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03-23-2012, 04:16 PM   #1
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18-135mm WR Lens Review

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

Is this review accurate, or did they in fact get a bad copy? I'm thinking about getting the K-5 with this lens now that the price has dropped. Can anyone offer a comparison of the performance of this lens vs. the 18-55mm kit lens?

I just ask this because, while this is the only very detailed review I have found, it is also much more negative than what ratings would suggest. I'd hoped that the downsides of this lens were no worse than those of the comparable canon and nikon superzooms.

03-23-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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It is a bit better than the kit- have you seen our review? In it, there are some comparison shots between the two lenses.

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03-23-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Ive read that reveiw myself. Its got to be the worst reveiw ive ever seen.
If you want Pentax I would go with the 17-70 which is pretty good. Otherwise I would opt for the tamron 17-50 2.8
03-23-2012, 04:57 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukelbd Quote
Is this review accurate, or did they in fact get a bad copy?
Photozone contacted Pentax, had the copy tested, and got the response that it was within specs.

The DA 18-250 was quite a bit better but that was a Tamron design. Apparently, Pentax doesn't quite know how to design a super zoom or had different priorities.

03-23-2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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I do not know how the score translate to actual pic quality
but I viewed the sample pic provided by photozone, I find they all look pretty good to my eye

Last edited by liukaitc; 03-23-2012 at 05:25 PM.
03-23-2012, 05:51 PM   #6
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To me it looks fine, it's my most used lens besides Ltd 35mm. But I'm no pixel peeper so take it with a grain of salt I guess.
03-24-2012, 12:51 AM   #7
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Looks about right. I did barrel distortion tests of my own and they seem to match up to photozones findings... also, the poor resolution on the corners also sounds about right. But, I generally try avoid these situations by framing things as appropriate and cropping them.. well, I usually have to crop my photos anyway so it's no big deal!

Despite all that, it's still my favourite lens and it's my main lens on my camera...
03-24-2012, 07:20 AM   #8
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Amazon.com: Pentax 21977 DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens for Pentax Digital SLR cameras: Camera & Photo

Thanks for the input everyone. It might not be that bad, but I can't understand how it has gotten nothing but positive feedback from places like this amazon page when the photozone review suggests that it is demonstrably and noticeably worse than the equivalent Canon and Nikon superzooms, and even worse than the kit lens. Maybe even Pentax was wrong when they thought it "met factory specifications?"

03-24-2012, 08:17 AM   #9
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FIrst of all, it is better than the kit and the kit isn't that bad. Second it depends on what you use it for. At 18 to 50 mm it's a very good lens and better than the kit in almost every Photozone comparison, plus it gives you a center sharp zoom that goes to 135mm. The fall off around the edges would be unacceptable for a DA* lens, but so would the price. Photozone says it's overpriced, and that may be true. But I still have mine after a year. It's strong enough, from 18-60 and my DA* 60-250 takes over after 60. And I can crank it out to 135 for a couple quick shots, before I change to the 60-250, so I get something in case my subject vanishes during the lens change. If anything, what this lens has taught me is how little the mtf numbers really mean. I have a number of times had comments on overs sharpening of images, on images that have had no sharpening applied.Sharp is not for every image. YOU have to know when and where to use this lens. But to say you can't use it for landscape? Really? I Just throw it on the camera and leave it on most of the time. I carry 21 ltd and a 50 1.7 for when I want a different look.



You might like this shot, more with a sharper lens, you might not.

And on this shot, the bokeh is softer and more pleasing because of the soft edges, while still letting me count individual hairs in the center. You almost certainly like it more because of the soft edges. There might be lenses out there that take the picture you want in every situation...corner to corner resolution might be necessary for some architecture shots... so if that's what you build your lens collection around, architecture shots, you probably need better corner to corner resolution.But if you wanted architecture shots, you wanted an aspherical lens with less barrel distortion anyway. If you find architecture photography somewhat cold and un-inspiring you might be happy with this lens.


Last edited by normhead; 03-24-2012 at 08:27 AM.
03-24-2012, 08:32 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Photozone contacted Pentax, had the copy tested, and got the response that it was within specs.

The DA 18-250 was quite a bit better but that was a Tamron design. Apparently, Pentax doesn't quite know how to design a super zoom or had different priorities.
Yeah, excellent center sharpness, strong color & contrast, quick-focusing, compact... Pentax doesn't know how to design a super zoom!
03-24-2012, 08:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukelbd Quote
Amazon.com: Pentax 21977 DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens for Pentax Digital SLR cameras: Camera & Photo

Thanks for the input everyone. It might not be that bad, but I can't understand how it has gotten nothing but positive feedback from places like this amazon page when the photozone review suggests that it is demonstrably and noticeably worse than the equivalent Canon and Nikon superzooms, and even worse than the kit lens. Maybe even Pentax was wrong when they thought it "met factory specifications?"
It could be Pentax Europe was being cheap or petty under the Hoya ownership. I wonder if things have changed under Ricoh?

Depending on where you live, it could be easy (or hard) to ensure that you get a "good" copy of the lens. Get a "bad" copy of the lens from a place like Amazon or B&H, simply exchange it for another copy.
03-24-2012, 08:38 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by westmill Quote
Ive read that reveiw myself. Its got to be the worst reveiw ive ever seen.
If you want Pentax I would go with the 17-70 which is pretty good. Otherwise I would opt for the tamron 17-50 2.8
Neither lens has the range nor the WR of the 18-135,
03-24-2012, 08:41 AM   #13
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I read the review over "there" and I couldn't believe it. Probably the worst review EVER for a lens. I own this lens, the kit (DA18-55) and the DA18-250.

I have nothing bad to say about the DA18-135 it. It's the lens that sits on my camera 100% of the time.

All of my images are always cropped down from the frame. I NEVER use the outsides of an image. I don't care what the edges look like. Lenses are ROUND. Sensors are SQUARE.

I seem to remember something about round pegs into square holes?!?

Great lens. I'm happy to own it.
03-24-2012, 08:47 AM   #14
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Did you guys actually look at the numbers or just read the reviewer's opinion? From 18-60 the DA 18-135 kills the DA 18-250. Way better center sharpness and comparable edge sharpness. After 60, I don't care so much.
03-24-2012, 08:57 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Neither lens has the range nor the WR of the 18-135,
Obviously ! But at least they work.
I cant see the point in buying a great camera thats capable of producing great pics and then sticking a jam jar on it. But thats just my thoughts and opinion.
For those that are happy with it, thats fair enough.
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