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01-23-2012, 06:17 PM   #1
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DA* 16-50: Is it worth it?

I currently have a gap between my DA 12-24 and my A 70-210 that's occupied by two primes, a 35mm and a 50mm. I want a zoom to fill that gap because in several situations I've found it frustrating to be switching lenses when time's a factor.

Anyhow, I've become sold on the idea of WR lenses to complement my K-5, and I also want f/2.8, so I'll start with a DA* 50-135 to replace the A lens, but then I'm seriously thinking about the DA* 16-50 to 'fill the gap'. HOWEVER, I've read plenty of differing opinions on this lens, some praising it but many others having the SDM problems and also complaining about things like softness wide open at f/2.8. In short, many have concluded that it's really not worth the price you're paying for a DA* lens.

So here is what I need to know:

1. Current DA* 16-50 owners, if you could buy this lens over again, would you and why?
2. Former owners, if you bought a zoom to replace it, what did you buy and why?
3. Is the DA* 16-50 not satisfactory at f/2.8? I.e. would I be better off with shooting the Sigma 24-70 wide open even though I'd be giving up the coveted weather sealing? (I would prefer it to the Tamron 28-75 for the wider 24mm plus the HSM.)
4. Could anyone post evidence of the performance of the DA* 16-50 wide open, good and/or bad?

01-23-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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I'm sure you've seen our review of the lens, but if not, here it is:
DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

In it we conclude that no, it's not worth it unless you really need the WR. As far as IQ goes, there are better options out there, I guess.

Adam
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01-23-2012, 06:38 PM   #3
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I would not buy it for brand new price..u can get seond hand here usually around 600-650..for that price I would buy it again and again as long as there is no third party 16-50 weather seal f2.8 lens

f2.8 is good below 30mm. at 50mm f2.8 it is soft, center is still ok, edge is really soft, but for small print and web I am sure it is not a big deal.

but still I usually try to avoid f2.8, f3.5 is usually my start point, unless I only want that f2.8 DOF.

Last edited by liukaitc; 01-23-2012 at 08:28 PM.
01-23-2012, 06:40 PM   #4
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I bought this lens before my first trip to Europe/Australia to compliment my 50-135 (which I absolutely love) and have WR. I hate this lens. Hate it. Maybe I got a poor copy, but for the price it was not worth it. I haven't had any SDM issues but I've had to put a AF correction of +9 on it and it's way too soft (IMO) wide open. Comparing this lens to the 50-135 is a joke to me and I paid a bit less for the 50-135.

The only time I use the 16-50 now is when I really need WR or the wide end of things. I'll be getting the 12-24 soon so I'll only need the 16-50 for WR (and I'm looking for options to get past that as well).

Any time I have to use this lens it's purely because I have no other choice, never because I want to. I'd sell it but I'd feel like I'm ripping someone off at almost any cost. I'd swap it but I've already passed the return time limit. I may get another copy to see if it's any better, but I'll be getting other lenses first. I'm also considering getting another K-5 so I can have my 50-135 ready and another lens like the 12-24 or 31 ltd (<- completely in love with this lens) to fill the gap for whatever I'm shooting.

I'm not trying to deter you from this lens, just sharing my experience.

01-23-2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by liukaitc Quote
I usually try to avoid f2.8, f3.5 is usually my start point, unless I only want that f2.8 DOF.
+1 Same thing I do.
01-23-2012, 06:43 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by jremick Quote
I'm not trying to deter you from this lens, just sharing my experience.
Hey, I'm looking for honest feedback like this - thanks!
01-23-2012, 07:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
I currently have a gap between my DA 12-24 and my A 70-210 that's occupied by two primes, a 35mm and a 50mm. I want a zoom to fill that gap because in several situations I've found it frustrating to be switching lenses when time's a factor.

Anyhow, I've become sold on the idea of WR lenses to complement my K-5, and I also want f/2.8, so I'll start with a DA* 50-135 to replace the A lens, but then I'm seriously thinking about the DA* 16-50 to 'fill the gap'. HOWEVER, I've read plenty of differing opinions on this lens, some praising it but many others having the SDM problems and also complaining about things like softness wide open at f/2.8. In short, many have concluded that it's really not worth the price you're paying for a DA* lens.

