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12-23-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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Perfect Future Travel Lens Set?

I am a fly fisherman and take photos for publication, so am in need of high quality glass. That being said I am also an amateur DSLR user without a lot of experience. Because I shoot when fly fishing, it means minimum lens changes and maximum versatility. Also weather-sealing is key because I am around sand, waves and salt spray, rain, mud, etc. Because I am an amateur I don't think super fast glass is necessarily a huge deal, speed is good for my low light situations but I shoot mostly in good light.

So: I could go for the DA* 16-50 and 50-135 combo, and get full weather sealing, 2.8 constant aperture, and decent range. Something wider would be great though....but is there any hope of a DA* 11-16 2.8? This setup would probably be pretty heavy though.

But with the likelihood of a WR 12-35 DA around the corner, IF the 55-300 DA were to become WR next, this setup would be light and compact, would have an awesome range of 12-300 (minus the 35-55 in the middle which wouldn't be a big deal) and would be just 2 lenses. (I don't think adding the 18-135 would make sense to cover the small 35-55mm gap? ) Of course this would be slower glass, but I will eventually upgrade my K-7 to a K-5 for the better ISO performance. SO my only issue with this setup would be if it would not be as suited to handling a beating out in the elements..... WR according to Ned provides protection that is inferior to that of DA* lenses and has nothing to protect it against sand and dust it seems from the descriptions. As I have said before, I find it maddening that Pentax leaves us in a blur of marketing confusion without a clear definition of the difference in sealing between "WR" rated glass and DA* glass. I really am suspicious it could JUST be marketing...as I have never heard of a "WR" lens failing from dust entry?

So any thoughts....what would you choose? I know I am assuming a 55-300 WR will come out and that this 12-35 is around the corner, and hoping for an 11-16 that might never come it sounds like? Opinions would be really appreciated! Man do I wish Pentax would seal their WR DA lenses to a level equal to their bodies, rather than this "inclement conditions" description that is supposed to be sub par to the DA* sealing........

Thanks all -Loren

12-23-2010, 10:33 PM   #2
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A plastic bag and rubber bands works wonders in pinch :-)
12-24-2010, 01:36 AM   #3
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Loren,
I do a lot outdoor shooting and I like to travel light with a couple of lenses maximum. I have a K-7. I shoot in any conditions (dry, sunny, wet, rainy) in rivers, estuaries and on the coastline. I found that I do not need WR lenses but rather sturdy, robust lenses.

My typical travel setup is the DA18-250mm and my Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. The DA18-250mm is used for 80% of my shots, while the Nokton 58mm is used for low light with great success.

Since the DA18-250mm is no longer manufactured, you could consider the Tamron 18-250mm or the DA18-135mm WR, together with a fast prime. I can recommend highly the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 for outdoor shooting in low lights. (My Nokton was subjected to very bad weather and I am very impressed by both the IQ and the solidity of the lens.)

Hope that the comment will help. And Merry Xmas from down under...
12-24-2010, 11:16 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
I am a fly fisherman and take photos for publication, so am in need of high quality glass
If it's high quality glass you're after, I'd stick with the DA* zooms. At this point, we have no idea when or even if the 12-35 will reach the market. If the lens is produced, it's very unlikely that it will match, in terms of optical quality and IQ, the DA* 16-50. Pentax's variable aperture zooms rarely are as good as their fix aperture zooms. Nor would I count on Pentax making a WR version of the DA 55-300.

12-24-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
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Although I would still be worried about SDM failures it has to be the *16-50 & *50 - 135 - everything you need right there.
12-24-2010, 04:51 PM   #6
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thank you guys for the input. A couple follow up questions:

So assuming they did come out with this 12-35 and I was content with a 55-300 that wasn't WR, does the speed and IQ of the 16-50 and 50-135 really make that your preference over the potential for the range of 12-300mm?? I know I would be limited in low light, but it seems like having so much more range would be incredibly versatile....but seems the experienced photogs still would go the DA* route......would anyone elaborate on this?

Is the 16-50 and 50-135 combo light enough to travel all over the place with? I want to stay relatively compact. I don't mind some weight but don't want to have to have a dedicated camera bag, would like to fit all camera gear in with my fly fishing stuff in my drybag backpack.

Is anyone else suprised Pentax didn't come out with an 11-16 2.8 to complement the set? I agree the 135-400 would not be a great option because of size and price but wouldn't the 11-16 be really logical? Is there really no hope?

I would say something about SDM reliability since that worries the hell out of me with buying used DA*s but I don't want to beat a dead horse. If I decide to go the DA* route though I think I will wait a while and continue using my 18-135 in hopes of a replacement of SDM.

