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12-12-2012, 03:50 AM   #1
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Can the da* 16-50 replace a bag of primes ?

My lens line up is missing the wide end and I'm getting caught out on shoots with nothing below 35. Now I prefer primes but wondered what the opinion was on the 16-50 as to whether it could essentially give me a da21, a 35 Limited and an Fa43 all in one piece of glass. Speed doesn't matter too much and I know those 3 individual lenses have their own strong characteristics. But the idea of one lens that can get close to the IQ, give me wide flexibility, cost a 3rd of the alternatives and save me swapping out glass all the time really appeals.

I know it ain't FF but should the miracle happen I'd stay with the k5 till the price settled so at best that's 18 months away.

So a high end zoom to equal 3 primes. Thoughts ?

12-12-2012, 04:42 AM   #2

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The zoom does not have the macro ability of the DA 35 Ltd,
and it would not be unobtrusive enough for a lot of street use,
especially with a hood attached.

I often use DA 15, 35, and 70 Limiteds for a light walk-around kit,
so with your current line-up, just adding the DA 15 would give you
that kind of coverage.
12-12-2012, 05:17 AM   #3
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No, it doesn't replace primes in this range, it's just a backup for them. But in the context of your entire question - yes, it will do the job. It will cover you with IQ that's just good enough for a prime shooter. You can later fill in with any primes that suit you - for example, some combination of the DA15, FA*24, FA31, DA35/2.4, and FA43. But it should save you for now, plus it's WR.
12-12-2012, 05:54 AM   #4
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The DA*16-50 replaces my primes quite often when the weather sealing is needed and I need the 16mm. I've got the DA21, DA35 and the SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 in the same range as the zoom. It's alway's a trade off. It's more fun to shoot with the primes but he IQ of the DA16-50 is good enough to deliver quality shots for me. The distortion on the wide end can be corrected in post processing. It's close up capabilities are no match for a dedicated macro lens. On long hiking trips I take the DA35mm also with me because of that. The fact is that I bought the primes after I bought the zoom so I can't say it really replaces my primes all of the time. If weight is a factor consider that all the three primes you mentioned are only about 90 grams lighter then the zoom. The weight advantage of these primes primarily matters in the handling on the camera and the fact they do attract a little bit less attention. And you have the option of just taking one light lens with you. If you are dedicated to the K-mount system it is hard not to use prime lenses. They are one of the strong points of the system. So no definitive answer to you question, just some food for thought!

Edit: On my Pentax Gallery in my signature there are quite a lot of examples of what the DA*16-50 is capable of in my hands.

12-12-2012, 06:27 AM   #5
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You could just buy the Tamron 10-24?

Last edited by Louicio; 12-12-2012 at 06:45 AM. Reason: Wrong focal range ;)
12-12-2012, 06:39 AM   #6
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Recently acquired a DA* 50-135 and it is not going to replace my fast 50s, FA 77 ltd or D FA 100 WR. I can't see a DA* 16-50 replacing my DA 15, 21, 35, Ltds or my F 28. To me they are a good weather sealed alternative with good IQ.
12-12-2012, 07:08 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Recently acquired a DA* 50-135 and it is not going to replace my fast 50s, FA 77 ltd or D FA 100 WR. I can't see a DA* 16-50 replacing my DA 15, 21, 35, Ltds or my F 28. To me they are a good weather sealed alternative with good IQ.
I agree.

I have a prime kit that exists along side my zoom kits. It would be hard to exist with just one kit.

12-12-2012, 07:48 AM   #8
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I will generalize a bit here, not owning the DA 16-50 but owning both zooms and primes that overlap the same focal lengths in general

I see a need/use for both zooms and primes. after all they are both "tools" in your photography "tool box"

I have an AF zoom kit that covers from 10mm to 200mm, or to 400 if you add my 2xTC to the 70-200. ( I also have an MF 200-500mm /5.6 zoom but let's leave that one out of the discussion.)

My zoom kit is F2.8 from 28-200 mm.

At all focal lengths, my prime kit is much faster than the zooms,

My use of the lenses varies,

I generally use zooms when I travel on vacation, because they are much more flexible, and you can work faster, this may seem a little funny, but actually, unless your significant other and family are also into photography, you need to fit your hobby into their time, they get very impatient if you stop, change lenses, zoom with your feet, reposition etc, to use primes, so I use zooms. Also many times , especially outdoors, it is bright enough that you are stopped down even with the slower zooms, and the difference in IQ is not as great as when shooting wide open between primes and zooms.

With few exceptions, I use primes when either on my own time, and therefore not in a rush, or when I really want the shallow DOF that only a super fast prime gives, or when I am shooting in very low light, and the extra 1-2 stops between primes and zooms really matters, although SR and the high ISO performance of newer bodies is making low light shooting less of an issue with lenses.

there is room for both, it all depends on what you need at the time.
12-12-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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The old zoom vs prime debate. This one never gets old.

Like yourself I had a big hole at the wide end of my collection. I did buy the DA* 16-50/2.8 to fill in the gaps. I find it works very well indeed for all my wide agle applications with the added bonus of weather sealing. It is very heavy and this is a consideration if you plan to carry the beast around all day. Image quality is very good but not as good as the IQ you can expect from the DA limiteds. There is also the question of reliability. The particular zoom has had a lot of reliability issues. Mine, fortunately, has been issue free for three years but there have been enough SDM motor problems that this has to be a consideration. In a perfect world, as Lowell suggests, one would have both primes and zooms. As a rule I prefer primes as they are almost always lighter, sharper and faster than zooms. If you can afford it get both. If not, the DA 16-50 or third party option should do the job for you.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 12-13-2012 at 05:22 PM.
12-12-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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As a general rule I don't replace primes with zooms...CA and PF are almost always better controlled on primes. If memory serves me well, the 16-50 is a center sharp edge soft lens, so definitely not for landscapes. But for portrait, studio or candid photography, why not? Since we like for more edge to edge sharpness that a super sharp centre point we recently opted for the Tamron 17-50 2.8. But I still see it as a walk around lens, not a prime replacement. We see that focal length as a replacement for the kit lens, only good indoors in low light where every F-stop matters.

But these lenses still aren't 1.8, which is kind of like the magic number for me for an indoor lens.

Last edited by normhead; 12-12-2012 at 09:03 AM.
12-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
If memory serves me well, the 16-50 is a center sharp edge soft lens, so definitely not for landscapes.
At f2.8 indeed but with f/5.6 the corners are pretty sharp as well, so usable for landscapes.

Last edited by Anvh; 12-12-2012 at 09:35 AM.
12-13-2012, 01:53 PM   #12
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why ask such a broad question without indicating what type of shooting you do? If you are party, wedding guy, i say go for it. if you shoot landscapes, you just wont get the IQ of those primes with that zoom. c'mon, throw us a bone.
For my landscape shooting, only a prime is good enough, but for anything that involves my kids, i am thankful for a zoom to handle the quick reframing.

Last edited by mikeSF; 12-27-2012 at 09:24 AM.

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