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06-01-2012, 12:19 AM   #1
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Pentax 18-135mm f3.5-5.6EDAL[IF]DCWR or Sigma 18-200 f3.5-6.3 DC - which one??

I have just purchased a K-5 kit comprising a K-5 body plus a Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC lens for $1099. I already have a brand new Pentax 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR lens and I am debating which lens to keep.

My reason for buying the kit was as a way of getting a good price on the K-5 body as I expect that I can sell the Sigma lens for around $200 giving me effectively a K-5 body price of $899.

Before I proceed to sell the brand new Sigma lens I would appreciate comments on the relative performance of the two lenses mentioned as I could, of course, decide to sell the new Pentax lens which would bring around $600 (?) thus reducing my investment in the K-5 combination even further.

As stated previously my real focus was on obtaining a K-5 at the best possible price -- but which lens would best suit this investment? My preference is probably to stick with the Pentax lens but I don't want to do this if it is felt that the Sigma is good enough to support the attributes of the K-5.

As background I am not the keenest of photographers! I like to stick with one lens... However I am sold on the K-5 for its build quality, low light capabilities and potential image quality.

I really would appreciate views on this dilemma!

Thanks

06-01-2012, 01:04 AM   #2
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Personally, I'd say that the Pentax is better, at least from what I've seen between my 18-135 and my brother's 18-200(Though his is EF mount) - Probably just due to the difference between one being a superzoom(5-10x) and one being a hyperzoom.(10x+) Sure, more range is convenient, but the loss of IQ is drastic sometimes.

Plus, the Pentax is weather sealed, which makes it completely safe to shoot in torrential downpours 99.7% of the time.(The other 0.3% is due to the chance of you, yourself not surviving the rain)

Edit: Disregard all the hatred for the 18-135, it's quite sharp at F8 when you need it to be. And vignetting is so-so(Albeit present, it doesn't affect anything *too* harshly, and everything can be post-processed if necessary). CA/Flare is seemingly non-existent in my copy.

Last edited by Eulogy; 06-01-2012 at 01:07 AM. Reason: More.
06-01-2012, 01:07 AM   #3
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I am untainted by knowledge of either lens, so I'll just suggest that you take some test shots and see which works best for you. You have specific copies of each lens. Other folks will have other copies, and copy variation can be significant. What you see with your copies may not be what others see with theirs.

The tests needn't be exhaustive. Set camera and lens on a tabletop, SR off. Aim at test targets. Shoot at 18-50-85-135mm, and at 200mm with the Sigma. (Look for softness, distortion, fringing, stuff like that. I don't fret over contrast and saturation because those are easily tweaked in PP.) Then take them outside and see which is more fun to use, and whether one delivers more satisfying images.

An analogy: You have two dogs of different breeds. You only want to keep one. Do you ask other folks which breed they prefer, or do you note which one humps your leg? It's all personal.
06-01-2012, 01:19 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
An analogy: You have two dogs of different breeds. You only want to keep one. Do you ask other folks which breed they prefer, or do you note which one humps your leg? It's all personal.
I love the analogy and I realise that the preference may be very personal - I guess I was looking for the quick impersonal solution!!

06-01-2012, 01:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by coylum Quote
- - - - - I guess I was looking for the quick impersonal solution!!
Such hardly ever exist, and I think RioRico's advice is the best, you could ever hope for.

But there is a current thread on very much the same "dilemma" here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/188004-new-k-5-what-get.html

Perhaps, that could give you some additional inspiration for what you should have in mind to find your own, personal solution?
06-01-2012, 01:52 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stone G. Quote
Perhaps, that could give you some additional inspiration for what you should have in mind to find your own, personal solution?
I know I'm looking for the simple answer. Thank you for the link which was useful. I guess at the end of the day it is really a question of whether the Pentax 18-135 is worth $400 more than the Sigma 18-200mm in image quality. My gut still says that the pentax may be the best long term solution irrespective of value for money??
06-01-2012, 06:01 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by coylum Quote
I know I'm looking for the simple answer. Thank you for the link which was useful. I guess at the end of the day it is really a question of whether the Pentax 18-135 is worth $400 more than the Sigma 18-200mm in image quality. My gut still says that the pentax may be the best long term solution irrespective of value for money??
The 18-250 lenses are reputedly a bit bit better than the older 18-200 designs. I had a Pentax 18-250 for a couple of years and gave it to my wife. I now use an 18-135 because I like the IQ better; it is slightly sharper, with better colour & contrast, smoother bokeh, lower flare and less (though still heavy) barrel distortion. The 18-250 wins for vignetting and range. None of these zooms will compare to a prime for IQ, but the reasons I recommend an 18-135 over an 18-200 are not only to do with IQ. The 18-135 is weather-resistant, has much more solid build quality, no zoom creep (and no annoying zoom lock), quick-shift manual clutch, rounded blades for better bokeh, quick & silent autofocus.

