16-45 or 16-50 or 17-70 - Can't decide!

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by guy_gervais, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Greetings all,
    Preparing for a trip to Spain next month & trying to decide on what to bring camera/lenses wise.
    Thinking of getting one of the above to replace the 18-55 [1st gen] kit lens.
    All seem pretty good but the prices vary a lot from one to the other.
    I want this to become my general walkabout lens. Low light is not my thing so wide aperture is not required.
    Basically I'm looking for the most "bang for the buck" all purpose lens. Still want good image quality though...
    WR is nice not so much the price tag but if it's the best, I'll bite the bullet and get one!
    Also don't need very long because I'm more of the landscape/macro type.
    This zoom would be added to a K-5 & a SMC Pentax-A 50mm Macro. Traveling light for a change!
    Or taking the 18-55 + 50 macro & getting a nice 15mm Limited... I just hate myself sometimes!
    Thank to all for your comments & advice.
  2. "Bang for buck" points to the 16-45. I have no complaints about mine, other than it being a little short on the long end.
  3. The best bang for the buck may just be what you currently have with the 18-55 plus and A 50mm MF macro. But for one single lens, I personally favor the 17-70mm range. A good used copy of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5, the old model, may go about < $300. Buying used always carry risks though. I had that old Sigma zoom and I was very happy about it for the walk-about purpose. I have tagged my blog posts with 17-17mm and you can visit for reference to the sigma zoom. The Sigma goes well for walk-around for its longer range, good close up, and consistent image quality, and pretty good speed f/2.8 in the wider angle to normal. I don't recall the focal length where the variable speed f/2.8 speed get slower. I have too many lenses and I had let it go. If I start all over again, I will probably pick the newer Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0 and the 2nd runner up choice is the Pentax DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR with weather resistance as my choice of single lens walkabout lens purpose.
    I don't have the 16-45mm zoom but it is a lens that is loved by many and I recall Peter Zack's high praises of the lens and I trust his words for it. And the comment from Zane can attest to that. Only you can tell if the range can fit your needs. If your walk-about is more towards the landscape type of shots, that can be considered.

    If your 16-50mm range refers to the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8, that is the premium and it is hard to qualify for the best bang for the buck. I want that lens too but it is too high in price and many past reports of SDM failures have plagued this wonderful lens with the bad stigma of reputation.
  4. I think that Hin has nailed it. I too have the first generation Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 and it makes a great walk around zoom. The image edges at 17mm are not as sharp as say the 17-50mm f/2.8 from Sigma and Tamron, but the overall resolution (esp. in the centre) hangs in there with them. At the long 70mm end the centre is very good even if the edges again are a little less sharp, but for portrait's that is no problem. Throughout the rest of the range, it is a very good lens.
    The topper is the close focus ability of this lens. While not true 1:1 macro, it get's you closer than any other lens, and that is wonderful for creative shots and getting things like flowers, insects, etc.. The second OS version was a bit of a bust, but the new Contemporary version is excellent apparently. If I didn't already have the first gen lens, I would likely be buying the new version. The older lens does come up periodically on the enthusiast sites and eBay.
    A great travel kit might include the DA-15mm f/4 Limted, Siggy 17-70mm, and either the DA-70mm f/2.4 Limited or FA-77mm f/1.8 Limited. Money no object, obviously ;-)
  5. For nice trips, I like to travel with two camera bodies, just to have a backup (these used to be K-7+K10D, now they are E-M5+E-PL2). For your macro/landscape interests, the 15 Limited and the 35 Limited macro would cover most scenarios. The only thing they lack is speed but luckily you don't seem to care about that. :) Zooms are appealing, but I find I take better shots with fixed lenses because they make me walk around more, which helps me finding more interesting perspectives.
  6. For value, I think the 16-45/4 is still hard to beat and it's the cheapest and lightest of the bunch. I have this and 17-70/4, am torn because I like the improved build, reach and quiet SDM on the DA17-70, and optical quality might be ever-so-slightly better at similar focal length (maybe a little more pincushion distortion on long end of 17-70?) but I usually have less trouble focusing with the 16-45 and it has a longer focus throw which I prefer.
    It looks like the 16-45 is starting to disappear from stores, possibly Pentax has stopped shipping them but there's still a fair amount of old stock still available. I would expect to be able to get one in really good shape used for $300.
    The third party choices (Sigma 17-70 (all versions), 17-50/2.8, Tamron 17-50/2.8) might be better from a value perspective than the DA 17-70/4 or DA* 16-50 though personally I've gone with the Pentax-branded lenses.
    Adding the 15/4 is also a sound idea.
  7. I also vote for the 16-45mm. Plus, take the 50mm which will, in effect, become 75mm on the crop sensor. Nice and light combo. The 16-45mm, btw, also doubles as a macro with very close focusing capabilities, so you can use only that one but it'll leave you a little short on the long end (did say that right?).
  8. Thank you to all who replied!
    Thinking mid term, I realized that after Spain I plan on going to Costa Rica in 2014.
    I'll definitely need WR gear. So I'll be getting the 16-50 WR next week & the 100mm Macro WR next year.
    And maybe the 200 2.8 WR. [Minister of Finances willing, of course]
  9. Some issues to consider with the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 WR besides being quite expensive, large and heavy, the range is a little shorter as tested than 50mm. It is nearly identical in range to the DA 16-45mm, but has more distortion. The SDM AF system has had numerous negative reports for failure and repair, and I have not heard that Pentax improved the design or QC in more recent stock to address this issue. Of the various SDM lenses, the DA* 16-50mm seems to lead in frequency of complaints.
    The Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 that Hin suggests has had very good test reports overall. However, I also concur with Hin regarding the Pentax 18-135mm WR lens. I have one and use it often. It offers fast, accurate, silent AF that is not the SDM design and so far without negative reports. Mine has been fine for the 2 years I've had it. It is very well made, very compact, and over the same range as the Pentax or Sigma 17-70mm lenses, tests indicate similar performance for the Pentax DA 18-135mm. As to its aperture over that range, max is f/3.5-4.5. Plus you have the added tele range when you need it. Hard to beat for an all around lens offering WR.
  10. I just got back from Spain and France, and used the DA 18-135 for most of my shots. It won't match the A50 macro for IQ, but comes pretty close under the right shooting circumstances. I didn't take my DA 15, as I have found it isn't farther wide enough to justify adding to the 18mm end; but instead I took a Sigma 10-20, which helped me get some good shots, but really, gets very very wide, with a lot of backward-leaning buildings. Good luck! Nick

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