69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
I was one of those holdouts that carried lots of prime lenses, disdaining zooms as "a compromise". No doubt, I missed some fine lenses because of this.
The lens that sold me on zooms is this lens, the 16-45 f/4 Pentax. The lack of distortion, the contrast, the fine color control, all finally convinced me that a zoom can perform some of the functions of a prime.
I've been using this lens for a while. In my studio, the 50mm primes have become the main portrait lenses with the digital cameras. But now, I'm not afraid to use a zoom lens on a job. A big step for me!
It extends quite far when zooming, a fact I don't like, and for those who care, the on-camera flash is blocked by the lens hood (I use studio strobe, so it's of no import to me). As a modern lens, it has a polycarbonate barrel (they don't seem to be inclined to make zooms in the Lmited series. Too bad).
If I could use it on the film cameras, I probably would. No aperture ring means it's definitely meant for the current cameras.
Despite all that, I highly recommend this lens. It's a great "walk around" lens, going from very wide to moderate telephoto (remember, it's for the APS-C sensors). Image quality is astounding to an old woman who loves primes, and even for a lens in general it's right up there.
If you're faced with the choice of the kit lens or this lens, take the 16-45. If you are serious about your craft, or you make a living at it, it's well worth the price!
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2009
This lens will be one of Pentax's classics, I think. There's nothing very sexy about it. It uses the old Pentax screwdriver-in-slot AF (as opposed to their new in-lens HSM), its maximum aperture's only f/4, and its zoom range ends at an odd point, 45mm (67.5mm equivalent on Pentax DSLR's) -- a bit short of traditional portrait length. It lacks the build quality of Pentax's premium DA* lenses. It isn't weatherproof.
But at this price point it's a gem. The build is decent, and by using plastic instead of metal, putting the AF motor in the camera rather than in the lens, limiting the aperture to f/4 and the zoom range to 3X, Pentax kept the lens light and small. It's not expensive, it has a constant aperture, autofocus is fast and accurate, and (most important) it's optically excellent.
I already have the Pentax DA* 50-135/2.8, a beautiful zoom, and thought of buying the matching DA* 16-50/2.8, but I was put off by reports of poor quality control in the 16-50. So instead (and for half the price) I bought a 16-45. When it arrived I tested it by photographing a tabletop still life, including a test pattern, with my Pentax 21mm, 31mm and 40mm Limited primes at all apertures from f/4 through f/16, then making the same photo with the zoom at the same focal lengths and apertures. In almost every case the 16-45 matched the primes for center focus and sharpness, even at f/4.
Yes, the primes are better -- they have better corners, less vignetting, more overall contrast, an indefinable "snap" that gives the primes what I think of as the Pentax Look. And yes, the zoom does have an optical flaw: blue/yellow fringing where bright and dark areas are juxtaposed. (Seldom a problem, but it's there.) I'm hanging on to my primes.
But where the subject is dynamic, not static -- a party or a public event, for instance, as opposed to studio or landscape work -- a zoom is just the ticket. I'm confident this one will deliver good results, indistinguishable in most prints from what I'd get with a prime.
If you can make do with f/4 and don't mind paying less for more, I recommend this lens.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2007
Ditto Dana G's review. I migrated from a pretty extensive Nikon film system, and have used all kinds of other brands of film camera equipment, either on assignment or as a community college photo instructor during the 70's and 80's. I tried a variety of zooms, including varifocals with ELD glass. They were visibly softer than their equivalent single-focal-length counterparts. I noticed this after I had spent a long time using one particular varifocal. One day I switched back to a prime and when the prints came in, WOW! You could even tell with a casual glance at a 3X5 proof, that there was a huge difference. And the wide angle range in those 1970'5 and 80's zooms alway seemed extra soft and distorted. So I just gave up on zooms until I experienced digital.
I'm not one of those people who photographs charts. But I've a LOT of experience looking at real world images. In fact, as long as the lens seems to be working I don't really pay attention to it. However, in this case, I was shooting some photos of rocks along the Maine coast, from a tripod, and I decided to try to use a few Pentax prime lenses--a 40mm SMCP DA 2.8 and the Pentax FA 50mm 1.4--just to see if zooms had improved. All shots were in the 35-60 mm range, around f5.6-f8. When I uploaded these images into Photoshop, I was flabbergasted. The 16-45 mm gave nicer color and was at least as sharp as the two primes. Since then, I've had occasion to compare it against my Pentax DA 14mm 2.8, and I haven't noticed any real-world difference at the wide range either. But it's the fact that, if there were a difference, I would have to look really, really hard to see it that impresses me!
