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11-20-2012, 05:29 AM   #31
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I don't think people reporting they have no problems with their copy is the same as covering for Pentax. If no-one said that, then there might be grounds for saying "everyone" has a problem with it, (or, more accurately, for saying that no-one reports not having a problem) but clearly not everyone does have a problem. It doesn't take away from the fact that there is a problematic failure rate with SDM on this lens, and we got the first indication of recognition of that from within the company at Photokina this year. I bought a DA*16-50 copy where the SDM failed, but I have largely fixed it myself. Saying that doesn't help people who haven't had the skill or confidence to do this, and it clearly supports the need for a better AF drive, but it equally doesn't support the notion that everyone has a problem with this lens.

I know some people would prefer people with a good copy of the lens to say nothing, as it may be taken to diminish the problem. That is manipulating the picture, not supporting a good, complete and accurate case for improvement.

11-20-2012, 06:47 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
I don't think people reporting they have no problems with their copy is the same as covering for Pentax. If no-one said that, then there might be grounds for saying "everyone" has a problem with it, (or, more accurately, for saying that no-one reports not having a problem) but clearly not everyone does have a problem. It doesn't take away from the fact that there is a problematic failure rate with SDM on this lens, and we got the first indication of recognition of that from within the company at Photokina this year. I bought a DA*16-50 copy where the SDM failed, but I have largely fixed it myself. Saying that doesn't help people who haven't had the skill or confidence to do this, and it clearly supports the need for a better AF drive, but it equally doesn't support the notion that everyone has a problem with this lens.

I know some people would prefer people with a good copy of the lens to say nothing, as it may be taken to diminish the problem. That is manipulating the picture, not supporting a good, complete and accurate case for improvement.
That's not the problem. The problem is the number of people that have to come forth, claim they've had no issues in a manner that discounts the many, many accounts that say otherwise. At least one is in this thread. There's at least one on DPR that's pretty aggressive about insulting people that bring this up. On the German forums, they pull no punches. I'm reading the English, French, and German forums, and the SDM and decentering issues are universal, but the English ones are quite curious because people run there to discount defect accounts.

I see it on consumer forums for various products all the time. People claim they don't have issues, trying to nullify the claims of the opposite or challenging the credibility of people that do. There's simply no reason for it.

Even my Pentax dealer in Germany told me to stay far away from the SDM lenses. They told me they would sell them to me, if I insisted, but I had to be prepared for failure, long wait times, and high costs when repaired out of warranty. The warning was issued because they said they would mediate if something happened, even out of warranty, but they would not work on negotiating discounts and made me understand how expensive the repairs were because, apparently, people made them do the legwork to get an SDM lens repaired, then they hear the price and then refuse and the shop is out the time they put in.
11-20-2012, 08:11 AM   #33
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My experience with the 16-50 was a roller coaster ride, from disappointment to discovering its strength.

This lens does not af as fast as nikon and Canon equivalents, nor its flare control any better. Treat it like a f4 and soon you will be in love with its micro contrast and creamy bokeh.and it is lighter and wr compared to those two you know?
11-20-2012, 08:38 AM   #34
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I gave the lens a brief tryout ad EXPOsure in Toronto, and long story short, you only get one chance to make a first impression. The wife, who is half the shooting team disliked it. I waited till I got home and looked at the images. If you have the DA 18-135, which is also waterproof, it's not really of interest. We also borrowed a 15 Ltd. and took similar pictures with the 10-17 and 21. I felt that if you own the 18-135 the 15 ltd was a much better addition. If you don't own the 18-135 then it would be more difficult.

To us, we are just trying to compliment what we have. We also do a lot of hiking and canoeing so we can't carry every lens ever made. We take two Pelican cases of camera gear. If we take something new, something old gets left behind. It really helps to know where you're going before you start out, and buy to complete some kind of a set. For me the best deals would be the pancake lenses, more lenses in the same amount of space, and ultimately I'd like to own all of them.
Ultimately I'll carry three zooms... Sigma 8-16. DA 18-135 and DA* 60-25.
Primes will be 15 ltd. 21 ltd., DA 35 2.4, 40 xs, FA 50 1.7 Probably the DA 70 and the Tamron 90 macro.
At some point the 35 will get swapped out for the 31ltd.

