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03-26-2013, 01:09 PM   #1
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DA 18-135 for the 24-70 range

A logical choice? I've been pondering the walkaround lens question WAAAAY too long. I've gone over the Tamron 17-50 and 28-75, Sigma 17-50, 17-70 and 24-70, and Pentax's 16-45, 17-70 and 16-50. I don't have the cash to spend on the Sigma 24-70 or a DA 16-50, but still looked at them for comparison. My current kit lens is version 1 and just doesn't cut it anymore. Especially since I'm looking to upgrade to either the K5-iis or the supposedly-coming-out-soon APS-C replacement.

I've read a few reviews of the 18-135 and it seems like the best replacement for the money. I don't trust the low review from Photozone since Canon's version of the lens got a glowing review with worse numbers in every test and an equal price. I trust the reviews here and everywhere else since they seem to make sense.

I'd be using it mostly in the 24-70 range (which is where it seems to shine, based on things I've read here) since I already have a 15mm Limited for wide angle.

It doesn't seem like there's any other choice in that range that would offer both great IQ and weather resistance. I know it's sort of an obvious answer but it's still kind of expensive compared to a Tamron 17-50 or the like, and I don't see them popping up used that much.

03-26-2013, 01:25 PM   #2
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In a similar spot I chose SMC-A 24 plus 40 and 70mm Limiteds to do that job. The 18-135 is optically nice and it's quite versatile with WR and silent focus, but after using it a while I decided to go with the prime set. Whether better or worse is too subjective to say, but the pocket-size set is right for me.
03-26-2013, 01:26 PM   #3
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When you read the review of photozone (not just the score) you see they are saying what everyone is actually saying about the lens.

Sharpeness in the middle is decent to good, bad corner sharpeness and relative high price.

I have handled the lens, it's nice lens to use but IQ is not super but surely decent enough for walk around and the WR is a great plus for that role.
03-26-2013, 01:39 PM   #4
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It's definitely going to be an upgrade over the original kit lens, but why not go with the normal K5 and get the 24-70?


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03-26-2013, 01:45 PM   #5
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I'm pretty happy with using it for that range except for low light. Waiting to see how the DA* 16-85mm on the lens roadmap turn out to see if that will be a suitable upgrade. WR has kept my lens 'dust free' even though I take it to hiking all the time so I kind of like to keep it that way.
03-26-2013, 02:40 PM   #6
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I'm a fan of the 18-135 for many reasons. I also own the 15-40-70 Limiteds and agree with Jim in Oregon that they are better from an IQ standpoint. However, if you want a zoom and WR there isn't a better choice IMHO. Remember too that the DC motor is NOT SDM so it doesn't have the problematic history of just not working that the SDM zooms have either.
03-26-2013, 04:49 PM   #7
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I am in a situation similar to NitroDC. I have my Samyang and Pentax primes, and I'll probably buy the future 20-35mm ltd. zoom, but I'm looking for a zoom for travel. The DA 18-55 II is fine, but--sharpness aside--it doesn't have the best colors and contrast. I've looked at many pics on pixelpeeper/com, and the DA 18-135mm seems to produce subjectively very pleasing images. Great colors, with contrast that resembles the contrast of the ltd. primes. The pics taken with Sigma zooms just don't look as good, IMO. (Not a fan of Tamron rendering, either.) I know many complain about border sharpness, and I have this question: are borders soft even at f8 between, say, 20mm and 80mm? I intend to use it on trips, at f8-f11, and I always PP my images with DxO which supports the DA 18-135mm...
03-26-2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I'm a fan of the 18-135 for many reasons. I also own the 15-40-70 Limiteds and agree with Jim in Oregon that they are better from an IQ standpoint. However, if you want a zoom and WR there isn't a better choice IMHO. Remember too that the DC motor is NOT SDM so it doesn't have the problematic history of just not working that the SDM zooms have either.
I agree. I've got the DA 18-135 and it definitely has it's place. It's well constructed, smooth and a real joy to use. I also recently purchased the FA 43 limited and IQ wise there is just no comparison. The FA 43 mops the floor with it. So it really depends on how you want to use it. It's a great walk around lens that's weather resistant. It looks good and operates flawlessly. For myself if I find I'm not using it enough like I should, I'll probably sell it and go with a bag of limiteds. I think its just a personal style/choice. Whatever you're comfortable with.

