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09-16-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
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18-135 versatility

I'm just about done with a week of tourist shots with my new K30. I have a K10 which came with an 18-55 kit lens, so I got the 18-135 with this one. Up to now, I've made do with just a few lenses. For what I shoot - which is usually either products on a table or people standing around shaking hands - the 18-55 was fine. Kinda.

If that didn't get me in close enough, I switched to my 70-300 Tamron (which is probably the least expensive lens I own and which, I think, gives me the sharpest shots). I used the 70-300 at the zoo & safari park here in San Diego this week to get me in close to the animals.

But it's been those times where I wanted something in between the 55 max and the 70 min that frustrated me. I either have to move in closer than I want, or I can't get far enough back to fit everyone in. I'm aware that most subjects I shoot wouldn't be considered "art shots" by any stretch of the imagination. Most of my shots this week were buildings, or my wife, or my wife in and around buildings. And I'm finding that this latest lens lets me shoot her across a table at a restaurant, or zoom into the name on a ship, equally with ease. I really think that this is going to be my daily lens for quite some time.

Granted, most of the shots have been edited on my notebook with the crappy (for photography) screen, so I'm probably missing any number of flaws in my shots. But so far. . . yeah, I think this lens is turning out to be good for what I do.

The first week of October, I'll be following a group of Okinawan martial artists around, shooting their vacation (and official visits to local dignitaries). I plan on using this lens almost exclusively. The fact that it's weather sealed makes me feel okay about our impending visit to Niagara Falls.

Anyone else have experience with this as their daily lens?

Last edited by Scott_G; 09-16-2013 at 04:12 PM. Reason: Subject change
09-16-2013, 05:35 PM   #2
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I'm in the same boat, also having the 18-55mm and the 55-300mm.
So I'm interested in seeing some of your results because IQ is what's important at the end of the day.
09-16-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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Hey that sounds exactly my style of shooting on the weekend, except my wife is in and around shops, more specifically than buildings.
My main interest with this lens is "how good is it at 18mm?" That's what I find is the weakest point of the 18-55.
09-16-2013, 06:02 PM - 1 Like   #4
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When I get home - probably some time next week - I'll put together a few sample images and post them here.

09-16-2013, 09:15 PM   #5
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For versatility, have you considered a super zoom with a greater range? The IQ is actually quite decent, and the versatility is unbeatable.

The Tamron/DA 18-250 is really cheap ($300 ish) and its range is unbeatable, save for the 18-270 which at this point in time is not a great value.

I would also recommend the Sigma 18-250 macro. That macro ability is real useful. If I had an excuse to do so, I would upgrade my DA 18-250 for the Sigma.

If you want to save a few pennies, I've read that the 18-200 super zooms are good value buys.

As for weather sealing, it's slightly overrated. Unless you plan on dunking your camera into the falls, you won't need it. The camera + lens can survive some water spray for a day or so, and in the long run you will want the longer reach more than you will want the weather sealing.
09-18-2013, 06:54 AM   #6
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I bought the 18-135 a couple of years ago before a trip to the Caribbean with my family, and it performed great on that trip. Since then, I've used in many walk-around situations where I didn't want to be switching lenses, and it has always performed for me.

I know this lens gets maligned at times, but I appreciate it for the solid images, reasonable size and weight, useful range, and weather sealing. Is it "always on my camera"? No. Though no lens fits that description for me, if one lens comes closest, it would probably be my Tamron 28-75. But I would endorse the 18-135 if it fits one's needs.
09-21-2013, 11:17 PM   #7
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This lens is the very definition of an all-purpose walk around lens. It covers most of the focal range you'd normally need, and it's weather resistant in case it's raining. That being said, it's performance is not up to that of the Tamron 70-300. I find the 18-135 is somewhat disappointing above 55mm. The resolution and chromatic aberration at that range drop noticeably. Stopping down to F/8 helps somewhat, but if quality trumps convenience, I'd say bring the dedicated telephoto. I also had the Pentax 18-250. It was also weak in the long end of the zoom, but was superior to the 18-135 at the 135mm range.


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