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07-02-2012, 08:36 AM   #1
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Pentax 18-55 or 18-135?

Purchasing my first Pentax K-5 today...my question is this. I know there are better lens out there than the Pentax 18-55 WR or Pentax 18-135 WR but the idea of having one versatile water resistant lens seems wise and useful. I can purchase the camera and the Pentax 18-135 WR for $1035 from B & H, or for $333 dollars more I can get the K-5 with the Pentax 18-135WR. Is this lens worth the upgrade? I have read so many reviews good and bad on both lenses. I am open to any suggestions or recommendations even regarding an entirely different lens. I don't consider at this point that I have a certain niche or planned usage for this camera. I enjoy a variety of subjects. Landscapes, closeups, a few portraits, (no plans for wedding photography or much sports photography) I used to do a lot of creative black and white photography. Thanks for your advice!

07-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #2
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From what I saw in the 18-135WR review on this forum, the 18-135WR performs as well or better than the 18-55 in its own range in the centers, but not as well in the corners.

That said, I want to get the 18-135WR over the kit lens. The 18-55 always felt very limiting on the long end when I walk around with it.
07-02-2012, 08:46 AM   #3
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I would recommend getting the 18-135mm. I have just about every premium Pentax lens in my collection, yet I haven't found any of them to be as versatile as this one. Unless I have room for more than one lens, the 18-135mm is what gets the job done for me!

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07-02-2012, 09:27 AM   #4
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I find the 18-135 very useful as a one lens solution for family outings or possible inclement weather.
I sold the18-55WR 50-200WR combo once I got this lens as it is much more convenient, and the IQ was slightly better than the others IMO for this type of use.
If you want top IQ then you should be considering a series of primes instead.

07-02-2012, 03:29 PM   #5
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Unless I am out on a specific mission, the 18-135 is my default set up, even over my DA 15, DA 21, FA 31, and DA*55 primes. Very good all around, quite sharp, at least where it matters. I sometimes will still use my 18-55, when I want something a little smaller/lighter, and I know for certain that I won't need longer than 55mm. But if I am not sure, it's the 18-135 I go with. Both lenses have great color.

Last edited by Tanzer; 07-02-2012 at 03:31 PM. Reason: clarification
07-03-2012, 02:23 AM   #6
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The 18-135 is scarcely bigger than the 18-55 and so much more versatile. It also has the very good in lens focus motor. I was a little unsure about the IQ when I bought it, but it has been very reasonable in day to day use. I certainly did not regret selling my 18-250 to help fund the purchase.
07-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #7
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18-135mm + DxO
07-03-2012, 12:07 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcook Quote
Purchasing my first Pentax K-5...I can purchase the camera and the Pentax 18-135 WR for $1035 from B & H
I'm assuming this was a typo and you meant the camera plus the 18-55mm?...or I will buy that kit today! Regardless, I too vote for the 18-135.
QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
It also has the very good in lens focus motor.
I thought the 18-135 was a screw drive AF?

07-03-2012, 12:14 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
I'm assuming this was a typo and you meant the camera plus the 18-55mm?...or I will buy that kit today! Regardless, I too vote for the 18-135.

I thought the 18-135 was a screw drive AF?
The 18-135 is the DC motor. It is the rear autofocus silent motor that Pentax uses, as opposed to the front AF silent motor SDM.

It is considered very quick, mostly silent, and very reliable.
07-03-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
The 18-135 is the DC motor. It is the rear autofocus silent motor that Pentax uses, as opposed to the front AF silent motor SDM.

It is considered very quick, mostly silent, and very reliable.
I honestly didn't know that. Thanks for the Info!
QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
I certainly did not regret selling my 18-250 to help fund the purchase.
I am contemplating on selling my DA18-250 to fund the 18-135WR when I move to a K-5.
07-03-2012, 02:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
I am contemplating on selling my DA18-250 to fund the 18-135WR when I move to a K-5.
I gave my 18-250 to my son once I got the 18-135. The 18-250 has great IQ but the 18-135 is smaller, silent, adds WR, and has no zoom creep.

I have other options for longer than 135, so that may be your only consideration if you need the extra 115mm.
07-03-2012, 02:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
I gave my 18-250 to my son once I got the 18-135. The 18-250 has great IQ but the 18-135 is smaller, silent, adds WR, and has no zoom creep.
I gave my DA 18-250 to my wife, for all the reasons you mention, and because my 18-135 has slightly better IQ than my 18-250. Neither of us uses the 18-55 any more.
07-03-2012, 04:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
The 18-135 is scarcely bigger than the 18-55 and so much more versatile.
Agree that the 18-135 is only slightly bigger than the 18-55 when mounted, but when in use, at focal lengths greater than 18 mm, the zoom extends considerably, compared to the 18-55 which barely extends at all. The lens hood on the 18-135 is larger (as it should be), so that makes the whole kaboodle bigger too, when the hood is mounted (as it normally should be).

The 18-135 is also noticeably bigger when looking directly into the front element, from your subject's point of view. The filter threads are 62 mm vs. 52 mm which doesn't sound like much, but the actual difference in the glass element is more than that due to differences in the trim bezel surrounding the glass -- so the 18-135 has a much bigger eyeball, glaring at your subject.

The 18-55 is half the weight than the 18-135.

The 18-55 also has a "macro" range on the focus scale which yields magnification around 1:3. Not real macro, but it certainly focuses closer than many other lenses which are marketed as macro lenses.

These are just my personal excuses for keeping my 18-55 around. None of these points should discourage a potential 18-135 buyer. As I said before, I use the 18-135 as my default lens. When mounted on the compact K-5 body, I want to quote Tony Montana: "Say hello to my little friend", ha ha.

QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
It is considered very quick, mostly silent, and very reliable.
While the SDM motors in the DA* lenses motors are completely silent, I would still characterize the DC motor in the 18-135 as silent, for all intents and purposes. You can hear the motor, but your head is next to the camera. It's much quiter than the dust removal sound you get when you power up a K-5.
07-03-2012, 04:26 PM   #14
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I shoot with two bodies and one has the 12-24 on it at all times, and the other has the 18-135 on it at all times. So, I recommend the 18-135. It's a great lens that has been maligned for some corner unsharpness, but I rarely ever use the corners of any of my images due to cropping, so it never concerns me.
07-03-2012, 05:12 PM   #15
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Correction!

Oops! I did mean the K-5 and Pentax 18-55 for $1035 from B&H - Add $333 to that to substitute the Pentax 18-55 with the Pentax 18-135. Online B&H lists the price of the 18-135 as $529. When I called them it was actually showing up in their computers as $459. I like when that happens! You are all so wonderfully helpful. Thanks for the advice!
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