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Working When Wet: the 18-135mm

01-04-2013 · By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear

Photography is the art of capturing moments.  For me, most moments are unanticipated, let alone planned.  Being ready is paramount to capturing them.  As I ready to encounter them during my explorations, one lens returns to my camera more often than not, the Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR.

Mounted to my K-5, it has traveled from the Pacific Northwest to the Canary Islands. It has been backpacking, in my canoe gearbag, and in a loosely closed dry bag, strapped to the deck of my kayak, always at the ready. The lens has a good zoom range and is fast enough for most situations. It also has a reasonable macro capability. The quick shift feature has been wonderful for fine adjustment, particularly for macro shots. However, I bought it because, when paired with the K-5, it can take a splash. Many of my photos are shot from a paddled watercraft of one variety or another, or on hikes in rainforests. Living in the Pacific Northwest, where moisture is omnipresent, weather sealing is a must.

Sky photos with the wide end of this lens turn out beautifully.  (18mm, F/16, 1/400s, ISO 200)
The lens' macro capability is often overlooked in reviews.  (135mm, F/16, 1/125s, ISO 160)
Weather sealing has been a huge bonus, enriching my enjoyment of paddling, particularly on rainy days, like this one. (68mm, F/4.5, 1/80s, ISO 200)

Click any photo above to browse through later versions

Since purchasing my Pentax K-5, it goes everywhere with me.  I don't always have room or the desire to bring my other lenses.  Changing lenses while paddling or in the rain, begs for an accident.  I need a lens, which performs well under a variety of conditions, with a variety of capabilities.  The Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR delivers this performance and enhances my enjoyment of photography.

- Harry_the_Wombat

PF Staff's avatar
About the author: Various writers regularly contribute articles to the Pentax Forums homepage blog. More recent articles are published under each author's forum username. We hope you enjoy our guides and news coverage!

Tags: pentax 18-135mm, member review, lens, camera, pentax, lens review

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Henri B [Delete] Feb 17th, 2013 9:15AM

As someone who's looking to get into DSLRs I appreciate the real-world feedback. I'm trying to keep it simple and get started with a Pentax K-30 and this sounds like an ideal choice for me.

PALADIN85020 [Delete] Jan 5th, 2013 12:03AM

You took the words right out of my mouth. I bought my 18-135mmWR specifically as my "only" walk-around lens for a trip to Hawaii, and it met all my expectations, even in wet conditions. Right now, it's mounted on my K-5 as a "grab and go" combination that's just right for almost any situation.

Lensmutt [Delete] Jan 4th, 2013 2:57PM

It's been good to me in downpours for sure.

laolao [Delete] Jan 4th, 2013 1:41PM

Love the lens too.

bobell69 [Delete] Jan 4th, 2013 12:21PM

The 18-135 is my versatile lens, I take with me always and when in doubt it is the lens that I put on the K5. A couple of weeks ago I went out in the snow (very wet snow) and walked through the neighbourhood to photograph Christmas lights. Camera and lens were just soaked, but I felt quite confident knowing that as long as I could keep the front of the lens dry, I should be able to capture some great shots. I wasn't disappointed.

tessfully [Delete] Jan 4th, 2013 11:47AM

Excellent! My husband has the same appreciation for the lens. As paddlers the 18 - 135 paired with the K5 is the only camera & lens out in the boat and as a result we've captured some wonderful wildlife images. Thanks for sharing.