I agree wholeheartedly with RioRico, test your specific lenses. Variability is high with consumer grade zooms. I test all of my lenses, to judge how they fit with the rest of my kit, but especially because I want to ensure they are working to spec, while I have warranty. When I received my 18-135, it was misfocussing so badly that it needed +10 focus adjust on my K20D. It was unusable on my K-x. I sent it to Pentax service for calibration and now it is dead on, with both cameras.

Even if neither of your lenses have an issue, a test will tell you exactly how they compare, and help you make the correct decision, for your needs and preferences. You don't have to set up anything elaborate. Take the same photos of typical subjects with each lens and see how they look to you. I like to shoot a cereal box to test for sharpness, because a flat plane will show up any misfocus and writing shows resolution very clearly. I always use this chart for checking focus accuracy: http://focustestchart.com/focus21.pdf

PS Photozone tested a bad copy of the 18-135. My copy is nothing like theirs. The test on Pentax Forums is a much more accurate assessment: Pentax-DA 18-135mm Zoom Review - Overview - PentaxForums.com

Last edited by audiobomber; 06-01-2012 at 05:15 PM.
06-01-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I agree wholeheartedly with RioRico, test your specific lenses. Variability is high with consumer grade zooms. I test all of my lenses, to judge how they fit with the rest of my kit, but especially because I want to ensure it's working to spec, while I have warranty. When I received my 18-135, it was misfocussing so badly that it needed +10 focus adjust on my K20D. It was unusable on my K-x. I sent it to Pentax service for calibration and now it is dead on, with both cameras.
I will do the tests as both you and RioRico suggest and hope that I have good examples of both lenses... Thank you so much for providing all this information

06-02-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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I come 'tainted' by experience with both and for my two copies the 18-200 produced the better images. That does not make it the better lens for you, and any two other copies are unlikely to match my results.. but there it is. You can only make a bad choice if you second-guess yourself, both can do excellent work.

I would snap up another 18-200 Sigma but for two things: the budget is bad right now, and Pentax will announce its version this year according to the roadmap. If that is WR or a smallish XS that I can use, that would be a great thing; if not it will drive the Sigma's price down, which would be a very good thing!
06-04-2012, 08:14 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
I come 'tainted' by experience with both and for my two copies the 18-200 produced the better images. That does not make it the better lens for you, and any two other copies are unlikely to match my results.. but there it is.
I remember seeing samples from your 18-135; lots of blur and fringing. Comparing to samples from others and my own since then, I am convinced that your lens was defective.
06-04-2012, 08:24 AM   #11
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I would take a look at the newer version of the Sigma lens. It's only 150 bucks cheaper, but it's got HSM and improved optics. If it were my call I'd go for the new Sigma just because of the value you get for your money.

Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
06-04-2012, 01:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would take a look at the newer version of the Sigma lens
I would just remind you that I already own both the lenses so it's not a question of looking for a new one - just deciding which one to keep!

QuoteOriginally posted by coylum Quote
My reason for buying the kit was as a way of getting a good price on the K-5 body as I expect that I can sell the Sigma lens for around $200 giving me effectively a K-5 body price of $899.

Thanks
06-04-2012, 02:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by coylum Quote
I would just remind you that I already own both the lenses so it's not a question of looking for a new one - just deciding which one to keep!
If you got the mark II lens (the one I was referring to) + the K-5 for $1099 then it was a steal. You can probably sell the Sigma for as much as $400 if it's in good shape, as new ones are $449 (after a $50 rebate).

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06-04-2012, 02:52 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you got the mark II lens
Afraid not.... the K-5 kit I purchased came with the Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC not the HSM version. Still the going price for this lens in Australia is somewhere between $240 and $300 so if sold for $200 gives a net K-5 body price of $899 which for Australia is still a good price, I think....
06-04-2012, 02:53 PM   #15
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Not a bad deal in any case- you could always put the lens on the marketplace at a higher price to see if it sells, and if not, progressively lower it.

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