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

Reviews Views Date of last review
28 188,282 Sat January 5, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $568.82 9.14
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

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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Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2015
Location: California
Posts: 18
Lens Review Date: January 5, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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.

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 5,430
Lens Review Date: November 6, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Decent range, sharp wide open, great colours & exposure, weather resistant, decent build quality
Cons: Too slow, very expensive for a slow zoom, occasional focus glitches
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

I wanted a weather resistant lens better than the 18-55mm kit for a long time and there were four options: (1) the DA* 16-50mm, (2) the DA 18-135mm, (3) the DA 20-40mm limited or (4) the DA 16-85mm. The first was a definite 'no' due to the SDM motor failure, cost and reputed poor IQ, and the limited, though it appeals to me a lot, is also expensive and very rare on the used market, so it came down to the two slower options. From reading reviews it seems that the 16-85mm is optically superior to the 18-135mm so if you value IQ over range (I do) then the 16-85mm is the better bet, though it's more expensive.

I bought a very lightly used copy for €350 because a new copy was out of the question - far too expensive.

It was great to finally have a Pentax-branded lens with an in-lens focus motor, having bought a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 not long before which was my first lens for Pentax with a focus motor and spoiled me somewhat as almost all my AF lenses are screwdrive. Handling is great and the lens is solid enough without being heavy.

Compared to the 18-55mm WR kit lens, the 16-85mm is much better in terms of IQ - sharpness, contrast, colour - and this was mainly what I'd been looking for in this lens, to get better results in adverse conditions. The additional range at both end is also very welcome and useful I really, really wish I'd bought this a year earlier as I'd had several trips where WR was essential and I had to rely just on the kit lens.

The lens is sharp across most of the frame wide open, with some softness at the borders especially at the wide end, but nothing too bad. Stop down and this is reduced to being virtually unnoticeable. Colour, contrast, flare resistance are all great and exposure seems much more accurate than with many other lenses. To sum-up: the image quality is superb in all aspects.

As the lens is slow it's not ideal for isolating a subject and blurring background and/or foreground, but it can be done in the right conditions.

On the negative side the only problem I've had with the lens is an inability to focus sometimes. This happens primarily at the wide end (surprisingly, as this is where it lets in most light) - the image seems to jerk and when it finally indicates a focus lock it's often mis-focsed, sometimes so much so that it's visible in the viewfinder of my K-3. This even happens in very good light and the only solution is to use live-view focusing. It's an annoying tendency which spoiled some earlier photos until I got into the habit of performing a quick focus check on the rear screen after each shot. At the long end this never happens, though the lens may struggle to focus as there's less light getting in at f/5.6 (but this is normal).

The only other negative aspect is the price. This lens, especially when bought new, is far too expensive for a slow zoom, even if it is sharp wide open. I can't help but feel that it should cost at least €100 less (new) or the aperture should be something more respectable such as 3.5-4.5.

Due to these negative aspects of the lens, which are considerable, I can't give the lens better than 8/10 overall, though if I were to judge it purely on the results without taking into account the negative aspects, it'd be a 9 or 9.5/10.

The lens makes a very good walk-around for use in good light, especially when conditions may be adverse, but it's no substitute for a 17-50mm f/2.8 or an f/2.8 or faster prime, for giving flexibility in varied light conditions and the ability to isolate a subject.

Some sample pics:

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

This one's a stitched panorama:

Panorama 6a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: February, 2018
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: September 28, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Vallue For Money
Cons: Very few
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3ii   

Excellent lens for the money. Really sharp, the go-to walk around lens in so many circumstances. If you wanted to take all my lenses away apart from one, this would probably be the one I'd choose, as it's so versatile. Really light for the range and quality and handles really well. The AF is swift and silent. Difficult to find a negative, especially at the price!

Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Gislev
Posts: 84
Lens Review Date: August 22, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, Ergonomics
Cons: Big, Double Cam Construction

An underrated Pentax Gem.

Up front: If you are looking for a lens this type for your Pentax Camera, GET IT! It will not let you down!

Pro: These days I don't bother hauling my Nikon D810 and its 24mm F1.4 around for anything at all. Why? Because this zoom on the K-3 II delivers photos on par with the pro Nikon full frame.

