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04-19-2010, 12:37 PM   #1
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Upgrade from kit to 16-45mm?

Hi, I've recently got myself a K-x with twin kit lenses and I'm loving it! I really enjoy wide angle shooting - candid street shots up close, and architecture among other things.

The DA-L 18-55 kits lens seems pretty good in my (total dslr novice) opinion. It's pretty sharp across the range and I am happy with it. Question is, would I notice much difference in the DA 16-45? Is the IQ any better, and mainly, does that 2mm make much difference??

I do tend to zoom to 55mm quite a lot, but it seems there's not that much difference between 45mm and 55mm, so I think I could live with losing that range - I have the DA-L 50-200 if I need to go further.

Is that 2mm extra worth the ?!? I think I could only get about 30 for my mint DA-L 18-55 if I sell it!

Thanks, Az

04-19-2010, 12:45 PM   #2
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As a proud and satisfied owner of the DA 16-45mm lens I can assure you that it is much better than the kit lens and definitely worth the extra money IMO. On top of being noticeable sharper throughout the zoom range the extra 2mm at the wide end make this a great and fun lens to use. So if you do decide to get it I will guarantee that you will definitely enjoy more than your kit lens for sure.

Hope this helps,
Cory
04-19-2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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The extra 2mm is what I notice, the reversible lens hood and some improvements in IQ are good too. But what you will really notice is the size, it is much larger than your kit lens, plus it has a reversed zoom, so it gets longer the more you pull back. (I always get the, oh why you zooming in so much comments.)

If you want the range it is worth it, if you want better pictures, maybe spend the money on a photo class. (Unless you have LBA like me, than buy!)
04-19-2010, 01:03 PM   #4
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I dont like the reverse zoom of the 16-45. I always shoot at 16mm maybe 80% and everytime i shoot i have to turn the zoom and turn it back after. Also keep in mind when shooting on the wide end 16-24 i think you cant use the pop up flash

04-19-2010, 01:10 PM   #5
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I think the DA 16-45/4 has better IQ, enough to notice the difference. It is better at large apertures too, so although it does not look faster than the kit lens, the kit lens needs to be stopped down more for the same quality. It's a good solution to get to 16mm.

Its minor flaws compared to the kit lens: bigger, doesn't focus as close, different range. I have to squash the lens into my camera bag sometimes. I only notice the close focus when I take photos to sell lenses, which I kept the kit lens for. I like the range because I have an excuse to bring a 50 or 55.
04-19-2010, 01:51 PM   #6
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The 16-45mm was the first lens i purchased when I bought my K10d and I have to say that in terms of IQ, contrast, sharpness, and anything else you can imagine, it'll blow away the kit lens. It is easily one of the best DA lenses Pentax has ever made. Its very unfortunate that they discontinued it.

The 16-45mm has a reputation of being as good as a prime lens but having the ability to zoom.
04-19-2010, 01:59 PM   #7
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I'm going to go the opposite way of the others. I won't say the 16-45 is a Bad lens, it isn't. I didn't find however (on the K10d) that it was That much better than the 18-55 kit lens. I typically shoot stopped down anyway so that may be part of it. The constant f4 is useful to have at times. For the additional cost however, I would hang on to the kit lens, save a few more coins, and pick up a wide angle prime or zoom. Something like the DA10-17 or the DA12-24 or the DA14 or DA15. All of which will get you wider than 18mm and make the 16-45 pale in comparison. Then save some more coins and replace the Kit lens with a 16-50 or 17-70 range lens. If you're feeling the need to add to the kit after that, save a Lot of coins and get a DA*60-250 or one of the 70-200 offerings from Tamron or Sigma. Killer kit you'll have then.

04-19-2010, 02:24 PM   #8
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I agree with Jeff in regards that the 16-45mm may not be a lens for everyone. If you want to go wider, get the 12-24mm DA which is also a fantastic lens (although much more expensive). But in direct comparison between the kit and the 16-45mm, its not even a contest.

With that said, i owned the 16-45mm for about 2 years and sold it to buy a 12-24mm for an extra wide view.

