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10-28-2017, 06:16 AM   #1
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HD DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR lens

The HD DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR lens has good independent reviews. How do users rate the sharpness and CA performance of this lens in comparison with say a Pentax DA 35mm F2.4 AL Prime Lens for landscape work. The flexibility of the 16-85mm zoom range and its WR capabilities are attractive, if also its sharpness is excellent. I currently use the SMC DAL f3.5/5.6 AL WR with my K-3 for landscapes.This performs well, but I am considering a lens upgrade, if a significant increase in lens performance can be seen. For landscapes I typically use f14/f16 aperture, shoot in RAW and sharpen to suit.
Members comments are very welcome.

10-28-2017, 07:56 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robert N Quote
The HD DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR lens has good independent reviews. How do users rate the sharpness and CA performance of this lens in comparison with say a Pentax DA 35mm F2.4 AL Prime Lens for landscape work. The flexibility of the 16-85mm zoom range and its WR capabilities are attractive, if also its sharpness is excellent. I currently use the SMC DAL f3.5/5.6 AL WR with my K-3 for landscapes.This performs well, but I am considering a lens upgrade, if a significant increase in lens performance can be seen. For landscapes I typically use f14/f16 aperture, shoot in RAW and sharpen to suit. Members comments are very welcome.
I mostly shoot landscapes and the DA 35mm f2.4 was my first upgrade over the kit lens and I have used it for quite some time. Sharpness and CA were better and generally the lens was very good optically, but it was just not wide enough for me. Sure, it's f2.4, but you don't shoot many landscapes at f2.4. The 16-85 was not available at that time so I went with a 16-45. Based on the reviews, I guess the 16-85 is better. If landscapes are the main target, I would choose the 16-85 over the 35 f2.4 without much thought. Image quality should be very close to the DA 35, you lose f2.4 which is not much use for landscapes anyway and you get the flexibility of a zoom. I would shoot at f/8-f/11 for landscape work.
10-28-2017, 08:29 AM   #3
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Hi Robert, Maximum sharpness on digital cameras is usually around f8-f11, smaller apertures are less sharp due to diffraction. The 16-85 is probably the best landscape zoom as 16mm vs 18mm (or even 17mm) is noticeable. It has good CA control (unlike my DA*16-50 which was designed with portraiture in mind) and has enough range to serve as a one lens solution for most things. I used to have a sigma 17-70 which was a good step up from the kit lens, the 16-85 is better again from all accounts. The other options to look at are 15 and 21ltds, 20-40ltd zoom, or even something like the 12-24. I good versatile zoom is invaluable though.
10-28-2017, 08:33 AM   #4
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Yes, there would be a significant improvement over the 18-55mm. You can check out our review on the homepage or a look at the sharpness. A zoom does give you more flexibility out in the field, but there could be cases where a prime would be preferable. My recommendation would be to pick up the 16-85mm as your everyday zoom, then augment it with whatever primes best fit your shooting style. Obviously this will depend on a lot of factors.

BTW, on APS-C you actually start getting diminishing returns above F11 due to diffraction, so unless you need the added DoF you should avoid those small apertures and you'll observe a further increase in sharpness


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10-28-2017, 09:46 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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The 16-85 is probably the best all around walk around lens for the ASP-C cameras. Mine is almost always on my K3. My DA 35 has better overall border sharpness than the 16-85 but that does not surprise me. Every lens is full of comprises and sacrifices. My 16-85 essentially replaced my DA*16-50. The 16-50 has better center sharpness than the 16-85, but the 16-85 has better border sharpness. The 16-50 only gets used where f2.8 is needed. The 16-85 will out perform all of the 18-55's. However the 16-85 is much larger and heavier with a 72mm filter diameter. I find very little CA with the 16-85 what I do encounter is easily fixed in post. I recently compared my K3 with the 16-85 and my K-1 with the DFA 28-105. It was not too much of a surprise that the K-1 and DFA 28-105 won. I will say though at normal viewing the difference is in discernable. Not until you reach the pixel peeping level does the difference show up. I have used the18-55, DA 50, DA 35, DA*16-50, DA 18-135, DFA 28-105 and the DA 16-85. Overall the 16-85 has become my favorite lens on my K3. I find the best IQ to between f6.3 and f8.

