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03-17-2014, 08:18 AM   #1
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Verdict on latest revision of DA* 16-50 f2.8?

I really need a quality upgrade to cover the standard zoom range as a replacement for the 18-55 WR kit lens on my K-5. This will be my all-around lens and main travel lens when I don't want to carry a bag full of other lenses.

One of the local shops has a decent sale price on the DA* 16-50 f2.8, so I called to ask how new it was, since the newer version is supposed to use different SDM parts and be less prone to SDM motor failure. The risk of SDM problems is the only reason that has kept me from buying this lens in the past.

They said the lens has been in their stock for 3 weeks. This is a reputable shop and one of the largest Pentax dealers here in Finland, and I trust them. Since I do live in the EU, it has a 2 year warranty, so at least my first 2 years are covered if something goes wrong.

I've also considered the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 EX and the new Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 "C". Both are obviously cheaper than the DA*, but I will miss the weather sealing and quick-shift focus on both. I've read tons of reviews and I believe I will be happy with the image quality upgrade over my kit lens, even though the Sigma 17-50 is likely a bit sharper. If the 17-70 C was as good optically as the 17-50 EX, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation...

What is the current "feeling" on this lens... is it a safe buy?

<grabs popcorn>

03-17-2014, 08:39 AM   #2
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I think it depends on the serial number. The lens isn't bad, its a little expensive, but the SDM failures really tarnished its reputation. Pentax claims the SDM was fixed by now, so new lenses should be fine. I would still think of getting extra warranty, though.
The Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm lenses are not bad in IQ, either.
03-17-2014, 08:48 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by cbope Quote
is it a safe buy
Yup
03-17-2014, 09:44 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Pentax claims the SDM was fixed by now, so new lenses should be fine.
I must have missed it. Do you have a link to the official statement?

thx

Noam

03-17-2014, 10:03 AM   #5
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03-17-2014, 10:18 AM   #6
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I've had mine for about two years. I bought it new from B&H. I've had no issues with it, other than the same non-SDM gripes most have. It's a little flare prone. That's my only gripe.
03-17-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryH Quote
Oh, yeah for a moment I forgot about that one.

The only problem is that this is not really an official statement, just a quick word from a local technician during a tradeshow. If I had a faulty DA* and demanded a free repair/replacement based on that statement, I'm not sure my request would be honored.

I have a friend with a faulty 16-50, so I would be interested to know other people's experience with trying to get a free repair/replacement from Pentax.

FWIW, he once lent me the lens for a few days (when it still worked) and I really liked it. Great color and contrast and pretty sharp. I remember thinking it was a little better than my trusty old 16-45 (which I LOVE).

If the OP lives in a place with a good Pentax rep and can get long-term warranty (and swallow the high price), I guess it could be a good purchase. Personally, where I live, the Pentax rep is a JOKE (virtually non-existent, they are also the Canon reps and don't care about Pentax), and I bought all my stuff from B&H overseas, so I still wouldn't take a chance with a DA*.

I am also toying with the idea of getting the Sigma 17-50 (or 17-70C. Funny, they are the same price here), or even the DA20-40Ltd if my LBA illness becomes worse again (I managed to stay clean for quite a long time now!).
03-17-2014, 10:56 AM   #8
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For some strange reason, the 17-50 EX is cheaper here, currently I can get it for 369€ vs. 449€ for the 17-70 C. I believe it may be a signal that a replacement is incoming soon, it's been this way for a couple months now though. Neither Sigma lens is in stock at the moment and the DA* is... further complicating my decision. I actually had the EX on order for about 3 months, then canceled the order because it never came in stock.

03-17-2014, 12:50 PM   #9
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Btw, here is a thread about the lens review done by this forum:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/161600-sigm...a-16-50mm.html

Its a bit old, but hey
03-17-2014, 01:02 PM   #10
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The guy said anything built after 2012 should be fine. Good luck knowing when the lens was built. I bet there are tons of old stock on the shelves since the big price increase.
03-17-2014, 01:04 PM   #11
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Hold out to see what Sigma delivers up next as part of their ongoing rejuvenation.