Thanks all for your help -LE
12-24-2010, 09:56 PM   #7
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If you are now not considering the WR a critical requirement (and you can get away with plastic bags and rubber bands - as well as save a lot of money for replacements in case of accidents) then the Sigma 10-20 and Tamron 18-250 will extend your width (considerably - and I'm not talking about your waistline !) and give you practically as much reach - that Tamron is one sharp cookie, great colours too.
12-25-2010, 12:22 AM   #8
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Da* 16-50 + da* 60-250???

The thing is weather sealing is actually super important for me. I especially do a lot of fly fishing in the surf, so there is a ton of salt spray as well as sand present.

So I think some great advice given was concentrate on what is currently offered. With that in mind, I think the DA* 16-50 would be a great place to start for me. Wider would probably be great, but 16 should suffice (though if the 12-35 was a DA* that would be way better but looks like it is definitely not a DA*?). Then I was thinking, I would likely not get much use out of the 50-135, because my shots will be concentrated at the super wide and the tele ends, with likely less in the middle. So that makes the DA* 60-250 a far more useful range for me....it sounds like this is a great wildlife lens? I would hope the lack of speed would not end up being an issue, because most shots would be day light and 100% outdoors. So my own concern is this lens is supposed to be quite large. I will be shooting mostly all handheld.

Is the DA* 16-50 and 60-250 a solid travel combo since it would cover a great range with great IQ and minimal lens changes......or in reality would it be super heavy and ridiculous to carry around both of those lenses? I would just have my backpack with fishing gear and space left for camera gear....

Any thoughts from those who have held and carried these lenses around?

Thanks!

12-25-2010, 12:50 AM   #9
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I was going to suggest the *60-250 - but it's definitely not a travel lense !

*50-135 - 27.0 oz. (765g) with hood - 67mm dia. filter
*60-250 - 43.4 oz. (1,230g) (w/hood & tripod mount) - 67mm dia. filter
*16-50 - 21.2 oz. (600g) with hood - 77mm dia. filter

Maybe the *16-50 and 55-300 would be best to start, if you are not using the 55-300 as often then plastic bags & rubber bands will do a fine, if inelegant, job when you need them (or you could buy a commercial product). The 55-300 is also lighter than any of them.
12-25-2010, 09:45 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
Da* 16-50 + da* 60-250???
In terms of IQ and weather sealing, that would be the ideal set-up. The star lenses are sealed not only against water/moisture, but also against dust (which is not true of the other WR lenses). However, I agree with Frogfish about the weight of the DA* 60-250. Photography is all about tradeoffs, and if you really need to zoom past 135mm, the DA 55-300 may be the more practical solution, despite the lack of WR and the loss of sharpness at the long end of the lens.
12-25-2010, 10:38 AM   #11
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Possible silly question, but how are you going to change lenses? That's the weak point in your environment. You can have absolutely sealed stuff, but at the moment that you have to swap from 16-50 to something else, you have a problem.

Although I'm not a fan of superzooms, they can make sense in certain environments.
12-25-2010, 10:50 AM   #12
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why not try DA 21 Limited? Easy to carry and of good quality!
12-25-2010, 02:02 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input. I think the 55-300 might be a good choice despite the lack of sealing. I guess the only way I will know if the 60-250 would be too large is by trying it.

Sterretje: Ideally my setup would just be 2 lenses. I would then travel with both on trips, and each day would decide which will be more appropriate and setup with that, with the other in my pack. If at some point in the day I really wanted to switch over to tele from wide angle I could just hunker under my raincoat or in the car or something along those lines. I would be doing minimal lens changes.

Wed7: ..... 1) not sealed like a DA* 2) lack of versatility in range, I really need to stick to zooms for my applications

Thanks again you guys!
12-31-2010, 02:20 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
In terms of IQ and weather sealing, that would be the ideal set-up. The star lenses are sealed not only against water/moisture, but also against dust (which is not true of the other WR lenses). However, I agree with Frogfish about the weight of the DA* 60-250. Photography is all about tradeoffs, and if you really need to zoom past 135mm, the DA 55-300 may be the more practical solution, despite the lack of WR and the loss of sharpness at the long end of the lens.
What about complementing the DA* 16-50 with the DA* 200??? Does anyone have this combo? Is the 200 a well-regarded telephoto? It is fast, seems like a good reach distance, and looks much lighter/more compact than the 300 or 60-250.....i just wonder if I would miss the versatility of a zoom....
12-31-2010, 03:22 AM   #15
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Just a thought & question: weather-sealing does not necessarily fully protect from corrosion resulting from salt, or damage from sands? I mean, there's so much a lens & body can endure, isn't it?

I have seen weather-sealed Canon L glass in plastic rain covers for a reason, I believe. And those are cheap. So going weather-sealing might not be enough

just my 2 cents & little experience here, I only go out when the sun shines
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