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HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR Review RSS Feed

HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Sharpness 
 9.1
Aberrations 
 8.6
Bokeh 
 7.9
Autofocus 
 9.2
Handling 
 8.9
Value 
 7.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
17 121,206 Sun January 8, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
82% of reviewers $626.14 9.06
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
supersize

Description:
The HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm zoom was presented at Photokina 2014 and is expected to ship in November of 2014.

This zoom represents an upgrade from the 18-55mm kit lens being wider as well as having a longer reach and adding to that silent autofocus thanks to a built-in DC autofocus motor.

The lens is weather resistant.

HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 7 blades (rounded)
Optics
16 elements, 12 groups
Mount Variant
KAF3
Max. Aperture
F3.5-5.6
Min. Aperture
F22-38
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor)
DC
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
35 cm
Max. Magnification
0.26x
Filter Size
72 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 83-19 ° / 74-16 °
Hood
PH-RBA 72 mm
Case
S90-140
Lens Cap
O-LC72
Coating
HD,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (WR)
Other Features
Diam x Length
78 x 94 mm (3.1 x 3.7 in.)
Weight
488 g (16.07 oz.)
Production Years
2014 to Present
Pricing
$557 USD current price
Engraved Name
HD PENTAX-DA 1:3.5-5.6 16-85mm ED DC WR
Product Code
21387
Notes
Three aspherical elements and one ED glass element.
No autofocus on older bodies (*istD series, K100D, K110D, and film).

Features:
Supersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
In-Depth Review: Read our HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



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Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Silverstone
Posts: 23
Lens Review Date: January 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Colour rendition, sharpness
Cons: Weight, slow speed
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-S2   

I bought this lens as a direct upgrade of my 18-55 II kit lens. There have been some very good deals lately, especially here in the UK, and I managed to find an "open box" copy.

I was looking for weather resistance, silent focusing, better IQ and a wider range. The 16-85 delivered all of those.

My copy is not as sharp at 16mm as it is by 21mm, then it is really sharp through to 70mm or so, before losing a bit of IQ. The long end has better contrast than the short end. The colour rendition is particularly good.

I was not looking for a substantial increase in overall weight. Compared to the 18-55 II, the 16-85 is quite a chunk.

   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 52

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $680.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Very useful focal range; good sharpness, fast, silent and reliable focusing, great contrast and colours, weather-proofing
Cons: slow aperture, too expensive (in Europe), hood too big, quality issue with my copy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 4    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 5    Value: 3    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5 IIs   

I bought this lens for the purpose of my Iceland trip. I have an allround zoom - Sigma 17-70mm/2,8-4, but knowing the wet conditions I intended to shoot in in Iceland I wanted a weather-proof zoom. So I gave this Pentax a try. First it started with a dissapointment straight by unpacking: the rubber seal on the inside barrel which extends during zooming didnīt hold in itīs place, so the weather-sealing was questionable. However I had no time to return the lens and wait for new one so I took it with me. I shot more than 1000 photos on my trip and my impressions are much better than I expected. Since I shot solely outside (landscapes), the slow lens speed was no issue. What was important, the lens survived some serious showers as well as waterfall mist without problems (I am sure this would have ruined my Sigma). The focal range is very universal, 16mm being great for wide landscapes and 85mm fairly usefull for distant objects or animals.
What is most important is optical quality and here the lens surprised the most. The lens is really sharp, I couldnīt see a difference in sharpness between it and the HD DA 15mm Limited. What is more the lens is sharp throughout the focal range, compared to my Sigma 17-70 much sharper at both ends. The contrast is great, the colours are vivid. The HD coating efectively fights with flare. Of course there is some visible barrel distortion especially at wide end, but no big deal. Focusing is fast, silent and reliable, I encountered absolutely no focus hunting. Quick-shift focus is also nice to have (something I miss on my Sigma).
I still have to process RAWs and pixel-peep the pictures, the fist look at the pics on 17,6" screen of my new laptop is very promising though. I will be posting some pics here in PF gallery.
Generally the lens surprised me. I didnīt expect much, but the outcome is great, especially landscape pictures. Of course given the slow speed this lens is not suitable for low-light shooting nor for portraits and blurred background. But for what it is aimed at - outdoor shooting where universal allround lens is required - it is close to perfect.
As far as downsides are concerned: the lens is quite expensive (in Europe), I paid 631 EUR for it which is pretty much for a slow variable aperture zoom. The luminosity itself is not great, especially compared to the new Nikon counterpart (which is able to offer f2,8-4). The issue with the seal indicates the quality control is still not pefect. The lens hood is pretty big and inpractical when reverted, making the lens big for storage.
Because of the seal issue I sent it back, but apart from that the lens convinced me and I plan to buy new one again (as soon as I sell my Sigma 17-70). And since I have the fast Sigma 18-35mm, I wonīt mind the slow variable aperture.

