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04-08-2009, 04:04 PM   #1
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DA* 16-50mm hysteria

Maybe this thread is a little premature but I am kind of using it to vent also.
I just picked up this lens used ( I couldn't pass up the price ). I have heard so many things about QC that it has me second guessing my second guessing.

The reason I say it might be a little premature is because I have only had it a couple days and really haven't had a good chance to really test it yet. I did do a quick BF/FF and it seems okay there. But some of the pictures seem a bit soft to me. Maybe I was expecting more or maybe I am just caught up with the hysteria.
I don't know, Photozone says it has some poor edge softness so maybe thats what I am seeing. I did do a couple quick shots along side my Tamron 28-75 and they aren't far apart really.

I know I just need to go out and shoot to really figure this out but time has been a factor up to now. I took the next couple day off so I have a 4 day weekend. How does one test for decentering?

A couple things though. I instantly feel in love with the quite, fast focus. Living here in Seattle the weather seal is going to make a big difference. Now I just need to get its big brother the DA* 50-135. LBA at its best.

BTW, my Tamron is going up for sale.


Last edited by OrenMc; 04-08-2009 at 04:54 PM.
04-08-2009, 04:33 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrenMc Quote
Maybe this thread is a little premature but I am kind of using it to vent also.
I just picked this lens used ( I couldn't pass up the price ). I have heard so many things about QC that it has me second guessing my second guessing.
Mine is fine.

QuoteQuote:
The reason I say it might be a little premature is because I have only had it a couple days and really haven't had a good chance to really test it yet. I did do a quick BF/FF and it seems okay there. But some of the pictures seem a bit soft to me. Maybe I was expecting more or maybe I am just caught up with the hysteria.
I don't know, Photozone says it has some poor edge softness so maybe thats what I am seeing. I did do a couple quick shots along side my Tamron 28-75 and they aren't far apart really.
I had the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 many years ago and it was a great lens. I would actually say that the DA*16-50 would be better, though.

QuoteQuote:
I know I just need to go out and shoot to really figure this out but time has been a factor up to now. I took the next couple day off so I have a 4 day weekend. How does one test for decentering?
Stick a large sheet of newsprint, or a couple of sheets for further away testing, on the wall and put the camera on a tripod and take photos of the news print. Make sure that the camera is perfectly level and square to the newsprint. Test various apertures and focal lengths, but usually more so at f5.6 and f8 as there will be some soft corners at more open apertures like f2.8 and f4. What you are looking for is whether one side is less clear when *compared* to the other side.

QuoteQuote:
A couple things though. I instantly feel in love with the quite, fast focus. Living here in Seattle the weather seal is going to make a big difference. Now I just need to get its big brother the DA* 50-135. LBA at its best.

BTW, my Tamron is going up for sale.
04-08-2009, 04:37 PM   #3
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I would realy love to see your tests.

now you are way more professional then I am.
but my lousy two cents so far is that its easy to compeer the bad of two lenses. what I mean is that when my 31mm is a little soft my A 50 f2 would be sort also and in very similar way.

but when you find that point where the lens shines. the point where this specific lens can do what no other lens can do.
then you know how much a lens really worth.

so maybe as you said you just need to give it some more chance
04-08-2009, 04:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lance B Quote
Mine is fine.
So is mine - like the OP, I can't believe I was nearly put off buying the lens because of the hysteria... (or maybe lance and I both got lucky, who knows)

QuoteOriginally posted by OrenMc Quote
How does one test for decentering?
The other thing you can do is find a landscape with something like a distinctive building, and then using a smaller aperture take 4 pictures, each with the distinctive feature in a different corner of the frame. Then, compare them on the computer - you should find that the distinctive feature is of a similar sharpness in all 4 shots. If they're not, then the lens has a decentering issue.

As Lance said, you're not looking for softness, you're looking for a *difference* in softness between the corners.

QuoteOriginally posted by OrenMc Quote
Now I just need to get its big brother the DA* 50-135...
The 16-50 is evil like that - it's currently whispering in my ear that I need the 50-135 as well....

