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Pentaxsmc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens
 
4.2

(based on 116 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (66)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (25)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (9)

79%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (84)
  • Strong construction (78)
  • Consistent output (62)
  • Durable (58)
  • Rugged (57)

Cons

  • Heavy (37)
  • Slow focus (10)
  • Blurry focus (8)
  • Poor in low light (5)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (63)
  • Night photography (45)
  • Low light (42)
  • Weddings (33)
  • General purpose (25)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (44), Semi-pro photographer (20), Enthusiast (18), Semi-professional (9), Casual photographer (7)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (65)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

A great lens !

I am really satisfied with this lens. Very useful for all kinds of shooting situations! The Autofocus is fast and the max. Aperture of 2.8 really gives an advantage not only in low...Read complete review

I am really satisfied with this lens. Very useful for all kinds of shooting situations! The Autofocus is fast and the max. Aperture of 2.8 really gives an advantage not only in low light, but also a nice background blur. Also it's sharp already at max. Aperture, except for the corners at 16mm.
The zoom action is a little stiff at the middle range, but this is most likely due to tight manufacturing and weather sealing.
This lens certainly feels and performs professional. It produces very high quality pictures.
I would recommend investing in it, it's price is still well below other manufactures professional "standard" zoom lenses.
You get a quite sizable lens, but considering the specs, I find Pentax did a good job at keeping the weight down. It's seem bulky on a K100, but just right on the K10!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Works For Me

I use this primarily for landscapes. I love the IQ. I bought it used from B&H about 10 months ago. As noted in many reviews, the autofocus quit soon enough, after...Read complete review

I use this primarily for landscapes. I love the IQ. I bought it used from B&H about 10 months ago. As noted in many reviews, the autofocus quit soon enough, after about three months.

Though I will repair it eventually, in the meantime I have taken the opportunity to re-acquire manual focus skills, and I have been astonished at how my photography has improved, so much so that even when shooting fast-moving kids or pets with another lens I will focus manually more than half the time.

About all the negatives I've read have proven true for me, but I can't give this lens up. I just love the image quality.

Given the problems with the SDM, I would not purchase new without buying an extended warranty, nor used unless I got a very good price. But I love the classic look from the lens, with no need to use film-simulation plug-ins. The attached photo had only default sharpening applied in Lightroom and is undoubtedly softened from diffraction as I shot at f/13. It's sharp enough for me.

4 stars for the optical quality, 3 overall for the mechanical issues.

Reviewed by 116 customers

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5.0

Pentax 16-50 D vs. 16-50 D-star

By jz

from ithaca, ny

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Close-quarter Portraiture
    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Very Closeup With Nice Bo
    • Walk-around

    Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

    Semi-pro, whatever that means; an ex-art-school, passionately serious amateur.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    once I learned how ti use it thie a great lens

    By oldugly

    from Albuquerque NM

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Rugged

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Night Photography

      Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

      This lens is faster than most of my others, which is why I bought it for night photography.
      So there was a little learning on my part. At this time this lens not only gives me a much wider shot than my 50mm f1.4 but a cleaner sharper photograph.
      The focus has always been fast and consistent, although I usually use Manual settings and focus in live view due to the low light conditions.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      4.0

      Great Lens

      By José Tomás

      from Santiago, Chile

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Landscape/Scenery

        Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

        Excelent for landscapes...

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Lower the price it is a fine lens.

        By Kai

        from New York

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

        I owned this lens when I have my pentax k-5 like 3 years ago. Now all the sudden I want to write a review for this lens. I have used canon, Panasonic and now sony since I dump Pentax system 3 years ago. But now I look back at those photos took with Pentax k-5 and this lens. I find the color and contrast are quite good. They look just better than many of my shots now. So I want to say there are some characters of a lens that can not be measured quantitily. This lens is not great optically. It is quite soft wide open at 35-50mm. at 16mm f2.8 it is good. Stop down to f3.5 improve sharpness a lot. So I usually just leave this lens at f3.5. At f5.6 this is lens is amazing though. The autofocus is soso. and my SDM broke and I spend over $ to repair it. This really let this lens down.But again the color and contrast this lens produce is pretty good. It is hard to measure those characters. But if you are a photographer for many years. You look at the shots you took, you know which photo looks good. which looks flat.Bottom of the line. If you find this lens cheap used with great condition. I recommend it. For new, $ is fine. but $ is too much.I wrote so many times on the Pentax forum that Pentax need make version II of this lens. Improve wide open performance, autofocus. Then Pentax has an winner aps-c fast zoom lens.