[IMG]https://www.pentaxforums.com/gallery/images/67120/1_IMGP9628.jpg[IMG]
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Posts: 10,073

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 14, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $540.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid IQ, Easy to handle
Cons: Within specs, none.

Within specs, this is really an excellent lens, delivering superior IQ. It's not fast so it won't deliver shallow DOF shots--but you knew that right?

It was my most used lens on my recent trip to Cancun, giving way to other, specialized, lenses when I needed telephoto, fast or UWA. It's definitely going to be my main knock-about lens for the foreseeable future.

FWIW while it's hard to squeeze bokeh out of this lens given the aperture limitation but when you are able to get enough separation between the subject & background, the oof areas are quite nice--maybe not exquisitely buttery, but certainly calm.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 1,124

7 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 4, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $447.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Even sharpness, good control of aberrations
Cons: Wide hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3   

I was impressed by this lens when it made its first (unexpected) appearance in late 2014, and am even more impressed now having used my own copy over the last week to photograph fireworks, flowers, people, and architecture. The sharpness approaches a very good prime, and is remarkably even across the frame.The bokeh is smooth and very attractive. Aberrations are well controlled, with only minor CA near the edges. The barrel distortion at 16mm is almost gone by 21mm, and is easily corrected. Autofocus is fast, accurate, and unobtrusive. In summary, there is nothing not to like in this lens, though of course one could always wish for more speed.

The common comparator of the DA 16-85 is the DA 18-135. They look very similar and are built to similar high standards. However, the 16-85 is clearly superior optically. The 18-135 is noticeably soft at the edges and prone to CA there; the 16-85 is pin-sharp, and CA is both less common and less pronounced. Now, I LOVE the 18-135; it's a terrific travel lens, but in most respects it is bettered by the 16-85. Perhaps the only area where the older lens wins (depending on your taste) is its more vibrant colour rendition. On a sunny blue-sky day, the 18-135 seems to have its own built-in polarizing filter; the 16-85 too, but less so. The 16-85 is slightly bigger and slightly heavier than the 18-135, but nothing too noticeable. It is not a big lens when you compare it with what you see on Canons or Nikons.

Of course, the biggest difference between the two lenses is the (defining) focal length range. Anyone looking to purchase one or other of these lenses should primarily be concerned with whether they need or prefer the extra 50mm at the long end of the 18-135, or the extra 2mm at the short end of the 16-85, and then secondarily with the optical quality. Balancing off 2mm with 50mm seems an uneven contest, but that 2mm really does translate to a substantially wider field of view. My perspective is that if I were limited to one WR zoom while travelling, I would take the 18-135. However, if I had the 55-300 or equivalent with me too, I'd take the 16-85 instead, even if I also had the DA 15 Ltd with me as well (I never go anywhere without the DA15).

Whereas my copy of the DA 18-135 is just on the verge of zoom creep, the 16-85 is by comparison very stiff. There is no danger of creep with this lens.

I also like the new-style lens cap on the DA 16-85. It's big and easy to handle. The only very minor complaint is that the hood is very wide when attached to the lens in reverse for storage in a bag, making the fit a little awkward at times.

All round, I really can't see any reason not to give this lens full marks, relative to price.

