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05-07-2012, 08:47 PM   #16
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Yeah, if you want WR, you do not have that many option right now.
the 18-55 wr is fine. I mean not super sharp, not very soft either.
or you can use it exclusively for rainy day.

05-07-2012, 08:50 PM   #17
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Another alternative to these lenses is 3rd party ones. Tamron 17-50/2.8 (without vibration reduction), Sigma 18-50/2.8, or even full frame alternatives such as Tamron 28-75/2.8 and Sigma 24-60/2.8 are all excellent lenses with better image quality, better build and similar if not cheaper price point. Granted they don't boast WR, but my Sigma 24-60/2.8 boasts very good build with very tight assembly. I owned Tamron 28-75/2.8 for many years and it is a fine optic. Few friends of mine bought Tamron 17-50 and Sigma 18-50 and they are happy about their lenses.

If you absolutely must have WR, you can simply buy the WR kit lens especially for those rainy days, but at all other times you'd be well served by any of the 3rd party lenses I mentioned above.
05-07-2012, 08:50 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by liukaitc Quote
The resolution chart on photozone is absolutely terrible, but the sample photo they provided looks fine...
And here is why (the sample photo is fine whereas the charts suck) - it is simply "Just Average" on the optical side, pretty much what the OP is posting about. Most of the [non-star] DA lenses share the same characteristics, and that is good looking good contrast photos at size but cropped in is a different story.
05-07-2012, 08:56 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boris Quote
Another alternative to these lenses is 3rd party ones. Tamron 17-50/2.8 (without vibration reduction), Sigma 18-50/2.8, or even full frame alternatives such as Tamron 28-75/2.8 and Sigma 24-60/2.8 are all excellent lenses with better image quality, better build and similar if not cheaper price point. Granted they don't boast WR, but my Sigma 24-60/2.8 boasts very good build with very tight assembly. I owned Tamron 28-75/2.8 for many years and it is a fine optic. Few friends of mine bought Tamron 17-50 and Sigma 18-50 and they are happy about their lenses.

If you absolutely must have WR, you can simply buy the WR kit lens especially for those rainy days, but at all other times you'd be well served by any of the 3rd party lenses I mentioned above.
I use prime when possible. I have been using the DA40 as my "WR" lens, but I get chickened out when it really starts to rain.

05-07-2012, 09:00 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by chesebert Quote
I use prime when possible. I have been using the DA40 as my "WR" lens, but I get chickened out when it really starts to rain.
Well, I do think that WR of Pentax gear should be taken with a bit of common sense. I once had a Mediterranean wave splash on me from head to toes. At the time it was K10D with borrowed DA* 16-50/2.8. Had to use a towel to dry it but no adverse after-effects whatsoever. I think that a very weak rain is something I may be willing to shoot under. Also even with the hood the front element (or filter) of the lens will get the droplets and unless you really want to shoot this way, it in effects destroys the pictures. Over here the rain is usually a downpour while the rest of the year it is dry and hot.

Obviously your specific requirements towards WR depend on your specific location, but I'd rather I had quality optics on my camera and a good truly weather resistant camera bag where I can safely keep my gear until the rain is over...
05-07-2012, 09:33 PM - 1 Like   #21
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I think everyone's got this almost right on most accounts. The 18-135 is a general purpose, easy to take with you lens. I don't know if Pentax could've squeezed more optical quality out of this range, for the size, for the price. I find the very long end mushy at distance but actually pretty decent for close up shots so it has a semi-macro purpose, but it's for catching a flower on your holiday not hyper critical macro shooting. It's light, small, WR, great focussing and, well, general purpose. I wouldn't expect more than that. So it beats the crap out of any point and shoot I might take along on a hike or getaway where I just want to get anything and everything.

