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02-04-2014, 05:58 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
Yes, I'm reviving a thread that's a few months old, but I'm finding myself in a similar position. I have the DA 18-135. I really like it. I especially love the range and the WR. I really don't see any reason not to keep it as a great, all-purpose walkaround.
But...
About 75% of my photos are in the 18-70 range, about 10% in the 10-20 where I use a Sigma, 10% in the 70-135 range where I use either the 18-135 or my DAL 55-300 which also covers the rest of the long end.
So I'm trying to decide if one of the 17-70s (for now, either the 1st Sigma for which a used copy goes for around $225 or the latest Sigma Contemporary for about double that amount) would give me that little extra sharpness, especially around the edges at the wide end.
So, if others have had both since when this thread was started, I'd be interested to hear your opinions about the two lenses.
It's really a matter of convenience vs performance. Do you find the IQ of the Pentax lacking ? Do you wish for better close-up capabilities? Do you enjoy the WR and rely on it a lot?

You could sell your 18-135 and replace it with a used Sigma and a 18-55 for when WR is needed. Or you could get a nice prime like a DA40 (XS or limited) for when IQ is paramount.

02-04-2014, 09:09 AM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
Yes, I'm reviving a thread that's a few months old, but I'm finding myself in a similar position. I have the DA 18-135. I really like it. I especially love the range and the WR. I really don't see any reason not to keep it as a great, all-purpose walkaround. But... About 75% of my photos are in the 18-70 range, about 10% in the 10-20 where I use a Sigma, 10% in the 70-135 range where I use either the 18-135 or my DAL 55-300 which also covers the rest of the long end. So I'm trying to decide if one of the 17-70s (for now, either the 1st Sigma for which a used copy goes for around $225 or the latest Sigma Contemporary for about double that amount) would give me that little extra sharpness, especially around the edges at the wide end. So, if others have had both since when this thread was started, I'd be interested to hear your opinions about the two lenses.
The in-dept PF review of the new Sigma 17-70 contemporary does compare the lens with the DA 18-135 at certain points, such as on sharpness:
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Sharpness - PentaxForums.com

"The center sharpness of the 17-70mm is only slightly better than that of the 18-135mm. In the corners at the wide end, however, it's an entirely different story; the Sigma is noticeably sharper than the Pentax superzoom. When zoomed in to 70mm, the corner sharpness of the two lenses is about the same."

The review also concludes:
"While it does not offer quite as much reach as the Pentax 18-135mm, we prefer it for is versatility (faster aperture and macro capabilities) and improved image quality."

So my question to you is, are you planning to own both DA 18-135 and the Sigma 17-70, or would you sell off the DA 18-135 to acquire the 17-70? You would miss the WR if you did that, but I agree with @bdery that you can just pick up a cheap 18-55 WR kit lens if you need WR capabilities on occasion.

I have been thinking for the longest time about adding the Sigma 17-70 contemporary to my stable of zoom lenses, where it would not replace my DA 18-135. But I wonder if I did that, would I really find myself using both all that often, or just favor the 17-70 most of the time when I'm at home and shooting around my hometown, and then only trot out the 18-135 when I went traveling?
02-04-2014, 01:53 PM   #18
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Thanks, bdery and seventysixersfan.
I just don't think I want to give up the 18-135, so it's feeling more like the new Sigma would be a luxury alternative, and that means I probably just need to wait.... Maybe when people start selling used Sigma 17-70s it will be more justifiable to have both lenses!
But like you, seventysixersfan, I'm wondering if someone has both lenses, which one do they end up using most often.
Thanks again.
02-05-2014, 07:09 PM   #19
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I suppose you could call it a function of my LBA, but every time I pick up a new lens it tends to stay on my K5 until a new one comes along or until there's an overwhelming specific need. WR is exactly such a need and then the 18-135 goes on and whatever else was there before gets left home. I also own the 17-70 and have enjoyed using it, although not as much now that I've got the 18-135 and that extra 1 mm of width? Well the DA15 ltd. takes care of that and then some! it's a whole lot easier to carry both the 15 & 18-135 than the Sigma with either. In my estimation the 18-135 may not be a master of all trades, but it's a fine tradesman nonetheless and I prefer the special Pentax "pop" to the duller IQ of the Sigma.

