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03-28-2010, 07:29 PM   #1
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DA 12-24mm build quality

I am on the market for a wideangle zoom. I went through all the posts on the DA 12-24 here and on the other forum. I also carefully analyzed different reviews on the net. Seems lik ethe best WA zoom out there. However, I like lens that are well built. To me, the feel of a lens is the second most important thing after IQ. I plan to use the DA 12024 as a replacement for my DA 16-45. I like the IQ of the 16-45, but the built quality is not good enough. Photoxone gives the same amount of stars for both of these lens (3 stars). Thus, I would like to know how these two lens compare in terms of built quality. Also, if you had to compare the built quality of this lens to other Pentax lens, where would you place it.

03-28-2010, 10:11 PM   #2
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DA 12-24 built quality

I have only owned the DA12-24 (of the Pentax zooms) and feel it is a very well built lens. Heavy and stout! I read everything I could find before getting it and found others commenting of the quality build and the IQ. I have a 18-50mm 2.8 ex Sigma zoom which I liked a lot but think the DA12-24 to be better constructed.
03-28-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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I have the 12-24 and use it all the time. I do not try to bend it, or see if it bounces. It has not fallen apart.

People sometimes complain about stuff because it "feels plasticky" - I'm guessing because it is plastic. In many cases it is superior to metal construction....
03-28-2010, 11:08 PM   #4
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If you don't like the 16-45, you may not like the 12-24 all that much - apart from being a little smaller than the 16-45, it looks and feels essentially the same. Although not being a DA* lens, the IQ is in the realms of DA* quality. Plastic construction - no big deal. It's light, perhaps a little awkwardly broad, but has a firm action and the smooth quick shift focusing feature.

Top lens IMO.

03-28-2010, 11:34 PM   #5
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I have no issues with the build of the 12-24. It's a big, solid and heavy optic.
It is also a very good lens.
03-29-2010, 12:19 AM   #6
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Generally good build quality (except FF/BF issues). The problem of this lens is the axial play in the zoom ring. When this starts to appear the AF shall be really unreliable. Some times good, some times bad, adjusting AF calibration without success etc.
When there is an axial play the focus distance changes also and this is an issue to be checked carefully. I have noticed this play (around 1 mm) in my copy after some use and in other two copies of friends (the one appeared after a drop in concrete from 1 m height)
03-29-2010, 03:52 AM   #7
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I too have both the 16-45 and the 12-24. I also have the 10-17FE and the 31 Ltd. In terms of build quality, I too would rate the build quality 16-45 and the 12-24 pretty equal. They are very similar lenses in terms of their construction along with the material used and their external design. The 12-24 is larger than the 16-45, especially with the somewhat over sized front element. I bring the 10-17FE and the 31 Ltd into the discussion in that their build quality, material and construction are different. The 10-17FE is better, but it is a smaller lens and being a fisheye somewhat different. The 31 Ltd is in a league all by itself (along with the other two FA Limiteds), metal along with a completely different external design, look and feel.

In use I find the 12-24 pretty perfect. I have taken it on probably 20 trips across the country on planes. Its in my photo backpack - and I carry 4 lenses. I have used it from the beaches and harbors of San Diego, to the cold snowy midwestern landscapes. No problems. I have not run in to the axial play in the zoom ring that pkaliaf1 refers to nor have read anything about it on the forums. I have had it 2 years now and had the 16-45 4 years.

That said, I have no reservations what so ever with the build quality and construction of the 12-24. I have handled other lenses from Canon and Nikon, be it not their absolutely top of the line professional grade, and I find them a world apart - big, very plastic feel, not a precise feel to their zoom and focus, etc. I find Pentax's build quality in the kit lenses vastly superior to both C & N.

In terms of your alternative to the 12-24, what other vendor will provide the same wide angle focal lengths. Sigma and Tamron, I see offer similar focal ranges, but their build quality traditionally has not been as good. I guess you could go with Zeiss, but at twice the price and give up auto focus along with zoom and focal length (you could buy two - one at 18 and the other at 21mm).

hope that helps....
03-29-2010, 04:07 AM   #8
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It's subjective

I've found that "build quality" can be a very subjective term. To some, any non metallic elements in lens construction means poor "build quality". To others, polycarbonate elements are not so important. I've owned my 12-24 for about 3 or 4 years now and have no complaints about it's build quality. Both the zoom ring and the focus ring work smoothly and surely with no "slop" in their action. Like interested-observer I have never noticed any of the axial play that pkaliaf1 mentions, and I have used the lens hundreds of times. The lens is somewhat big especially with the hood, but to a large degree, I expect that, it is after all an ultra wide rectilinear zoom.

