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01-18-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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Which Kit Lens? 18-55mm or 18-135mm

A long, long time ago I used to do a lot of photography with a SLR, but have forgotten most of it. (Some will come back and some I'll just learn as I go.) This will be my first digital SLR and I'm diving off the deep end and getting the K-5 as the WR and the high ISO suit my style and my needs. With rebates, it costs $70 more to get the 18-55 kit lens rather than just the body. Or I could get the 18-135 kit lens for $440 extra ($510 more than the body alone).

Since I have no lenses, I think the kit is a better value for me while I learn the camera. I'm inclined to think the $440 would be better invested in another lens--maybe better quality than the kit lens, but I'd like to get some feed back from the experts. I'd appreciate any guidance you can give. Thanks.

01-18-2011, 12:09 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The 18-55 WR is a good lens to start with and it's better to buy it than not when you buy a K-5. It gives you access to a fully WR kit and is basically the cheapest WR lens available anywhere. If you end up not using it for its WR properties and want something better like the DA 16-45/16-50, you can always sell the WR kit for no loss (current market price for a used copy is >$70)

The 18-135 is a good balance between size, focal range, and having WR. The quality itself is as you said, pretty good, but other lenses costing $440 are better that (pentax primes such as FA 43 or DA 35 macro comes to mind). It is pretty much the only choice if you want WR in that zoom range though, so that's one thing to keep in mind.

My suggestion is to go 18-55 kit and figure out what you want after that. Go with the 18-135 only if you like to go travelling. For a starter kit, I'd probably get the 18-55, and later get a prime, a flash, or a super wide angle (in that order).
01-18-2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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The main difference is that the 18-135mm is a multi-purpose zoom, while the 18-55 is more of a wide-angle lens. You'll also get better IQ out of the 18-135mm. You might want to read our review: SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm Review | Pentax 18-135mm | PentaxForums.com

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01-18-2011, 12:57 PM   #4
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the 18-135 will likely satisfy you longer and over time also give you a wider read on the focal lengths you are most likely to use so when you do invest in primes you will be buying a focal length you know works for you. It also makes a great travel lens even once you have built a collection of primes. I'm considering one just for travel. paired with a 50 f 1.7 for low light i would rarely encounter a need for anything else (of course need and desire are 2 very different things)

01-18-2011, 01:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
The 18-55 WR is a good lens to start with and it's better to buy it than not when you buy a K-5. It gives you access to a fully WR kit and is basically the cheapest WR lens available anywhere. If you end up not using it for its WR properties and want something better like the DA 16-45/16-50, you can always sell the WR kit for no loss (current market price for a used copy is >$70)

The 18-135 is a good balance between size, focal range, and having WR. The quality itself is as you said, pretty good, but other lenses costing $440 are better that (pentax primes such as FA 43 or DA 35 macro comes to mind). It is pretty much the only choice if you want WR in that zoom range though, so that's one thing to keep in mind.

My suggestion is to go 18-55 kit and figure out what you want after that. Go with the 18-135 only if you like to go travelling. For a starter kit, I'd probably get the 18-55, and later get a prime, a flash, or a super wide angle (in that order).
+1

Good advice and what I would recommend as well. If WR isn't at the top of your priority list, save the $$$, get the kit lens and opt for a Tamron 17-50/2.8 as your step up lens when/if you feel the need.

Jason
01-18-2011, 06:44 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the quick responses and the thoughtful comments which unwittingly made it a big quandary. All information sent me down all sorts of interesting paths.

- Andi Lo, love you lens recommendations. I am a huge traveler so I do have to take that into consideration. It's one of the reasons I started doing the compact auto-auto-idiot cameras. (The end result is just so poor though, I'm ready to take control of a camera again.)

- Adam, thanks for that review. Somehow I'd missed the in depth one just looking at the user reviews which aren't as detailed.

- Eddie, great advise on getting a wider read on focal lengths. I know that was a previous mistake as I ended up with a box full of lenses that were rarely used and a waste of money.

