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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

Reviews Views Date of last review
41 284,247 Wed February 8, 2023
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
90% of reviewers $517.00 8.93
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

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

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
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 7 blades (rounded)
16 elements, 12 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (in-lens motor)
Min. Focus
35 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
72 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 83-19 ° / 74-16 °
PH-RBA 72 mm
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Yes (WR)
Other Features
Diam x Length
78 x 94 mm (3.1 x 3.7 in.)
488 g (16.07 oz.)
Production Years
2014 to present (in production)
$496 USD current price
Engraved Name
HD PENTAX-DA 1:3.5-5.6 16-85mm ED DC WR
Product Code
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
☆☆☆ No coverage at any setting
Show details
Three aspherical elements and one ED glass element.
No autofocus on older bodies (*istD series, K100D, K110D, and film).

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
Price History:

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Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: North west Tasmania.
Posts: 554

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 8, 2023 Not Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Zoom range, sharpness, WR
Cons: Worst auto focus of any of my Pentax lenses. Constantly hunts regardless of focus points activated.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 2    Handling: 8    Value: 4    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: KP and K70   

I was keen to add this lens to my collection, as the zoom range appealed to me.
Very disappointed with the auto focus. It is only just average at the 85mm end, but hopeless at the wide angle end. It regularly refuses to lock onto anything no matter what focus points are selected.
The only way of getting a shot at the wide angle end is to manual focus. I had thought that it would be spending a lot of time on either my K70 or KP, but its auto focus is so frustrating, I now rarely use it.
New Member

Registered: February, 2023
Posts: 4
Review Date: February 8, 2023 Recommended | Price: $355.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: 5.3x zoom, really sharp, WR, SDM
Cons: A distance scale could have been useful
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-70   

After years of using the 18-55 kit lens, I wanted a lens that could reach larger field of view, but also be a short tele, with an improoved quality and sharpness.

Bought on MPB, at a really low price against the eBay prices and the condition of the lens itself (except for the missing filter door on the lens hood, kindly refunded), this "little" jewel, is a everyday lens with a good range of shooting.

Good sharpness wide open, but must go to f/8 to get some nicer detail. Top sharpness resists till 11, and till 50mm; 85mm is sharp too, but of course less as compared to the wider focal lenghts.

It's also my first lens with SDM, and WOW, there's some magic in there.

Only a month of usage and yet I totally love this lens, hope it will work with me for a lot from now on.

Edit: After 6 months of using and getting knowledge of this lens, i can say that it is still a very good one but i would have liked that it could be sharper at wider openings. Autofocus is good and neat, but sometimes at 16mm is better going on manual. I would recommend this lens to amateurs or as an everyday lens, because it's a very useful and comfortable, but it lacks the sharpness of a top quality glass.

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2018
Location: Quebec City, Quebec
Posts: 5,849

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 12, 2021 Recommended | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent sharpness and contrast @ f/8, silent focusing, holds well in hand.
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3, K3 III   

After using my little DA 18-135 mm ED for a full year, I saw an offer from an Ontario store I couldn't pass for a brand-new HD DA 16-85 mm ED. I had read numerous positive reviews about this lens and I decided to give it a try. This will be my 2021-22 "WINTER PROJECT".

Up to now I had just a few opportunities to test it. I took pictures inside my kitchen and close-ups of freezing rain falling on my patio door. Then 2 days later, I photographed the view of my backyard on a sunny day. Excellent uniform corner-to-corner sharpness. More pictures will be coming later.

A new photo session at the Batiscan River below : EXCELLENT RENDERING and STUNNING SHARPNESS over the whole focal range .

I visited the Old Town of Quebec City today. Here are some of the results :

Up to now, results have been more than satisfying. I will combine this WA zoom with my HD DA 55-300 mm ED lens to complete my "light travel kit".

OPTIMUM APERTURE RANGE : between f/6.3 and f/16.

I tried to find Color Fringing by shooting branches against a bright background @ 16 mm FL and f/8

None is apparent.


I compared the HD DA 16-85 mm ED to the DFA* 70-200 mm f/2.8 at 85 mm FL on a K3
Upper picture is the DFA* 70-200 mm, lower one the HD DA 16-85 mm
RESULT : it's a TIE !

Monochrome rendering of Sainte Anne de Beaupré Basilica.

