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03-25-2011, 03:31 AM   #1
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16-45 or 18-135

I have to begin the "getting the wife ready" process to gain approval for my next lens purchase. I need SOMETHING AF for indoor parties with external flash, but can't 100% decide yet. My MF Tak primes just aren't cutting it in low light conditions.

1) Both of the above lenses are close in price, but is the 16-45 such a giant leap in IQ over the 18-135 to make this all a non-issue?

2) I would love to have the extra 2mm on the wide end, but I think I would much rather have farther reach than 45 for close-up candids. This is why the 18-135 range so appeals to me. (I would jump on a Tammy 28-75, but 28 ain't wide enough.)

3) Since whatever I get will be used mostly with non TTL external flash in M mode (since the flash will calculate the exposure), can anyone recommend anything older/used/cheaper that will get me close to fast AF in this 18-135 range? I'm also NOT a huge fan of changing aperture via dial, so if it's just a good old aperture ring, that's just fine with me.

4) Finally, I don't know if I HAVE to go as long as 135, but I'm leaning toward and quoting this FL because the 18-135 is fresh out there right now with that new lens smell.

This is a tough one for me, because although I need it badly for this single purpose (parties/events), it will be only the second auto lens I own--so 15% of my decision is getting weighed upon by using it for other purposes.


Last edited by Ira; 03-25-2011 at 03:45 AM.
03-25-2011, 03:43 AM   #2
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135mm is good for across the room shots. So if you do that sort of thing indoors where you try to take candid shots from a distance, then the 18-135 would be good for you.

As for IQ... I don't own a 16-45 to compare but the 18-135 is quite sharp - at least my copy is

It is also very fast - it's proven very useful for me in taking photos at the Tuesday weekly lunch indoor soccer games we have at work. My co-workers really love the photos I've taken, heh.
03-25-2011, 04:56 AM   #3
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17-70 would be cheaper, especially on the used market. But the two you list are excellent choices too. From what I've seen, both of your choices are excellent optically, the 18-135 being a tad slow for indoors use.
03-25-2011, 05:02 AM   #4
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I had the 16-45 once, now the 18-135. IQ wise I think and feel that the 16-45 is kinda more punchy and a tad sharper. The 18-135 IQ is good enough for its design imo.

I bought the 18-135 to be my only zoom, to use as an allrounder. Very nice to bring with me when visiting friends or birthday parties and such, when you dont want to bring a lot of stuff. The reach is just perfect and 135mm is nice to have indoors especially when theres kids around. This is where the DC comes in. The AF is quite fast and reacts faster than screw, with my K-7 that is.
I always felt the 16-45 was to short for many things and didnt want to change lenses, so the 18-135 was perfect for me. Its very nice to have acces to the range 50-70mm in one zoom and still be able to go wide, without changing lenses. I use it with bounce flash indoors so the slow aperture (not very slow if one want in focus pictures) is a non issue for me.

Theres the 17-70 also, wich you may consider to.

Now, when it comes to the price between 16-45 and 18-135, only you can decide on that one


Last edited by the swede; 03-25-2011 at 05:14 AM.
03-25-2011, 05:06 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
17-70 would be cheaper, especially on the used market. But the two you list are excellent choices too. From what I've seen, both of your choices are excellent optically, the 18-135 being a tad slow for indoors use.
The 18-135 isn't that much slower over the common range; it's still f/4.5 at 70mm.

I've used all three, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of the three. I currently have the 18-135 as I wanted something compact, with good range that was also WR. So far I've been pretty happy with the results and the silent, quick focusing DC motor has been great,
03-25-2011, 05:11 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
I have to begin the "getting the wife ready" process to gain approval for my next lens purchase. I need SOMETHING AF for indoor parties with external flash, but can't 100% decide yet. My MF Tak primes just aren't cutting it in low light conditions...
What's the 18-55 kit lens that came with your K-x NOT doing that you feel it should?
03-25-2011, 05:13 AM   #7
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If you're not using flash in the parties, then I'd think about something a bit faster. The Tamron 17-50 is excellent and I traded from a 16-45 to that because of the extra stop. It's not a Pentax own brand lens, but don't let that put you off - it's sharp and nice to use.
03-25-2011, 05:30 AM   #8
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Fast lens or huge zoom?

