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01-19-2016, 08:17 AM   #1
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Thinking of selling my DA WR 18-135 and getting the HD 16-85mm

Mainly as a travel/landscape lens.

I don't want to venture far off from kit range I suppose as I have alot to learn, but is the HD 16-85 a noticeable notch up in terms of sharpness from the 18-135?
I'm only really interested if its an actual notch up instead of marginal.

Thanks for any info.

01-19-2016, 08:53 AM   #2
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It depends. The Center sharpness is about the same, but borders and extremes are much better:

From photozone.de:

http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/pentax_1685_3556/mtf.png 16-85 (article)
http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/pentax_18135_3556/mtf.png 18-135 (article)
01-19-2016, 08:53 AM   #3
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It's certainly a notch up, especially in the extremes of the frame. If you're fine with having a little bit less reach, you certainly won't be disappointed.

HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

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01-19-2016, 09:07 AM   #4
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See this thread I started

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/301618-da-1...at-can-do.html

Having gone down that route I would say I have been very happy with the upgrade.

01-19-2016, 09:08 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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I have the 16-85, my wife uses 18-135, sometimes my shots are better, sometimes her's are.
The 16-85 has an advantage at the wide end, the 18-135 at the long end.
As noted above the centers are hard to distinguish, the 16-85 is better at the edges.

Honestly, if you are still learning, stick with the 18-135 and keep learning. Do not fall into the trap of thinking a new lens will make your photography better. Learn how to use the 18-135 to best advantage. When you can say for certain that it is the lens holding you back, then it is time to buy a new lens.
01-19-2016, 09:46 AM   #6
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Yes, this is the thread that has leaned me into keeping it, albiet I don't know how they pulled even half of those shots off.

QuoteOriginally posted by timb64 Quote
See this thread I started

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/301618-da-1...at-can-do.html

Having gone down that route I would say I have been very happy with the upgrade.


---------- Post added 01-19-16 at 11:48 AM ----------

Well yeah, I guess edges aren't that important..Even in landscapes methinks.

I was planning on making large prints of my adventures so I thought the HD might be a bit of a better choice, but certain thread has made me question this.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have the 16-85, my wife uses 18-135, sometimes my shots are better, sometimes her's are.
The 16-85 has an advantage at the wide end, the 18-135 at the long end.
As noted above the centers are hard to distinguish, the 16-85 is better at the edges.

Honestly, if you are still learning, stick with the 18-135 and keep learning. Do not fall into the trap of thinking a new lens will make your photography better. Learn how to use the 18-135 to best advantage. When you can say for certain that it is the lens holding you back, then it is time to buy a new lens.


---------- Post added 01-19-16 at 11:49 AM ----------

Well that's a short and sweet comparison, I like it.

QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
It depends. The Center sharpness is about the same, but borders and extremes are much better:

From photozone.de:

http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/pentax_1685_3556/mtf.png 16-85 (article)
http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/pentax_18135_3556/mtf.png 18-135 (article)


---------- Post added 01-19-16 at 11:50 AM ----------

I forgot I read this article, thanks for the reminder!

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
It's certainly a notch up, especially in the extremes of the frame. If you're fine with having a little bit less reach, you certainly won't be disappointed.

HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
01-19-2016, 11:27 AM   #7
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Honestly, if you want a notch up get a better lens. If you need WR get the 16-50 f/2.8 paired with either the 50-135 f/2.8 or 60-250 f/4. If not get the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 paired with a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8. Like a poster above said, don't fall into the trap of getting a different lens thinking it will improve things. Lear to get all you can out of what you have first.
01-19-2016, 11:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvexrun Quote
is the HD 16-85 a noticeable notch up in terms of sharpness from the 18-135?
As others said, in the corners it is. It's also bigger and heavier.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you're fine with having a little bit less reach
Les reach at the tele end, but a wider FOV at the wide end.

