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07-09-2011, 01:56 PM   #31
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Photozone's review of 18-135 WR

As anyone read this ... they trashed this lens ... ?!

Pentax SMC-DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR - Review / Lens Test

07-09-2011, 01:58 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poitiers Quote
As anyone read this ... they trashed this lens ... ?!

Pentax SMC-DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR - Review / Lens Test
There were multiple threads about that review when it first came out. There were many owners who disagreed, and at one point, Photozone was considering a re-test.
07-09-2011, 02:07 PM   #33
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Merci GeneV ... I read this review and was surprised by how much it differed from other reviews that I have seen ... a re-test would be nice.
07-09-2011, 02:09 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poitiers Quote
Merci GeneV ... I read this review and was surprised by how much it differed from other reviews that I have seen ... a re-test would be nice.
Photozone went to Pentax Europe about the lens's poor performance but was told that the lens performed within spec, so there's really no reason for Photozone to re-test. Most likely Photozone reviewed a poor copy of the lens, but if Pentax refuses to help them out Photozone may as well let the review stand.

07-09-2011, 02:12 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Given the price point of this lens, I think people scrutinize it far more than the do the DA 18-55mm II WR. I think its a kit lens that is playing in a higher league and is going to take a beating at times.
I've always seen "superzooms" as kit lenses on steroids. This is no exception. Tamron's 18-270 has a bit more range, but goes for an average of $630 (in other mounts). Amazon.com: lens tamron: Electronics Pentax added all sorts of interesting physical characteristics and DC focus but less range. It is a matter of personal choice whether these lenses are worth it. However, anyone who expects prime performance will be disappointed, but then most situations don't really require prime performance.

Last edited by GeneV; 07-09-2011 at 04:10 PM.
07-09-2011, 02:16 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Photozone went to Pentax Europe about the lens's poor performance but was told that the lens performed within spec, so there's really no reason for Photozone to re-test. Most likely Photozone reviewed a poor copy of the lens, but if Pentax refuses to help them out Photozone may as well let the review stand.
Even after that unhelpful communication with Pentax Hamburg, there was talk of another test. I'm not sure what happened.

Even so, the images posted in the PZ review were snappy and contrasty, but they showed astigmatism softness in the corners. I don't think this is the issue that the OP is having. Her shots lack contrast.
07-09-2011, 02:20 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by bimjo Quote
Up to what point? Posting on the web? Printing 8x10? Printing bigger? Not trying to start a war here, I'm seriously considering getting something I can carry in the cargo pocket of my pants so I'll always have a cam with me. The ruggedness of the Optio line interests me.
The use the Optio W80 for...

Putting it on the end of a monopod, putting the focus in manual, and shooting video off a Castle wall or above a crowd.

I mount it via a 484RC2 and a Manfrotto Clamp to my bicycle handlebars.

I use it to shoot shots that are VERY close to the surface of water.

I use it for rain shots.

It's a decent Macro shooter.

It's the camera I use when I want some extreme/abusive images that I would not risk my DSLR with.
07-09-2011, 02:52 PM   #38
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I'm a little annoyed with the tone of this thread. A lot of people are automatically blaming the lens. I have a good 18-135mm. IME it has remarkable contrast for a zoom and decent sharpness.

We haven't seen any kind of exif info. The camera was set on auto ISO, not to exceed ISO 400. That's fine at midday, and the photos were better then according to the OP. Some photos aren't sharp because there wasn't sufficient depth of field to focus the subject. There's evidence of underexposure, so the lens was probably wide open most of the time, and shutter speeds were too low. The heron photo would have needed 1/500s minimum to be sharp. Focus appears to be on the background behind the bird. The photos were shot in raw and converted incorrectly, causing excess noise and an unappealing flat look.

I don't see a lens problem here. A superzoom is not as fast as a prime, and because it's telephoto it needs some high shutter speeds, especially in a moving boat. It doesn't have endless depth of field like a compact. IMO the results would have been much better with auto ISO set for 100-1600 and shooting jpegs in default mode.

Cat, I expect you have the newer Pentax DCU4 program that shipped with the later cameras. It's much better than the original software, but if you find it too slow, there are other programs available, some free. If you want to keep shooting raw, you absolutely need to find something other than Picasa.