So here is what I need to know:

1. Current DA* 16-50 owners, if you could buy this lens over again, would you and why?
2. Former owners, if you bought a zoom to replace it, what did you buy and why?
3. Is the DA* 16-50 not satisfactory at f/2.8? I.e. would I be better off with shooting the Sigma 24-70 wide open even though I'd be giving up the coveted weather sealing? (I would prefer it to the Tamron 28-75 for the wider 24mm plus the HSM.)
4. Could anyone post evidence of the performance of the DA* 16-50 wide open, good and/or bad?
1. Yes. It has been a workhorse lens for me for weddings and photojournalism since I bought it in late 2009. Although I love shooting with primes, if I'm going into a fluid situation where I can't change lenses a lot I rely on this lens and it comes through for me almost all of the time.

As someone said before, though, I bought mine at a lower price (there was a clearance sale, plus another discount, so I got it for around $550. Plus I sold my DA16-45 so that made it even cheaper) so I'm not going to pretend this doesn't affect my opinion of the lens. If you can get it in the $600-$650 range I think it is definitely worth the investment if you use it a lot.

2. N/A

3. I'd say it's pretty decent wide open. I'd pick between the DA*16-50 and the Sigma 24-70 more based on focal length than wide open performance.

4. Let's see. F/2.8



01-23-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
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well, I never use sigma 17-50 and tarmon 17-50, but with 16-50 even u r 100% pixel peep, it is still quite good for f2.8 under 30 or 40 mm, but there is resolution drop at 50mm

I can post some sample photo with 100% crop..


Last edited by liukaitc; 01-23-2012 at 08:03 PM.
01-23-2012, 08:14 PM   #9
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below 30 or 40mm, the pic is really fine even 100% pixel peep, jusr remember to add some contrast and sharpness to it (I already did), the pic at f2.8 appear loss contrast
but at 50mm, u can see clear noticeable resolution drop


16mm f2.8






28mm f2.8






31mm f2.8






50mm f2.8



Last edited by liukaitc; 01-23-2012 at 08:27 PM.
01-23-2012, 08:54 PM   #10
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It's my main go-to lens for assignment work as well as rough-weather landscapes and hiking.

The lens is built tough; and, yes, I've become used to reliable weather sealing and so wouldn't trade to a Sigma or Tamron even if they are sharper at 2.8.

The 16-50 isn't brilliantly sharp wide open but it's perfectly fine. It's quite good at f/4.

A lens that gets the job done for me in crappy weather, even if it's not perfect wide open, is far preferable to a lens I have to baby in the rain, dust and mud.



Yes, I'd buy it again.
01-23-2012, 09:07 PM   #11
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I've also found it to be an excellent workhorse for much of my wide-normal work. I've since sold it and come to learn that the SDM motor died on the person I passed it onto so I hold some reservations as to its reliability. Otherwise I can't fault the lens as it was definitely my best zoom for IQ. I used it a number of times at f/2.8 but preferred to stop it down a stop or two.

Last edited by Ash; 01-25-2012 at 12:31 PM.
01-23-2012, 09:35 PM   #12
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At first i really liked this lens as it seemed to give vivid color and I liked the range ... butt, now I don't waste my time getting it out of the box. For someone like myself who uses the DFA 100 WR for most of my work, the 16-50 was disappointing in its sharpness. I cannot use it for standback plant shots and expect the crispness
which comes with the 100. Now I'm not a technical guru of lenses--I shoot for the situation and hope my 50 yrs. of non-professional photography will keep me out of trouble. This lens is too heavy for this midget, not what I want to carry as a second only lens. As far as I know, I have no SMC problems.
It is FOR SALE as I am buying a DA 40 mm Unlimited to replace it. Yes, not as wide or flexible, but the sharpness is incredible and more like I'm accustomed to with the 100mm.
01-23-2012, 09:59 PM   #13
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Well, clearly opinions vary here on the DA*16-50. For me - and I have a lot of lenses (well more than 40) - it's my main go to lens followed by the DA*50-135. I do a lot of landscape type stuff and it's just always there for me. I've had to repair it once in 3 years and would do it again if necessary. So there's another data point.
01-23-2012, 10:00 PM   #14
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I read about the softness of the 16-50 at f2.8 too which is why I bought the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 instead. The Sigma is cheaper than the Pentax although it doesn't have weather sealing. With the Sigma I am absolutely blown away by its sharpness and IQ at 2.8. I also have the 50-135 and if you think that lens is good the Sigma is even sharper! I used to own the Pentax 17-70 f4 as well. My conclusion is that Pentax zooms in general are indeed quite soft wide open. I even consider the 50-135 a little soft wide open when compared to the Sigma.
01-23-2012, 11:26 PM   #15
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The 16-50 is my go to lens. It is on my K7 most of the time. I shoot mainly landscapes (old barns etc.). If I am going out on a shoot it is the one lens I always take with me.
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