01-19-2016, 11:46 AM   #9
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I have carefully tested several copies of the 16-85 vs 18-135. Both are pretty good lenses. The 16-85 did not impress me that much because I have a 16-50/2.8, and it's a better lens-optically and in build. My issue with the 16-85 is that it underexposes pretty badly at 16-18mm, which is where I do the most shooting. The 16-50/2.8 and 18-135 did not do this. It's true the 18-135 has softer extreme edges, but it's a lighter, smaller more compact lens. The 16-85 has a cheap feel to it, like the 18-135. Also, the 17-70 has a better build, and my copy was pretty close to the 16-85.
01-19-2016, 12:23 PM   #10
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I have both. I bought the 16-85 recently, and am very impressed. However, as a stand-alone all-purpose travel lens, the 18-135 is the more flexible option, and also very sharp at centre. It's colours are wonderful as well. I would really miss the 85-135 range if I didn't have it covered with the 55-300.
01-19-2016, 02:51 PM   #11
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For me the 16 versus 18mm would be a major thing. For most of my photos, 85mm would be enough, although I would probably take a telezoom with me as well. But with 16mm at the wide end, I could choose to leave my 12-24 at home when traveling.

QuoteOriginally posted by rdj92807 Quote
The 16-85 has a cheap feel to it, like the 18-135. Also, the 17-70 has a better build, and my copy was pretty close to the 16-85.
Is that the DA 17-70 you're talking about? I have that lens, and in my opinion, it's not the last word in build quality. There's quite a bit of play in the barrels and the focusing ring has a disconnected feel to it. Also, my sample exhibits zoom creep.

I do like the range on it, but build-quality wise, I can't say I agree with you. Or if I do, then the 16-85 must be terrible (like falling apart all the time).

Last edited by starbase218; 01-19-2016 at 03:12 PM.
01-19-2016, 04:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvexrun Quote
Mainly as a travel/landscape lens.

I don't want to venture far off from kit range I suppose as I have alot to learn, but is the HD 16-85 a noticeable notch up in terms of sharpness from the 18-135?
I'm only really interested if its an actual notch up instead of marginal.

Thanks for any info.
Don't be daft. It is an excellent all round walk about zoom. Ideal for one lens day trips and holidays etc.. Takes great picture. Great as a learning tool. Ideal for mandatory family pictures.Well worth keeping no matter what your eventual outfit contains. Only sell if you are seriously financially constrained.

A tip I have seen is that if you are thinking about a new lens, have a look at the EXIF data of your pictures, especially those of your most popular / satisfying subjects / areas of interest and see what the focal length and aperture used was. Consider also where you felt that wider aperture (low light, differential focus) or a longer or shorter focal length would have given more satisfying pictures / better range of subject matter in your areas of interest. Buy what you need not what you want (like me) for the best pictures at "relatively" minimum cost.
01-21-2016, 08:27 AM   #13
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I broke my 18-135 and just replaced it with the 16-85. I find the 16-85 a bit sharper in the corners but it doesn't focus as well as the 18-135 and is definitely more prone to flare. I've been getting some nice photos with the lens, but still figuring out it's idiosyncrasies. It is also seeming like the sweet spot is around f11 compared with f8 on the 18-135.
01-21-2016, 02:00 PM   #14
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Both are great lenses but one is bigger/heavier.

You should ask yourself why you want to upgrade first, what are the problems you have right now?

- Overall not sharp image => well the 18-135 is quite sharp on center and stopped down in the 24-50mm range all over the frame. See if it is really the lens or your technique.
- Don't get enough light or subject isolation/bokeh => Well will not change anything. A 17-50 f/2.8 would do much more difference
- Focus to near objects => Well that a macro lens you need.
- Focus reliability => the 18-135 perform well already don't expect more.
- Flare => I think the 16-85 is better but I'd like to see comparisons.
- You want to have a wider view, the 16-85 is an interresting alternative, but if you want much more, you'll want a sigma 10-20 or another UWA instead.

If you have only a 18-135, I think you get more value from getting a lens that would compliment it than by replacing it. For example you could get a DA50 f/1.8 for portraiture or a 55-300 for reach.
01-22-2016, 03:24 PM   #15
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Chasing the ultimate zoom will keep you buying forever. I do not have the 16-85, but I have the 18-55 (two versions) 18-135, 17-70, 16-50 in that range, and those are just the ones from Pentax. I do not own the 16-85 because by the time it appeared, it seemed to me that I had been on a fool's quest early on for the perfect "normal" zoom, and I can't honestly say it was worth it. Right now, my favorite is the 18-135. It is small, light, water resistant and not terribly expensive. It is the perfect travel lens. The 16-50 is the only upgrade to it which results in a big improvement, and its most noticeable improvement comes from the fact that it is a stop faster and ~F4 is no longer wide open.

If you want a much sharper capability, or greater speed, add a prime. Your kit will stay light, and the improvement will be far more noticeable.
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