Last edited by audiobomber; 07-09-2011 at 06:40 PM.
07-09-2011, 03:21 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I'm a little annoyed with the tone of this thread. A lot of people are automatically blaming the lens. I have a good 18-135mm. IME it has remarkable contrast for a zoom and decent sharpness.

We haven't seen any kind of exif info. The camera was set on auto ISO, not to exceed ISO 400. That's fine at midday, and the photos were better then according to the OP. Some photos aren't sharp because there wasn't sufficient depth of field to focus the subject. There's evidence of underexposure, so the lens probably was probably wide open most of the time, and shutter speeds were too low. The heron photo would have needed 1/500s minimum to be sharp. Focus appears to be on the background behind the bird. The photos were shot in raw and converted incorrectly, causing excess noise and an unappealing flat look.

I don't see a lens problem here. A superzoom is not as fast as a prime, and because it's telephoto it needs some high shutter speeds, especially in a moving boat. It doesn't have endless depth of field like a compact. IMO the results would have been much better with auto ISO set for 100-1600 and shooting jpegs in default mode.

Cat, I expect you have the newer Pentax DCU4 program that shipped with the later cameras. It's much better than the original software, but if you find it too slow, there are other programs available, some free. If you want to keep shooting raw, you absolutely need to find something other than Picasa.
Dan, I agree with everything you wrote about what the real problems are here, but I think that most of the posters have agreed with that. Only here at the end did the infamous Photozone test come up again, and people start deciding the lens could possibly be a problem. I think about 50% of the issues the OP is seeing with the lens are aspects of processing the raw files, and most of the rest are things such as you have pointed out.

Last edited by GeneV; 07-09-2011 at 04:08 PM.
07-09-2011, 03:34 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Immunogirl Quote
Click on the magnify glass and zoom in. It's horribly noisy.
Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the lens - it's a combination of the camera, your shoot technique, and your PP technique. Blaming the lens for noise in a picture is like blaming a television set for the quality of TV programming. And I would say that failure to completely accept that suggests that there is a good chance that perhaps you could probably also stand to learn a thing or two about shooting and PP technique that would allow you to get better results.

Again, though, if you want to do comparisons, forget the optio. Compare shots taken with the same camera.

As fr what you call horrible versus what we see, you do have to realize that a lot of thins are subjectice. But FWIW, I definitely thought the optio images were far worse than the K-7 images. Not from anything to do with the lens, but from the processing done by the camera. I do agree with the others, though, that using Picasa on RAW files is a huge mistake, as it throws away the extra bits that make RAW worth shooting, plus it apparently does some pretty brutal auto processing.
07-09-2011, 04:09 PM   #41
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I don't own this lens, but I do think that you have to test every lens very carefully, and that's particularly easy to do when you have lenses with overlapping focal lengths. So you should make more precise comparisons - tripod mounted, same lighting, etc. - and base your decisions on those.

Some P&Ss are very sophisticated with regard to PP, in terms of NR, color fringing elimination, etc., and the manufacturers put a lot of effort into tuning the results for pleasing overall output - maybe more so than with DSLRs. However a number of your complaints seem to be with comparisons with the same body but other lenses, and in some cases they seem to be about aspects of performance (like noise) that really have nothing do with a lens. So really the only alternative is more controlled and objective testing.

Paul
07-09-2011, 06:10 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I'm a little annoyed with the tone of this thread. A lot of people are automatically blaming the lens. I have a good 18-135mm. IME it has remarkable contrast for a zoom and decent sharpness.

We haven't seen any kind of exif info. The camera was set on auto ISO, not to exceed ISO 400. That's fine at midday, and the photos were better then according to the OP. Some photos aren't sharp because there wasn't sufficient depth of field to focus the subject. There's evidence of underexposure, so the lens probably was probably wide open most of the time, and shutter speeds were too low. The heron photo would have needed 1/500s minimum to be sharp. Focus appears to be on the background behind the bird. The photos were shot in raw and converted incorrectly, causing excess noise and an unappealing flat look.