18mm f6.3 on the K3



28mm f11



16mm f5.6

10-30-2017, 04:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
I mostly shoot landscapes and the DA 35mm f2.4 was my first upgrade over the kit lens and I have used it for quite some time. Sharpness and CA were better and generally the lens was very good optically, but it was just not wide enough for me. Sure, it's f2.4, but you don't shoot many landscapes at f2.4. The 16-85 was not available at that time so I went with a 16-45. Based on the reviews, I guess the 16-85 is better. If landscapes are the main target, I would choose the 16-85 over the 35 f2.4 without much thought. Image quality should be very close to the DA 35, you lose f2.4 which is not much use for landscapes anyway and you get the flexibility of a zoom. I would shoot at f/8-f/11 for landscape work.
Many thanks for the reply.

---------- Post added 10-30-17 at 04:34 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
I mostly shoot landscapes and the DA 35mm f2.4 was my first upgrade over the kit lens and I have used it for quite some time. Sharpness and CA were better and generally the lens was very good optically, but it was just not wide enough for me. Sure, it's f2.4, but you don't shoot many landscapes at f2.4. The 16-85 was not available at that time so I went with a 16-45. Based on the reviews, I guess the 16-85 is better. If landscapes are the main target, I would choose the 16-85 over the 35 f2.4 without much thought. Image quality should be very close to the DA 35, you lose f2.4 which is not much use for landscapes anyway and you get the flexibility of a zoom. I would shoot at f/8-f/11 for landscape work.
Many thanks for your feedback.

---------- Post added 10-30-17 at 04:35 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
Hi Robert, Maximum sharpness on digital cameras is usually around f8-f11, smaller apertures are less sharp due to diffraction. The 16-85 is probably the best landscape zoom as 16mm vs 18mm (or even 17mm) is noticeable. It has good CA control (unlike my DA*16-50 which was designed with portraiture in mind) and has enough range to serve as a one lens solution for most things. I used to have a sigma 17-70 which was a good step up from the kit lens, the 16-85 is better again from all accounts. The other options to look at are 15 and 21ltds, 20-40ltd zoom, or even something like the 12-24. I good versatile zoom is invaluable though.
Thanks for the feedback.

---------- Post added 10-30-17 at 04:40 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Yes, there would be a significant improvement over the 18-55mm. You can check out our review on the homepage or a look at the sharpness. A zoom does give you more flexibility out in the field, but there could be cases where a prime would be preferable. My recommendation would be to pick up the 16-85mm as your everyday zoom, then augment it with whatever primes best fit your shooting style. Obviously this will depend on a lot of factors.

BTW, on APS-C you actually start getting diminishing returns above F11 due to diffraction, so unless you need the added DoF you should avoid those small apertures and you'll observe a further increase in sharpness
Thanks for the advice - much appreciated.
10-30-2017, 04:45 AM   #7
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in case it is of importance

according to the in depth review

the 16 - 85 has a maximum aperture of

3.5 from 16 to 20ish

4.0 from 20ish to 30ish

4.5 from 30ish to 60ish

5.6 from 60ish to 85

"Optically, the lens is of the variable aperture type. At 16mm the lens has a F3.5 maximum aperture. This drops gradually as the lens is zoomed toward 85mm, where the maximum aperture will have narrowed to F5.6. This is a typical design for all but the most expensive zoom lenses and helps keep the size and weight in check. You do get a darker viewfinder at the long end and one cannot achieve as shallow adepth of field as with, say, an F2.8 lens.
The maximum available aperture changes with the focal length as shown in the diagram below, which also compares the 18-85mm to other lenses, including the faster Sigma 17-70mm "Contemporary":


Read more at: HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 Review - Construction and Handling | PentaxForums.com Reviews

11-17-2017, 02:14 PM   #8
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Comparing 18-55mm and 16-85mm zoom lenses

Thank you all for your comments on my initial discussion between the SMC DA 18-55mm WR lens and the HD DA 16-85mm ED DC WR lens. The 18-55mm lens has given me some excellent results in the past (including high marks at my good level camera club). Looking at the LW/PH resolution comparisons from independent reviews, the lenses have comparable figures in the f:8/f:11 ranges, at around 30mm focal length. For landscape work, f:14/f:16 is often required for the necessary DOF (bearing in mind the diffraction effects after f:11). For use with the K-3 camera, what percentage increase in resolution do users feel they gain with the 16-85mm lens over the 18-55mm lens when using apertures in the f:8-f:16 range (I fully appreciate the 16-85mm lens has superior border and edge resolution at larger apertures). Bear in mind I shoot in RAW and sharpen as required.
Looking forward to your comments.
11-21-2017, 04:14 PM   #9
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If you can find a nice copy of the Pentax DA 17-70 it is a constant f4 and I have no issues with the SDM motor. It is also nice and wide for landscapes and has a large hood for flare reduction.
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