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10-20-2012, 06:08 AM   #1
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Pentax 18-135 WR - Is it worth the $400-500?

I'm planning on getting a K-5II in a month or two, but I'm wondering if I should get the kit that comes with the 18-135 WR. My main question, is it worth the extra money? Or is it better to get the 18-55 WR?

My main concern is that I already have these zooms:

Pentax DAL 18-55
Tamron 28-75
Pentax DA 55-300
Tamron 70-200
Pentax F 35-105
Promaster 28-200 (never use it)

Plus a variety of primes (mostly older manual focus).

I don't need the range, but I also don't own anything that is WR. I probably wouldn't need the WR 99 percent of the time, but it would be nice to have (damn you LBA).

Is the range worth the price?

Is the IQ better on the 18-135 than on the 18-55?

I would definitely want a WR lens so that I could maximize the WR on the camera (the few times I would actually need it) I could see myself using the 18-135 a lot (good walk around lens?) but then what would I do with the Tamron 28-75 (my current walk around)?

How often do those of you that own a 18-135 use it?

Thanks.

10-20-2012, 06:19 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Living in wet old England, I find the 18-135 glued to my K5! I was a bit worried about buying this lens as the reviews have been mixed. however, I have not regreted it. IQ is better than my copy of the 18-55 WR, at least in terms of centre sharpness and contrast. Edge and corner sharpness have not been a problem to me, even at 18mm. The DC motor focus is quick and quiet. I often take pictures in dirty conditions (eg around steam trains) and the 18-135 saves a lot of swapping out of lenses. I previously used a 16-45 da and a 28-105 Tamron as my go to combo, I am happy to let the 18-135 replace those two. I use the latter between 18 and 35 quite a bit, finding 28 a bit too long for a "short" end. I do find the iq of my Sigma 50-150 f2.8 to be a fair bit better than the 18-135 and still use this a lot, along with my 55-300 for reach. Overall though, the 18-135 is a good compromise for me, and so therefore worth the price.

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10-20-2012, 06:48 AM   #3
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I have both the 18-135 and the 18-55, and the 18-135 definitely has better IQ. The 18-55 has good close-focus range, better than most old lenses that have a pseudo-"macro" range, so I keep it around.

The 18-135 is not necessarily sharper than your other zooms. Great center sharpness, not as sharp at the edges, as previous poster mentioned.

For me, the 18-135 range is absolutely perfect for all-around use and so I have it on my camera all the time, especially when I don't want to carry a bag of lenses. Not sure if whether I would buy it given the other zooms in your collection, but that is a personal decision. For me, I have no desire to buy any other zooms. For indoor use it's not real fast but I have a decent AF360 flash which works well with the 18-135 (just watch the shadow from the hood) as well as a bunch of primes anyhow.
10-20-2012, 07:25 AM   #4
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The lens is often a better price when bundled with the camera and therefore easily worth the price. It's definitely worth owning a WR zoom so you can enjoy the opportunities foul weather brings. The 18-55 is quite good and underrated, but the combo of range+WR+silent focus makes the 18-135 unique in the DA line. It definitely won't knock the 55-300 off your shelf, in my opinion.

10-20-2012, 07:39 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Just buy the 18-135 and end your waffling...

At f 5.6 snd f8. its better than the DA* 16-50 at twice the price from 24mm to 50mm. IN fact of the lenses I've compared it to , only the 50 1.4 is better than it edge to edge anywhere in it's range. Other lenses have better center sharpness. None have the excellent border sharpness the DA 18-135 has at 24 mm and 5.6. And the 18-135 has excellent or very near excellent center sharpness all the way through it range.

The guy who gave it a bad reviewed must have written the review on a Monday morning. His conclusions aren't supported by his own data, and I can show you on his site with his own numbers where he's given lenses with much worse numbers, twice as good ratings. Don't get fooled. It has it's weaknesses, but when you consider how excellent it can be used to it's strength, there really isn't another zoom lens comparable to it in a K-mount, at least as far as I can see.

If someone wants to post better numbers at 24mm for a K-mount lens prime or zoom, or better numbers for a zoom @ 50mm,I'd certainly like to see them.



My DA 18-135 images.

The lens is worth buying just for it's performance at 24mm f 5.6 and f8. Everything else is bonus.

