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03-11-2011, 12:35 PM   #1
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WR lenses (not the 18-135)

I was wondering if anyone can tell my why these seem to be largely panned in the review section. After reading in there, I came out with a "oh they are OK, but nothing special" kind of feeling. Of course they cannot be compared in terms of IQ to the limited primes, but really...

I went to PPG and looked through the shots taken with both, and there are some real stunners in there. Based on that, I decided to get the 2 kit lenses rather than the 18-135 (which may come later since I seem to have uncontrollable LBA).

Is anyone else using them on a daily basis and happy with them? Mine only arrived yesterday, have not yet been out with them but plan to, later today.

03-11-2011, 12:55 PM   #2
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I have both lenses and do not use either on a regular basis, mainly because I have better lenses available. Your feeling of "oh they are OK, but nothing special" is probably shared by many. I know when I go out to shoot, they are not the lenses I reach for, especially when compared to the 16-45, 17-70, 16-50, 50-135, or even the 55-300mm. Aside from the WR aspect, both the 18-55 and 50-200 are mediocre in performance. Sure, they each have their sweet spot in which you can pull good IQ, but the other lenses mentioned do so much more easily and at many more ranges.
03-11-2011, 01:02 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I was wondering if anyone can tell my why these seem to be largely panned in the review section. After reading in there, I came out with a "oh they are OK, but nothing special" kind of feeling. Of course they cannot be compared in terms of IQ to the limited primes, but really...
They are panned primarily because, in terms of IQ, they are at or near the bottom of the pecking order in Pentax's current lens lineup. Nearly all the other DA lenses in those focal ranges are sharper, have more contrast, and enjoy better color rendition. Many of the lenses are faster as well. So by comparison, the 2 kit lenses don't seem so special.

QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
Is anyone else using them on a daily basis and happy with them?
Some people are happy with them, some are not. It really depends on your expectations. If you expect them to perform as well as the limiteds, the star lenses, and the fix aperture zooms, you're bound to be disappointed. If you expect them to perform as kit lenses, you'll likely be happy with your results.
03-11-2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by einstrigger Quote
I have both lenses and do not use either on a regular basis, mainly because I have better lenses available. Your feeling of "oh they are OK, but nothing special" is probably shared by many. I know when I go out to shoot, they are not the lenses I reach for, especially when compared to the 16-45, 17-70, 16-50, 50-135, or even the 55-300mm. Aside from the WR aspect, both the 18-55 and 50-200 are mediocre in performance. Sure, they each have their sweet spot in which you can pull good IQ, but the other lenses mentioned do so much more easily and at many more ranges.
I guess that the 16-50 and 60-250/50-135 would have been better choices, but I also need to watch the weight I carry, so they weren't realistic options for me, in terms of weather resistance.

I don't expect them to perform like the more special lenses (you can see I love primes) but right now, I don't venture out into foul weather at all, whereas with the WRs I'll be more inclined to do that


QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
If you expect them to perform as kit lenses, you'll likely be happy with your results.
Naww, I know they won't perform like the limiteds, but as kit lenses, plus the WR when its raining or dusty... I think I'm going to be happy enough to get out amongst it with them. The thing is, if its raining or dusty now I don't go out at all... better to go, than not, I reckon.


Last edited by kyteflyer; 03-11-2011 at 02:16 PM. Reason: additional quote/reply
03-11-2011, 05:45 PM   #5
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Shall we re-ignite the kit-lens wars? Benjikan says he wouldn't hesitate to use the 18-55 for his Vogue or Elle cover shoots. Non-professionals say it sucks. OP notes some stunning images in PPG. Numerous tech tests give it high marks. I think it's a matter of knowing how and when to use it. Selah!
03-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #6
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I bought both of the WR kit lenses (18-55 & 50-200) and have been happy with them. They are light and cover all the focal lengths I need pretty good except for the wide end. I use them hiking and the WR and weight are pretty important to me there. That said, the biggest issue I have had is they are not very good in low light, so I recently the DA 35mm f2.4 AL which is an excellent complement to these two lenses. It's very light and the only thing I needed to get for it was a lens hood. My next purchase will probably be a 15mm ltd to cover the wide angles. Going to have to save back for it though.

The WR kits are nice for the price and size/weight, and the main drawback is slow speed.
03-12-2011, 08:33 PM   #7
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The 18-55WR is definitely not as good as my more expensive lenses, but yeah I like to have it for sledding or other outside fun. Although my W30 is as or more useful when I am really worried about weather (and not that worried about IQ).
03-13-2011, 04:06 AM   #8
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Basically, you have to remember that when it comes to lenses you pay large amounts for small increments of improvement in image quality. The DA 16-50 costs five or six times as much and certainly gives some improvements in image quality and wider aperture, but at the cost of being quite heavy and bulky as well. There are always trade offs.

