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10-20-2009, 12:29 PM   #1
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DA 16-45 f/4: thoughts and examples

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Having done a major shifting of my lens/body lineup in the past 10 months, I
woke up one day to realize that I had left myself without a wide crop-format
option - my widest lens for Pentax was the M 20 f/4 - an astounding
lens, but at 20mm (DX), not exceptionally wide.

The DA 15mm limited was calling my name. As was the DA* 16-50. I used to
own a 16-50, and it was stellar, and that 15mm inspires lust.

But... there was also the DA 16-45 f/4. Sort of the forgotten stepchild in a way,
but I had seen some incredible things from it, and the photozone MTF scores
were outstanding. Distortion was controlled. It's bigger than the kit, but still
quite small compared to the 16-50. Probably actually sharper edge-edge than
the DA 15ltd. Gooshin likes it a lot. What more do I need?

45mm at f/4 is not as useful for portraits as 50mm at f/2.8, but this was going
to be my wide-angle-dedicated shooter in Pentax mount, so the 45mm f4
limitation wasn't an issue - I'd be shooting 16-->20mm f5.6-->f11 almost always.
The weather sealing of the 16-50 is huge - but so is the cost and weight
of that lens. I wanted to carry the K20D + WA lens along with another body/lens
combo in my Lowepro Classified 160, so size/weight was an issue. As was
the SDM problems we're now seeing with the DA* lenses...

So. After a trade with Frank that sent two K's and an M to Singapore, I now have
this sharp little workhorse in my arsenal. I'm pleased.

Below are the first test shots, no great art, just sharpness/contrast/color tests.
Feel free to post your images or thoughts on this lens.
.




.
16mm, f/8, one-handed out a moving car window




Crop:







This one was standing outside the car:


45mm f/4 (wide-open)

Crop:

45mm f/5


10-20-2009, 01:10 PM   #2
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Excellent results, this is my daughter's favorite lens
10-20-2009, 01:21 PM   #3
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I agree with your assesment and that it's a lens all should consider for the wide zoom option. I sold mine for a DA*16-50 only because I really needed the WS and the speed was helpful in my wedding work. Otherwise I see no advantage with the DA* and in fact the DA focuses faster, more accurate and has less barrel distortion. comparing the 2 in strict optical terms I'd probably take the DA over the DA*.

Of course Jay you could tape a drinking glass to the front of a camera and get stellar results.
10-20-2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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You also seem to bring out the best in lenses Jay.
These are bright, colourful and SHARP results from this neglected gem of a lens.
Having had one, I was impressed by it as well although unlike Peter I prefer the 16-50 over it optically due to the added microcontrast and 3D effect I get in portraits.

10-20-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
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I love my 16-45. I bought it as an upgrade to the kit lens, and I've loved it the entire time I've had it.

Sharp at f/4, great range, just an overall great lens.

The only thing about mine is that the lens hood is very loose and there is nothing keeping it on other than momentum. The retaining bumps on the lens have worn down enough that they are basically not even there.
10-20-2009, 01:51 PM   #6
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Dave, Take a bit of crazy glue and 'build up' the bump and it will stay on better.
10-21-2009, 01:29 AM   #7
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I bought the 16-45 to replace the sigma 'kit' that came with the Australian sourced *ist DL2.



It is used as my walkabout and wide angle lens for the PJ work that I do for my employers.
On the K20 it focusses speedily and accurately and gets me the shot without fuss.
It is no slouch at Macros either:





Won't be letting this one go.
10-21-2009, 04:04 AM   #8
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I have been considering this for a while. Is it good at F4?
I have a good copy of the Sigma EX DG 24-60/2.8 but I find myself wanting a little more wide.
Problem is, I hate flash photos and take a lot of shakey portraits @ max aperture. I also have an A35-105/3.5 I often use at F3.5 or F4. ISO800-1600 on my K100D.
Would this work on the photos I make? examples...






I understand the sample photos are taken in daylight. Just wonder if it can perform well in darker surroundings.
hope I'm not off topic.

10-21-2009, 07:49 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by paugie Quote
I have been considering this for a while. Is it good at F4?
I have a good copy of the Sigma EX DG 24-60/2.8 but I find myself wanting a little more wide.
Problem is, I hate flash photos and take a lot of shakey portraits @ max aperture. I also have an A35-105/3.5 I often use at F3.5 or F4. ISO800-1600 on my K100D.
Would this work on the photos I make? examples...

I understand the sample photos are taken in daylight. Just wonder if it can perform well in darker surroundings.
hope I'm not off topic.
This is my walk-about lens. It's the lens that stays most of the time on my GX-10 and apart from the few old Pentax primes I have it's probably the best lens I own (or am able to afford).

Like you, I don't like using flash. But this where one meets the llimitation of using this as a general purpose lens - it just does not have the speed that one would need for subjects that would otherwise need flash. In all other respects, I love it
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10-21-2009, 07:59 AM   #10
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A photo my daughter took @ f/4 1/15sec

10-21-2009, 10:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by paugie Quote
.........Is it good at F4?
.... I find myself wanting a little more wide.
Problem is, I hate flash photos and take a lot of shakey portraits @ max aperture. I also have an A35-105/3.5 I often use at F3.5 or F4. ISO800-1600 on my K100D.
Would this work on the photos I make? .......
........
Yes, its good at F4. Compared to your 24-70 you'll definitely get a wider FOV.
Take a look at your shots - do you use f2.8 often? It could definitely replace your A35-105, being wider and at almost the same speed.

Keep in mind that at 16mm you'll get a shadow due to the onboard flash. I often end up cropping it out but then again, I'll use it for group shots of folks and leave plenty of space to crop.
10-21-2009, 11:09 AM   #12
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Thank you for the advice. It seems my next lens is this one.
If I get it, then definitely the Tokina will be redundant. I don't want to part with the 35-105 just yet since I don't have anything in the longer range. I'll probably hold on to the Sigma until I can make my own comparisons.
10-21-2009, 11:34 AM   #13
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For someone that thinks 85mm ought'a be standard for the 135 format and hasn't had anything wider than a Vivitar 28/2.5 on a Spotmatic, I was thoroughly charmed by the DA 16-45 when I couldn't resist a bargain two years ago.

When mine replaced a DA18-55 the light came on. Now I'm curious about the 12-24 or 10-20 FL but I can forego the DA*16-50.

H2
10-21-2009, 02:13 PM   #14
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Having recently upgraded to the 16-50 from 16-45, I have so far hung on to the f4 because its just that good. I think it does about 90% of its bigger cousin for about half the price.
10-22-2009, 11:17 AM   #15
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Original Poster
Thanks folks, you know a lens is good when one-handed car-window snapshots look
that good

Great photography in here. I can't wait to get out and use this baby more to
try to match you guys...

Regarding it's suitability as a low-light lens - f/4 isn't what I'd consider a good
starting aperture for low-light, but this lens is sharp enough wide open that you
don't need to stop it down, unless you need DOF. With my K20D, ISO 800 is
very clean, and SR lets me go crazy with lower shutter speeds, so it's fully usable
in low light:

wide open, 30mm, ISO 800, 1/60s

(there was less light than it seemed in that shot, actually pretty dim)

I just love the combo of size and sharpness (and 16mm!) this lens brings,
not to mention the cost.

This lens + a K-x would be a mind-blowing light combo....


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