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10-13-2013, 08:36 AM   #1
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K-3: the missing lenses?

The K-3 may have world-class AF (although we do not know for sure yet), but lenses are part of the AF system, and the Pentax system may need an upgrade to two essential ones.

Consider Canon full frame. Depending on what kind of shooting you do, of course, the 24-70 f/2.8, and one of the 70-200 f/2.8 lenses are part of a basic kit. Both are fast focusing lenses. The Pentax 16-50 and 50-135 lenses match those zoom ranges on APS-C, but can either match the focusing speed of the Canons? I have the 50-135, so I know that its AF is slow, but I'm not sure about the 16-50.

No matter how good the K-3's AF system, it needs lenses that are as good. Can we expect Pentax to meet the challenge with new versions of the 16-50 and the 50-135 that have better AF motors?

I just want to add that I think Pentax made the right decision going with the 50-135 zoom range, rather than the 70-200. The extra reach of the 70-200 may be useful sometimes, but the 50-135 is more versatile on APS-C. Smaller and lighter too.

Jeff

10-13-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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16-50 has a shorter focus throw than the 50-135 so, it gets where it is going faster, but it is still no speed demon. SDM is just kind of slow. I think the 50-135 is awesome optically. The 16-50 has a lot more weaknesses and certainly could benefit from an update optically as well. I still like it a lot and feel like it is worth a decent price for its optics and sealing.
10-13-2013, 09:41 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jeff Charles Quote
The K-3 may have world-class AF (although we do not know for sure yet), but lenses are part of the AF system, and the Pentax system may need an upgrade to two essential ones.

Consider Canon full frame. Depending on what kind of shooting you do, of course, the 24-70 f/2.8, and one of the 70-200 f/2.8 lenses are part of a basic kit. Both are fast focusing lenses. The Pentax 16-50 and 50-135 lenses match those zoom ranges on APS-C, but can either match the focusing speed of the Canons? I have the 50-135, so I know that its AF is slow, but I'm not sure about the 16-50.

No matter how good the K-3's AF system, it needs lenses that are as good. Can we expect Pentax to meet the challenge with new versions of the 16-50 and the 50-135 that have better AF motors?

I just want to add that I think Pentax made the right decision going with the 50-135 zoom range, rather than the 70-200. The extra reach of the 70-200 may be useful sometimes, but the 50-135 is more versatile on APS-C. Smaller and lighter too.

Jeff
I agree that Pentax needs to focus on the AF in their lenses. IMO they should slowly start moving away from screwdrive AF, as we can do better these days.

There was nothing wrong with the AF speed on the K-5: it just couldn't track very well, and the K-3 is bound to be better (we'll have to wait and see by how much). But unless Pentax releases some really fast-focusing tele/kit lenses, I don't think people will stop complaining about the AF

Adam
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10-13-2013, 09:54 AM   #4
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What canon full frame body are you discussing? I'd hate to think you're comparing a $7000 body with a $1300 body, but you leave yourself open to speculation. Your assumption that nothing can be done to speed up the lenses through changes in the body is wrong. They have included a faster , silenter AF motor that improves performance of the screw drive lenses. They may have something up their sleeves for SDM as well. Let's not speculate on what we need, till we evaluate what we've got.

10-13-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jeff Charles Quote
The K-3 may have world-class AF (although we do not know for sure yet), but lenses are part of the AF system, and the Pentax system may need an upgrade to two essential ones.

Consider Canon full frame. Depending on what kind of shooting you do, of course, the 24-70 f/2.8, and one of the 70-200 f/2.8 lenses are part of a basic kit. Both are fast focusing lenses. The Pentax 16-50 and 50-135 lenses match those zoom ranges on APS-C, but can either match the focusing speed of the Canons? I have the 50-135, so I know that its AF is slow, but I'm not sure about the 16-50.

No matter how good the K-3's AF system, it needs lenses that are as good. Can we expect Pentax to meet the challenge with new versions of the 16-50 and the 50-135 that have better AF motors?

I just want to add that I think Pentax made the right decision going with the 50-135 zoom range, rather than the 70-200. The extra reach of the 70-200 may be useful sometimes, but the 50-135 is more versatile on APS-C. Smaller and lighter too.

Jeff
There's a thread on dp review where a person was able to try a pre production k3 w/ a Tamron 17-50 and he said the focusing was quite a bit faster and the screw drive noise was quieter. He basically said it was like having a new lens...


I have the 16-50 on a k5iis and it seems if focuses faster than my 50-135.
10-13-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
IMO they should slowly start moving away from screwdrive AF, as we can do better these days.
Maybe, but I wouldn't like to see them abandon the robustness, compactness, and long-term utility of the Limited range.
10-13-2013, 10:46 AM   #7
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I don't want to give up screw driven primes. They are just a lot smaller and as long as they are constructed with relatively short focus throws (like the DA40 or 70), they are pretty speedy. Doubt that much speed would be gained by jumping their size up and adding ring motors.
10-13-2013, 10:51 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I don't want to give up screw driven primes. They are just a lot smaller and as long as they are constructed with relatively short focus throws (like the DA40 or 70), they are pretty speedy. Doubt that much speed would be gained by jumping their size up and adding ring motors.
I feel the same. If the K-3 turns out to be able to drive them a little more quietly, though, then all the better.

