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SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR

Sharpness 
 8.1
Aberrations 
 7.7
Bokeh 
 8.2
Autofocus 
 9.3
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 8.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
117 434,577 Tue October 24, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
92% of reviewers $431.73 8.56
SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR

SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR
supersize
SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR
supersize
SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR
supersize

Description:
The SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR is a new prosumer walkaround lens from Pentax. The lens currently has an MSRP of $499.95.

This lens covers a wide zoom range and features Pentax's latest lens technology, including the Quick-Shift focus system, SP (Super Protect) coating, and a DC motor for the SDM focusing system. When this lens auto-focuses, the external focusing ring does not move, allowing for comfortable holding and fine manual adjustment on the fly as well as for excellent AF speed. The lens also features an aspherical element, internal focusing, and extra-low dispersion element, and weather sealing to compliment the weather sealing of the K-5. The aperture blades are rounded to help render a very smooth bokeh. Finally, the lens hood also features a filter window for easy use of CPL filters.

Note: this lens uses the KAF3 mount. Autofocus will only work on SDM-enabled bodies: The K100D Super and K10D (w/ 1.30 firmware or higher) and newer.

SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL[IF] DC WR
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 7 blades (rounded)
Optics
13 elements, 11 groups
Mount Variant
KAF3
Max. Aperture
F3.5-5.6
Min. Aperture
F22-38
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor)
DC
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
40 cm
Max. Magnification
0.24x
Filter Size
62 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 76-11.9 ° / 67-10 °
Hood
PH-RBC 62 mm
Case
S80-120 (option)
Lens Cap
O-LC62
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes
Other Features
Diam x Length
73 x 76 mm (2.9 x 3.0 in.)
Weight
405 g (14.3 oz.)
Production Years
2010 to Present
Pricing
$389 USD current price
$530 USD at launch
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA 1:3.5-5.6 18-135mm ED AL [IF] DC WR
Product Code
21977
Notes
Two aspherical elements, one ED element.
No autofocus on older bodies (*istD series, K100D, K110D, and film).

Features:
Supersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



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Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 1,165

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 24, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Compact size, weather sealing, price
Cons: Image quality outside of the center
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 6    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I had this lens for a few months, did rigorous testing with it to compare it to another lens for an article.

Pros:

Compact size - For a superzoom, it's actually quite compact, noticeably smaller and lighter than any 18-2xx zoom out there.

Weather sealing - Used it at Burning Man, one of the most demanding environments for an interchangeable lens system. After I got back I literally rinsed it off with a hose in my driveway with no issue.

Price - It's actually a decent price for a lens that covers its focal range.


Cons:

Sharpness outside of the center - Center sharpness is good-great. But edges and corners are blurry and full of distortion, CA, and vignetting. This really limits its use for landscapes or any situation that calls for somewhat decent sharpness across the frame.

* * *

Folks, this is a kit lens. It has its fanboys, but lots of objective reviews of this lens pin it as an overall middling performer. You can see sample images here at PF and other places on the web and make your own call.

Unless you're spending lots of time in a desert or white water rafting, you don't really need the weather sealing, so check out one of the longer superzooms and enjoy more focal range and better image quality. If you must have weather sealing, I suggest taking a look at the newer and higher rated 16-85.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 40

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 26, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $289.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Wide range, WR, Silent Focus, great travel lens
Cons: None, for what it is
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

I held off writing this for a while, not sure of what I was going to say. For what this lens is, it is a great lens. A great single lens, or walk-around lens, or travel lens. Is it the best lens out there? No. I do feel however, that it is a fantastic lens well suited to its purpose.

The 18-135 (27-203 equivalent) range is very handy. The lens is perfect for what would have been a “just a little closer” or “just a little wider” shots. A 18-55 doesn’t get close enough, and a 50-200/55-300 doesn’t get wide enough. A great range for an all purpose type lens.

This is actually my first lens that can be called a “Kit Lens”. I picked it up as the sole lens to take on a “carry-on bag only” week long trip to the island of Kauai in Hawaii. It survived sandy wind storms at the Waimea Canyon, tropical downpours on the north shore, salt water on a catamaran trip to the Na Pali coast, and more. Today it lives a less exciting life, but keeps on going.

I have noticed that when using a standard UV style filter on the lens for protection, a second filter cannot be stacked on it. I tried to just screw in a circular polarizer over the UV style filter for a few shots, and had significant vignetting at wide angles. Of course it all goes away if a single filter is used.

Chromatic aberrations are a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when I see it, and will sometimes drop a photo because of them. I know it can be normally be taken care of in post, but thinking like my old film photographer self, I’d rather it not be there in the first place. Happily this lens produces very little CA.

