tom787's reviews

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

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    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)