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04-15-2010, 08:04 AM   #1
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SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 or Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II

I'd like some opinions and feedback. I'm looking to replace the 18-55 kit lens on my Pentax k-X. The only other lens I have is the DA* 50-135 f/2.8. I want to have a complimentary pair for general photography.

I'm looking at the DA* 16-50 2.8 and Tamron 17-50 2.8. Briefly looked at the DA 17-70 f/4 but prefer the Tammy and DA* 2.8 unless someone can convince me otherwise. I'm aware of SDM issues, etc., and would purchase a warranty should I opt for the Pentax.

Attributes of the 50-135 that are desirable in the new lens:
- Quality build
- Excellent color rendition
- Quick-Shift Focus System - I often tune focus manually since my 50-135 AF often hunts in low light.

My application:
- Low light performance is very important - I frequently shoot indoor/dusk and strive for low ISO without flash.
- Wide angle is important, macro is not.

So in a nutshell:
What should I get for great color, low light, moderate wide-angle, and nice manual focus?

04-15-2010, 10:52 AM   #2
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I am extremely happy with the results from my DA* 16-50. The only times I have AF troubles with this lens are zoomed out to wide in low contrast lighting, or when I forget to check what it is focusing on - I usually use centre point only, and occasionally auto select - when I am using auto select AF points.
04-15-2010, 10:56 AM   #3
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I too have had excellent results with my DA* 16-50. Occassionally it will hesitate but that's usually when it's been not used for a while. Once I "wake it up" It operates just fine and as it should. One thing I do especially like, is that when paired with my DA* 50-135 on my other body, I get nice consistent results. This is important in a shoot and saves time adjusting colors etc to make the images match from two different lenses.
04-15-2010, 01:25 PM   #4
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SDM issues aside I feel the same. The 16-50 pairs very well with the 50-135, although I got the wider zoom first.

04-15-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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I've been a big advocate of the Tammy 17-50 here on the forums. I have no doubt that the 16-50 has its advantages (build quality and weatherproofing chief among them), but based on what I've seen, in terms of IQ they're very very similar. The Tamron probably delivers a slightly warmer color cast, but I feel like it's got less distortion and CA at the wide end. The Tammy focuses slightly closer. The Pentax sample variation is probably better controlled, though it does have the SDM issue.

Overall I don't think you can go wrong (with a good copy) with either lens.
04-15-2010, 03:22 PM   #6
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As much as I recycle lenses (sell existing ones to buy new ones), the SDM DA* lenses are here to stay..

I can't knock or praise the Tamron because I've never tried it.. However, any tamron I ever Have had/used was a stellar performer. So if Weather sealing, ultra quiet focus, and beautiful colors are your goal, the DA*16-50 is hard to beat. If Weather sealing isn't important to you and cost is an issue (?), I'm reasonably sure the Tamron will fill that lower gap quite nicely.

It is a nice out and about lens too..

04-15-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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Because of the AF trouble that some of the 16-50mm owners have reported, I would recommend the Tamron. But overall the 17-50mm f/2.8 is a much smaller and lighter lens, and it takes some great photos. Probably actually on par with those from of the other lens, while costing a lot less.
04-16-2010, 01:05 AM   #8
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one more thing is that, the Pentax warranty is 1 year while Tamron is 6 years warranty according to b&h.

depending on what you do, the warranty may be an issue.

04-16-2010, 03:32 AM   #9
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I've used my DA* 16-50mm on my K10D for some years, it now is more or glued to my K-7.
It is a great lens and low light focus with the K-7 works *MUCH* better.

- Bert
04-16-2010, 04:49 AM   #10
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I have not tried the Tamron... but I was in a similar position to yourself some months back... (had the 50-135 but wanted to upgrade the 18-55 ALII on my K20D)

I went for the DA*16-50 and I am very happy that I did... wonderful lens, maybe misses that "special something" that the 50-135 has but due to its FL it is much more on my camera. I find focussing much faster & is physically much smaller vs. 50-135.
04-16-2010, 05:31 AM   #11
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The DA* is also weatherproof! It's wider, better optically, and SDM issues are not "frequent", they are just "not rare".

I don't own the lens but I'd like to. If f2,8 was not required for you I'd suggest the Sigma 17-70 but given your list go with the DA*.
04-16-2010, 09:58 AM   #12
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Thanks for the feedback thus far.
To be honest, I prefer the DA* 16-50 and am prepared to spend the money. However, the negatives are that I will need to purchase a warranty and both UV and polarizing filters which, at 77mm, is not cheap and will crowd the bag. Whereas the Tamron's 67mm thread will enable me to swap out the B+W polarizer I picked up for the DA* 50-135.

I'm tortured at this point, endlessly swapping items in and out of my shopping cart, re-reading reviews and forum posts, searching lens metadata on photo sites, and otherwise wasting time better spent shooting more and/or post processing.

I know deadwolfbones is a fan of the Tammy. I'd like to hear more from folks who had or have the Tamron or have tried both of these lenses.

From owners of the Tammy 17-50 2.8, have you experienced issues with under-exposure or asymmetric ev through the focal range (both reported issues)? Thoughts on build quality? Any other thoughts on it's color rendition?

I feel like I have enough input on the DA* to make a sound purchase, just want more on the Tammy.

Thanks in advance.
04-17-2010, 02:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrPetkus Quote
I'm tortured at this point...
Just pull the trigger, you'll be very happy with the DA*.

BTW, this photo was taken with MF when the SDM was acting up, which was later replaced by Pentax Service Center for free and fairly quickly:

04-17-2010, 03:22 PM   #14
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OP, I was in the same boat not too long ago. The Tamron was very impressive, but so was the Pentax. SDM scared me though. In the end, being just a bit wider and weather sealed, the Pentax and a separate warranty (which was pretty cheap) won out.
04-17-2010, 04:29 PM   #15
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Bought the DA*, should arrive early next week. Feel good about the decision now that it's done. Psyched. Will post first impressions.

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