Bad review for DA* 16-50mm


Frogfish

Link Posted 09/10/2011 - 09:24
Dr. M. I think you have misinterpreted my post in some aspects ... I specifically mentioned the highest quality zooms (though I didn't specifically mention the 60-250 it is a superb lens in anyone's book it is again much more expensive, f4 not f2.8 and much slower AF than the 70-200 competition ... and is on my short-list of must buys !) and that doesn't include any of the other zooms Pentax make which are all close to, or are, class-leaders for the price (17-70 is maybe excluded because the Sigma version is better as it has no focusing issues around 30-35mm).

As for 50-150 vs 50-135mm : much faster AF, HSM so no issues for which the SDM is now infamous in this and the 16-50, measured as sharper than the 50-135 at f2.8 (for which the 50-135 is known not to be at it's best), colours are largely irrelevant if you are shooting in RAW. An extra 15mm at the long end (largely irrelevant but it's there) and as I use this lens for shooting paid sport events I'd strongly disagree that it's not sharp at 150mm ( link #1,2 & 4), and add on a 3 or 4 year guarantee. Build quality (WR aside) is excellent. Bokeh : well that is subjective, I love the smooth bokeh from the Sigma but the Pentax is also wonderful in this regard. And finally much cheaper (when in production) .. mine cost me just GBP399 (and I got the VAT back too)
Note also that as far as dimensions go there is literally nothing in it.
Sigma : 780g / 27.5oz (without the smaller, lighter hood than the PX). 76.5 x 140.2 mm/3" x 5.5"
Pentax : 27.0 oz. (765g) with hood. 3.0" x 5.4" (76.5mm x 136mm)

However the biggest point of contention in your post is your ascertion that the 16-50 is best from 24mm onwards. I have to blink and rub my eyes at that (unless I am in turn misinterpreting your meaning) ? Surely the one reason people buy these 16/17 - 50s is for the width and flexibility, otherwise they would buy a 24/28 - 70/75 without any distortion ? A point which PF and other reports have made (regarding more distortion than the competition at 16mm ) re. the 16-50mm.

As for the PF review, the Tamron didn't come out best (though maybe you meant in relation to the Pentax ?), it came out second to the Sigma, though to be fair there is hardly anything in it between all three. There is no doubt however that whichever lens you buy (Pentax, Sigma, Tamron) the majority of people are very happy with their purchase.
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0
Last Edited by Frogfish on 09/10/2011 - 09:38

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 09/10/2011 - 10:30
Frogfish, I did misinterpret the 'highest quality' reference, however, of their three DA* zooms 2 out of 3 ain't bad, even if it should be improved upon.

Re. the Sigma, in my experience the DA* is definitely sharper at f2.8 than the Sigma. Perhaps this is sample variation, I don't know, but as I stated I tried to avoid shooting wide open with the Sigma, especially at the long end, where the wide open performance dipped considerably - though when stopped down it still produced excellent results. (If my Sigma had performed better wide open I wouldn't have replaced it with the DA*). And while colours can of course be adjusted in PP (Raw or Jpeg), I'd rather have the convenience of a lens that produces them in the first place (though I had no complaints with the Sigma, the DA* is just better IMHO - same with the bokeh). Re. the size, my impression was that the Pentax was quite a bit smaller (I never owned them simultaneously so this was just an impression), but I appear to be wrong here. Having just looked at Photozone this gives contradictory info to that which you give - the DA* star comes out as 1mm longer and wider, but 85g lighter. Perhaps it's the lightness that gave me the impression of it being noticeably smaller. The hood is a pain though - I'm not bothered by its weight, it's just so bloody conspicuous.

Frogfish wrote:


However the biggest point of contention in your post is your ascertion that the 16-50 is best from 24mm onwards. I have to blink and rub my eyes at that (unless I am in turn misinterpreting your meaning) ? Surely the one reason people buy these 16/17 - 50s is for the width and flexibility, otherwise they would buy a 24/28 - 70/75 without any distortion ? A point which PF and other reports have made (regarding more distortion than the competition at 16mm ) re. the 16-50mm.

