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11-27-2013, 05:02 AM   #1
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Is there a better lens than the DA16-45 f4?

I have a number of lenses, but the two which see the most use are the DA 55-300 (almost always at 300mm) and the DA 16-45. I'm looking at getting the DA*300 to get better results at the 300mm focal length but I'm wondering if there's a better lens in the 16-45 range. Strangely, the DA*16-50 rates lower in the PF reviews than the DA 16-45! I was thinking of using the combination of the DA 16-45 and DA*300 for travelling, because I really don't use much of the 55-300 zoom range other than the 300mm end. The DA16-50 would provide a slightly better zoom range, but also SDM might be a significant improvement on the painful and noisy focussing by the DA 16-45.

The other lenses I was toying with were the DFA 100 macro and the DA 40 limited. I have the DA35 limited macro, but I hardly use it because at the macro end, you have to be very close to the subject. It's a lovely lens but...

Anyone have any thoughts to offer, please?

11-27-2013, 05:30 AM   #2
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I think the 16-50 mostly got bad reviews due to SDM failures and high price. Supposedly the new batches have been fixed and the problems should be gone. But I don't have experience with it.

The DA 40mm will give you great IQ and fast AF, but it might not make sense if you already have the 35mm, because the FoV is fairly close and they have the same f-stop. The rendering will be different, but I am not sure if that is what you are after. Maybe the DA 50mm f1.8 or FA 50mm f1.4 might make more sense (or DA* 55mm f1.4!). But the DA 40mm is a great lens and can hold its own.
The 100mm macro is also great, very sharp, but slower AF (because it has macro range and long focus throw). Its a great tele lens and has all sorts of uses besides macro. I very rarely use mine for actual 1:1 macro, but its great for closeups of details, portraits, even some landscapes..

I guess I would ask you what your priority is - do you need wider angle? Do you need low-light capabilities? Or are you just looking for something new? If you want a replacement for the 16-45, maybe think about Tamron 17-50mm (very well-liked on this forum) or Sigma 17-50mm (I think it features a reliable, quiet AF motor?): DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
11-27-2013, 05:34 AM   #3
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I am interested to hear more opinion about the 16-50 DA* option.
11-27-2013, 06:00 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I think the 16-50 mostly got bad reviews due to SDM failures and high price. Supposedly the new batches have been fixed and the problems should be gone. But I don't have experience with it.

The DA 40mm will give you great IQ and fast AF, but it might not make sense if you already have the 35mm, because the FoV is fairly close and they have the same f-stop. The rendering will be different, but I am not sure if that is what you are after. Maybe the DA 50mm f1.8 or FA 50mm f1.4 might make more sense (or DA* 55mm f1.4!). But the DA 40mm is a great lens and can hold its own.
The 100mm macro is also great, very sharp, but slower AF (because it has macro range and long focus throw). Its a great tele lens and has all sorts of uses besides macro. I very rarely use mine for actual 1:1 macro, but its great for closeups of details, portraits, even some landscapes..

I guess I would ask you what your priority is - do you need wider angle? Do you need low-light capabilities? Or are you just looking for something new? If you want a replacement for the 16-45, maybe think about Tamron 17-50mm (very well-liked on this forum) or Sigma 17-50mm (I think it features a reliable, quiet AF motor?): DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
You're right, not a lot of difference between the da40 and da35 other than portability; the pancake lens would be easier to carry as a portable prime close to 50mm equivalence. Re zoom, I was wondering if there's a Pentax lens with better iq in the same sort of range as the 16-45. Not really looking at other brands atm, but good to know.

11-27-2013, 06:29 AM   #5
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I really like the 16-45 and am on my 4th copy. I've tried several 18-55s as well as two 18-135 and Sigma's 17-70 and 18-50 (both f/2.8-4.5). While I find the 16-45 to be my favorite of the bunch, the 18-55WR is almost as good* and the WR makes it irresistible to me. Stop me if you've heard this one: if only the 16-45 were WR -sigh- The 16-50 is excellent optically though heavier than I'd like, and I've never tried the Tamron 17-50.