UPDATE: After a lot of shots at a sand sculpture exhibition, in brilliant sunshine, I retain my view that this lens is an excellent all-rounder. However, do not expect it to rival the DA15 at its short end. Although sharp enough at 16mm, it lacks the prime's punch there, which is not surprising for a 5.3x zoom. My limited sampling of focal lengths so far suggests the 16-85 is particularly strong from 20-60mm, but really, you have to pixel peep pretty hard to see any flaws beyond that range.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: tagliente anche a tutta apertura
Cons: nessuno
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: pentax k3   

Ottimo obiettivo, va bene anche per il ritratto, avrei preferito un f4 ma va bene cosi,


   
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 10

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 22, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Versatile range, good balance on a k3, color contrast, WR
Cons: Soft wide open, almost unusable above 50mm
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k3   

UPDATE 04/04/2016

Up to this Saturday this lens autofocus was almost flawless. I bought a K3 II as a gift to my partner and when we were going around to check the camera I gave her mine 16-85. Surprise surprise... DC motor is not focusing correctly!!! I need to press the AF button approximately 5 times for it to lock focus if it locks at all. Very disappointing.. I wasn't extremely happy with some small things on this lens (not very relevant) but this is not acceptable.. I have to send it in I suppose.

UPDATE 02/03/2016

After my trip to Australia and testing this lens in all possible scenarios from extremely humid and rainy environments to blowing sand, one thing is for sure, this lens is weather sealed! Honestly I was surprised because with the zooming in and out with sand I was thinking... ok... one way trip for this lens.. but no! It came out in one piece. Perfect weather sealing!

Image quality wise I found it sharp from 20 to 45/50mm almost from wide open and from corner to corner, very good indeed! It is perfectly usable from 16mm, don't get me wrong, its very very good! However when you go above 50mm I just can't stand the pictures I took with it at those focal lengths! Maybe I am just being picky.. it's possible! But as I stated before I wasn't expecting this from a premium priced lens, 35mm of its range is very bad in comparison to the rest! For the price I am not sure if the DA*16-50 wouldn't be a better option, but unfortunately i've never had the opportunity to use that lens so.. anyway from 16-50with this lens its perfect!

I was afraid I would miss the faster aperture when I bought this lens... and indeed.. many times I found myself exchanging lens to my 35mm f2.8 if I was walking around at night. But that you know to begin with .

Some sample pictures below (they don't mean much with the extreme compression they have here but anyway):

https://scontent-arn2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtl1/t31.0-8/12716027_102069799...55546434_o.jpg

https://scontent-arn2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/t31.0-8/12593469_102068745...61390597_o.jpg

PREVIOUS REVIEW:

Positive points:
Overall I have to say it is a good lens. It might be a bit soft wide-open but when stopped down its very sharp across the frame and beyond any kit lens. Meaning that if you are looking for an upgrade from your kit lens (18-55 WR) this can be an option. I won't talk about the 18-135 because I never shot with one.Its a super lens to take to take with you on vacations due to its versatile zoom range, weather resistant (still to be tested), and for landscape is awesome with its 16mm and sharpness stopped down, with extremely good color contrast.

Some examples here:
EXIF: 21mm, f8, 1/80, ISO100

https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/t31.0-8/11223863_102062936...90977124_o.jpg
EXIF: 21mm, f11, 13sec, ISO100

https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/t31.0-8/12109967_102062814...77452927_o.jpg

Downside:

I don't understand why any of my pentax lenses have no stop on the focus ring, it keeps going after the limit... why? is that good for any reason? When I bought it I thought that wide open this would be ok and I could even shot some casual portraits with it but it doesn't seem to be the case, forget it. This stems both from the fact that the lens is soft wide open and even softer if wide-open at 85mm. Anyway, the worst of it all is the price, I was expecting that the negative points I pointing out here wouldn't exist. Almost 700 euros... its not cheap or reasonably priced, its expensive.

I haven't shot that much wide-open, so it might be just my fault so far (I hope so). Nevertheless, not from experience but from what I've read in the forum, if you have the money go for the 16-50 DA*. I could have done it and I didn't.. I don't know why until today.