So I do recommend this lens highly!

To quote a review:
"It is an impressive lens which is easily as good if not better than similar offerings from Canon or Nikon. It is capable of producing surprisingly crisp and sharp images especially at medium aperture settings and the fairly low CAs contribute to the high quality perception.
The build quality is also on a high level with tight tolerances - that's despite the duo cam design (two inner lens tubes). Thanks to high quality plastics and nicely rubberized and smooth control rings, it's a joy to handle the lens out there. Some users may complain about the comparatively long size of the lens. While true you should keep in mind that there's surely a correlation to the high image quality here - big is simply often beautiful really. ..."

Weather and Dust-protection is a great thing to have, too. The autofocus is good and silent - but not blazingly fast.

I miss a focus scale, though.

It's a type of lens, I probably wouldn't buy, if it hadn't been part of the K-3 II-kit: I'm a prime lens-photographer.
And although the duo cam design works perfectly and with absolutely no wobble, it does make me uncomfortable ...

But then, there's the quality of the lens: Every time I look at the photos I make with it, i'm astonished at just how good and wonderful, they are - they are damned good. And I have to tell myself that I'm fortunate to have this lens and be a Pentax-user.

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 1,165
Lens Review Date: July 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: range, sharpness, close focus
Cons: large hood, front element wider than body
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-3ii   

I got this lens as an alternative to primes, it's more convenient when traveling. It fits that purpose well, the focal range is very handy. Paired with another lens, it allows for a flexible two lens kit:
- with a prime depending on the situation (normal, portrait or macro)
- with the 55-300 to cover a wide range
- with the da 15 if I need even wider angle and less flare

Across the range it's sharp. At 85mm it's better to stop down to f8. At 16mm it has some chromatic aberration and distortion is visible, but darktable comes with effective lens correction presets.. Flare control is good, especially considering the number of elements. Compared to the da limiteds, it's probably as sharp, but the rendering and color are not as special.

Bokeh is rather busy in close-up photos if branches or grass are in the background, otherwise bokeh is smoother (but not exceptional). I'm not rating how blurry the background can get but how I perceive its quality, it's not a large aperture lens.
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 37
Lens Review Date: May 29, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Weight, wr, image quality, versatile, allroundlens
Cons: Build quality
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax k3 and Pentax KP   

This is a very nice allround lens. If I only bring one lens, this is almost always my first choice. It has a versatile zoom range, wr, light weight and produces excellent pictures. I would preferred a konstant aperture at 1:4 in the whole zoom range.
For landscapes and cityscapes this is a very nice lens, and the low weight makes it easy to bring along when Iīm hiking in the mountains.

My biggest down with this lens is the build quality. I have used mine for little more than a year, and mine has begun to losen between the focus ring og the zoom ring, opposite the zoom scale. It is now a smal gap, and the sealing is visible.
I have treated this lens with great care, and it has not droppet to the ground or slammed into walls.

Itīs going inn for guarantee repairs.
I like the lens a lot, but the build quality could be a little better.
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2015
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,674

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 27, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: WR, Focal Range, Silent AF, HD coating
Cons: Awful lens hood... Pricey for what it is... Variable Aperature...
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 6    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3ii   

I was looking for a walk around lens for an upcoming trip to Europe.
I'll update this review with photos once I get a chance to upload something worthy of showing the Pentax Community...

So far through initial testing and trials; here are my impressions:

I own the DA 15, HD-DA 35, HD-DA 70, DFA 100 WR, 1.4xTC, DA* 300

The DA 16-85 obviously doesn't compare to the limited primes, the DFA 100 WR or the DA* 300, but it's a beast in it's own way...

The test shots I took were impressive, and even at 16mm wide open it competed in sharpness to the DA15mm cropped to a similar field of view.

The variable aperture drops off quickly from F3.5 and makes me feel a bit cheated.
I would have loved to see an F4 constant for the price range this lens is sitting...

If you've shot the HD-DA 55-300, this lens feels very similar in build quality.
Those two lenses together would built a nice kit.