If you want a great multi-purpose lens that can handle almost anything you throw at it, then this is a wise purchase.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2016
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: June 19, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $365.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: Good range, tolerable CA
Cons: Soft, hazy, indecisive focusing
Sharpness: 3    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 7    Value: 4    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-70   

Thrilled to read glowing reviews here, I had no problem in picking it as a superzoom of sorts which would cover outdoor action.
Bought it in a kit with a K-70, hoping it would be a decent choice. Boy, was I wrong...
I should say that I have no major complaints at the lower end of the focal; between 18 and 50mm the center is decent, the corners less so, and while the wide end has significant distortion I still don't care too much about surgical precision in rectilinear pictures. The corners are soft and coma plays nasty tricks even when stopped down, and that's the reason I can't recommend it for landscapes or groups of people stretching to the edges of the frame.
-------------------
The first and foremost real issue is the horrendous softness above 85mm; at 100mm you get to cringe and double/triple check if it was in focus, and at 135mm some pictures are worse than what a phone could manage to take.
Maybe it was decent when cameras had 10-12Mp, still satisfying on 16Mp, but on 24Mp every bit of its flaws is paraded in all the „splendor”.
The problems are amplified by a lack of focus repetability; while my copy on my camera doesn't really require focus microadjustment (tested from 2 to about 45m, using the building across the street from me ), at medium to long focus distances it tends to focus all over the place, just one in 4 or one in 5 images being in focus.
When stoped down, almost nothing gets better; maybe, just maybe a bit more contrast, but not really much more; tried it
Also, even when in focus, the 135mm end is simply atrocious for subjects anywhere further than 20m.
I've been lucky enough to use various other Pentax products and fell in love when using a K-5IIs with the FA100mm Macro F2.8, the old version); also I loved the subtle rendering of the 70DA SMC.
Outside the brand, I used the first version of Sigma 17-70, which got me numerous keepers; I'm enumerating all of these to point out that I know when a lens is merely decent, when it's really good and (from other examples, not gonna name them here) when a lens is cr*p.
Also, the fair bit of warning isn't caused just by using it on a 24Mp APS-C; a lot of the flaws are still present when downsampled by 50% (to 6Mp). Which makes me point out the final recommandation for interested buyers: don't try to buy it under *absolutely* no circumstances if you can't return it or at least without extensive testing before putting your money on the table; my copy is simply junk, I would sell it for half the price at most, and only to someone that gets directly from me the real observations.
-----------
Two different people contacted me to protest the low score I gave in this review. Before anyone else thinks that I'm writting unfair things, please try taking a photo of something with fine detail (a tree with foliage) in the medium-far distance, at least 25 meters, while using some focal length towards the long side (100-135mm). And then try telling me that the lens is sharp.
Now put it side by side with a good lens (100mm Macro for example) and compare the sharpness from both lenses. If the current reviews are right, the sharpness has a score of more than 8.0; in this case the 100mm Macro score should be not just a perfect 10, not even 11 would be enough; a score of 25 would be fair for that (on the same scale where the 18-135DC gets an 8).
   
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Idaho
Posts: 50

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 9, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: color, sharp, compact, versatile
Cons: none for what it is
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K30, K5IIs, KP   

I gave this lens a 10 for what it is...an extremely versatile compact zoom that delivers the goods in a not too expensive package. My copy is very sharp, has excellent contrast and accurately auto focuses on my bodies used with it. I took it to Italy in 2013 with a K5IIs and a da 12-24, FA 43, & a FA 77. With those lenses along the 18-135 stayed on my camera 95 % of the time. Granted, I was with a group, so I didn't have time to change lenses as I would have if I had been alone, but the churches, Pompeii, the Vatican, Sienna, Florence and Assissi were covered very well with the focal range that the 18-135 provided. Colors and fast accurate auto focus were all a 10. And this lens is so compact that it was so easy to have on my K5IIs all the time. If I needed more on the wide end I had the 12-24, but for the most part, it stayed in my camera bag. Next time I go I will probably take the 15 Limited instead of the 12-24, but no doubt the 18-135 will go along. It is my most used lens. Yes I have better, shaper glass, but my copy of the 18-135 is still plenty sharp. If I need WR, I have it with this lens. I still have LBA, but I keep reaching for this lens.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, bold colours, good AF, WR, hugely versatile
Cons: Corner IQ not great wide open.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

The strengths of this lens are: its compactness, the best AF on any Pentax lens I've had by a country mile, and WR. But beyond that, it's weaknesses are also very manageable.

