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04-25-2021, 11:49 AM   #1
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Best lens for landscapes: 16-85 or 20-40 Limited?

I have narrowed down my list to these 2 lenses for my next purchase. Looking to fill a gap in my lineup for landscape photos.

It appears I can basically purchase either lens for about the same price.

I'm leaning towards the limited, as I think it will provide sharper images. But obviously less reach...

Your thoughts???

04-25-2021, 12:09 PM   #2
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The Limited is a really nice lens. But I would not even think twice about it and get the 16-85. I won't argue with anyone over which is sharper, I think sample variation would have enough impact so that both lenses have their fans. But 20-40 versus 16-85 is no contest as far as I'm concerned. Get the 16-85.
04-25-2021, 12:26 PM   #3
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You should tell us the camera you use, and the lenses you already got.

Without other information, I agree with the previous poster. Get a 16-85. 16 vs 20mm makes a difference in field of view that is invaluable for the stated landscape usage.

The 16-85 is the last lens I bought and I use it almost exclusively now. It is -that- good, and versatile.
04-25-2021, 12:28 PM   #4
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Now, I don't have either, but have heard they are both excellent lenses. Personally I'd lean towards the 16-85 for landscapes, giving you more versatility for wider shots and narrower shots. Also, if you're shooting stopped down at f/8 or f/11 for landscapes I doubt you could tell if one lens gave a sharper result than the other there...

04-25-2021, 12:30 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Two highly respected lenses there. If it were me, I'd choose the 16-85 as an upgrade from my Sigma 17-70. Not particularly fast, but for landscapes you generally stop down anyway, right? The 20-40 is faster, and seems to have a decided edge in bokeh judging by the reviews here on PF, if that's important to you. Judging bokeh is very subjective though. A 'landscape' could be a low angle shot of a seashell in the foreground and out-of-focus sand and surf in the background.


The 20-40 is considerably lighter than the 16-85, but you may have to do more 'zooming with your feet' to get the perspective you want, which isn't always possible. I don't own either lens, but I suspect the limited lens might have the edge in IQ. Actual owners will have to weigh in.
04-25-2021, 12:39 PM   #6
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16-85 is covering a wider range. If you do landscape, most likely you hike around. That would be an advantage not to carry to much weight.
04-25-2021, 12:55 PM   #7
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What do you mean by landscapes?
If wide is your priority then you may prefer the ability to get to 16mm. 20-40mm is far more versatile than it sounds though so it may come down to what other types of photography you will use the lens for and also what other lenses and filters you already have or will combine it with.
Both lenses are good and recommended by forum members; look at the images that have been posted online and see which rendering is to your taste.
Any chance of renting/borrowing the lenses?

04-25-2021, 01:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by 87Duckfan Quote
I have narrowed down my list to these 2 lenses for my next purchase. Looking to fill a gap in my lineup for landscape photos.

It appears I can basically purchase either lens for about the same price.

I'm leaning towards the limited, as I think it will provide sharper images. But obviously less reach...

Your thoughts???
If you want the lens for your K10D then there is another alternative: the 18-135. It gives great results with the K10D. On this forum there is a review of the 16-85 and the reviewer made also a remark concerning the choice between the 16-85 and the 18-135 " https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/hd-pentax-da-16-85mm-f35-56/general-image-quality.html ". I have both the 20-40 and 16-85. All three of them are very good lenses, but I like the 18-135 better on the K10D.

Last edited by AfterPentax Mark II; 04-25-2021 at 02:35 PM.
04-25-2021, 01:30 PM   #9
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I use the 16-85 with my Pentax K-3 II and they are excellent performers.
04-25-2021, 01:52 PM - 3 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by W412ren Quote
What do you mean by landscapes?
Good point. I think I have as many 'landscape' keepers shot with the DA*60-250 as I have with any other lens. "Landscape" can mean a lot of things. In the western US sometimes it takes a 300mm to get a good landscape shot.
04-25-2021, 01:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by 87Duckfan Quote
I have narrowed down my list to these 2 lenses for my next purchase. Looking to fill a gap in my lineup for landscape photos.

It appears I can basically purchase either lens for about the same price.

I'm leaning towards the limited, as I think it will provide sharper images. But obviously less reach...

Your thoughts???
I have the 16-85, but not the 20-40, which I guess reveals my preference. However, when people ask for a one-lens solution for hiking or street/travel, I recommend the 18-135 for the added reach at the long end, and because it is more compact.

If I were carrying the 55-300 as well, I'd probably take the 16-85 for the extra 2 mm at the wide end and the slightly better CA performance at the edges. But really, the 18-135 is a very good lens.
04-25-2021, 02:03 PM   #12
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I was torn with the same decision a few years ago when I wanted to upgrade from my Sigma 17-70 with a weatherproof lens. I decided to go with the 16-85 and have absolutely no regrets. I have not used the 20-40, but after using the 16-85 for a few years, I can't imagine not having the range it provides. I always carry a couple of of fast primes or macros with me anyway, so I don't find the speed of the 16-85 a problem.
04-25-2021, 02:08 PM   #13
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Don't have the 16-85 so can't comment on image quality. Do have the 20-40, it's very good. It really depends what you value. The 20-40 is relatively small and light, has a nice tactile feel and looks good. It's a lens you wouldn't notice carrying around on the neck strap or in the hand all day. I have had the 18-135 which felt ungainly to me and the 16-85 is bigger and heavier. These are personal things though, big, heavy, good looks, bad looks, function, range, aperture etc.. Like I say, depends what you value.
04-25-2021, 02:26 PM   #14
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I think both are quite good and have their strengths. I usually grab the 20-40 first because it is light and compact. I agree with the other posters that the ability to get to 16mm is extremely valuable in a landscape lens, and would probably make the 16-85 worth its size and weight.
04-25-2021, 03:04 PM - 1 Like   #15
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My impulse tells me to go for the larger range, but then the size and rendering of the 20-40... and not to mention that the 20-40 range keeps you more focused.
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