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PentaxSMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens
 
4.2

(based on 105 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (62)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (24)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (6)

80%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (77)
  • Strong construction (71)
  • Consistent output (57)
  • Durable (55)
  • Rugged (51)

Cons

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

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (55)
  • Night photography (41)
  • Low light (38)
  • Weddings (30)
  • General purpose (25)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (39), Enthusiast (18), Semi-pro photographer (16), Semi-professional (9), Casual photographer (6)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (55)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Amazing Lens-Not for the Faint of Heart!

First things first - this lens is not for amateurs (the point and shoot crowd who are now upgrading to DSLRs and using the Auto feature only), it is made for photographers,...Read complete review

First things first - this lens is not for amateurs (the point and shoot crowd who are now upgrading to DSLRs and using the Auto feature only), it is made for photographers, professionals, people who really know how to use their cameras and take advantage of its subtle nuances.

When I first got this lens I went out and shot some landscape photos, they were nice but not as great as the hype – at least in my opinion. I loved the range of the 16-50mm zoom, I loved the lens's ability to capture light but I was not happy with the overall quality of images, I was expecting more, especially since it is not a cheap, lens, much more on the pricier side.

And more is what I got. As soon as I started pushing myself, really learning my camera (and not being lazy by relying on all the auto features), this lens started producing results that were beyond my expectations. The images are amazingly sharp, the bokeh is excellent, the focusing speed is good, not the fastest or the slowest but I have not found any difficulty with it. This lens has become my "daily driver" and I rarely go to my other lenses these days unless I'm doing something specific like macro or fisheye photography. I really enjoy the size of this lens, it is pretty large but very easy to handle. I'm a big guy and I like a larger lens to hold. Definitely does not feel like a toy lens.

I really have no negatives to say about this lens. I have read them from other reviews (to heavy, to big, slow focus,) but I do not or have not found any of those items to be an issue. When you buy a lens (any lens), you have to learn how to use it, and the camera too – RTFM dudes!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Not as durable as others claim

A dream lens except for two flaws:
1. On a K10 my lens cannot decide on the focus distance beyond 25 feet; the focus indicator blinks continually preventing the shutter from...Read complete review

A dream lens except for two flaws:
1. On a K10 my lens cannot decide on the focus distance beyond 25 feet; the focus indicator blinks continually preventing the shutter from releasing. Be prepared to shift to manual focus at longer distances. This problem occurs even when attempting to focus on sharp contrasting edges on the subject.
2. I question the durability claims. When I bumped the lens against the back of a chair (mounted on a K10), the internal mechanisms became inoperable. I sent it to the factory to have both problems repaired. Focusing remained a problem. Three months later when I stood up with camera strap around my neck; the lens bumped a handrail. It goes back to the factory later this week. My old Pentax lenses have always been durable, even in Vietnam.

Reviewed by 105 customers

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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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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    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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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    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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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        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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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        (1 of 1 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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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        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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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          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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Great lens

            By Ronen Yahav

            from Lapid,Isreal

            About Me Photography Student

            Pros

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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                  (4 of 4 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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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

                  Share this review

                   
                  5.0

                  Excellent for Walking Around

                  By FWBIGD

                  from Saginaw TX

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

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

                  Cons

                  • Chromatic Aberrations
                  • Soft wide open

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Portraits
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                  An excellent waking around lens, it's the equivalent of 24-70 for a full frame camera. This make it great of general purpose lens. It can be used for landscapes to portraits. The bokeh is excellent. The features and handling of the lens are excellent. Overall image quality is excellent, but is a little soft wide open with a little chromatic aberration at F2.8.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  5.0

                  Still working good.

                  By Bone

                  from China

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Durable
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                  • Heavy

                  Best Uses

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

                  Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                  I was hoping the lens' manufacturer is Ricoh, not HOYA, but it turned out to be HOYA. SN begin with 904. seems old stock. But the lens is working pretty well, no SDM issue yet.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Perfect for all occasions

                  By Dvaughan

                  from Australia, queensland

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

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

                      Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                      Have only recently bought this lens but so far it's been great. Prior to this I owned the well rated tamron equiv but was in need of a weather sealed option. The image quality and handling feels similar to the da*50-135 however I found it to be surprisingly smaller aNd lighter then reviews suggest! So far have endured sandy beaches and rain showers with this lens on the trusty k-5, neither has missed a beat:). Couldn't be happier with my new purchase.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      3.0

                      Inconsistency result

                      By DF

                      from Virginia

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Durable
                      • Nice Bokeh
                      • Rugged
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                      • Blurry Focus
                      • Heavy
                      • Slow Focus

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery

                      Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                      The build quality is exceptional, while optical is a mixture. In general the center sharpness is great but the borders do suffer at wide angle. My copy has some problems in auto-focus so I just decided to return it. If you could find a perfect copy then it will delivery satisfactory result.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Great lens

                      By JAuerbach

                      from Lyons, CO

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

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

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Landscape/Scenery

                        Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                        Was missing a lens in the 30-50mm range, mostly for landscapes and scenics, and this was the answer. It is very comparable to the awesome Pentax 50-135 I also own, in build/function/features and most importantly, image quality. No complaints so far.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Lovely lens

                        By reactionist

                        from the, south

                        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                        Pros

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

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Night Photography
                          • Sports/Action
                          • Video
                          • Weddings/Events
                          • Wildlife Photos

                          Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                          Quick lens and it has been a while since I have had a lens that can handle f/2.8 from stem to stern (in this case from 16 to 50mm). I am still looking for the sharpest f-stop and it seems (like most lenses) to focus just past my chosen spot.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Outstanding Workhorse Lens!

