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4 Days Ago   #1
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Purchase advice: DA18-270mm with "a little mold" for $170. Worth it?

I want a cheap all-around lens for when hiking so I can avoid carrying multiple lenses. When hiking I am also often not very careful with the camera/lens, so I don't want to spend a lot of money on it.

I found many choices online for the DA18-270mm below $200 (22,000 yen) in Japan, but all say there is some mold on the lens on the description, except for one that has the hood glued to the lens, which is too inconvenient for me. Without mold the price jumps to $300.


The cheapest one at 170$ is described as having "multiple thin and small elongated mold that do not affect the image". The mold is not visible on the pictures of the lenses, so I believe it is very small. Is it worth the risk? I do not use the camera in any professional situation.

Has anyone tried to disassemble this lens? I wonder if I would be able to clean it in the future if it gets worse.

4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #2
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Personally, I would definitely pass.
I would accept some dust, I would accept small scratches to the front element, I would accept lots of paint blemishes on the barrel for a discount, but not mold.
Even if it's tiny, it may well be alive and grow over time. If it sporulates, it can also contaminate other lenses in your cabinet.

I never tried the 18-270, I don't think it's a bad lens but I suggest that you also look at the DA 18-135. Granted the zoom range is slightly smaller, but you get WR, internal silent focusing motor, in a smaller and more recent package. It also has an excellent reputation for image quality for its category (I liked it a lot) and it is plentiful and cheaper on the used market (as it was proposed as a kit lens with several DSLRs).
See here it that might interest you: SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
4 Days Ago   #3
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IMO, unless I am willing to crack it open and clean it up, I wouldn't buy a lens with mold in it. I won't even month it on my camera even if I get it for free. I worry it might jump to the camera body and spread to all other lenses. The mold is still alive or not, it doesn't matter. I just want to be safer than sorry.
I recently get a DAL ED 50-200 wr It is very light and surprisingly good at 100-200mm... cheap too. You can pair it with the DAL 18-50 wr which is also very cheap and get a very high rating. Check it out on the review page. They could be a good alternative.
4 Days Ago   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
but you get WR, internal silent focusing motor, in a smaller and more recent package.
My bad, just checked the lens DB and I understand you're discussing the newer 18-270 from 2012 which is also SDM.
In this case the 18-135 is not more recent (2010; but looks more 'Pentax') and the internal silent motor is a draw. I stand by my recommendation though.
Anyway, good luck with your search!

4 Days Ago   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
Even if it's tiny, it may well be alive and grow over time. If it sporulates, it can also contaminate other lenses in your cabinet.
Does that apply even if the lens is truly disinfected (with ethylene oxide)?

I found the 18-135 for $105, without mold. Seems like a good deal, but I am afraid of regretting missing the wider zoom range.
4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by nexflatline Quote
Does that apply even if the lens is truly disinfected (with ethylene oxide)?
I will have to let others more knowledgeable than me answer this. I would suspect that spores (if present) may not be fully killed by a disinfectant. Was that treatment done already by the seller or are you planning on applying it yourself?
Disassembling and cleaning seems more reliable to me, but also I expect this will be a complicated operation in such a superzoom.
All in all, I would still pass

If you're not convinced by the 18-135, and your budget is really tight, my advice would be to multiply the sources (marketplace here, ebay, local camera shops and classifieds...) and be patient. Good deals happen but buying in a hurry does not usually allow to get them.
4 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nexflatline Quote
Does that apply even if the lens is truly disinfected (with ethylene oxide)?

I found the 18-135 for $105, without mold. Seems like a good deal, but I am afraid of regretting missing the wider zoom range.
The wide zoom range on super-zoom lenses comes at a cost. Generally, sharpness at one end of the range - sometimes both - is compromised. Even if centre performance is good, borders and corners usually fall well behind expectations from shorter-range zooms. There's usually quite a bit of distortion too, some of it complex.

I owned the DA18-270, and it's not a bad lens - but it's not great at the long end, never especially good away from the centre, and - like most lenses of this type - it really needs stopping down considerably to be fully useful.

If you're intent on owning a super-zoom, consider Sigma... the 18-300 C is very good considering the range. The 18-200 C is better still, but obviously you give up some reach at the long end.

