21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
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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