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12-16-2009, 12:54 AM   #1
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DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 really that bad?

hi there

I'm having trouble deciding which lens i want to buy, i have a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and it's great. but i think the build Q is kinda bad, and the plastic front ring where u clip on the hood is coming loose and i don't like it.

but all the negative press about the 16-50 is getting to me, i really like the SDM and the build Q of the lens.. i know if u have a good sample it will be on par or slighty worse than the Tamron @ 2.8.. but getting a good sample sounds really difficult and troublesome..

why after 3 years!!! isn't the QC any better??. this lens is causing so much trouble for pentax that i would think they would change it or make a better one..

will there be a new DA* 16-50 mkII soon ?..

so is the 16-50 that bad?. and should i buy a new tamron 17-50 or a sigma?..



Last edited by Vaizard; 12-16-2009 at 02:12 AM.
12-16-2009, 01:07 AM   #2
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A good 16-50 is very good - make no mistake.
A bad 16-50 is obvious, but unfortunately a failed SDM may occur after the warranty period.
No guarantees I'm afraid.
The Tamron is famed to be quite close to the 16-50's IQ but yes, the build quality of the 16-50 is leagues above the Tamron.
I can only say my own experience with the 16-50, and it is nothing short of stellar. Slight AF hunt at infinity focus at times, but otherwise excellent.
12-16-2009, 02:22 AM   #3
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I have had the good fortune to see (first hand) three (3) Pentax DA* 16-50's in action and speak with their owners.
One even threw it to me and said here you go, use this! which I did.
(thanks Dave)
The three versions of this lens I have seen up close & personal are from Ash (previous post); skinja & daacon.

All three spoke highly and fondly of the lens, skinja returned his first copy, but the one he uses now is pretty bloody good.

Dave's I used and some of the best shots I have (from that shoot) are with that lens.

I lust after it...but I lust after a lot of things and current circumstances make me conservative in my spending, so its on the back burner for now.

The one consistent thing they have all said is that if you get a bad copy you will know instantly on your first shots.

12-16-2009, 03:34 AM   #4
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this is why i curse that pentax is no longer held in many stores - nearest pentax pro centre is like 400miles away leaving me buying one of these off the internet which if i have to send it back i would rather not do

but think i will probably bite the bullet sometime in the new year and just hope i get a good one

12-16-2009, 04:47 AM   #5
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The 16-50 is excellent. I have the first copy I tested and is very sharp except for at 16mm and f2.8. By 18 mm it is very sharp at f2.8. I did have my SDM go out on it and had it replaced under warranty. Since that time, the lens has operated flawlessly. My feeling is that the optics on this lens are at least as good as anything else out there and I love the weather sealing. I just wish I knew that the SDM was going to last a long time.
12-16-2009, 05:04 AM   #6
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The image quality and the quality feel of the DA 16-50 leave nothing to be desired. Unfortunately, Pentax has issues with QC, as they had for ages (having a badly centered lens was more or less common for many years with consumer AF zooms from Pentax). My own DA 16-50 stopped working within the warranty period: the zoom mechanism came stuck and AF stopped working. A complete breakdown. The repair would have cost around 250 Euros, but as I wrote, warranty took over.

Nevertheless I would buy the lens again, as it is a very good performer and I love the 16mm at the short end, which makes it more versatile than my older Sigma 18-50/2.8, which in all other respects is as good as the Pentax and never had any problems...

12-16-2009, 06:19 AM   #7
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Well said gentlemen, If you have had my experience with Canon, we would all be thankful with these things happening with our DA* 16-50mm. Love mine !
12-16-2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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I had a bad copy of the 16-50, and a good copy - the good copy was just excellent.

See --> this thread.


Last edited by jsherman999; 12-16-2009 at 02:33 PM.
12-16-2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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Tamron 16-50 /2.8 is definitely a much better buy comparing to da* 16-50/2.8 unless you like to shoot in harsh weather condition.

Besides a well known mal-focusing issue with close up shooting, the lens is known for slight PF and a bit of lacking of clinical sharpness. Bokeh is quite good though. The shadow details are lacking from this lens.

Hope there is no II version as it would cost a lot more for sure.
12-16-2009, 02:47 PM   #10
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Love Mine

I have my original, no problems with SDM. I find the lens incredibly sharp, especially in the center, and appreciate (and make use of) the weather sealing. Distortion at the wind end might be a knock for some, but I do a lot of outdoor and wildlife where it's not much of an issue.

12-16-2009, 02:50 PM   #11
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For the price of the Tamron compared to the Pentax DA*, it's definitely a killing deal considering it rivals the IQ of the Pentax DA* for almost half the price. This is the reason why I chose the Tamron 28-75 over the DA* 16-50. Although not optically in the same range as the DA*, the 28-75 is good enough for me. Though 16mm and 28mm are long ways different I could have chose the Tamron 17-50 also if I wanted to.

For the loose barrel, you could easily fix that, they have tutorials on how to fix that if you do a small search online. Actually here, I searched it up for you. Pretty simple, no need to spend money on a new lens.

Last edited by LeDave; 12-16-2009 at 02:58 PM.
12-16-2009, 03:31 PM   #12
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hey TNX! for the tutorial.. did not know that i could fix it myself!.. going to do that this weekend! and then i'm gonna save some money for the 16-50.. and i hope they will bring out a better version.. for the same price..soon.. so i can buy that one

tnx for all your reactions!..
12-17-2009, 09:05 AM   #13
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My DA* 16-50mm is my best and by far most used lens!
I've had it for more than 2 years, one of the first batches.
So, not all of them where bad copies.......

Take you camera and a laptop to the shop and try before buying if you do not trust it

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