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        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Pentax 16 - 50 2.8

        By f1monza

        from CA

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Night Photography
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

          Used this lense now for about 5 months. I love the quick Auto Focus. So far I have not had any issues with the SDM motor. Picture quality is outstanding. I also had the 16-85. sold on [[@]]. I just love the 2.8 on this lense. Once you get used to the size. You will be fine for almost every day use. Filter size is 77mm. Build quality is par with the Canon and the Nikon lenses. I use this lense for Birthday's close ups scenic shots. I also use the Macro 100mm Pentax. Pentax 200mm 2.8. Hosetly before Pentax I was a Canon person. What more can I say I just fell in love with Pentax. You can not go wrong with this lense. It is a wonderful lense . must have . Give it a try, if you do not like it . you can always send it back and get a refund. I have been doing business with B and H for several years now. No worries great service great help and wanting to help. John J.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Don't buy, SDM failed within 3 months

          By UMDTERPS

          from Washington, D.C.

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

          • Sdm Failed

          Best Uses

          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Sports/Action
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

          I thought maybe Pentax worked out the issues with this lens, but I was wong. The SDM failed within 3 months. =(

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Garbage/Trash, focus motor/ring failed in 4 months

          By UMDTERPS

          from Washington, D.C.

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Pros

          • Lightweight
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Rugged
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

          • Failed In 4 Months

          Best Uses

            Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

            I bought this lens for the weatherproof ability and the higher quality. I knew this lens may have a high fail rate, but I bought it anyway because I figured they fixed most of the issues because the lens has been on the market. Not the case. This lens stopped working after 4 months of light use.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            Good and bad

            By Yoda boy

            from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Pros

            • Beautiful Colouring
            • Durable
            • Easily Interchangeable
            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
            • Nice Bokeh
            • Rugged
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

            • Build Quality

            Best Uses

            • Landscape/Scenery

            Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

            Purchased this a year ago as upgrade to DA 16-45. Former seems better built. Two issues: when shooting a series of shots at same subject from same position, some will have purple fringing around the edges and others will not. Why? Secondly, the barrel seems very loose when extended. Took it in for servicing and repair included a new SDM motor. Loose extension is a bit better but still far worse than the 16-45. That old lens was great, should have stayed with this but wanted f 2.8 vs. f 4.

            This lens is very capable of creating beautiful photos and the colour can be wonderful. I found out after purchasing that this product may have actually been manufactured by Tokina. Don't feel this is up to par for a DA* lens. Only have DA* 60-250 to compare this with and the 60-250 is a true professional lens, wonderful in so many ways.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Poor quality control

            By Rnovo

            from Nova Scotia Canada

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Great all around lens

            Cons

            • Expensive
            • Not A Pro Lens
            • Unreliable Af

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Night Photography
            • Sports/Action

            Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

            Bought new in Dec. 2008. I just had my 4th incident (2 SDMs) with this lens causing me to spend more than the cost new if I decide to have this last one fixed (I did get 1 deal on 1 SDM incident). I can't deactivate the SDM because I have a mac (PKTether is for PC only) but I may have found some help. Otherwise I will use it in MF because its worth nothing now and I spent too much...! It is a dud and Pentax Canada has still not offered a decent deal such as total replacement...Granted, it still is a great all around lens with good glass but the hardware is poor given that there are 30+ SDM incidents listed out of the 188 lenses in the lens data base - not counting those that people are not willing to declare for resale purposes...?
            That will make 3 SDM incidents counting my 50-135mm - which I hardly used - that just occurred as well...
            In conclusion: car manufacturers recall their models for less than that. Maybe there are enough users out there that are not speaking out and there may be enough there to have a class action launched...!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            Works For Me

            By Marie Glynn

            from Pullman, WA

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Consistent Output

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Landscape/Scenery

              Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

              I use this primarily for landscapes. I love the IQ. I bought it used from B&H about 10 months ago. As noted in many reviews, the autofocus quit soon enough, after about three months.

              Though I will repair it eventually, in the meantime I have taken the opportunity to re-acquire manual focus skills, and I have been astonished at how my photography has improved, so much so that even when shooting fast-moving kids or pets with another lens I will focus manually more than half the time.

              About all the negatives I've read have proven true for me, but I can't give this lens up. I just love the image quality.

              Given the problems with the SDM, I would not purchase new without buying an extended warranty, nor used unless I got a very good price. But I love the classic look from the lens, with no need to use film-simulation plug-ins. The attached photo had only default sharpening applied in Lightroom and is undoubtedly softened from diffraction as I shot at f/13. It's sharp enough for me.

