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09-14-2018, 10:39 PM   #1
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16-50 DA* vs. Sigma 17-70 Contemporary

Hi folks,

First time poster, but I've lurked here for a while.

I was browsing my local mom and pop camera shop and came across a very lightly used 16-50 DA* for a reasonable price (forget the specifics, but in or around $450 CAD). When the owner asked if I was interested, I said that I already had the Sigma 17-70 Contemporary and this felt a bit redundant. She then said that they would be willing to take a trade in to knock that price down.

Just wanting to know anyone who's had both of these lens, and if getting the 16-50 is gonna be worth that extra cash. I also have a hard time parting with stuff, so looking at if I should give up the Sigma at all.

I know of the SDM issues, but moreso interested in the image quality, features, etc.

Thanks!

09-14-2018, 11:52 PM   #2
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With the Pentax lens you get f/2.8 maximum aperture even at 50mm, (although I believe it was tested closer to 47mm FL zoomed all the way by Pop Photo), and you get superior construction including WR. But you also get less FL range. So the main consideration is how much do you need WR, and how often do you need to increase your ISO due to your f/4 limitation? If you have the earlier Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 before it was upgraded to having image stabilization for Nikon and Canon, I read it tested a little better optically than the current version. It is a highly-regarded lens.
09-15-2018, 03:51 AM   #3
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I used the 16-50 a lot with my K5/3 - I've since moved to FF. I know some will say it has too many weaknesses - when assessing the lens from test charts it does seem to be a fact - but in use things are a little different. I found it a tricky lens to start with, but after learning its foibles it became a useful backup lens when I was not using my preferred primes. I was surprised, when I recently checked, that some of my most successful sales came from images made with this lens. Understand it and it's a good lens in actual use...
09-15-2018, 08:06 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
With the Pentax lens you get f/2.8 maximum aperture even at 50mm, (although I believe it was tested closer to 47mm FL zoomed all the way by Pop Photo), and you get superior construction including WR. But you also get less FL range. So the main consideration is how much do you need WR, and how often do you need to increase your ISO due to your f/4 limitation? If you have the earlier Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 before it was upgraded to having image stabilization for Nikon and Canon, I read it tested a little better optically than the current version. It is a highly-regarded lens.
It would be my first WR lens, and while I don't often necessarily need the WR, it would be nice to have something like this for travel/walk around and not constantly worry about bringing a cover (or grocery bag). Heading to the Azores in the spring, and I want something where (if it's misty/rainy) that can get a little wet.

I also have the 15mm and 40mm Limiteds for tripod and street photography, respectively.


QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
I used the 16-50 a lot with my K5/3 - I've since moved to FF. I know some will say it has too many weaknesses - when assessing the lens from test charts it does seem to be a fact - but in use things are a little different. I found it a tricky lens to start with, but after learning its foibles it became a useful backup lens when I was not using my preferred primes. I was surprised, when I recently checked, that some of my most successful sales came from images made with this lens. Understand it and it's a good lens in actual use...
Tricky in which way?

As an aside, one of the other reasons I was thinking the 16-50 might be an upgrade is due to the wacky flare on the Sigma 17-70. Not sure if this is just my copy, or if it's something more, but I often get a very nasty green flare in the centre of the frame. See the attached.

Thanks!

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09-15-2018, 08:26 AM   #5
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I have the earlier Sigma 17-70 the screwdrive version and the 16-50. The 16-50 is a little better in the corners, constant f2.8, slightly better with flare, and WR. You lose 50-70, and the Sigma focuses closer. The SDM will probably fail and you’ve got to be prepared to fix it or convert it.

If I didn’t have money for both, I’d keep the Sigma unless you want to shoot in the rain. Use the money to go somewhere to take photos.

Edit: I never have a green blob in the center on my 17-70. Something may be up with yours. Do you use the hood?

Last edited by Kozlok; 09-15-2018 at 12:03 PM.
09-15-2018, 08:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
I have the earlier Sigma 17-70 the screwdrive version and the 16-50. The 16-50 is a little better in the corners, constant f2.8, slightly better with flare, and WR. You lose 50-70, and the Sigma focuses closer. The SDM will probably fail and you’ve got to be prepared to fix it or convert it.

