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12-18-2017, 06:29 PM   #1
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New gear: Pentax 16-85mm, flash diffuser, and circular polarizer

So... it's been a while since I last posted here, but I got some new gear today at B&H.

First and foremost is the Pentax DA 16-85mm lens (and the obligatory B+W clear filter). I purchased this lens to replace my venerable (and failing) DA 18-135mm, which is showing some really bad decentering and has unreliable AF. Unfortunately, there are some issues with AF consistency in low light (which I suspect is a camera body problem) and it took a -8 adjustment to get accurate focusing in good light (tested at both ends of the zoom range). I almost wanted to return the lens, but to be honest, a slow zoom in low light isn't always going to focus accurately. Otherwise, the image quality is head and shoulders above that of the old DA 18-135mm, with far more consistent corner-to-corner sharpness across the zoom range, and the 16mm wide angle is a boon. There's a bit of chromatic aberration at the 16mm end, but it's not severe by any means and is easily corrected for in post.

Second is a flash diffuser, the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible with Speed Mount. I sometimes need to take group photos in my line of work, but direct flash looks really bad and bounce is usually not an option. The difference with the diffuser is striking from the very first image I took with it. Attachment onto my Metz 58 AF-2 flashgun is fast and easy, and it stays very secure. Flash metering remains accurate on my K-3 II, with no major adjustments needed.

Third is a 72mm B+W Käsemann circular polarizer—the new HTC version, in the slim XS-Pro mount. I haven't used a circular polarizer before, but have read about them several times and decided that it was about time to get one. I have not had a chance to try it just yet.

I'd like to see your thoughts, and any tips with the new gear are appreciated.


Edit: I just realized that the hood on my 18-135mm is cracked. This thing has definitely taken a beating, so if there was a time for me to get the 16-85mm, it would be now.

Last edited by bwDraco; 12-18-2017 at 06:54 PM.
12-19-2017, 02:34 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your purchases,show us what the lens can do here:

DA 16-85 WR,show us what it can do. -
12-19-2017, 09:30 AM   #3

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I have a 16-85 also. It is a great lens. It is currently on my K-3II.
12-19-2017, 03:09 PM   #4
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You mention unreliable autofocus on your 18-135. What autofocus issues does it have? The 16-85 uses the same DC autofocus motor as the 18-135, I am not aware of it being problematic. I bought a used 16-85 about 9 months ago and really like mine.

12-19-2017, 05:06 PM   #5
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The AF issues on the 18-135mm are actually due to loose lens elements: if I tilt the lens up or down, the focus will shift, and it may not focus to infinity at certain focal lengths after being tilted down. The AF motor itself is perfectly fine.


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