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01-29-2012, 03:37 AM   #1
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What's the verdict on the 18-135?

Apologies if this has been done to death

Price of this in combination with the K5 have reached "affordable" levels within the UK - after a lot of overtime working!

K5 is a no-brainer for someone owning a K100D
18-135 is very attractive for someone spending a lot of time outdoors in foul weather
Trouble is - it has had some bad reviews - particularly concerning edge performance - and hence maybe not good for landscapes

Any advice - particularly with sample photos (f11 or below) would be very welcomed

Trevor

01-29-2012, 04:36 AM   #2
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I am in more or less the same situation as you: I would like to have just one WR lens for walk-around. I doubt that we shall ever be given better guidelines than what is already given in the users' lens reviews here:

SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

There are also quite a few (decent, I think) samples photos there.
01-29-2012, 05:10 AM   #3
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You're right: this subject has been done to death.

I was hesitant about the 18-135, because of the early reviews, but recently I found I needed the extra reach without having to change lenses, when I was shooting a dance competition on a smallish floor. At the time, I was using the (also) much-maligned DA*16-50, and the upper limit focal length was simply too short by a long margin.

When B&H's price reached the current level in December, I decided I needed to have this lens. It's become my standard walk-around lens since then. It doesn't have the IQ of the DA*16-50, and of course it's longer at the short end, but you can still make a pretty decent picture with it.

What it does have is a good range (too big a range means too much compromise, usually at the long end) and its small overall size and low weight means your wrist doesn't get too tired after a long period of use. A little extra PP is a small price to pay for good results. Ignore the pixel-peepers who decry the 18-135 - if it fits your shooting style and needs, I'd recommend it.
01-29-2012, 05:14 AM   #4
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I own the DA18-135 along with the DA*16-50 and a basket full of DA limiteds and A series primes. The DA18-135 has become my default lens because of it's flexibility. Mounted on my K-5 I can take it out in the snow and rain and get good shots any time. The times I replace it are when I need a faster, longer or wider lens, or for shots that I want to be as sharp as possible. In ordinary use the DA18-135 is my lens of choice.

01-29-2012, 05:52 AM   #5
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The 15-135 is my "casual" lens, for walking around and talking quick snapshots, especially when the weather conditions are not ideal. I used to have a DA* 16-50, but for casual shooting the lens was a bit on the heavy side and occasionally a bit to short. With the 18-135 I now sold the DA*, which was only gathering dust. Yes, it had better IQ than the superzoom, but for "quality" work I prefer my primes anyway.

Another thought: How much will the lens cost you when buying it together with the K5 and how much can you get if you sell it later (Marketplace, 'bay)? Maybe you should just buy the kit, check for yourself and sell the lens if you don't like it, with little loss or maybe even some gain.
01-29-2012, 07:22 AM   #6
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I've more or less decided to get the DA 18-135 WR as an upgrade from the kit DA 18-55 WR lens. It appears the 18-135 has marginally better IQ than the 18-55, which is already pretty good for a kit lens. For me, as with others who have posted in this thread, the 18-135 will become my default lens on my K-5 once I get it. Having good IQ, good reach and WR in one lens is a plus and easily outweighs the better IQ of the more expensive DA* lenses as a walkabout everyday lens. I'm hesitant to get the DA* 16-50 due to reported reliability issues, it seems to be just too much of a gamble to get a good copy. And since I don't live in a country with good local Pentax service and support, repairs or exchanges are more difficult and expensive than elsewhere. WR is a requirement for me, and the 18-135 seems to strike a very good balance.
01-29-2012, 08:45 AM   #7
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Good range
Good IQ
WR
Compact
Eliminates changing at 55 - particularly desireable in bad weather

If you never plan to shoot beyond 55 in bad weather than don't buy it. Otherwise......
01-29-2012, 08:57 AM   #8
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As a complement to the users review, see the review from photozone: Pentax SMC-DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR - Review / Lens Test

Not the best verdict.

01-29-2012, 09:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pontax Quote
As a complement to the users review, see the review from photozone: Pentax SMC-DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR - Review / Lens Test

Not the best verdict.
It's true, the 18-135 isn't a great lens for shooting test charts and it is a bit weak towatds the edges/corners. When I want outstanding shots of test charts, I typically select a different lens. When I want an all-in-one WR lens with a great FL range, fast/silent AF and very respectable IQ (especially in the center), the 18-135 is the perfect choice.
01-29-2012, 09:07 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pontax Quote
As a complement to the users review, see the review from photozone: Pentax SMC-DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR - Review / Lens Test

Not the best verdict.
Its been pretty much established that their review looks nothing like the lenses in use. Many have concluded that they had a bad copy of the lens.
01-29-2012, 09:44 AM   #11
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I'd go with the majority on this despite my poor experience on a K-7. It's a very good and convenient lens, but test yours carefully and return it if it doesn't meet your standards. Even my copy was a nice 18-100 zoom, with WR and quiet focus; if you don't push it you may find it to be excellent.
01-29-2012, 11:15 AM   #12
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I'm in the same situation as you in regards to buying the 18-135mm. I'm no big rush right now though, so I've decided to wait and see what Pentax comes out with that is WR in the near future. I'm hoping for a 17-70mm WR and a 55-300mm WR.

I suggest you buy it as part of a kit and if not satisfied, sell it here. That way you won't lose too much money if you decided the lens isn't for you.
01-30-2012, 06:26 PM   #13
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I still have mine.

For wet or snowy weather it is a very useful lens.
It also handles fish slime ok too.

Compromises:
- It's not that wide if you shoot wide (I think I would trade mine for a WR 17-70 F4 simply because I have a K-7).
- A prime will beat the snot off it (but you can't really get a prime wet).

Click through for a (slightly) larger image.







Last edited by Clarkey; 01-30-2012 at 06:31 PM. Reason: copied links to my lens review.
01-30-2012, 11:34 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
It's true, the 18-135 isn't a great lens for shooting test charts and it is a bit weak towatds the edges/corners. When I want outstanding shots of test charts, I typically select a different lens. When I want an all-in-one WR lens with a great FL range, fast/silent AF and very respectable IQ (especially in the center), the 18-135 is the perfect choice.
Well put! I didn't know the 18-135 mm was a bad lens until that review came out. I guess that I use it mostly for chasing the kids around and my style mostly relies on central sharpness as I shoot portraits of family and friends. I would add that it is also great for close ups (not true macros) but I like the small MFD. As mentioned the fast and silent AF motor is very nice.
01-31-2012, 10:51 AM   #15
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Another happy owner here. The 18-135 WR has slightly better IQ than my DA L18-55 and DA 18-250. It's not as strong as my 16-45 or 55-300mm, but I often choose to give up some IQ for the superzoom range and weather resistance.

I have lots of specialty lenses for specialized work, but the 18-135 WR is a solid all-purpose zoom. Mechanically it beats the pants off my other consumer zooms, with superior build, weather seals, silent AF and rounded aperture blades for improved bokeh.

Last edited by audiobomber; 01-31-2012 at 11:28 AM.
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