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Customer Review

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My copy is amazing on K-5, May 21, 2011
This review is from: Pentax 21977 DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens for Pentax Digital SLR cameras (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I am not a pro but I have several Limited primes, the famous DA* 50-135 F2.8 and my trusted walkaround on Pentax K-x Tamron 28-75 F2.8. For some reason my new K-5 (it seems to be acting out, not sure what is the problem) doesn't like the Tamron. The 50-135 F2.8 is a bit heavy/big for random shooting, so the latest DA 18-135 with its very positive reviews and weatherproofing looked tempting. I had my doubts but when the price went down and rain kept pouring, I took a plunge.

To my greatest surprise (perfect zooms don't exist, the laws of physics etc) w/o pixel peeping the image quality in many cases was on par with my best lenses ("out of box", neither one was microadjusted) and the rest was above average (the lens assembled in Vietnam). Especially for close ups at the long end wide open or 1/2-1 stops down (many reviewers on Pentaxforums didn't like the performance at the long end). Great colors, surprisingly not only in good light but also under grey sky around 6pm (far from perfect conditions. In >500 pics I don't see purple fringing, CA or color bleeding around the edges at 100% crops. Only 1 pic (white-blue-purple iris shot against the low sun has a bluish "flame" ONLY on short stretch of the top petal. A remarkable achievement for a mid priced zoom under these extremely unfavorable conditions. Haven't checked the sharpness across the frame (see one of the 3 stars reviews), I like a blurred background.

The focusing on K-5 is not lightning fast (seems a bit faster on K-x but not 100% sure. Again, m.b. my copy of K-5 has problems) but fast enough. Good build quality, feels (and weighs) almost as metal. The snap-on hood stays on (not typical for previous Pentax lenses, except for the recent 35mm F2), they finally figured it out right:-) On the Internet pics it looks almost as small as 18-55mm kit, in real life it is thicker but not uncomfortably and the size and weight add stability to the camera.

The reviewers here covered cons and pros in details. My impression - if it fits your goals and you can afford it or find a good deal on the body/lens combo, get it instead of the kit 18-55mm and you'll have no regrets. Sample handheld photos: unmodified jpeg (some cropped), K-5 (unlabeled) or K-x (labelled). One can clearly see CA and glowing purples in K-x pics and a loss of resolution. Focusing speed was comparable but the lens either focuses less precisely or needs microadjustemnt on my copy of K-x (clearly seen in high zoom, much lees in short or close up).

The bottom line - to take the full advantage of this lens one need to marry it with K-5/K-r sensor. It is perfectly balanced on K-x body (same size as K-r), K-5 with it is a bit "butt heavy".
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 1, 2011 1:00:12 PM PDT
Man - about your K-5 acting out with the Tamron 28-75, I doubt it is the Pentax. I just returned two bad copies of the Tamron 28-75. One of them 'acted out', it caused random shutter speed changes resulting in over exposures. I shot in aperture priority, using the same target in a test lab environment, the shutter speed would vary in the exact same settings. I would reset the zoom position and return to the same place, then the shutter speed would set okay. Take more pics, and bam, overexposure again in another position. Reset the zoom, then it would be fine again. I thought it might be the camera too, but then I got a second Tamron 28-75, it was fine, not to mention my pentax lenses were just fine. It appears the lens would either get a stuck aperture or send bad data to the camera body. The second Tamron lens was so blurry at f2.8 all the way through the zoom range it was unacceptable. I returned both defective - hopefully they make it back to the manufacturer for I enclosed notes with thorough explanation of the problems.

I think Tamron has some issues on this. Read all the reviews about the Tamron 28-75, when the 28-75 works, it is great, but apparently you have to get a good copy. Check it out. I would not blame the K5 for this one....

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2011 4:53:55 PM PDT
BookWorm says:
That was my favorite (and still is) walkaround lens on K-x - nothing wrong with it. On the other hand my copy of K-5 has a lot of issues (front focusing is one of them). "Luckily"it developed the infamous oily spots on the sensor and will be send for replacement

Posted on Dec 5, 2013 7:28:38 PM PST
The best thing about this lens is it's focal range. I was using the kit lens in combination with the 55-300mm lens. The second version of the kit lens is fairly decent but for me 55mm was a very bad point to have to change lenses. With the kit lens 55mm is not long enough and with the 55-300mm lens, 55mm is not wide enough. Having to change lenses at the 55mm point made me lose shots. The 18-135mm range will take care of most of your shots(maybe 80%) and the 55-300mm lens will take care of the rest. With this lens in combination with the 55-300mm lens you have some overlap in both directions which helps prevent you from losing shots due to having to change lenses.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2014 2:13:21 PM PDT
DesertFox says:
More and more people on the Pentax forum, myself included, are finding focus issues with the k5. My DA*16-50 was a dog on the K5 and sings on the K5II. The same was true for the DA17-70. Great on the k20d but virtually unusable on the K5. I would not rule out a problem with his camera body. Either lots of focus adjustment or a trip to the repair center may be needed.
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