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03-22-2009, 07:39 AM   #1
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Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 DA* user review

It is obvious to me that the sample I reviewed recently on my blog was defective. But, I still think the 16-50 DA* is of limited value. Read my review and let me know what you think.


Last edited by Robert S Donovan; 05-02-2009 at 10:00 AM. Reason: updated URL
03-22-2009, 08:05 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robert S Donovan Quote
It is obvious to me that the sample I reviewed recently on my blog was defective. But, I still think the 16-50 DA* is of limited value. Read my review and let me know what you think.
You could also recommend DA 17-70 f/4 as an alternative, especially for landscape and architecture (essentially no barrel distortion >20; sharp all around wide open; 70 is nice to have for isolating the subject), for those who own bodies that support SDM. Note that 17-70 has a rubber seal on the mount. photozone likes it. (I like it, too.) I avoided the "fast" zooms, because they ALL suck at f/2.8: you pay premium for an extra stop which you avoid anyway and reach for primes.
03-22-2009, 08:39 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
You could also recommend DA 17-70 f/4 as an alternative, especially for landscape and architecture (essentially no barrel distortion >20; sharp all around wide open; 70 is nice to have for isolating the subject), for those who own bodies that support SDM. Note that 17-70 has a rubber seal on the mount. photozone likes it. (I like it, too.) I avoided the "fast" zooms, because they ALL suck at f/2.8: you pay premium for an extra stop which you avoid anyway and reach for primes.
Thanks! I have just recently started looking at the 17-70. It is a very interesting lens. I need to request a copy for testing...
03-22-2009, 08:50 AM   #4
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Here is my Da* 16-50mm f2.8 gallery.

Da* 16-50mm f2.8 SDM Gallery

I think this zoom rocks. I found it very versatile and reliable.

03-22-2009, 08:58 AM   #5
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While I would normally suggest upgrading the standard kit lenses from Canikon, Pentax has done an excellent job with their SMCP-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL and this gussied up DA* lens only helps to prove that point. Had I bought this lens myself I would have sent it back after the first day and put my money to better use. This is a big, heavy and expensive lens that does not prove a significant upgrade to the kit lens in everyday use.


i stopped here

the 16-50 is head shoulder superior to the kit lens....contrat microconrast color rendition..everything is on high level...
03-22-2009, 09:59 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Here is my Da* 16-50mm f2.8 gallery.

Da* 16-50mm f2.8 SDM Gallery

I think this zoom rocks. I found it very versatile and reliable.
I am with you! I love mine. I was torn between the 16-45/4 and the 16-50 when I first got my k10d. There was a huge price differential, and the 16-50 was hard to find at all in late 2007. I was sold originally on the extra 5mm, then the extra stop, and then the weather proofing. I have no regrets.

Since my purchase, I added $150 to the lens in the form of DxO Standard, and now it no longer has vignetting and curvilinear distortion, and is sharper wide open than it was. What a deal!
03-22-2009, 10:14 AM   #7
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It would be more convincing if you reviewed a good copy of the lens. Also complaining about the size and the weight of this lens doesn't make much sense to me. It's a constant F2.8 zoom for crying out loud.
03-22-2009, 10:51 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by cousinsane Quote
. . . . . Also complaining about the size and the weight of this lens doesn't make much sense to me. It's a constant F2.8 zoom for crying out loud.
While qualitative reviews are interesting to read, their value is limited by a number of considerations that require a subjective judgement. Among those are the judgement criteria that are important to the reviewer (or buyer), and these, of course, vary from one person to another. Size and weight (or lack thereof) are as legitimate as any other criteria on which one might evaluate a lens.

Presumably because the DA* 16-50 is so fast throughout its range, it is - in fact - a pretty massive beast (almost a pound and half with the hood on). For some, that simply isn't an issue; for others it's a deal breaker. In this case, the reviewer regards bulk as an important criterion.