I find that I use the !6-45 more than any other lens that I own. I purchased it as an "upgrade" from the kit lens. And, as an aside, the Pentax K10D seems as if it were custom designed for migration from film or prosumer digital. The value for the money in this system is unmatched by any other maker. Amazon's latest body price=$530 after rebate. Not bad for a camera with shake control, self cleaning ccd's and the build-quality of a $1,500 Nikon.
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2006
I bought this lens for my 35mm pentax camera, since I'll be buying one of the dslr bodies sometime. It is fantastic: very very sharp and with great saturated color. On par, sharpness-wise with my Zuiko (50mm f1.4 & f1.8, 85mm f/2) and Nikon primes, but with better color! The contrast is good as well, there are rumors that the lens underexposes a bit - perhaps it does, but that works well with film.
On a film camera, there's vignetting when you zoom wider than 21mm - but that's a nice special effect, a sort of semi-fisheye at 16mm. Also, using the supplied lens shade isn't a great idea when shooting with 35mm film cameras, as the vignetting starts early.
Overall, this is a super lens, the best zoom I've owned.
11/2007: I've been using this lens with a K100D with great results. The tone is if anything more concentrated on a digital body - though for some reason the slight underexposure trend does exist with digital but not film. The lens has decent close focus ability - your shots of kittens and flowers come out awesome!
I recently bought the 43mm Limited, and while it has greater resolution and tonality, and does better in low light, on a photographic (rather than pixel peeping) level the 16-45 is in the same league. I still highly recommend this lens as the best medium zoom value that Pentax offers.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2007
I have had this lens for almost a year, and taken hundreds of photographs with it. It is usually on my K10D with a circular polarizer. There are many "pros" and few "cons":
1) It is considerably lighter and smaller than one would expect for a constant aperture f4 lens, as it is designed for digital SLRs. You can leave it on the camera as your walk-around "normal" or "street" lens.
2) Image quality is superb, from the center out to the corners, even at f4. I have the 18-55 kit lens, and the difference in image quality at f5.6 is obvious, but less striking at apertures of f8 or smaller.
3) Makes a great travel lens due to its widest 16mm focal length, especially combined with a polarizer for landscapes, cityscapes etc. Even though the Pentax K10D has shake reduction built-in, one should preferably use a tripod with a bubble level, if for no reason but to make sure the horizon is level (unless you like fixing them in photoshop!)
4) It is a lot cheaper than the 16-50/f2.8 (which may be a bit better)
1) Don't use the built-in pop-up flash with this lens in the wide-angle position - you will see a black semi-circle in the bottom half of the image. You need to use a hot-shoe or off-camera flash.
2) Although it is reasonably light and a better performer, it is a bit heavier than the cheaper 18-55 kit lens (which is only 2 mm longer at the short end and 10 mm longer at the long end)
3) If you can afford it, the 16-50/f2.8 may be a slightly better performer which is also weather-sealed (the K10D is weather sealed, the 16-45 is not - don't take it out into the rain) and has a wider max aperture (better for low light shooting, isolating foreground subjects)
4) 45 mm is sometimes a bit too short, and perhaps a 17-70 would be better if you find yourself often taking portraits
5) If you need just one lens for travel, an 18-250 lens is sometimes preferable (the longer zoom helps you compress foreground and distant objects, and avoids "zooming with your feet"), although it would not have the wide constant aperture and is more limited in the wide-angle department.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2008
Pentax have always produced fine glass at a manageable price, and this lens is no exception. I own Pentax primes going back to the 1960s and have been spoiled by the wonderful qualities of those lenses; to the point where I--like other reviewers--did not consider zooms. However, when I purchased a K20D I felt it deserved better than the 18-55 kit lens (version I not II) I had floating around for a general-purpose 'travel' lens. Reading the reviews on the 16-50 I was concerned with the quality control issues and opted to pass. So that left the 16-45 seeing as the 17-70 was still not available at the time.
And I am glad I made that choice. Initially I was dismayed at my pictures as they did not seem as sharp as I would've expected; however after using the (very nice) K20D focus adjustment I realized my particular 16-45 and my particular K20D did not quite agree and needed a little assistance. After performing a fairly casual focus adjustment (picking real world objects and testing it out) the 16-45 not only met expectations but greatly exceeded them. I own some VERY sharp lenses including a Super Takumar 28/3.5 M42 mount and this lens is every bit as good as any of them. Contrast, color, sharpness are all up to par with the massive resolution the K20D sensor is capable of. I would not even consider the 16-50 since it's just a stop faster and much more expensive than this little guy (unless you need the weather sealing); the 16-45 is just that good.
If you don't have it, and don't need the weather sealing, buy it now. If you want to print 5 feet wide, buy it now. If you want the best bang for the buck in any zoom lens, buy it now.
