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on September 5, 2011
I bought this lens to reduce lens swaps, which it certainly does. I was using an 18-50, 55-300, and various vintage primes. I now swap lenses 2-4 times on a typical day out shooting instead of dozens. The image quality is such that I stopped carrying all my vitage primes except for a 100mm macro.

Performance has been quite satisfactory in the field. I have shot into the sun many times without noticeable flare, and with very good contrast and saturation. My home tests indicate the sharpness, contrast and color are close to my vintage primes, and vastly better than the 18-55WR lens that came with my camera. It is also a bit faster at 50mm than the kit lens, but not much. Distortion and CA are greater, but easy to reduce in software.

The down side of this lens is a big one: no markings for anything but focal length. No apeture, no focus distance, no hyperfocal chart, nothing! I have not found a good workaround for this. To compensate I generally shoot at infinity and choose a smaller apeture than I would with a prime. Sometimes I estimate and focus on something 1/3 into the scene, or manually sweep the near to far objects and stop somewhere in the middle. Haven't had much luck with the latter techniques.

Also, using this lens on extension tubes for macro would be next to impossible.

I understand this is the trend in lenses. It improves design flexibility, lowering costs and raising performance. But could we at least get the focus distance and hyperfocal chart on the rear display, please???

Overall I would say this was a good purchase and an excellent value. I do shoot the vast majority with it and only ocasionally miss the primes in tough DOF situations or where I need wide apetures.
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on June 10, 2014
I own 9 compatible Pentax lenses and this one has the most personality of them all. The 18-135mm basically tries to keep a sharp center (even at longer lengths) but has soft corners at most focal lengths and apertures.

This lens does not substitute the 18-55 WR kit lens because that lens has a more uniform sharpness (better corner performance) at the wide end and less distortion. It can’t substitute the 50-200 WR because the focal lengths are too different. So where does the 18-135mm WR fit? The 18-135mm WR is basically a portrait lens with some extra features.

Sharpness Notes: As I said before, rarely do you get edge to edge sharpness with this lens but it is worth mentioning some characteristics that help it get better.
a) Don’t use the 3.5f aperture at 18mm, huge improvement in contrast going to 4.0f and upward.
b) All focal lengths benefit greatly from closing at least one or two stops from minimum.
c) At 100mm and 135mm you get as much resolution you can get at 8.0f and the center of the lens is still sharp. Going to 11.0f aperture does not improve the image at these focal lengths. At 100mm and 135mm it is also where the lens is least sharp too.
d) At 48mm at 11.0f is as close as you get to edge to edge sharpness. 24mm at 8.0f comes a close second.

Use: I use this as my casual lens. When I don’t know what I will meet and the weather is uncertain (WR) this lens is a good compromise. There is not a SINGLE focal point or aperture combination with this lens that I can’t get better with another lens I own. On the other hand it takes me 3 lenses to cover all the options this 18 – 135mm WR lens can cover. This lens lets me keep on taking pictures without changing lenses and that is worth something.

Weakness: Besides the soft corners the real issue I have with this lens is that the smallest aperture it has is 3.5f (and is not very good, always use 4.0f or smaller). This makes getting a nice bokeh harder and forces me to use higher ISO’s under low light conditions.

Issues: The cost of this lens is a little high for the image quality you get. There are other options at this price range. I got mine as part of my K-30 bundle so technically I got a good price for it.

Conclusion: I have taken over 1000 pictures with this lens and many have come out quite nice. In the end the pictures are the real story and this lens has a lot of nice pictures. Unless you are into architectural or landscape photograph this lens can meet most casual needs. As a vacation lens or a walk around it serves my collection well.
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on June 9, 2015
A very, very useful lens. Surprisingly, 1/2" shorter than my already-compact Pentax 16-45 f/4! This one, with that 200mm-equiv zoom, is much more versatile. Came from 'Another Deal Site', fulfilled by Amazon... mentioning this because, unlike some older posts below, this lens came in a proper box, with Ricoh warranty cards, an instruction guide AND the lens hood. Exactly as shown on the Amazon page.

If I were going on a trip, I would take this lens. Or as the best choice for a walkaround-town snapshot lens. Amazon calls it 'discontinued', which is confusing, since, as of today June 9 2015, it is also for sale on the Ricoh lens web page, though at $500. It is well-made, works perfectly and immediately with my K-5 IIs, and my older K-01.

