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02-07-2011, 12:20 AM   #1
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DA18-135 or DA18-250?

I'm in the market for a replacement for my kit lens. WR is nice but not a priority as I have the k-x right now. IQ is very important and I'm willing to pay more for better. I'm looking for mostly a travel lens for outdoor use. I currently have the DA18-55 and the DA55-300. I have a number of manual primes that work for special situations, this is just to carry on vacation and hikes in the mountains.

I have been going back and forth between the new 18-135 WR and the now discontinued 18-250 available used, but cannot decide which is better for me. It appears the 18-250 is currently less expensive (used) than the 18-135 (new).

Would anyone with experience with both or either chime in with the pros & cons?

02-07-2011, 12:24 AM   #2
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The 18-135 has better IQ and much faster AF, but obviously a little less reach. Unless you're shooting sports, though, 135mm should be adequate. (plus F6.3 sort of doesn't cut it for sports anyway).

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02-07-2011, 12:53 AM   #3
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You have a difficult choice. The DA18-250mm has a longer reach, while the 18-135mm is WR with newer AF.

Ultimately it will depend upon what you want to shoot.

I shoot outdoor primarily and I have the DA18-250mm. I would not consider the 18-135mm because of the lesser reach. WR is no issue as the 18-250mm is a really sturdy lens. Look at:
K-7 and Steve Kroeger climb Aconcagua (6962m)
Steve Kroeger mit der Pentax K-7 auf dem Aconcagua | fotointern.ch - Fotografie Nachrichten
Yes, the lens on Steve Kroeger was the DA18-250mm! Amazing.

I have used my DA18-250mm for over 15 months in foul weather including in tropical rainstorms, mud, salty conditions,... I am most impressed and I regard the lens as almost WR. (I simply take care to wipe regulalry the zoom to prevent dirt going into the lens during the zoom pumping motion.)

If I was in your situation and interested in outdoor shooting, the decision would be simple: the DA18-250mm.

Note for completeness that the DA18-250mm is the brother of the Tamron 18-250mm. I noted that the Tamron 18-250mm is often cheaper on the marketplace, but it is the same lens.

Hope that the comments will help.
02-07-2011, 01:30 AM   #4
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You have the long end covered by the 55-300 already, which is optically superior to the 18-250 (and slightly longer of course), especially above 135 according to reviews. So it really depends on whether you value not having to change lenses over IQ (the 18-135 is also better than the 18-250). The 18-135 and 55-300 have some overlap too, so switching lenses is not needed as frequently.

I did a lot of hiking in Mount Rainier National Park over the summer, and the 55-300 handled the long end wonderfully, though I found I rarely had to venture over 200mm, even for wildlife (mainly because you're basically on top of them by the time you get see them on the twisting trails). The 18-135 would be able to handle the vast majority of shots, and look a little better than the 18-250 while doing it. Also, if the zoom creep on the DA 18-250 is as bad as on my Sigma 18-250, I'd probably find it very annoying while hiking.

As an extra bonus, if you ever upgrade to a WR body, the 18-135 would be ready for you. It has the very nice DC AF motor too, if that's important to you.

If you plan to shoot from moving vehicles, though, or take wildlife tours (say on a ship or safari), the 18-250 definitely would come in handy, as you really don't have time to change lenses. That's the only reason I still keep my Sigma 18-250 around.


Last edited by Cannikin; 02-07-2011 at 02:04 AM.
02-07-2011, 02:10 AM   #5
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Zoom creep is controlled on the 18-250 by a lock switch for while you are hiking, etc
02-07-2011, 03:01 AM   #6
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I have K10D and I have never used zooms. Is it advisable for me to replace all of my A series manual focus lenses with 18-135 WR?
02-08-2011, 09:56 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments everyone! Still not sure what I am going to do but I appreciate the help.
02-08-2011, 10:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
IQ is very important and I'm willing to pay more for better.
If that's the case then why look at those 2 zooms? Neither are better than the 55-300, so what you'd get is a marginal improvement from 18-55 (if at all with the 250). If that's the case why not get a 16-45, tam 17-50 or 16-50 and pair that with your 55-300.

02-08-2011, 10:24 PM   #9
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simple question..asking your self a
in same range 18-135 beat 18-250 in IQ. so 18-250 is scarifice IQ for range..
you have 55-300. ask your self do you really want that extra reach in one lens solution. if the range of 18-135 is enough for your one lens solution, go with 18-135 loh..
02-09-2011, 04:05 AM - 1 Like   #10
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18-135WR all the way!