My copy is properly sharp; unless your subject demands corner sharpness at the extremes of the focal range, especially at wider apertures. I find the colours bold but realistic, the contrast is excellent, and I can't remember having seen any flare. The bokeh isn't quite like a limited, but its perfectly fine. Distortion can get a bit wonky wide, closeup or tall buildings etc, but its a superzoom so it would be surprising if it did't.

If you look at any of the individual aspects of this lens' performance, maybe apart from its handling, it isn't really mindblowingly good.

But....it really is actually 'quite' good in so many ways, that when you put the whole lot together, you end up with something that is really mindblowingly useful.

Some reviews have focused on the individual characteristics and come to a negative conclusion, but in practical use, most users seem to be very happy with it, myself included. When walking around, I tend to set it to f8, adjusting only for shots which need it, and I get really super sharp results across the frame, from about 20mm to 100mm. Consistently. At 18mm it is still very useable, especially at f10 but you just start to see the corners lose it a tiny bit.

Haven't tried the 16-85, but its becoming easier to pick this lens up little a bit cheaper, and as a go anywhere do anything lens it becomes a must have I reckon.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Elko, Nevada
Posts: 1,232

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 13, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, very flexible, light, waterproof
Cons: It is a zoom??
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5iiS   

I like this lens. I mean, I really like this lens.

I didn't expect to as I don't usually have a lot of use for zooms, preferring the greater IQ capable from a prime. And even after having used this lens for awhile I still prefer primes. They are almost always smaller, lighter, faster, with better IQ. But I will keep this lens in spite of this.

I really, really like this lens!

For starters, it is waterproof, and that was really the entire reason for buying it. So far it has not let me down on that front. But that isn't really why I like this lens so much.

I mean, it is pretty light, it handles nicely, and it is quite flexible due to the zoom range.But again, all that is nice but it isn't why I really like this lens.

It is sharp, even to the corners in my opinion. It just happens to be amazingly sharp in the center. It has low distortion. But that still is not the reason I like this lens.

Have I mentioned that I really like this lens? Well...I do.

So why do I like this lens so much. Because it is FAST!!! It focuses fast. It doesn't hunt around to find the correct focus, and that makes it even faster.

This will sound a bit weird to a lot of you, but I prefer manual focus because I am almost always faster and more accurate than auto focus. But not with this lens. I press the AF button and it is there...right now! Even if the subject is moving I can still maintain focus in almost all situations.

If Pentax is going to build all their lenses like this I may finally sell off my Canon equipment.

THAT is why I really like this lens!!! The rest is nice and is icing on the cake. But If it did not focus so quickly it would have been sold a long time ago.

Remember? I don't like zoom lenses.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 332

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 5, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $230.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: versatile focal length, fast AF
Cons: CA is kinda bad sometimes, no infinite focus mark on focus ring
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3   

Great lens, especially if you are a beginner or you want a WR kit. This lens is very nice overall, and I'll recommend it if you are looking for a cheaper, but good quality lens that is WR. I've used it for astrophotography, landscapes, and portraits, and it's never let me down.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2015
Location: South West UK
Posts: 687

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 4, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: WR, Handling, Reasonable IQ for range
Cons: Soft here and there, slow
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 6    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50, K3II   

I don't believe in rating a lens based on its price, or its competition, or what you would expect...otherwise if a poor lens is a '9' because it is cheap and a good lens is a '7' because it is expensive and xyz lens is cheaper, ratings can't be compared.

So, to the 18-135... I got mine included as a kit for a bit more than the standard 18-55. I'm glad I chose the 18-135, it is a good amateur kit lens upgrade, but I wouldn't purchase it now, and certainly not at the standalone retail price. I have kept it in my drawer because it is WR, and none of my other lenses are, but that is the only reason....and it still barely gets used, only for family shots when it is wet out.

It is fairly sharp in the middle of the frame in the middle of the range and at narrower apertures. But it is soft at the corners, at the long and wide ends and 'wide open' (as much as it ever is wide). Because of this it is quite limiting if you desire easy bokeh, want to use it in low light, or use it for anything where edge sharpness matters.

On the plus side, autofocus is excellent...nearly silent, but without the SDM worries, very fast and fairly accurate with very little hunting. It has quick shift, which is great, and overall it handles well although maybe the focus ring could be a bit wider if you tend to manual focus much. It is small for its range, and light.

Overall, a great upgraded kit lens, but still a kit lens nonetheless. If you want absolute IQ, look elsewhere, but if you're looking for an all-round WR kit lens for general purpose photography or where weight is a factor, it is worth the extra on a kit.
   