Really worth looking at now if you like autofocus lenses.
03-17-2014, 01:09 PM   #12
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If it's a good price on the DA*16-50 I'd get it.

I have many fears. Fear of my DA*16-50 failing isn't one of them. That doesn't mean it won't happen - just that it's not worth worrying about. It's a very useful lens with nice IQ. It's the one lens I put off buying way too long. I could have save myself some real worry (since I tried to cover those focal lengths with good IQ using primes only) and been able to take advantage of using it if I'd bought it sooner.
03-17-2014, 01:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
The guy said anything built after 2012 should be fine. Good luck knowing when the lens was built. I bet there are tons of old stock on the shelves since the big price increase.
There was basically no price increase in Europe... the price increase in the US was to balance out what the rest of us have been paying all along...

Interestingly, the DA* sale price is 849, which with today's exchange rate puts it at $1182 USD. B&H is sells this lens for $1297. This is a rare case where camera equipment in Europe is cheaper than in the US. Typically we pay about 20-30% more than US prices, but that's mainly because of taxes (VAT is 24% here).

I'm wondering if there might be Ricoh branding on the box... that would likely indicate a pretty new lens. If it's Hoya, then it's an old lens. I might drop by the shop this week and take a look at the packaging...

What about serial numbers? Do we know serial numbers of the "new" revision of the lens?

---------- Post added 03-17-14 at 10:30 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Parry Quote
Hold out to see what Sigma delivers up next as part of their ongoing rejuvenation.

Really worth looking at now if you like autofocus lenses.
Honestly, I'm holding out for the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 A, but since that doesn't look like it's coming any time soon, I need something else in the mean time. I have an upcoming trip to Vienna next month and my daughter's graduation in June, so I can't wait too long. The last I heard on the K-mount 18-35 was April or May, and the release date has already been pushed back at least once already.

Even if I bought the 18-35 now, it's hardly an everyday/travel lens like the DA* 16-50. The focal length is too limited for that purpose. A 16-50 purchase would likely postpone the Sigma until next year and I can live with that.

Last edited by cbope; 03-17-2014 at 01:35 PM.
03-18-2014, 05:05 AM   #14
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I had quite a lot of problems with this lens. The first copy died in 2007, some months after the purchase. It was replaced with a new one, thus the adventure began. Since then It had been sent to repair shop 3 times, until I finally contacted Ricoh / Pentax imaging Europe directly. Here is a list of faults, that I experienced.
1) AF problems and wobbling front element.
2) The zoom ring did not work smoothly (required force to zoom past 28 mm).
3) The focus ring got stuck in the region between infinity and two meters. The zoom ring behaved the same way as before the second repair. Sharpness was inconsistent in the range from 34 to 36 mm.

On receiving it back for the third time, I refused to sign any papers and insisted on having the lens sent back for inspection, because the following defects had not been fixed :
* The zoom ring remained stiff from 28 mm onwards.
* To focus ring, although not being stuck any more, produced rumbling noise and around 0.35 m it produced a clicking noise and required some effort to move.
* The lens hood, due to extreme wear does not fix itself on the front element of the lens and remains loose.

This time the lens was sent to Ricoh Imaging Europe S.A. . It makes me wonder where they (local dealer) sent for the preceding repairs. Actually e-mailed Ricoh Imaging Europe, right after the lens was sent for repairs. Ricoh representative contacted the local dealer and informed me that the maintenance was performed free of charge. After refusing to sign the maintenance act and having the lens sent for inspection to Ricoh, I contacted the same representative and explained the situation. The representative told me, that he would get in touch with the dealer and sort the things out himself. After a while he informed me, that he received the lens and asked me for some shots with it. Fortunately I had some test shots that highlighted some of the defects. Shortly after I was offered a free replacement lens. Ricoh representative said, that he would examine the new lens before sending it to me, to make sure that it is a good copy. As of today, the lens is on its way to my hometown.
03-18-2014, 05:57 AM   #15
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Which Ricoh rep is this? The Forums have a few bugs to report.
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