So is the 18-135 we good or not?

Started Aug 11, 2012 | Discussions
Cane
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So is the 18-135 we good or not?
Aug 11, 2012

Either I hear is just fine and people are very happy with it or it's absolutely terrible. Never seen such a wide range of opinion of one lens. So which is it?

Benoz
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to Cane, Aug 11, 2012

Cane wrote:

Either I hear is just fine and people are very happy with it or it's absolutely terrible. Never seen such a wide range of opinion of one lens. So which is it?

I am very happy with mine, but you might get the same wide range of opinion again. However I have read more about people loving this lens than the contrary.
Best thing is for you to try one and see if it delivers what you expect from it.

On my Flickr site I have some shots taken in New Zealand with the 18-135 if you're interested to look.
Cheers
Ben
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Comments are always welcome.
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jimrpdx
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yes, and no
In reply to Benoz, Aug 11, 2012

My first copy was not good, but I just picked up another and it's much better. If you buy with a good return policy, or feel like sending it to be checked/repaired, it's an excellent lens. I loved my first copy for its reasonable size, WR and silent focus, but it was easy to spot issues with color fringing and softness worse than anything I'd ever used. If you buy one be sure no in-camera corrections are enabled, so you can get an honest evaluation of any issues. It is not a DA* lens and if I look closely enough I can still find some issues; it's a superzoom design after all so compromises must be made to reach from 18 to 135mm.

I'm sure glad I tried again!
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audiobomber
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I like it!
In reply to Cane, Aug 11, 2012

Cane wrote:

Either I hear is just fine and people are very happy with it or it's absolutely terrible. Never seen such a wide range of opinion of one lens. So which is it?

Mine is good. To qualify that, it falls in the middle of my other consumer zooms; better than my two 18-55's and DA 18-250, not quite as good as my 55-300 and 16-45mm. Exactly what I expected from a medium range superzoom. Mechanically, it is miles above all these others for its WR, solid build and DC AF. The only time I take the 18-135 off the camera is to mount a prime.

When I got it, it needed +10 calibration on my K20D and was unusable on my K-x. I returned it for service under warranty, and it came back 100% calibrated. Some samples here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/bonhommed/DA18135Jpegs#
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audiobomber
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Re: I like it!
In reply to audiobomber, Aug 11, 2012

audiobomber wrote:

Mechanically, it is miles above all these others for its WR, solid build and DC AF.

I forgot to mention the rounded aperture blades. The one area where I would say the 18-135 rises above consumer grade is in the beautiful soft bokeh.
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dpnaiba
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Re: I like it!
In reply to audiobomber, Aug 11, 2012

My advice is to get it as a general walk around lens:
-good and useful range of focal lengths, including for pseudo-macro work
-WR
-fast focus
-excellent build quality

If you compare it from this point of view with the other Pentax offers there's really no competition in its price range, unless you want to go to the DA*!

I remember checking the dreaded photozone review of the 18-135 but if you look at the sharpness charts and compare with the other budget conscious WR lenses in the 18+ focal range, you can see that you can get better results from the 18-135 in their focal length.

So I guess I bought it thinking that its best choice for 18-80 something, but if I want it can go all the way to 135mm.

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IZO100
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to Cane, Aug 11, 2012

Probably the worst kit lens ever made.

"Unfortunately the testing reality revealed a mediocre optical performance at best."

http://www.photozone.de/pentax/597-pentax_18135_3556?start=2

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Jim in Hudson
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to IZO100, Aug 11, 2012

IZO100 wrote:

Probably the worst kit lens ever made.

"Unfortunately the testing reality revealed a mediocre optical performance at best."

http://www.photozone.de/pentax/597-pentax_18135_3556?start=2

Mediocre implies average so how could it be the "worst kit lens ever made"? Inquiring minds want to know.

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BLR
BLR
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to Cane, Aug 11, 2012

I use the 18-135 every week to shoot dirt track auto racing. It performs very well for me. I like the fact I don't have to change lenses to shoot on track action and victory lane. Also the WR is great for a dusty envirenment.

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audiobomber
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to IZO100, Aug 11, 2012

IZO100 wrote:

Probably the worst kit lens ever made.

Spoken like someone who's never used one.

"Unfortunately the testing reality revealed a mediocre optical performance at best."

Klaus tested a defective lens, and Pentax Germany foolishly didn't exchange it for him. Read the In-Depth review at Pentax Forums for a realistic assessment. The 18-135 clearly outperforns the DA 18-55 II, which is a fine kit lens.
http://www.pentaxforums DOT com/reviews/smc-pentax-da-18-135mm-zoom/review.html

I have a DA L 18-55. The 18-135 is sharper, has less fringing, less prone to flare, better bokeh, better colour and contrast. Distortion and vignetting favour the 18-55.
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jimrpdx
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Re: I like it!
In reply to dpnaiba, Aug 11, 2012

dpnaiba wrote:

So I guess I bought it thinking that its best choice for 18-80 something, but if I want it can go all the way to 135mm.

