A subjective look at smc Pentax-DA 16-45mm F/4 ED AL @ Pentax K-5. Part 1 — Introduction. Design and Features. Autofocus

The smc Pentax-DA 16-45mm F/4 ED AL was announced back in 2003 and designed for Pentax APS-C digital SLR cameras, as indicated by DA designation in the lens name. Theoretically the lens is capable of shooting wide range of subjects including architecture, landscapes and portraits and has the constant speed 4 at the entire focal range.

Despite the fact that the lens, like the most Pentax lenses, is made in Vietnam, its build quality is good and even slightly better in comparison with smc Pentax-DA 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 AL WR. The housing is made of plastic of good quality and the mount is metallic. There’s no dust and moisture seals but the closest «competitor» of this lens in the Pentax lineup — smc Pentax-DA 17-70/4 — also is not sealed. The lens is lightweight (356 g), has maximum diameter of 72 mm and length of 92 mm. smc Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F/2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM is 209 g heavier, 12 mm wider and 7 mm longer, but dust and moisture sealed and has the constant speed 2.8 at the entire focal range.

The zoom ring is wide, rubberized, located at the central part of the housing, well damped, rotates smoothly and with proper resistance. It is unusual that the overall length of the lens remains minimal with zooming to 45 mm but significantly increases by sigle cam with zooming to 16 mm. In comparison, both smc Pentax-DA 17-70/4 and smc Pentax-DA* 16-50/2.8 have the minimal overall length at focal length of 17 and 16 mm respectively and increase their length with zooming to maximum focal length. smc Pentax-DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 has the minimum overall length at focal length of 35 mm and slightly increases it with zooming to 18 or 55 mm.

The manual focusing ring has width only 9 mm, located at the frontmost part of the housing, well damped, rotates smoothly and even has the distance scale. The angle of rotation of the ring is 110 degrees which allows precise manual focusing. There’s no AF/MF focusing mode switch on the housing of the lens. The lens does not provide the internal focusing, however, it’s not a serious drawback given that the lens does not have the internal zooming also. Anyway the filter thread does not rotate during manual or auto focusing which makes it convenient to use gradient or polarizing filters. The diameter of the front filter thread is 67 mm.

Optically the lens is not based on Tokina design like, f.e., smc Pentax-DA* 16-50/2.8 and consists of 13 elements in 10 groups, including 2 aspherical and 1 extra-low dispersion.

The optical elements of the lens have proprietary smc Pentax coating which improves the transmission of the optical system, improves the color rendering and overall contrast of the image, eliminates ghosting and flares. The smc coating is used in all Pentax lenses for K, 645 and 6×7 mounts and also in Asahi Takumar M42 lenses since 1971 and is constantly updated.

Unlike the smc Pentax-DA 17-70/4 the lens has no special SP (Super Protect) coating which is applied on the front lens for repelling water and oils. This enables any water and oils on the lens to be easily removed for effective protection of the lens surface.

The aperture has 8 blades, its minimum value is F/22. Like all DA series lenses, the lens has no aperture ring — the aperture control is available from the camera only.

The minimum focusing distance is only 0.28 m which allows to produce interesting close-up shots at the wide end.

The buyer gets both caps and petal lens hood PH-RBL 67 mm which can be also installed in reversed way for storage purposes. The lens hood is equipped with special window which allows to rotate attached polarizing or gradient filter without removing the lens hood.

The lens is not equipped with built-in motor and relies on in-camera AF motor. Thus the lens produces moderate noise during AF. However the AF is also very fast and precise with Pentax K-5. Quick-Shift Focus System is supported — the photographer may apply manual focus adjustments without need to switch to manual focus mode after the camera has finished with AF.

Optical Results >>

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