04-19-2010, 02:39 PM   #9
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If you already go to 55mm all the time when you're using your DA 18-55mm, have you considered getting the DA 17-70mm or the Sigma 17-70mm instead? That way you get a little bit more range on your long end and also a little bit more on your wide end. You can get the original Sigma 17-70mm used for about as much as the DA 16-45mm too, and the macro function on it is really amazing. I used to have one of them and I would definitely recommend it.
04-19-2010, 03:02 PM   #10
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had tried both the 18-55 and the 16-45, and I could definitely say that it is a really big step up in IQ. worth the upgrade for only $200.
04-19-2010, 03:10 PM   #11
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I returned a 16-45mm because of some cosmetic defect--and before returning it I made the mistake to pixelpeep at about 20 shots taken with it and then with the kit lens from my window. I compared the pics by looking at magnified regions, etc. (I should mention that the pics taken with the kit lens were also processed with DxO, which dramatically improves the kit lens' output.) Not noticing any significant difference, I returned the 16-45 and decided not to buy another one. But after 2 months I bought it again, and used it to take real life pics, which I then compared with real life pics taken with the kit lens (and DxO processed). Conclusion: pixelpeeping can be very misleading. The IQ difference btw. the kit lens and the 16-45mm is more than significant. Many say that the kit lens is about as good as the 16-45mm from f8 on. Not in my experience. Photos taken with the 16-45mm have a much better 'subjective' look even at smaller apertures. The images seem 'solid', with lots of details and tones. (It's my impression that the kit lens loses many layers of gray and dark in more contrasty settings, layers which the 16-45mm preserves.) Indeed, from f5.6 the 16-45mm nears the quality of primes.
The only real problem I have with it--I can live with the protruding front element and the lens' weight--is that it is trickier to focus. I mean, for instance, I still have to learn to use it to avoid soft corners at 16mm and to produce the optimal depth of field in various circumstances. On the other hand, having the 16mm is a big plus.
I am keeping the kit lens as well, since it is a very good lens which can be useful in specific situations. But when I do not want to change primes, most of the time I'll be using the 16-45mm.

Last edited by causey; 04-19-2010 at 03:29 PM.
04-19-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
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and for my two cents extra... I did replace my kit with the 16-45, but I too bought the 10-17(I know fisheye, but i wanted the extra width/fun.

Also with the pentax 540 flash and a little bounce there are no lens shadow issues...
04-19-2010, 06:17 PM   #13
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My experience is similar to some of the other posters. The DA 16-45mm was one of my first purchases, made to improve the kit lens performance in the corners and get me constant aperture. I also found that the 2mm in the wide end made a big difference. For the sorts off shots I wanted to do the lens was a distinct improvement.

But I am not a "one lens fits all" kind of guy, so I find I never use the DA 16-45 these days, rather favouring a combination of the DA 12-24 and the FA 43. But that is a much more expensive proposition.

Straight up, the DA 16-45 is a great lens for its price.
04-19-2010, 08:59 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by GatorPentax Quote
The 16-45mm was the first lens i purchased when I bought my K10d and I have to say that in terms of IQ, contrast, sharpness, and anything else you can imagine, it'll blow away the kit lens. It is easily one of the best DA lenses Pentax has ever made. Its very unfortunate that they discontinued it.

The 16-45mm has a reputation of being as good as a prime lens but having the ability to zoom.
They discontinued it?

I didn't know this.

I agree with your statement, GatorPentax. I feel that both a trained and an untrained eye can see the superior image quality of the 16-45 right away. The kit lens is not a bad lens, I just feel that the 16-45 is much better in image quality and color rendition. Here's a night shot I took recently with the 16-45.
16-45 @ 45mm @ f5.6 @ .5 seconds.


I didn't take the same shot with the kit lens for a comparison, but I think the 16-45 did a very good job here.

If you're sitting on the fence about buying one, let me suggest you fall onto the side of the 16-45.

Mike
P.S. Photobucket's fresco effect added to the photo to saturate the colors, and add texture to the bricks.
04-19-2010, 10:03 PM   #15
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Having owned a 16-45 and several 18-55's, I can honestly say that I don't see the difference.
Perhaps there is a difference at the pixel peeping level, but... for the most part... it wasn't really noticable as was the extra 2mm at the wide end.

My two cents at least.
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