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07-21-2008, 06:25 AM   #1
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Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 v Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

Tamron lens is popular & affordable. Many people are using it on their Canon, Nikon & Pentax cameras. According to Tamron's offical website, its optical formula is based on that of its 28-75mm f/2.8.

Pentax's lens is a little more expensive & has some QC issues.
I am more inclined to buy & spend more the Pentax's lens.

Could you please comment on these two lenses?

Thanks!


Last edited by alexgn; 07-21-2008 at 06:37 AM.
07-21-2008, 06:31 AM   #2
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I don't own either but There is a couple of things to consider. The Pentax is only slightly wider but is shorter. The Pentax has both weather seals and SDM. If the Tamron follows the 28-75 then it should be a winning lens as well.

We also haven't been hearing any issues with 16-50's anymore so I think it's safe to assume that the QC issues may be behind us.

I think this excellent series can attest to the good quality of the Tamron. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/32594-buddha-tooth-relic-temple.html. Tough choices.
07-21-2008, 07:13 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Tough choices.

Tell me about.

I am postponing my kit replacement (the same battle between 16-45 x tammy 17-50) till I have my mind set in one lens... in the meantime I am purchasing other gear


I do can drop a comment about these lenses: I went to B&H and check both of them (but the tammy was not pentax mount) and the Pentax is a very sexy piece of equipment... you can tell right away that is costs money. That is not to say that the Tamron was not showing quality, and actually has 6 years warranty.


What comes down to me is only one thing: weatherseal x money.

It was great to see the USM working on the DA* but the weatherseal is screaming louder for me, because I want a sealed camera setup. If it werent for the WS I would buy the Tamron, no questions.

07-21-2008, 08:44 AM   #4
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Based on the images I have seen produced by both lenses I think in the end both the DA*16-50 vs Tamron 17-50 are great lenses. As long as you don't get a stinker I doubt you'd end up with buyer's remorse over either one.

For me, and strictly for me only, it came down to cost. SDM would be great - who wouldn't want faster and quieter AF? - but I really don't need it. Weather sealing is really nice too, but I don't generally end up shooting in environments where wather and/or dust is an issue. And size (in this area...) doesn't matter either; if anything larger lenses tend to fit my hands better. The 16-50 does have a history of some QA issues and I've also seen it produce some purple fringing. There's been quite a bit of hype and exitement around the 16-50 too though compared to the Tamron so there could be some issues with that lens too but it just isn't making any headlines.
But there I sat with two great lenses to choose from, one had some neato features the other doesn't but I would make very little use of, and a price difference of $280 USD...

... The Tamron arrives here tomorrow morning.

07-21-2008, 09:36 PM   #5
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Bought the Tamron before and loved it.. Sharp indeed.. Unfortunately I have to sell it coz I need the funds to buy a flash.. The color rendering of the Tamron though is differenct compared to Pentax.,.. Must be the coating.. I compared the color of my kit lens and 50mm to the Tamron and u can tell the difference..

The weathersealing of the DA* is a good selling point.. But considering I don't have a weather sealed body, I might go with the Tamron again that is if I don't upgrade my body later this year..

Goodluck.. Either of the lens will suffice ur needs I guess!
07-21-2008, 10:52 PM   #6
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When I bought my K20 back in April I had to make the choice between these two lenses. I spent a lot of time researching, and finally settled on the Tammy. In the end is was an easy choice for me to make, but I agree with others that you wil not go wrong with either choice.

Regards,

Ernest
07-21-2008, 10:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I think this excellent series can attest to the good quality of the Tamron. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/32594-buddha-tooth-relic-temple.html. Tough choices.
Maybe this missing shot will show the bokeh power of Tamron 17-50mm. Think I took this with ISO 1600.


IIRC DA* 16-50mm has QC issue with the sharpness. What put me off is the weight. Sigma 18-50mm is more contrast and a brighter lens. I choose Tamron for its sharpness, lightweight and lesser distortion at wide end. I would recommend Sigma if you are on budget as Amazon selling pentax mount for US$280.