Does it take good pictures? Sure. Tell you a secret though... ANY modern lens takes great pictures... re sharpness and color rendition. What we are really buying is ergonomics... how easy it is to use the lens for a hurried once-in-a-lifetime snapshot. And that gets you over to the camera... and Pentax DSLRs... all of them... have excellent autofocus if there is any light at all in the scene, any contrasting area you can use as a focus point. This 18-135 WR also lets you focus manually with a lens ring, without having to turn off autofocus. Best of both worlds. Lastly, the WR means Weather Resistant. No, you can't take it surfing, or in a pool. But it is rainproof, and dustproof, and sandproof... particularly if you are using it on a recent Pentax weather-resistant DSLR, like the K-3s, K-5s, K-30, K-50, etc, etc. So few photos are taken in the rain... but you can!
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on January 5, 2015
Do not be misled by the poor review. All he did was use a review from Photozone (who did not like this lens) and change the words and claim it as his own. I have the lens and use it on my K5. I tried to duplicate the bad results that he claimed and for the most part found his remarks to be without merit. This lens has a 4.5 out of 5 rating by purchasers on Amazon. Check out the Pentax Forum. It has a rating of 8.9 out of 10 rating. If you'll check other online review sites you'll find many are favorable. Is it Pro grade? No. Is it a good all purpose walk around /travel lens? Yes. Make your own judgement. I might add I paid $459 for the lens. Right now it is selling at an excellent price.
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on December 15, 2011
Dare I say many features surpass my Tamron 2.8 short zoom? I bought this lens for casual everyday use. I had been using my fast short Tamron for everyday use but found outdoors I was wanting more length. I do have the 55-300mm pentax kit lens but I have 2 small children and running in to change lenses is just inconvienent. Auto focus is faster & quieter than the Tamron and so far has always been spot on where as I have had numerous shots with the Tamron with front or back focus issues despite trial and error with the lens adjustment feature on my K-5 camera. As soon as I took it out of the box the first thing I noticed was how solid it felt, a far cry from the plastic feel of the Tamron. Will I be retiring the Tamron? Don't think I'd say that quite yet but it will definitly be in the camera bag for a while!
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on December 12, 2015
This is a nice lens, and weather resistance is a bonus. It covers a pretty good range, 27mm to about 205mm equivalent. But it appears extremely soft at 18. So far, I'm pleased with it at 135... sharp, but not the sharpest I've seen. I like to focus manually, and this is pretty good for that type of use. The focus ring is direct, not focus by wire; it's just a little too short in its throw... old manual lenses turn 180 to 270 degrees from focus end to focus end; this one is much less, making critical focus difficult.

The zoom is smooth. The lens feels solid, but a little plasticky after I've been handling my vintage lenses, which are made of steel/aluminum and built like little army tanks.

I'll be running a series of tests with resolution and color charts and then I'll update this review.

If you couple this lens with a WR camera and you live in a damp climate or shoot along the shore or in inclement weather a lot, then you'll probably find this lens to be indispensable; you'll have to learn too live with its shortcomings.

Everything in photography is a compromise.
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on August 6, 2013
The 18-135mm gives me more walk around flexibility than the kit lens along. While it won't take the place of the longer 50-300mm lens, it does give you the wideness of the kit lens and the lower end of the telephoto in on package. It's also so much quieter than some previous Pentax lenses. I haven't shot enough with it yet to evaluate the lens for sharpness, bokeh, etc. but from what I have seen, the 18-55 kit lens won't be back on my cameras at all.
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on September 29, 2015
Great Lens. I recently moved cross country and used this lens as my go to for travel, nasty weather, and even some family portraits. It can pretty much do it all with good image quality. And for the cost...great buy.

This is by no means a professional quality lens. But for the casual/hobbiest photog it is great.
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on September 7, 2015
I was going to sell my K5 until I decided to get this lens. It focuses flawlessly and is sharp! Probably the quickest focusing lens I have in my arsenal. Love my K3 but I've given new life to a K5 that was collecting dust!!
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on August 29, 2014
I never realized how important WR really is until I spent time at Niagara Falls. I did not dare to take my camera out because my WR lenses are 50-135 and 55-300 which are too long when I was walking underneath the fall. I tried the 18-50 WR kit lens but it was not good enough or may be I have a bad copy. After reading several reviews, I was convinced that I should give this lens a try. The price is right and delivery was fast.

The lens is good enough for most situations, but not up to the standard of Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or fixed such as 50 f/1.4, 35 f/2.4, etc. Having said that, I think I am still the limiting factor and not the lens. With WR, it will open up new opportunities. Knowing its limitations is important to use this lens effectively. The most obvious one is that it is not a fast f/2.8 lens; higher ISO is likely needed. Subject/background isolation is limited. Focus is silent and fast. Build is solid. It should pair well with 55-300 WR. BTW, the 55-300 is optically great especially for the price. Originally, I was planning on buying the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 but the 18-135 / 55-300 combination is more useful.

The only thing I really want to comment is that the lens came in a WHITE BOX with no US warranty. It was not clear to me when I placed that order. There were two other vendors and they both clearly stated either "white box" or bulk packaging. I am taking a chance should it failed.
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