From now on, I started using my new K3 III :


I now use a more performing combo : the HD DA 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 + DA* 60-250 mm f/4

January 2023 along the Saint Lawrence @ 20 mm FL + K3 III below :

February 2023 along the Saint Lawrence @ 60 mm FL + K3 III below :

September 2023 in a vegetable kiosk @ 22 mm FL + K3 III below :

For my needs, this is the most "perfect" lens I ever used along with a K3 III.
New Member

Registered: July, 2015
Location: Otis Orchards, WA, USA
Posts: 9

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 8, 2021 Recommended | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Feels sturdy, well built, smooth tight zoom movement, improvement over the kit lens 18-135
Cons: Non so far
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I really liked my kit lens (18-135), but decided to get this lens for better sharpness along with a wider range. The 5.6 and higher aperture seems to be the sharpest range. This will be my walk around lens while my limited 35mm will be my go to lens for better quality, and closeup photos. These are some of my first shots, hand held, just around my house.

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,374

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 6, 2021 Recommended | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Focal length range, WR, color rendition
Cons: Unreliable AF, Jumping Image Syndrome, Durability
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 9    Value: 6    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3, KP   

I really want to love this lens, however the longer I use it, the more aggravating it becomes. The 16-85mm focal length is perfect for a walk around lens. Zoom and manual focus actions are smooth and precise. Distortion is well controlled as is chromatic aberration and colors are accurate and saturated.

The issues with my copy of this highly rated lens are threefold and echo the comments of another reviewer, plus several posts in the forum. First, even when using my KP with its up to date AF system, the 16-85 blows focus badly at focal lengths from 16-35mm. Sometimes it nails it, other times it turns into a blurry mess. Second, the left side of the images recorded by my 16-85 are always visibly softer than the right, more so at the wide end. Decentering. Third, it has the very annoying “focus jumping” syndrome, especially in live view. I work fast and this lens forces me to pre-focus or manually focus much of the time. I’ve produced some very fine, memorable images with this lens. I’ve also lost what should have been easy-peasy photos because the lens hiccuped at the wrong time.

Even with the issues, the 16-85 is still visibly better than the18-135 on 24MP bodies. I didn’t see as big a gap when using my older K-5iis and its 16MP sensor. If you buy this lens, make sure you test it thoroughly so you don’t get stuck with a copy with issues!

UPDATE: 07/17/2022. The aperture control mechanism failed during a routine photo shoot today. Floppy stopdown lever and the aperture stays wide open. I wish I'd kept my Sigma 16-50/2.8.
Forum Member

Registered: October, 2018
Posts: 58

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 23, 2021 Recommended | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Weather sealed, wide angle, quiet and quick autofocus
Cons: Build quality, issues at the wide end
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K70 KP   

My copy of this lens is a frustrating one. It is capable of producing fantastic images, with excellent sharpness and colours. Couple this with the weather sealing and the lovely smooth zoom action it is a very versatile and often used lens. On the other hand it can let me down badly, with missed autofocus from 16mm to around 24mm a common occurrence and the left hand side of images can be unacceptably blurry at these focal lengths. Zoomed beyond 35mm the lens is flawless. I guess my copy is decentered, and it has been 'fixed' under warranty, but the problem persists.
This lens is excellent for landscape photography, and manually focused with a tripod fixes many of my issues with the 16-85. You get a strange shifting/jumping of the image when zoomed in on live view, not a big deal and you get used to it. Please don't be put off by my review as I am sure that my copy is the issue. Just check it out at all zoom ranges, particularly the wide end!
New Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 6

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 29, 2020 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: autofocus, sharpness, overall IQ, WR
Cons: aperture starts at 3,5 (but is it really disadvantage?), price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3 II   

This lense did not attract my attention with its specification, especially the aperture span between 3,5 and 5,6 seems to be very mediocre compared to other producers like Sigma. But while Sigma or Tamron provide usually softer images, and they need to stop down two or three steps to get sharpness even in the center, this pentax lense gets sharp enough in the center even on lowest aperture possible! Sharpness is really surprising, and can be easily compared to some prime lenses. So is the aperture value starting at F3,5 a reall disadvantage??? I dont think so!

First of all, my piece (could be different with others) is very strong in autofocus even in lower light conditions. Smooth, silent, fast enough, perfect grab for the first time, no hesitations nor small corrections. Very nice feel of it indeed! It feels like the lense is pumped-up for it!

If you stop down to F5 or F8 you get the maximum of this lense in over all image quality, sharpness, and reducing vignette and chromatic aberations. Also the best results are when you zoom to 21 mm or higher, and you dont go to full 85 mm length.

