Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax / Samsung dSLR, K Mount Mirrorless

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:48 PM   #11
Senior Member
TCav's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,693

From what I've seen, the Pentax 16-50/2.8 has more barrel distortion than the Tamron 17-50/2.8 at the wide end, but less pincushion distortion at the long end. I'd call that about even.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 26, 2009, 1:24 PM   #12
Senior Member
mtngal's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,108

Hi, TCav! The main attraction of the Pentax*16-50 over the Tamron (at least for me) is that it's weather sealed. That's something that I'm willing to pay extra for as it goes along with my type of favorite photography. That and the K7 came with a card for rebates for several lenses, including the 16-50, so I could save $100 by buying it now, making the price difference less.

Interesting that you thought there was less vignetting - I hadn't even thought about that since I didn't see any in the pictures I took. There's a certain amount of CA wide open, but not much and it's gone by f4. There is SO much to like about the lens, and I was really tempted to keep it, perhaps sending it into Pentax Repair in a month. (They were great when I sent them a decentered DA 55-300 - I received a perfect replacement in about 3 weeks, faster than I had expected.)

I don't think what I'm seeing with this particular lens is just because it's a wide angle. Today it occurred to me to take some comparison shots with the DA 12-24, because I didn't remember it having such a drop-off at the sides. I'm glad I did because there's little difference between the center and the edges with the wider lens. It's not as sharp in the center as the DA*16-50, but the edges are sharper. Looking at the center sharpness of the DA*16-50 and a picture like the lily (and I took a cool architectural picture that I didn't post) makes me really want a good copy of this lens, but it's not going to happen I guess.

Since I've run out of time for the rebate (I also got the 10-17 and it has a $90 rebate), I'm going to just get a refund. Maybe in a couple of years Pentax will have sorted out all the QC issues that have plagued this lens or made an improved model and perhaps I'll be able to afford it then. As it is now, this was my last major spending spree before the pay cuts and increased Pentax prices kick in. I've been without a good lens between 24 and 50 for the last several years, so it won't be completely awful to do without it - just somewhat annoying and disappointing since I've now seen a glimmer of why people who have good copies love it so. And I sure would like a weather sealed lens in this focal range.

By the way, in case you haven't followed my previous posts - I bought 4 lenses at the same time: the DA 10-17 fisheye, DA*16-50, DA*200 f2.8 and DA*300 f4. The other 3 lenses are awesome, the DA*200 even better than I had expected. I'm also really pleased with the K-7 (though I'm on a second body, my first one had a green line problem that some of the first shipment had trouble with). As you can tell, I'm not contemplating switching platforms.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 26, 2009, 3:56 PM   #13
Senior Member
snostorm's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770

Hi Harriet,

I've been following this thread to see what you would end up doing. I hesitated to comment because I really don't shoot the wide end very much, and my perspective is pretty skewed. I think you've made a good decision, and probably the one that I would have made given the circumstances.

One thing that you might consider is how you would primarily use this lens. You had mentioned that WR would be handy for snowshoeing, and it occurred to me that for this use, the DA 18-55 WR might actually be a better choice. It's smaller, lighter, considerably cheaper, and the speed difference wouldn't matter much if the main use would be outdoors. The fast wide zooms are all pretty big, and I find it inconvenient to carry them -- they don't fit into most pockets well. . . In fact, I'm considering getting the DA 18-55WR to go along with the DA*50-135 as a WR two lens walkaround kit to go with the K-7. I'd probably keep the 50-135 on the camera and stuff the 18-55 in a pocket. -- or maybe just get a DA 50-200 ED WR also so both would be easily pocketable.

Personally, I'd probably use something with the DA*16-50's range and speed mostly for indoor events with an external flash. The max aperture advantage for me would mainly be to stretch the AF capability more than taking advantage of available light. For this use, the WR would be largely a non issue, so the Tamron or Sigma equivalents would probably be a better choice. Actually, the way I shoot, I really wouldn't use the 16-28 range all that much, so the Tamron 28-75/2.8 XR Di. . . that I already have fills my needs very well. I also have a Tokina 20-35/2.8 AT-X Pro and the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 performs pretty well in very dim light with the K-7, while it really struggled with earlier bodies.

