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04-20-2015, 05:21 PM - 10 Likes   #1
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My test and evaluation of the HD 16-85mm

I've been asked to post my opinion about my newly acquired HD 16-85mm. So here it is. You can click images to get to larger versions.

I am comparing the lens mainly to the DA 18-55 WR and the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 (version 1). The 16-85 will replace the kit lens as my WR lens, and might replace the Sigma for many walkaround occasions. If it lives up to my expectations, that is.

The lens is larger than I thought. Mainly longer. It's surprisingly larger than the Sigma. However, it has the same weight.







It is, of course, much larger than the kit lens, but I decided to include pictures to give a sense of scale.







The finish matches the K-3 (and other bodies) perfectly. Really beautiful. It balances well also, because of the relative low weight. The zoom ring falls under the hand quite naturally. This is my first lens with the focus ring near the body. It's ok, not better than at the front, but I don't expect to use it a lot.

The zoom ring is smooth, and I am not worried by the lack of a lock : I'm sure it won't move. The focus ring is interesting, in the fact that it has soft stops. This means that when you reach the end of its throw, it keeps moving with more friction. It's nice, though the 60-25, which has the same system, has much more friction, so the transition is easier to see. There are no focus distance marks anywhere.

Quick note : the lens cap is a new design, with less rounded features than the usual.

In use the lens is just great. 16mm makes a visible difference, even when compared to 17mm. It feels like I've stepped into UWA territory for the first time. The 85mm range is also a bonus over what I own. All in all the range feels extremely useful and well chosen (Pentax is not alone in choosing this range of course). Here is an example of the same scene at 16 and 85mm to give a sense of scale.




AF is a wonder. It's even more silent than the SDM motor of the 60-250. It's faster by all accounts. It seems accurate, at least I've had no misses so far. It is also leagues ahead of any screw-drive lens when using live view or video. The Sigma is no slouch but the 16-85 is even more responsive.

I have mainly tested the lens outside, in good light. That's where I expect to use it. And it performs above my expectations there. Colours are saturated and accurate, sharpness is better than excellent, there are no CA and PF to speak of. I see some distortion at 16mm, as expected, but it's not bad at all.

Here are many samples pictures. I invite you to click the images to get to larger versions. In particular, look at the texture on my son's hat. And if you see haze in the outdoors images, it's because the waterfall is throwing mist around





f8


f5.6


















04-20-2015, 05:43 PM - 1 Like   #2
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thanks for your effort in reviewing this lens. Looks like a winner. Just can't decide if 16mm is more valuable to me than 135mm.....
04-20-2015, 06:32 PM   #3
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Nice writeup.

Is that the waterfall in Quebec, feeding into the St. Lawrence?
04-20-2015, 07:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for reviewing this lens, looks like a winner lens. I am in Japan now and thinking of buying either this lens or the 20-24 limited. Both lenses are priced roughly the same (the limited lens is slightly higher).

04-20-2015, 07:58 PM   #5
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Thanks for this overview.

Since its announcement last Fall, I've been pondering whether to get this and pair it with my 55-300, which is what I want to do, or just keep using the 18-135.

In any case I'm holding off till next Spring (I think).
04-21-2015, 03:19 AM   #6
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Thank you for sharing. I know this lens was beaten up pretty hard on release (why would Pentax release a lens that is so similar to the 18-135 at the price they choose to release it at), but everything I've seen shows at least as good performance as the 18-135 and having the option of 16mm is awfully handy for landscape shooters.

I certainly would consider this down the road as a vacation type lens when I don't want to carry about a bunch of lenses.
04-21-2015, 05:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryH Quote
Looks like a winner.
that it is, for me at least.

QuoteOriginally posted by GaryH Quote
Just can't decide if 16mm is more valuable to me than 135mm.....
I pondered that question too. Since I have the 100mm macro WR and the 60-250, having a WR lens on that range was not required. The 18-135 is visibly smaller, and an excellent lens in its own right. I believe the 16-85 is better optically, and for me the wide angle was a big advantage.

QuoteOriginally posted by smasher Quote
Is that the waterfall in Quebec, feeding into the St. Lawrence?
It is, called Montmorency Fall. Good catch!

QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I am in Japan now and thinking of buying either this lens or the 20-24 limited.
That one (20-40) also got my attention. The limited range wouldn't have worked for me, though the small size and faster aperture would have been nice. I also have the 21 and 40 limited, and since I mostly use the 21 at night, the 20-40 wouldn't have worked as well (for starbursts, in particular).

QuoteOriginally posted by Nakedgun Quote
Since its announcement last Fall, I've been pondering whether to get this and pair it with my 55-300, which is what I want to do, or just keep using the 18-135.
If you have the 18-135 already, the choice isn't easy. You might be better off with a DA15 for wide angle, except if you never use the tele end of the 135.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nakedgun Quote
In any case I'm holding off till next Spring (I think).
It's likely to drop ni price a bit by then. The deal I got convinced me not to wait.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I know this lens was beaten up pretty hard on release (why would Pentax release a lens that is so similar to the 18-135 at the price they choose to release it at), but everything I've seen shows at least as good performance as the 18-135 and having the option of 16mm is awfully handy for landscape shooters.
You are correct 16mm is handy. People often complained about the slow apertures. I find that it's between a third and two thirds slower than my Sigma at all apertures, no more. That's really not bad at all. And it's very good even wide open, reliable at all apertures.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I certainly would consider this down the road as a vacation type lens when I don't want to carry about a bunch of lenses.
That's its main purpose I think.

04-21-2015, 07:05 AM   #8
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Thanks for posting this! I'm starting to get interested in this lens and online reviews, impressions, and images are hard to find. Your review is a great compliment to Heie's review.
04-21-2015, 07:22 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing! Looks to be a very good alternative to the 18-135. I would gladly give up the long end for a bit more width if I were to buy one of them now.

The difference is not enough for me to get rid of the 18-135, though. I use it only for travel (and bad weather), and the smaller size counts in its advantage, too.
04-21-2015, 08:31 AM   #10
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why no one wants to compare the DA 17-70mm F4 AL [IF] SDM with HD DA 16-85mm / 3.5-5.6 ED WR DC, why-why, what this is about Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 version I or II or III, is Pentax users hate DA17-70 / 4, why-why it can not compare (or expected his direct successor to the WR + DC + HD), but again by then it would be nice to be compared lens from the same stud farm ,otherwise nice review of
04-21-2015, 08:40 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mbukal Quote
why no one wants to compare the DA 17-70mm F4 AL [IF] SDM with HD DA 16-85mm / 3.5-5.6 ED WR DC, why-why, what this is about Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 version I or II or III, is Pentax users hate DA17-70 / 4, why-why it can not compare (or expected his direct successor to the WR + DC + HD), but again by then it would be nice to be compared lens from the same stud farm ,otherwise nice review of
Go tell that to people who own the DA 17-70...
04-21-2015, 09:07 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mbukal Quote
why no one wants to compare the DA 17-70mm F4 AL [IF] SDM with HD DA 16-85mm / 3.5-5.6 ED WR DC, why-why, what this is about Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 version I or II or III, is Pentax users hate DA17-70 / 4, why-why it can not compare (or expected his direct successor to the WR + DC + HD), but again by then it would be nice to be compared lens from the same stud farm ,otherwise nice review of
I think we just need to convince a DA 17-70 owner to buy a DA 16-85. Then you will have your comparison.
04-21-2015, 09:13 AM   #13
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Thanks for sharing and cured my LBA for this one. Looks like a nice lens but my 18-135mm will do for now!
04-21-2015, 10:33 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mbukal Quote
why no one wants to compare the DA 17-70mm F4 AL [IF] SDM with HD DA 16-85mm / 3.5-5.6 ED WR DC, why-why, what this is about Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 version I or II or III, is Pentax users hate DA17-70 / 4, why-why it can not compare (or expected his direct successor to the WR + DC + HD), but again by then it would be nice to be compared lens from the same stud farm ,otherwise nice review of
Well, I own the Sigma and not the Pentax. But if you want to do an indirect comparison, here's the review I wrote comparing the Pentax 17-70 and the first two versions of the Sigma.

Pentax 17-70mm Lens Comparison Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

QuoteOriginally posted by ruggiex Quote
Thanks for sharing and cured my LBA for this one. Looks like a nice lens but my 18-135mm will do for now!
Glad to be of help!
04-21-2015, 11:22 AM   #15
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I hope that the awfully bad colour balance is your fault and not the lens ...
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