New PENTAX 18–135mm Lens: Very Impressed so Far

I am the proud owner of a new PENATX 18–135mm  f3.5–5.6 lens (18–135mm smc DA ED AL IF DC WR to give it its full specified name). For anyone who know anything about SLR/DSLR camera lenses they will realise what a useful range 18–135mm is (roughly equivalent to 25–200mm in 35mm camera format sizes).

The f3.5–5.6 iris might not seem that impressive at first but you have to remember that with modern DSLR cameras ISO settings up to 800 are very usable and give good results so this makes up for two or three stops which sort of means, depending how you view it, that this lens is really useful from about f1.8–3.5; if you are prepared to use ISO 800. And if you have good digital noise removal software like Noise Ninja (which I do) then, depending on the type of picture, you can even go to ISO 1600 and get a useful shot.

When you think about it like this the f3.5–5.6 looks pretty useful.

Today is Saturday and I had intended to go out and take some outdoor shots with it but the temperature today was 41.2C in our pergola (106F) so I elected to stay inside. But I took a few test shots around the house using the on-camera flash including the one below of the clock on the wall.


This was taken from my chair which is four meters back from the wall the clock is on. It was taken at 1/100th at f5.6 with flash (which sort of negates the 1/100th to some degree) with the zoom at 53mm and using ISO 200.

Yeah! I know. This is a pretty boring picture.

But the amazing bit is when I put it into Photoshop Elements and crop out just the name part on the clock face.


I thought this was pretty amazing. The name on the clock face—taken from four meters, with a zoom lens at 53mm—is perfectly readable when cropped out of the centre of the picture of the clock on the wall. And this is without doing the levels or any sharpening.

With the levels done and a small amount of High Pass/Hard Light sharpening it looks like this.


I should also point out this was taken with the PENTAX K-7 and not the new K-5.

For a mid-range lens this lens is seriously impressive.