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07-12-2019, 08:43 PM   #1
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HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm - RMA for Image Movement in Viewfinder?

Hi all,

I've been trying to acquire a clean/working copy of the HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm, with little luck so far. I'm using a K-3 with 1.40 firmware. The first copy seemed great out of the box, just taking a few pictures of the kids and seeing sharp results. However, when I looked at the glass and how things moved inside (limited experience with zoom), I noticed that the front element had a haze or smudge inside, just off the center of the glass and seemingly inside. I didn't attempt to clean it, since my wife confirmed that it didn't appear to be on the surface to her either. I applied for an RMA return and immediately ordered another, as I was now excited to obtain a clean copy. The second lens arrived and before I even attached it to the camera, I tried the zoom and focus rings and noticed the focus ring didn't have any smooth travel when turning to the left. Turning it right was smooth until it reached the friction point indicating the end of the range, although it continues to turn as designed, but any movement to the left was immediately met with that same feeling of friction and a slight gear click feel, with no smoothness in the range. I unboxed the original which hadn't been sent back yet and confirmed this wasn't present on that copy. I applied for a second RMA, but decided to exchange this time rather than get in deeper, owning multiple copies. The third lens arrived, after the original two were sent back and all is good except for the known issue of up/down image movement in the viewfinder. This startled me at first, so I don't believe the other two copies exhibited this behavior, but I can't say for sure as neither spent very long on the camera. Focusing on a polka dot box about the size of a standard Kleenex box, I can steadily reproduce the jumpy image by moving from a dot on the far side of the box, to one closer to me, at 85mm, from about 10 ft away. I don't know if this will be an annoyance, or something I could get used to and whether or not it will impact image results and/or lens durability, going forward. I have searched the forums and found threads dating back to 2015/2016 debating whether this is a feature or fault, but couldn't determine a consensus. I assume over the past few years, the rate of ownership for this lens has increased, so I wanted to revisit the question, is this image movement in the viewfinder a common issue that owners are experiencing and considering a "feature", or is this more commonly considered a defect, worthy of yet another RMA? I've purchased a few lenses over the years, and have always been happy with the first copy received, sometimes requiring just a slight AF adjustment, so this is my first experience with the RMA process. After a third return request, I suspect the the vendor may reply "You gotta go to...someplace else", so I wanted to reach out for some advice from those with more experience, prior to taking any action. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.

For reference, here are the posts I am referring to:
Question for DA 16-85 owners - PentaxForums.com
experiences with 16-85mm - Page 2 - PentaxForums.com

Thanks.

07-12-2019, 11:12 PM   #2
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This is not a problem/feature Iíve experienced with my copy.
Your options as I would see it are:
1)Use the lens for a while (within the return period) to see if you can live with it and are happy it doesnít affect image quality
2)Try a fourth copy and trust you have just been (extremely) unlucky so far
3) Give up,return the lens and and try a different lens altogether in a similar zoom range (18-135?,longer but not as wide,IQ not quite as good in my opinion having owned both)
Good luck!
07-12-2019, 11:38 PM   #3
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My 16-85 has a similar movement when changing the direction of focus at longer focal lengths, visible in live view at 10x magnification. It hasn't been a problem for over two years since I've owned the lens. I've had two other, differnt models, new lenses arrive with an internal smudge and a rough focusing ring, respectively, and exchanging was the right answer indeed, the replacements have been flawless.
07-13-2019, 02:16 AM   #4
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I went through two brand new copies of this lens. The first suffered from image movement issue during focusing - badly enough that I couldn't live with it, so I returned it for replacement. The second one was much better in that regard (though still suffered from it a little), but it was optically de-centered - again, to a significant extent. Reluctantly, I returned that one too and ordered a Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 HSM, which I've been very happy with indeed. Sure, it doesn't have the same focal length range, and it's not weather resistant - but it's optically excellent, even wide open, and having that fast f/2.8 aperture at all focal lengths is extremely useful.


Last edited by BigMackCam; 07-13-2019 at 03:28 AM.
07-13-2019, 01:14 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jkellehe129 Quote
Hi all,

