Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-03-2010, 12:17 PM   #1
Site Supporter
bpjod's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Wetaskiwin, Alberta
Posts: 82
Can anyone compare DA 18-135 to DA 55-300 &/or DA 12-24?

I'm keenly interested in getting the DA 18-135. My current kit is all the DA Ltds, FA 135/2.8 and two DA zooms: 55-300 and 12-24. The only lens that I'm disappointed in is the DA 55-300. It just doesn't resolve or have the micro-contrast I wish it would and these are problems that aren't fixable in post-processing.

I can live with the DA21's distortion and the DA12-24's chromatic aberration as they are rarely objectionable and both issues are easily fixable in post-processing. The purple fringing on the FA135 is a bit more annoying, but only objectionable with high contrast subjects when shot wide open.

I don't expect the DA18-135 to necessarily be as sharp as the DA Ltds. but if it is at least as good as the DA12-24 and noticeably better than the DA55-300 then I'm sold. I like it's range, WR, round aperture blades and size/weight. On paper it's a killer zoom, but I don't want to buy it and wind up as disappointed in it as I am with the DA55-300.

Can anyone here make these comparisons for me?

12-03-2010, 01:31 PM   #2
Loyal Site Supporter
imtheguy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Virginia Beach
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,950
I just got my da18-135 and just returned a rented da12-24. The da55-300 I have used for 2 years. Afraid I am falling behind on all the comparisons I started promissing so this time advise you are not going to see an order of magnetude difference between the 19-135 and 55-300. The 12-24 is in such a different class I cant comment on that versus the other two.

I have bought numberous lenses, new and used and returned many if I was not happy. Consider buying from a retailer with a free shipping and no-penalty return policy and do your own eval as thats the one that really counts. I am suggesting this for all your gear. If you are not happy, sell it, try something else.

As I process my first batch of RAW from the 18-135 tonight if something jumps out that really distuiguishes it from the 55-300 I will let you know.
12-03-2010, 06:09 PM   #3
Veteran Member
Pentaxor's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,513
do you do a lot of cropping or large prints?
12-03-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SW Washington
Posts: 814
I have them both, and I can tell you now that if you find the 55-300 disappointing, then you're most likely not going to be very happy with the 18-135. They are very similar in performance in the common range in terms of sharpness; stopped down, the 18-135 is maybe slightly sharper in the center, but it's very hard to see without extremely close examination. CA is a little more obvious on the 18-135 wide open along the edges.

I'm not really sure why you're expecting a compact, 7.5x ratio, general purpose superzoom to perform on the same level as a high end, 2x ratio, dedicated lens that costs significantly more. That doesn't seem like a sound business model to me. Its main competitors are the other superzooms, and it outperforms them in IQ, and crushes them in features and handling.


Last edited by Cannikin; 12-03-2010 at 07:04 PM.
12-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #5
Site Supporter
bpjod's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Wetaskiwin, Alberta
Posts: 82
Original Poster
Yes, I like to print large which is why I laid out my experiences and expectations. I'm not expecting miracles but I was hoping that they may have gotten close to the performance of the 12-24. After all, it's a normal range zoom, not an extremely wide or long zoom. Furthermore, given its price and how much better it appears to be compared to the 18-55, I thought that it might perform better than my preconceived notions of what a 7x zoom would be capable of.

I'm still intrigued, I may have to give it a go. The trouble is finding enough time to conduct some test shots, evaluate them, make up my mind (that's the tough part for me as I usually don't realize that I don't care for a lens until I haven't taken it out for a year as is the case with my 55-300), then deal with packaging and shipping the lens back; all within the specified return period.
12-03-2010, 11:55 PM   #6
Loyal Site Supporter
imtheguy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Virginia Beach
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,950
I ran a couple dozen test shots for you tonight. Although I seldom do indoor flash work I had to this time.

In terms of sharpness and contrast only shooting magazine pages, bounce flash lighting, 2 sec delay, iso 400, f5.6, best of 3 shots using LV and contrast focus. I was surprised just how well and consistant the focus worked:

@55mm the DA18-135 was half-step better looking than the DA55-300 when peeping at 100%. In fact at 50mm I tried 4 lenses and if the DA18-55WR scored a 5 out of 10, I would have put the DA16-45 and DA18-135 at an 8 and the FA50 at 9....just a fraction of difference at 100%. So you will be happy with the DA18-135 at 50mm.

@135mm different story. That seems to be a sweet spot for the DA55-300 and it looks a slight bit better than the DA18-135. Will need to retest with longer range outdoor subject for my own benefit.

