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01-23-2018, 08:03 PM - 2 Likes   #16
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Opinions on Alternatives

I haven't owned either of the lenses that you are asking about but I have owned some of the lenses that are being suggested here as alternatives. Here's my two cents worth:
  • I own the DA18-135 and consider it only good for two things, one is checking out a shot for zoom length and then switching to a prime lens. The other is for backpacking (it's small and light with a long zoom range) or travel to sketchy places where you don't want to risk the loss of your great lenses to theft or shipping damage. I would also add travelling with a group where you can't really take the time to do photography so you are just taking pictures for showing others where you've been. I think most of us have experienced this. Why carry a big kit when you can't take advantage of it.
  • I used to own the DA 17-70. Mine was from 2008 and it suffered from two SDM failures and I sold it on this site (with full disclosure) after the second repair. What I can say is similar to an above comment in that the zoom range is perfect. Often I want something just over 50mm and the extra zoom length to 70 was ideal. Also going as wide as 17 is handy without the lens pretending to be a true wide angle lens such as my DA15. I firmly believe that the wider and longer your zoom range the more you will compromise. Case in point, look at the quality of the DA 20-40 over longer or wider zooms. A DA18-135 has a lot of zoom length and it shows. It's harder to build zooms to the wide end so the 16-85 is too me, too much of a compromise. I know that many here will disagree and perhaps they are right given the high price of that lens vis--vis similar lengths. I can't back this up with numbers so take it for what it is, which is just my opinion. Also I think that if I had a 16-85 I could easily become lazy as it covers my typical shooting range. Would I still use my DA15? Would I bother to switch to my FDA -100? Probably not. If you find a reliable 17-70, Pentax or Sigma, you will love the zoom length. As you have said, why go to 16mm when you have the awesome DA-15. I've been bitten by the SDM trouble on my DA 17-70 so personally I'll never buy another one but many people say that the new ones are improved.
  • I now have a DA* 50-135 and I anticipate enjoying it immensely. It is heavy though so it will not find a place in my backpack on hikes up mountain trails. That's when I'll bring the 18-135 or maybe the FDA100. Interestingly, many people I've spoken too used it almost exclusively for weddings. I've been more than pleased with the results so far, but I've just started using it so I can't say much yet.


01-25-2018, 07:23 AM   #17
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Hello,

Thank you very much for all of your advice. It seems both lenses have their fans, and although the number of vote for the 16-85 is slightly bigger, the 16-50 is the one I already have and to switch to the 16-85 would cost me some money, so I'll guess I will try to spend more time with it to see if it fits and then decide.

When talking about portrait or wedding, those are mostly my family and friends, nothing professional. But yes quite a number of my shots are a portrait. So the last question is, any of you know how a portrait with 16-50 @50mm 2.8 compared with 16-85 @85mm 5.6?
01-25-2018, 07:44 AM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Hello,

Thank you very much for all of your advice. It seems both lenses have their fans, and although the number of vote for the 16-85 is slightly bigger, the 16-50 is the one I already have and to switch to the 16-85 would cost me some money, so I'll guess I will try to spend more time with it to see if it fits and then decide.

When talking about portrait or wedding, those are mostly my family and friends, nothing professional. But yes quite a number of my shots are a portrait. So the last question is, any of you know how a portrait with 16-50 @50mm 2.8 compared with 16-85 @85mm 5.6?
Not sure I would trust my 16-85mm at, say, an outdoors wedding at dusk. But for landscape use including hiking, I would take the 16-85 over the 16-50 every time. Even if it's the same image quality the 16-85 is more versatile and not a whole lot heavier/harder to pack.

I don't have the Pentax 16-50 but the 16-85 leaves my Sigma 17-50--which rates in reviews equivalently or better--in the dust with landscapes. Maybe I have a good copy of one and a bad copy of the other, but the difference between my 2 is easily visible.
01-25-2018, 10:07 AM - 1 Like   #19
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If I had the 16-85 I would happily post some portrait examples for you. This is from the 18-135 @78mm - and admittedly the background here has been rendered so that the OOF blur is not really an issue. This type of portrait would not care a bit about f/6.3 vs. f/2.8 - in fact the f/2.8 might not be sharp enough.



I own the DA* 16-50 but can't find a portrait I have ever taken with it. I haven't owned it as long as some of my lenses however and I tend (even on APSC) to shoot longer focal lengths on portraits more often than not. But for comparison here is a DA 40 shot with a busy background shot wide open at f/2.8:



01-25-2018, 10:18 AM - 1 Like   #20
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Reading through the first post again, I wonder if the Sigma 24-60 (out of production) or Tamron 28-75 (currently available new) f2.8 zooms might make more sense. The Tamron seems quite good on crop and okay on full frame from images and comments I've seen. The Sigma appears to be really affordable and that 24mm wide end focal length might be an advantage vs. the 28 of the Tamron.

I continue to be surprised by some of the disparaging comments regarding the 18-135 but it's not new to this thread specifically.
01-25-2018, 03:59 PM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Reading through the first post again, I wonder if the Sigma 24-60 (out of production) or Tamron 28-75 (currently available new) f2.8 zooms might make more sense. The Tamron seems quite good on crop and okay on full frame from images and comments I've seen. The Sigma appears to be really affordable and that 24mm wide end focal length might be an advantage vs. the 28 of the Tamron.