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 157

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 3, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: compact, rugged, very versatile zoom range, very sharp in the center, fast and silent AFAF
Cons: corner weakness at the long end and also when fully open at 18
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3 and K30   

Got this lens bundled with K30 30 months ago, and it has been my most used lens since.
Works fine on K30, works better on K3, thanks to its much improved AF.

This lens must be rated as regards to what it has been designed for: a compact and rugged do-everything super zoom.

Dont expect the optical performance of a DA limited prime: I have DA15, DA21, DA35macro, DA40 and DA70, and also DA35f2.4 and FA35 f1.7. I enjoy their outstanding image quality when carrying a bag with several lenses or changing lenses is not an issue.

I also have the DA17-70 f4, which has much better optical performance and is brighter at 70. Today it has been replaced by DA16-85, which I probably would have bought if I had not had the DA18-135.

But these lenses are much bigger, the difference is quite sensible when hiking or sightseeing, they start wider, which is very nice, but you do need another lens for telephoto, for instance I have DA55-300, which is OK for shooting wildlife handheld, but is a big lens to add to your bag, and DA50-200, which is very light and compact but not so good as DA18-135 on their common range.

What I like in DA 18-135 is it is a no-brainer, which delivers nice pictures all across its range.
The center sharpness allows severe cropping on the 24MP K3. The edge softness doesnt matter that much, as the corners are out of focus in portraits or action shots, and you get acceptable sharpness for landscapes when stopped down at f8-f11.

There are better specialized lenses, but, when I go out not knowing the kind of scene I will be shooting at, I know that DA18-135 can be my only lens and yet will do the job, even in dusty or wet environments, without having to carry other lenses and change lenses in the field.

When mounted with DA 18-135, my K3 or K30 are not bigger than my superzoom Fuji X-S1 small sensor bridge, has almost the same versatility, and is about the same weight (lighter with K30, a bit heavier with K3). And it delivers APS-C IQ and DSLR instant PDAF even in darkness.

I add these few sentences because some complain that the lens performance is poor at the long end, too much corner softness and aberrations. I see it the other way round: from 18 to 70, the lens performs quite well, stopped down it is as good as the competing transtandard zooms which usually dont go longer than 70 or 85. Between 85 and 135, the center sharpness and the contrast both remain quite good, which is much more convenient than having to change lens on the field
And dont forget that the borders are often out of focus in portrait and wildlife shots.
In landscape, pixel peepers may not be happy, but, when viewing the pictures full screen on a 55" 4K OLED TV, wow!

The queen of hearts by Denis Bousquet, sur Flickr

15 IMGP1118_modifié-1-LR-20150503 by Denis Bousquet, sur Flickr

Polynesian sunrise by Denis Bousquet, sur Flickr

IMGP0834 by Denis Bousquet, sur Flickr
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Range, silent focusing, WR
Cons: Horrible fringing, corner sharpness
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 4    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-S2   

When I got this lens in a kit with my K-S2, I wanted to love it but I just can't bring myself to. The silent focusing is nice, the WR is convenient and the range is pretty good. But it is expensive, especially bought on its own, and the lack of corner sharpness and horrific fringing which seems to be a different colour in every photo and is often hard to completely remove in Camera RAW, mean that I look at a lot of photos thinking how good they could have been if I hadn't used this lens - even if I'd had to use a shorter but better lens and crop. It also makes the K-S2 front heavy, and it hangs awkwardly off the strap.

You would expect some compromises in a long range zoom, and I accept that, but my copy of this lens, at least, does badly compared to my Tamron 18-200 Di II. The Tamron also struggles with fringing, but its corners are much better and it cost a third of the price of this lens. My 1st generation 18-55 gives the same quality photos as the 18-135 within that range.

If this lens was cheaper, I would overlook a lot more of its optical issues. But since it commands such a price premium over other long range zooms and the 18-50, I can't recommend this lens at current prices.
   
Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 4,767
Lens Review Date: August 10, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $415.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality, WR, great zoom range, sharpness
Cons: Soft in the corners
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

The 18-135 is a great general purpose lens. It is ideal for beginners and enthusiasts as well IMO. When I am not sure exactly which lens to take, I generally pick this lens. It is wide enough to get good street shots, and just long enough to get that tele shot you might have missed with a shorter lens. It is not " macro " but it can focus quite close to give some impressive nature photographs of insects and flowers etc. The WR is a bonus with this lens if shooting close to moving water on in the snow. The autofocus is very reliable and trustworthy on my copy. It is a very good companion for the K-3. I can highly recommend this little gem of a lens
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2014
Location: Kuala Lumpur
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: July 10, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Weather Resistance, Walk around
Cons: not enough sharp in the corners
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

There are many reviews for this lens in this forum. I have just used this lens for three days.

