pay less than that ?
11-02-2011, 08:13 PM   #4
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I haven't used the specific lenses so I can't comment on them. I *can* talk about zoom ranges. I find that I shoot a lot between 28-70mm. I have an 18-55 and 60-300 pair that I don't use together (regardless of IQ) because swapping lenses around 55mm is a pain and can be fatal to shooting in dynamic situations. Missed shots have zero IQ.

So, the questions: Will you be comfortable with swapping lenses at 50mm? At what focal lengths do you shoot? Have you tracked your habits with ExposurePlot or similar warez? That data might inform your lens-buying decision. Good luck!

11-02-2011, 08:14 PM   #5
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Me? Yes. The pair amounted to about $1500 when I bought them in 2007.

11-02-2011, 08:27 PM   #6
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In the paraphrased words of Bill Clinton, it depends what "it" (as in "worth it") means, and if "it" is important to you. I am leary of SDM and don't need WR. If you have the money you might as well go for it.
11-02-2011, 08:55 PM   #7
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The 50-135 is worth the price

If I dropped mine or lost it, I'd buy another. Bought new in 2008, B&H I think. Seen a lot since then, from Vancouver Island to Cape Hatteras, shot with falling snow and 1/2 inch on the lens hood, probably 15 to 20K exposures. Hangs off 1 shoulder, 12-24 on the other, working in crowds, events, all day, bumps & swings. It is a very, very good lens.
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11-02-2011, 10:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I haven't used the specific lenses so I can't comment on them. I *can* talk about zoom ranges. I find that I shoot a lot between 28-70mm. I have an 18-55 and 60-300 pair that I don't use together (regardless of IQ) because swapping lenses around 55mm is a pain and can be fatal to shooting in dynamic situations. Missed shots have zero IQ.

So, the questions: Will you be comfortable with swapping lenses at 50mm? At what focal lengths do you shoot? Have you tracked your habits with ExposurePlot or similar warez? That data might inform your lens-buying decision. Good luck!
Anyone not taking any notice of their photography habits enough to need to use statistical software to see what trends they are shooting at needs to find another hobby IMO. Photography by charts and numbers never gives good results, go with your gut feelings and experiences out in the field.

If I found myself using Exposureplot I think I'd take up accountancy as a hobby

11-02-2011, 11:06 PM   #9
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The 16-50 is a very solid performer and very sharp. The 50-135 is the nicest zoom lens I've ever used. Tack sharp and gorgeous at every setting. It will be night and day compared to the 18-135.
11-03-2011, 02:04 AM   #10
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The improvement in IQ will definately be great, I only regret the DA*16-50 uses different filter thread than the 50-135 does. Maybe you coud pair the 50-135 with tamron 17-50. IQ wise it is usually not much worse and you can share filters like CPL. Of course, it is not WR anymore.

As for the 50mm barrier, you just must have a barrier somewhere. 50mm is just as good as 70mm, not a big difference. Think about the DA*60-250 instead of 50-135. It is significantly faster in AF and just as sharp.
11-03-2011, 02:48 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Smeggypants Quote
Anyone not taking any notice of their photography habits enough to need to use statistical software to see what trends they are shooting at needs to find another hobby IMO. Photography by charts and numbers never gives good results, go with your gut feelings and experiences out in the field.
I do use my gut and experiences. I've also been at this since Mr Eden was your PM. And I find that what my gut says, and what I actually *do* with a zoom, aren't always the same. I look at my plots (occasionally) with curiosity, not to drive my lens purchases -- LBA handles that! But when making expensive decisions, I like to analyze data. That's how I came to Pentax. And before throwing a pile of cash at a couple lenses, I think it's rational to determine if those lenses will disrupt shooting patterns. That's part of the equation: not just, how good are they, but how good are they for what we do? And looking at a FL plot can help inform our decisions.
11-03-2011, 04:11 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by brosen Quote
I know that there has been some issues with the SDM system, but I will be purchasing them with my American Express card and they automatically offer one additional year of warranty after the Pentax (1 year) warranty has expired, so I will be covered for 2 years.
If I were you I would get an additional 7 year warranty from Mack. I think either Adorama or B/H sells it also. A 7 year warranty cost me under 50 dollars about 2 years ago for one lens [50-135]. At that time the lens was on sale for $799 also. I think it was around Thanksgiving. So watch the deals...And yes, the 50-135 is worth it.
Of course, I can't vouch for Mack warranties but there have been some discussions on this forum on it and they are not any better or worse than other such companies.

I have rented the 16-50 a couple of times, its big and heavy and not as good as the 50-135. Plus 2 sdm lenses was not comforting to have even with extended warranty. I looked at my shooting style and settled on the Tamron 28-75 instead as I shoot more people than landscapes. If you dont need the WR and need a faster lens to replace the kit lens range, the tamron 17-50 is well rated, while the new sigma 17-50 is also supposed to be pretty good.

I think the 50-135 will not diappoint you. As for the 16-50, why not rent it from cameralensrentals.com and see for yourself before you buy it?
11-03-2011, 05:25 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
...I think the 50-135 will not diappoint you. As for the 16-50, why not rent it from cameralensrentals.com and see for yourself before you buy it?
I second that.

I have been very happy with the 50-135, and happy enough with the 16-50 to keep wanting more of it even though its SDM has failed a couple of times.
11-03-2011, 06:06 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I haven't used the specific lenses so I can't comment on them. I *can* talk about zoom ranges. I find that I shoot a lot between 28-70mm. I have an 18-55 and 60-300 pair that I don't use together (regardless of IQ) because swapping lenses around 55mm is a pain and can be fatal to shooting in dynamic situations. Missed shots have zero IQ.

So, the questions: Will you be comfortable with swapping lenses at 50mm? At what focal lengths do you shoot? Have you tracked your habits with ExposurePlot or similar warez? That data might inform your lens-buying decision. Good luck!
To this point, I do wish that these 2 zooms had some focal length overlap - say 16-70 and 50-135. I think that it would make the pair easier to use in the heat of battle.
11-03-2011, 07:12 AM   #15
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I am about 3-4weeks new with my 50-135mm. So far this is a great lens and I have been very surprised by its IQ in comparison to my primes. Though the SDM and occasional IQ issues are valid (admittedly this put me off initially), I think the majority of owners don't have any problems. I've seen some excellent results other's have had with the 16-50mm, maybe not on par with the 50-135mm but excellent nonetheless. This plus the build quality and WR of the da* lenses are worth having for me and I look forward to adding the 16-50mm to my kit.
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