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01-06-2011, 07:34 AM   #1
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Buying a K5 - but with 18-135mm lens kit? Or an 18-55 + 50-200mm lens kit?

Ok... I am a rookie to Pentax and am not an expert on camers, so please excuse any naivity in the following:

I am on the way to upgrade my Olympus E500 to a new DSLR, and the Pentax K5 is my favoured option. I use my camera most in 2 situations: 1. in hot, dusty countries for a general mix of travel use, 2. photographing my family and friends as portraits. I love using a telephoto lens, so I can sit discreetly in a corner and capture the wonderful expressions on people's faces etc without them noticing. I also like taking low light photos without flash.

So, I am on the verge of buying a K5, but cannot decide whether to buy one with a 18-135mm lens and have the convenience of not having to regularly change lenses (which I seem to do a lot with my current camera), or go for one with a 18-55mm and 50-200mm lens kit.

Will the 135mm compromise my picture quality compared to the others, or not noticably (i.e. on only small print outs)? Will 135mm be enough zoom? - not sure as I regularly use the full extent of my 150mm at the moment on a 4/3 system (300mm equiv on 35mm I think). Does maximum zoom even matter, when I could enlarge the photos after taking them? Can I use a multiplier, and if so, what are the downsides? Is there another lens I should consider?

The 18-135 is an expensive option, so it would be good to know if people think it is really worth it. Also, does anyone have an opinion on the electonic manual focus ring that doesn't have distances marked on it?? This annoys me on the Olympus/Zuiko system, but often because it is hard to see if the subject is in focus under low light conditions and one cannot estimate with the distance guide.

Thanks and happy new year to all of you!

Robinfaz

01-06-2011, 08:15 AM   #2
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If you travel in dusty places then you probably dont want to be changing lenses, so I would go with the 18-135. Also, it auto-focuses faster than most others for Pentax and has pretty good IQ for a super zoom. Just my .02
01-06-2011, 08:17 AM   #3
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If I'm not mistaken, the K-5 does not come in an 18-55/50-200 kit (at least in the US), so you would have to buy the 50-200 separately.

The 18-135 is definitely better image quality than the 18-55, and extrapolating from the 55-300 (which the 18-135 is similar to in IQ) being generally regarded as better than the 50-200, it's probably better than that too (or at the very least on par). Not changing lenses is also a very big plus if you want to keep out dust. While the IQ is obviously no match for my primes, I'm quite happy with it for its versatility and WR. Actually, its IQ is better than I expected in the middle of the range (it suffers a bit on the wide end).

The question is whether you need the extra reach. 135mm on APS-C is going to be significantly shorter than 150mm on 4/3 (roughly equivalent to 100mm on 4/3). If you want to go long, I would personally go for the 55-300 rather than the 50-200 as its IQ is better and it's longer, unless WR is crucial. The 50-200 is the longest WR lens (and roughly equivalent to 150mm on 4/3), unless you want to splurge and get the DA* lenses (which are much, much more expensive).

Last edited by Cannikin; 01-06-2011 at 08:43 AM.
01-06-2011, 08:25 AM   #4
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I think the effect you were trying to obtain at 150mm on the 4/3 is to have more bokeh, the soft blurriness of the background. You can certainly do the same with the Pentax 50-200mm. K5 high iso will permit such focal lengths on that lens and still have a reasonable shutter time to avoid subject motion blurring.
That said, I am very happy with the 18-135mm WR as a travel lens. Very fast focusing, silent, very good IQ and a very practical range. But, for your style of photography, the two kit lens as opposed to the one lens solution might be best, if you tend to shoot at the long end more than the wide, 18-55m range. If it is the bokeh you are after and money is not an object, the DA* 50-135mm does the job nicely with available f2.8.

01-06-2011, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #5
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My first K100d kit was with a 18-50 and 50-200 and I was quite satisfied with the setup... but...

My suggestion would be to go for the DA18-135 and later for more range get the DA55-300.

Just my 2 cents

Pat
01-06-2011, 09:42 AM   #6
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I have both lenses and in head-to-head comparisons on my K-5 the da18-135 has better IQ at all focal lengths than the da18-55 WR. In most cases I could not distinguish the da18-135 from my da16-45 at common focal lengths. However the da55-300 is better at 135mm than the da18-135 so the suggestion they are a good match seems valid.

I really like the da18-135 so far, even shot an indoor basketball game with it successfully despite its slow aperture, thanks to the K-5.