If I add 2.8 zooms it will probably be the Tamron 17-50. and Tamron or Sigma 70-200.
There's just no place in there for the 16-50 or 50-135, at least the way I see the world. The 18-135 covers 20-40mm, and that area is also covered by a lot of primes with excellent results and the DA*60-250 covers where the 50-135 is. But as I said, if I didn't own the 18-135 I might see it differently.

It's not that it's bad, it's that for me it doesn't fit. And compared to my other lenses, it didn't really stand out in a "I have to have that lens " way. They are all good lenses, so, you don't need them all.

11-20-2012, 08:54 AM   #35
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I've had the DA* 16~50/2.8 for about three years now. Due to SDM issues I thought long and hard before buying one. As it filled a big gap at the wide end of my collection I finally bit the bullet and got one. For the most part I'm pleased. I love the colors from this optic. Like all zooms it is all about compromises. It is a tad heavy to carry around but it is also weather proof which is a nice feature. There is more distortion that I would like at 16mm but it is also f 2.8 so I can live with it. I do think it is overpriced but feel the same about most lenses. Would I buy one again is the question? I think I would opt for a couple of wide angle prmes - the 15, 21, etc. Might cost a little more but sharper and lighter to carry around. Moot point really. I have the DA* 16~50/2.8 and I'm not likely to let it go.

Tom G
11-20-2012, 09:19 AM   #36
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QuoteQuote:
That's not the problem. The problem is the number of people that have to come forth, claim they've had no issues in a manner that discounts the many, many accounts that say otherwise. At least one is in this thread. There's at least one on DPR that's pretty aggressive about insulting people that bring this up. On the German forums, they pull no punches. I'm reading the English, French, and German forums, and the SDM and decentering issues are universal, but the English ones are quite curious because people run there to discount defect accounts.
I guess what you see as the problem is not what I see as the problem. FOr me, people endlessly whining about their problem jumping into every thread to discuss it as i it's all about them . I have an SDM DA* 60-250, and I get really tired for people jumping into threads on that lens with their 16-50 horror stories. If I had a 16-50 and it died a couple of times I'd be bummed, but, at some point you have to say, time to get on with your life. The simple fact is, if you own AF lenses, at some point you're going to be doing repairs. For some people it comes sooner than later. But is that all I want to talk about? No it isn't. There are lots of situations where SDM is brought up that it just isn't appropriate.

I do the same thing with Adobe product and that incident happened 15 years, so I understand where you're coming from. Just try and let the rest of us have a few conversations that don't involve SDM. And if you want to start an on going thread entitled Pre- 2012 SDM was defective on DA* 16-50s and have it an ongoing discussion that folks can add to everyday, go fer it. I'll probably avoid it most of the time, but I'll still drop in every now and then to see how things are going for all of you. But at least it won't be polluting every other thread.
11-20-2012, 10:00 AM   #37
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The 16-50 is the lens that I use probably 80-90% of the time. It's the lens that I bring when I go backpacking, so weather sealing is a must, so my only options really are the 16-50 and the 18-135.

Like most people I've had the lens repaired for SDM issues. Luckily mine froze up right before the warranty period ended, so I got mine repaired for free. Since then it's been solid, I'm wondering if the newer SDM motors are less likely to have problems?

I've come to realize that no lens is perfect-- I definitely have gripes with it. It's a bit soft at f/2.8-- so when I'm shooting indoors and critical sharpness is a necessity, I'll use a prime. That being said, it's definitely usable at 2.8. Often when I travel I'll only bring this one lens and it works good enough in every situation.

