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02-26-2017, 03:33 AM   #1
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Pentax 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 vs Tamron 17-50mm f2.8

Hi ya i'm wanting to know which lens you think would be the best overall image quality between the Pentax 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 and Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. I have the Tamron lens but it's in MASSIVE need of calibration by Tamron for my K70 camera, it used to be brilliant with my old K30 after Tamron calibrated it though. I'll only use the focal length between 17 upwards to about 25mm'ish because I have a Pentax 35mm f2.4 which is awesome image quality for around 35mm and a Sigma 70-300mm f3.5-5.6 for anything above 70mm so...I'm not sure whether to get the Tamron calibrated again or to buy the Pentax 16-85mm instead, i'm not bothered about spending money on the 16-85mm if it would be better image quality than the Tamron 17-50mm. Whether I buy the Pentax 16-85mm or keep my Tamron i'm sending them to the manufacturer with my camera to get them calibrated for my camera.

02-26-2017, 04:10 AM   #2
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have you looked at these threads yet?

DA 16-85 WR,show us what it can do. - PentaxForums.com

gives you examples of what some of us have done with the 16 - 85

or these

HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/hd-pentax-da-16-85mm-f35-56-ed-dc-wr.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/hd-pentax-da-16-85mm-f35-56/introduction.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/tamron-af-17-50mm-f2-8-xr-ld-aspherical-if-sp.html

reviews of the lens

Last edited by Aslyfox; 02-26-2017 at 04:20 AM.
02-26-2017, 04:24 AM   #3
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I guess I kinda thought the 16-85mm would be the winner in terms of image quality, thanks.
02-26-2017, 04:40 AM   #4
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I never had the Tamron, but the 16~85mm has been no-contest the best normal range zoom I've ever had, and is competitive at the same aperture with most SFL lenses I own.

02-26-2017, 04:57 AM   #5
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My big dilemma is whether to get the Pentax 16-85mm lens or whether to get my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 calibrated but also i've been thinking about possibly getting the Pentax 21mm f3.2 instead of the 16-85mm because I already have a Sigma 70-300mm which seems to give very good image quality and a Pentax 35mm f2.4 which gives truly excellent image quality. I'm wondering if the Pentax 16-85mm lens would be better image quality at 35mm than my Pentax 35mm f2.4 prime lens and better at 21mm than the Pentax 21mm f3.2 prime lens, if not then I might get the Pentax 21mm f3.2 prime instead of the 16-85mm.
02-26-2017, 06:18 AM   #6
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As a general travel lens, the 16-85 is hard to beat. The DA 21 is an excellent lens for some travel-related photography but when I travel abroad, its the 16-85 every time. Not sure what is involved with calibrating the Tamron but if not too costly, that might be better than buying a new lens. A fast 17-50 always comes in handy for events.
02-26-2017, 06:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by richardstringer Quote
I'm wondering if the Pentax 16-85mm lens would be better image quality at 35mm than my Pentax 35mm f2.4 prime lens
I've never shot with the 16-85, but I would be very surprised if the 16-85 could compete with the 35mm f2.4 at 35mm. I've probably owned 20 modern lenses over the last 10 years and none of them can match the IQ of my 35mm f2.4. This includes my D FA 15-30 and D FA 24-70, which are pretty good lenses. In general, it's hard for a very good zoom to match a very good prime in IQ and I think it gets harder as the zoom's range increases. But you do get a lot more flexibility with a zoom and can carry fewer lenses for a specified focal length range.
02-26-2017, 08:00 AM   #8
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You're saying the 1,499 Pentax 15-30mm f2.8 doesn't have as good image quality as the 114 Pentax 35mm f2.4? Seriously? That's shocking. I know prime lenses are generally better than zoom lenses but i'd honestly have thought a 1,499 short zoom lens would annihilate a 114 prime lens for image quality.