- Jasvok, I hadn't even considered that option, but that one additional lens would cover a lot of the needed focal lengths for a lot less money.

I'm going to puzzle my options for the next few days, but I want to do this before the rebate expires. Thanks for taking the time to help me look at this from a different angle.
01-18-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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Maybe a bit late but I would go with the 18-135 as you have no other lenses at the moment. It is WR to match the camera and covers a decent range - possibly all you need for some time. It will likely have a fairly decent resale value if you outgrow it. You may want longer and wider lenses regardless of what is in the middle, anyway.
01-18-2011, 10:53 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
My suggestion is to go 18-55 kit and figure out what you want after that. Go with the 18-135 only if you like to go travelling. For a starter kit, I'd probably get the 18-55, and later get a prime, a flash, or a super wide angle (in that order).
You're contradicting yourself The order is determined by the priority of the needs.

When I switched to a dSLR (with 18-55), my priorities for additional stuff were:
1) telezoom
2) flash
3) fast prime

01-18-2011, 11:03 PM   #9
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um, i would go with the 18-135, it's more expensive though so that might be something else to look into.
01-19-2011, 08:17 AM   #10
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@ sterrtje--LOL, let's all play nicely. It does depend on how you read that response. I read it as: "You decide what you need. I decided X" implying that I might decide Y.

In reviewing all the options and prices, I stumbled upon yet a third. In the best of all world we'd get to test drive the equipment before buying, but that is not possible. I fully understand I'm comparing apples to oranges, but any further input is much welcome. I REALLY would like one travel lens that will cover a lot of situations, "a do most of it quite well, walk around lens." I initially thought I could get the Tamron 18-250mm for this purpose as it seems to be generally well liked for what it is. Alas, it's no longer made and the 18-200 is not nearly as well regarded. There seems to be a vast hole in the all-in-one market, leaving the Pentax 18-135 as one of the few alternatives. I have found 1 highly rated seller that has the Tamron, but he will not separate them. So when I run the numbers with applicable rebates and a unique tax situation, I get the following options:

K-5 with Pentax 18-55 lens 1,121
K-5 with Pentax 18-135 lens 1,560
K-5 with Tamron 18-250 lens 1,500

So now I'm at that apple and orange place. I'd like to test drive the 18-135 vs 18-250. Has anyone worked with both? Anyone love their Tamron so much they'd take this option without looking back? Is there a really good 'travel' lens (fairly wide range) that I missed?
01-19-2011, 08:29 AM   #11
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I've ordered the 18-135, and have two 18-55's which I honestly think they have lost their place in my lens bag, but I won't know until I get the 18-135 which is pre-ordered. The IQ on them is really only acceptable close in IMHO. The trouble with the 18-55 is the very real possibility that down the line it'll be sitting on your shelf, or like in my case, two of them sitting on my shelf.
01-19-2011, 08:29 AM   #12
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if the WR is high on your list of factors, I would go for the 18-135. An alternative combo to cover a decent focal range (with WR lenses) would be the 18-55 WR and 50-200 WR, but if you are really shooting in conditions where the WR matters, do you want to be switching lenses?

Add to that, the 18-135 is a better lens than the "standard" kit lenses, and I would think you would probably be happier with that choice...
01-19-2011, 12:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
You're contradicting yourself The order is determined by the priority of the needs.

When I switched to a dSLR (with 18-55), my priorities for additional stuff were:
1) telezoom
2) flash
3) fast prime
That's true The last sentence is more of my personal preference if I'd do it all over again i guess
03-03-2011, 05:42 PM   #14
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K-5 price

Hi there,

I am going to be purchasing a K-5 and was wondering about lenses myself so I was reading through the discussion. I noticed your breakdown of prices and saw that you found you can buy a K-5 with an 18-55 wr lense for about $1100. I wanted to know where that is! The cheapest I have found is about $1400.

Thanks!
03-03-2011, 09:36 PM   #15
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Welcome to the forums hurleygirlie05 and welcome to the Pentax family.
I see it's your first post.
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