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08-09-2018, 11:50 PM   #1
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Help me choose Pentax 16-85 vs Sigma 18-35


Please help me choose (Preferably someone who has experience with both lenses).

Points I know:

Yes - I know it depends on my needs.

Sigma is brighter (f1.8) and Pentax is short telephoto zoom (more versatile)

I should go to local store (I live in a remote area) not everyone stocks these lenses

So if any of the forum members already had this dilemma and solved it, please pitch in.

Before I throw my money away ;-)

Thank you for your time.


Last edited by Deedee; 08-09-2018 at 11:51 PM. Reason: minor
08-09-2018, 11:53 PM   #2
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Quite an interesting choice. Two completely different lenses with different purposes, strengths, and optical characteristics. Do you want a walkaround lens or a wide artistic lens?

I've used both, but it's hard to make a recommendation without knowing how you'd plan to use the lens. They are both good in their own ways.

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08-09-2018, 11:58 PM   #3
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Adam :-)

Make a recommendation anyway ;-)

I would say recommend for picture quality and overall sharpness.

08-10-2018, 12:04 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Hi Deedee, the Sigma 18-35 1.8 in-depth review here on the forums is very good/thorough and worth reading IMO. Good luck with your choice.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM "Art" Review - Introduction | Reviews

08-10-2018, 12:35 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I have never used the 16-85, but it is well-loved by many on the forum. I picked up the 18-35 in good condition second hand for my K3ii. I had to get the sigma USB dock and spend a week tweaking the calibration to make it focus reliably. Now I love it. Fast, sharp, silent autofocus, didn't mind being dropped in the park. Excellent for landscapes (sharp corner to corner) and for shooting indoors with available light. Not so versatile though, often I need more reach. I tend to carry the 70 Limited as well as a 2 lens kit. So if you don't want to switch lenses and you'll be mostly outdoors, or you want it to work straight out of the box, then get the 16-85, if you want to be able to see in the dark and don't mind less reach get the Sigma.
08-10-2018, 12:59 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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Hi Deedee. Reading the review above, it looks like unless you absolutely need the f1.8 max aperture, arm/shoulder exercise and the use of Live View rather than the viewfinder, the choice would be the 20-40 Limited! But then I am biased, as you can see in my signature.
08-10-2018, 02:09 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Sorry I've no experience of the Sigma,but I've been very happy with my 16-85.It depends what's more important to you the extra reach at each end of the Pentax or the faster glass of the Sigma.

This may help

16mm over 18mm is an appreciable difference but if 18mm is wide enough for you,it also might be worth considering the cheaper 18-135 which gives you a bit more reach at the long end although the overall image quality is generally accepted as not being as good.
08-10-2018, 02:29 AM - 1 Like   #8
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The Sigma should be viewed as a prime replacement. The Pentax is a versatile zoom. The sigma's range is limited because it is F1.8 but you will be hard pressed to find brighter primes in that range. If you want a lens you can use in most situations, get the Pentax. If you are interested in low light and creative shooting at wide apertures get the Sigma.

08-10-2018, 04:29 AM - 3 Likes   #9
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I will not review all the wide-to-normal zooms I've had on my K3, but after using the 16~85mm for just a short time, my LBA was cured for that type of zoom. Hard to believe there's a better basic zoom available.
08-10-2018, 05:33 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I was making that same decision 2 years ago.
I ended up with 16-85mm because: more reliable autofocus, size and 16 vs 18mm.
If you do hiking and outdoors stuff get 16-85mm if not sigma might be a good choice.
08-10-2018, 07:46 AM - 1 Like   #11

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What other lenses do you have, and what subjects do you like to photograph?

*I* would get the 16-85. It's a more versatile zoom range and doesn't weigh much when hiking for landscape photography.

The Sigma 18-35 is not a good lens for *me*. f1.8 is good for the Milky Way, but 18mm isn't quite wide enough for that on APS-C.
08-10-2018, 08:30 AM - 1 Like   #12
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The Sigma seems like a lens you get when you absolutely know you need f/1.8 in a zoom. Otherwise it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense given its history of AF issues and it's weight 800g+.

Personally I would look at a 17-50 f/2.8 zoom first. Then perhaps the brilliant DA 20-40 as a compact normal walk-around zoom with prime-like image quality. If you need more focal range in a walk-around then the 16-85.
08-10-2018, 08:48 AM - 1 Like   #13
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This is a hopeless choice Whatever you get, you won't get some of what the other has to offer. The question sin't really , what do you want, it's what can you live without.

Can you live without ƒ1.8?
Can you live without 35-85 mm in a walk around? I know I couldn't.
DO you do a lot of shooting in the 18-35 range.

Personally, I have 3,000 keeper on my hard drive and 300 of them are taken between 18 and 40mm. That's 10% of my images. Most of them are landscapes taken at ƒ5.6 on or ƒ8 an FF.

I can't make any case for a Sigma 18-35 1.8, forget about one not getting another lens because of it.
So tell us, what is it you think you need this lens for?
It's hard to compare a lens with such limited use with an every day type walk around for many of us. The Sigma 18-35 is so specialized, very few have purchased it. Those are the guys you need to compare notes with.

Looking at my own photos, I don't even understand why anyone would buy such a lens. My FA 50 1.8 is probably my least used lens. Maybe look at your use of 1.8 glass see how much of it is used at ƒ1.8 to see if it's even something you'd use. No one in their right mind is going to recommend you get a specialty lens you probably won't use much over a walk around lens that you are likely to use every time you go out, unless you have specific needs or really want to explore ƒ1.8 shooting, and that's all about you, no one else has valid opinion.

SO my advice would be go with the 16-85 unless you have a specific purpose in mind for the 18-35. Lenses like the 18-35 can give you a unique perspective, but it's only meaningful if it's perspective you enjoy.

Last edited by normhead; 08-10-2018 at 08:58 AM.
08-10-2018, 08:48 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Sigma 18-35 would be my recommendation. You can get a lot of cheap glass in the 50-100 range, but the 18-35 at 1.8 is great for low light, astrophotography. The lens is very sharp, great bokeh, can't go wrong with it. If you definitely shoot a lot of landscape or night/street photography, don't even think twice about the sigma. disclaimer, I don't own either of them, sorry!
08-10-2018, 08:51 AM - 1 Like   #15

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I have the 16-85 and it is an excellent lens. It is weather resistant, which is valuable. It would also give you a wider shooting area, which I think you would realize later how much that can make a difference. It is really a great and dependable performer.

On the other hand if you do not need weather resistance, plan on using wider apertures and do not need the range of the 16-85, the Sigma may be what you would want. For me, I would most likely be using a flash or flashes if I needed light, especially if I needed fill light, or if I had to stop down my aperture to cover a group or something wide/deep, so that is where the 16-85 would be useful.

Last edited by C_Jones; 08-10-2018 at 09:07 AM.

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