Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 vs. Pentax DA* 16-50 f/2.8


MarkTaylor

Link Posted 17/03/2013 - 11:15
I'm seeking some opinions here. I'm considering upgrading my Tamron 17-50 to the Pentax 16-50. This would give me the DA* 16-50 and the DA* 50-135, both weather sealed, as my main two-lens combo.

It would involve parting with both the Tamron and the Pentax 18-135WR to finance it. The only thing holding me back is that I'm reluctant to part with the Tamron even though I appreciate that the Pentax 16-60 would be a direct replacement for it.

Thing is, the Tamron is my main go-to instrument and accounts for the largest chunk of my photography. I love the images it produces and greatly prefer them over the output from the 18-135WR (which is why I essentially never use it and am happy enough to see it go - I thought it would be useful as a one-stop WR lens but with two camera bodies it's not really necessary). It's not even so much a sharpness issue, although the difference is definitely noticeable especially if you pixel peep. It's that images from the Tamron just seem to have more depth and 'pop' somehow, though possibly you could put this down to the fact that I use it wide open or close to wide open much of the time. I think pictures from the Tamron are a bit more vibrant and contrasty too.

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear from anybody who has had the chance to use both lenses, what do you think? I really don't want to take the plunge and then regret losing the Tamron. Is there anything about the Tamron you've found the Pentax DA* doesn't match. Also, how about focusing speed? Are they about the same or is one or the other faster?

All input would be appreciated before I make this rather fundamental decision.
My Flickr Pentax K-5 K-5 II Sigma 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD ASL SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F/2.8 ED [IF] SDM SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F/4-5.8 ED SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR Vivitar 100mm F/3.5 Macro AF Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-2
Last Edited by MarkTaylor on 17/03/2013 - 11:16

percy

Link Posted 17/03/2013 - 11:23
Have you looked at this comparison: link

MarkTaylor

Link Posted 17/03/2013 - 11:43
percy wrote:
Have you looked at this comparison: link

Yes I have and it's one of the things that let me to question this in the first place, as it raised some potentially worrisome aspects of the DA* 16-50's performance in IQ terms. However tests are tests and often don't translate well to how well a lens behaves in 'real' photographic situations, which is one reason why I'm looking for the opinions of forum members.
My Flickr Pentax K-5 K-5 II Sigma 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD ASL SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F/2.8 ED [IF] SDM SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F/4-5.8 ED SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR Vivitar 100mm F/3.5 Macro AF Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-2
Last Edited by MarkTaylor on 17/03/2013 - 11:44

cabstar

Link Posted 17/03/2013 - 22:31
OK I just read the conclusions of that review again, been a whilst and I remember it being fairly negative as have most reviews of the 16-50mm I know because I owned a Tamron for nearly four years!!!

Whilst the Tamron had good IQ quality the build quality was truly dreadful, if you search the internet you will see a lot of problems with the front elemant coming loose, mine did on a regular basis. Which whilst I could fix easily ddn't fill me with confidence.

The zoom ring seemed tight and always had resistance to it, whilst the focus on Pentax always hunted and was slow too.

The Tamron is lightwight with a 67mm front element and balanced well on the GX20 and teh K-5

The DA* 16-50mm I love and do not regret getting it for one moment, I did buy mine second-hand paid I think 400 for it. I didnt want to risk a new one due to the reviews and factored in the cost of a focus repair, which I havent needed yet and I use it alot!!!

The DA* 16-50mm does have its faults though, its heavy having a 77mm front elemant, the zoom extends alot at 50mm again making handling heavy.

A lot of the reviews claim at 2.8 its soft, I didn't think it was, as this shows. Both in natural light no flash used.







A larger image can be seen here

I was really pleased with my copy and I take around 600 shots a week with mine working in a nightclub I needed weather resistance due to drinks being thrown around

I should also point out that focussing is faster on the Pentax and locks on quicker with the original K-5 than the Tamron did, the Pentax also hunts alot less on the original K-5.

The only negatives are the weight and the strange distortion at 16mm which Lightroom profiles seem to exacerbate .

So would I buy a Pentax DA* 16-50mm again? Yes any day over the Tamron
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released

Helpful

MarkTaylor

Link Posted 18/03/2013 - 01:40
cabstar wrote:
So would I buy a Pentax DA* 16-50mm again? Yes any day over the Tamron

Thanks, that's extremely helpful especially coming from a working photographer whose tools are so vital to him and whose work I hold in high esteem.

I might look at the second hand route too. I've no regrets about purchasing my 55-300 that way.

