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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 
 8.2
Aberrations 
 7.7
Bokeh 
 8.2
Autofocus 
 9.4
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 8.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
113 402,708 Thu January 12, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $435.70 8.63
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
$337 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



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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Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 948

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 12, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K30   

I bought this lens as a kit with my K30.

My copy is really sharp in the centre. That sharpness highlights the somewhat soft edges. I understand that this is a compromise being a long zoom.

It provides very good contrasts, although OOF rendering is obviously inferior to a prime.

This is my lens when I can only pick up just one. It's quite good for outdoor travel, especially while towing (or being towed) by wife and daughter.

The WR, albeit I haven't tested it yet provides a second layer of assurance under harsh environment. Quite pricey, but I think that it's a must have because it provides very good (not great) IQ, long reach and peace of mind. And it's very compact too.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,790

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 12, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $388.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Range weather sealing
Cons: Distortion, corners
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

I give it a 9 but it's really an 8.5. It's a WR great FL lens that is compact, very fast to focus and weather sealed. Of course there are compromises.

First, this is a very versatile lens while staying relatively compact. You get great functionality out of this lens with its FL.

Second, it's weather sealing is a huge bonus to getting your shots whatever the weather. Pairs up nicely with the Pentax prosumer line of cameras.

Third, the DC motor is quiet, accurate, and above all, fast to autofocus.

Fourth, nice bokeh. Not high-end prime nice but pretty darn good. You cannot knock this lens for its bokeh.

Fifth, build quality is very, very good; a solid piece of glass a cut above the Canikon competition for sure.

Here is the catch with this lens. Wide open and fully zoomed it needs to be stopped down to avoid being too soft in the corners. That's the big compromise coming from all that versatility. This is a lens primarily aimed at outdoor use so available light outdoors is usually not much of a problem.

The distortion issue (the only really obvious aberration) is much easier to deal with by simply hitting Info on your camera and turning to the ON position the distortion correction option. This solves a great amount of the perceived distortion and I fully believe this lens is designed around that in-camera setting.

I believe this lens got a bad rap from sources who are purists in optical quality but not field and real world use of their gear. This is plain wrong as this lens delivers the goods at a great price for its ruggedness, size, and versatility.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: west berks, GB.
Posts: 3

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Range, lightweight, focus speen, silent, WR, one lens choice.
Cons: None I have found.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

This lens has been up and down mountains with me for the last 18 months and I have had no problems.
The focusing is fast and silent. The range is just right for a large amount of my photography. I used to need at least two lenses and all the attendant problems of lens changing in often inclement weather. The WR means I have no worries about the weather and I get pictures I would miss previously.
The K5 and this lens are light enough to be carried in a holster attached to my rucksack hip belt, allowing quick access and grabbed shots as I travel. This is a big advantage when moving.
I find some of my other lenses have been unused since I have had this lens.

Very happy with this lens and very glad I bought it.

Update September 2013

I'm still very happy with this lens and it gets used a lot. Although it may not be the most optically perfect lens, it makes pictures just fine. The following few pics show what it can do.

Scotland February 2013

Lake district, England July 2013
Wales, September 2013.
   
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Cardiff, UK
Posts: 43

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: range, weight, sharpness, contrast, colour, WR
Cons: some distortion at the wide end
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

This lens has been much maligned in some places. It does not deserve to be. There may, of course, be some variation in quality between individual examples. I tried two. The first was excellent. Unfortunately, its motor failed after about half an hour (I suspect there was a problem with the clutch mechanism; but I think this is likely to be a one off given the reputation for reliability of this lens). The second copy has no mechanical issues. It is reassuringly pretty much just like the first optically which, given the poor reviews, means one has a right to be shocked with regard to just how good it is. The bokeh is fine. The contrast and colour are also excellent. The sharpness (which is where this lens has come in for some flack) is surprisingly good - in fact, it is better than good. Although it doesn't quite match them, the image quality is often reminiscent of some prime lenses in the centre of the frame (I have in mind comparison with the DA Limited 70mm and the 35mm Macro; also the FA 50mm f1.4 - which is an unbeatable lens). This surprised me. What was more surprising was that the excellent sharpness extends across most of the frame up to a focal length of around 90mm - even corners very good. Thereafter there is some softening in the extreme corners, but the centre and most of the frame remains as sharp as one could wish for. So far, no problems with CA, either (I've tried to get some but to no avail). On top of this, this lens is small, light and weather resistant; it also has a well thought out focus ring which is easy to use (nothing like the nightmares that trying manual focus with the DA 17-70 is likely to give you). The 17-70 makes a good lens for comparison. The 18-135mm lens strikes me as being far preferable overall: it is sharper and has better reach, it is smaller, lighter, shares the 17-70s excellent contrast and colour, and has better bokeh possibilities - simply because of the longer focal lengths available. The 18-135 obviously supersedes the 18-250 as a travel lens, but as the previous comparison suggests, it strikes me as being much better than merely that. Apart from some distortion at the wide end (not difficult to correct) this is almost as good as the DA 16-45 for most uses, which is saying something. In all, then, a fine lens.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Newark, Delaware
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: May 8, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, auto focus motor, IQ, sharp for a zoom lens
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 K-30   