The WR kit lens is good for a kit lens and is also WR, but it is still a kit lens. It is weak at both ends and needs to be stopped down for maximum sharpness. That said, if you stay away from its weaknesses you can produce great photos with it.

Finally, you need to remember two things about PPG and the lens clubs. First of all, with these sites, you can tell more about the photographer than the lens with them. The better photographers often use more expensive lenses and so their photos look better. Secondly, at web resolutions, you really can't see differences in sharpness and contrast that might be more apparent when zoomed in on an image.

03-13-2011, 07:32 AM   #9
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The 18-55 WR is my go-to lens for hiking, camping, snowshoeing and such. It's a very good lens.

However, when weather permits, my go-to lens is the Sigma 17-70. There is a distinct improvement in image quality.

The WR kit lens is an excellent tool for outdoors lifestyle, it's light, WR and reliable. But there's a reason why it's relatively inexpensive.
03-13-2011, 12:47 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Benjikan says he wouldn't hesitate to use the 18-55 for his Vogue or Elle cover shoots.
That's easily said. But has he? Will he? Generally speaking, professionals don't use kit lenses. The occasional exception really doesn't prove anything.

QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Non-professionals say it sucks.
This is a bit misleading, because it suggests that it's only non-professionals who have a problem with the kit lens. Since most professionals don't use kit lenses, they're not really in a position to make statements one way or the other. It's people who use kit glass (largely non-professionals) that are in a position to judge the merit of the lens.

Nor would I say that the kit lens "sucks." Most of us who are not big fans of the lens regard it merely as mediocre.

QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Numerous tech tests give it high marks.
Which tests are those? How numerous are they? How "high" are their marks?

I'm familiar with two tests, both of which point to mediocre performance. And those tests only cover what can be measured. Contrast, color rendition, bokeh, etc. are ignored; yet it is precisely in those areas that the mediocrity of the kit lens is often most apparent.
03-13-2011, 08:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Shall we re-ignite the kit-lens wars? Benjikan says he wouldn't hesitate to use the 18-55 for his Vogue or Elle cover shoots.
Yet when his 16-50 went down in a shoot he reached for his 16-45 not the 18-55
03-13-2011, 09:09 PM   #12
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The 18-55 is no joke if you stop it down.

That lens is dependent on available light. Quality wise it is really good in the middle of the range (falls behind as 18mm and 55mm imho).

For the money it's pretty amazing. I think think kind of quality for under 100 dollars was a wet dream in the 80's (in a zoom). I'm using it currently as a 21-28mm "prime", and it's plenty sharp and contrasty as long as it's not wide open.

It's not the "best" but in a lot of cases it's not going to make a huge difference, all imho, but I do believe it's a great lens to learn the ropes with.

The 50-200 - same applies (although I'm not so great at telephoto, and I find f8 a lot more restrictive at 200mm than at 40mm).

Last edited by paperbag846; 03-13-2011 at 09:15 PM.
03-24-2011, 04:27 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I guess that the 16-50 and 60-250/50-135 would have been better choices, but I also need to watch the weight I carry, so they weren't realistic options for me, in terms of weather resistance.

I don't expect them to perform like the more special lenses (you can see I love primes) but right now, I don't venture out into foul weather at all, whereas with the WRs I'll be more inclined to do that




Naww, I know they won't perform like the limiteds, but as kit lenses, plus the WR when its raining or dusty... I think I'm going to be happy enough to get out amongst it with them. The thing is, if its raining or dusty now I don't go out at all... better to go, than not, I reckon.
Exactly. I got the 18-55 with the K7 and will keep it for foul weather.
03-24-2011, 04:26 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Are you kidding? For the money I love these lenses. I have the 18-55 and 50-200 WR's. I like the 50-200 so much I sold my DA 55-300. For what I use them for I would have paid a lot more. I use them on the mountain skiing, mountain biking, hiking and taking my kids to the park or rainy soccer games. They're not for "serious" photography but they are seriously fun outdoors.

The pair together was about 300 bucks. Is there any manufacturer who offers quality kit weather sealed lenses at such a low price?
03-24-2011, 10:24 PM   #15
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I recently took some photos of large objects. Having the feeling that my FA31Ltd would not cut it, I decided to take the DA18-55WR and was, to be honest, quite pleasantly surprised.

And my wife takes bloody nice pictures with the DA18-55AL-II on a K100D.
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