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07-15-2017, 05:13 AM   #1
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Looking for affordable high quality zoom lens

Hello All
I am looking for a high quality but reasonably priced zoom lens to supplement my primes. My first choice has been the DA 16-85 either a good used copy or save up for a new one. While perusing Adorama, B&H and KEH websites I noticed the Sigma EX 16-50 f2.8 is selling for only $369 for a brand new lens at both Adorama & B&H. My 2 top priorities are image quality and fast, reliable and quiet autofocus. Next priority is weather sealing with faster aperture as a nice to have. It seems for what I am looking for the DA* 16-50 would be the best choice but it is out of my budget and I would prefer something more compact. Ditto for the limited zoom, would love to have it but I already have DA 21, 35 and 40 Limited primes and it is also out of my budget.
Any thoughts from anyone whether I would be better with the Sigma or the DA 16-85? I considered the Sigma 17-70 contemporary but it is too close to the DA 16-85 in price and lacks WR so I ruled that one out.

07-15-2017, 05:29 AM   #2
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The 16-85mm is a solid choice. I'd choose it over the Sigma 17-70 as it makes up for the speed in image quality, IMO, plus you get a really nice zoon range. Same story compared to the 20-40mm, in my opinion.

Another option to consider would be the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, if you can still find it new. It's much cheaper than the DA* and close to being as good.

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07-15-2017, 06:40 AM   #3
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there is a thread where people have posted photos taken with the Pentax 16 -85 mm

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

I like mine very much

Last edited by aslyfox; 07-16-2017 at 02:42 AM. Reason: repaired erroneous link
07-15-2017, 07:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Another option to consider would be the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, if you can still find it new. It's much cheaper than the DA* and close to being as good.
That's what he meant by Sigma EX 16-50...

It's currently $300 off...Sigma must be trying to get rid of their remaining stock of K-mount and A-mount lenses...

07-15-2017, 09:33 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The 16-85mm is a solid choice. I'd choose it over the Sigma 17-70 as it makes up for the speed in image quality, IMO, plus you get a really nice zoon range. Same story compared to the 20-40mm, in my opinion.

Another option to consider would be the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, if you can still find it new. It's much cheaper than the DA* and close to being as good.
Thanks, Would you choose the 16-85 over the Sigma 17-50 F2.8? That is the Sigma I was considering. They must be discontinuing it as it is down to $369 new. KEH has a DA 16-85 in LN- condition for $418. Comparing these two I am not worrying about cost difference or LN- vs. New. I want which is the sharper lens with the best autofocus.
07-15-2017, 10:46 AM   #6
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The DA 16-85mm offers an aperture of f/3.5-4.5 out to at least 50mm per Photozone testing. So this is only about one stop off the fast f/2.8 lenses. It is also less heavy and offers more FL range. Then there's the weather sealing, quiet AF, and quick-shift for MF touchup. Unfortunately, there have been some QC AF and centering issues during its initial run, which may have been addressed in subsequent shipments. In terms of distortion and other factors it actually outperforms the DA* 16-50mm f'2.8, which tested more like 45mm instead of 50mm by Pop Photo mag. It is common for lenses to run short of their stated FL.

Right now, B&H has the DA 16-85mm on sale at nearly $100 off with free shipping. This would put the price of a new one at just around $120 more than the used one you've found if KEH charges for shipping. Also, B&H is good about replacement if there's a QC problem. Might be worth a few more payments on your credit card to go this route.

Last edited by mikesbike; 07-15-2017 at 11:07 AM.
07-15-2017, 10:58 AM   #7
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KEH offers a 14 day return policy for any reason

" What is the return policy for KEH?

Effective Feb 18, 2016

At KEH itís our goal to ensure your 100% satisfaction. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can return or exchange it to KEH within 14 days of delivery for a full refund. "

FAQs | KEH Camera

that might make a difference to the OP
07-15-2017, 10:53 PM   #8
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The Sigma lens you mention is very good also. And the sale price is great for a very good lens of f/2.8 constant aperture. Its borders and corners don't test out too well at f/2.8 in mid-FL according to Photozone's review of it on Nikon's DSLR having a similar 16MP sensor. But central performance is fine even wide open. At f/4 both central and border results are well above average. This is not identical to testing it with a Pentax body, but it gives some idea. I don't think it is of WR construction, however. Nor does it have quick shift. I do see a MF/AF switch, but that may not mean you don't have to also switch the camera's control. I have some old 3rd party lenses with such a switch, but the AF turns the focus ring anyway unless the camera is switched to MF as well. With Pentax FA* and DA* lenses you only need to use the lens switch. It is about the same size as the Pentax 16-85mm, but nearly 4oz heavier. Still not too bad. It is a pretty good pro-style lens.

I 've had a Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8 EX DG, full-frame lens for many years. Pretty compact for such a lens. 77MM filter thread. Screw-drive AF, but very fast and accurate. No WR or AF/MF control on lens. But images are sharp, and it is a real asset under low-light conditions, and/or when I need the extra shutter speed or shallower depth of field. It remains a favorite of mine. When it comes to some fast-action indoor sports, like hockey for instance, its f/2.8 can get my shutter speed up to 1/500 sec at ISO 2,500 or so and is indispensable for such uses.

It boils down to how important it is for you to have that f/2.8 aperture, vs the other advantages of the Pentax 16-85mm.

07-16-2017, 12:57 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
Thanks, Would you choose the 16-85 over the Sigma 17-50 F2.8? That is the Sigma I was considering. They must be discontinuing it as it is down to $369 new. KEH has a DA 16-85 in LN- condition for $418. Comparing these two I am not worrying about cost difference or LN- vs. New. I want which is the sharper lens with the best autofocus.
I guess it would depend on whether or not you need the fast aperture. With the good high-ISO performance we get from cameras these days, I've personally found the slower aperture not to be a very big deal. I would therefore go for the 16-85mm myself.

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07-16-2017, 10:09 AM   #10
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Sold my 21/40 travel combo to go for the 20-40 zoom. The zoom offers weather sealing and was fun to use.
Is your 35mm a macro lens? Keep it.
K3 with 20-40 still fits in tiny camera bags. 21/40 was unbeatable travel combo, but you had to change lenses all the time.
07-16-2017, 11:51 AM   #11
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Decision Made! I ordered the DA 16-85 in Like New- condition from KEH. The price seems right with free shipping and our Delaware sales tax which is zero%. I previously bought two lenses from them in EX+ condition and they looked brand new. I would expect the higher Like New - condition should appear like a new lens to me. I will give it a good testing when I get it and hopefully I will have as good as an experience with it on my K-5 and K-3 bodies as I have seen from most replies and reviews of this lens.
Thanks to all for your feedback.

Last edited by jddwoods; 07-16-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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