Last edited by normhead; 10-20-2012 at 07:52 AM.
10-20-2012, 07:59 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
If someone wants to post better numbers at 24mm for a K-mount lens prime or zoom, or better numbers for a zoom @ 50mm,I'd certainly like to see them.
OK Norm, I'll play:

Look at Klaus' test of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 non-VC (A16P in K mount) on the Nikon D7000
(same 16MP Exmor sensor as the K-5, although the AA filter and processing may differ.)
10-20-2012, 08:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
I would definitely want a WR lens so that I could maximize the WR on the camera (the few times I would actually need it) I could see myself using the 18-135 a lot (good walk around lens?) but then what would I do with the Tamron 28-75 (my current walk around)?
I have both the tamron 28-75 and the pentax 18-135. I used to use the tamron as my walkaround. However, there were times when I missed the wider end. Advantages of the pentax are faster focusing, smaller, lighter, WR. Its probably mostly a 18-70 lens as far as IQ is concerned.
10-20-2012, 08:29 AM   #8
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I have the 18-135 for all-around use and 28-75 Tammy for indoor low light use.

I gave away a Tammy 18-250 when I got the 18-135 as it is a much better walk around lens: small, silent, WR, good IQ, no zoom creep.

Get it and you can sell
Pentax DAL 18-55
Pentax F 35-105
Promaster 28-200

10-20-2012, 08:45 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
OK Norm, I'll play:

Look at Klaus' test of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 non-VC (A16P in K mount) on the Nikon D7000
(same 16MP Exmor sensor as the K-5, although the AA filter and processing may differ.)
OK ya got me.. that's the trouble with these kinds of statements, if you forget to look at one stinkin lens, it's always the one that makes you look stupid. The Tammy is a little better, but I find visually 200 LW/PH is noticeable, and there isn't that much difference between the Tammy and the 18-135... and with the 18-135, you get 50mm to 135 as well, a lot more focal length.

Thanks for pointing that out, accuracy is always worth more than personal credibility.

BUt I have to also say... to me the most impressive Tammy is the 28-75 IQ wise. I'm not sure I'd like it as a walk around lens. And I'm definitely looking at the Tammy 10-24 and the 28-75 and 70-200 2.8 as a total zoom package as soemthing I'd recommend for a great way to get high quality glass for a very good price...but for one lens, the 18-135 is still it as far as I'm concerned. Why would I carry all those lenses if in 90% of my shots I can achieve excellent results with the 18-135. By the way my problem with the Tammy 17-50 would be that it's not long enough for wild life. We have great moose shots taken with the 18-135. I see the Tammy 17-50 as a lens that has to be part of a package. I see the 18-135 as a lens that I can walk out the door with all by itself, and use it to get the shot I want most of the time.

Last edited by normhead; 10-20-2012 at 08:52 AM.
10-20-2012, 09:17 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
By the way my problem with the Tammy 17-50 would be that it's not long enough for wild life. We have great moose shots taken with the 18-135. I see the Tammy 17-50 as a lens that has to be part of a package.
I agree with you there, and have actually paired the Tamron 17-50/2.8 with the M100/2.8 as a compact, high-quality travel kit.
10-20-2012, 10:27 AM   #11
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Why do you all hate my wallet? I guess you're all right. I should probably get it as a package. So after 70mm, this lens doesn't perform all that well?
10-20-2012, 12:01 PM   #12
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Can anyone compare to the 17-70? The weather-sealing is appealing to me because I backpack and mountain climb, but I've heard the 17-70 has "better IQ?" I'm skeptical how much better and think I should probably just pull the trigger on 18-135...
10-20-2012, 03:28 PM   #13
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If you want iq buy primes! Otherwise, it's a great lens.
10-20-2012, 03:59 PM   #14
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Given the lenses you listed my suggestion would be to go for the DA*55-1.4 lens as your WR kit...

IQ looks amazing... Great for portraits... WR...

Ticks all boxes.
10-20-2012, 05:03 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
So after 70mm, this lens doesn't perform all that well?
You mean the 18-135?

It still has excellent center sharpness but it's soft on the edges. I find for most telephoto shots the edges aren't important..



For landscapes as long as you're shooting F 5.6 or F 8 and 70mm or below it has excellent center sharpness and very good edge sharpness.


Last edited by normhead; 03-21-2013 at 10:22 AM.
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