* yes yes, distortion and a bit of vignetting, it's the rendering and versatility that I like.
11-27-2013, 06:45 AM   #6
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If you like your 16-5, why consider changing it?

Hypothetical reasons : not fast enough, focal range too short, no WR. Apart from that I don't see why it should be replaced. I don't own it but by all accounts it's a fine lens.

On that range the 16-50, Tamron 17-50, Sigma 17-70 are all great choice with comparable IQ to the 16-45. The 18-135 has better range and WR but IQ is not as good.

A few prices to supplement your 16-45 could be a good idea. The 40 is a great idea but only if you like that focal, length. My personal primes kit is made of the 21, 40 and 100 macro WR. Those three make a killer combo and cover most situations well. I'd like to have the 70 but would rarely use it honestly.
11-27-2013, 06:45 AM   #7
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The DA*16-50 is a brilliant lens. Yes, I have have had a couple of copies experience SDM failures, but now my remaining one is converted to screw drive I need never worry again. It is my most used event lens and is a total joy. Some recent output:
























Last edited by Sandy Hancock; 11-27-2013 at 06:52 AM.
11-27-2013, 06:57 AM   #8
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I use my 18-135 more often now, but I haven't sold my 16-45. It's too useful indoors and anywhere I don't need a lot of reach. It's always been reliable and accurate. Don't let the low cost dissuade you, it's a nice lens.

Granted, I haven't played with any of the 17-70 lenses.

11-27-2013, 09:26 AM   #9
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I have an early DA* 16-50. I bought it in 2007. It has not yet failed. It is, for myself, the lens for walkabout. The constant f/2.8 aperture - it doesn't get slower at longer lengths where you need the fast aperture even more - the Image Quality is plenty good, and can approach superb after using DxO software to correct the flaws without any user input.

The SDM problems were statistically worse with the early SDM lenses (My 50-135 was one and I am now using the plebian 55-300), but not all of them were bad by a long shot.

My personal take is that Pentax lenses have a "look" to them that is unique, and I really like all my lenses to have controls that turn in the same direction for the same effect. I have tried Sigma lenses but most of their lenses turn in Canon directions rather than Pentax/Nikon directions.

Many years ago a professional photographer stated that the only reason to buy a lens that was not made by the camera manufacturer was because the camera manufacturer did not make the lens you absolutely had to have.

One old phart's opinion. See Dave (Dadipentax) signature for disclaimer.
11-27-2013, 09:31 AM   #10
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DA*16-50 is a very good lens. And most likely would be rated much higher if it were not for the "it has SDM so I'm giving it a 2 rating" reviews. If you go through the reviews and discount the SDM complaints it moves up quite a bit. Not trying to downplay the SDM issues, many people have suffered through multiple failures. I would not buy a used one but if mine was stolen today I would buy a new one tomorrow. It is by far my most used lens, and I have way too many lenses.

That said, it is big and heavy and while I use it in the studio and when flexibility is important if I'm carrying the camera all day I tend to leave the DA*16-50 off if I can.
11-27-2013, 10:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
I really like the 16-45 and am on my 4th copy. I've tried several 18-55s as well as two 18-135 and Sigma's 17-70 and 18-50 (both f/2.8-4.5). While I find the 16-45 to be my favorite of the bunch, the 18-55WR is almost as good* and the WR makes it irresistible to me. Stop me if you've heard this one: if only the 16-45 were WR -sigh- The 16-50 is excellent optically though heavier than I'd like, and I've never tried the Tamron 17-50.

* yes yes, distortion and a bit of vignetting, it's the rendering and versatility that I like.
Do you still have all those lenses? And as a supplementary question, why have you had all those lenses?
11-27-2013, 01:04 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I'm wondering if there's a better lens in the 16-45 range
Yes, there are better lenses, but better in what way? What do you need that the 16-45 isn't giving you? WR? Silent focusing? Greater zoom range? More resolution? Better microcontrast? Better color rendition? Faster aperture.

