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02-24-2013, 10:11 PM   #1
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Advice from users - Pentax DA 16-45mm f/4

A shop not far from me is clearing old stock of brand new Pentax lenses and I have a chance to buy a brand new Pentax DA 16-45mm f/4 for a very attractive price. Will I see a big improvement in image quality over the 18-55 kit lens? Should i buy this lens?

02-24-2013, 10:11 PM   #2
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Yes. Yes.

It's quite a bit sharper than the 18-55, and gives you 1 stop more on the long end.
02-25-2013, 01:00 AM   #3
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I just recently swapped my 18-55 for the 16-45.

here are the advantages the 16-45 has:

-goes wider

-less distortion at the wide end
-Sharper pictures at all lengths
-closer focus. prefect for product shots imo.

and here are the 16-45 cons:

-it's super fragile. The barrel is so wobbly. one solid thump and that barrel is gone.

-slightly large and heavier, but not by much. just enough to be noticeable.

and other notes (not necessarily drawbacks)


- the barrel extends out when going wide. this will cause shadow with the onboard flash. but nobody uses the onboard flash, right?
-more expensive, but also holds value better.

the only instance I would say not to get the 16-45, is if you plan on using it outdoors like hikes and stuff. if that's the case, sick with the kit.

otherwise, get the 16-45. sharper and more versatile.

holy crap typing on my phone is hard
02-25-2013, 04:18 AM   #4
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It's certainly a worth upgrade

02-25-2013, 05:24 AM   #5
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It is often my walkaround lens of choice. I go back to my 18-55 when I need WR, though. I really wish they would make more affordable WR lenses, but that is another discussion.
02-25-2013, 06:12 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
I just recently swapped my 18-55 for the 16-45.

here are the advantages the 16-45 has:

-goes wider

-less distortion at the wide end
-Sharper pictures at all lengths
-closer focus. prefect for product shots imo.

and here are the 16-45 cons:

-it's super fragile. The barrel is so wobbly. one solid thump and that barrel is gone.

-slightly large and heavier, but not by much. just enough to be noticeable.

and other notes (not necessarily drawbacks)


- the barrel extends out when going wide. this will cause shadow with the onboard flash. but nobody uses the onboard flash, right?
-more expensive, but also holds value better.

the only instance I would say not to get the 16-45, is if you plan on using it outdoors like hikes and stuff. if that's the case, sick with the kit.

otherwise, get the 16-45. sharper and more versatile.

holy crap typing on my phone is hard
I would agree with some of that....the lens feels poorly built partly because when at full extent (16mm) the whole affair is a bit wobbly. However my personal copy has survived a number of knocks and bumps, including one tumble which resulted in a hole in my K20. The hood (stored reversed at the time) took most of the blow though, but even so I think it is a reasonably tough lens. On board flash is useful for fill-in and can be dialled down by a fw stops too!
For me, the biggest advantage is that 16mm is a lot wider than 18mm. IQ is better throughout the range too,
02-25-2013, 10:11 AM   #7
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I got it instead of the old 18-55 when I bought a used K-10. It's a good performer, I've taken lots of good shots with it. Recently the 18-135 has mostly replaced it in my bag, but if I know I'm going to shoot mostly indoors, I do use the 16-45. Even walkies with the dogs in the winter I'd use the 16-45 and get some very nice high-speed shots.

If you find a good price, it's a useful lens. You will get a little fisheye effect wide-open, though that can be corrected in Lightroom.
02-25-2013, 11:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Checking...jono Quote
I really wish they would make more affordable WR lenses, but that is another discussion.
The 18-55 WR is a reliable lens, nothing fancy but it gets the job done, it's small and light, which fits well with the situations where I want WR.

A 16-45 or a 17-70 WR would sell like hot cakes, however

02-25-2013, 11:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
I would agree with some of that....the lens feels poorly built partly because when at full extent (16mm) the whole affair is a bit wobbly. However my personal copy has survived a number of knocks and bumps, including one tumble which resulted in a hole in my K20. The hood (stored reversed at the time) took most of the blow though, but even so I think it is a reasonably tough lens. On board flash is useful for fill-in and can be dialled down by a fw stops too!
For me, the biggest advantage is that 16mm is a lot wider than 18mm. IQ is better throughout the range too,
You're right. Perhaps I was a bit too over the top with my description of the 16-45's frailness. It's not going to fall apart in someone's hands. However, I have owned two other big barrel DA zooms, the DA 55-300 and (curently own) the DA 18-250 (I know that the latter is a Tamron design). Despite these two having longer barrels, they just both feel more solid than the 16-45. Even when the barrel is retracted inside the body, the front element portion of the 16-45 exhibits some wobbliness.

Still, it's a small price to pay for the better image quality it can provide over the kit lens.
02-25-2013, 01:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
You're right. Perhaps I was a bit too over the top with my description of the 16-45's frailness. It's not going to fall apart in someone's hands. However, I have owned two other big barrel DA zooms, the DA 55-300 and (curently own) the DA 18-250 (I know that the latter is a Tamron design). Despite these two having longer barrels, they just both feel more solid than the 16-45. Even when the barrel is retracted inside the body, the front element portion of the 16-45 exhibits some wobbliness.

Still, it's a small price to pay for the better image quality it can provide over the kit lens.
Agreed on all that, I have the 55-300, used to have the 18-250 and they are much tighter...still the 16-45 soldoers on! I tend to use my 18-135 more and this feels a much tighter lens, although I miss the wideness at 16mm though....
03-01-2013, 11:15 PM   #11
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Now comes a practical question - what would you buy - a brand new Pentax DA 16-45mm f/4 for 305$ (old stock) or a brand new Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 for 425$? How are the colors of the Tamron compared to the Pentax colors?
03-02-2013, 06:48 PM   #12
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I'd look for either of them used, here on the forum.
03-02-2013, 07:07 PM   #13
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It comes down to speed or wide. I went with the 16-45 because I wasn't going to be able to afford the DA 15/4 Limited, and the 16-45 was as close as I could get. I also had a decent set of primes over some of its range when I needed speed. I even prefer the 45mm long end because then I can use a fast 50 or 55. It works well with an external flash too.

Without those primes, the speed is more tempting, a big speed jump over the 18-55 kit. I haven't used the Tamron so I don't know about colors.
03-02-2013, 11:04 PM   #14
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Hard to believe but the DA16-45/4 is actually quite good at 16mm even against the DA14/15 (very suck/less suck). The problem with this zoom is built quality and misalignment is a given. Personally I believe this optics deserved a redo with proper built quality for $100-150 more, but Pentax is full of (unpleasant) surprises.
03-03-2013, 01:10 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Personally I believe this optics deserved a redo with proper built quality for $100-150 more, but Pentax is full of (unpleasant) surprises.
Then you are price wise in tamron 1:2.8 17-50 territory, which is similar in size as the 16-45, a stop faster, and optical better.
And before you talk about the 16 versus 17mm difference, the tamron is IF, the pentax not, so the tamron focal length becomes shorter when focussing closer.
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