YMMV though.
01-06-2011, 11:56 AM   #7
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Original Poster
QuoteQuote:
If I'm not mistaken, the K-5 does not come in an 18-55/50-200 kit (at least in the US), so you would have to buy the 50-200 separately.
I would be buying from the UK where you can buy both lenses as part of a kit Pentax K5 with 18-55mm and 50-200mm WR Lenses - Jessops

Thanks for the views everyone. Something not mentioned is the electronic manual focus ring on the 18-135mm... are the users of this lens happy with this system?
05-31-2012, 03:53 PM   #8
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I find myself in a very similar position: an Olympus E-500 owner with the twin lens kit thinking of buying the K5 with the 18-55mm + 50-200mm kit lens or the 18-135mm lens. I have similar thoughts about the pros and cons of each option. Which option did you choose in the end. Did it work out ok?

Has anyone got any further advice (e.g. buy a K30 or something else entirely)?

05-31-2012, 08:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Baron of Basingstoke Quote
I find myself in a very similar position: an Olympus E-500 owner with the twin lens kit thinking of buying the K5 with the 18-55mm + 50-200mm kit lens or the 18-135mm lens. I have similar thoughts about the pros and cons of each option. Which option did you choose in the end. Did it work out ok?

Has anyone got any further advice (e.g. buy a K30 or something else entirely)?
You can get the K-30 with the DA 18-135 WR for $1200 from B&H if it fits your needs.
Pentax K30 Digital Camera with 18-135mm Lens Kit (Black) 15635
05-31-2012, 09:48 PM   #10
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I've got a K5, DA18-135, DA55-300 and Kenko 1.5X SHQ Tele-Converter.

DA18-135 is a good walk-around lens and can be used on landscape, portrait, indoors, outdoors photography. IQ is above average. The auto-focus is fast enough in many situations. But for landscape, it sometimes cannot focus in wide end and the corners are not so sharp. WR is really an added-value, especially when I want to take photos in rainy days.
http://static.dcfever.com/media/sharing/12/05/18/2840031337351806_l.jpg
http://static.dcfever.com/media/sharing/12/04/11/2840031334099618_l.jpg
http://www.dcfever.com/photosharing/enlarge.php?id=1230111
http://static.dcfever.com/media/sharing/12/04/04/2840031333505090_l.jpg


DA55-300(not DAL) is a economical lens suitable for portrait and birds photography. It focus noisily but this can be solved by quick-shift to certain extent. IQ is above average and quite sharp. For outdoors, sometimes there is no need to change other lens.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/38007-skwan/albums/5128-da-55-300-f4-5-8/
http://static.dcfever.com/media/sharing/12/03/28/2840031332870910_l.jpg

DA55-300 + Kenko TC still carries a high auto-focus reliability but IQ is around 5-10% discounted.
http://www.dcfever.com/photosharing/enlarge.php?id=1212908


DA18-135 + Kenko TC brings the auto-focus difficulties and IQ is around 3-8% discounted. The increase of magnification may make you happy for flower photography.
http://www.dcfever.com/photosharing/enlarge.php?id=1218213

Last edited by SKwan; 05-31-2012 at 10:39 PM.
05-31-2012, 10:22 PM   #11
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18-135 for sure

you will have decent IQ with very useful range and WR in portable one lens package

Since preferable third party upgrades in form of 17-50 2.8s and 70-200 2.8s from Sigma and Tamron (or DA 55-300) do not have WR, 18-135 can remain in your bag when/if you upgrade to better glass and still be useful in bad weather or when portability is key

18-55 + 50-200 combo really brings nothing to the table over 18-135
06-01-2012, 04:17 PM   #12
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Many thanks for your advice, sample pics and welcome to the forum.

Looks like there is strong support for the 18-135mm. I was a little concerned about some reviews and comments about soft corners and CA - but I assume that even then it has better IQ than the two kit lenses. Just wondering if I'd miss the extra reach that I currently have with the Olympus set up (equivalent to about 300mm in 35mm terms - which the 50-200mm would match). Then again, I really do find multiple lenses a pain to lug about when travelling - and the telephoto zoom doesn't get as much usage unless I have something specific to shoot that needs it.

I'll hold off my buying decision until there are some reviews on the K30. Hopefully that will be before July 15th. That's important because the K5 is currently on offer in the UK until then - with a 80 (about $123) cashback. I'll definitely buy the K5 if there aren't any K30s to try by then. With the discount, the K5 with the 18-135mm lens should be about 919 ($1412).

The one thing that makes the K30 particularly attractive for me is the improved AF, though I assume the K5 can't be that bad (especially compared with my E-500, which is hopeless in reduced light). The focus peeking could also be handy. I guess the K5 replacement can't be too far away, and that is going to have to be impressive to better the K30 - but it is likely to be significantly pricier than the current K5 now is.

Thanks again. Keep the advice coming
06-04-2012, 01:44 PM   #13
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I recommend the 18-135 without reservation. If you need more reach later, keep an eye open for the 55-300 on the used market. It took me a while to get one at $300 this past winter, but I did. I agree with all those above.
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