The lens hood is just awful in my opinion... It's bulky when reversed, which is fine, but it feels like it's going to break every time I put the hood on...
Maybe I'm just spoiled by the limited lenses retractable hoods, the DFA metal hood and the plastic but sturdy hood on the DA* 300...

All in all I'm happy enough with the lens to leave my DA35 and DA70 at home for the trip.

It will be nice to have a WR lens covering that 16-85mm focal range.

For what it's worth - I used to own the 18-135mm and I really did not like that lens.
I returned it and the second copy didn't do it for me either - soft in corners, IQ fell off drastically over 70mm on both copies.

The 16-85mm is much much better than the 18-135, in my opinion.
There are members here that would argue the cost difference doesn't make it worth the 'upgrade' and I may or may not agree depending on how much you pay for either one.

The 18-135 I got for $300 and the 16-85 for $400.
To me, the extra $100 is well worth it.

Would I pay retail for the 16-85 new?
Definitely not.

Would I buy it again for $400 used?
Probably, yes.

It's essentially a kit lens on steroids.

If they made it constant F4 with a more substantial lens hood and a sold it with a case (why would they leave this out?), they could have brought in a few more Pentaxians on this one in my honest opinion...

I'm still excited to have this for the trip.
I might just keep it around for the convenience of 16mm wide and WR with a focal range through normal and short telephoto.

I've just found over the years I prefer to shoot with primes when I have the luxury of keeping the "lab" (this is what my wife calls my collection of photography gear) in the car.

There is definitely something to be said for the versatility of this lens.

I'll give it an 8/10 overall
New Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: November 5, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $530.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp even wide open through all ranges, excellent performance, solid, silent AF
Cons: rather expensive, plasticky, odd looking front element, smooth zoom ring might move during handling
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

I needed a new jack of all trades for a trip to Asia, since my kit 18-55 got a little messed up and wasn't weather resistant. I missed the wider end and telefoto during my last trips, where I had the Sigma 30mm f1.4 Art with me.

The ruggedness of the 16-85 paid off during the first Taifun with on/off showers, storm and whatnot. One less concern! K-30 and this lens make a good combo.

The AF and wide end made some snapshots possible from the hip, with only rough aiming. Since the K-30 is rather loud and clunky, this was the least obvious way, to take sneaky pictures.

Overall I am impressed by the optical performance. The Sigma is up to now the king of sharpness in my kit, but the 16-85 comes right after. With an AF, which actually hits! Throughout the whole range I am satisfied with contrast, sharpness and the hitrate of the AF. Weight is OK, balancing fair enough with the K-30.

During some situations I zoomed in or out unintended while handling the camera. The zoom ring is rather smooth, but could be a bit harder in my opinion. But thats a minor point.

I would recommend this lens to everyone, who needs a rather compact kit for rough weather and travelling. The bokeh is unforunately not the most flattering for portraits and the end of the telefoto range is limiting its versitility to some degree. But like buster2015 said: Just add a 135 prime (or 85 for all I care) and you good to go for shooting portraits!
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 421

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 3, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: A do-everything-well lens
Cons: A bit slow
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5iis   

I used this lens on K-5iis for a short while before I purchased K-1. The most impressive aspect of this lens is that sharpness levels are high, uniform from center to corner, and the high performance persists for the entire range of zoom. Very low chromatic aberration. The range of this zoom (24-130 ish in 35mm sense) met 90% of my shooting needs. Unless you need ultra-wide or ultra-telephoto, add a 135 prime and you are set! WR and DC are just icings on this already very fine cake.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Roskilde, Denmark
Posts: 515
Lens Review Date: July 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $611.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast, silent
Cons: weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-S2   

This has become my new everyday lens. Of course the weight is a con when walking around, but I like the zoom-facility. This lens replaced my 18-50 DA-L lens, which came with my camera, - and what a jump in quality :-)
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Budapest
Posts: 13
Lens Review Date: July 4, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: super sharp everywhere
Cons: red ring; not parfocal, no distance scale
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

Why not green?

Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Silverstone
Posts: 144

1 user found this helpful
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: 87

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.

Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Posts: 11,197

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.

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 1,889

8 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.
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