Most f2.8 lens around this range seems to have a minor FF/BF issue, especially in lowlight. My copy of Tamron 17-50mm has minor FF which K20D AF adjustment helped to fixed. So I'm able to get f2.8 sharp AF^^

Edit: here's a mini comparison on Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 vs Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 I did a while back.
http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3991378
06-18-2010, 07:06 AM   #8
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In-depth Comparison of Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 and Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

I've written an in-depth comparison of the two lenses.

I compared everything - sharpness, chromatic aberration, vignetting, distortion and build quality.


Cheers,
Luke


Last edited by Peter Zack; 06-18-2010 at 09:42 PM.
06-18-2010, 09:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukedarma Quote
I've written an in-depth comparison of the two lenses.

I compared everything - sharpness, chromatic aberration, vignetting, distortion and build quality.


Cheers,
Luke
Hi Luke,
I am kind of curious; how did you arrive at the conclusion that the 16-50 had "better build quality?" What criteria was used? The 16-50 may go down as one of the worst-built lenses in all of Pentax history!

I dislike when other reviewers seemingly review "build quality" based on the criteria used in Jurassic Park: "Is it heavy? Then its expensive." There are so many complaints about SDM failure, decentering, loose barrels, zoom sticking, etc. how could the DA* 16-50 possibly be an example of a "good build?" Also, weather sealing is a feature, not a indicator of build quality.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 06-18-2010 at 09:43 PM.
06-18-2010, 10:36 AM   #10
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I gotta agree with Pentax Poke. Optically the Pentax is a decent lens and if it would work mechanically, I'd be able to say I love it. In fact the ONLY reason I have one is for the weather seals. I'm on my 3rd version. This one works but I would strongly disagree with the fast focus. SDM as implemented by Pentax is not fast, far from it.


Fortunately for me, my K20D SDM is disabled and I can use the lens as a screw drive. But putting it on my second K20D or K10D, well watch me swear. I have missed literally hundreds of shots with it and rely on the Tamron 28-75mm for that type of work. Candid's and faster moving situations.

Second, the guides for the lens when zoomed out are fragile. Bump the lens sideways and you can easily knock it out of track/alignment. Fortunately it's easily made right and realigned.

Mechanically, this lens is a crap shoot at best (pun intended). I think Pentax has upgraded the motor, but that is only rumours. We haven't heard as many complaints lately. Who knows what that means.

Without stripping the lens down, comments on mechanical construction are generalities at best.
06-19-2010, 12:52 AM   #11
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Build Quality

@PentaxPoke: It's purely a matter of personal opinion. Weight was not used as the main criteria. I used both lenses and I personally like the Pentax's build better than the Tamron.

@Peter Zack: Sorry to hear that you always get a bad sample. The lens that I tested (I borrowed from a friend) is flawless mechanically. Where did you buy your lens from?
06-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukedarma Quote
@PentaxPoke: It's purely a matter of personal opinion.
I was using weight as a criteria as a joke. If build quality was based on "personal opinion" then what was the criteria used to give you an opinion about build quality? How do you evaluate how well something is built?

"Build quality" is one of the most overused concepts discussed by reviewers. If reviews consist of people borrowing lenses for a short time (which most do) how can one evaluate build quality? Wouldn't you have to test it over time to see how well it holds up? Wouldn't you have to know something about the manufacturers record of quality control on that product? Or does it come down to "metal good, plastic bad."

In what quantitative way is the 16-50 a better build than the Tamron?
06-19-2010, 10:10 AM   #13
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tamron 17 - 50 vs Pentax 16-50

My dilemma exactly...

here's what it's coming down to for me:
1) residual QC issues for the 16-50 that Pentax is not addressing (see my other posts for examples and description of what I mean). Sure, some of it is hype - but there are too many comments still out there and not just from the remote past...

