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09-12-2016, 03:52 AM   #1
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Choosing a lens: Pentax 17-70, 16-85 or sigma 17-70 C

Hello fellow pentaxians!

Im trying to decide what lens to buy, currently looking at these 3 lenses:

Pentax 16-85

Pentax 17-70

Sigma 17-70 Contemporary

...and I'm having trouble deciding what to get.

I'm looking for a decent and flexible walk around lens, upgrading from a kit zoom. I also have a few primes (pentax 35, 50 and tamron 90 macro) and the pentax 50-135 that I can use in low light situations so max aperture is not a priority.

Any thoughts about the pro/cons of the different choices? What would you recommend?

09-12-2016, 04:24 AM   #2
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Hey, i am really fond of The 17-70 for its f4 on the complete range! Sometimes i miss the last little piece of built quality that i am used from the limited lenses... Good luck!
09-12-2016, 04:25 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frispel Quote
What would you recommend?
Pentax 16-85

or

Sigma 17-70 Contemporary

Both are pretty good, the Sigma is a little faster, the Pentax is a Pentax, offers a little more wideangle and tele.
09-12-2016, 04:26 AM   #4
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The Sigma is probably better than the Pentax 17-70, and more or less equal to the 16-85. The Sigma focuses much closer, the 16-85 has a better zoom range and is WR. I personally like close up wide-angle shots, so I'd pick the Sigma, but if you are an outdoorsy go anywhere kind of person, the Pentax 16-85 is probably your best bet.

09-12-2016, 05:10 AM   #5
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I would suggest not getting the Pentax 17-70. It has no advantages over the sigma.

The Pentax 16-85 is wider (1mm is significant at these focal lengths), longer, has WR.

The Sigma has a faster aperture and is better at close focusing.

I won't tell you which one to buy, you'll have to decide based on your needs. I can only tell you that I owned the former version of the Sigma, and sold it to get the 16-85. For me WR in particular sealed the deal.
09-12-2016, 05:38 AM   #6
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You can use the sample photo search to check which camera and lens combination you would like to try. It is good to see what photographs have been taken with each combination. Good luck with your choice of lens.


Pentax Camera & Lens Sample Photo Search Engine - PentaxForums.com
09-12-2016, 06:14 AM   #7
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Hi, and welcome.

I would like first to clarify the obvious question of what body OP is shooting on; neither the Pentax 17-70's SDM nor the 16-85's DC-only AF is not supported on many of the older CCD-sensor K-series or *ist-D-series bodies, whereas the 50-135 OP is using still has the screw-drive option available for them.

Yeah, I know there probably aren't too many of us still shooting with *ist-D-whatevers, but I would probably never have replaced mine if it had not broken down, so I am taking nothing for granted.
09-12-2016, 06:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I would like first to clarify the obvious question of what body OP is shooting on;
K-5 and K200D from the profile.

09-12-2016, 06:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pjv Quote
K-5 and K200D from the profile
Okay, OP, you're good to go then.

I seriously considered the 16-85 in the context of one weather-sealed zoom lens for my K-5 to do everything in poor weather. I eventually rejected it, but only because I felt I needed even more zoom than that (I bought the 18-135) and did not need the extra wide angle so much. The minimum focal length of all three lenses you've named suggests to me that the 18mm wide end of the kit lens is not wide enough for you, and so the 18-135 is probably not going to be your thing either.

If you do a lot of shooting outdoors in weather where you might get rained or snowed on at short notice, or down by the water's edge (especially with spray and wind), the WR alone is a good reason to favour the 16-85 over the other two lenses you have named. If you are going out with one and only one lens on your camera for lightness of kit, or you will be outdoors in poor weather where changing lenses might be hazardous, having the greatest possible zoom range out of your named choices would also be an advantage.
09-12-2016, 06:49 AM   #10
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remark: as far as I recall, some of the Sigma lenses suffer from back or front Focus in the past.
09-12-2016, 07:05 AM   #11
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My only experience with those lenses is with the 17-70 Pentax. I can assert it is mighty impressive. It seems very sharp and has great contrast. I compared with DA 15 and DA 40 and DA 70. It did quite well in that comparison.
09-12-2016, 09:14 AM   #12
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I have owned the SIgma 17-70C for a couple of years now and I consider it one of the best lens purchases I have ever made. I wanted more reach than the kit lens and also something with a little better IQ. It is rarely off my camera. My other consideration at the time was the 18-135. Pentax had some goofy (being polite) pricing at the time and the Sigma was over $100 cheaper. I have avoided SDM lenses so the DA 17-70 was a lens I never considered and was also way out of the ballpark price wise. The 16-85 wasn't available at the time. It's pretty well spoken of. Being weather sealed is a plus but lack of weather sealing on the Sigma has been a non issue for me as it's easy enough to protect the lens from the elements.
09-12-2016, 09:54 AM   #13
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I've had both the DA 17-70 and the Sigma 17-70 C. Each are very good but are different. The Sigma is a little smaller and obviously a little faster at the wide end. The Pentax has a little better color and contrast and I could probably make a case for more consistent metering (that might be due to constant aperture). Both of mine were equally sharp and I never had an SDM problem on the Pentax. I ultimately sold the Pentax as I didn't need both but it was pretty close to a coin flip on which one. Maybe the Sigma being slightly more compact tipped the scales but I was happy with both.
09-12-2016, 10:21 AM   #14
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I have been extremely happy with my 16-85 and paired with my K5ii was all the kit I took on a 10 week trip around Asia.I rarely felt I needed anything longer or wider and the WR was a big bonus in the rain,dust etc
09-12-2016, 10:46 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frispel Quote
Hello fellow pentaxians!


I'm looking for a decent and flexible walk around lens, upgrading from a kit zoom. Any thoughts about the pro/cons of the different choices? What would you recommend?
I use manual exposure so my lenses are constant aperture and the 17-70/4 has provided good service for years. Bought mine used as Plan B for my Tamron 28-75/2.8 ( also great walk around & portrait lens). I use the 17-70 in small studios, when I need something wider than the 28-75. I've paid for it many times over.

Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 04-12-2017 at 10:43 PM.
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