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Pentax offers two DA zoom lenses with a 50-200mm range:

smc PENTAX DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR

smc PENTAX DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED

The only obvious difference I see between them is that one is weather sealed and the other is not. However, they each list for $249.95 on the Pentax web store. This leads me to suspect that there must be other differences to make the non-weather sealed lens competitive at that price. What am I missing?

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2  
For future reference for you: kmp.bdimitrov.de/index.html is a great source for K-mount lens info. –  John Cavan Mar 20 '11 at 1:53

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

They appear to me to be the same optical design. Both have 11 elements in 10 groups, with one extra-low-dispersion glass element and two aspherical elements.

I have no idea why you'd buy the non-WR version when buying it separately — but, I think most people don't get it that way. I just looked, and both B&H Photo and Adorama don't carry it individually. You only get it as part of a kit with a new camera body. So, the question really is: why does Pentax USA bother listing in their web store?

I can only guess, but my guess is: they have some in stock, so sure, why not list 'em, but they don't want to undercut the already-quite-low price of the WR version, so they just put it at the same price.

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Another possible explanation of the pricing anomalies is that they were bought into stock at different times at different price points or exchange rates. –  labnut Mar 19 '11 at 21:45
    
@labnut: makes sense, but at some point don't you have to cut your loses? –  mattdm Mar 20 '11 at 1:44

Obviously the 'WR' part is the headline difference. The optical construction is the same though..

Having held both for a while though, I can tell you that the WR version feels much more durable. It has a more steady feel and very smooth focus and zoom. Not that the non-WR is poor but there is an easily notable difference.

If you can get the WR for the same price as the non-WR, buy it, smile and don't ask too many questions ;)

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The original version of the DA 50-200mm did not have the weather resistant feature - that came in a later version. It would be extremely odd to find the old one for sale as a new item, it was obsoleted by the WR. They have the same optical formula.

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As you can see from the question, Pentax USA is indeed selling the non-WR version as a new item. For the same price, no less. –  mattdm Mar 19 '11 at 23:01
    
@mattdm, it's understandable that the factory would be stuck with old stock when a better version came out at the same price. I'd guess they're forced by contractual obligation to offer them at list price. –  Mark Ransom Mar 20 '11 at 0:16
    
Possibly. Who knows what Hoya / Pentax Japan requires of Pentax USA. –  mattdm Mar 20 '11 at 1:19
    
Sorry, but both Pentax and Bojidar Dimitrov (a great source for k-mount lens info) disagree with you. The WR version is newer but both are still in production, apparently, though Pentax is a little confused on the issue. –  John Cavan Mar 20 '11 at 1:49

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