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03-29-2010, 11:09 AM   #1
emr
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Why so many Pentax zooms close to each other?

Something that just came to my mind. Even if we ignore all the kit zoom variants (DA I, DA II, DA L, DA WR), there are still in pretty much the same focal range the DA 16-45mm, DA* 16-50mm and DA 17-70mm SDM lenses. I wonder what's the point? If we consider that there's the cheap kit zoom that comes with the camera body. Then we have the optically better super duper DA* with weather resistance, bigger aperture and SDM (let's pretend that's a plus for now). So what kind of use are the remaining lenses meant for? One could think that the 17-70mm SDM would be for uses where you need a more silent lens but are unwilling to pay for a DA*. But even then there's still the 16-45mm left.

Considering there are many focal lengths and lens types that users feel they're missing, what on earth is the point in so many short zooms?

03-29-2010, 11:23 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Considering there are many focal lengths and lens types that users feel they're missing, what on earth is the point in so many short zooms?
Why, so suckers, I mean customers, have an obvious upgrade path! And so LBA junkies can collect the entire set! And the 16-45? It's better than the 18-55, but smaller and lighter than the 16-50, and cheaper than the 17-70, so it fits a perfect micro-niche! And oh yes, each lens has its own aura, a vibe that oozes out and says, you're mine! Just listen to the voices in your head. I always do what my voices tell me. Always. Right now they're saying, finish your coffee, dummy!
03-29-2010, 11:27 AM   #3
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I quite like all the options personally. I will never be able to afford the DA* 16-50 so not having high optical quality lenses with a constant aperture cheaper would really suck (i.e. DA 16-45). As for the 17-70 well that lenses range is very desirable to me personally and if I didn't have more primes in mind I would purchase it. Also AFAIK no one make a lens in that zoom range in a constant aperture. A constant F/4 is much more desirable that a F/2.8 on the wide end/F/~4.5 on the long end IMHO.
03-29-2010, 01:05 PM   #4
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DA 16-45mm (which I believe is now out of production) was one of the first DA lenses and was around some years before the other two - it favoured the wide end as this is what existing camera owners coming over from film would be lacking. The DA* 16-50mm is an SDM (I've had no problems yet), weatherproof, faster, highend lens, and twinned neatly with the DA*50-135mm. Bit short at the top end, but that's what you pay for image quality, so the argument runs. The DA 17-70 is more or less the classic 28-105mm in 'cropped' format.

But then they used to have three more-or-less 100-300mm lenses available at the end of the 35mm camera production...

03-29-2010, 03:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Something that just came to my mind.

Considering there are many focal lengths and lens types that users feel they're missing, what on earth is the point in so many short zooms?

First of all, they're not really "short" zooms: they all cover wide angle to short tele. (Remember, these are DA lenses for cropped sensors). So, when examining Pentax's lens line-up, one must always keep in mind the "35 mm equivalent" of the lens. When examined from that vantage point, users aren't missing that many focal lengths (current lineup covers -- in terms of 35 mm equivalent -- from ~15mm all the way to 375mm). The main"lens type" that Pentax users are missing (compared to the FA series), is the 250-600.

While there were more zooms in the FA series, many of them were in a range equivalent to 16-45, the 16-50, the 17-70, the 18-55 and the 18-250 DA zooms. It's the most popular range with consumers; and it's less expensive to make lenses in that range than the ultra-wide or longer telephoto ranges (just compare the prices of various lenses).

The biggest gaps in Pentax's lineup is actually in their primes. Pentax still hasn't (and probably never will) made DA equivalents of the FA 28, 35, 50/1.4, 100 macro, 135, 200 macro, and the 600.
03-29-2010, 04:18 PM   #6
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I did some research before I bought a k10d to discover the 16-45 was actually a good "kit lens", so I ordered the k10d with the 16-45. I used it for a year then sold it so I could pick up a 16-50. Other than being slower and the obvious SDM / Weather sealed features, I was never really convinced that the 16-50 was that much better. For me, I understand why there is the 18-55 (cheap kit), 16-45 economical zoom, and the 16-50, but I never understood the 17-70.
03-29-2010, 04:54 PM   #7
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The real reason is to torment those that have LBA issues. Fortunately, zooms don't do much for me.
03-29-2010, 08:01 PM   #8
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IMNSHO Pentax is missing a long kit lens, like the Nikon 18-105. Ideal for models with a built-in SR. Nikon sold them by the bucketload and Pentax could do one better.

