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

(based on 117 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (66)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (26)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (9)

80%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (85)
  • Strong construction (79)
  • Consistent output (63)
  • Durable (59)
  • Rugged (58)

Cons

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

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (64)
  • Night photography (45)
  • Low light (42)
  • Weddings (33)
  • General purpose (25)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (45), Semi-pro photographer (20), Enthusiast (18), Semi-professional (9), Casual photographer (7)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (66)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

My favorite pentax lens thus far...

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...Read complete review

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.

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 117 customers

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4.0

Professional quality lens

By Mark G

from Fargo, ND

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

    This lens performs very well at outdoor landscape photography, for which I use it almost exclusively. I really like the fact that it maintains constant f/stop while zooming. The auto-focus is quiet and quick, and the optical quality is high.
    The lens' relatively high speed (f/2.8) necessitates that it be physically rather large. This is only fatal when using the pop-up flash because the lens body shields a considerable portion of its wide field from flash's illumination.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    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.

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        • 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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          (8 of 12 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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          (3 of 3 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.

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            • 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. =(

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            • No

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            (6 of 6 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.

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              • No

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              (4 of 4 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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              (9 of 10 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...!

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              • No

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              (8 of 8 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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                    (9 of 9 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.

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                    • 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.

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                        • No

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                        (6 of 6 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.

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                        • 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.

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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 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

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                            • No

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