I have a copy of the DA 16-45. I bought it instead of the DA 16-50 largely because of the SDM issue (I otherwise considered the DA 16-50 better optically based on images I had seen from both lenses). Although the 16-45 is a very nice, capable lens, with some of the best corner to corner sharpness I've ever run across in a zoom lens (particularly at the wide end), I found it wasn't keeping up with my other glass. The images I was getting from it didn't have quite the same vividness and brightness of color as my other lenses. It was most noticeable in prints, which just didn't have the same visual impact. So I purchased the FA 20-35 as an upgrade.

There are many other lens that, like the FA 20-35, are better, at least in some ways, than the 16-45. For WR, there's not only the 16-50, but the new DA 20-40 and the DA 18-135. Both Sigma and Tamron, along with Pentax, offer faster, f2.8 standard zooms. Pentax offers four standard zooms with focus moters: the DA 18-135, the DA 17-70, the DA 20-40, and the DA*16-50. While none of these alternatives are likely to offer significant more resolution (the DA 16-45 is pretty good in that respect), some of them (at least the Pentax star and limited options) will likely give you images that have bit more contrast and "pop."
11-27-2013, 06:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Do you still have all those lenses? And as a supplementary question, why have you had all those lenses?
No, they come and go - thankfully for very little overall loss.
Why? Pick your favorite answer and run, Norm - and feel free to pick more than one!
  • shifting needs as other lenses come & go
  • fire sales to pay family doctor bills
  • never-ending search for the mythical 'perfect-for-me' lens
  • just plain silly/slow learner
11-27-2013, 08:18 PM   #14
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I swear I have posted responses a couple of times now, and they have disappeared never to be seen again.

QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
Yes, there are better lenses, but better in what way? What do you need that the 16-45 isn't giving you? WR? Silent focusing? Greater zoom range? More resolution? Better microcontrast? Better color rendition? Faster aperture.
As I mentioned above, the key thing I'm curious about is image quality.

QuoteQuote:
There are many other lens that, like the FA 20-35, are better, at least in some ways, than the 16-45. For WR, there's not only the 16-50, but the new DA 20-40 and the DA 18-135. Both Sigma and Tamron, along with Pentax, offer faster, f2.8 standard zooms. Pentax offers four standard zooms with focus moters: the DA 18-135, the DA 17-70, the DA 20-40, and the DA*16-50. While none of these alternatives are likely to offer significant more resolution (the DA 16-45 is pretty good in that respect), some of them (at least the Pentax star and limited options) will likely give you images that have bit more contrast and "pop."
At this point I was looking specifically at the Pentax brand, because there's a current discount. From what I understand, the IQ of the DA 18-135 and DA 17-70 aren't as good as the DA 16-45 even though a bit of extra focal length on the long end would be nice. So of the lenses you've mentioned, I guess I'm curious about comparing the IQ of the DA 16-45, DA 20-40 and DA*16-50. If a longer range zoom really has IQ as good or better than the DA 16-45 I'd be interested, but I don't think such a beast exists.
11-27-2013, 09:41 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I swear I have posted responses a couple of times now, and they have disappeared never to be seen again.



As I mentioned above, the key thing I'm curious about is image quality.



At this point I was looking specifically at the Pentax brand, because there's a current discount. From what I understand, the IQ of the DA 18-135 and DA 17-70 aren't as good as the DA 16-45 even though a bit of extra focal length on the long end would be nice. So of the lenses you've mentioned, I guess I'm curious about comparing the IQ of the DA 16-45, DA 20-40 and DA*16-50. If a longer range zoom really has IQ as good or better than the DA 16-45 I'd be interested, but I don't think such a beast exists.
If you confine yourself to starting at 16mm or wider, then there isn't anything that I know of. But the 20-40mm comparison really doesn't matter, because the focal length is so much longer at the short end, it's a completely different category of lens.
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