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11-27-2010, 02:32 AM   #1
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DA 18-135mm Full-Length REVIEW

Hi guys,

After 4 hours of FTP downtime, I've finally been able to upload our review of the new DA 18-135mm lens!

The review can be found here: SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm Review - PentaxForums.com

It's got lots of sample photos as well as comparisons with the DA kit lens, the DA* 50-135mm, and the FA* 85mm. As you might expect, it's much better than the kit lens, noticeably worse than the DA*, and swept away by the FA* prime. Nevertheless, we've deemed the image quality "good enough" considering the flexibility this lens provides.

Where this lens truly shines is in handling, AF speed, and color reproduction.It is very well-build, feels solid, is easy to hold and compact when zoomed in, and FOCUSES INSANELY FAST. The rumors surrounding the DC motor seem to have all been true. The throw on this lens is fairly significant (90 degrees), so it's the motor that makes all the difference when focusing.

You can read the rest of our remarks in the review. Stay tuned for two more upcoming reviews (K-r, DA 35mm F2.4) as well as an event involving reviews and a maybe free copy of the 18-135mm lens


Adam
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11-27-2010, 02:41 AM   #2
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The heart of the review lies here: SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm Review - PentaxForums.com

I literally just spent 10 minutes comparing the photos, as there are 4 different lenses and 4-5 different aperture settings each for you to compare!

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11-27-2010, 02:43 AM   #3
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interesting, not up to DA*50-135 level but I miss a comparison with the 50-135 at shorter FL, now it seems a bit unfair as we know the 50-135 works very well all over the range and "superzooms" have a few issues at the extreme ends...
IQ seems better than the Tamron 18-250, at least in OOF areas....

also, I did not check all images but on the ones I saw I noticed not much IQ difference between "wide open"and "stopped down"...
11-27-2010, 02:53 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by janneman Quote
also, I did not check all images but on the ones I saw I noticed not much IQ difference between "wide open"and "stopped down"...
Oh it's there- look at the center and in the corners, the CA is significantly lower at larger apertures, and the center is sharper. One thing I found interesting is that the FA* only had purple fringing, while the DA had both green and purple.


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11-27-2010, 02:56 AM   #5
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Man, now that's what i call a walkaround lens.
11-27-2010, 03:05 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting this Adam. I've been waiting for reviews on this lense.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I had originally decided to upgrade my kit and go for the K5 body only, adding a 17-70 and 60-250. Then the 16-50 replaced the 17-70 in my affections. Recently I started thinking thought about this 18-135 & the 60-250. However now I think it will be back to the 16-50 & 60-250 and I'll try to get a great deal with the K5.
11-27-2010, 03:18 AM   #7
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If you're looking for quality then I don't think you can beat the 60-250mm zoom. I can definitely recommend it!

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11-27-2010, 03:31 AM   #8
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Nicely laid out review Adam. Enough detail to be interesting and not too much as to overload with stats.

11-27-2010, 03:36 AM   #9
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Nice review, against the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 it doesn't fare too well but this was somehow expected. Resolution seems there but contrast is much lower. That means more PP needed with this lens to get optimal results... But at least it can easily replace the 18-55mm.
11-27-2010, 03:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Oh it's there- look at the center and in the corners, the CA is significantly lower at larger apertures, and the center is sharper. One thing I found interesting is that the FA* only had purple fringing, while the DA had both green and purple.
Ah I had no time to check the corners (I usually try to get my subject at centre or about 1/3rd of the image), or is your reply an attempt to hide the fact that there are no DA50*50-135 shots at 55 and 85 mm?? ....

It does put us with our feet back to the earth, while evry nice for a lens like this, the initial expectations were, after a while, approaching "IQ of limted level in a superzoom"....
(Like the K-5 was almost expected to be a MF camera n APS-C size)
11-27-2010, 03:44 AM   #11
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You have to make sure you understand how the test chart works. It's shot at from a distance at which the lens's loss of res. will be visible (varied from 40cm to 5m depending in the FL used), so make sure you interpret the test photos as a strict comparison in terms of sharpness.

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11-27-2010, 03:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you're looking for quality then I don't think you can beat the 60-250mm zoom. I can definitely recommend it!
Thanks Adam. Yes that one is a constant in my mental debates - it's at the lower end I am having problems deciding. 16-50 - possible SDM issues ? 17-50 /2.8 or a 17-70 with the extra reach ?
11-27-2010, 04:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
One thing I found interesting is that the FA* only had purple fringing, while the DA had both green and purple.
That might just be an effect of where the focus sits.

Thanks for the review and all the images to look at & compare!

Couple of comments:
  • "its cropped image circle makes it only compatible with Pentax DSLRs" must be the strangest way to say that this lens has an APS-C image circle only, I've ever read.
  • "This lens does have the typical F3.5-5.6 maximum aperture range, which isn't anything out of the ordinary, but can easily be made up for through the K-5's impressive high-ISO performance." is misleading since good high-ISO performance cannot make up for the loss in DOF control.
  • Statements about distortion would have been useful.
  • Is 0.24x magnification really "relatively high"? What's the close focusing performance like?
  • I didn't get the "Photographers using a tripod" bit. The 18-135 will be used on a tripod as well, won't it? I agree with the need to look for other lenses regarding better IQ or distinct image qualities, but don't see the correlation with tripod usage.
  • An IQ comparison with 18-250 lenses would be useful, for those already owning a 18-250 (Pentax/Tamron/Sigma) or in the market for a "avoid lens change" zoom.
  • It was a very good idea to include samples to demonstrate the bokeh but I think some more taxing situations would be useful.
I realise that the review is geared towards beginners but I think that all the more some of the above issues should be addressed.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Class A; 11-27-2010 at 04:29 AM.
11-27-2010, 05:30 AM   #14
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Re| 18-135

Great looking lens as i said i have only just come back from penang & i was court short with only the 18-55 camera bag getting heavy for an oldun 18-135 seems perfect fore me thanks ian
11-27-2010, 05:33 AM   #15
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Thank you for the review, would have loved to see the 18-250 in there for comparision.
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