I didn't have chance to test 16-45 nor 18-135, but I may give some thoughts in general.

Having Tamron 28-75 I was stunned with IQ and having f2.8 through entire focal range it certainly gives a punch. Now since you want to go wider than than 28, maybe a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 may be a good option for indoor photography, but you will loose some on the long end.

On the other hand, if you really want fast wide lens mostly for indoor, I can recommend Sigma 17-35 f2.8-4. It is available on the second hand market for something more than 100$. In my opinion it is rather under-priced due the fact that this lens is nothing spectacular compared to other wide-angle lenses (even thou it is a bit faster and a bit sharper than say 18-55 kit lens). However the greatest advantage of 17-35 compared to other wide angles is that it is a FF lens, it covers a full format of 35mm film thus making it more future proof and compatible to full-frame DSLRs we all are waiting from. With that in mind it is far more impressive giving the similar performance on FF as 10-20 gives on APS-C, but being a stop faster.

03-26-2011, 04:09 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
What's the 18-55 kit lens that came with your K-x NOT doing that you feel it should?
I did a decent job with it at an event awhile ago--but of course, if you're doing a paid event, you want the best you can get your hands on.

For critical IQ, I know there's a sweet FL I should be using on the 18-55--22-28 for example--but I didn't do that last time and that's kind of limiting. I just want to make sure I'm getting the best IQ and range for these kinds of parties. My flash is extremely powerful, so it's not really about lens speed. Especially for candids, not set-ups, where there are few reasons to go wider than 5.6 or 8 anyway because you need the DOF.

Thanks for the advice guys. I'm still leaning toward the 18-135 because of range, but I'm going to research the other shorter suggestions mentioned here. Also, the 18-135 is $499 at B&H right now, while the 16-45 is going for only $399.

Last edited by Ira; 03-26-2011 at 04:39 PM.
03-26-2011, 04:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stanislav Quote
I didn't have chance to test 16-45 nor 18-135, but I may give some thoughts in general.

Having Tamron 28-75 I was stunned with IQ and having f2.8 through entire focal range it certainly gives a punch. Now since you want to go wider than than 28, maybe a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 may be a good option for indoor photography, but you will loose some on the long end.
The images I've seen from the 28-75...consistently...day in and day out...blow me away.

So maybe you're pointing me to rethink me thinking.

I'm getting hung up on this one venue where actually, 28 was more than wide enough. But I just know I'm going to have to go wider for other places.

Basically, I'm talking about parties where I WON'T want to be changing lenses. Not doing bride and groom set-up stuff. Instead, I skulk around and shoot while they don't know I'm shooting.

So I want to stick one lens on there, and that's it. So I can do the table shots...zoom in to tight close-up of best friends kissing after not seeing each other in years...and turning around to perfectly frame the cake.

Last edited by Ira; 03-26-2011 at 04:45 PM.
03-27-2011, 10:13 AM   #11
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Ira, the FA 20-35 is a smoking zoom, and the 16-45 is supposed to be just about as good. (Some say a little better some say a little worse). I would go 16-45 for sure. (Speaking as someone who has never owned either.) I know you said no lens changes but you could get a 16-45 and an F 35-70 for significantly less than an 18-135, right?
03-27-2011, 10:31 AM   #12
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I'd try a 17-70 as suggested earlier. Should be both wide enough and long enough.
03-27-2011, 11:05 AM   #13
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I will throw my two cents here, though they probably worth less than that since I haven't used neither of the lenses mentioned.
For the specific application of indoor shooting with flash I believe the difference in performance will be negligible. so it's about the focal length range. 16 should be great indoors but 135 vs 45 makes a bigger difference to me. here you go, get the 18-135

that was me thinking out loud. and now again ==> why isn't that damn lens available over here #&%!
03-27-2011, 12:25 PM   #14
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I'm just curious if you would get much use out of the 18-135 past 75 ish mm in a bounce-flash situation.
03-27-2011, 12:28 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I'm just curious if you would get much use out of the 18-135 past 75 ish mm in a bounce-flash situation.
Works great for me.
135mm @ f/5,6
flash bounced behind/left of me

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