Super lens, sharp for a zoom, quick and quiet focus. This lens lives on my camera about 90% of the time.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2013
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 221

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 6, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Weather resistant, decent IQ, quiet, sharp.
Cons: Zoom creep, small focus ring makes it easy to move focus ring along with it, not the fastest.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 II   

Excellent kit lense, with the added insurance of being weather resistant. I've found that it does have its sweet spots (40-70mm), it is sharp all the way through, at least at the center. Here are a couple of 135mm examples to prove it:
135mm f5.6 cropped

North Park - Spring 2013 by JAB2980, on Flickr
135mm f5.6 cropped

North Park - Spring 2013 by JAB2980, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 6

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Water and dust sealed, sharp and fast
Cons: Price without body
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

Perfect, perfect and again perfect lens.

Previous I had Pentax K-r with stock DA 18-55, SMC Pentax-FA 28-105mm F3.2-4.5 AL [IF] and SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8.

Nowaday, I have Pentax K-30 + DA 18-135 bought in set. For a long time I was deciding whether to buy this set or not. Finally, I ignored the negative reviews on the web (photozone) and purchased a this new set. Final price for both was $1100. It is very good price for boxed lens,if you subtrac price of K30 body. It is about $350 :-) for lens itself. I must say, that I am using 18-135 lens constantly on K30 body. It's the perfect all-purpose lens. I do not have, problems with sharpness, mentioned in the photozone review. When compared with the above objectives, this completely overcomes in important parameters. Maybe only bokeh is better on FA 28-105 and FA 100-300. I can only recommend this 18-135 lens. it is really sharp and fast.

Otherwise, it is also a big difference between the K-r body and the K30 body. Incredible progress!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Norway
Posts: 385

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Rather small for this type of lens
Cons: Slow at f/5.6
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

This is a solid performer. It is well made and of high quality. Image quality is good, but has some limitations. But nothing more than expected from a lens of this type. Biggest drawback is its rather small aperture of only f/5.6 at the longest focal length. But I have no problem with recommending this lens. If you want a super zoom, this is probably the best one available for Pentax.

   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: March 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, great reach for travel and everyday use
Cons: a bit heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   



An example of a cluttered image but every detail is there. Sharp wide open and best when stopped down. I usually shot at f8.



Nice flare control. Indeed it has a round bokeh as presented by the round blades.



A nice all around lens indeed.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 1,056

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 20, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Practicality, build quality, weather sealing
Cons: Zoom creep, lack of distance scale
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

Really sturdy, practical lens with an ideal (for me) zoom range. If you've never had a lens with a DC motor, it will astound you how silent it is. The biggest issue is zoom creep, which happens any time I walk around with it. Too bad they didn't include a lock button.

Overall a solid walk around lens with terrific IQ stopped down a bit.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 3,482
Lens Review Date: January 31, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: All-arounder, WR, sturdy
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-01   

I bought the lens for my wife's K-01. The lens is an excellent all-arounder. Its versatility is excellent, while the lens remains compact (important for a K-01). The operation is smooth, silent, and the AF is very nice IMO. The price was reasonable when I bought it (at a time of Chrismas special).

I have also a DA18-250mm that I use with my K-7. Having now used both systems (K-01 + DA8-135mm) and (K-7 + DA18-250mm), I would rate the DA18-135mm comparable to the DA8-250mm in terms of IQ. The zoom and AF is better with the DA18-135mm. The DA18-135mm is WR. But the DA18-250mm has more reach and it was slightly cheaper. All in all, I tend to find both lenses comparable in many aspects, with some advantages for each, but no clear winner. Or, ... I should say: these two lenses are both clear winners in my opinion.