03-26-2013, 06:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
I agree. I've got the DA 18-135 and it definitely has it's place. It's well constructed, smooth and a real joy to use. I also recently purchased the FA 43 limited and IQ wise there is just no comparison. The FA 43 mops the floor with it. So it really depends on how you want to use it. It's a great walk around lens that's weather resistant. It looks good and operates flawlessly. For myself if I find I'm not using it enough like I should, I'll probably sell it and go with a bag of limiteds. I think its just a personal style/choice. Whatever you're comfortable with.
Even when I am shooting primes the 18-135 is in my bag - just in case of inclement weather. I posted here about being at NASA for a launch. I had planned on using a 300/4 but it was raining, so the 18-135 went on the camera and the pro with his FF and I were the only ones left to shoot anything (everyone else was under the bleachers with their cameras).
03-26-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Even when I am shooting primes the 18-135 is in my bag - just in case of inclement weather. I posted here about being at NASA for a launch. I had planned on using a 300/4 but it was raining, so the 18-135 went on the camera and the pro with his FF and I were the only ones left to shoot anything (everyone else was under the bleachers with their cameras).
Good reason for me to keep the 18-135.
03-26-2013, 08:27 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice/responses everyone. I think I'm going to end up buying one of these fairly soon.

I have my sights set on an FA31 and 43 in the future, obviously I am not buying this lens to take the place of the amazing primes. They serve different purposes. I'm planning on hiking/traveling a lot this summer and having something that'll put up with inclement weather and dust will be extremely convenient.
03-26-2013, 08:41 PM   #12
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My 2c, I absolutely love my Sigma 17-70 (2.8-4) even in the rain, it can handle it although it is the non-HSM version.
If faster is required the best PQ would be the Tamron 28-75 although you may not like the wide end needing to take an extra step back.
The Sigma 24-70 is a great range but isn't as well regarded PQ wise. I have a FA31 and Samyung 85mm (Want a FA501.4!) for when I want to take my time.
04-24-2013, 08:29 AM   #13
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The 18-135 is really strong in the 24-70 range. I sometimes wondered if it could replace my 21 in terms of quality. And really quite good from about 22-100. It has very good colour, good contrast, and mechanically it's top notch, small and weather sealed too. If you don't need f/2.8 it's a great option. It's wider range is gravy if you need it. Just avoid anything over 110mm at a distance though it'll do some nice close up shots at the long end.
04-24-2013, 12:21 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr_Canuck Quote
The 18-135 is really strong in the 24-70 range. I sometimes wondered if it could replace my 21 in terms of quality. And really quite good from about 22-100. It has very good colour, good contrast, and mechanically it's top notch, small and weather sealed too. If you don't need f/2.8 it's a great option. It's wider range is gravy if you need it. Just avoid anything over 110mm at a distance though it'll do some nice close up shots at the long end.
I'm doing the exact opposite. Trading off my 18-135 for the DA 21 in hopes of better overall IQ in that range of course
I hope I haven't made a mistake.
04-24-2013, 12:40 PM   #15
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Where this "decent" stuff comes from. Quoting from memory I believe it was excellent in 11 of 18 measured categories and was excellent or near excellent edge to edge from 24 to 50mm. I do find the 21's rendition OOF is a little smoother, that's what you pay for in a prime. But I wouldn't sell my 18-135 and keep my 21. We recently bought the Tamron 17-50 to replace it, but it doesn't replace it. It's still the fist lens out the door in most situations. In fact, if I was ever to start selling, the 18-135 would be the last lens left in my bag. It just does so much.

If you want to improve on an 18-135, you want some 2.8 lenses or sub 2.8 lenses. It's not fast, in the long end especially. The newest Sigma 70-200 2.8 would compliment it nicely.
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