Buying the DA 18-135? @135mm it could be better, but could also be worse.

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citrontokyo
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Buying the DA 18-135? @135mm it could be better, but could also be worse.
2 months ago

This post is for prospective buyers wondering how the 18-135 does at 135mm. Definitely could be better, but also could be worse. Hand-held. Edit: Click on the photo to blow it up to 1:1.

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Leandros S
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To be honest...
In reply to citrontokyo, 2 months ago

To be honest, considering the K-5's fairly strong AA filter, this looks like it's at the limit of the resolution for that camera. Maybe a 100% crop would tell more, but I don't see a reason here to criticise the lens.

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Heie2
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Re: To be honest...
In reply to Leandros S, 2 months ago

Speaking of the 18-135....stay tuned for the in-depth review on Pentax Forums. I'm adding the finishing touches right now and should hopefully be published within a week. 15 pages, Compared against the 18-55 and the Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4  "Contemporary," 100's of sample photos (the sharpness page alone has almost 200), and 30 RAW files to download.

It's a phenomenal lens for the price and especially because it's weather sealed.

-Heie

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Need affordable /weather sealing/ in a DSLR you can trust?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo61t5fH6Qw&feature=player_embedded
Think there aren't any opportunities to shoot in poor weather, and thus no benefits to weather sealing?
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&message=42338261

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Gary Martin
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Re: Also to be honest...
In reply to Leandros S, 2 months ago

Leandros S wrote:

To be honest, considering the K-5's fairly strong AA filter, this looks like it's at the limit of the resolution for that camera. Maybe a 100% crop would tell more, but I don't see a reason here to criticise the lens.

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No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

... the main criticism of the 18-135 is its *edge* sharpness, which has tested to be fairly dismal at certain focal length ranges. If you don't need sharp edges (the posted pic for example) then you should have no problem with this lens.

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Heie2
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Re: Also to be honest...
In reply to Gary Martin, 2 months ago

Gary Martin wrote:

Leandros S wrote:

To be honest, considering the K-5's fairly strong AA filter, this looks like it's at the limit of the resolution for that camera. Maybe a 100% crop would tell more, but I don't see a reason here to criticise the lens.

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No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

... the main criticism of the 18-135 is its *edge* sharpness, which has tested to be fairly dismal at certain focal length ranges. If you don't need sharp edges (the posted pic for example) then you should have no problem with this lens.

Agreed on the underwhelming edge sharpness, clarity, and contrast, and for the most part, across the focal length range, especially the extremes (min and max zoom).

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Need affordable /weather sealing/ in a DSLR you can trust?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo61t5fH6Qw&feature=player_embedded
Think there aren't any opportunities to shoot in poor weather, and thus no benefits to weather sealing?
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&message=42338261

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jhmos
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Re: Also to be honest...
In reply to Heie2, 2 months ago

CA is quite evident at 135mm in some images but getting down to 100mm and below its fine. Here is an image converted from a RAW file with minimal processing.

Zooming in on most of the frame shows CA at 135mm

This is cropped to the right hand edge.

The in-camera jpg processing does an excellent job correcting CA though. Below is the same image from the K-3 JPG with all corrections turned on.

I'll look forward to the review and feel free to add these images if the are of any use.

John.

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Heie2
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Re: Also to be honest...
In reply to jhmos, 2 months ago

Thanks John - I'd love to through the water OOF bokeh with CA to the image, but it's 100% complete. Just waiting for Adam to push the "Publish" button

I'll be sure to link to it here when it's up.

Thanks!

Heie

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Need affordable /weather sealing/ in a DSLR you can trust?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo61t5fH6Qw&feature=player_embedded
Think there aren't any opportunities to shoot in poor weather, and thus no benefits to weather sealing?
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&message=42338261

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audiobomber
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Re: Also to be honest...
In reply to jhmos, 2 months ago

jhmos wrote:

CA is quite evident at 135mm in some images but getting down to 100mm and below its fine. Here is an image converted from a RAW file with minimal processing.

I'm sure I've never seen anything like that from my copy. I don't think I've seen CA that bad since just after the 18-135 came out. There were a few people here who got bad ones.

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Dan

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citrontokyo
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Re: To be honest...
In reply to Leandros S, 2 months ago

Leandros S wrote:

To be honest, considering the K-5's fairly strong AA filter, this looks like it's at the limit of the resolution for that camera. Maybe a 100% crop would tell more, but I don't see a reason here to criticise the lens.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

Yeah, I don't know if it's the sensor or the lens. When you look at it 1:1, it's sharper than I'd expect for this lens at 135mm, but it's definitely lacking the detail that my FA100 macro would give. I know that's being overly critical, and I should have taken a photo at 100mm just to get an idea.

Still, I'm very pleased with the output of this semi-mega zoom. I don't shoot brick walls, and it's something I can take with me anywhere (this was an on-and-off rainy day) so I can't really complain. I shoot RAW and convert in-camera to JPEG using all of the software corrections, and it seems decent.

Well worth the 500$ I paid roughly 2 1/2 years ago.

