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06-11-2013, 11:07 PM   #1
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Anyone own/used both a DA 18-250mm and DA 18-135mm?

Some background before my question:

I have a K-5 and a K-01. I currently have an 18-250mm. It is part of my "big three" of goto lenses, the other two being my FA31 and DA*55. With that being said, I love it.

However, I recently played around with a Nikon (a D90 with an 18-105) and was very impressed with it's auto focus. With a few suggestions from the Non-Pentax section of this forum, reading around and learning how my primes and my K-01 are slugs in the AF department , the 18-135 came up a few times as a suggestion.

Has anyone used both this lenses? Is the 18-135 a big improvement in AF speed? I never noticed my 18-250 being terribly slow before playing with the Nikon, and haven't had a situation come up since then where I'd require the AF speed since I played with the Nikon to compare. So I'd figure I'd ask your guys opinions! (The weather sealing is very appealing to me as well)

As an aside, does anyone OWN both? How do you justify it? That is a serious question, as I'm wondering if there is a huge increase in AF performance if there is much use in owning both?

06-11-2013, 11:23 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
Some background before my question:

I have a K-5 and a K-01. I currently have an 18-250mm. It is part of my "big three" of goto lenses, the other two being my FA31 and DA*55. With that being said, I love it.

However, I recently played around with a Nikon (a D90 with an 18-105) and was very impressed with it's auto focus. With a few suggestions from the Non-Pentax section of this forum, reading around and learning how my primes and my K-01 are slugs in the AF department , the 18-135 came up a few times as a suggestion.

Has anyone used both this lenses? Is the 18-135 a big improvement in AF speed? I never noticed my 18-250 being terribly slow before playing with the Nikon, and haven't had a situation come up since then where I'd require the AF speed since I played with the Nikon to compare. So I'd figure I'd ask your guys opinions! (The weather sealing is very appealing to me as well)

As an aside, does anyone OWN both? How do you justify it? That is a serious question, as I'm wondering if there is a huge increase in AF performance if there is much use in owning both?
I don't own both, but I've used both. The AF of the 18-135mm is faster- it's actually one of the fastest-focusing Pentax lenses out there thanks to the DC motor.

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06-11-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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Unless you are talking about a lens moving from one focus extreme to the other, the camera is the much more significant part in terms of AF speed.

For normal focusing situations -- which are typically about small adjustments -- I wouldn't expect the 18-135 to make much of a difference.

Optically, your 18-250 is most likely better at 135mm than the 18-135 so if I were you, I'd continue to be happy with what you've got.
06-12-2013, 12:36 AM   #4
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I owned the Tamron version of the 18-250 before getting the 18-135 (indeed I sold the Tamron to part fund the DA purchase)
For me the 18-135 was a better choice because 1) it is much more compact 2) it is WR - a key point 3) the DA has much better microcontrast and yes 4) much faster focusing, and near silent. Some of these points may be important to you, some may not. The 18-250 was used mostly on my K20, now retired, hurt, and was a fair lens, but I find the 18-135 is rarely off my K5, expecially during the winter!

06-12-2013, 12:58 AM   #5
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I don't have the zooms, but I do have the DA*55 - are you saying that that's a slug? It seems plenty fast focusing on the K-01 for me, but maybe I am just not demanding enough....

It might be interesting if somebody had the 18-135 and the DA*55 and could make a comparison in focusing speed....
06-12-2013, 01:14 AM   #6
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I have the DA18-250mm and DA18-135mm. On the K-01, the DA18-135mm works better IMHO. The faster AF of the DA18-135mm tends to compensate the sluggish AF of the K-01. On my K-7, the difference is small almost not noticeable IMHO.

The DA18-250mm longer reach is a plus in my opinion on the K-7. I tend to use mostly the DA18-250mm + K-7 as my main system, while the DA18-135mm stays with the K-01 as a secondary camera.

Hope that the info does help.

Last edited by hcc; 06-12-2013 at 01:50 AM.
06-12-2013, 03:20 AM   #7
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I own both. The 18-135 is much faster and on the K-01 it locks on with more assurance.
06-12-2013, 04:20 AM   #8
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I own both.
The WR and electrical AF of the 135 made it my choice when I was using them.
The 250 was great when I used it, but the zoom creep became a real bother, and the lack of WR.
I don't use either now as I use the DA* 16-50 and 50-135 along with the DA*200 and 300.
I keep them because I am a Pentaxian. The 18-135 may come out again someday, but it's hard to go back to a slower lens when you have WR lenses that shoot at f2.8

06-12-2013, 04:59 AM   #9
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I own both but I only use the 18-135. I gave the DA 18-250 to my wife on permanent loan. My DA 18-135 outperforms my 18-250 for colour & contrast, resolution, distortion, CA and fringing. The 18-250 has more range and less vignetting. Here's a series I did to compare them. Click on the magnifying glass and + button a couple of times to see full resolution.
https://picasaweb.google.com/bonhommed/18135Vs18250?authkey=Gv1sRgCNzC5b_4_qXRqQE#

Build quality is worlds apart, my 18-135 is much more solidly constructed. It doesn't have a zoom lock. My copy never creeps, after two years of heavy use (although I'm told some do). To your main question, the 18-270 is slower to focus and far more likely to hunt.
06-12-2013, 08:02 AM   #10
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I have owned both, but sold the 18-250 and kept the 18-135.