Conclusion:

I have this lens for a very short time therefore, as I always do, I will update my review as I did with my 300mm DA* (amazing lens, BUY IT)! I will put this DA 16-85 to test on my next trip to Australia this summer (south hemisphere summer), after which I will come back with more and definitive news.
To this moment in time, and for the price, I can't recommend this lens.

Have fun and happy shooting
   
Pentaxian

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Sebastopol, California
Posts: 1,849

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Covers most-used focal lengths
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

I've tried my share of zoom lenses and never found one that met or exceeded my expectations. For that reason I've always had a stable of prime lenses.

But this zoom is a treasure. I wanted a zoom with first rate IQ that I could use for 90% of the shooting I do, and this lens is serving well for that. So my overall 10 rating is meant to bestow high praise on what was achieved for a zoom covering this particular FL. I could've found ways to criticize, but I'm so grateful someone made such a quality, lightweight lens in the 16-85 range I can't bring myself to nitpick (sure, if it were F2.8 that would be great, but then it would also be a lot bigger and heavier, and I most often shoot at F5.6 and F8 anyway, so any lens is a compromise in some manner). For me, this is the best all-purpose lens Pentax offers right now, and the price new seems fairly reasonable as well.

Shot at 48mm, F5.6:
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2013
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 262

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $585.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Solid build, great AF, quiet, usable range
Cons: Inconsistent performance, about a stop slow, expensive
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

I became jealous of my cousin's 16-85mm zoom on her Nikon, and the reviews for this lens made me decide to take the plunge and invest. I have used this lens heavily since I received it, almost to exclusion of others despite my simultaneous purchase of a 55-300 WR lens at the same time. It is the most expensive lens I have ever owned and had high expectations based on that fact and on other reviews.

The bad:
  • I haven't found the lens as sharp as advertised unless in ideal conditions.
  • Barrel distortion can be noticeable
  • I wish it had another stop of aperture. Low light is not this lens' friend.
  • It is the only 72mm filter size lens I own and thus requires all new filters and adapters.
  • It does not come with a case like other high end Pentax lenses, which is disappointing.
  • The quick shift is easy to hit by accident, throwing off several shots for me -- the quick shot being forward like on the 55-300 is a better arrangement, IMO.

The good:
  • The lens has good performance overall, just not as outstanding as I expected based on rating and reviews.
  • It has the least trouble with focus hunting of any Pentax autofocus I have used
  • It is notably quiet and fast while focusing.
  • The range of the lens is usable in real world conditions
  • Image quality is generally quite good when conditions are right.
  • Weather resistance survived immersion in a waterfall while attached to a K-5 body and kept shooting just fine.
  • Light for its size and complexity.

I would recommend this lens for sure, but it is not the superstar I expected.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 1,829

10 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $646.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, contrasty, vivid color rendition, excellent performance throughout zoom range
Cons: 72mm filter ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5iis   

The DA 16-85 has quickly established itself as one of the very best APS-C standard zooms for the K-Mount, rivaling even the DA* 16-50 for sharpness and contrast. You give up aperture speed to gain the longer range. For landscape and general travel photography, you cannot do any better.

The lens is tack sharp, corner to corner, throughout much of its range, only losing a little sharpness toward the far edges in the 50mm to 85mm range. Thanks to the HD coatings, lens contrast is remarkably good, especially considering the amount of glass in the lens. Flare control is good as well, although it doesn't quite match what can be attained by the DA limiteds. At 16mm, this lens is sharper toward the edges than my DA 15 (although not as sharp away from the edges); and it's at least as sharp as my HD DA 21. The limiteds render a bit better; but the differences are often quite subtle, and can take a sharp eye to notice. For landscape photographers shooting Pentax APS-C, the DA 16-85 is the ideal lens to build a kit around.

At 16mm:



At 26mm:



At 35mm:



At 85mm:

   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 270

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $599.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Crispy sharp, bokeh, handling
Cons: None other than cost...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5iiS and K-30   

Not enough reviews of this lens in my view, just adding my experience.