02-26-2017, 08:17 AM   #9
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I own the 16-85 awesome lens. You won't be sorry but instead of the 21 prime I strongly suggest the 20-40 Limited compact and great optical performance. People say it is sharper than the 21 at 20, and I have no reason to doubt that.
02-26-2017, 08:26 AM   #10
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The only reason to be honest I want the 16-85mm is so I can have 16 to about 30mm range of focal length, I already have a 35mm f2.4 Pentax prime and a Sigma 70-300mm f3.5-5.6 zoom so...If the 20-40mm is better image quality than the 21mm then yeah ok i'm definately interested in the 20-40mm lens.
02-26-2017, 08:38 AM   #11
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I own both, and just got the 17-50 back from warranty service for what appeared to be an identical problem in two copies I've had: the AF disconnecting randomly. Also both copies were calibrated properly for AF on a K200 but needed about minus 10 on a K5. I told Tamron about the minus 10 but it still came back the same, which I guess is okay until I get rid of the K200. So far it appears Tamron has fixed the random disconnect problem (on the 2nd try) though, which I'm encouraged about. Tamron does have very fast service, though - you can send the lens to them two or three times before you'll get a lens back from Pentax, although I recently sent a lens to Pentax/Precision and it appears to have come back changed from plus 10 to zero. In fairness Tamron wants you to send the body, but if I have two bodies that agree at zero on five lenses (including another Tamron), it seems like the bodies are correct and calibrating on another correct body would work. Apparently Tamron calibrates/tests using a K5, which is what I have. I might send the Tamron back again, though, because the extreme left side has some issues. Beware the 17-50mm seems to have a very odd focus field curvature, so if you shoot a target or brick wall, you can only get the edges equally blurry, you can't get them sharp at the same time the center is.

I've had five copies of the 16-85. The one I have left is the best of the bunch, but at close focus distances I have a label on the hood to remind me to force the front barrel to the right at 85mm and the left at 16mm, which is obviously not the best thing for long tripod-mounted exposures, since you have to have your hands on the lens and can introduce vibrations. Normal distances seem okay. Don't misunderstand - there is very little play in the barrel, not like the 16-45 where you have massive play. But it's enough to matter and the results are clearly and repeatedly better by applying force in the proper direction. The other four copies all had decentering issues in one place or another at normal focusing distances, but not at all focal lengths. Some had issues on the wide side, tele side... even one in the middle (24mm), which is unusual in my limited experience.
02-26-2017, 08:38 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by richardstringer Quote
The only reason to be honest I want the 16-85mm is so I can have 16 to about 30mm range of focal length, I already have a 35mm f2.4 Pentax prime and a Sigma 70-300mm f3.5-5.6 zoom so...If the 20-40mm is better image quality than the 21mm then yeah ok i'm definately interested in the 20-40mm lens.
I would say it is just as good. With a good copy of the lens of course. Hard to beat the 20-40. But if want an awesome walk around lens that is sharp at 16 the 16-85 is an excellent choice. I own both!

Last edited by gm4life; 02-26-2017 at 03:26 PM.
02-26-2017, 08:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by richardstringer Quote
You're saying the 1,499 Pentax 15-30mm f2.8 doesn't have as good image quality as the 114 Pentax 35mm f2.4? Seriously? That's shocking. I know prime lenses are generally better than zoom lenses but i'd honestly have thought a 1,499 short zoom lens would annihilate a 114 prime lens for image quality.
The 15-30 is a radical design with lots of glass and moving mechanical parts. Even by design it probably can't match a modern 35mm prime, but the odds of getting a copy that matches the design specifications exactly are also probably much lower. There are some limitations to the plastic lenses: no hood bayonets or hood included, no focus clutch, etc. Of course the 15-30 has its own issues with the filter situation but that's not typical of other higher-end lenses (it isn't unusual for lenses in a similarly extreme focal length range, though.)

In any case, it's definitely not shocking.
02-26-2017, 10:55 AM   #14
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I'll most likely get the Pentax 20-40mm lens then, I love my Pentax 35mm f2.4 but most of the time the 35mm focal length is too close to get the landscape photo I really want so I have to accept it and photography the scene it's able to capture within the frame while using that lens. Plus I find it's way too close (the focal length I mean) for walking around and photographing a lot of things. I go to museums and castles etc...and I find it's impossible to get most things into the frame and there's only so far I can walk backwards and back up.
02-26-2017, 07:11 PM   #15
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I own both lenses, and I prefer the Pentax.

The DC motor and WR are great, and it's no slouch in sharpness either. The extra reach is a bonus too.
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