I don't see a lens problem here. A superzoom is not as fast as a prime, and because it's telephoto it needs some high shutter speeds, especially in a moving boat. It doesn't have endless depth of field like a compact. IMO the results would have been much better with auto ISO set for 100-1600 and shooting jpegs in default mode.

Cat, I expect you have the newer Pentax DCU4 program that shipped with the later cameras. It's much better than the original software, but if you find it too slow, there are other programs available, some free. If you want to keep shooting raw, you absolutely need to find something other than Picasa.
Agreed. Even the copy of the 18-135 that Photozone tested was good below 70mm and at web resolution looked pretty decent. Adjusting in camera jpeg settings would probably helps some, work with RAW files would help more.
07-09-2011, 10:41 PM   #43
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I've already stated on here that I would try all the things that people have suggested & post the exif data when I get back to my desktop - so I'm not entirely sure where complaints about the tone or automatically blaming the lens or failing to accept that there could be problems with my technique. I've seen a lot of threads on here where people went through several copies of the 18-55 or whatever lens till they found one they like - I wouldn't have posted this thread if I wasn't looking for opinions on whether I'm getting what's normal for this lens vs. just having a bad copy of the lens, and asking for other people's opinions and suggestions. I'm admitting that I want this lens to do very specific things in what aren't always great conditions for photography and that I have other lens that I like the results with under similar conditions that just aren't waterproof. And I'm assuming that since it's my photography & lens & I'm the one using it, that what I like matters in this. I've also mentioned thatI like my 16-45 and my crappy 80-320 zoom which are probably a similar price point to this lens, so obviously I know there's compromises with a zoom lens and am capable of liking some that don't have great reviews. In retrospect, I shouldn't have posted the w60 photos, because that just got everyone off on a tangent on point & shoots and comparing dslrs to point & shoots. I didn't do a direct comparison of the 18-135 vs. my primes in the same conditions, because I didn't want to be repeatedly swapping out lenses while in a kayak.

So if anyone wants to suggest what settings to put the camera on in a kayak to make me like the lens more, those would be helpful. Looking at the auto ISO settings, the camera doesn't let me set it below 200 (okay, i fixed that by turning highlight correctionoff), so I can't do the 100 someone suggested and generally I haven't liked what I've gotten noise wise when the iso is 800 or higher - but then I was shooting indoors with a bounce flash at a dark venue when I set it to max of 400 last month. So I can bump that up to 800 or 1600.

I used to do JPEG+ raw with my photos, but it ate up hard drive space and I generally liked the RAW images better than the JPEG's that came out of the camera and it allows more flexibility. And as long as they're on my harddrive, they can be pulled into whatever program at any point in the future to process.

I started shooting at noon and finished at around 7 pm. Sunset's about 8:30 around here. Sunrise was far earlier. So all of the pics would have been mid-day, I'd consider. It was a bit cloudy earlier, but not by the time I got to the power plant.

Regarding photos from the cruise that someone mentioned, not entirely sure what the cruise pics were referenced?

Last edited by Immunogirl; 07-10-2011 at 02:10 PM.
07-10-2011, 05:14 AM   #44
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Well I must say it is indeed YOU and YOUR requirements that matter. On the other hand, you posted on a semi-public place. What you're getting is a combination of people wanting to help and people reacting to what you've written.

Not all the "tone" is yours though you did start it.

Anyway, all the best. I hope you find what you're looking for.
07-10-2011, 07:56 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I have a W90 because of its ruggedness and water proof and use it a lot in the canoe and boat, but also underwater stuff for work to get pics of invasive plants. Sometimes I can get decent shots with it, sometimes I can't. The newer version maybe better, at least it has gps tagging.
QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
The use the Optio W80 for...

Putting it on the end of a monopod, putting the focus in manual, and shooting video off a Castle wall or above a crowd.

I mount it via a 484RC2 and a Manfrotto Clamp to my bicycle handlebars.

I use it to shoot shots that are VERY close to the surface of water.

I use it for rain shots.

It's a decent Macro shooter.

It's the camera I use when I want some extreme/abusive images that I would not risk my DSLR with.
Thanks for the info guys. And my apologies to Immunogirl for the thread jack.
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