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kenwklau
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Re: To be honest...
In reply to citrontokyo, 2 months ago

Leandros S wrote:

To be honest, considering the K-5's fairly strong AA filter, this looks like it's at the limit of the resolution for that camera. Maybe a 100% crop would tell more, but I don't see a reason here to criticise the lens.

-- hide signature --

No amount of perceived entitlement can replace actual expertise.

Yeah, I don't know if it's the sensor or the lens. When you look at it 1:1, it's sharper than I'd expect for this lens at 135mm, but it's definitely lacking the detail that my FA100 macro would give. I know that's being overly critical, and I should have taken a photo at 100mm just to get an idea.

Still, I'm very pleased with the output of this semi-mega zoom. I don't shoot brick walls, and it's something I can take with me anywhere (this was an on-and-off rainy day) so I can't really complain. I shoot RAW and convert in-camera to JPEG using all of the software corrections, and it seems decent.

Well worth the 500$ I paid roughly 2 1/2 years ago.

Fuji has a new 18-135WR lens selling for U$900, making this Pentax lens much better value. I have no complaint about my copy.
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Ken

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OpticsEngineer
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Re: Buying the DA 18-135? @135mm it could be better, but could also be worse.
In reply to citrontokyo, 2 months ago

I was not sure what your point was.  But it revived my curiosity about the 18-135.  So this afternoon I shot a series of test shots with my K3 of a target board filling the the center 30% of the lens at 18, 24, 35, 50, 70, 100 and 135 mm.  I found the center sharpness stays pretty much constant throughout the zoom range.  I also did the same thing with my Nikon D7100+Nikon-18-140 and Sony A65+Sony-18-135.   My Pentax did a bit better than the Nikon and Sony on center sharpness.

A few weeks ago, with target boards filling the entire field of view of the camera, I found that for edge and corner sharpness, the Nikon 18-140 does a lot a better than my Pentax 18-135.

Sony 18-135 is about the same as the Pentax 18-135 in terms of there being  a fall of in resolution at the edges.  I am always a bit puzzled why the Sony 18-135 does not gather the same criticisms as the Pentax 18-135 considering how similar they are in terms of resolution fall at the edges.    It is hard to compare the Sony setup to the Nikon and Pentax though.   The Sony has an AA filter whereas the K3 and D7100 do not.  The AA filter, unsurprisingly, really reduces the resolution when you pixel peep.   But for that you do not get the moire patterns that occur with the test charts.

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Leandros S
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Re: Buying the DA 18-135? @135mm it could be better, but could also be worse.
In reply to OpticsEngineer, 2 months ago

OpticsEngineer wrote:

Sony 18-135 is about the same as the Pentax 18-135 in terms of there being a fall of in resolution at the edges. I am always a bit puzzled why the Sony 18-135 does not gather the same criticisms as the Pentax 18-135 considering how similar they are in terms of resolution fall at the edges.

I suspect that somehow, it has something to do with this:

http://www.pixel-peeper.com/lenses/

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audiobomber
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Re: Buying the DA 18-135? @135mm it could be better, but could also be worse.
In reply to OpticsEngineer, 2 months ago

OpticsEngineer wrote:

I was not sure what your point was. But it revived my curiosity about the 18-135.

And now I'm reviving one of your old posts: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52109191

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Dan

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citrontokyo
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Re: Buying the DA 18-135? @135mm it could be better, but could also be worse.
In reply to OpticsEngineer, 2 months ago

OpticsEngineer wrote:

I was not sure what your point was. But it revived my curiosity about the 18-135. So this afternoon I shot a series of test shots with my K3 of a target board filling the the center 30% of the lens at 18, 24, 35, 50, 70, 100 and 135 mm. I found the center sharpness stays pretty much constant throughout the zoom range. I also did the same thing with my Nikon D7100+Nikon-18-140 and Sony A65+Sony-18-135. My Pentax did a bit better than the Nikon and Sony on center sharpness.

A few weeks ago, with target boards filling the entire field of view of the camera, I found that for edge and corner sharpness, the Nikon 18-140 does a lot a better than my Pentax 18-135.

Sony 18-135 is about the same as the Pentax 18-135 in terms of there being a fall of in resolution at the edges. I am always a bit puzzled why the Sony 18-135 does not gather the same criticisms as the Pentax 18-135 considering how similar they are in terms of resolution fall at the edges. It is hard to compare the Sony setup to the Nikon and Pentax though. The Sony has an AA filter whereas the K3 and D7100 do not. The AA filter, unsurprisingly, really reduces the resolution when you pixel peep. But for that you do not get the moire patterns that occur with the test charts.

I didn't really have a major point besides the decent center sharpness at 135mm. I don't visit the forum that often, but recently, whenever I do, there always seems to be someone considering buying the 18-135mm but waffling due to doubts over the lens' ability at the longer end.

As you point out, the edges tend to be the main problem at such focal lengths, but I don't shoot too many things at 135mm where they need to be in focus. Bugs, plants, kids, people, unless you are shooting either scenery at a distance or architectural elements then 135mm is not going to give you too many problems with this lens, in my opinion. Process RAW in camera, and you can take care of most aberrations that are not lens softness fairly well.

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