Just....buy it. (Unless you own one of those non K-mount bodies, that is.)
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2009
I bought this lens in large part because of the excellent reviews of it on this site. It is almost everything the best reviews say it is. More specifically, optically it is everything they say it is: superb. My quibbles are two-fold, and may be unjustified. First, the lens is not built like the very best lenses -- too much plastic! Then again, the lens costs about $250, which makes it an incredible bargain for this quality of glass. (It may be that we simply have to get used to all the plastic. I remember the first time I picked up a Pentax DSLR (in 2004); compared with my LX, it felt like a toy because of all that plastic. I doesn't feel that way any more.)
My second quibble is about the focal length. 45mm (~67.5mm w/35mm format) is a very odd focal length, not quite long enough for a portrait lens.
On the PLUS side: I am surprised that none of the reviews mentions that the lens will focus down to eleven inches. I took a picture of a log on the beach at about that distance (11"), and the detail, and the color, were stunning. This lens is vastly superior to the 18-55mm kit lens, and for the money, it is a great bargain. There is also a 16-50mm Pentax zoom available with a fixed f/2.8 max aperture, but it costs about 2.5 times as much as this lens and is substantially bigger.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2009
I won't repeat all the superlatives others have already written... Read their in-depth reviews! However, I would like to mention that I bought one of these 16-45s way back when they first came out - must have been around '03 or '04 - and after thousands of pictures it still functions perfectly. I use it more than all my other lenses combined, which means daily. I find it incredible to see Amazon offering this gem for two & a half c-notes in Feb 2009; I paid more than twice as much - in Hong Kong, no less... land of really cheap camera gear! - and I still think *that* was a bargain. Very few zooms can go up against fixed focal length primes and come out on top: for the Pentax system, this is the one that can! Grab one while you can...
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2007
This is a great lense for all around shooting whether snapshots, panorama's, or portrait. The fixed aperture boosts the consistency of camera performance over the range of it technical ability. The 16mm end of the range is great for shooting in cramped space when you need wide angle of cover while the 45mm end gives you a modest zoom when you need to bring your subjects a little closer or exclude unwanted areas from your composition. A solid performer that produces clean clear photos over its entire focal length. A great quality lense to replace the 18-55mm stock kit lense making it a better choice for a wider range of applications. A natural accessory for your K100, 100d or K10d SLR or any other Pentax/Samsung SLR's that can accomodate the Pentax DA lens mount.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2010
I will try to add my experience, as well as reinforce some of the previous comments.
Comparing this lens to two primes, the Pentax FA50 and the Pentax FA35, yes this zoom lens is good but it is not as good as those primes. When I say good I mean detail, clarity, bokeh, color, etc. The primes are better, as is to be expected.
The strength of the 16mm wide angle and the overall versatility helps me forget about that though. After all it is a zoom lens.
One trivial aesthetic thing I do like is how it looks on the camera. It gives a larger, more pro feel and look to the K20D and K-7 that I use.
A somewhat trivial item I don't like is the limited access to the lens cap while the lens hood is in place. Most other Pentax lenses I can get my fingers in between the hood and the cap to access the side release buttons, which is nice when I have breaks between shooting and want to put the cap on or take it off without taking off the hood. With this lens it is best to remove the cap before putting the hood on and vice versa. A simple solution for this minor problem is to use a different kind of cap that squeezes from the front, instead of the sides. Pentax is using them on the newer kit lenses and they are great.
One thing that others have mentioned is the reverse zoom. It can trip you up if you are used to going the other direction. Also at the widest zoom setting the lens extends which in theory allows for less of a wide angle because the lens moves away from the camera.
1. Excellent image results for a zoom.
2. Value is very good for the high image quality.
3. Great kit lens replacement (most of the time). (This is not a kit lens as a previous reviewer stated.)
4. Good build quality.
5. 16mm wide angle is very nice and is noticeably wider than the kit lens at 18mm.
6. Mostly undetectable distortion at any zoom position.
Cons for me were:
1. Higher lens size and weight.
2. Flash shadow when zoomed wide.
3. Zoom is reverse of what I am used to, and other Pentax lenses.
4. f4 can be a little small sometimes.
5. Sometimes 45mm is a little short.
Overall I recommend this lens. It delivers a lot of bang for the buck and is a great outdoor lens. Because of the flash shadow and the slightly small f4 aperture it is not always the best choice for indoor usage. I do mostly use an external flash and that solves the flash shadow issue but sometimes it is too bulky for the situation or I don't have it with me. One thing that might be of interest is that when using this lens with the K-7, the green assist lamp also partially hits the lens, even without the hood on.