I've been trying to acquire a clean/working copy of the HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm, with little luck so far. I'm using a K-3 with 1.40 firmware. The first copy seemed great out of the box, just taking a few pictures of the kids and seeing sharp results. However, when I looked at the glass and how things moved inside (limited experience with zoom), I noticed that the front element had a haze or smudge inside, just off the center of the glass and seemingly inside. I didn't attempt to clean it, since my wife confirmed that it didn't appear to be on the surface to her either. I applied for an RMA return and immediately ordered another, as I was now excited to obtain a clean copy. The second lens arrived and before I even attached it to the camera, I tried the zoom and focus rings and noticed the focus ring didn't have any smooth travel when turning to the left. Turning it right was smooth until it reached the friction point indicating the end of the range, although it continues to turn as designed, but any movement to the left was immediately met with that same feeling of friction and a slight gear click feel, with no smoothness in the range. I unboxed the original which hadn't been sent back yet and confirmed this wasn't present on that copy. I applied for a second RMA, but decided to exchange this time rather than get in deeper, owning multiple copies. The third lens arrived, after the original two were sent back and all is good except for the known issue of up/down image movement in the viewfinder. This startled me at first, so I don't believe the other two copies exhibited this behavior, but I can't say for sure as neither spent very long on the camera. Focusing on a polka dot box about the size of a standard Kleenex box, I can steadily reproduce the jumpy image by moving from a dot on the far side of the box, to one closer to me, at 85mm, from about 10 ft away. I don't know if this will be an annoyance, or something I could get used to and whether or not it will impact image results and/or lens durability, going forward. I have searched the forums and found threads dating back to 2015/2016 debating whether this is a feature or fault, but couldn't determine a consensus. I assume over the past few years, the rate of ownership for this lens has increased, so I wanted to revisit the question, is this image movement in the viewfinder a common issue that owners are experiencing and considering a "feature", or is this more commonly considered a defect, worthy of yet another RMA? I've purchased a few lenses over the years, and have always been happy with the first copy received, sometimes requiring just a slight AF adjustment, so this is my first experience with the RMA process. After a third return request, I suspect the the vendor may reply "You gotta go to...someplace else", so I wanted to reach out for some advice from those with more experience, prior to taking any action. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.

For reference, here are the posts I am referring to:
Question for DA 16-85 owners - PentaxForums.com
experiences with 16-85mm - Page 2 - PentaxForums.com

Thanks.
I've owned five new copies of this this lens; every one had the identical problem you describe, but it was just annoying to me, not a fatal problem, I just kept returning them until I ran out of stores that would keep accepting returns and I found one that had relativey little decentering. It's really a good-performing lens - but yes it would be much better if you could find one that wasn't defective. Good luck with that.
07-15-2019, 09:07 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your valuable feedback. timb64, thanks for confirming that copies do exist without this behavior. Unfortunately, of the 10 copies discussed in this thread, 9 of them do show movement, so it seems this may be a difficult feature to avoid.

Since posting, I have downloaded a Zeiss Star Chart and confirmed that decentering is not an issue with this copy. It is certainly quite sharp. I purchased my K-3 without a kit lens and mostly use the FA 50mm 1.4 prime, but have found myself in situations where zooming with my feet was not an option, so the sharpness reported in the reviews for the 16-85mm, was the main attraction for me. Paired with my K-3, this copy seems to calibrate at +1. However, while attempting to calibrate the AF, the image movement is very evident and to some extent seems to invalidate the process. With the camera fixed on a tripod and controlled by remote, even without changing the AF setting or quick-shifting out of focus, a series of images shows movement both up/down and sometimes left. This can be confirmed in Faststone Image Viewer using the image compare tool with overlay. In some cases, one image to the next will shift from being centered on 0 of the calibration tool to .5 on the front focus scale. The left movement was not as drastic. I suppose DOF at 5.6 won't be as much of a concern as compared to the 50/1.4, but the idea of focusing on an eye and ending up on a cheek is concerning to me.

After reading aaacb's and tibbitts' posts, I had hoped I could convince myself to learn to live with the "feature" and keep the lens, but I do find the quirk to be rather annoying. While using the lens yesterday to photograph the kids playing in the yard, I found myself starting over anytime I half pressed the shutter and saw movement in the viewfinder. Obviously resulting in a good amount of missed shots. My "keeper" ratio isn't great to begin with, so adding another hurdle certainly won't help. The same voice in my head that tells me to park at the far end of parking lots is nagging me to RMA the lens and move on. If I feel lucky one day, maybe I'll try ordering from a different vendor to see if anything changes, but based on tibbitts' experience, that will most likely prove futile.

Thanks again for taking the time to post. I really appreciate the feedback.
07-16-2019, 01:20 AM   #7
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My copy also has the image movement issue but it's not a problem per se. I wonder if it's related to the occasional AF mis-focuses I get with this lens but I don't believe I've any way of testing that.

The image movement is not very disturbing and the lens still does what I need it to do (provide better IQ than the 18-55mm in less than ideal conditions) so I'm keeping it. Having read of so many problems with this lens though, including the loose screw problem, I have to admit that I treat the lens with great care, more than I feel I should have to for a lens at this price.
07-22-2019, 06:31 PM   #8
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I returned 2 copies of this lens a few years back because of this issue. Both were optically perfect otherwise.

When I got a third copy that did the same thing, I assumed it was just normal. The image quality was so good that I didn't bother to return it this time and have been using ever since. It's my favorite walk-around lens and I love it, I even sold my 16-50 DA*.

It's definitely off-putting when the image shifts, but hasn't effected focusing or IQ so I just got used to the quirk.

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