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Working When Wet: the 18-135mm

Posted on 01-04-2013 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


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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.