If i compared the sharpness to some "arty" prime lenses, in what cathegory this zoom pentax lense cannot compete with them is definitely a rather boring and standard bokeh. But hey, with lenses you cannot have all in it. Average bokeh is a trade-off for overall perfect performance in terms of sharpness and focal length span.

New piece coming for 650 dollars seems too expensive for me. But i guess you pay more for weather resistance.

Perfect lense which surprised me really a lot. I can recommend getting it, but try what you are buying, some pieces may be weaker than mine.
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2016
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 41

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 8, 2020 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, wide, little if any vignette
Cons: None for the price point.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 3    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-50   

Worth it over the cheaper 18-135. I wanted another ‘walk around’ lens having two bodies and one 18-135 lens already. Used (barely used by the look of it), this lens was on par with the cost of an 18-135 new. The 16-85 is noticeably sharper across the frame and vignettes much less which makes it nicer for stitching panoramas. I was actually shocked at the fact the difference was noticeable even through my trifocals! Not that the 18-135 is a bad lens, but I do see enough difference it makes me smile when editing. The wider end is also surprisingly useful. I pair the 16-85 with a 55-300 when I’m shooting landscapes and could not be happier with the cost to performance ratio in this pairing. Even at full price, I don’t think the 16-85 is unjustified over its slightly longer reaching sibling. The 18-135 is still my go-to for urban exploring or general use when you don’t know what you might come across.
New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 10
Review Date: June 13, 2020 Recommended | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focal range, WR, AF
Cons: size, weight
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: KP   

Really gave me the freedom to take photos in various situation thus best fit for traveling. The image quality is way better than other zoom lenses that I have used and only after the Limiteds. Although I sold it to fund the 20-40mm due to its size and weight, it is really a recommended lens.

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Southern Finland
Posts: 658

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 13, 2020 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Versatile, sharp, reliable
Cons: size of hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5, K-3   

After two years of frequent usage (K-5, K-3) I am very happy with this lens. Sharpness is generally very good at all focal lengths. I also like the colors and contrast it produces (raw shooting mainly). The range 16 - 85 mm is very versatile making this a brilliant walk-around lens and travel lens. Being a zoom lens, of course, it is not very fast, but in low-light situations I do not hesitate to use it wide open. That is not the case with any other lens with somewhat similar specs.

DC autofocus has very seldom let me down, and in those dark low-contrast situations, I wonder if any autofocus mechanism would be 100 % reliable.

Size of the hood is the only negative aspect for me, yet not critical. (You get used to it.) Well, maybe the 72 mm filter size is another, but just because I used to have lenses with 67 mm filters earlier.

I bought my copy of this lens new, and would not say it was cheap. But it has been worth the money.
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2017
Location: Sale, Cheshire
Posts: 210
Review Date: September 1, 2019 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, contrast, build quality (including WR),
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

A superb lens that is as sharp as a good prime lens throughout it's zoom range (when shooting in RAW and sharpening appropriately), with excellent contrast. The lens is extremely competent, well built, and versatile, from wide angle views to landscapes, portraits and an excellent close-up lens at 85mm. At 16mm a little CA can be seen in extreme contrast conditions (removed with software), but otherwise CA is very well controlled.
The review of this lens (particularly the outstanding MTF resolution graphs) on the 'Ephotozine' website illustrates how good this lens is.
The AF is quick and very accurate and consistent, performing well into almost darkness with the K-3.
This is now my everyday lens which consistently gives excellent results, with consistent performance across the lens.
This is my 1st choice lens for camera club competition entries.
Due to its excellent performance, versatility, and weather resistance I would be loath to part with this lens.
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2015
Location: Százhalombatta, Hungary
Posts: 37

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 13, 2019 Recommended | Price: $692.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, colors, sharpness at wide end, fast and quiet focusing
Cons: Less useful near 85mm, variations in quality
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