Bought the DA16-85 in Paris to replace or compliment the older DA18-135. Couldn't be happier with this lens after a month of testing during vacation period. The lens is quite sharp, monstrously so, the handling is tight and balanced and the bokeh even surprised me for a 3.5 max aperture lens. In fact, on a K-5iis, this lens is perhaps not well-adapted to portaits due to the resolution capacity which pulls out all the details and imperfections (Tip - don't shoot your wife with this lens). Part of this is due to the K-5iis lack of AA filter, granted, but even on the K-30 the lens is clearly superior to the DA18-135 in termes of detail and resolution.

As for the limited focal length of 85mm max, I have not been inconvenienced or hampered for general vacation photography. The cropping potential is there for the distant subjects and the wide 16mm end is a welcome and very useful improvement as compared to the DA18-135. Autofocus seems/feels very quick and accurate, no qualms there.

Not sure if my copy is good or average, but the lens is performing extremely well and I absolutely do not regret acquiring this lens new even at Euro pricing levels.
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: montreal
Posts: 136

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 25, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, WR, range
Cons: location of the focusing ring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K50   

I bought that lens because of it's range and WR, there wasn't much user opinions or review but I decided to go ahead and buy one. No regret, it's a great lens with very good sharpness even at close range and in the corners. Nice Bokeh as a bonus of the rounded aperture blades, no CA up to now. I like to use it for "intimate view" .... small part of the landscape or close-up shots.
I did some comparison with my Tamron 90mm Macro (model 72E) and at f/5.6 the Tamron have a slight edge on sharpness but at f/8 there is no real advantage and in the field it would be irrelevant (this was for center sharpness since I didn't care about the corners, I want to use it for photographing frogs and corners are not important).
Here is a gallery of photos taken with it, I will load photos as I gain more shooting images from the field, not a place to look at sharpness but more for rendering and Bokeh:

http://smarcoux.zenfolio.com/p1060481141

A really useful lens for my Nature photography quest for sure and also useful for family photo and vacation.
My review on my Blog: http://steevemarcoux2.com/2015/03/20/pentax-da-16-85mm-wr-early-review/
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Posts: 5,658

12 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $680.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, well-made, WR, great colours, DC focus
Cons: Large
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

I've been asked to post my opinion about my newly acquired HD 16-85mm. So here it is. You can click images to get to larger versions.

I am comparing the lens mainly to the DA 18-55 WR and the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 (version 1). The 16-85 will replace the kit lens as my WR lens, and might replace the Sigma for many walkaround occasions. If it lives up to my expectations, that is.

The lens is larger than I thought. Mainly longer. It's surprisingly larger than the Sigma. However, it has the same weight.







It is, of course, much larger than the kit lens, but I decided to include pictures to give a sense of scale.







The finish matches the K-3 (and other bodies) perfectly. Really beautiful. It balances well also, because of the relative low weight. The zoom ring falls under the hand quite naturally. This is my first lens with the focus ring near the body. It's ok, not better than at the front, but I don't expect to use it a lot.

The zoom ring is smooth, and I am not worried by the lack of a lock : I'm sure it won't move. The focus ring is interesting, in the fact that it has soft stops. This means that when you reach the end of its throw, it keeps moving with more friction. It's nice, though the 60-25, which has the same system, has much more friction, so the transition is easier to see. There are no focus distance marks anywhere.

Quick note : the lens cap is a new design, with less rounded features than the usual.

In use the lens is just great. 16mm makes a visible difference, even when compared to 17mm. It feels like I've stepped into UWA territory for the first time. The 85mm range is also a bonus over what I own. All in all the range feels extremely useful and well chosen (Pentax is not alone in choosing this range of course). Here is an example of the same scene at 16 and 85mm to give a sense of scale.




AF is a wonder. It's even more silent than the SDM motor of the 60-250. It's faster by all accounts. It seems accurate, at least I've had no misses so far. It is also leagues ahead of any screw-drive lens when using live view or video. The Sigma is no slouch but the 16-85 is even more responsive.