I have more than enough lenses, but I'm often tempted to pick up a used Sigma 18-200 C...

EDIT: If you should decide to buy the mouldy DA18-270, bear in mind it has 16 elements in 13 groups. If you need to remove anything other than the front and/or rear elements, good luck. It'll be one heck of a job



Last edited by BigMackCam; 4 Days Ago at 03:48 AM.
4 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #8
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I would stay away from a lens with mold. You say that you want this for outdoor use and admit you are not careful. You will most likely be putting this lens in situations that will make the mold grow.
4 Days Ago   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by nexflatline Quote
I

Is it worth the risk?
If you want to have mold in all your lenses, you should certainly buy it.
4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #10
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Ethylene oxide is a potent neurotoxin and known human carcinogen. Its use is restricted to sterilising medical instruments in specialist equipment by trained staff. It isn't an option for amateur photographers.
4 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #11
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I would run from the moldy lens. I bought a lens once that had mold, cheap enough to try cleaning, I was successful but it was only on one element, the front, and it was an older prime, a zoom will be more complex. And really, if I wanted one lens only to carry hiking I would be more concerned with image quality rather than zoom coverage, my choice of a long zoom would be the 55-300PLM because it is not only a good lens but compact and light, however I don’t think you would get it that cheap, you may get the 18-135 that cheap, and it is no slouch.
4 Days Ago - 3 Likes   #12
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I realized I have much to learn. I was keeping my moldy DAL50-200mmWR together with my only other lens. I didn't know mold could so easily spread between lenses.

By the way, I always found the pictures from the moldy 50-200 a little soft. Is it possible to tell by the photo only if it's due to mold (or just general lack of skills)?

After all the advice here, I think I will buy the DA 18-135mm: it's half the price of the 18-270 and will probably stand the abuse better (as reminded by @sarge). I'm also worried about the comment from @BigMackCam of having to stop down the 18-270 considerably to get good pictures, as I like to take pictures in less than ideal light conditions and I don't even own a tripod.
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4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by nexflatline Quote
I realized I have much to learn. I was keeping my moldy DAL50-200mmWR together with my only other lens. I didn't know mold could so easily spread between lenses.

By the way, I always found the pictures from the moldy 50-200 a little soft. Is it possible to tell by the photo only if it's due to mold (or just general lack of skills)?

After all the advice here, I think I will buy the DA 18-135mm: it's half the price of the 18-270 and will probably stand the abuse better (as reminded by @sarge). I'm also worried about the comment from @BigMackCam of having to stop down the 18-270 considerably to get good pictures, as I like to take pictures in less than ideal light conditions and I don't even own a tripod.
I think the 18-135 would be a great option if you want to just haul 1 lens.

A travel tripod would be a worthwhile investment as well.
4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by nexflatline Quote
I found the 18-135 for $105, without mold. Seems like a good deal, but I am afraid of regretting missing the wider zoom range.
I travelled for over 6 months with my only zoom being the DA DA 18-135mm. I rarely wanted another lens. Depending on the ISO you use, you can crop quite a bit and retain the detail of distant objects.

I look forward to seeing the results.
4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #15
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You already received some very good feedback.

Going back to your need for "a cheap all-around lens", I would recommend you the DA18-250mm and it sister the Tamron 18-250mm. While only available 2nd hand, the DA18-250mm/Tamron 18-250mm is likely a great price option IMO (+). The lens has been very well regarded by all users and is definitely worth to consider.

(+) The Tamron 18-250mm tends to be cheaper than the DA18-250mm, but it is basically the same lens under a different badge.

Personally, I have the DA18-250mm, the DA18-270mm and the DA18-135mm. The IQ is generally similar between the three lenses IMHO, and the photographer (rather than the lens) will account for the different IQ.Each lens has its pros and cons:
-DA18-135mm is WR, but a a bit short at the long range (135mm)
-DA18-250mm is solid, relatively cheap and well-regarded - noisy AF / the Tamron 18-250mm is nearly identical and slightly cheaper
-DA18-270mm is silent and fast AF - a bit expensive

Today, I continue to use my DA18-250mm and I would recommend it without hesitation.

Hope that the comment may help.
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