As for the PF review, the Tamron didn't come out best (though maybe you meant in relation to the Pentax ?), it came out second to the Sigma, though to be fair there is hardly anything in it between all three. There is no doubt however that whichever lens you buy (Pentax, Sigma, Tamron) the majority of people are very happy with their purchase.

Having never had a 16-50 I can make no assertions about its qualities - the comment re. 24mm+ was gleaned from feedback I have read from users in the past. I've read many observations that its particular strength is between 24-50, which compensates for the less stellar performance more wide. I wouldn't choose to buy this lens partly for this reason (but more because of the size and cost), but I know of many owners who are very happy with its performance as an all rounder.

Re. the test, the Sigma scored best due to its superior build quality. Optically the Tamron was a match for the Sigma (better in some respects, worse in others):

Quote:
Though the Tamron ranks second overall in the final scoring, it earned that competitiveness almost solely on the merits of the image quality it can produce. While we'd hesitate to say it's a definitively better lens than the Sigma optically, it does at times exceed the Sigma in sharpness, and roundly bests it flare resistance while edging slightly ahead in other categories as well.

Given that PF make no recommendation in their conclusion, and the fact that the Tamron is roughly half the price of the Sigma in the UK (the disparity being slightly smaller, though still large, in the US), my own conclusion is that the 17-50 has performed best all things considered. Admittedly that ignores the score - but who buys a lens based on a score?
Mhuni

500px

Frogfish

Link Posted 09/10/2011 - 11:29
Dr.M.

Ha ha agree - nobody should buy a lens based purely on which one 'wins' a shoot-out as their strengths may be in different areas and the one best suited to any individual's needs may indeed finish 'bottom-of-the-pile' !

Personally I have the Tamron 17-50mm but hardly use it now that I have the 15 Ltd. / Sigma 30 f1.4 and 43 Ltd. preferring to switch lenses rather than have the convenience of a zoom. I still won't sell it though so that gives you an idea of good it is optically

re. Sigma 50-150/Pentax 50-135 : Definitely sample variation can have a large impact on opinions ... and on-line tests.

BTW I found the lens dimensions on the Pentax & Sigma official websites.
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0

lemmy

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 00:15
Since most people have no opportunity to compare lenses personally before buying them, published tests are very important.

The published tests from respected sites and magazines are quite definitive but always people with an emotional attachment to a marque will see any criticism of their chosen make or it being judged less than the best as a personal slight.

Others argue that manufacturing variations account for poor performance of a given lens - which makes lens buying a matter of a pig in a poke. Personally, I feel that if a makers QC is so poor, I probably wouldn't buy one of theirs anyway.

In the end, the tests are all we have.
lemmy
My Home Pages, Cartoons and Videos

George Lazarette

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 01:20
The tests are not all we have (unless it's a brand new lens, and this is not).

Forums like this provide the real-world experiences of owners who have had a lens for a much longer time than that of a typical tester.

I had a 16-50 for three years (until I destroyed it), and it was hardly ever off the camera. If it had flare issues, I never noticed them. What mattered to me was that it was one of the few lenses I have owned from which the pictures could sometimes be mistaken for those taken with a Limited lens.

Being a bit poor at the time of its demise, I replaced it with a 17-70, which, whilst a good lens, is not in the same class.

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

Algernon

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 09:04
Unless a user has done thorough comparison tests against the
best lenses available, because the differences are so minute
the opinion of the user is I'm afraid worthless. You can't
compare one item against itself

A friend of mine used to own/run one of the most successful pro
photographic printing labs in the country and really strived
to produce to quality work. He really believed it was the
best that could be done and if he saw anyway of improving
it he went for it. I didn't have the heart to tell him that
he should compare it against the work other labs were
producing.... he would have seen that the work his lab
turned out wasn't the best available. The labs still going
but they have moved into other areas as well.

It was the same from the photographers side people were
sending work in and were pleased with what they got back
thinking it was as better than other labs produced.