My points:

1. Best walk around lens, I still haven't utilized the WR option, though I used it without fear during misty day on hill station. All other super-zooms Tamron, Sigma 18-200, 18-250, you can not take it out during rainy season. Also you may miss 135-250 range!
2. If you compare with Tamron superzooms 18-200, it is sharp. But the images from 18-135 are not sharp at the corners. So you tend to keep the subject at the center.
3. The lens produces sharp images at f8, but you must know in which condition you really want to use it.
4. Autofocus is not a big trouble.
5. Manual Focusing is bit difficult.

I suggest this as a beginner lens instead of 18-55 WR.

Here are my photos taken two days before.



[/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/J3gBLq]Path to the jungle[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/vjpeektures/]VJ Peektures[/url], on Flickr" target="_blank">

[/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/JPukD7]Sometimes eating makes me to think[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/vjpeektures/]VJ Peektures[/url], on Flickr" target="_blank">
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,265
Lens Review Date: April 10, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Convenient range, build quality for the price, excellent AF, IQ notably better than 18-55 kit zooms
Cons: Some aberrations, not so sharp towards the long end
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

Since I started with Pentax, I’ve been through a number of cheap normal zooms: the DA18-55 version 2 was OK at first, but after getting some better lenses, the output seemed flat; the F35-70 was very nice, but prone to flair and limited in range, the FA24-90 was a pretty good lens, but my copy did not inspire confidence mechanically and eventually the AF starting playing up. Now I’ve got the DA18-135 and I think I could have saved myself a lot of hassle and frustration by just getting this as soon as it was released.

My intention in getting this lens was to have a convenient walk-around lens for when I’m on trips of with the family and I don’t want to hold people up by swapping primes all the time. I was also looking forward to quiet focusing and having a solidly made WR lens to go on my K-5 IIs. It has quickly proved to be pretty much perfect for this purpose.

I was pleasantly surprised by two aspects of this lens. Firstly, the quality of the bokeh is really quite nice at the long end. It means I can get some nice isolation in portraits if I have the space to step back far enough (not always easy here in Japan). Also the autofocus is much better than any other Pentax lens I have used - very quick and with little hunting. On my first trip with this lens, I was on the back of a boat with seagulls swooping around chasing the vessel. I have no experience of shooting birds in flight, but I was amazed by how well the lens and the K-5 IIs could keep up. I ended up getting a lot more focused and sharp shots that I would have expected.

Considering the quality and convenience on offer, I’d recommend any newcomer to Pentax to get this as part of a kit as a first lens. It’s a lot better than the cheaper kit lenses, and it's a lens you’re likely to want to keep in the long term.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Saskatoon
Posts: 1,370
Lens Review Date: April 4, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: AF, sharpness, focal length range, practicality, price
Cons: purple fringing, placement of quickshift focus ring
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

None of my ratings are relative to price or being a 7.5x zoom lens, I'm comparing sharpness to the Tamron 90mm macro (I've done 100% crop comparisons of the same scene), aberrations to a DA 50 (which doesn't need any corrections) and the SMC A 50mm f1.7 for bokeh (if the Tamron's colours were better, I would favour it for bokeh over the A 50 but that's not the subject of this review). I always apply distortion correction in post-processing and often have to correct for purple fringing in PP as well. There are situations (mainly indoors) where I wish I had a wider aperture in a zoom lens and it looks a bit silly or intimidating (depending on who you ask) when it is extended out to 135mm. I can't find anything else negative to say about this lens, which I've had since September 2013 (I just realized today that I had never posted a review of it here.)

Flare resistance is good for a zoom lens and slightly soft corners shouldn't be a concern unless you are doing art reproductions. Auto-focus is fast, quiet and accurate. It isn't too heavy for the K-30 and the focal length range covers what I need 90% of the time. It's the ultimate walk-around or all-purpose lens, in my opinion. Other lenses can do one or two things better than the 18-135, but none can match it for convenience and overall value. Highly recommended.



   
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Registered: November, 2012
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 369
Lens Review Date: January 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $455.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: WR, zoom range, sharp center
Cons: Soft edges with slight CA
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 and K-5II   

Got this to substitute DA 18-55 and 50-200 KIT-lenses as the zoom range is more suited as a walk around lense. Autofocus also hunts less and sound level of course lower.
Center is sharp, but I have a bit of a problem with soft edges and CA. I use it more or less exclusively when I need a complete WR unit.
Overall it's what you can expect from a low range super zoom.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR



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