I have mainly tested the lens outside, in good light. That's where I expect to use it. And it performs above my expectations there. Colours are saturated and accurate, sharpness is better than excellent, there are no CA and PF to speak of. I see some distortion at 16mm, as expected, but it's not bad at all.

Here are many samples pictures. I invite you to click the images to get to larger versions. In particular, look at the texture on my son's hat. And if you see haze in the outdoors images, it's because the waterfall is throwing mist around





f8


f5.6
















   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2009
Location: West Cornwall
Posts: 117

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 25, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $743.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Good zoom range, especially wide, feels nice to use.
Cons: Average sharpness for the price, poor max apertures.
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 3    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I cannot agree with the glowing reports this lens is getting. I bought one to try before any technical reviews were out and tested it (unscientifically) around my area.
Bearing in mind I was comparing it to the 18-135 which I had relegated to a shelf "in case I need a Weather Resistant lens one day" I was hoping for great things from the price and preliminary write ups.

The first couple of days I was impressed by the smooth quiet and accurate focusing, and the wide angle reach at 16mm, but the next couple of dull days showed the limits of the narrow aperture especially at the long tele end of the range, with auto ISO selecting comparatively high settings.

Then going through the images I had made, I began to get a general "MEH" very average impression. None of the images "Leapt off the monitor" with biting sharpness or zingy contrast.

Looking closer revealed smeary unsharpness in corners at the wide end, and distortion-unattractive!

At the tele end the corners were better but it seemed OVERALL sharpness was down to achieve better corners.

I was left with a feeling of disappointment that a fairly expensive lens, even at a good discount price had - for me - an average performance.

This lens in OKAY but no more, I have returned it as unsuitable while the 18-135 still keeps its place on my shelf, and occasionally on my camera.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2011
Posts: 954

65 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 7, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $646.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent Zoom Range, 16mm, Outstanding Sharpness, DC/WR
Cons: Constant F/4 would have made it perfect :/
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I am not the owner of this lens however it was sent to me to help with the official in-depth review that Adam is about to publish very soon. Hence why you won't see any sample images other than my crop comparisons below

BUT I wanted to share my experience with the lens since I'm not writing the actual review and it may be of some benefit to some of you

First Impressions and Build Quality

Not as big as I thought it would be, as the photos from Photokina and CP+ made it look a lot bigger. I thought it would dwarf the 16-50, especially with its "massive" hood, but that isn't the case. Here are some product photos taken to compare its size against both the DA* 16-50 and the 18-135 WR:

By themselves:



By themselves, zoom fully extended
:



Hoods reversed for storage:




Hoods attached normally:




Hoods attached, full zoom extension:



As for the build itself, it's extremely well made and has an excellently tight build quality. Nothing rattles, shakes, jiggles, wobbles, etc. The zoom ring is tight as well - moreso than either the DA* 16-50 or the 18-135 and even at full extension with the hood attached there wasn't the slightest hint of lens creep in either direction ("slipping out" or "shrinking in").

I haven't tested the WR (shocker, I know ), but I am confident it would do just fine here. I had it in a light drizzle, but we all know that doesn't count for a weather sealing test

The hood is very well made and has an excellent feel to it. I think they used a different material to line the inside of it because it's matte black as you'd expect but it's the finest (by "fine" I mean smallest/thinnest/smoothest/etc.) material I've ever felt in a hood like this. Really impressed. And then the hood has the expected window for polarizer filter rotation.


Autofocus

Not much to say here - very quick and silent. The focus throw is a bit longer than I expected (longer than the 18-135 by quite a bit), but it didn't seem to have an impact on focus speed (so....faster DC motor?). So for it's intended purpose - for a landscape/all-in-one zoom lens it's not a hindrance in the slightest as I've noticed.


Image Quality

What you've been waiting for, huh? I took comparison shots and merged them into single files to make it easier to view. All the images are labeled below using the three lenses mentioned above.

Also, they are all 100% crops taken from the same position, on a tripod, using 2s timer, and with both center and their associated corner crops.

16mm/18mm, wide open



16/18mm, f/5.6




16mm/18mm, f/8.0



Moving up to 50mm to test the center (ish) of both the 16-85 and 18-135 and the long end of the DA* 16-50.

