Pentax releases HD Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW zoom lens for APS-C

Jul 15, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Pentax releases HD Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW zoom lens for APS-C

Jul 15, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Pentax has officially announced its new HD Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW lens. Designed for the company’s APS-C K mount DSLRs, the 16-50mm lens is the latest in the Pentax “Star” lineup and offers a field of view equivalent to that of a 24.5-76.5mm focal length range on a full-frame camera.

The new lens features HD coatings to reduce flare and ghosting and a PLM pulse motor to drive autofocus. It’s advertised as dustproof and weather-resistant (when paired with a weather-sealed Pentax body), and feature a 77mm filter thread on the front.

Focal length16-50mm
FormatAPS-C
MountPentax K
Max aperturef/2.8
Min aperturef/22
Optics16 elements in 10 groups
Minimum focus distance30cm
Angle of viewUnspecified
Max magnification0.24x
AutofocusYes
StabilisationNo
Filter diameter77mm
Diaphragm blades9
Dimensions84 x 117mm
Weight712g

Ricoh notes that this is the first time the PLM “Advanced Pulse Motor” has been used in a large aperture Pentax lens. Pentax says the motor “assures smooth, high-speed autofocus operation with minimised operational noise”. So, in non-marketing speak “it’s fast and quiet” – which is what one would hope for in a modern lens these days, even if it is for a DSLR.

There’s no aperture ring on this lens. The 9-blade aperture is controlled via the body and an electromagnetic diaphragm stops it down when taking the shot. Ricoh included a caveat and a list of compatible bodies in the press release.

The lens features the KAF4 mount and is compatible with electromagnetic diaphragm control. Electromagnetic diaphragm control is available in combination with PENTAX K-3 Mark III, PENTAX K-3 II, PENTAX K-3, PENTAX KP, PENTAX K-70, PENTAX K-50, PENTAX K-S2, PENTAX K-S1, PENTAX K-1 Mark II or PENTAX K-1 camera bodies. We advise that users upgrade the camera’s firmware to the latest version to properly use electromagnetic diaphragm control. When mounted on a PENTAX K-1 Mark II or PENTAX K-1 camera body, images can only be captured in Crop mode because the lens image circle is exclusively designed for the APS-C format.

As one would expect from a lens of this price, the HD Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW is dustproof and weather-resistant. Hence the “AW” in its name. Like Lowepro bags, the “AW” denotes “All Weather”. Of course, to get complete weatherproofing, it needed to be paired with a Pentax body that’s also weatherproof.

The HD Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED PLM AW lens doesn’t appear to be available to pre-order yet, although it’s expected to be released in August with a price of $1,399.95.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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