              4 stars for the optical quality, 3 overall for the mechanical issues.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              5.0

              Love It

              By Crazy Carl

              from Lebanon, PA

              About Me Casual Photographer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Durable
              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Rugged
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Night Photography
                • Weddings/Events

                Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                I bought this lens because I had previously purchased the 50-135 DA* and liked that one so much. Auto-focus is super quiet and pictures turn out great.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                NICE LENS BUT

                By DOZER

                from SALT LAKE CITY UTAH

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Easily Interchangeable
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Video
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                  Nice and sharp if can get it to focus, i need to send it in again.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  2.0

                  This lens is killing me

                  By JP

                  from New York, NY

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Sharp

                  Cons

                  • Af Problem
                  • Poor in Low Light
                  • Slow Focus

                  Best Uses

                  • Landscape/Scenery

                  Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                  Optics are fantastic and no complaints there. The problem is the AF. It only works when it wants. I am on my third lens and same problem every time. Well, the first one the AF never worked, second was great and then a week later died. Now after a few months it started acting up, then ok for a while and now just refuses to work. The photos are sharp and I love the output, but Pentax cannot get this lens right. They should take it off the market and FIX the problem. It is widely known that the AF is a HUGE problem with this lens. It is kinda a joke in Pentax world. Except for those of us who shelled out quite a bit of money and get stuck with a MF lens.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  3.0

                  GREAT LENS until the auto focus quits

                  By BDS Photography

                  from Vernon, NJ

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                    Cons

                    • Autofocus Failed

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                      Had this in the shop once and now the autofocus is acting up AGAIN. Not sure if I could recomend this. If you get a good one then you will love it. If the AF dies it's expensive to get fixed.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      3.0

                      My 3rd copy with QC problems

                      By Ferd

                      from Juneau, AK

                      Pros

                      • Pleasing Colors

                      Cons

                      • Blurry Focus
                      • Slow Focus

                      Best Uses

                      • A Rain Lens

                      Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                      In all 3 copies, the front of the lens wobbles in varying degrees. The build quality is not comparable to Canon L lenses (the cost is). Auto-focus lock is horribly slow. On a positive note, the lens has a nice soft focus at 2.8 and sharp at 4.0. The color rendition and detail exceeds comparable Canon L lenses.

                      This lens is overpriced considering the poor quality control.

                      Pentax has some very nice lenses. This is not one of them.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Need time to get familiarised

                      By MythGuy

                      from Brisbane

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Large Constant Aperture
                      • Nice Bokeh
                      • Strong Construction
                      • Weather resistant

                      Cons

                      • Heavy
                      • Slow Focus

                      Best Uses

                      • Indoors/Low Light
                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Portrait Short Tele
                      • Weddings/Events

                      Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                      This product is superb in optics but flawed in some areas. That being said, it doesn't mean you should blame the lens for it's flaws. This is a lens that need a lot of time to get familiarised with its functions and how to maximise its output. For example, on some Pentax body the auto-focus will hunt or fail under low-light (which lens doesn't?) So you need time to know when the lens will work and when it won't, otherwise you will not be able to get good results from it. Overall it is a good buy if you already have couple of year of shooting experience and are looking for a weather-resistant good overall image quality lens.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      outstanding lens!

                      By gf

                      from denver

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Durable
                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Rugged
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Landscape/Scenery
                        • Night Photography

                        Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                        This lens is truly outstanding! The optics are amazing (sharpness, contrast, colors...), as good as my prime limited lens. The quality of built is superb. I even like the size and weight of this lens that balances out well with the body of my camera (K5). I love the range from wide angle to a portrait range. THis lens stays on my camera all the time. I look at this lens as a long term purchase. I hesitated a long time due to its price but...I have say, it's worth the price

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        My favorite pentax lens thus far...

                        By Brandeezy1975

                        from Chandler, AZ

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Pros

                        • Consistent Output
                        • Durable
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Rugged
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Macro Photography
                          • Night Photography

                          Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                          Super sharp from 16 to 50, great for portrait or landscape, awesome in low light, street scenes, good carry around lens for all situations with professional output. Makes the average joe look like Ansel Adams.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Great lens

                          By Ronen Yahav

                          from Lapid,Isreal

                          About Me Photography Student

                          Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                          Great lens,produces very sharp images with great details,and vivd colors.
                          using Pentax k-5iis

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          4.0

                          Quiet and Fast Lens

                          By The Accidental Tog

                          from NYC, NY

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                          • Nice Bokeh
                          • Rugged
                          • Strong Construction

                          Cons

                          • Chromatic abberations

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Night Photography
                          • Weddings/Events

                          Comments about Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Lens:

                          Excellent, fast normal zoom, with great build quality. I've been considering this lens for sometime but already own the Tamron non-vc 17-50mm f2.8. I was hesistant to buy the DA* with all the SDM issues reported online. However, after a good experience with the DA* 50-135, finally decided to give this lens a try.

                          Compared to the Tamron - Better colors, contrast, slightly brighter, better build quality, weatherproof and silent.

                          It may not be quite as sharp as the Tamron, but this doesn't really affect the way that I shoot (mostly portraits and family pics).

                          The main drawback comes in the form of CA, or color fringing. It's fairly easy to invoke CA particularly if you're shooting at the wider apertures. You can work around in PP but hard to remove completely.

                          In summary, a very good lens that is just short of being great.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No
                          • Similar:
                          • Pentax DA* 50-135mm F2.8 SDM

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