10-13-2013, 11:09 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
There was nothing wrong with the AF speed on the K-5: it just couldn't track very well, and the K-3 is bound to be better (we'll have to wait and see by how much). But unless Pentax releases some really fast-focusing tele/kit lenses, I don't think people will stop complaining about the AF
That is the heart of it. Predictive AF + effective ultra-sonic lenses are the performance markers these days. If Pentax truly has solved the predictive AF piece, then the sane thing to do would be to release a 100-400mm-ish ultra-sonic lens and a revised standard like a 16-50mm. This would reward long-term customers and help lure new ones.

M
10-13-2013, 11:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by vagrant10 Quote
There's a thread on dp review where a person was able to try a pre production k3 w/ a Tamron 17-50 and he said the focusing was quite a bit faster and the screw drive noise was quieter. He basically said it was like having a new lens...
I missed that thread, but it's good news to me, since I have the Tamron. The blog post linked to in the DPR thread also mentioned that the 50-135 is more confident, and "a touch faster" on the K-3.
10-13-2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
What canon full frame body are you discussing? I'd hate to think you're comparing a $7000 body with a $1300 body, but you leave yourself open to speculation. Your assumption that nothing can be done to speed up the lenses through changes in the body is wrong. They have included a faster , silenter AF motor that improves performance of the screw drive lenses. They may have something up their sleeves for SDM as well. Let's not speculate on what we need, till we evaluate what we've got.
I was more focused on the lenses than the bodies. I used those Canon lenses as examples, because my sister shoots with them and I am familiar with them.

It looks to me like Pentax is trying to position itself as the premium APS-C DSLR manufacturer. The $1300 K-3 will never compete with a $7000 body designed for sports photography, but with the right lenses, I'll bet it can come close enough to satisfy many amateurs, advanced amateurs, and even professionals who can't afford or justify $10,000 kits.

Regarding the 50-135 in particular, I'd be surprised if the K-3 can do much to improve its AF speed, although slight improvement has been reported. I have that lens and also the 18-135. The 18-135 focuses faster on my K-5 and K-30 than the 50-135. I'd expect a DA* lens to outperform a kit lens in every way.
10-13-2013, 12:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jeff Charles Quote
I missed that thread, but it's good news to me, since I have the Tamron.
I got the "new lens" experience when I put the Tamron on a K-01.
With the live view focusing, it was sharp all the time.
10-13-2013, 01:25 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I wonder if they should just ditch the idea of SDM altogether and ask Sigma to build Pentax lenses with HSM or something. This will considerable reduce time to market of a revised "DA* 16-50 II" and introduce other new lenses like the 18-35, 70-200, under pentax brand... and most likely with weather sealing.

Smart companies do this every time... There is nothing wrong in recognizing that someone else's tech is better than yours. Just look at Apple with Siri (adquired from SRI), Microsoft with their Kinect (adquired from a company called Primesense) and the list would go ON and ON and ON....... I don't own a SDM lens, but the more I read the less I want one. Just the fact that they're so famous for its low quality motor, I wouldn't throw $1k in a lens I know most likely die tomorrow. You can argue that you own 1 SDM for 3 years with no problem... but unfortunately, the bad quality fame of the SDM is just too big. And until they fix that fame (even changing the name to something like SDM2 would help) pentax lineup will not be complete as SDM is not even an option.

Just imagine if Pentax would take something as simple as Sigma's 17-70 C and add weather sealing to it and make something like "Pentax DA 17-70 2.8-4 HSM Macro WR". Yes it would mean that they will eat up lenses they have like the 16-45 F4 but to be honest is better to kill your own product than to have someone else kill it for you. Or do you think that Pentax did not know that coming with K-3 was going to kill K-5II sales? Yes of course they know it, but is better to kill YOUR K-5II sales with YOUR K-3 rather than Nikon kill YOUR K-5II sales with THEIR D7100 or D7200. So is better to have Sigma make your lenses (at least the 16-50 2.8 or something in that range) put Pentax on them, Kill the 16-45, and most likely the 16-50... Rather than be offering laughable product and have other companies kill your product.

I know pentax has done this in the past with Tamrom lenses. Why no do it know when SDM is clearly NOT working 100% yet?
What lens is there that will truly match the K-3 in 16-70 range? I wouldn't really buy a 16-50 2.8 when I know (from reading This REVIEW ) that the pentax one costs 2X its rivals and is the worst of the batch!

Anyway, you can argue that pentax has the most comprehensive apsc lens offering, but in reality, nobody needs ALL the lenses... who cares if there are 1,000 different lenses when you cannot really find one(1) that is as good as a 17-70 Contemporary from sigma w/o having SDM problems? yes you cannot compare the 16-50 with sigmas 17-70.. but precisely!!!! how would I buy the 16-50 (2x the cost of the sigma) when i know it has laughable SDM which can die within a day of use?

Last edited by jrcastillo; 10-13-2013 at 01:34 PM.
10-13-2013, 03:46 PM   #14
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First off a D(F)A 24 or 25 f/2.8 Limited is needed most from a prime perspective. Gaping hole in the range right there. However perhaps a DFA* 24 f/2 might give the greatest bang for buck from a rumours generation and not so quietly start setting the scene for a 135 sized sensor
Zoom wise a WR refresh of the 12-24 f/4 should be reasonably easily doable.
The DA*'s need looking at from a focusing speed perspective, especially from what I can gather the 50-135.
10-13-2013, 07:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
First off a D(F)A 24 or 25 f/2.8 Limited is needed most from a prime perspective. Gaping hole in the range right there.
While I agree (having myself gone legacy and third-party for 24/2.8 coverage),
I suspect that they won't go any further than the roadmap's Limited zoom to cover that hole,
at least for the APS-C format.
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