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03-25-2012, 12:45 AM   #1
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If my choices are the DA 18-135mm WR and DA 18-250mm, can I go wrong?

Hey forum,

You guys are always helpful, so I figured I'd ask your opinion. I'm looking for a versatile lens (I'm tired of swapping lenses all the time), and after reading up around here all night I've seen many good things about both lenses (though maybe lower than expected review scores in the review section, my last two purchases - DA 40mm f2.8 LTD and DA* 55mm f1.4 - both had +9 scores)

I care more about the IQ at 18mm end than the zoom end, but with that being said, having such a huge range with the 18-250 is very appealing to me. Some of the downsides I've read about the 18-250 are the creep (which doesn't bother me) and it's focusing can be noisy. But how noisy can it be? Would I be in for a rude awaking?

Since I have a K-5, the 18-135mm is attractive for the full weather resistant kit. And I've heard about quick and quiet focusing of it.

I guess what I'm asking with my ramblings is if can I really go wrong with either?

Thanks guys!

03-25-2012, 12:56 AM   #2
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The DA18-250mm is well-regaredd all-around lens. As any zoom lens, the IQ is a compromise, but the Tamron/DA18-250mm is very well regarded as one of the best all-around lenses among all brands incl. Canikons and Olys.

The DA18-250mm is not labelled WR, but it is very, very sturdy and robust. (It was developed when WR was not yet a marketing tool.) I have it hooked up to my K-7, and I have done a lot of photographs in foul weather incl. tropical rainstorms, subtropical storms and floods, dust and sand. The DA18-250mm is almost WR in my opinion.

I cannot comment on the DA18-135mm because I do not own one. I can simply state a few obvious points:
+ the DA18-250mm has a longer reach, hence it is more versatile
+ the DA18-135mm is WR but the DA18-250mm is WR-like based upon my experience
+ the DA18-135mm is not cheap IMHO
+ the DA180-250mm is no longer manufacturer and can only be purchased second hand - you can find a good copy for about US$350-450 at the PF marketplace, and other reliable 2nd hand dealers.

Altogether I woudl favor the DA18-250mm for its versatility.

Hope that the comment may help.

Last edited by hcc; 03-25-2012 at 01:24 AM.
03-25-2012, 01:39 AM   #3
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Original Poster
Thanks for the input!

I am personally leaning towards the 18-250mm

I guess I should also ask if these choices would even be a good addition to what I have? In addition to what I've mentioned, most of my lenses are old, manual focus fast 50mm primes. I also have a fish eye, and old Soviet macro lens, and and massize, cheap (though auto-focus) 70-300mm that I rarely use because it's so huge (the 18-135 and 18-250 appear to be much smaller). As well as the standard kit lens we all have. I personally think one of these lenses would make alot sense to add. But as you can tell I'm not too experienced with these zooms :P
03-25-2012, 01:53 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
I guess I should also ask if these choices would even be a good addition to what I have?
The IQ of any all-around lens like the DA18-250mm or DA18-135mm will never be close to a good prime like your DA 40mm f2.8 LTD and DA* 55mm f1.4.

But, in good light, the DA18-250mm can delivers great shots. It is really a one-lens&one-body combo that is very, very versatile. I have several primes, all with better IQ than my DA18-250mm. But my DA18-250mm is my most used lens. See for example: Favorite Lens: 18-250mm.

Hope that the comment and associated story (URL) will help.

03-25-2012, 02:19 AM   #5
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Go with the 18-135mm... I'm not biased or anything since I own one

But yes, it is very fast at focusing and very quiet compared to normal screw drive lenses. Even in quiet rooms, joined with the fast DC motor, you can barely notice it.

The WR properties of it is also a bonus - don't risk thinking the 18-250mm can go under the same treatment of the 18-135mm... You might be lucky but lucky doesnt treat everyone the same I've walked around in the rain with one (it was sudden rain, I wasn't covered either) and it's something I would never do with non-WR lenses!
03-25-2012, 05:00 AM   #6
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Well, you should ask yourself which focal lengths you need? If you really need tele, go for the 18-250. If you usually stay in the wide angle, maybe the 16-45? We really cannot help you in that regard, other than telling you about our personal experiences with particular lenses.
03-25-2012, 06:26 AM   #7
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I've had the DA18-250 and it certainly isn't weather sealed, no idea where that came from...
The DA17-70 is "semi" WR because it has a seal around the mount but not even the DA18-250 has that.