                          By Heie

                          from Deployed to Afghanistan

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Pros

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

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Indoors/Low Light
                            • Landscape/Scenery
                            • Photojournalism
                            • Weddings/Events

                            Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                            I was skeptical to get this lens after reading reviews about it being faulty (SDM) and not having the best IQ. I am glad I ignored the negative nancies and got it, because being deployed to Afghanistan (my second job is quasi photojournalism with all the reports I have to submit), it has taken the role of being my workhorse. It is used for 85% of all my photos, and I wouldn't imagine being without it. If I were to have all of my camera gear stolen, this is the first lens that I would get to replace the loss. An oustanding lens, I highly recommend it. The IQ is great, great contrast, and the build quality/durability is second to none. I often take it in the shower with me after being out and having it covered in baby powder like dust out here (it's really that fine).

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            (4 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            1.0

                            disappointing

                            By Photopossum

                            from Los Angeles, CA

                            About Me Photo Enthusiast

                            Pros

                              Cons

                              • Blurry Focus
                              • Heavy

                              Best Uses

                                Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                                The copy of the DA* 16-50mm I ordered was a huge disappointment. It front focused dramatically, and when it did manage to find focus, there was severe purple fringing. The overall image quality did not seem as good as my Pentax primes, even when neither of the above-mentioned problems reared its head. I returned my lens for a refund (thanks to B&H for making that process easy and stress-free). It wasn't worth the asking price, even assuming a better copy without the front focus issue, and that was at the old price, which was about half of what it is sold for today. I can't think of any reason to recommend this lens - it's big and heavy, has mediocre to poor image quality, a bad reputation for reliability (the SDM focusing system), and costs a small fortune. The weather-sealed kit lens (18-55mm) which came with my K7 is as about as good (or as poor, as the case may be) of a lens, without the problems and the high price.

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                                • No

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                                (1 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                1.0

                                Unfortunately, a Piece of Junk

                                By Retired in Idaho

                                from Idaho Falls, Idaho

                                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                Verified Reviewer

                                Pros

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Landscape/Scenery
                                    • Sports/Action

                                    Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                                    This is the second copy that I have bought in hopes that Pentax had cured their autofocus failures in the earlier units. I was wrong. To make matters worse, I also bought a K-5. I own two other DA* lenses and they are great! However, my new 16-50mm DA* started to fail on autofocus within 20 shots. The only smart move I made was to buy B&H's extended warranty.
                                    The first copy failed at 90 days and Pentax replaced it with an older (lower SN) copy. It failed 60 days later. That lens was repaired and worked for 22 months (maybe 2000 shots). I had it repaired again at no cost by the Pentax repair contractor and promptly sold it and bought my present disaster. The lens is great when it works, but right now I deeply regret my decision to stay with Pentax and not roll to Nikon or Canon.

                                    • Was this a gift?:
                                    • No

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                                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    5.0

                                    Awesome & Incredibly Versatile

                                    By Itai

                                    from Canada

                                    About Me Pro Photographer

                                    Verified Buyer

                                    Pros

                                    • Consistent Output
                                    • Durable
                                    • Rugged
                                    • Strong Construction

                                    Cons

                                    • Slow Focus

                                    Best Uses

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

                                    Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                                    This is the most versatile lens from Pentax, it covers ultra-wide to normal range of focal-lengths and has a bright aperture to capture plenty of light and shallow depth-of-field. This lens is so essential to my photography that I bought a backup just in case.

                                    The lens sharpness is excellent once you stop down to F/4. At F2.8, there is some corner softness which is only visible in relatively large prints.

                                    The weather-sealing is top notch and this lens resisted a rough sandstorm which totaled several other lenses and cameras and the filter I was using to protect it.

                                    • Was this a gift?:
                                    • No

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                                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    1.0

                                    Looking for a Replacement

                                    By Greg Gilbertson

                                    from Aberdeen, South Dakota

                                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                                    Verified Reviewer

                                    Pros

                                    • None

                                    Cons

                                    • Blurry Focus
                                    • Not a good lens
                                    • Poor in Low Light
                                    • Slow Focus

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens:

                                      The zoom locked a few months after purchase so I sent it in for repair. The auto focus was always slow and now does not work. I now have a manual focus lens.

                                      • Was this a gift?:
                                      • No

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