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by PowerReviews
PentaxSMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens
 
4.1

(based on 111 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (63)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (24)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (9)

78%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (80)
  • Strong construction (75)
  • Consistent output (59)
  • Durable (57)
  • Rugged (54)

Cons

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

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (60)
  • Night photography (43)
  • Low light (40)
  • Weddings (32)
  • General purpose (25)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (42), Enthusiast (18), Semi-pro photographer (18), Semi-professional (9), Casual photographer (7)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (61)

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

 

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 111 customers

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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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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    (1 of 1 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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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.

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    • No

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    (2 of 3 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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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...!

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    • No

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    (3 of 3 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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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 SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED 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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        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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          (4 of 4 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 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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          (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 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 of 3 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 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.

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              • No

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              (2 of 2 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.

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              • 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 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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                (1 of 1 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 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

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                        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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