Jer

03-22-2009, 11:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sailor Quote
[snip] Presumably because the DA* 16-50 is so fast throughout its range, it is - in fact - a pretty massive beast (almost a pound and half with the hood on). For some, that simply isn't an issue; for others it's a deal breaker. In this case, the reviewer regards bulk as an important criterion.
Jer
There's a certain cachet about wandering around when you have a k10d with grip, DA* 16-50 and lens hood attached. I cannot remember how many "wow"s I have received with the rig. The down side to this is that you are definitely visible and noticed, even when you don't want to be. Big glass gets noticed, it seems.
03-22-2009, 12:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
There's a certain cachet about wandering around when you have a k10d with grip, DA* 16-50 and lens hood attached. I cannot remember how many "wow"s I have received with the rig. The down side to this is that you are definitely visible and noticed, even when you don't want to be. Big glass gets noticed, it seems.
That's my main issue: too big and heavy. Still, weather sealing, f2.8 and a good price make this a lens I'm always pondering. I sure wish Pentax would come out with a slower, lighter standard zoom (or prime) with weather sealing.
03-22-2009, 12:27 PM   #11
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For the price the Pentax 16-50 is extremely good.
(If the AF is correctly adjusted)

I had the Nikon equivalent, which costs twice as much, and is was no better in image quality.
03-22-2009, 01:01 PM   #12
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Lots of good discussion here. Sailor is right about everyone having their own opinions. Had I only been interested in ultimate image quality I'm sure a good copy of this lens would make much more sense to me like jonny1986 suggests. In fact, nearly every review I read said as much. However, as a hobbyist, I have a very limited budget for camera equipment. Each purchase has to add significantly to my photographic experience. For me, the 16-50 does not result in significantly better pictures than the kit lens and it is harder to live with on a daily basis. Therefore, I had to conclude there were better ways for me to spend my money. I trust everyone here can make their own decisions about what works for them.

I'm a huge an of Pentax. I think their products represent value. I hope that just because this is a Pentax forum that a little negativity towards one of their products doesn't get me ostracized ;-) Hopefully my photos and opinions will be judged at face value.

BTW, if money were no object I'd certainly have a 16-50 for those times when it makes sense. Until then, if I had $700 to spend I maintain that there are better Pentax lenses I would spend my money on first: 77mm f/1.8, 12-24mm f/4, 50-135mm f/2.8, 43mm f/1.9, 14mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2.0, 35mm f/2.8 MACRO, the new 15mm f/4, save up a bit more for the awesome 31mm f/1.8. (Can you tell I like primes?) Compare the size, cost and performance of Pentax's primes with the Canikon counterparts and you'll see what I mean about value.

Last edited by Robert S Donovan; 03-22-2009 at 01:54 PM.
03-22-2009, 01:04 PM   #13
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The question is really one of need. If you only need to shoot at f4, or f5.6, you will be very satisfied with a lot of lenses. However, if you need to shoot at f2.8, it comes at a definite cost, both monetary and size. The only way around this is to shoot with primes (which I often do). I have the 16-50 on order (it should be getting to me in the next couple of days). From the photos I have seen, when it is good, it is very good. The size is not that different from the 50-135 which I use all of the time. The reality is that when the color, contrast and sharpness are what you want, you will put up with a little extra size on your lens.
03-22-2009, 01:11 PM   #14
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There is definitely a significant difference in picture quality between the kit lens and the 16-50.
Sharpness, colour rendition and microcontrast are all vastly improved with the 16-50.
These are less so obvious between the 16-45 and the 16-50, but I can attest that the 16-50 is worth its money.

It's more worthwhile commenting about a 'good' copy of the 16-50, and taking the same picture with each zoom in its focal range to make comparisons in image quality.
03-22-2009, 03:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The question is really one of need. If you only need to shoot at f4, or f5.6, you will be very satisfied with a lot of lenses. However, if you need to shoot at f2.8, it comes at a definite cost, both monetary and size. The only way around this is to shoot with primes (which I often do). I have the 16-50 on order (it should be getting to me in the next couple of days). From the photos I have seen, when it is good, it is very good. The size is not that different from the 50-135 which I use all of the time. The reality is that when the color, contrast and sharpness are what you want, you will put up with a little extra size on your lens.
The weight is about the same as the DA* 16-50, but the DA* 50-135 is much longer, particularly when the lens hood is attached - and mine always is. I don't know how much longer the paint on my hood will last from my banging it into things. I'm still not used to a lens this short in focal length being almost as long as my 400.
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