The 17-70 is a great value, but it's a little heavy, doesn't have quick-shift and zooms backwards. Forced to choose just one I'd go with the 18-135; going forward and keeping both (as I intend to do) I know the Pentax will see more use.

02-06-2014, 04:53 PM   #20
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I think these two lenses are rather comparable in their capability so it doesn't really make sense to own both as one will probably not see much use. I own the DA 18-135 and strongly considered the Sigma 17-70 when shopping for a new zoom. I ended up going for the DA 18-135 simply because its an extremely versatile lens. When it comes to image quality there are certainly other zooms out there that are better, even in a lower price range. But no other lens out there has WR, small compact design, lightning fast and quiet AF, and a very wide zoom range with close focus capability. Its simply my go to lens for outdoor hiking or other adventures which I believe is what it was designed for. If I'm looking for image quality, then I've got several primes to choose from, thats what primes are for.

If you don't need the versatility that the 18-135 brings to the table then I would go ahead and get the Sigma. But if you've got a lens bag with some nice primes in it and are looking for an "adventure" lens, then I think the clear choice is the DA 18-135.

On another note, don't believe the photozone review, its completely wrong. While the IQ of this lens isn't exactly stellar is quite good for a super zoom. Its center sharpness is better than that of the 16-45 F4 in many conditions and has very little aberrations.
02-25-2014, 09:58 AM   #21
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While have both the Sigma 17-70 Contemporary and Pentax 18-135 I can honestly say that since I put the Sigma on I'm a happy camper
02-25-2014, 10:37 AM - 1 Like   #22
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I recently bought the Sigma 17-70. My final decision came down to two things.
1.- The Sigma was cheaper by about $90. I've noticed a bit of a price drop recently with the 18-135 and now the difference is $50. I expect both will go up in price soon. They always do in spring when the weather improves and tax refunds begin arriving.
2.- The Sigma is faster throughout the focal range. My copy is quite sharp wide open and while all lenses get better stopped down a little, I have no hesitation to to use a wide open aperture.

I have no regrets on my purchase. The 17-70 range will work very well for me as I was quite happy with an F 35-70 that failed a while back. I don't think you will go wrong with either lens. I've seen some fantastic examples from both lenses posted through the forum. If the WR and longer focal length are more important to you, then get the Pentax. If the f/2.8-F/4 is more important, get the Sigma. The Sigma is has a Macro label added to it and is capable of focusing very close. I haven't used it yet and can't comment.
02-25-2014, 11:43 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by bass3587 Quote
While have both the Sigma 17-70 Contemporary and Pentax 18-135 I can honestly say that since I put the Sigma on I'm a happy camper
Since you have both, have you done any comparisons of shots of the same scene at the same focal length, ISO, and aperture? The only reason why I would think of the Sigma instead of the Pentax is if it were noticeably sharper. Thanks.

02-25-2014, 12:24 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
Since you have both, have you done any comparisons of shots of the same scene at the same focal length, ISO, and aperture? The only reason why I would think of the Sigma instead of the Pentax is if it were noticeably sharper. Thanks.
Honestly mgvh I haven't. I know I probably should but I'm not one would sets up controlled tests to evaluate lens. I have shot both on multiple occasions and events and they both have merits. It's more of a perception thing for me than scientific. I find myself in situations where I need a faster lens and the Pentax isn't that fast of a lens. In fact my Pentax 55-300 is faster at 135mm than the Pentax 18-135mm. I just did a little informal test at 150mm on the 55-300 and it was at F4.5 while the 18-135 at 135mm was at F5.6. Big difference in speed.

IQ, well I think they are both great with the Sigma being just a little bit sharper. Handling I like both and they are so quiet!!! Compared to screw drive lenses it is literally like working on a construction site then going to a mausoleum. I just count myself as being lucky enough to have both to choose from
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