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Keywords: Pentax Wide Mid Tele Zoom APS-C DA WR tested


Registered: September 2013
Posts: 9
Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC SMC DA WR review by rrwilliams64
Review Date: 3/17/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Silent DC motor focusing, WR, bokeh, color rendition, focal length
Cons: corner softness at longer FL's

Silent DC motor focusing, WR, pleasing bokeh, beautiful typical Pentax color rendition, handy focal length. This lens takes a bit of a beating in some reviews, but hey, its's very compact, it can deliver in conditions many lenses cant...

understanding its sweet spot(s) and strengths, this is a very nice lens. Soft in the corners at longer FL's? Perhaps so, but there are understood compromises in a lens such as this, and the "positives" of the package in total make this a good recommendation for the one lens solution. I mate this up with a few primes when IQ is paramount...

Registered: September 2013
Posts: 6
Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC SMC DA WR review by kiwijono
Review Date: 1/30/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $318.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Relatively small, very good centre sharpness. Good AF, WR, build, and focal range
Cons: Corners 85 - 135, Corner CA at wider angles

I have a number of zooms, including original Sigma 17-70 and Pentax 18-55. This lens beats them in most ways (including overall sharpness).

The real strengths are the relatively compact size (versus flexibility and performance), excellent auto focus and Weather Resistance. I'm not worried about taking this lens anywhere.

Yes the lens does suffer with soft corners at the long focal lengths but IMO the lens is still very usable and i have had some good usable results at 135mm (which I would have missed out on with the 17-70).

I did some detail tripod test shots (uniform fences etc) against my Sigma 17-70 and this lens stacks up very well. Often sharper at same focal lengths and aperture settings (even frame edges over most of the range).

I don't really agree with Klaus's final conclusions on Photozone (see:, although you can't fault his technical measurements and methods which I have a great deal of respect for.
If you compare the results for this lens to other offers like Nikons , I think the Pentax actually stacks up pretty well. Its much more compact, has WR, better build and generally better centre sharpness.

I got this lens for the WR and I'm much more impressed than I thought I would be.

Sample Images:
60mm f6.7:
31mm f8:
31mm f11:

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 5
Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC SMC DA WR review by Waratah
Review Date: 6/22/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $550.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: Well built, fast focus, weather resistant
Cons: Dissapointing shots

I had visions of this lens being my day to day lens and saving the 50-135 for important shoots. Gotto say the images were never 'great', always ok but never great. After about 2 months I put my previous day to dya lens on for one special occasion (18-250) - and wow the photos of my kids at a school formal event were immediately noticeably better.

When money got tight one lens had to go and a little reluctantly the 18-135 was sold.

Maybe I had a bad copy, or maybe the 18-250 is a better than average copy but optically there was not comparison. My 18-250 is not far behind the great 50-135 in many conditions.

Registered: September 2012
Posts: 2
Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC SMC DA WR review by oleksa
Review Date: 9/20/2012 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $600.00| Rating: 5 

Pros: good zoom range, WR, DC motor
Cons: very soft (checked on k200 and k5), bad AF in low light

DC motor is fantastic. Quiet, fast - my dreams come true. I've bought this lens because of excellent zoom range and WR - like a kit replacement.

But just look at photozone review for this lens. It is very soft and this makes me crazy - how it is possible to sell so low quality lens
I've thought that photozone guys got bad lens but seems that I've got the same.

Sorry guys but I don't know how can you say "sharp" about this lens. Kit lens 17-55 II is much more sharper than this one.

Registered: April 2011
Posts: 4
Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC SMC DA WR review by dbpaule
Review Date: 4/11/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: build, handling, AF, sharp, CA is well controlled, WF, IF
Cons: distortion at wide end and falloff in corner using a polatizer even if slim, MF ring a little small

This lens was part of the kit with the K-5 an it's a quit nice upper quality kit lens. I really like the fast and silent built in AF-Motor which until now never misfocused. Also sharpness is quiet good from f5.6 until f11 - best on f8. CA is nearly not recognizable, just a little blue CA if zooming in 32x.

What I don't like is the easy to see distortion on wide end until 25mm. On tele end you should not use filters if you don't want falloff in the corners. A slim filter is unfortunately no solution. MF is no problem to use, but the ring could be bigger. Grip is always nice.

By the way the lens looks nice, is weather proof, has inner AF nad the lens cap has an optional cutaway for using filters.

Finally, this lens is the best kit for Pentax but there are some points to think about like distortion. On the other hand, there are more pros than cons. Nice lens, can buy Wink

Registered: November 2010
Posts: 19
Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC SMC DA WR review by 3systemuser
Review Date: 2/27/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: price(I paid about 300US for it since I bought it as a part of K5 kit),AF and good flare resistance.
Cons: cornersharpness at long end and distortion at wide end a bit too much.

first , it was so cheap in Japan when I was there so I could not resist and ordered it as a part of my K5 kit.

for the price I paid for it it is an amazingly well blanced lens , quite sharp and it almost never flares in any light.

CA at wide end light fall off are a bit serious but to be honest more expensive Nikon AFs16-85Vr has more pronnounced CA and more serious amount of light fall off.

And the Nikon distorts more much more actually at 18mm than this Pentax.

The Nikon also flares more easily.

Compared to also more expensive Canon EFS15-85IS, which I use for my 7D, the Canon is sharper all range and aperture combination but the Canon is a much bigger and more expensive lens , so it is not in a same class I guess and neither Canon nor Nikon are sealed like this one.

also , this Pentax DA18-135 is so so so compact and optically not bad , not great for sure but who expects it to be great in this price range?

this lens is a really much less distorted lens than any other similar super zooms from many other makers.

I think this lens is really good for its modest price.

it is so small , so light so practical , it AF fast , on my K5 , it focuses very very fast in day light and fast in low light and almost never hunt like old Pentax zoom on K7 or K20D.

I originally bought this lens for upcoming Thai new year's water festival and I am sure it will work there fine.

After this lens + K5 experience my view on Pentax system changed quite much , I am now thinking about selling my D700 system and get more Pentax lenses to go with my Canon 5D2 system.

For me the weight of Nikon kit is not any issue since I work out but the size of it is very very seriously annoying , it takes some nice smiles of local people here and it always difficult to travel with it.

So, for my needs,the 5d2 and this K5 are better suited and much more manageable travelling SE Asia and East Asia , sometimes in Africa.

Oh as for the AF it is not even half as bad as many Nikon fanboys make it out to be , so no worry about its AF , the K5 is not like other Pentax cameras befoere it , it AF reliably well in both day light and low light even in AFC mode.

Just not expect the speed of the 7D or the D700 but it is fast , not any slower than the lower quality D7000.


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