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View Poll Results: Is this DA*16-50mm good or bad?
Keep it -- it's good. 2388.46%
Return it or send it in for repair. 311.54%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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01-03-2008, 06:21 PM   #196
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Massive Disappointment with DA* 16-50mm

Ever since I learned of the development of the DA* lens series I was very excited about the prospect of owning one. Then I saw just too many negative threads and examples of problems with this lens. There was talk of QC problems in the Vietnam factory that makes this lens. So I decided to wait a few months for some of the kinks to be worked out. Recently, I have read more positive reports on this lens than negative so I figured it was time to pull the trigger. I bought my non-gray market, brand new, USA warranty DA*16-50mm lens from a major, very reputable online retailer. The lens arrived today and with hopefulness I immediately put it to a newspaper test against my kit lens (DA 18-55mm). This was using a K10D, SLIK PRO 700 DX tripod (rated for 15lbs) with SR off and 2 second delay with mirror up. I tried to compare apples with apples by using matching focal lengths and apertures (e.g. 18mm at f/3.5, 31mm at f/4, etc). Tripod, camera and newspaper positions as well as lighting were identical in making the comparison. Images were opened in Lightroom 1.3 and compared side by side. The bottom line: The * lens had terrible sharpness on the left side of all images, being most pronounced at 31mm! The kit lens demonstrated good sharpness that was consistent across the newspaper. I could not discern any difference in sharpness between the left and right edges with the kit lens. I include the 31mm f/4 images from both lenses (these were converted from PEF to about 4MB JPEG files, so the findings are not nearly as obvious as with the RAW images):

Kit lens at 31mm f/4:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2223/2164069842_c9cff5b1e0_b.jpg

DA* 16-50mm at 31mm f/4:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2087/2164053600_cf05e485dc_b.jpg

Immediately upon reviewing the results in Lightroom on my monitor, I contacted Pentax Customer Support. They told me they were unaware of any QC issues with this lens or with their Vietnam factory. I have FedExed the lens to Pentax USA at my expense in Westminster, CO where they will repair or replace the lens as they see fit. I am hopeful that Pentax will resolve this matter favorably for me.

01-03-2008, 06:44 PM   #197
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Uhhh... wow. The pictures tell a sad story, I can understand your disappointment. My experience with Pentax quality over the last 15 years I've been using their gear has been faultless, but that 16-50 you bought seems to have escaped the net.
01-03-2008, 07:13 PM   #198
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Yeah, pretty obvious there Tbear.
You've got a dud - but be thankful you at least have that warranty.
The 18-55 is also a Vietnam make, but I've not heard the same issues from people - or is it that people have lower expectations of the kit lens?

In any case, don't be disheartened - you paid for a top quality lens, and that's what you should get.
Let us know how it goes.
01-03-2008, 07:28 PM   #199
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Huh?

"They told me they were unaware of any QC issues with this lens or with their Vietnam factory"

What complete cr*p!

From all the posts I've read about this particular lens, they must have had a record number of these lenses returned to them.

They should refund your shipping charges, give you a new lens - and an apology.

Be thankful you don't have to deal with Pentax Canada - still waiting for an answer to my email from a month ago.

01-03-2008, 07:57 PM   #200
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I have had 3 copies of this lens & I am waiting for the 4th to arrive next week. So far all them have been unacceptable & it's not just lack of sharpness. The lens has an awful tendency to mis-focus at the wide end. So far all 3 I have tested had a SN that started with "9", there are some posts indicating that the 2nd batch is better & the SN starts with "2".
So I am waiting & hoping for a "2" to arrive next week ;-)
If this one is a dud I will just get a Sigma 18-50 & be done with it
I called Pentax & spoke to their "Support" they suggested I ship them the lens & my K10D so they could analyze the problem. Needless to say that's not gonna happen.
01-03-2008, 08:11 PM   #201
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I had heard about the problems in the beginning, but like you I thought that they were corrected.

I see that I may have been wrong.