I was at the large camera dealer here the other day, and this young guy was looking at a DSLR. The older sales fellow was explaining lens options and kept saying, "...but on 35mm..."and the younger guy finally interrupted and said "What is 35mm?". He had no clue, didn't care, and it was getting in the way of a sale.

For users who have never used 35mm (younger folks) that "standard" or "equivalent" is irrelevant. It's like saying an iPod plays 33 and 1/3 albums. The market has a range of sensors and none of them "standard". Given market share, DA is the new benchmark for "normal" or "common", to get fussy.

We've never had it so good with all the choice, now that a Pentax large sensor is on the way.

03-30-2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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Sorry, I don't think you're permitted to complain that Pentax has too many lens options in a given range. The official line is that Pentax doesn't offer as many options as the other guys. Contrary opinions will not be tolerated.

:-)
03-30-2010, 04:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
IMNSHO Pentax is missing a long kit lens, like the Nikon 18-105. Ideal for models with a built-in SR. Nikon sold them by the bucketload and Pentax could do one better.

I was at the large camera dealer here the other day, and this young guy was looking at a DSLR. The older sales fellow was explaining lens options and kept saying, "...but on 35mm..."and the younger guy finally interrupted and said "What is 35mm?". He had no clue, didn't care, and it was getting in the way of a sale.

For users who have never used 35mm (younger folks) that "standard" or "equivalent" is irrelevant. It's like saying an iPod plays 33 and 1/3 albums. The market has a range of sensors and none of them "standard". Given market share, DA is the new benchmark for "normal" or "common", to get fussy.

We've never had it so good with all the choice, now that a Pentax large sensor is on the way.
Good post!

c[_]
03-30-2010, 07:39 PM   #11
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I thought Pentax had a "long" kit zoom . . . DA 55-300mm! I kind of like Dimitrov's terminology for zooms, short, medium & long making a 18-105mm a short zoom.

Pentax K-Mount Lenses and Lens Accessories
04-15-2010, 08:23 AM   #12
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I don't think they're actively messing with the LBA crowd, but as they try to make the best lenses relative to the price points, they came up with different lenses at different times. Nikon is known for having a worse case of having similar focal lengths zoom lenses, but typically the newer ones are better (optical quality, VR, etc).

For Pentax, I feel that they did believe that the DA* was an improvement over the 16-45mm enough that they went and manufactured it.
04-15-2010, 10:08 AM   #13
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Is the 16-45mm still officially being produced? I assumed the 17-70mm to be somewhat of a step-up/replacement. Most brands have multiple lenses with similar zoom ranges, especially in the more typical wide/normal to short tele range. If you think of the current lenses in terms of film ranges, you'll see they kind of fit with older offerings:

16-45mm = essentially a mid level F4 24-70mm (granted most older mid level lenses would have been f2.8).

17-70mm = 28-105mm film lenses (in the film era there were several in this range with slightly faster, variable apertures, such as f2.8-3.5)

16-50mm = a more true 24-70mm f2.8 film lens replacement (keeping in mind the 16-45mm was out for a couple of years prior to the 16-50mm release as well).

18-55mm = well, not really a film equivalent, though I guess the 28-80mm kit lenses that are now rather obsolete; it also fits with the generally standard zoom range of many point and shoot cameras, making explaining the jump to new camera buyers stepping up from a P&S.

so, I don't really see too much dilution there myself, just a range for different levels of photographers.
04-15-2010, 11:55 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
...
I was at the large camera dealer here the other day, and this young guy was looking at a DSLR. The older sales fellow was explaining lens options and kept saying, "...but on 35mm..."and the younger guy finally interrupted and said "What is 35mm?". He had no clue, didn't care, and it was getting in the way of a sale.
...
Sales: "FX"
Young guy: "Ahh"
04-15-2010, 04:18 PM   #15
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The worst part about the lenses that they do have always repeating and overlapping each other is that they're all missing one of the most important ranges, the 18-105mm range! I want a lens with this range.
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