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05-03-2009, 04:14 PM   #1
AlexD
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Wide-angle options

I have pretty much completed my lineup of "glass", except for a nice wide-angle. Generally, I don't miss one, but when I do, I miss it hard, i.e. an important event which doesn't happen often.

Been looking at a SMC PENTAX DA 18-55mm F3.5-F5.6 AL II, would it be a good choice? Is this lens a *huge* improvement over the older 18-55mm version, which I can get quality-used for well under $100 CAN compared to $150 CAN for a AL II new.

Or perhaps I should not get either, as they can be had practically for free with a new body. Also, would a SIGMA 18-50mm F3.5-5.6 be decent?

I don't really care about F3.5-5.6 max aperture, as I plan to use the lens stopped well down, with landscapes and such, great depth-of-field is a must. Already got portrait lenses, and teles, etc..

How about a DA 16-45mm F4? Is it noticeably better than the DA 18-55mm AL II to justify the 2.5x cost?

Any advice? I don't have a ton of money to spend now, unfortunately.

Mostly what I am looking for is experiences with the DA 18-55mm AL II, decent, OK, terrible, etc.. Sample images would be great, feel free to enhance / edit as much as you like -- so long as they were shot with this lens, please provide shooting/equipment info. All other on-topic replies welcome as well.

05-03-2009, 04:23 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by AlexD Quote
How about a DA 16-45mm F4? Is it noticeably better than the DA 18-55mm AL II to justify the 2.5x cost?
IME, yes, it's well worth the extra cost. I got the 18-55 with my K100DS, and upgraded to the 16-45 six months later. It is noticeably sharper, and in the event that you do need to shoot wide open, you don't get the corner vignetting that the 18-55 gives you wide open.

From everything I've read, the two versions of the 18-55 are very close in performance, but I've never used the II version, so it's hearsay to me.
05-03-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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I get great results from the MK I kit lens. The MK II has slightly better resolution. That being said, I hear the 16-45 is much better. I'd stay away from the non-EX Sigma 18-50. The Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 EX is a nice lens but I'd put my money towards the Pentax 16-45 instead. Also, keep an eye on the new DA 15mm f/4 LTD. It's a bit pricy right now, being new and all. But, I bet it'll drop down below $500 before too long making it a pretty good bargain...espicially for a W/A lens you can carry in your pocket
05-03-2009, 06:33 PM   #4
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I'm also looking for a wide angle, so I'll piggy back off of this thread.

I need a fast wide angle prime with good bokeh.
Anyone want to throw something out there?
A pic of it's bokeh would be nice too.

05-04-2009, 11:38 AM   #5
AlexD
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Re: Wide-angle options

Thanks for the replies.

I think I will be going with a DA 16-45mm then.
05-04-2009, 01:08 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by AlexD Quote
I have pretty much completed my lineup of "glass", except for a nice wide-angle. Generally, I don't miss one, but when I do, I miss it hard, i.e. an important event which doesn't happen often.

Been looking at a SMC PENTAX DA 18-55mm F3.5-F5.6 AL II, would it be a good choice? Is this lens a *huge* improvement over the older 18-55mm version, which I can get quality-used for well under $100 CAN compared to $150 CAN for a AL II new.

Or perhaps I should not get either, as they can be had practically for free with a new body. Also, would a SIGMA 18-50mm F3.5-5.6 be decent?

I don't really care about F3.5-5.6 max aperture, as I plan to use the lens stopped well down, with landscapes and such, great depth-of-field is a must. Already got portrait lenses, and teles, etc..

How about a DA 16-45mm F4? Is it noticeably better than the DA 18-55mm AL II to justify the 2.5x cost?

Any advice? I don't have a ton of money to spend now, unfortunately.