I continue to be surprised by some of the disparaging comments regarding the 18-135 but it's not new to this thread specifically.
If my comments were viewed as disparaging to the 18-135 that was not my intent. Generally you get what you pay for (the Pentax 50-300 is the one exception as it seems to give much more than the cost suggests). The 18-135 is priced well above the kit lens and it is, by most accounts, significantly better than lenses such as the 50-200. The 16-85 and the DA*50-135 cost significantly more than the 18-135 and one should expect them to perform better. If the 18-135 produced unacceptable images I wouldn't use it. For hiking it is my go to lens because weight matters a lot, especially when hiking up mountains. The 18-135 is perfect for that situation and it gives me a lens that can get reasonably close to wildlife at 135mm and give me the landscape images I seek at -18mm. However when weight is not such a factor, and when I have alternative prime lenses or high end lenses such as the DA*50-135 the 18-135 doesn't perform at the same level. If a lens that costs half of what the 50-135 costs could perform at the same levels it would mean that Pentax has some very poor cost accountants and it would mean that everyone should own the lower priced lens. That's just common sense. The 18-135 is better than a kit lens, but not as good as the primes or high end zooms, and that is just common sense too. Even if cost was not a factor, the fact that the 18-135 is trying to do more with such a long zoom range compared to say the 16-50 or 50-135 means that something else has to be compromised. It effectively has the range of both of those lenses minus one millimetre at the wide end. I think that you get exactly what you pay for in the case of the 18-135 and so, when cost is part of the equation, it performs as it should.
01-28-2018, 10:23 PM - 2 Likes   #22
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The 16-85 is a phenomenal lens. Stays firmly planted on my K3 II most of the time. Such a versatile walk around lens. Also spends a fair amount of time on my KP. It is my most used lens. Followed by the awesome 20-40 Limited.

Is it worth trading a DA * for what I consider to be the best non DA * or non DA Limited lens? Absolutely! If it werent for the variable aperture it would be a * lens. Optically it is that good! If I only can bring one lens... Many time my weapon of choice is the 16-85. Sharp, flexible and an extremely nice walk around. It has delivered time and time again.
01-30-2018, 02:45 AM - 1 Like   #23
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Hello again,

Thank you so much for the help, and great example photos. However, my problem has not been solved now I think I'll keep my 16-50, it has a lot of potential, but I also wish to have the 16-85 at some points in the future. Maybe when I have a bit of cash I will purchase it, and see which one I prefer, at the moment it doesn't seem right to do the direct trade :-)

01-30-2018, 11:27 AM - 1 Like   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Hello again,

Thank you so much for the help, and great example photos. However, my problem has not been solved now I think I'll keep my 16-50, it has a lot of potential, but I also wish to have the 16-85 at some points in the future. Maybe when I have a bit of cash I will purchase it, and see which one I prefer, at the moment it doesn't seem right to do the direct trade :-)
Lol. We talked you into buying both? How unsurprising. We are all just lens junkies.
01-30-2018, 11:56 AM   #25
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Yeah you need both lenses!
The 16-50 excels at portraits while the 16-85 excels at landscapes!
01-30-2018, 07:30 PM - 1 Like   #26
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Evidence that LBA is contagious?

01-31-2018, 05:37 AM   #27
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Yes, I can probablyn say I was infected (the LBA) from asking the question hehe, but it also makes a lot of sense. This is the same as last year when I asked whether to buy the DA 35mm or DA 40mm Ltd, I bought both, then sold the 35 because the difference was not big enough, not a single cent loss, that's why I think I will do the same with the 16-50 and 16-85. Of course the initial cost to have both zooms is much bigger, so it's pending for the moment ;-)
01-31-2018, 08:04 AM   #28
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If you're serious about your photography, the "either - or" idea doesn't work. There are shots where having the f/2.8 is an absolute necessity. Having a walk around zoom with a greater range is also a big advantage. I use a Sigma 17-70C f/2.8-4 as my walk around and my DA50/1.8 when I need/want shallower DOF. I really love the extended range the 17-70 gives me and it's on my camera most of the time. The 16-85 wasn't available when I bought the Sigma but if I was shopping today, it would be high on my list of lenses to consider. For me, if I already owned the 16-50, I would keep it and add the 16-85.
02-01-2018, 11:14 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Lol. We talked you into buying both? How unsurprising. We are all just lens junkies.
Yup, exactly.
02-02-2018, 01:00 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Reading through the first post again, I wonder if the Sigma 24-60 (out of production) or Tamron 28-75 (currently available new) f2.8 zooms might make more sense. The Tamron seems quite good on crop and okay on full frame from images and comments I've seen. The Sigma appears to be really affordable and that 24mm wide end focal length might be an advantage vs. the 28 of the Tamron.

I continue to be surprised by some of the disparaging comments regarding the 18-135 but it's not new to this thread specifically.
Actually I had the 18-135 before, and I liked it. It does the job very well as a travel and event zoom. I sold it after acquiring the 20-40 and 70, because it didn't get much use, and also to recoup part of the investment, but I started to miss it sometimes in occasions when I still prefer an all-around-zoom, hence the quest for another. However, since I'm starting from the beginning again, knowing that the 18-135 is not that great after 70mm, I'm thinking about getter a better lens from 18-70 which I use most.

Last edited by Bui; 02-05-2018 at 03:28 AM.
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