At the extreme wide end there's a good bit of distortion and a bit of vignetting, but Lightroom 4's lens profile fixes it pretty well. The wide end comes in handy a lot for the landscapes I shoot-- I have a Sigma 10-20, but the DA 16-50 is wide enough 90% of the time.

Although I have had my problems with the lens, I can't imagine a better lens for my needs. I don't have the 18-135WR to compare against, but I think for my needs the extra wideness and faster aperture makes the 16-50 my swiss army knife.
11-20-2012, 10:21 AM   #38
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I've got to say that I am a firm supporter of the DA*16-50.
I took my niece to the UK this fall, and she is notorious for making terrible smiles for the camera.
The only way I can get decent photos is to shoot in her general direction and pretend I am just talking to her. The K5 has it's center focus and I'm using conservative ISO settings. The DA*16-50 never dissapointed.

1/180, F/4, ISO-400, 50mm

<picture 1 of niece>

1/500, F/8, ISO-200, 43mm

<picture 2 of niece>

1/125, F/4, ISO-400, 39mm

<picture 3 of niece>


Last edited by LaurenOE; 11-20-2012 at 02:33 PM.
11-20-2012, 12:46 PM   #39
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"p,s. if you're going to show me test pictures make sure they're not of your kids or flowers in your backyard. Please . . ."

What did i say LaurenOE?



11-20-2012, 12:50 PM   #40
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Its good to hear the input going slightly negative. One thing that does bother me about these forums is that i find people are overly positive and not critical enough.
I think I'll skip the DA* 16-50. Mainly becuase if i have to stop down to F/4 to get the damn thing to come up to par then i might as well buy the 16-45 f/4 and save myself some money.
11-20-2012, 01:24 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by runslikeapenguin Quote
"p,s. if you're going to show me test pictures make sure they're not of your kids or flowers in your backyard. Please . . ."

What did i say LaurenOE?



Normally I stay clear of kids/flowers/backyard, but in the pictures I posted, there are some obvious technical considerations that are part of the images above - and why I posted the above images specifically.

So let me explain.

1) The little girl is moving - constantly, and if a lens was truly slow in focusing, I would have missed many of the shots.

2) The image of her on the wall with a blue sky and bright sunshine, could show CA or PF, and they are absent.

3) Again, with the camera set at an F-stop and allowing the K5 to do it's thing, the lens produces very sharp photographs with minimal effort.

4) The colors that you see are from the camera and without ANY post tweaking, except for a crop.

I fail to see how test shots of kids/flowers and a backyard are automatically disqualified. I'm sorry the images are so large, but they are cropped down to 800x.

I'm thinking your query is less about finding the truths about the DA*16-50 and more about substantiating a pre-existing bias.
11-20-2012, 01:32 PM   #42
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The mark of a good photographer is to look at images from both an aesthetic and technical viewpoint. Quite often when talking about the technical side of things, people include images that are common denominators. Things like kids/flowers and someone's backyard.

If I were to have included some images, at 2am, downtown London, with a slight rain, shooting under tungsten street lamps, then any image I posted could be picked apart based on the location and other technical factors.

So, when talking about comparison images it's BEST to include the common. If a photographer can't pick out the technical from the aesthetic, then what kind of photographer are they?
11-20-2012, 01:34 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by runslikeapenguin Quote
"p,s. if you're going to show me test pictures make sure they're not of your kids."

What did i say LaurenOE?
It's her niece, not her daughter!
11-20-2012, 01:42 PM   #44
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Ok, so you don't want kids?

Here are more samples from that same trip.

1/350, F/6.7, ISO-400, 50mm



1/125, F/11, ISO-200, 16mm


Last edited by LaurenOE; 11-20-2012 at 01:47 PM.
11-20-2012, 02:00 PM   #45
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The problem that I have is that the people who have good experiences with lenses are criticized as fanboys, while the people who have had problems (or who haven't even used the lens but are critical of it) are assumed to be the norm. It is a good lens and will perform better at similar apertures than the 16-45. At the same time, if you don't need sealing and silent action, the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is probably the best deal out there.
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