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07-07-2013, 12:39 AM   #1
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18-135mm lens justification

Hi there

I have had a Pentax KR for a year or 2 now and I have the a sigma 70-300mm which is great, a 35mm f2.4 which I have also had some great results with and also the standard kit lens 18-55mm.

My question is this. I am thinking of getting the 18-135mm as I want a lens that does most of what I want without changing lenses. Is this lens a lot better quality than the standard kit lens? I would like to get into more portraiture and feel this would give me something wider when needed but also more than 55mm when shooting the kids at a slight distance. I shoot both indoor and outdoor portraiture.

I have also recently bought a flash which I would intend on using with this lens all the time.

I think the main point I need to know is whether the quality of this lens would be a lot better than the standard kit lens, I'm thinking it would be but don't really know.

Would really appreciate some help.

Thanks

Nick

07-07-2013, 02:25 AM   #2
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It will probably be better, but "a lot better"? Depends on what you mean by "a lot." I doubt it will be as good as your DA 35mm. But the zoom will give you much more flexibility. A lot of people like the 18-135mm lens especially for that. Its a WR zoom with a long range, its not the most expensive, but its also decent in IQ. Feel free to take a look at the lens reviews database and photo sample gallery
07-07-2013, 02:41 AM   #3
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Hi Nick, and welcome to the Forums.

I have a DA18-135, and I have used it a lot for general purposes, including as a travel lens (I take my DA15 for wider needs, or even my 10-20/3.5 though its heft mitigates against taking it on long walks). The DA18-135 is OK when used in Program mode, but I tend to use it stopped down and allow speed and ISO to vary, even though it means I have to limit the Auto ISO range and keep an eye on the slower shutter speeds. When stopped down to f8, or even f11, its IQ is much higher than wide open.

I like my DA18-135, but you have to be prepared to work with it, to get the best out of it. I did have the original DA18-55, but sold it when I bought a DA*16-50. The DA18-135 came along when I got sick of changing lenses continually when I was touring.
07-07-2013, 02:43 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Vage Quote
Hi there

I have had a Pentax KR for a year or 2 now and I have the a sigma 70-300mm which is great, a 35mm f2.4 which I have also had some great results with and also the standard kit lens 18-55mm.

My question is this. I am thinking of getting the 18-135mm as I want a lens that does most of what I want without changing lenses. Is this lens a lot better quality than the standard kit lens? I would like to get into more portraiture and feel this would give me something wider when needed but also more than 55mm when shooting the kids at a slight distance. I shoot both indoor and outdoor portraiture.

I have also recently bought a flash which I would intend on using with this lens all the time.

I think the main point I need to know is whether the quality of this lens would be a lot better than the standard kit lens, I'm thinking it would be but don't really know.

Would really appreciate some help.

Thanks

Nick
I have both the 18-55 DA-L whic came with the K-R as well as the 18-135 WR which came with my K-30. I had hardly used the 18-55 at all as I had also purchased a Tamron 18-250 which I ended up using most of the time as my go-everywhere lens.

I had on some occasions tried the 18-55 to compare it to the Tamron hoping that its shorter zoom range might allow it to have better image quality but I remember being disappointed and from then on never used it again, however I cannot quite remember what exactly I didn't like about it.

When I got my K-30 with the 18-135 WR I thought I would also put that aside and use it only when its weather resistant properties were needed and instead continue using the Tamron 18-250, however I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the 18-135 WR actually performed better than the Tamron 18-250, except of course for the fact that it didin't go up to 250mm.

What I don't know iis whether the lesn you are looking at is the 18-135 WR or the 18-135 DA-L.

There is a huge difference in build quality and feel between the 18-55 DA-L and the 18-135 WR, quite at the opposite ends of the scale, but I don;t know if this applies also to the 18-135 DA-L.