Thanks again.
My Flickr Pentax K-5 K-5 II Sigma 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD ASL SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F/2.8 ED [IF] SDM SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F/4-5.8 ED SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR Vivitar 100mm F/3.5 Macro AF Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-2

Daniel Bridge

Link Posted 18/03/2013 - 23:04
There's a secondhand one in Cameraworld in Chelmsford at the moment (saw it today), can't remember the price but it would come with a 6 month guarantee.

Ah, here it is. Might be more than you were thinking on spending though.

Dan
K-3, a macro lens and a DA*300mm...

Helpful

MarkTaylor

Link Posted 18/03/2013 - 23:14
Daniel Bridge wrote:
Ah, here it is. Might be more than you were thinking on spending though.

Thanks for posting, though you're right about the price as I'd be inclined to stretch the extra mile and get a brand new lens if that's the best I could get 2nd hand.

I'll probably end up selling the 18-135WR, the cheap 'plastic fantastic' Vivitar Macro (circa 100) and a couple of other cheap (40 or less) lenses I have lying around as well as the Tamron 17-50, which should get me at least fairly close to the DA* 16-50. The macro lens is another one I haven't really used. Macro photography might be something I get into in the future but it's just not where I'm at right now. The Tamron will be the last to go as I refuse to part with it until I actually have the 16-50 in my hands...

This will reduce my collection of lenses to four, but I have no problem with that as they will be four lenses I make constant use of. No dead weight.
My Flickr Pentax K-5 K-5 II Sigma 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD ASL SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F/2.8 ED [IF] SDM SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F/4-5.8 ED SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR Vivitar 100mm F/3.5 Macro AF Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-2
Last Edited by MarkTaylor on 18/03/2013 - 23:23

Renster

Link Posted 18/03/2013 - 23:40
Hi mark,
I may be interested in buying your 18-135 wr.

Could you pm me with details if your selling?

Cheers

Darren

MarkTaylor wrote:
Daniel Bridge wrote:
Ah, here it is. Might be more than you were thinking on spending though.

Thanks for posting, though you're right about the price as I'd be inclined to stretch the extra mile and get a brand new lens if that's the best I could get 2nd hand.

I'll probably end up selling the 18-135WR, the cheap 'plastic fantastic' Vivitar Macro (circa 100) and a couple of other cheap (40 or less) lenses I have lying around as well as the Tamron 17-50, which should get me at least fairly close to the DA* 16-50. The macro lens is another one I haven't really used. Macro photography might be something I get into in the future but it's just not where I'm at right now. The Tamron will be the last to go as I refuse to part with it until I actually have the 16-50 in my hands...

This will reduce my collection of lenses to four, but I have no problem with that as they will be four lenses I make constant use of. No dead weight.

MarkTaylor

Link Posted 18/03/2013 - 23:50
Renster wrote:
Hi mark,
I may be interested in buying your 18-135 wr.

Could you pm me with details if your selling?

Cheers

Darren

Hi Darren. I'm not taking the plunge right this second as I'll be taking the time to do a little more research first, but I'll let you know when I am. I'd say 'if' but it now seems to be an almost inevitable outcome.

It should go without saying but don't hang around waiting if you see a deal on the 18-135 somewhere else. Mine is less than four months old and has hardly been used so I won't be selling it for peanuts, I'll be looking for a good price.
My Flickr Pentax K-5 K-5 II Sigma 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD ASL SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F/2.8 ED [IF] SDM SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F/4-5.8 ED SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR Vivitar 100mm F/3.5 Macro AF Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-2

Daniel Bridge

Link Posted 19/03/2013 - 00:02
MarkTaylor wrote:
Daniel Bridge wrote:
Ah, here it is. Might be more than you were thinking on spending though.

Thanks for posting, though you're right about the price as I'd be inclined to stretch the extra mile and get a brand new lens if that's the best I could get 2nd hand.

SRS have a secondhand one too, but that's 599, while they've currently got them new at 695, and I go for a new one too at that price (if I were in the market for one). Personally, I'm interested to see whether the rumoured 16-85 appears any time soon...

Dan
K-3, a macro lens and a DA*300mm...

Renster

Link Posted 19/03/2013 - 06:47
Hi mark,

I need to sell my 55 first anyway, but please let me know.

Cheers

cabstar

Link Posted 19/03/2013 - 12:50
Daniel Bridge wrote:
MarkTaylor wrote:
Quote:
Ah, here it is. Might be more than you were thinking on spending though.

Thanks for posting, though you're right about the price as I'd be inclined to stretch the extra mile and get a brand new lens if that's the best I could get 2nd hand.

SRS have a secondhand one too, but that's 599, while they've currently got them new at 695, and I go for a new one too at that price (if I were in the market for one). Personally, I'm interested to see whether the rumoured 16-85 appears any time soon...

Dan

The 16-85 won't be constant 2.8 though more likely 2.8-4..
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released
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