NaCl(no complaints whatsoever with the build quality)H2O

03-29-2010, 05:18 AM   #9
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I am one of the early adopters of the Pentax 12-24. My copy has been an example of reliability and sharpness... One of my most used lens. Like other have said before, it's made of (good quality) plastic, but metal would have made it much more expensive and heavy, with no improvement on IQ.

The one thing I dislike ( but no big thing really...) is the size of the hood... Plus the fact that, for some reason, this model lacks the removable "flap" to access a polarizer filter ring... Not so sure why they omitted it on the 12-24, since all other lenses have it...

Otherwise, great lens!

Gene
03-29-2010, 06:42 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses. As always, I get really good answers from my fellow Pentaxian. Nice people, another good reason to say with Pentax.

So built quality is on par with the 16-45. However, it's better than the C & N equivalent. Of course, I did not expect the built quality of the FA 31, but I hoped it would be superior to the 16-45. The good thing is it does not extends as the 16-45. Mine "woobles" when fully extended and it really bothers me.

Some mentioned Zeiss as an option. Considering the actual price of the 12-24, the 18mm and the 21 mm from Zeiss are comparable as far as the price is concerned, but not in terms of focal lenght. On the plus side, it Pentax ever goes the FF route, Zeiss is fully compatible. Other options are the DA 15 Ltd and the DA 14. DA 15 Ltd is well built and the reviews are excellent, but it is more expensive than the DA 14 which is available new for less than 500 $ these days. Plus, it opens at 2.8. One last option, the Sigma 20mm 1.8. It's FF not too expensive. However, I am a little concerned by the IQ of this lens.

What do you think is the better alternative?
-Zeiss 20mm f2.8
-Pentax DA 14mm f2.8
-Pentax DA 15mm f4 Ltd
-Sigma 20mm f1.8
03-29-2010, 06:57 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by xGene Quote
I am one of the early adopters of the Pentax 12-24. My copy has been an example of reliability and sharpness... One of my most used lens. Like other have said before, it's made of (good quality) plastic, but metal would have made it much more expensive and heavy, with no improvement on IQ.

The one thing I dislike ( but no big thing really...) is the size of the hood... Plus the fact that, for some reason, this model lacks the removable "flap" to access a polarizer filter ring... Not so sure why they omitted it on the 12-24, since all other lenses have it...

Otherwise, great lens!

Gene
It's a little bit deeper but the hood from the DA*16-50 lens fits the bayonet of the DA12-24. What I actually found surprising in the way of hoods, is that the DA14 hood is slightly different. Neither the 12-24 or the 16-50 hoods fit it even though all 3 are 77mm fronts.

03-29-2010, 07:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
It's a little bit deeper but the hood from the DA*16-50 lens fits the bayonet of the DA12-24. What I actually found surprising in the way of hoods, is that the DA14 hood is slightly different. Neither the 12-24 or the 16-50 hoods fit it even though all 3 are 77mm fronts.

Thanks for the hint! Do you know if it "vignettes" at 12mm? If not, I may not need to carry both any longer!

Gene
03-29-2010, 03:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by xGene Quote
Thanks for the hint! Do you know if it "vignettes" at 12mm? If not, I may not need to carry both any longer!

Gene
Don't know. Other than fit, I haven't tried it. The only reason I looked is that the hood on my DA14 is missing the door cover for the polarizer window. I suspect it Would vignette because I didn't have the 12-24 hood completely twisted on the lens at one point and it Did shadow the photo. I'll have to try the other hood and see what it does. I'm not 100% sure that my Polarizer wouldn't vignette at 12mm, haven't tried that either. There may be a reason they didn't include the window on the 12-24 hood.

Edit:

It does vignette slightly on the edges..

[IMGtall]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4012/4474036047_0c3fb5a85a_b.jpg[/IMGtall]


Last edited by JeffJS; 03-29-2010 at 03:35 PM.
03-29-2010, 11:41 PM   #14
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I would rate the DA 12-24mm the best DA zoom (not DA*) in term of build quality. Its front parts under filter thread and focusing ring are metal. Focusing and zoom ring operates very smooth and quieter than other DA zoom. You won't be dissapointed in its construction.
03-30-2010, 03:45 AM   #15
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No noticeable vignetting on my copy either
It really is a fine lens - well worth the money.
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