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03-09-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
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DA 18-135 WR or other?

Hello Everyone,

I'm looking for some advice. I am in the hunt for a good walk around zoom lens. My parents are going on vacation overseas and will be taking my Km/K2000 and I don't want them to have to lug around my standard zoom and the Sigma 70-300 combo that I usually take.

My preference is something in the 18-200 range as I think anything beyond that range will not be fully utilized and may cost significantly more. The requirements are pretty much auto everything (focus/aperture/etc) and it has to be new. I don't really have the time to fully put a used lens through the paces to make sure it won't break down during the trip. Also can not be a combo like a 18-55 and the 55-300 because that's pretty much how I'm handling it right now.

I would also like WR feature which limits my choice to the DA18-135 WR as the area they are traveling to has frequent and sudden weather changes and I think the WR on the lens will be very useful for the lens at least while I can get them to cover up the body section in case of rain. But this is not a must.

Price range for the WR is 599$ CDN right now so anything below that would be ideal as this will be cutting into my K-01/K5 fund.

So the only other choice is the 18-125 by Sigma and I think the Sigma 18-250 OS lens. How do all those compare to each other?

My other idea was to get the DA 17-70 but I am thinking that maybe a little bit too short on the long end and that uses SDM tech and I've only heard mediocre things about SDM reliability.

Any advice would be hopeful.
Thanks

03-09-2012, 03:17 PM   #2
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I think you just answered your own question. If WR is a priority, the 18-135 WR is your only option in a big zoom range. If the price is too high, you can always look around the used market. I was eyeing one on the Marketplace here for $350 USD, but someone snapped it up already. Also, if this is a temporary need for a WR lens, you could always just rent it. I wanted to buy a DA*16-50, but the SDM problems have me scared. So I'm going to rent one for my upcoming trip instead of buying.
03-09-2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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HI,
I have the DA 18-135 WR on my K10D and love it ! Not the fastest or biggest range sure, but a good all-purpose lens in my opinion. The size and heft are really nice ( I prefer heavy'ish lenses ) I almost backed off because of the price, but the WR tipped the scales. One thing however. You mention saving for a K5 or K-O1. I've come across K5's with the 18-135 WR in a kit ( not to mention the used market ! ) at an attractive price, so you might give that scenario some consideration. The renting option for your parents' trip may not be so bad. Then you can search out a good deal on the lens / body of your choice.

My 2 cents.

Ken
03-09-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
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The WR is not a must but would be a very good feature to have for the parents. I usually just not shoot during light rain. As for the K5 kit with the 18-135 WR it is currently out of my surplus budget right row so i cant get both at the same time and will need to do a bandage type of solution in acquiring it.

As for used as i mentioned before i would have enough time to make sure it works and not likely to fail during the trip. I know my current lenses are just as likely to fail and it is technically a dice roll but i know where my lenses have been and how they have been maintained so i am less worried about failure issues then a random strangers old lens. If that makes any sense.

03-09-2012, 05:30 PM   #5
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If you buy from B&H . it will cost you delivered $506
Pentax SMC DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL IF DC WR - Canada and Cross-Border Price Comparison - photoprice.ca
03-09-2012, 05:42 PM   #6
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Oops ! Sorry I had a brain freeze on the used thing.

Ken
03-10-2012, 06:52 AM   #7
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A quick search on B&H's site found a Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 @ 280$. Not WR ( but neither is your camera ! ), not fast but probably a good all-purpose lens. Note that I haven't used it so can't attest to it's quality ! It might come down to which lens do you want ( i.e.: after your parents trip ).
03-10-2012, 09:42 AM   #8
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Well what I want would be the DA ltd pancakes and not a zoom lens but that isn't happening anytime soon. I'm really interested in IQ for the buck and I don't really want to get a lens just because it's a good walk around and nothing else. Hence I'm kinda swayed for the DA 18-135 as it seems to have some positive reviews. Has anybody used both the DA 18-135 and the Sigma 18-250 OS or the 18-200 and compared it over the overlapping focal lengths? I know zoom lenses are usually weak at either end and wide open but can these things still produce decent images at those extremes?

As for those who have used the DA 18-135 WR how good is the weather sealing on that thing. Can it handle a light rain shower without any protection? Ideally I won't want my parents to use it in a rain shower but if it starts pouring can it handle quick rain moments? For example if a damp cloth was placed over the lens barrel will it have enough sealing to prevent water from getting in?