You get it with pro photographers, they think that their
work is the top of the tree..... then they go to a seminar
and get bowled over

Now I'll wait for the usual post of a picture of a
flower in the centre of a frame saying it's a
great lens..... see this!
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi
Last Edited by Algernon on 10/10/2011 - 09:11

stevejcoe

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 09:18
Quote:
I had a 16-50 for three years (until I destroyed it), and it was hardly ever off the camera. If it had flare issues, I never noticed them. What mattered to me was that it was one of the few lenses I have owned from which the pictures could sometimes be mistaken for those taken with a Limited lens.

I echo George's comment, on occasions images captured with this lens show the 'pop and 3D separation' that is a hallmark of the FA limiteds.

That said there are some issues. I always shoot RAW, so any vignetting/distortion and CA is easily taken care of by the Pentax supplied profile in Lightroom/CS5.

This lens along with the DA* 50-135 are getting a little long in the tooth now. They were introduced at a time when the future of Pentax was very much in the balance. We have to remember that these lenses are essentially Tokina designs, repackaged with SDM,weather sealing and SMC. I believe the later DA* 60-250 is much more of a Pentax design.

Regards -Steve

mille19

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 10:11
After looking at this DA*16-50mm examples I think I'm going to ignore the bad review.

johnriley

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 10:13
I wouldn't go so far as to say a user's opinions are worthless, that's a bit extreme maybe.

A user can know very definitely whether a lens is sharper than others, whether it's well made, but most of all whether it suits for the subject matter undertaken. It is helpful to have used a wide variety of lenses of all makes to have a wider experience to judge by, but that's to be expected.

At the moment one of my favourite lenses is the 77mm Limited, but on the web there's not much difference between that and many other lenses that cost a good deal less.
Best regards, John

Sean282

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 10:40
On the topic of sample variation

A review of random samples of the same lens would make for good reading

Algernon

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 11:13
mille19 wrote:
After looking at this DA*16-50mm examples I think I'm going to ignore the bad review.

The 2nd shot Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic looks softer on the left hand side than the right? ....... yet he's submitted it as an example of what the lens can do?
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

cabstar

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 11:28
Some of those images in that thread are really poor, the one of the classroom & waterfalls in particular are both soft, how can you trust opinions from people who think those are good images???
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released

ChrisA

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 11:35
Algernon wrote:
The 2nd shot Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic looks softer on the left hand side than the right? ....... yet he's submitted it as an example of what the lens can do?

This is an example of a comment that illustrates the fact that you really can't tell much about the sharpness of a lens from an image that isn't a 100% crop, posted on the web.

In that image, the only things that are at the same distance from the camera that would allow you to make a sensible estimate of sharpness are the cobbles in the extreme foreground. Other than that, all the things you'd estimate sharpness from are either at different distances, or have different brightness and/or contrast.

For the cobbles in the foreground, on the left, there's a lot more light reflecting off them than on the right, so you can't tell anything about the sharpness from the detail visible in them.

Possibly you could, from the joins between the cobbles, but they don't look much different to me.

Personally, I don't think any of those images tell you anything useful about the lens whatsoever, other than there's nothing obviously wrong with it, or with the photographer's technique.
.
Pentax K-3, DA18-135, DA35 F2.4, DA17-70, DA55-300, FA28-200, A50 F1.7, A100 F4 Macro, A400 F5.6, Sigma 10-20 EXDC, 50-500 F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS Samsung flash SEF-54PZF(x2)
.

andrewk

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 12:17
ChrisA wrote:
you really can't tell much about the sharpness of a lens from an image that isn't a 100% crop

I agree completely. Perhaps folks should remember that an 800 pixel wide landscape format image posted on the internet is less than half a megapixel.

Andrew
Flickr photostream
Last Edited by andrewk on 10/10/2011 - 12:17

MattMatic

Link Posted 10/10/2011 - 12:22
Love my DA*16-50 and no way am I selling it
(If anything happened to it, I'd buy another for sure)

Have used a fair diversion of lenses, but this definitely has a certain "something". I listened to the reviews for too long, bought a 2nd hand one and was stunned at what I was missing. YMMV.

Matt
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)
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