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

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 length 16-50mm
Format APS-C
Mount Pentax K
Max aperture f/2.8
Min aperture f/22
Optics 16 elements in 10 groups
Minimum focus distance 30cm
Angle of view Unspecified
Max magnification 0.24x
Autofocus Yes
Stabilisation No
Filter diameter 77mm
Diaphragm blades 9
Dimensions 84 x 117mm
Weight 712g

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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