And I will argue that you can get some good across the frame sharpness between about 21 and 115 at mid to high f-stops. I'm happy with some lovely landscapes I got on holiday. I will also say that another forum member just bought one and sold his 17-70 because he said the difference wasn't very perceptible at the same focal lengths. I don't personally have the experience of the two to compare. But that said something to me. I'm satisfied with it because I have primes for my more careful photography. If the 18-135 is all you've got, and you really want quality, then yes you want something more. Bring out the cheque book and deal with more lenses in your bag too.

Every manufacturer needs what Sony created, the Carl Zeiss 16-80 f3.5-4.5 expect it should be ultra-sonic for the price. It rocks at every length, every aperture. I thought the 17-70 would be that but not quite it seems.

But I'll argue that one can consciously and happily recommend the 18-135 as a well put together walk-around lens.
05-07-2012, 09:42 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr_Canuck Quote
I think everyone's got this almost right on most accounts. The 18-135 is a general purpose, easy to take with you lens. I don't know if Pentax could've squeezed more optical quality out of this range, for the size, for the price. I find the very long end mushy at distance but actually pretty decent for close up shots so it has a semi-macro purpose, but it's for catching a flower on your holiday not hyper critical macro shooting. It's light, small, WR, great focussing and, well, general purpose. I wouldn't expect more than that. So it beats the crap out of any point and shoot I might take along on a hike or getaway where I just want to get anything and everything.

And I will argue that you can get some good across the frame sharpness between about 21 and 115 at mid to high f-stops. I'm happy with some lovely landscapes I got on holiday. I will also say that another forum member just bought one and sold his 17-70 because he said the difference wasn't very perceptible at the same focal lengths. I don't personally have the experience of the two to compare. But that said something to me. I'm satisfied with it because I have primes for my more careful photography. If the 18-135 is all you've got, and you really want quality, then yes you want something more. Bring out the cheque book and deal with more lenses in your bag too.

Every manufacturer needs what Sony created, the Carl Zeiss 16-80 f3.5-4.5 expect it should be ultra-sonic for the price. It rocks at every length, every aperture. I thought the 17-70 would be that but not quite it seems.

But I'll argue that one can consciously and happily recommend the 18-135 as a well put together walk-around lens.
Great post.

Canon & Nikon also have 18-135 lenses that have severe edge softness issues (though not quite as bad as Pentax), it's simply an aspect of constructing a physically small zoom with such a variable range.
05-07-2012, 10:43 PM   #23
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This is the kind of shot I'm talking about. It's 68mm, wide open at f4.5. It works. Everything technically speaking is very respectable in my opinion. And let's remember the really great colour and the good contrast this lens renders.



05-07-2012, 11:53 PM   #24
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I've lived with the 18-135 since Dec 2010. It was the go-to lens for me on my travels. I especially found it invaluable when i was in Morocco and in the desert. It was amazing how even when climbing sand dunes and the K-5 with 18-135 hit the sand numerous times as i stumbled, the zoom ring remained smooth in it's operation and the body never skipped a beat even though some dials got a little gritty in operation. The WR is great in such conditions too (apart from wet weather that some have mentioned).

Other have mentioned the other pros of the lens too and the FL is just about perfect.

But yes, i have worried about IQ as it does not compare favourably. The starkest contrast was when i shot the same scene with the 18-135 and a Sigma 10-20 and it was clear the Sigma was way better in IQ.

But looking at the choices around me, i knew that (short of DA* lenses) i had to give up WR if i wanted great IQ with zooms (i shoot primes too but it's not always the most practical in usage and travel), so my (far) heavier kit if i want good zoom now consists of a DA12-24, Sigma 24-70 HSM. I also have a Tamron 70-200 2,8 but its way too heavy to carry. For the tele end when i travel, the DAL 55-300 finds room in my Domke. With this array, i recently went to Prague-Vienna-Budapest and tried to switch lenses between those 2 quickly on-the-fly, as i walked the cities. It does work for the most part and i do get better IQ...

However, as your shoulder starts to ache over the weight and whilst you grapple to pull out/shove in lenses into a floppy shoulder bag, i have to be honest and say i wished i had that light, compact 18-135 with me, more often than i care to admit .