50mm, wide open



50mm, f/5.6



50mm, f/8.0



And now I compared both the last two DC WR zooms at their max zoom, and then upres'ed the 16-85 image to match the 18-135 to see how that would compare.

85/135mm, wide open



85/135mm, f/8.0


Aperture Range


This chart should help:



Apologies for the lack of uniformity in the styles - I used the same chart from the 18-135 review that I wrote but I simply (and quickly) added the 16-85 info using MS Paint for this user review.

Conclusion

My down and dirty assessment? Many people bitched and complained about Pentax losing their ability to make lenses because it was "only f3.5-5-6" and thus it was going to suck as a way over priced kit lens.

It's good to see Pentax still has it's A-game as an optics company, because this lens has impressed the hell out of me. Way more expensive than the 18-135 because it deserves to be - significantly better optics and the 16mm vs 18mm is a critical difference for landscape shooters. Critical. And it's not much larger as well.

If you can afford it, then I'd recommend the 16-85 over the 18-135 100% of the time. Without any reservation.

As for the 16-50, that's a tough one. It appears sharper wide open than the DA* (by quite a margin) but the 16-50 pulls ahead when you stop down. It seems the 16-85 is damn near its peak from wide open, which is impressive. And while perhaps not the best choice at times if you need max resolution, the DA* 16-50 still does offer that constant f/2.8 across the zoom range. So as it is, at full retail, I'd recommend the 16-85 (unless you need the f/2.8 and beefier weather resistance) and if you can get the DA* for a good deal used for less than the 16-85 (as it's too new to have any used samples available), then I'd go for the DA*.

Regardless, this means only one thing - the 16-85 is a fantastic optic (have you noticed the Z-E-R-O amount of CA any any aperture?!) and I can't wait to see what Ricoh has in store for any future Pentax lenses (DA* 16-50 MK II, DFA* 24-70, etc.). Bravo, Pentax. Bravo.

As for the scoring, I gave it a 10 in sharpness although it lagged a hair behind the DA* at f/8.0 because of it's unbelievable corner performance, especially compared to the other two. I'm blown away. Ditto for Aberrations (a level of performance I've never seen before, from any lens).

Overall I gave it a 9/10 because yea, it's expensive and f/5.6 rather than constant f/4.

Bottom Line - Will I buy it?

So am I going to buy one? Right now no, for no other reason than I don't have a need for it as my photography has become less about adventure/outdoor pursuits and more about family portraiture (and I'm in the process of streamlining my kit and reducing overlap between lenses).

BUT I will find myself in a deployable manner once again about this time next year, and if there's no DA* 16-50 replacement, I can honestly tell you that I will seriously consider using the DA 16-85 DC WR for my next deployment photojournalism series as a standard lens. It's very possible, because it's that versatile and capable.

I hope you found my user review helpful!
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Brussels
Posts: 12

9 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 31, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, contrast, reach, robustness, WR
Cons: Fairly large, extends a lot when zooming
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

I got this lens a month ago as a walk-around solution, for those days when I do not want to carry several primes with me. I have compared it extensively to my existing lenses at F5-6 to 8 - the f stop range at which I use my lenses most of the time. At these settings it clearly beats my cherished FA20-35 at every focal length in terms of resolving capacity, sharpness, colour and contrast. It is on par with my FA31 and M50 1.7, and beyond 50mm it is not much behind my DA*50-135. In short, at the wide end I find this lens to be outstanding and at the long end I think it is still very, very good. Add to that its sturdy construction, good handling, almost total absence of CA, WR, and fast DC focussing and you have a clear winner. Here are a few examples:
http://www.pbase.com/peterloeffler/image/159083277
http://www.pbase.com/peterloeffler/image/159083289
http://www.pbase.com/peterloeffler/image/159083279
http://www.pbase.com/peterloeffler/image/158843489
http://www.pbase.com/peterloeffler/image/158691501
http://www.pbase.com/peterloeffler/image/158921451
http://www.pbase.com/peterloeffler/image/158688617
Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR Buy the HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR



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