I think the 18-135 is way better than the 18-250 in all aspects (except, obviously in range). Build-wise, it has WR, no zoom creep, and the mechanical tolerances are tighter. You lose the focusing scale with the 18-135, but I don't think you'll miss that. The zoom creep is very important for me because I travel a lot. The 18-135 is my only zoom that is not "internal zoom"...I quite particular about zoom creep, the 18-135 meets my "zero zoom creep" criteria.

IQ-wise, the difference is not much the 18-135 is a tiny bit better but not by much. The sharpness of the 18-135 is certainly more than enough for most folks. In my experience, it can compete with the DA21 (which in my opinion, is the weakest Limited).
06-12-2013, 08:29 AM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
Optically, your 18-250 is most likely better at 135mm than the 18-135 so if I were you, I'd continue to be happy with what you've got.
Since the 18-135 is one of the few super zooms that has excellent center sharpness in the long end, that's not a claim I'd just throw out there. Unless your framing is such that you need sharpness in the corners, you probably aren't going to beat the 18-135 @ 135 with any other super zoom.
06-12-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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I own both. Bought the 18-250 (Tamron version) used here on the forum and it's a really nice copy. When I bought it, my 18-55 and 55-300 went on the shelf. However, the 18-135 that came with my K30 is a notch above. I like the contrast from it and it is less prone to fringing. I also like that it is whisper quiet and quick AF. Plus, it's WR which is why it lives on the K30 most of the time. I keep the 18-250 mounted on my Kr which I cannot bring myself to sell yet because my son uses it a lot. If I'm headed somewhere where I might need more reach, the 55-300 has come off the shelf and back into my bag because IMHO, it is nicer at the long stuff than the 18-250 and super light weight in the bag.

In the end, both are nice lenses and I probably wouldn't buy an 18-135 just to buy one if I already had the 18-250... in fact, I didn't. However, grabbing it as a kit lens when purchasing a new body made it a no-brainer for me.
06-12-2013, 09:28 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Since the 18-135 is one of the few super zooms that has excellent center sharpness in the long end, that's not a claim I'd just throw out there.
The 18-135 got a shocking evaluation from Photozone.de. At the long end the IQ seems to break down to a resolution that corresponds to 2MP, IIRC.

Klaus (from Photozone.de) asked Pentax whether the copy he had tested was defect and received the answer "no".

The 18-250 was the undisputed king of superzooms during its time and never received such a bad review.

I'm happy for people to enjoy their 18-135 but to the best of my knowledge its main feature is the WR. This was also supported by many initial buyers. On the other hand, many people like it and are happy with its IQ. That's fine with me.
06-12-2013, 09:58 AM   #14
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Like most beginners, I used to adore super-zooms (like 28-300) but later learned that having a big zoom lens also means a lot of compromise such AF speed and softness. Yes, it is true, a super-zoom lens means no changing of lens during a trip but that is probably the only advantage. As for the 18-135mm WR, it is a really nice lens, sharp contrasty and fast AF (probably fastest in Pentax line up) plus WR is added bonus when it rains.
06-12-2013, 10:02 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The 18-135 got a shocking evaluation from Photozone.de. At the long end the IQ seems to break down to a resolution that corresponds to 2MP, IIRC.

Klaus (from Photozone.de) asked Pentax whether the copy he had tested was defect and received the answer "no".
Klaus only tested one copy. He was told it was "within spec" by Pentax Germany. Dummies, they should have exchanged the lens. I'm quite confident my copy performs significantly better than the one he tested, as per my test shots shown in the link above. There are favourable reviews of the 18-135mm, like the one on Pentax Forums and these:
Lens Test: Pentax-DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 DC WR | Popular Photography
SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Lens Review

Several people who own both prefer the 18-135, and have talked about improved performance in favour of the newer superzoom. Similar comments can be found in every single thread where the 18-135 is discussed. IMO the weight of these actual owners outweigh Klaus' test of a probably faulty single copy.

I know how the lens fits in with my other consumer zooms. It beats the 18-55 and 18-250, not quite as good as the 55-300, and the 16-45 beats them all. It's a shame the PZ hatchet job has scared so many people away.
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