Therefore, whilst the 18-135 may see more time in the dry cabinet hereon, it will still be used fairly often and will not be sold.
05-08-2012, 12:23 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
I am definitely going to pick one up for my hiking. I'll save my non-weather sealed stuff for other times. Now if only I can find one of these on the used market for 300 dollars. I guess patience is the word of the day!
Don't know how it is where you are but here in Germany the bay got flooded with 18-135s shortly before vacation time last year. It seems quite a lot of people got new cameras and took the bundle option trying to make some profit selling the lens practically new. The first few auctions closed rather high, then the price began to drop...

I did not bite then, though, having found an FA 77 & 43 for reasonable prices at the time and, well even LBA madness has it's limits.

Did find one later from a seller who actually asked a rather good price as Buy-it-Now. Yes, they exist!

Back to the main topic of this thread: Like most othere here I use the lens for snapshots, it's incredibly practical for that and so far I have not taken a shot where the weak corners were a problem. I think I get what I expected from a superzoom here,
05-08-2012, 04:59 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by chesebert Quote
Not sure how people can consciously recommend 18-135mm when it has such a poor performance.
I've got one. I like it. I use it. I can recommend it.

Why?

In ANY photograph I take, I have never used the 10-20% around the periphery of any given image. No one cares aesthetically what is at the extreme edges of a photograph - especially a picture straight from a camera without any cropping. I can't remember the last time I used ALL of any image that I took. I'm sure there are people that use all the "real estate", but I would guess they use primes if they really need the extra 10-20% I crop out - to be razor sharp.

It sounds like an excuse for the 18-135, but it's not.

Why?

The other features of the 18-135 outweigh something I'm not concerned about. It's not like I didn't know about the edge softness when I bought the lens, and now I feel the need to "defend" my purchase.

The 18-135 is the lens that sits on one of my K5 bodies all the time. It focuses fast. It is weather resistant and the center/color/sharpness are what matter to me in a lens.

This image was taken with my copy.



I can assure you that my normal 10-20% of the original image is NOT there in this crop/resize.
05-08-2012, 05:22 AM   #27
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Both expectations and experience with other lenses factor in here. I really wanted the 18-135wr to be a winner, and I gave up three very nice lenses (16-45, 18-55, 55-300) to afford it. Under those conditions the IQ of my copy needed to suit me extremely well - it didn't, and I was very disappointed. At that time I also had a Sigma 18-200 that cost me under $200; it beat the 18-135 in every way but WR and quiet focus.

As I say with every 3rd post nowadays I am hopeful the new DA "18-200" to be announced soon will be the lens (for me) that the 18-135 was not. Whether WR for weather or XS for compactness, it has some interesting potential.
05-08-2012, 05:37 AM   #28
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I have seen it compared to the "other" super zoom that Pentax had (the DA 18-250) and it actually stacks up pretty well. Obviously not as much range, but overall similar IQ. A super zoom is a super zoom -- it will have more areas of weakness than lenses costing more that have smaller zoom range. I also think there is quite a bit of variation in copies -- some pretty decent and others not so good.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/151855-18-135-vs-16-45-15mm.html. (looks like he took down the photos of the 18-250 versus 18-135 shots).
05-08-2012, 06:59 AM   #29
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I don't have a WR camera and tend towards primes...

However... If I do upgrade to a body with WR I think I would consider the 18-135 as a necessary part of my kit, if only for its range and WR ability...

Zoom lenses and top-end-IQ don't (normally) go together... This is one of the reasons we use primes in the first place but zooms do have their place and zooms with range and WR have more of a place
05-08-2012, 08:05 AM   #30
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I only use one focus point because I really want the center, or, what I am focusing on, the subject in the center of the photo to be sharp. If there's a little softness at the edge I'm okay with that. I really do want WR because sometimes I have to pass up on some shots due to the rain.
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