If I didn’t have money for both, I’d keep the Sigma unless you want to shoot in the rain. Use the money to go somewhere to take photos.

Edit: I never have a green blob in the center on by 17-70. Something may be up with yours. Do you use the hood?
Yep, hood used. Here's another example from Iceland a few years back.
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09-15-2018, 08:55 AM   #7
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Have you tried cleaning the rear element? Use an alcohol lens wipe maybe. Looks like something on one element, if it’s not the rear one send it to Sigma for repair.
09-15-2018, 08:56 AM   #8
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1. It could be caused by your filter. Do you use one? What kind of filter is it? Try taking some with and without it to narrow down the issue.
2. Are all the lens elements clean when you shine a flashlight through it? With high contrast situations like these, a speck of anything can cause a bit of flare.
I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's only really apparent in the second picture you posted, the one with the scaffolding. Try using some ND grads when the sky is so bright, and use your hand to block some light from the sun's direction.



09-15-2018, 10:24 AM   #9
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One the 16-50 main weaknesses is that it is prone to flare. Not as bad as that sigma....
09-15-2018, 12:42 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaront Quote
Not sure if this is just my copy, or if it's something more, but I often get a very nasty green flare in the centre of the frame. See the attached.
I can't weigh in on the 16-50 since I don't have one, but I do have the Sigma 17-70 Contemporary, and I have never had a flare like that with my lens. I have always considered my Sigma pretty good at minimizing flare. As an aside, I bought a Pentax DA16-85 because it is water resistant and now I don't use my Sigma 17-70 much anymore. I would say they have comparable IQ, but I missed too many opportunities while traveling due to rainy weather. So if it were me and the 16-50 was at a good price, it wouldn't hurt to have the WR lens in your bag.
09-15-2018, 12:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaront Quote
Just wanting to know anyone who's had both of these lens, and if getting the 16-50 is gonna be worth that extra cash. I also have a hard time parting with stuff, so looking at if I should give up the Sigma at all.
I don't have the Sigma, but do have the Pentax DA 17-70, which some say is just slightly better than the Sigma variants and some say is just slightly worse. I just HAD to try the 16-50 for supposed better IQ. I certainly like the IQ, but the IQ on the 17-70 was great to begin with. My thought is that you could get the 16-50 if you need constant f 2.8 and/or weather sealing. If you do't need that, Sigma is still good. I also have a hard time parting with great equipment. I promised that I would compare the IQ of my 17-70 and 16-50, consider the benefits of each lens, and then sell one of them. That was over 3 years ago and I still have them both. So you could buy the 16-50 and compare the IQ and features and promise to yourself that you will sell one of the lenses.
09-18-2018, 10:05 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
I don't have the Sigma, but do have the Pentax DA 17-70, which some say is just slightly better than the Sigma variants and some say is just slightly worse. I just HAD to try the 16-50 for supposed better IQ. I certainly like the IQ, but the IQ on the 17-70 was great to begin with. My thought is that you could get the 16-50 if you need constant f 2.8 and/or weather sealing. If you do't need that, Sigma is still good. I also have a hard time parting with great equipment. I promised that I would compare the IQ of my 17-70 and 16-50, consider the benefits of each lens, and then sell one of them. That was over 3 years ago and I still have them both. So you could buy the 16-50 and compare the IQ and features and promise to yourself that you will sell one of the lenses.
I'm thinking this will be what I do. The price is pretty good at this shop, ~$450 CAD for a gently used copy with box, whereas it's about $1300 CAD new and $850 on Kijiji classifieds in my area. Having a WR zoom for travel/walkaround is good for when I inevitably end up in the rain.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Have you tried cleaning the rear element? Use an alcohol lens wipe maybe. Looks like something on one element, if it’s not the rear one send it to Sigma for repair.

Yeah, going to follow up with Sigma on the flare issues on the 17-70. The rear and front elements are clean (this flare also persisted over multiple years and cleanings). Found the box, and as it turns turns out, it has a 7 year warranty. Think I will send it in to get replaced/repaired and then re-evaluate if I want to sell one or the other at that point.

Thanks for everyone's help on this!
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