I hope that they send you out a good copy next time.
01-03-2008, 08:13 PM   #202
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I've heard bad stuff about this lens. The DA* 50-135mm is amazing, but this one has been having issues.
01-03-2008, 08:45 PM   #203
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tbear Quote
Ever since I learned of the development of the DA* lens series I was very excited about the prospect of owning one. Then I saw just too many negative threads and examples of problems with this lens. There was talk of QC problems in the Vietnam factory that makes this lens. So I decided to wait a few months for some of the kinks to be worked out. Recently, I have read more positive reports on this lens than negative so I figured it was time to pull the trigger. I bought my non-gray market, brand new, USA warranty DA*16-50mm lens from a major, very reputable online retailer. The lens arrived today and with hopefulness I immediately put it to a newspaper test against my kit lens (DA 18-55mm). This was using a K10D, SLIK PRO 700 DX tripod (rated for 15lbs) with SR off and 2 second delay with mirror up. I tried to compare apples with apples by using matching focal lengths and apertures (e.g. 18mm at f/3.5, 31mm at f/4, etc). Tripod, camera and newspaper positions as well as lighting were identical in making the comparison. Images were opened in Lightroom 1.3 and compared side by side. The bottom line: The * lens had terrible sharpness on the left side of all images, being most pronounced at 31mm! The kit lens demonstrated good sharpness that was consistent across the newspaper. I could not discern any difference in sharpness between the left and right edges with the kit lens. I include the 31mm f/4 images from both lenses (these were converted from PEF to about 4MB JPEG files, so the findings are not nearly as obvious as with the RAW images):

Kit lens at 31mm f/4:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2223/2164069842_c9cff5b1e0_b.jpg

DA* 16-50mm at 31mm f/4:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2087/2164053600_cf05e485dc_b.jpg

Immediately upon reviewing the results in Lightroom on my monitor, I contacted Pentax Customer Support. They told me they were unaware of any QC issues with this lens or with their Vietnam factory. I have FedExed the lens to Pentax USA at my expense in Westminster, CO where they will repair or replace the lens as they see fit. I am hopeful that Pentax will resolve this matter favorably for me.
TBear,

Rest assured..... Pentax WILL fix or replace the lens for you. They clearly are aware that there were defective batches early on and that some of these may still be circulating. I had one of the first DA*16-50's on the market and it showed chronic decentering especially at the wider end.

Pentax clearly agreed and sent a new custom calibrated lens to me at their expense.

Pentax customer support is not bad. In the end you will get the lens you were hoping for from them. It will still be a little weak on the wider 16mm end, but it shines mightily from 20mm on. Color and contrast are truly superb. I still use the lens at 16mm, but would select the DA12-24 for my wider shots.... where I personally think it excels.

Keep your chin up and breath deep. You made the right choice, just got a bad copy.
The new one should work out well.

Stephen

01-03-2008, 09:57 PM   #204
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Tbear I hope you at least took some other images than just those of the newspaper. Did you take only one set of images of the newspaper? Did you repeat the test and get the same results? From the images you supplied it looks like the * image is not square to the newspaper.

Second if you just bought the lens it would have been better for you to call whom ever you purchased it from to exchange it for another. If they are a reputable dealer they most likely have an exchange policy. Which would be much quicker than sending it to Pentax.
01-03-2008, 10:04 PM   #205
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote
Be thankful you don't have to deal with Pentax Canada - still waiting for an answer to my email from a month ago.
LOL! At least I'm not the only one! I sent an inquiry about 4 months ago with no response yet.
01-03-2008, 11:26 PM   #206
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Faires Quote
LOL! At least I'm not the only one! I sent an inquiry about 4 months ago with no response yet.
You guys are better off than us. I already giving up talking to C R kennedy in Australia (Pentax Australia) since all they do is to sell sigma lenses instead pentax lenses. No point to ask any questions.
01-04-2008, 12:40 AM   #207
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Are the DA*16-50 & 50-135 manufactured in the same factory?
If so, why is there huge difference in terms of quality?
Or is there any design issue that may cause quality control problem in manufacturing?
01-04-2008, 04:18 AM   #208
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Real bummer for the Pentax brand this issue with the DA* 16-50. As an overseas buyer i simply cant afford to take the gamble on hoping to recieve a "good" copy. Pentax aren't well estabilished in the southern hemisphere so no one wants to hear about it if you've got complaints. That really sucks.
01-04-2008, 04:48 AM   #209
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote
"They told me they were unaware of any QC issues with this lens or with their Vietnam factory"

What complete cr*p!

From all the posts I've read about this particular lens, they must have had a record number of these lenses returned to them.

They should refund your shipping charges, give you a new lens - and an apology.

Be thankful you don't have to deal with Pentax Canada - still waiting for an answer to my email from a month ago.
I have NEVER had an email from Pentax Canada answered.

You must call, and repeat until someone actually answeres the phone.

Then your ok after that

Dave
01-04-2008, 05:00 AM   #210
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Faires Quote
LOL! At least I'm not the only one! I sent an inquiry about 4 months ago with no response yet.
Um, and you've never tried again? Any more than 2 business days and I'd be re-sending or hassling by phone!!
QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
You guys are better off than us. I already giving up talking to C R kennedy in Australia (Pentax Australia) since all they do is to sell sigma lenses instead pentax lenses. No point to ask any questions.
I personally delivered my K10D to them when it needed repair and demanded a backup - initially the guy refused but then relented and found an ex-demo K100D.
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