Finally I can recommend strongly the DA18-135mm for any one in need of an all-around lens.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Burnt Store Marina, Punta Gorda, Fl
Posts: 16

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $459.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good walk-around lens. WR feature a big plus.
Cons: Would have like a little more reach.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

Went on a recent tour. It rained most of the time. Others were doing all they could to protect their gear; not me. Just wiped off with no problem. I spend most of my time around salt water and sand. Had to have at least one WR lens. I would have liked it if it went to 200mm. Overall a good all purpose lens.
Up date: Just got back from a 2 wk tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway; one end to the other . Had 3 other lens with me. Tried them all. By the end of the trip this was the only lens I was using. Auto focus did not fail even once. This lens, on my K5, handles like it was made for the K5. My daughter, who is a Professional Photographer, used it one afternoon and was very impressed. She has a full frame Cannon and only uses F2.8 Lenses. She loved the K5 with the 18-135. Felt it handled easier then her heavier outfit and was a joy. Have now taken 1000's of snaps with this lens and very glad I purchased it. Go for it.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2012
Posts: 20

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 18, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $375.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: WR, nice range, versatile, build
Cons: sharpness at end of range
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

This lens is pretty great considering the price, range, and weather-sealing. I backpack long distances and have to deal with all sorts of exposure dangers. Needless to say, having a tough, smallish, weather-sealed lens is a great benefit. Stashing a non-WR camera and lens isn't hard, but then you're missing day(s) of shots. Maybe even more importantly, the 18-135 range is just wide enough for landscape while also giving the range to shoot wildlife. It also has underrated macro performance (close-focus at 135 and bokeh are good), and the hood design is easy to use polarizers with. My only major complaint with the 18-135 as a backpacking lens is that the flare resistance is poor, which makes sunrise/sunset shots tough.

That being said, I have owned both this and the DA 18-250 and would say they have comparable IQ (despite the 18-250 having double range). I have also tried the 17-70 pretty extensively and would consider it the best of the three. This lens is better than the 18-55 WR was in every way.

If you're like me and need the WR and build quality, by all means get this lens and you will love it. If you don't need the WR, then this lens probably won't feel like a "9." The 17-70 is the choice for overall IQ, while the 18-250 is a true do-it-all.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Brighton, United Kingdom
Posts: 311

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Versatility / Weather Proofing / Colour Rendition
Cons: Speed
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K30   

This lens represents a significant upgrade on the 18-55mm DA kit lens. Infact, I would say they are not really in the same league.

I decided to go for this lens as part of a K30 kit mainly due it's versatility combined with its weather resistant (WR) capability. What use is a WR lens if you have to swap it out for another one to get the shot? This way I can go walkabout in all climates, have good versatility and be confident my equipment is well protected.

In terms on build quality, the lens feels solid and smooth in use. The zoom control is large and easy to use, although this is somewhat to the detriment of manual focus abilities due to the small MF ring (although I doubt this is the kind of lens you buy if manual focus is your thing!). The lens also benefits from an inbuilt DC motor for auto focus, which I found to be excellent, and results in great AF performance - I think Pentax should consider using this motor in more lenses.

Optically, the lens is surprisingly good. Although it can sometimes get a bad rep, I have found it to be excellent - I think sometimes people place too much weight on contrived artificial lens reviews, which although useful need to be considered in relation to a rounded whole. I've not found any major issues with my lens, thought the zoom range. Some example shots:


Sunshine in Red by Pheo, on Flickr


The F Line by Pheo, on Flickr

As you can see I tend to shoot at the latter end of the zoom range!

The only disadvantage I've found so far is the speed, or lack thereof. Although this isn't surprising, given the price and use case.

Overall, compare this lens to something in a similar class /budget and it will fair well to excellent. Anyone trying to compare it to say, a Limited lens, or a 24-70 L is somewhat foolish. Personally, I'm more than pleased with mine and would encourage the extra outlay over the 18-55.
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: London
Posts: 157

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 10, 2012 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: wr, range
Cons: sharpness everywhere, tiny focus ring, price
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 4    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5iis   

I haven't owned many lenses but this is by far the worst. I returned it after 2 weeks, and I was stunned how bad it was. Throughout the range you get kit lens sharpness, and 135mm is mush. Distortion is apparent at 18mm and the midrange. Bokeh is harsh. The autofocus and the wr is a plus, but really this is a kit lens with a long end, and is worth around $200. Sharpness is really quite horrible, you need to stop it down to f8 to get any decent iq, and 100-135mm is unusable until f8. 18-24 is OK, but you need to stop it down to f5.6 there to get decent sharpness. I traded it in for the 17-70 and haven't looked back. I admit no wr is a concern, but I get superb sharpness wide open at any focal length, great mfd and bokeh, and semi-wr, for the SAME PRICE! IF this lens was $200, sure I would try it, but at this price range you have so many alternatives. I recently purchased a Tamron 70-200 for $100 more and the sharpness is beautiful and everything about it is awesome, for $100 more. Worst value lens, and I don't recommend it to anyone, but beginners be wary! Get the 18-55 which imo has equal/better iq because of the small focal range and still has wr. Pick up a 50mm prime and you have two good lenses in your bag. Top class? No, but better than this.
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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