04-08-2009, 05:26 PM   #5
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Thanks Lance B for the comment and the tip. I see your the originator of the term LBA so you know what I am going through. I also took a quick glance at your pbase photos and lens line up and will add I am a bit envious. I am relatively new to this.

redpigeons, I agree with you totally about the uniqueness of each lens. Like the 77mm limited I have. I wouldn't call it the sharpest tool in the box but it sure shines in other areas.
On another note I took a look at your flickr and I am impressed. I see you like shooting people and you have a unique style.


cpopham, thanks for the suggestions. I think I am set on getting the 50-135, its just a mater of time.
BTW, somebody like trains and plains good stuff!

Last edited by OrenMc; 04-08-2009 at 05:32 PM.
04-08-2009, 05:48 PM   #6
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I can agree that the initial thought of getting a DA* lens was that of bliss and grand expectations, which lulls a naive buyer (like I was) into thinking that he/she will now capture the world in colours and sharpness never seen before.

But once you get over that mindset and realise the true virtues of the 16-50 and 50-135, then you start getting more out of them and utilising your skills more to get a better shot (rather than expect that the lens will do that for you).

The good DA* zooms are stellar performers and really do shine when compared to any other zoom in their range. As mentioned, the only ones that even come close to the 16-50 for me are the DA 16-45 (which is not f/2.8) and the Tamron 28-75 (which is a very decent lens for its price, yet still does not reach the 'pop' factor that the 16-50 has).

There are now a few competitors to the 50-135, but I have no experience with them (Sigma 50-150 and 70-200s come to mind, but there are lots of forum members out there who've used these...)
04-08-2009, 05:56 PM   #7
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Good luck with that Oren... I went the same way.. had the Tamron 28-75 and then decided to give it a go with the 16-50. Got a good copy first time new from a local store.

Just happened to be at the time it was actually cheaper to get local.

I find in sharpness it can't compare to the 31ltd but its not far behind the 40mm ltd.
My copy was a significant step up from the Tamron.

Cheers
Shang
04-09-2009, 10:27 AM   #8
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Mine is extremely sharp in the center, even wide open. I am also impressed with the contrast of this lens. With the kit lens, I always did a lot of local contrast enhancement and sharpening in post processing, but now I don't find the need that often. The two extra mm at the wide end and the two extra stops at the long end are also very valuable to me.

However, I did need to dial in a focus adjustment using debug mode on my K10D. This may be an issue for some. Also, the focus could be faster, and the range of the manual focus ring a bit longer (which I know contradicts each other...).

All in all, an excellent performer at a very good price point, especially compared with similar offerings from other brands.

04-09-2009, 12:11 PM   #9
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I love this lens from f/4.0 and up. At 2.8, the performance is acceptable in most cases at anywhere but the center.
04-09-2009, 12:13 PM   #10
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I have no - I say again, no - complaints about this lens at all. There might be a bit of pixel peeping softness, but this is, after all, a super wide zoom lens. For anything I use if for it is decidedly lovely.
04-10-2009, 04:34 AM   #11
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Thanks all for your responses. I will post some photos later that I have taken so far.
04-10-2009, 01:05 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
I have no - I say again, no - complaints about this lens at all. There might be a bit of pixel peeping softness, but this is, after all, a super wide zoom lens. For anything I use if for it is decidedly lovely.
I agree 100%

this is my favourite lens and most used lens.


Neil
04-10-2009, 05:08 PM   #13
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The DA*16-50 can be a bit soft at F2.8, but is an absolute destroyer at F4 and up (if you received a good copy). Are you shooting at F2.8?
04-10-2009, 09:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
The DA*16-50 can be a bit soft at F2.8, but is an absolute destroyer at F4 and up (if you received a good copy). Are you shooting at F2.8?
In the corners maybe, but in the center it is uncomfortably sharp:

100% crop at 50mm, f/2.8, 1/60s
04-10-2009, 09:54 PM   #15
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Compared to the image quality of the Tamron 17-50, I really don't see why anyone would spend $200 more for quieter focus, especially since the speed isn't that much faster. Maybe that's the pentax way of life.

And even though I have a mild selection of Pentax lenses, the DA * to me just doesn't seem worth the price difference right now. Maybe once they correct the issues with them. A * lens with QC issues?? photozpne wasn't too impressed with it. :ugh:

Now their primes...that's a different story all together.
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