This is a great way to look at it. Better than the 18-55 in its range, and can go longer - but if you do you might want to touch up with post-processing work for best results. And given its WR and quiet focus it's one of a kind.. so far. If the 18-55 range is enough you'll save money and be satisfied, but for a few more dollars (and with kit prices it's a steal) you get some great features.
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Gary Martin
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Sample Variations
In reply to audiobomber, Aug 11, 2012

Klaus tested a defective lens, and Pentax Germany foolishly didn't exchange it for him. Read the In-Depth review at Pentax Forums for a realistic assessment. The 18-135 clearly outperforns the DA 18-55 II, which is a fine kit lens.
http://www.pentaxforums DOT com/reviews/smc-pentax-da-18-135mm-zoom/review.html

Just to complicate things, my 18-55WR is vastly better than the sample used by Pentax Forums for their review, which looks pretty bad to be honest. Essentially, there are a LOT of sample variations out there, maybe more for "kit" lenses which are produced in large quantities. My advice: when you buy a new lens, test extensively, and keep returning it until you get a good copy.

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IZO100
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Sample Variations - Not according to Pentax
In reply to Gary Martin, Aug 11, 2012

this what they said at the end of the review:

"Just to mention again - we couldn't believe the rather poor performance so we asked the local Pentax service in Hamburg/Germany for an assessment of the situation. Result: the lens is within factory specifications."

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IZO100
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, Aug 11, 2012

Adj. 1. mediocre - moderate to inferior in quality; "they improved the quality from mediocre to above average"
second-rate
inferior - of low or inferior quality

2. mediocre - lacking exceptional quality or ability; "a novel of average merit"; "only a fair performance of the sonata"; "in fair health"; "the caliber of the students has gone from mediocre to above average"; "the performance was middling at best"
middling, average, fair

ordinary - not exceptional in any way especially in quality or ability or size or degree; "ordinary everyday objects"; "ordinary decency"; "an ordinary day"; "an ordinary wine"

3. mediocre - poor to middling in quality; "there have been good and mediocre and bad artists"

bad - having undesirable or negative qualities; "a bad report card"; "his sloppy appearance made a bad impression"; "a bad little boy"; "clothes in bad shape"; "a bad cut"; "bad luck"; "the news was very bad"; "the reviews were bad"; "the pay is bad"; "it was a bad light for reading"; "the movie was a bad choice"

its a terrible lens, wake up.

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IZO100
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to audiobomber, Aug 11, 2012

This is what Pentax Germany said about their copy:

"Just to mention again - we couldn't believe the rather poor performance so we asked the local Pentax service in Hamburg/Germany for an assessment of the situation. Result: the lens is within factory specifications." "

And according to photozone, the 18-55 is a better choice:
http://www.photozone.de/pentax/641-pentax1855f3556wr?start=1

Pentax fanboys should start to realize that Pentax have a lot of avergae and overpriced lens.

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dpnaiba
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to IZO100, Aug 11, 2012

And you're saying this based on the photozone review or your own use / impressions?

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Jim in Hudson
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to IZO100, Aug 11, 2012

IZO100 wrote:

Adj. 1. mediocre - moderate to inferior in quality; "they improved the quality from mediocre to above average"
second-rate
inferior - of low or inferior quality

2. mediocre - lacking exceptional quality or ability; "a novel of average merit"; "only a fair performance of the sonata"; "in fair health"; "the caliber of the students has gone from mediocre to above average"; "the performance was middling at best"
middling, average, fair

ordinary - not exceptional in any way especially in quality or ability or size or degree; "ordinary everyday objects"; "ordinary decency"; "an ordinary day"; "an ordinary wine"

3. mediocre - poor to middling in quality; "there have been good and mediocre and bad artists"

bad - having undesirable or negative qualities; "a bad report card"; "his sloppy appearance made a bad impression"; "a bad little boy"; "clothes in bad shape"; "a bad cut"; "bad luck"; "the news was very bad"; "the reviews were bad"; "the pay is bad"; "it was a bad light for reading"; "the movie was a bad choice"

its a terrible lens, wake up.

Here's a better idea -- show us all the "mediocre" photos you've taken with your DA 18-135 WR.

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flektogon
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to IZO100, Aug 11, 2012

IZO100 wrote:

This is what Pentax Germany said about their copy:

"Just to mention again - we couldn't believe the rather poor performance so we asked the local Pentax service in Hamburg/Germany for an assessment of the situation. Result: the lens is within factory specifications." "

And according to photozone, the 18-55 is a better choice:
http://www.photozone.de/pentax/641-pentax1855f3556wr?start=1

Pentax fanboys should start to realize that Pentax have a lot of avergae and overpriced lens.

+1

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audiobomber
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Re: So is the 18-135 we good or not?
In reply to IZO100, Aug 11, 2012

IZO100 wrote:

Pentax fanboys should start to realize that Pentax have a lot of avergae and overpriced lens.

What they should realize is that you go from forum to forum sniping and stirring up trouble, which makes you a troll. You have nothing to say about this lens other than parroting Photozine.
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dpnaiba
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Re: I like it!
In reply to jimrpdx, Aug 11, 2012

Yep,

Anyway, I'm not the world's best photographer or judge or DOF and focus, but for me the fact that I could go on vacation with almost just the 18-135 meant a lot when traveling with a small one and all his luggage.

Also going to the seaside, didn't have to worry about sand and water!

These photos should be 100% samples, for pixel peepers. I don't do that anymore and am happy with 24" monitor size pics, but anyway, you can check them out. Also IIRC i didn't apply more than default sharpening in Capture One, but haven't checked back to be sure!

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