07-07-2013, 02:58 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lister6520 Quote
but I don;t know if this applies also to the 18-135 DA-L.
I think the 18-135mm only comes in the WR version. Only 18-55 and 50-200 come in multiple versions, like DA L and WR
07-07-2013, 05:00 AM   #6
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A short answer, the 18-135 is a moderate amount better than the 18-55. I'd say halfway between that and the 35/2.4 in IQ. It is a super convenient lens, though. I was often stopped at 55 and wishing I had a bit more, now I do. For up close subjects, the lens is good all the way to 135, but for more distant subjects, there is a noticeable drop off past 100mm or so. If you can afford it, it's worth the $400 or so that you can find it for. It's 400 right now from Emmy Photo through amazon. I bought my K-30 that way, and I'm pretty happy. Note that those lenses are typically pulled from a kit, so no box/manual, but should be new and in perfect shape.
07-07-2013, 05:05 AM   #7
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I never really thought much about getting the 18-135 when it came out, the reviews were not very good. But when I bought a K-30 last year the kit price was too good to pass up, I figured I could sell it if I didn't like it. Well, a year later it is my most used lens, it is way better than those early reviews suggested, enough that I wonder if they changed something in the manufacturing of the lens from the early copies. Way better than the DA18-55 that I had (which I sold a month after getting the 18-135). I rarely use the 35/2.4 now. Take a look at this thread for some sample photos.
07-07-2013, 05:13 AM   #8
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What Tom said.

I find the IQ of the 18-135 one or two notches up from the kit lens, and the focus is much faster (and near silent) If you are worried about soft corners, stop down 1.5- 2 stops.

07-07-2013, 06:21 AM   #9
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I'll chime in for a vote for the 18-135. I did an event with it last week and it was really convenient to have that focal length. The IQ is better than the kit 18-55 but compared to my A35-105 and F50 1.7 it's not. I will agree with a few other posters that it's sweet spot seems to be around 20-30mm range.
07-07-2013, 06:25 AM   #10
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At 55mm our copy was clearly optically worse than our DA* 55mm, DA 55-300mm and DA 18-55mm.

The results rattled me so much I sold it. Color rendering was also very different than the other lenses I compared it with.
07-07-2013, 06:27 AM   #11
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I don't normally "test" lenses, either. Results from our 18-135mm just seemed to lack something. That's when I compared it with the others.

We bought ours at the B&H store in NYC.
07-07-2013, 06:34 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
Well, a year later it is my most used lens, it is way better than those early reviews suggested,
+1 on that. I also read those reviews, but I did want a versatile WR walk-around zoom and made up my mind after consulting the reviews and posts with sample images here at PentaxForums:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-18-1...at-can-do.html

You cannot have prime focal lens speed and do. image quality with a super-zoom throughout its entire range, but my purchase of the DA 18-135mm is one that I haven't ever regretted or even questioned.
07-07-2013, 06:43 AM   #13
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Based on my experience, I'd go with the 18-55 and 50-200 if you require WR on the relative cheap.
07-07-2013, 09:12 AM   #14
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Since he is using a Kr then he doesn't need the WR. It's still a nice lens in my opinion, and I am glad I bought it, but you might also look at the 18-250 based on not needing WR if you want a huge range.
07-07-2013, 11:32 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I never really thought much about getting the 18-135 when it came out, the reviews were not very good. But when I bought a K-30 last year the kit price was too good to pass up, I figured I could sell it if I didn't like it. Well, a year later it is my most used lens, it is way better than those early reviews suggested, enough that I wonder if they changed something in the manufacturing of the lens from the early copies. Way better than the DA18-55 that I had (which I sold a month after getting the 18-135). I rarely use the 35/2.4 now. Take a look at this thread for some sample photos.
My 18-135 is a permanent fixture in my camera bag. It is not a Prime and comparing it to one shows that the reviewer is off in what they are focused on IMHO. It is a general purpose moderately long zoom that is weather resistant (it does not come in a non-WR variety). That means that I can put it on in poor weather and have a very versatile lens that can go anywhere my K-5iis goes without worry. It's both better at nearly all settings and longer then the 18-55s (and I have owned the DAL, DA-II, and WR models over the years). It's also silent in operation which can be a big plus for candids or for locations in which screw-drive sound would be a distraction/disruption like church. Add to those pluses that its light and small (for its reach) and you have an incredibly solid performer IMHO. The reviews by PZ and others when it came out were....well...simply full of ...well..something - period.
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