I personally found this lens to be a little bit overrated. Not that it's bad or anything, but I feel it just gets more credit than it reserves. It deserves a very solid 8/10 I think. Even 8,5 perhaps. But no more than that! Perhaps I got a weaker copy, god only knows. But mine isn't so super sharp as others' seem, even after a thorough calibration. For example my copy is noticeably weaker on the right side of the picture and on the 85mm end is pretty soft. However, at the 16mm end I find it quite satisfying in the sharpness department. The DC motor autofocus is near-silent and is super fast when using the viewfinder. The quick-shift focusing ring doesn't have a hard-stop as screwdrive lenses do. The build quality is excellent as are the aesthetic parts of it. The colors are typical pentax: excellent contrast, superb flare control. The HD coating does an excellent job indeed. Compare it to the KIT lenses and it shines, just don't compare it to primes, or you'll be let down. But then again: this lens is neither professional, nor a prime. This is a versatile zoom with it's strengths and weaknesses. Excellent for a general walk around lens, for traveling, to always keep on your camera. And if you need proper bokeh, you can always just swap to a prime. Due to the rounded aperture blades, you can forget nice starbursts when stopped down at night, but in return you get a smoother bokeh.

Pier (made using a CPL filter!)
by Zsigmond Szabó, on Flickr
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2018
Location: Hérouville Saint Clair, Normandy, France
Posts: 143

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 19, 2019 Recommended | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, quiet, weather resistant, range
Cons: Slightly wobbly when extended
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: KP   

Very good all-purpose lens.
Crisp images, low CA.
Quiet zoom.
I had the Sigma 17-70 Contemporary, this one has the same image quality and bonus : weather resistant !

Use it in good light conditions.

Another forum user wrote this, and it is true :
"It's essentially a kit lens on steroids"

New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 7

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 8, 2019 Recommended | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Sharp, convenient, good AF, WR
Cons: Quite big with hood attached, distortion
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k70   

The focal range is just fantastically convenient. If I need to go away with just one lens, I know it will work in most situations. I was using an 18-135mm, but I tended to not use it much past 100mm anyway, as the sharpness would drop off a bit. I also find the extra 2mm at the wide end useful.

It's a workhorse lens.

The sharpness is very reliable. I have sharper primes, but they are primes. The AF is not blindingly fast, but there is no hunting, it's accurate, and it's quiet. There is a fair bit of wonky distortion at the wide end, but that mostly disappears by 20mm or so.

If I have a criticism, it's that it can lack a tiny little bit of....err....something. Don't get me wrong I have taken some lovely shots with it. It can give fantastic detailed landscapes with really convincing greens. The 18-135 is definitely softer, and you have to shoot over f8 between 25mm-100mm to get anything like the image quality. But I felt my 18-135 was sometimes a bit punchier, and my 20-40mm definitely has more prime-like 3D depth. If my composition and lighting are right, the images are great, but I feel like the magic comes from the vision rather than the lens. Maybe that's what you get with a well corrected, consistent, modern style zoom, and maybe it's a good thing...?

Having looked back through some shots, there is definitely a drab 2D look which is very obvious, and tends to happen at the wide end in flat light. I might experiment with using generally a slightly wider aperture at the wide end and see if this helps. Certainly mid to long focal lengths seem to have much more pop, and scenes with more beautiful light will work well throughout the range.

Update 2;
I have found that I can get a bit more of a sense of 3D by shooting at around 5.6 rather than 8-9, which still gives reasonable depth of field at the wide end. However, to be honest I'm struggling to love this lens. I do feel that many people prize sharpness above all else, but for me a classy lens controls highlights and shadows more subtly than this one does. It's a sharp lens but without good rendering it can give an ugly confusing mess, with overcooked contrast in bright fine details, or a flat 2D look in low contrast scenes. My old SMC A35-105mm is so much better at rendering subtle tone gradations, giving beautiful believable colours, reach into the picture 3D depth, and it's ridiculously sharp to boot (although to be honest I think my copy is a freak because it is as sharp as my FA limiteds!). Unfortunately, it's manual focus, weighs a ton, isn't weather sealed, and doesn't have the wide end! Such a shame that despite ticking so many boxes as a do it all solution, the 16-85 just doesn't cut the mustard.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2015
Location: California
Posts: 35

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 5, 2019 Recommended | Price: $447.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, beautiful color
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50   

I bought this as a travel lens, though it is heavier than I would prefer. The picture quality is amazing. It is as good or better than my 21mm prime and much better than my 35mm 2.4 prime. The focal range is a lot more versatile. I still use my 21mm when I want to carry something lighter. But for the weight, I would sell the 21mm and just use the 16-85.To show the color and clarity, I'm attaching a JPEGs that is straight out-of camera, at 16mm, with no processing.
As for the lens being "slow", I am attaching a second, straight-out-of camera unprocessed JPEG taken inside a relatively dark museum (Ufizzi) with no flash, at ISO 1600 on a K-50.
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