I have the 18-250 and the 18-135WR. And all I can is go for the 18-135WR. It has superior IQ and AF. You also have the 55-300 which beats the 18-250 hands down. USe the 18-135WR as your go to lens and when you want to go really long switch it out for the 55-300. In other words, ever since I bought the 18-135WR, the 18-250 gets no love.
02-09-2011, 06:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vandamro Quote
I have the 18-250 and the 18-135WR.
Could you please post comparison shots? Preferably using a tripod?

I keep hearing about the superiority of the 18-135 in terms of IQ but I haven't seen any good evidence yet.

As a zoom, I cannot fault the 18-250 much except that it isn't the fastest (as in "bright") of lenses.
02-09-2011, 08:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
If that's the case then why look at those 2 zooms? Neither are better than the 55-300, so what you'd get is a marginal improvement from 18-55 (if at all with the 250). If that's the case why not get a 16-45, tam 17-50 or 16-50 and pair that with your 55-300.
This makes the most sense, unless the 55-300 is going up for sale.
04-20-2011, 11:44 PM   #13
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18-135 vs 18-250

hi to all,
i bought last month k-x with 18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses. My previously camera was bridge camer with 24-720mm, and now i learn how take pictures with the different lenses of dslr cameras. I made some experiments and my conclusions are:
55-300 is not good for city. if i want to take picture of some detail on a building it is ok, but if i want to take the hole building - no chance. as you wrote 55-300 is good for mountain or wildlife. i ll try it as soon as i can.
18-55 is good for indoor and when i am at trip in some city, or museum. but if i want to zoom some building detail or something like that it is not enough...
so, may be the better choice is between 18 and 100 mm for basic lens (18-135mm).
but prices of 18-135 and 18-250 are close.
if i buy 18-135 i probably will sell the 18-55, if i buy 18-250 i probably will sell the 18-55 and 55-300. in the two cases i will have to sell some lens. there is no point to have 3 lenses with same range, right?
can you gave me some advise? - what lens to buy-sell, and where to sell my "old" lenses, in case, is there market for them?
as i say, i am an amateur, i take shots wherever i go to trip - cities, museums, buildings, my friends - everything
04-21-2011, 03:14 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by miroshi Quote
hi to all,
i bought last month k-x with 18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses. My previously camera was bridge camer with 24-720mm, and now i learn how take pictures with the different lenses of dslr cameras. I made some experiments and my conclusions are:
55-300 is not good for city. if i want to take picture of some detail on a building it is ok, but if i want to take the hole building - no chance. as you wrote 55-300 is good for mountain or wildlife. i ll try it as soon as i can.
18-55 is good for indoor and when i am at trip in some city, or museum. but if i want to zoom some building detail or something like that it is not enough...
so, may be the better choice is between 18 and 100 mm for basic lens (18-135mm).
but prices of 18-135 and 18-250 are close.
if i buy 18-135 i probably will sell the 18-55, if i buy 18-250 i probably will sell the 18-55 and 55-300. in the two cases i will have to sell some lens. there is no point to have 3 lenses with same range, right?
can you gave me some advise? - what lens to buy-sell, and where to sell my "old" lenses, in case, is there market for them?
as i say, i am an amateur, i take shots wherever i go to trip - cities, museums, buildings, my friends - everything
The differences in the 18-135 and the 18-250 come down to the 18-250 having more reach versus the 18-135 having silent motor and weather sealing. Image quality doesn't really seem to be a whole lot different between them (depending on the copy of course).

As to where to sell, the best places are either the market place (here on the forum) or, on ebay.

I certainly think you could replace the kit lens with either of the above lenses without any problem. The 55-300 will be a step up in quality over the telephoto portions of either of those "super zooms."
04-21-2011, 03:57 AM   #15
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as i am new in slr cameras world, can you tell me when you use 55-300?
as i see the situation if i take 18-135 i will us it in all places where the objects are at close distance and are big, like cities, in buildings, parties ant etc.
55-300 may be (i will try tomorrow is good for i don't know... if i go with my friends-hunters and want to stay away from their guns or when i am in some mountain or trying shot some animal?
in those cases i will us most 18-135. but if i take 18-250 i will us only one lens. probably slower and may be with low quality than any of others...
it is hard to decide when you never saw the difference.

i look at amazon and ebay and it is hard to find pentax da 18-250 or tamron 18-250, why? are they old lens?
what about tamron 18-270mm, can it be attach to pentax k-x?
thanks!
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