Mostly what I am looking for is experiences with the DA 18-55mm AL II, decent, OK, terrible, etc.. Sample images would be great, feel free to enhance / edit as much as you like -- so long as they were shot with this lens, please provide shooting/equipment info. All other on-topic replies welcome as well.
AlexD,

No experience with the DA18-55 II per se, nor the DA18-55 (Mk I). However, I have the DAL18-55 which is presumed to be optically the same as the DA18-55 II because they share the same optical construction (elements/groups) and dimensions, but my tests don't bear it out. (The "II" version is supposed to be much improved at the tele-end vs. the "I")

I posted some comments and photos here:
Zenfolio | David Anthony | Random 080329 - Pentax DAL18-55mm lens test

These were shot at a variety of FL's and f-stops, the EXIF data is available and the images are unlocked so the full-size originals can be downloaded.

I'm pretty happy with the results at 18mm (18~35 actually), especially when stopped down to f/5.6~f/8.

All 3 of the 18-55 kit lenses seem pretty good at the wide-end.

The "II' version pops up used quite often as well, at close to USD100.

Definitely the best price-performance 18mm lens that Pentax has ever produced.
05-04-2009, 03:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave9t5 Quote
No experience with the DA18-55 II per se, nor the DA18-55 (Mk I). However, I have the DAL18-55 which is presumed to be optically the same as the DA18-55 II because they share the same optical construction (elements/groups) and dimensions, but my tests don't bear it out. (The "II" version is supposed to be much improved at the tele-end vs. the "I")
First, if you don't have the version I or "regular" version II, how can your tests prove or disprove anything about the relationship of the "L" version to either?

Second, I don't think it is true that the improvements form version I to II were primarily at the tele end, or that anything was "much" improved. My recollection of the Pentax literature, as well as what I saw in comparisons posted by others and the ones I did myself, that the differences mostly had to do with corner performance at all focal lengths.

Anyhow, I agree with your overall conclusion that as a wide-normal (18-35, say), it's a very good lens, although it does get noticeably weaker (and another stop slower) between 35 and 55. Shoot, if they made another version of this lens as an 18-35/3.5-4 that was correspondingly smaller, I'd buy it too! Interesting concept, now that I think about it. Unfortunately the existing FA-J 18-35 is actually bigger (to fit FF) but also half a stop slower and probably not as good...
05-04-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
First, if you don't have the version I or "regular" version II, how can your tests prove or disprove anything about the relationship of the "L" version to either?

Second, I don't think it is true that the improvements form version I to II were primarily at the tele end, or that anything was "much" improved. My recollection of the Pentax literature, as well as what I saw in comparisons posted by others and the ones I did myself, that the differences mostly had to do with corner performance at all focal lengths.

Anyhow, I agree with your overall conclusion that as a wide-normal (18-35, say), it's a very good lens, although it does get noticeably weaker (and another stop slower) between 35 and 55. Shoot, if they made another version of this lens as an 18-35/3.5-4 that was correspondingly smaller, I'd buy it too! Interesting concept, now that I think about it. Unfortunately the existing FA-J 18-35 is actually bigger (to fit FF) but also half a stop slower and probably not as good...
I am not claiming to prove/disprove anything, only posting documented observations, which while meager are still something. Refuting them with your "recollections" is even weaker!

My comparisons are interpolating my own (subjective) findings of the characteristics of the DAL compared against the characteristics of both the DA and DA II versions in various published tests (subjective and objective) and marketing claims of Pentax.

As far as I know, no one has made an extensive head-to-head test of the DA, DAII and DAL 18-55 lenses, despite the gripping nature of such a heavyweight showdown.

However, I did offer an extensive collection and analysis of every known (to me) published test result of these 3 lenses here:
Compilation of Reviews (Re: Tests of the the DA 18-55 Mk II?): Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
The only objective tests I found were on the version I.

Yes, soft corners of version I were another weakness in addition to the tele-end softness. It seems to vary from review to review (out of 4 reviews listed there).

Version I was from the era of 6MP sensors. Version II was claimed by Pentax to improve the resolving power for the K20D's high-res sensor, but Pentax never mentioned specifics. It stands to reason that they improved either the corners or tele-end or both.