I'm thinking that you've used up your quota of bad luck with the body and two lenses. . .looking forward to seeing what kind of fun you can have with the three new ones that you're keeping. . .


Last edited by snostorm; Aug 26, 2009 at 3:59 PM.
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 26, 2009, 11:55 PM   #14
Senior Member
mtngal's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,108

As I walked back from Kinkos, I thought about the DA 18-55 WR. I'm sorry that I didn't look at it when I was at Redondo Beach, but I was much more interested in checking out whether I could live with the size and weight of the 200 (and 300, though that was more curiosity than anything else).

My thoughts about the WR lens are mixed, and I hate to say it, but you - Scott - are partly to blame . You see, I was perfectly content with the original kit lens and the DA 50-200 - that is, until I bought the A*300. Buying my first really good lens and seeing the results that I got from it over the DA 50-200 made me realize the difference. So when the 50-200 broke, I bought the DA 50-135. Even then, I was still happy with the kit lens because I was using the K100 and K10. But as soon as I put the 50-135 on the K20, I was doomed. After I saw the comparison shots with these two lenses, I put the kit lens aside and it's only been on the K100 once or twice since. Even Dan didn't like using it on the K100 because the viewfinder is that much dimmer than with the 50-135.

My second DA 55-300 is a good lens, very workmanlike and with good sharpness across the frame. However, I often find myself wanting more when I look at pictures I've taken with it. It is brighter than some of my other lenses - almost too contrasty, the A*300 can capture a greater dynamic range than it can (the difference isn't all that big, most people probably wouldn't even notice it) and it isn't as sharp as the old prime lens (as well as being slower). I got it because I wanted an all-rounder with something around 200mm, that was lightweight and it does that very well. But I still notice myself finding excuses to take the heavy lenses even when hiking because often I find myself looking at 55-300 pictures and thinking that there's something missing, something I can't explain, which I could get with the larger, heavier and very much more expensive lenses I have.

So that's why the DA*16-50 was my first choice - it's weather sealed for hiking, fast for indoors/low-light, offers a small DOF for arty shots either indoors or out and good ones seem to be really sharp (verified by the center sharpness of the one I shipped back) - a major weakness of mine. It's lighter than the DA*50-135 and so I figured the weight wasn't all that big of an issue, considering what else I own.

Next year, if they don't extend our pay cuts, I'll think again about covering the 24-50 range. I've been finding myself happier with prime lenses recently over the zooms I have (with the exception of the two ultra-wide lenses I have). So if I take weather sealing out of the equation, I may just opt for something like the FA31 Limited in a year or two. If I ever get a chance to check out the kit WR lens I might change my mind - I've heard that some people find the later version of the kit lens to be better and I understand that the WR is optically the same. It would have the advantage of being lighter, smaller and cheaper.

Short term, I figure I can use the refund to buy a bigger camera bag, and that's something I need right away. Perhaps another part will go to buying a couple of plamps (thank you, Scott, for telling me about them) and maybe a Hoya P72 filter. All that would still be less than what I spent on the 16-50, assuming I don't buy a 77mm filter. But I haven't made up my mind and won't until the refund is in the bank.

Besides, for the next couple of days I'm going to be too busy thinking about how to use what I do have to advantage. I'll be wandering around bristle cone pines, peering through windows into the wild, wild west days and looking at tufa. There might be enough time after all that to examine some columnar basalt, but it's not really on the agenda this time. I don't think I'll have any internet connection until the weekend.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 27, 2009, 12:33 AM   #15
Senior Member
penolta's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California USA
Posts: 5,206

Besides, for the next couple of days I'm going to be too busy thinking about how to use what I do have to advantage. I'll be wandering around bristle cone pines, peering through windows into the wild, wild west days and looking at tufa. There might be enough time after all that to examine some columnar basalt, but it's not really on the agenda this time. I don't think I'll have any internet connection until the weekend.
That is more like it, Harriet - think about actually using those lenses instead of just testing them. I can't argue with your results, but I can't help but think you would enjoy your photography more if you weren't quite so critical of yourself and your equipment. The Devil's Post Pile is calling - now there is a challenge for you! Tufa is child's play by comparison (just hold your nose and don't breathe in any of the brine flies, either)! Just have fun.

Last edited by penolta; Aug 27, 2009 at 12:37 AM.
penolta is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:04 PM.