The differences are slight even at 100%. Only the 18-55WR against the FA50 could easily be recognized at normal viewing size. Sorry, I skipped trying the DA18-135 at 18mm against the DA16-45 but the outdoor shots I took today at 18mm looked good, not great, but bokeh smoother than I am used to.
12-03-2010, 11:56 PM   #7
Veteran Member
Pentaxor's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,513
it's pretty difficult to judge since there aren't that many samples yet. although it looks to perform better than the 18-55 but I wouldn't confirm it's better than the 55-300. the new lens suffer from noticeable pf and distortion. sharpness seems to be atleast equal though but again, not better. micro-contrast seems to favor more towards other high-end lens but not the consumer-grade lenses. for micro-contrast, it seems the 70-200/2.8 lenses are the better option.
12-05-2010, 08:16 AM   #8
Site Supporter
bpjod's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Wetaskiwin, Alberta
Posts: 82
Original Poster
Thanks Lee and Pentaxor for your information. I guess I'll have to wait for more information to come in on the lens or get one myself to try. Everything about it sounds perfect, but the optical quality is what remains to be seen. If it's image quality tends to be like the 55-300, then I don't care how great everything else is about the lens, I'll likely stick to my primes but if it's more like the 12-24 I can see myself getting a lot of use out of the lens.

Of course, the other consideration is that given all the rave reviews the 55-300 gets around here, maybe I just have a poor copy. Frankly I was a bit surprised when I got mine after hearing nothing but rave reviews about the 55-300. I quickly convinced myself that the raves were taking into consideration that this is a nearly 6x consumer zoom for around $400 that is small and light, not on absolute picture quality. Ah well, my parents were right--there's no such thing as a free lunch.

12-05-2010, 08:53 AM   #9
Veteran Member
alexeyga's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 838
When evaluating a lens such as 18-135, one should realize that in FF terms, this is a 28-200mm piece full of compromises... Just try to be realistic... it's a very capable all-around glass... but don't expect miracles...
12-05-2010, 10:37 AM   #10
Site Supporter
GeneV's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Photos: Albums
Posts: 9,761
Yeah, when I see these threads about comparing the new 7x zoom to 2x and 4x, I do have to wonder whether expectations are out of hand. The 2x 12-24 is among the sharpest zooms in current Pentax production. Indeed, many think it outperforms primes. I'd be flabergasted if the new 7x were it that league.
12-05-2010, 11:55 AM   #11
Veteran Member
Pentaxor's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,513
QuoteOriginally posted by bpjod Quote
Thanks Lee and Pentaxor for your information. I guess I'll have to wait for more information to come in on the lens or get one myself to try. Everything about it sounds perfect, but the optical quality is what remains to be seen. If it's image quality tends to be like the 55-300, then I don't care how great everything else is about the lens, I'll likely stick to my primes but if it's more like the 12-24 I can see myself getting a lot of use out of the lens.

Of course, the other consideration is that given all the rave reviews the 55-300 gets around here, maybe I just have a poor copy. Frankly I was a bit surprised when I got mine after hearing nothing but rave reviews about the 55-300. I quickly convinced myself that the raves were taking into consideration that this is a nearly 6x consumer zoom for around $400 that is small and light, not on absolute picture quality. Ah well, my parents were right--there's no such thing as a free lunch.
what problems did you have with your 55-300?

I did some tests with the 55-300 against the FA135 and saw how 55-300 perform against a daunting prime. if you see something in the images here that it's not enough or worth it with the 55-300, then I don't believe a consumer grade zoom would be worth considering.

here are sample pics coming from both lenses. I won't post my observations inorder to avoid coaxing you or create any bias.

DA55-300 at 135mm, f4.5. 100% cropped



FA135 at f4.5. 100% cropped



NOTE: I will let you see and decide for yourself the things that are worth noting.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 12-05-2010 at 03:35 PM.
12-05-2010, 02:35 PM   #12
Pentaxian
twitch's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,571
QuoteOriginally posted by bpjod Quote
Frankly I was a bit surprised when I got mine after hearing nothing but rave reviews about the 55-300. I quickly convinced myself that the raves were taking into consideration that this is a nearly 6x consumer zoom for around $400 that is small and light, not on absolute picture quality. Ah well, my parents were right--there's no such thing as a free lunch.
I can relate, I think owning DA Ltds will do that to you. I think the DA12-24 is the exception to the DA zoom rule in terms of having exceptional IQ. Remember though, the DA12-24 is expensive for a DA zoom.

I have 3 zooms and the only one that stands up in absolute image quality to my 4 DA Ltds is my DA*50-135 which I've been really impressed with. I also own the 55-300, and as good as it is for a $350 zoom, it's no match for the DA*, not even close.

My suggestion then is since you've been spoiled a bit by having great lenses, forget about any DA zooms and concentrate on getting the DA* ones. They're the only ones that will please you with their IQ.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
da, da55-300, k-mount, ltds, pentax lens, post-processing, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DA 18-250/ 18-135 compare shots Fl_Gulfer Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10 12-10-2010 08:49 PM
Chinon 135 & Chinar 135 , Good Bad or Ugly seacapt Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 1 02-26-2010 09:03 PM
Sigma 300/2.8 vs FA* 300/2.8, how does it compare? netuser Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 01-16-2010 04:49 PM
kx w/ 18-55 & 55-300bdal for $643 or k20d W/ grip & 18-55 & 55-300 DAL for $850. tubey Pentax DSLR Discussion 6 01-10-2010 11:30 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:36 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top