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Old Jan 25, 2010, 7:59 PM   #1
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Default PENTAX DA 17-70MM F4 ED AL SDM LENS-How good?

I have the 18-55 kit lens and the 16-45 lens. I'm impressed with the 15-45, not so much with the 18-55 which consequently sits in my camera bag, unloved.

I find the 16-45, very sharp, great colour rendition and totally satisfactory, except I wish it was less plasticky and faster...F 2.8 would be nice.

I know the 16-45 is out of production and the Pentax 17-70 mm is it's replacement.

Anyone have a 17-70, how is it, how does it compare to the 16-45, if you're fortunate to have used both ?

I kind of wish the 17-70 would of been something like a 14 to maybe 60 or so, I'd rather have a wider angle in a zoom.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:05 PM   #2
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I'm not so sure the 17-70 would be a step up. At least one person here was very disappointed in theirs, while other people post very nice pictures taken with it. You gain the SDM focusing but lose the ability for the lens to focus on a non-SDM equipped camera (I have the original K100 so it's not a lens I would want). I just think that if you are otherwise happy with the 16-45, the 17-70 doesn't make sense.

If you want a faster lens, what about the Sigma or Tamron f2.8 lenses? Or the DA*16-50 (after this past week, I really want a weather sealed lens in this range)? I know you run the risk buying the DA* - make sure wherever you buy it has a good return policy.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 11:21 PM   #3
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I'm not so sure the 17-70 would be a step up. At least one person here was very disappointed in theirs, while other people post very nice pictures taken with it. You gain the SDM focusing but lose the ability for the lens to focus on a non-SDM equipped camera (I have the original K100 so it's not a lens I would want). I just think that if you are otherwise happy with the 16-45, the 17-70 doesn't make sense.

If you want a faster lens, what about the Sigma or Tamron f2.8 lenses? Or the DA*16-50 (after this past week, I really want a weather sealed lens in this range)? I know you run the risk buying the DA* - make sure wherever you buy it has a good return policy.
I'm happy with my 16-45. I did say it's plasticky, but after more then 2 + years of heavy usage in extreme cold, etc...it still works like a charm. never let me down and the pictures are really good, excellent I would say.

I do wish it had F2.8, but when I need a fast lens, I put my 50 mm F1.4 on the camera body and step back a few paces.

The 16-50 is a lens I would stay away from, I've just read about too many problems with it. The 16-45 seems pretty problem free.

I never thought about that SDM issue, don't know if my K10D is equipped to work an SDM, probably my KM (K2000) would do so, just bought new , last April.

Les
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 7:25 AM   #4
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I never thought about that SDM issue, don't know if my K10D is equipped to work an SDM, probably my KM (K2000) would do so, just bought new , last April.
Right. The K10D will not allow Autofocus with an SDM only lens like the Pentax 17-70mm being discussed. It would autofocus with your KM.

Some Pentax lenses are "dual mode", in that they will work using SDM with a newer body, or autofocus via screw drive from the Camera body's focus motor with an older body like your K10D. The 16-50mm f/2.8 SDM mentioned is one example of that type of lens.

But, the 17-70mm being discussed is SDM only and would not Autofocus on your K10D.

The same thing applies to any Sigma HSM lenses (they will not Autofocus on the K10D).
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 7:44 AM   #5
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P.S.

Keep in mind that the use of an Ultrasonic Motor in lenses is a relatively new feature with Pentax, even though it's been around for years in both film and digital slr bodies from Canon, Nikon and Minolta (and now Sony models using the same lens mount). Canon pioneered the use of Ultrasonic Motors for Autofocus in lenses (referred to as USM for Ultrasonic Motor focusing). Nikon adopted the same type of feature later (referred to as AF-S for Silent Wave Motor focusing), and Minolta started including the ability to use lenses with Ultrasonic Motors in some of it's later film bodies (referred to as SSM for Supersonic Motor focusing). So, all Canon, Konica Minolta, Sony and Nikon dSLR models have the ability to autofocus using lenses with motors built in.

But, the first Pentax body incorporating the ability to use a lens with a motor built in was the K100D Super (not the original K100D) announced in June 2007, no doubt designed in anticipation of launching lenses with SDM (Supersonic Drive Motor focusing) later. All Pentax dSLR bodies introduced since then also support SDM (and HSM in the case of Sigma lenses with that feature).

P.S.

Of course, each manufacturer has their own name for that feature now:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraso...r#Applications
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 1:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Right. The K10D will not allow Autofocus with an SDM only lens like the Pentax 17-70mm being discussed. It would autofocus with your KM.

Some Pentax lenses are "dual mode", in that they will work using SDM with a newer body, or autofocus via screw drive from the Camera body's focus motor with an older body like your K10D. The 16-50mm f/2.8 SDM mentioned is one example of that type of lens.

But, the 17-70mm being discussed is SDM only and would not Autofocus on your K10D.

The same thing applies to any Sigma HSM lenses (they will not Autofocus on the K10D).
Hi Jim,

A correction is needed here. The K10 was built with SDM in mind though it hadn't been introduced yet, and has the PZ type contacts needed for SDM. The original firmware doesn't include SDM compatibility, but firmware v 1.3 changed that and added the ability to use SDM/HSM lenses.

Scott
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 1:34 PM   #7
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I should pay more attention to the firmware updates. Thanks for pointing it my error.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 3:29 PM   #8
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Hi Jim,

A correction is needed here. The K10 was built with SDM in mind though it hadn't been introduced yet, and has the PZ type contacts needed for SDM. The original firmware doesn't include SDM compatibility, but firmware v 1.3 changed that and added the ability to use SDM/HSM lenses.

Scott

Thanks Scott, much appreciated. My K10D has firmware v 1.3 installed, so as you say I can use SDM/HSM lenses.

I bought my K10D (late production model) in November 2007. I recall the specialty camera store saying that they had installed it .

Jim C. thanks for the info., much appreciated.

Les
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 10:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lesmore49 View Post
I have the 18-55 kit lens and the 16-45 lens. I'm impressed with the 15-45, not so much with the 18-55 which consequently sits in my camera bag, unloved.

I find the 16-45, very sharp, great colour rendition and totally satisfactory, except I wish it was less plasticky and faster...F 2.8 would be nice.

I know the 16-45 is out of production and the Pentax 17-70 mm is it's replacement.

Anyone have a 17-70, how is it, how does it compare to the 16-45, if you're fortunate to have used both ?

I kind of wish the 17-70 would of been something like a 14 to maybe 60 or so, I'd rather have a wider angle in a zoom.
I have the 17-70 and have had multiple problems-very bad focusing-had to be repaired-it does work on the K10d with the correct firmware. IMHO it is way overpriced-if you are going to spend that much $$ I would check out the DA lenses. If it means anything I think it is probably the least popular zoom that Pentax produces. I have both the 16-45 and the 17-70-I was having problems with the 16-45 on my K10d-so I bought the 17-70. I tried the 16-45 on my old Ist DS and it worked great. So now I was stuck with the 17-70 and that didn't work right on the K10d either-but it was a lens problem which is now fixed ($150.00 later) I would recommend staying away from this lens.

Last edited by DMJJR; Jan 27, 2010 at 12:07 PM.
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Old Feb 6, 2010, 6:51 PM   #10
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I was looking to possibly get this newer SDM version of the lens - I had good luck with the older screw-focus one. I didn't know the new version had shipped yet, so would also be interested to hear more reviews, particularly on the speed and accuracy of the SDM focusing.

Mike
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