03-10-2012, 09:52 AM   #9
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I have had the Pentax 18-250 but I found that one not a fine lens to handle, some love it though but it wasn't for me.
The 18-135 that i tried was much snappier and a better balanced lens in my opinion so between those two i would go for the 18-135.

I'm curious how the Sigma lenses handles.
03-10-2012, 01:29 PM   #10
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The 18-135 is a pretty good all around lens.
WR is a bonus, it focuses quietly and reasonably quickly, and at least compared to the kit 18-55 = < some other lens >, can make a huge difference as a walkaround single lens, vs needing to swap often with the 18-55 and 70-210, 70-300, 28-70 or others.

It's not fast, and I'd love it were it a constant f/4, but we were able to do a 500-1k picture weekend trip from sunup to dusk in a range of conditions (inside, outdoors city/closeups, outdoors nature/further out, outdoor portraits, etc.) without missing other lenses for > 90% of the shots. I did some crops as in some cases the 135mm just wasn't long enough, with satisfactory (to me) results. Likewise as the sun went down, I would up sticking to the shorted end of the range to keep the aperture larger, before finally swapping out for a 50/1.7 as it hit full dark.

Size-wise, it's also quite convenient, only a bit longer than the 18-55 kit lens, although obviously longer when zoomed, and definitely a more solid/hefty lens overall.

I do think it's overpriced a bit, but if you consider price difference of Adorama (bought mine from B&H but they never credited PF for the sale, so looks like no more B&H for me :-/ ) and most used prices, you're rarely seeing more than a $50 difference, so unless a stellar deal pops up, I'd just buy this one new.

I am interested in seeing when the new DA* comes out, as I think there was something like an 18-90 but not until 2013. I'm not sure it would work as a direct replacement, although it likely could replace a Tamron/Sigma 28/24-75 nicely.
If you can forego the WR and range, a Tamron 28-75/2.8 might be worth looking at, but right now, I'm intending to pick up the Tamron and have it be an addition vs replacement, with the Tamron used more for low light, portraits and indoor stills, while keeping the 18-135 as a more general purpose walkaround.
03-13-2012, 12:15 PM   #11
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the tamron seems like a good lens at 2.8 but it doesnt seem quite wide enough or long enough so I dismissed it.

Is the pentax 18-250 the same optical formula as the sigma 18-250 OS? I thought the pentax and the tamron discontinued were optical brothers?
03-13-2012, 12:51 PM   #12
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I just wanted to chime in for the Sigma 18-200. I took it as my only zoom for some travel last summer (I also brought DA 15 and FA 35 primes), and for the kind of pictures your parents will most likely be taking, the image quality should be more than acceptable. It also has the great advantage of doing the least damage to your K-5 fund. :-) This Sigma lens is not WR of course, but it is pretty reassuring in build, and does not deserve the Stigma associated with certain earlier Sigma lenses. Also note that the Sigma 18-200 is almost as small as the Pentax 18-135, while other such zooms are physically larger.

The Sigma 18-200 is not my very favorite lens -- I prefer primes -- but as a lens of convenience, or to take outdoor shots close up and at a distance in quick succession, it is quite capable.
03-13-2012, 09:42 PM   #13
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I think this lens is underrated highly. If you look at the resolution figures on photozone it easily beats out the sigma 17-70, the pentax 17-70, the da* 16-45, and the pentax 18-200. It does really fall apart over 70mm, but at the wide angle it is razor sharp and has less distortion than the lenses I listed above. I think as a walk around lens for landscape/architecture this would be great up to at least 50mm, plus you could use the long end for portraiture where corner softness doesn't really matter. Anyone have this lens? Which is sharper at the wide end? The sigma lens is consistent across the range, but the pentax 18-135 looks like it has great numbers at the bottom, which is where I would use it most....
03-14-2012, 01:51 AM   #14
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To make your choice little more difficult, let me vote for DA 17-70

I am not able to compare it with 18-135, but I am using 17-70 for more than one year and I am really happy with it. It is sharp from wide open and autofocus is really fast.So far I do not have any problems with SDM.

Here are some examples (mainly landscapes):

Mt Babia Gora in Winter

The Pieniny Mountains

The Mala Fatra Mountains

Slowinski National Park
03-14-2012, 07:32 AM   #15
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Hmmm....from looking at some real life 18-135 samples, I see a lot of variation in quality. Some shots look great at 18mm....some look awful, including this sites own review. The corners are pretty soft from what I can tell. I realize most 18mm zooms won't have great corners at 18mm, but that's really where I want it sharpest personally.
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