Hands-on w/ SMC DA 18-135/3.5-5.6 Lens (Many Photos)


fengwei

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#1
Got this lens a few days ago, didn't really have time to do a thorough review, here I'm just sharing some hands-on experiences, and some sample photos taken w/ it on a K5.

The lens is much smaller than I expected, just a little bit bigger than the 1855 kit lens. But it seems to be very well built, feels solid and sturdy, no shaking even when the lens is fully extended. I don't have the DA17-70 w/ me anymore, but I do feel this new 18-135 lens is better built than the DA17-70.

AF speed is very fast, faster than any SDM lens I've ever used, and I've used all the current SDM lenses. AF is very quiet too, similar to the SDM if not quieter. Focusing ring does not turn during AF, which is a big plus to me. Oh btw, it does feature quick-shift for eash AF/MF shift. Focusing ring is located close to the camera body end, not like all the other Pentax lenses, which I think is a very clever design 'cause we won't be using the focusing ring much for a lens like this, better just put it somewhere out of the way.

The lens can focus pretty close, about 40cm all the way from 18 to 135mm, pretty useful when using it for some closeups. The round shaped aperture blades do help getting smoother bokeh. Aperture is still pretty decent at near 70mm, here is the max apertures at different focal range:

18-20mm:F3.5
21-28mm:F4
29-68mm:F4.5
69mm-135mm:F5.6

Optically the lens is pretty sharp through out the focal range, performs the best from 24 to around 100mm, sharp enough even used wide open at the wide or tele end, if focused properly. It produces very nice contrasty photos w/ pleasing colors, plus its small and compact size, fast AF, great built quality and weather-resistant design, it's one of the best travel or walkabout lens Pentax currently is offering I think.

Oh I forgot to mention, the lens looks very nice too, especially when mounted on K-5:






Here are two comparison photos between this new 18-135 lens and a 18-55 kit lens:



 

fengwei

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#2
I didn't spend too much time taking serious review samples, all the following photos are just some random photos taken either under my flat or around Orchard Rd. All photos were taken in RAW, converted with Pentax Photo Utility v4.30.

Here are a couple of comparison photos to show the focal range this lens covers:

18mm end:


135mm end:


Here are another pair:

18mm end:


135mm end:


You can see the lens covers a great range of focal length, very convenient for travel or walkabout.
 

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fengwei

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#3
Is the lens sharp enough? I think it is. Here is a shot at 48mm:



A 100% crop of the above photo:

 

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fengwei

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#10
Here are a couple for my kids to finish the review samples:








That's all for my quick review. Hope you like it.

Cheers!
 

Last edited:
May 7, 2010
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#11
nice pics..
but colors appear to be kinda of unnatural..
gives me a feel of sony nex cameras..
 

Jun 5, 2010
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#12
thank you very much for the informative review! it looks very sharp indeed. it's delicious to know that the focusing is so fast. ;p on the flipside, did you notice any poor area or drawback with the lens worth mentioning?
 

reyreina

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Dec 26, 2008
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#13
wow! at first i thought at the price they are offering, performance better be top notch, but your sample pics proved just that! wide or long, it looks contrasty and sharp enough, and coupled with fast AF; i say this is the ultimate travelling lens for anyone whom havent already have what they need.

i just realised, the focus and zoom ring exchanged position, thats new!
 

reyreina

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Dec 26, 2008
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#14
nice pics..
but colors appear to be kinda of unnatural..
gives me a feel of sony nex cameras..
i think some post processing might be the reason for the vibrancy. to each his own, im sure the sooc pictures ain't sony-alike.

i wished i hadn't gotten the WR twin kit lens 2 mths ago :sweat:
 

armadillo

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Jan 30, 2006
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#15
Frank, thanks for the review :thumbsup:
Seem a good lens to have :)
I must sell off my 18-55mm WR haha..
 

aiax83

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Sep 30, 2010
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#16
argggghh... i'm being poisoned... :(
thanks FW for the review n photos!!
 

af2373

New Member
Oct 12, 2004
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winning harbour
#17
aiya....guess alot of us will be camping in buy/sell to pick up this lense after reading this post
 

kopiman

New Member
Oct 12, 2010
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Sgp - West
#19
Hmmm.. which one now?
DA17-70 with constant f4 or DA18-135 f3.5-5.6?
Considering both cost about the same in price.
 

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