Ricoh has unveiled a new lens for its range of full-frame and APS-C Pentax DSLRs and, as its name suggests, the DA* 16-50mm F2.8ED PLM AW takes its place in Pentax’s flagship of Star series line-up, which promises a premium level of quality.
Offering photographers a versatile focal range that covers everything from ultra-wide landscape or architecture photography right through to street or portraiture work, the 16-50mm offers an effective focal length of 24-75mm when paired with one of Pentax’s APS-C DSLRs such as the recently announced K-3 III.
The premium optic offers a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 across the entire focal range, which not only enables users to create a verys shallow depth of field to help subjects stand out in the frame, but will also help keep shutter speeds fast – a useful benefit to photographers shooting in low light conditions.
As mentioned in its name, the 16-50mm lens is one of Pentax’s AW (All Weather) optics and as such, offers resistance to dust and splashes so photographers can keep shooting in poor weather. This all weather design pairs nicely with cameras like the Pentax K-1 II, which features an enhanced level of weather resistance that can take the worst of the elements.
Built around a 10-group, 16-element design that includes no less than four aspherical optical elements, the 16-50mm also boasts one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical element, one anomalous dispersion glass optical element and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) aspherical glass optical elements. What’s more, a multi-layer HD Coating is included to reduce the average reflectance in the visible ray spectrum to less than 50% that of conventional multi-layer coatings, which Pentax says effectively minimises flare and ghosting.
Also new is a PLM (Pulse Motor), which Pentax says provides much-improved focusing speed (approx. 2.2 times faster in the wide-angle range, or approx. 1.5 times faster in the telephoto range, compared to the older smc PENTAX-DA 16-50mm F2.8ED AL[IF] SDM version of the lens. The motor is not only fast, but also lends itself to a quieter operation, too.
Other features include a round-shaped diaphragm to deliver impressive bokeh, SP (Super Protect) coating to keep the front surface free of dust and spots and a Quick-Shift Focus System for instant switching from autofocus to manual-focus operation, by holding the shutter-release button halfway down and turning the focus ring after the subject is captured in focus by the camera’s AF system.