2) excellent reviews here on the Tamron are taking me away from my (unfounded) anti-3rd party manufacturer bias - it seems to be a very good lens.

3) the price differential is not trivial; i see average prices for the Tam in the $360 approx area; I'm seeing $750 street for the Pentax 16-50.
Since the camera i want to buy is not weather sealed (the Kx, not the K7), i don't see the sense in promoting weather-sealing to my top criterion.

4) so i'm either going for the Tam 17 - 50 - OR - i will now start obsessing about that focal range vs the 17 - 70 options available since that is my ideal walkabout comfort zone.

Comments and guidance = welcome !
06-19-2010, 08:33 PM   #14
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I'm probably a good candidate as a beta tester. I shoot a lot, Last year around 70,000 frames and the DA*16-50mm got at least 50% if not more of the work. Prior to that the DA16-45mm was the workhorse. IMO that lens is a winner. It's only weakness is being an f4 lens. Not the best in low light and a bit limiting in creative aspects. But a sharp and solid performer that in 2 years, never let me down once.

So going to the DA*16-50mm turned out to be a disappointment right from the start. I was one of the ones that got a severely BF focusing lens. That came from Adorama and they gladly exchanged it. The second was no better and was refunded. I count those 2 as one bad lens because each one stayed here less than 2 days.

After waiting a year, I tried again (Henry's). This time the lens was optically fine but within a year the SDM motor was dead (November 2009). The SDM focusing was never as good as any other lens I have shot with. Slow, Can't track a turtle let alone a person walking. Forget low light. It's a sunny day lens.

So this new lens is starting to show signs of SDM failure. A couple times it won't move. MF the lens and it gets going. Now my K20D has the SDM disabled and the lens is screwdrive only on that body. As an SD lens, it's fine, focus is reasonable and it's dependable. But this lens has something weird in the focus mechanism or optics, every other lens I own, including slower glass, can focus faster and better in low light. I've owned at least a 100 lenses from various manufacturers (no exaggeration) and this is the more befuddling lens I've ever come across.

I only stick with it because I need the weather seals. I have to have a lens in this range that has this feature for my work. So for me, I'm stuck. If that were not a priority, then without a second thought I'd get the Tamron 17-50mm and only for the speed difference over the DA16-45mm. If f4 doesn't matter to you vs f2.8, then I'd look at the 17-70mm as well.
06-19-2010, 09:52 PM   #15
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"...I only stick with it because I need the weather seals. I have to have a lens in this range that has this feature for my work. So for me, I'm stuck. If that were not a priority, then without a second thought I'd get the Tamron 17-50mm and only for the speed difference over the DA16-45mm. If f4 doesn't matter to you vs f2.8, then I'd look at the 17-70mm as well."

Thank you fellow Canadian !
One question: in your last sentence, which 17-70 did you mean ?
Tamron ?
The 17 - 70 focal range is actually my sweet spot in terms of a walkaround lens.
I know Pentax makes a 17 - 70 also, which does not appear to have the QC problems, but also not the same IQ as the 16 - 50.
My perusal to date of the 17 - 70 options shows me 2 from Sigma (including a brand new one w/ stabilization in the lens but perhaps IQ not as good as the original Sigma 17 - 70), 1 from Tamron, and 1 from Pentax. Speed (2.8 vs 4) IS preferable, if possible.
Any assistance you can provide in helping me differentiate these 4 would be wonderful. Altho I am learning fast, in terms of learning what questions to ask and what to look for, I am still new at this.

I've decided to buy a Kx, a DA 55-300 lens, and I was going to order the 16-50 till i found this site last week and learned of the problems. Now all i need to do is decide which 17 - 70 to get, and then I will call B&H or Adorama tomorrow (or, i will order from within this site to get whatever 'credit' this site derives from these retailers) -- and place my order to enter the Pentax dSLR world - can't wait !
Thank you !
Habsfanusa
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