The hugs range is a plus for the DA18-250 but i sold it since i took more photos with the DA40 and DFA100 because i didn't like the handling off the DA18-250, it's as simple as that.
I sold it and bought the DA*50-135 for the money instead and that lens has been more versatile for me than the DA18-250 ever was...
With the DA18-135 i'm on another thought, i don't have one because i've that range covered with DA* lenses but i've used one and it handles very nice, it lays good in your hand and the lens isn't heavy and the AF is also snappy.

So if you don't need the range the DA18-135 might give you more joy.
Maybe you should also look at the 17-70 offerings, they are often very decent as well.
03-25-2012, 07:01 AM   #8
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+1 for the 17-70. We like ours.

03-25-2012, 07:12 AM   #9
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I have a clear preference for the 18-135 over the DA 18-250. Read this thread.
03-25-2012, 07:26 AM   #10
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I have both and prefer the 18-135 on my k-5.

The reasons include the more compact size, quiet and fast AF, quickshift and WR.

From a pure IQ standpoint I believe the 18-250 actually beats the 18-135 though.

At 18mm the 18-135 exhibits a little more barrel distortion.

For me though the 18-135 just feels like a perfect match for my k-5.
03-25-2012, 07:47 AM   #11
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That's a tough question because I don't have an 18-250. I have the DA 18-135 and like it. went through a lot of the issues yesterday.

Of the people who have both an 18-135 and 18-250, both use the 18-135 more, but they probably both have other lenses they prefer to use at longer focal lengths. According to photozone from 18-50mmm the 18-135 is the best lens of the kit lens, the 18-250 and 17-70, and they probably had a bad copy of the lens. The 18-135 has better center sharpness all through it's range, but by 135mm the edge sharpness falls off, they must have tested a really bad copy... I've never seen such a poor rating anywhere else, and I'm guessing the lens is rated so poorly because of this, despite the fact that the lens is still very sharp in the center.

I have a DA*60-250, and I suspect if you have any DA* lens you probably won't want to use the 18-135 in it's focal length, or any Ltd or any prime. But when I go out on a day when I only plan to take one lens I take the DA 18-135.
03-25-2012, 08:02 AM   #12
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i have a Tamron 18-250 on my wife's K100D, a Sigma HSM 18-250 on my K5. We travel, a lot. The zooms provide for hassle free (i.e. not changing lenses in a Land Rover bouncing around during a safari like I had to do in 2010!) shooting. Yes, low light is a problem indoors but with a K5 (even K100D) you get more than decent photos.

It depends in the end on your style. If every photo you take gets pixel peeped and analyzed to death before printing, then perhaps the 18-250's are not for you. If you want competent photos with much reduced risk of crap on your sensor, then get one. If you travel a lot, then get one.
The distortions introduced by the lens are easily cured with LR if they bother you on some specific shot so that should not deter you either.

Just another opinion :-)
You can see some results at Gerrit and Pat’s Travels in the 2011 (Sigma 18-250 on K5 and Tamron 18-250 on K100D) and Europe 2010 (Tamron 18-250 on K100D and Optio Z10) voyages pages.

03-25-2012, 08:25 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by humbr Quote
i have a Tamron 18-250 on my wife's K100D, a Sigma HSM 18-250 on my K5.
The Tamron is the same as the Pentax and i'm very curious how they stack up against the Sigma.
Could you maybe tell us a bit more about the two and how they compare?
03-25-2012, 09:15 AM   #14
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I can only describe the physical differences, image quality is close enough to the same for me. I don't fuss over stuff like that, more interested in the composition and capturing the moment/ambiance.
The Sigma has OS and HSM. It focuses much quieter than the Tamron. The focus lock is IMHO in the wrong location on the Sigma, much easier to do single handed on the Tamron. On the other hand, the Sigma is so far not as prone to lens extension as the Tamron.
Both are on the heavy side but not oppressively so.
On the Sigma you have to use the lens switch to go to MF or Auto.
I have Hoya Pro clear filters on both.

I bought the Sigma at same time as my K5, we were planning more trips and I couldn't imagine 1) giving my K100D to wife without the Tamron, 2) doing without a wide range zoom.

03-25-2012, 10:48 AM   #15
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Thank you Gerrit, was hoping the Sigma would handle a bit different but that doesn't seem to be the case if i read correctly.

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