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12-13-2010, 06:57 AM - 1 Like   #1
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DA18-135 => Satisfied

Just quickly tested my new 18-135 on the K5 during the week-end, despite the terrible weather in the Toronto area ... Three short words: Very nice indeed!
One would think that because it is a relatively slow lens (compared to a f/2.8 anyway) this would make for a "compromise" lens; but it is just not so. Pretty much everything about it feels upscale. Not quite as upscale as a DA*, but surely better than the 18-55 kit lenses. I did not used the grip during this outing but the lens balances well on the "naked" body, it's not too heavy and does not make the handling awkward...
In terms of IQ, I could not detect, from the quick and dirty shots I took, anything grossly problematic. Sharpness is actually quite good for a "super" zoom. Especially at the long end, it looks like Pentax decided to optimize IQ for the longer end. The only relative weakness I found was at wide-angle and high aperture. This seems to be a trend with Pentax' wide-zooms (and most other manufacturer's I recognize). There is visible CA and distortion at 18-20mm, greatly reduced when stopping down. Contrast is excellent as well as color tones, albeit a bit cooler (I find) than on the DA*16-50.
Mechanically, it feels sturdy, tight, very little play in the extended 2 parts barrel when extended (less than in my DA*16-60 actually...), no zoom creep unless I violently shake it. It's a bit strange to have the zoom ring behind the focus ring (from the shooter's perspective) and I found myself reaching for the focus ring for quick adjustement and hit cold air instead.... However, after a while it becomes second nature.
As reported previously by someone else, auto-focus is quite snappy, not sure however if this is contributed more by the K5 or the DA's new DC motor... Very little hunting. Nice!
All in all, I suspect this will become a very popular lens from Pentax. No serious nor obvious flaws.

And, BTW, the WR is not a joke, it was windy and snowing quite badly on the week-end... no problem there!
Cheers!
Gene


Last edited by xGene; 12-13-2010 at 07:00 AM. Reason: edits: Pushed "submit" before I was done.
12-13-2010, 07:17 AM   #2
JHD
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How about some samples?
12-13-2010, 08:08 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHD Quote
How about some samples?
Did not had time but I will try to sample something during the week.
Gene
12-13-2010, 09:18 PM   #4
MSM
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Gene: Can you tell us how it performs on the Kx? I was wondering too if the gains in AF speed were lens (DC motor) or dependent on the K5. I have the Kx and am looking at that as a nice travel/ kids function lens. Thanks.

12-14-2010, 05:51 AM   #5
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DA18-135 on Kr

QuoteOriginally posted by MSM Quote
Gene: Can you tell us how it performs on the Kx? I was wondering too if the gains in AF speed were lens (DC motor) or dependent on the K5. I have the Kx and am looking at that as a nice travel/ kids function lens. Thanks.
I was thinking about the same thing. I will try a few shots tonight at home (for dimed light indoor shots) and will bring the Kx instead of K5 to work tomorrow. I'll post the summary by end of day. It won't be very scientific (timed focusing speed, etc...) but it'll give you an idea.

I noticed there are indeed very few reviews of this lens so far out there. I know I might create a wave here but I am gambling a little bit on the DC motor, considering that my statistical success rate with the SDM is very poor: One 50-135 replaced, one 50-135 repaired and one 16-50 replaced, all because of failure of the SDM... Hope they have this one under control and that they learned from the experience.

Gene

Last edited by xGene; 12-14-2010 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Kr replaced by Kx in text
12-14-2010, 09:38 PM   #6
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Thanks Gene! I look forward to your report. I was wondering too on the DC motor reliability. I guess time will tell. How about the sound of the motor? I am sure that it is much quieter that the Screw drive lenses. The 55-300 perhaps because of it's size and throw makes quite a bit of noise. And if it has to hunt to infinity and back in dim light...
12-15-2010, 06:31 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSM Quote
Thanks Gene! I look forward to your report. I was wondering too on the DC motor reliability. I guess time will tell. How about the sound of the motor? I am sure that it is much quieter that the Screw drive lenses. The 55-300 perhaps because of it's size and throw makes quite a bit of noise. And if it has to hunt to infinity and back in dim light...
I am glad to report that the DA18-135 autofocus is quite snappy on the Kx as well. I did some tripod stabilized testing last night, nothing really scientific, I don't have any numbers, but I could hardly tell any difference between the K5 and Kx. One thing noticeable though is the level of hunting if I preset the focusing ring to full stop in one direction or another. The K5 will reach focus without hunting, whereas the Kx will hunt a little. Nothing dramatic however. I presume this is related to the improved SAFOX of the K5...
Just for fun, I tried my older DA16-45 (screw drive) in the same conditions on the Kx. The 18-135 is leaps and bounds faster in all accounts. In terms of noise, again I can hardly hear anything when the 18-135 focuses. Perhaps this is due to my +50 year old hearing... By comparison, the DA*16-50 or 50-135 always generates a very faint high pitched whine. Not so with the 18-135!

I hope this is a sign of things to come from Pentax in the lens department. I am not a huge zoom user but I am quite impressed with that one. Combined with the low-noise/high ISO capabilities of the K5, this is a wining combo IMHO.

I'll try to post some test shots as someone suggested recently.

Gene
12-15-2010, 02:17 PM   #8
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Gene Thanks for the info. Sounds like the DA18-135 mm may just be the lens that I am looking for. Fast focusing versatile range zoom for casual events. I seem to need a lens that rides on both sides of 50 mm, when out with the kids. Please do post some pictures.

Thanks Mark

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