Later when I posted my own observations of the DAL I compared them to those published results mentioned above as well as some newer published test results. The discussion evolves in this thread:
Kit lens ver II continued [Page 1]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Specifically:
DA-II vs. DAL objective comparision: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Re: DA-II vs. DAL objective comparision (not vs. DA(I) ): Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
(Interestingly, the dubious Australian test results show that the DAL outperforms the DAII at the corners.)

Now, while a head-to-head-to-head comparison would clear things up once and for all, getting back on topic I stand by my main point that all 3 are good at 18mm. If my DAL should be the worst of the 3 and it's still good, then it stands to reason that the DA and DAII should also be good if not better.

The original poster wanted something 18mm and cheap and decent at f/8 for occasional use, either the original DA or DAII could suffice. Compared to the 16-45, the 18-55's are much smaller and lighter, which could be important if they are kept in the gear bag for occasional use.

I'm thinking of changing my my DAL to an 18-35 by driving a wood screw into the zoom to prevent it from going past 35mm and using some liquid paper to change the "-55" on the front to "-35".

05-04-2009, 07:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave9t5 Quote
I am not claiming to prove/disprove anything, only posting documented observations, which while meager are still something. Refuting them with your "recollections" is even weaker!
I was specifically referring to your statement:

"However, I have the DAL18-55 which is presumed to be optically the same as the DA18-55 II because they share the same optical construction (elements/groups) and dimensions, but my tests don't bear it out."

It sounded like you saying you had tests that somehow suggested that DAL 18-55 is *not* the same optical construction as the DA 18-55 II. I just don't see how tests from one lens can possibly bear that out or not. Unless your tests show something that is totally out of line with the known characteristics of the other lens, but that's really not the case here. You seem to be basing this on some sort of perception that version II is supposed to be tons better than version I beyond 35mm, but that just isn't the case, and no test I've ever seen claims it is.

QuoteQuote:
My comparisons are interpolating my own (subjective) findings of the characteristics of the DAL compared against the characteristics of both the DA and DA II versions in various published tests (subjective and objective)
All the ones I've seen say pretty the same thing as what you concluded.

QuoteQuote:
As far as I know, no one has made an extensive head-to-head test of the DA, DAII and DAL 18-55 lenses, despite the gripping nature of such a heavyweight showdown.
There have been pretty extensive head to head of the I and II. I think the DAL hasn't been included so much because there is absolutely no reason to doubt that it is the same as the II.

QuoteQuote:
Now, while a head-to-head-to-head comparison would clear things up once and for all, getting back on topic I stand by my main point that all 3 are good at 18mm. If my DAL should be the worst of the 3 and it's still good, then it stands to reason that the DA and DAII should also be good if not better.
Like I said, I don't disagree with the overall conclusion regarding the quality of the kit lenses. I was just confused by your statement as I went to your site expecting to see comparisons.
05-04-2009, 10:42 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by AlexD Quote
Thanks for the replies.

I think I will be going with a DA 16-45mm then.
Just recieved mine and it is a GREAT lens!

I don't think you will regret!
05-05-2009, 07:46 AM   #11
AlexD
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Thanks, everyone.
05-05-2009, 07:57 AM   #12
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The DA16-45 f4 is a superb lens. Stop it down to f9 and you will be amazed.
I use f9 as much as I can for outside photography.
Andras

Flickr: sopiandri's Photostream

P.S.
the only problem with it is that I started to think about the 12-24 recently...
05-05-2009, 09:30 AM   #13
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your looking for 16-18mm?

I thought you said WIDE??


you may also want to look at 10-20mm sigma and 12-24 pentax, now that's wide
05-05-2009, 12:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
your looking for 16-18mm?

I thought you said WIDE??


you may also want to look at 10-20mm sigma and 12-24 pentax, now that's wide
+1 for me, too
05-06-2009, 06:34 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by AlexD Quote
Thanks for the replies.

I think I will be going with a DA 16-45mm then.
Great choice!

Go tmine last week.

I absolutely love it.
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