Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL IF SDM SMC DA*

Lens Reviews / Pentax Lenses i Not yet tested
16-50mm $1,005
average price
image of Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL IF SDM SMC DA*

(From Pentax lens literature) When mounted on a Pentax digital SLR camera body, this 3.1-times zoom lens covers angles of view from 24.5mm to 76.5mm (in the 35mm format). This versatile ultra-wide to medium-telephoto coverage lens may be used as a standard zoom lens in a wide variety of applications, including landscape and portrait.

Incorporating two ED (extra-low dispersion) elements and three aspherical elements, this standard zoom lens effectively compensates for chromatic and spherical aberrations.


  • Lens come equipped with a new SDM System for smoother, quieter autofocusing operation using a built-in supersonic motor. When mounted on the Pentax K10D digital SLR camera body, the focus mode is automatically switched to SDM assisted autofocusing.* When mounted on other Pentax digital SLR camera bodies, the conventional autofocus mode using a camera-mounted motor is selected.
  • Pentax-DA* series lenses feature a tightly sealed, weather-resistant and dust-resistant construction to enhance durability for use in rain or dusty conditions making each a perfect companion for the weatherproof Pentax K10D digital SLR.
  • The Pentax-developed Quick-Shift Focus System allows the user to instantly switch to manual-focus operation without any mode changes, after the subject is captured in focus by the AF system. This user-friendly system can be used in both the SDM-assisted autofocus mode using a lens-mounted supersonic motor and the conventional autofocus mode using a camera-mounted motor.
  • The Pentax-original SP (Super Protect) coating is applied to the front surface of this lens. Through a vapor deposition process, the lens surface is coated with a special fluorine compound to repel dust, water and grease, making it easy to wipe off fingerprints and cosmetics.
  • These lenses are designed exclusively for use with Pentax digital SLR cameras. Featuring an image circle perfectly proportioned to the CCD size (23.5mm x 15.7mm), optics optimized for digital imaging characteristics, and offering high-quality image reproduction, the lens series is a perfect partner to Pentax digital SLR cameras.

* The Pentax K10D firmware must be updated to take advantage of this automatic switching function.

Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL IF SDM SMC DA* User Reviews

8.8/10 average of 5 reviews Build Quality 9.2/10 Image Quality 9.0/10
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Sharpness, Focal range (16mm), AF speed (SDM and screwdrive) Read more at:
    SDM failure (miss the quietness), Heavy, big and plasticy feel. Read more at:

    I bought mine in april, 2015, hoping not to get an SDM death, but in the end it fail.

    I have It for allmost two years now, and in the first one, I used it heavily, but I get two problems in that time: the zoom ring broke and the SDM failed.

    First, the goods. I have to say that when I get it, I like it a lot. Nice build, but a little on the heavy side. Fast AF. Ad the 16mm at wide end and WR make it stand apart the competition, in my opinion.

    But after a couple of months, the zoom ring started to became stiff and ended broke. I done a DIY repair, because in Brazil, Pentax service is pratically non-existent, so I manage to repair it. Now it works fine.

    Second, the AF was good for almost a year of heavy use. Fast and accurate, but at july 2015, it became erratic and finally refuse to lock focus at all. I did the screwdrive hack, and now it works flawlessly.

    For my ratings, I gave it a 9 for sharpness, because the lens is really good, opticaly, despite some CA and a noticeable barrel distortion at 16mm

    For my cons, I didn't like the size, and think that they could made it a little bit smaller. But the 16mm settings is off the mark, so maybe it is the smallest it can be done. It have a little whobling on the duo-cam zoom system but i don't see any issue on the pictures I take. The extensive use of plastic in body construction is a bit off let dow to, but metal would make it heavier, so it's not that bad. But to be honest, most of my cons list is nitpick and the major problem with it is the AF issue.
    The SDM is fast on 16-50. It's quiet and I get used to it. It's really nice. But the reliability is what make it a problematic lens. If the major feature of a modern lens can't be trusted, it become useless. Fortunately, the fact of the lens being backward compatible with screwdrive make it future proof, but that's a shame.That's why give it a 5 for autofocus, even if it can be hacked.

    It's a nice lens that deserve a good upgrade and a better AF system. | |

    reviewed December 13th, 2015 (purchased for $800)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Pictrue quality is as good if not better then len's costing $4,000.00 and higher

    If you could only afford one high quality lens per year, this one would be the one I buy. Images are sharp and clear, the motor is very quite, and very forgiving,and supper fast. it's a great wide angle lens. I use this lens in Yosemite this year, and the photos are so clear and sharp, that I did'nt have to spend all my time in photoshop, doing small adjustments to make it a great photograph.

    reviewed July 18th, 2010 (purchased for $899)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Well built, nice color rendition, sharp, AF both quick and quiet
    Heavy, some vigneting and distortion in wide end

    The lens operates smooth, and AF on my K10D is fast and precise. I was worried about the back focusing that I have read much about. It did back focus, then most my lenses have done all the time. Downloaded the debug software and adjusted the focus. Now all my lenses are much better, and this one hits perfect almost every time.

    reviewed May 8th, 2009 (purchased for $750)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (24 reviews)
    sharp, CA´s, building
    distorsion at 16mm, price

    I bought this lens for a friend who also works with the K 10. Personally Iam using the Tamron SP 17-50 f2.8, which is very good too and costs the half-price.... Its a sharp, welldesigned and constructed lens. Cornershading and distorsion are strong only at 16mm and nearly without CAs. Quick focussing but the price is a problem.....

    reviewed May 28th, 2008 (purchased for $720)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Build high quality - Silent and fast AF -Lens and image quality - In-door versatibilty
    Some light vignetting

    With this new lens, we're dealing with truly professional gear. I would say, as for the DA* 50-135mm, that the DA* 16-50mm is the lens the K10D was waiting for.

    As always with Pentax, ergonomics and ease of use are great. The weight and size of the lens are normal.
    During my test today, I haven't felt the limitation to 50mm and haven't missed the extra zoom provided by the DA 18-55mm.

    Most important, image quality is here and I had a lot of fun.

    reviewed April 21st, 2008 (purchased for $800)