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01-06-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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Lens for a trip to Patagonia

Hi all,
I have recently purchased the K10D (used). I'm planning on going on a honeymoon next month to Patagonia, and planning to take the camera with me.

My current lens are:
18-55mm WR.
50mm FA F/1.4
and a 28-200 sigma f/3.5-5.6.

The quality of the sigma is not very good, the question should I get the 55-300 instead (or other lens) or is it not very important for a trip in patagonia which I understand is mostly scenes and not a lot of wildlife.


p.s. I like scenes and wildlife photography.

01-06-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
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You will be able to get some great pictures with your current setup. You could upgrade your kit lens to a DA16-45 for not so much money, but it will not be water resistant. The difference would mostly be in lower light situations (the 16-45 is a lot better at f/4 than the kit lens). In bright light where you can stop down to f/8 there will be less difference. The DA*16-50 is a possibility, but a lot more money.

The 55-300 is supposed to be a great lens (especially for the money) and I'm sure there would be many uses for it in Patagonia... but this will depend on your photography style. Probably lots of people would prefer a more wide angle, and a DA15 or DA12-24 (or the sigma 10-20) could be great as well. The only thing about the ultra-wide lenses that I find is that it does take some thought to get great shots. It's quite easy to just "zoom out" and just add more rocks at your feet to the picture, which isn't always great. You need to make good use of the field of view...

Last edited by sewebster; 01-06-2011 at 02:29 PM.
01-06-2011, 02:10 PM   #3
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Right on, Sewebster! I guess if Koraldon is planning to travel during the "dark" seasons, one will need to use higher ISO or tripod with the 55-300 as it is a fairly slow lens (F/4-5.8). I have problem with the light even in February (their summer) because the mountain can cast big deep shadow, and I am just a F/2.8 ultra wide angle guy.
01-06-2011, 02:11 PM   #4

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It should be summer there so the weather might be ok...not sure. Any da* lens will be great or your WR kit lens and the DA50-200mm WR would be good.

01-06-2011, 02:36 PM   #5
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You already received some advice. I think that it is not easy nor simple to answer your query without knowing what you will do. The weather conditions in Patagonia are not always very good. I can be windy and there is a lot of rain at times of the year.

If you plan to do some outdoor activities, incl. bushwalking, you need to limit the number of lenses: you do not want to carry "useless" weight (ie lenses that you wil never use) and you do not want to swap lenses in bad weather.

I do a lot of shooting outdoor including during wet weather and floods. I just come back in fact from some trips in flooded areas in Queensland in the last 10 days:
(Click on thumbnail to access full picture)

My favourite setup is the DA18-250mm and a fast prime. The DA18-250mm is mounted most of the time and its focal length range gives a superb flexibility. The lens is very sturdy and robust, and I used it nearly 80% of the time. The fast prime (Voigtlander Nokton 58m f1.4, or FA31mm f1.8) is in my pocket to use in low light conditions: dusk and down, or in a storm.

Pending upon your planned activities, you may wish to consider an all-around lens like the DA18-250mm which has a proven track record. The 18-135mm WR would be another option in my opinion.

For the fast prime, my preference is the Nokton 58mm f1.4, but the FA31mm proved excellent for flood plain photographs because of the wider angle.

Hope that the advice will hep. And post some shots from Patagonia...
01-06-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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For traveling, I always recommend the 12-24 or similar wide angle.
01-06-2011, 09:14 PM   #7
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Lucky you. . . Patagonia is definitely on our list!

I had a similar dilemma a few months ago planning for our trek in Peru. We were hiking, on the move most of the time, so I wanted to travel light, and also knew I wouldn't have time for many lens changes anyway. So I decided to take the 18-55 WR when on the trail and rain was likely. It was great under those conditions, and I like the focal range anyway, and it's not a shabby performer. For times when we were in town or rain was unlikely I used my 16-45, which I think is a fantastic lens for the money and it was great. It was a great range for where we went.

Had I had more time and weight allowance I would have taken my 55-300 and 50 1.4, in that order. I might have taken a 12-24 before the 55-300, but don't own one. Someday. If you fall into this category of less need to travel light and more time for photos and lens changes, then you might consider this combo, which has already been mentioned.

Have fun!
01-07-2011, 01:39 AM   #8
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I'll echo hcc but with slightly different details (we have different lens collections). I consider the DA18-250 to be the standard lens on my K20d, and all others are specialty items. The fast primes I'll have at hand are a Vivitar 24/2, FA50/1.4, and Nikkor 85/2, as well as a Raynox DCR-250 for near-macro work. I just got a Tamron 10-24 and it's probably part of my basic kit now too. Each of the older lenses is there because it's proved its worth to me, in various situations. (And because I haven't tried some of the more expensive alternatives.)

What to take to Patagonia? A superzoom; some fast primes; and whatever tickles your fancy. Your bride too, of course.

01-07-2011, 02:05 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the responses :-)

Regarding the 18-55, I have read some of the material here regarding its quality. I must say that in my photographs, I still didn't reach the point that its optics limit me (i.e. my ability is currently lesser than the lens quality ).
I'm aware that the 16-45 has better IQ, but I selected the 18-55 for its WR. From what I have read patagonia is supposed to be rainy/windy so WR is very handy.

I'm would love to get the 18-135 WR and combine it with an UWA lens, but I fear that such a combination is probably near a grand - which I can't afford right now. Unless someone has a cheaper suggestion...
btw, for future knowledge, how is the 16-45 IQ compared to the 18-135?

So basically I want a WR lens for the weather, and a fast prime for the low-light (and better quality) - So I have the 18-55 and the 50 F/1.4.

I have place for one lens more, which is going to be one of the following:
- 28-200 sigma f/3.5-5.6, okay quality but bulky. Already own it.
- 50-200 WR pentax, has WR, but the same max. range as the sigma. Should it have better IQ than sigma?
- 55-300, no WR but gets rave reviews (is it better than 50-200 at the same range?) and has longer reach.
- UWA lens - are there affordable options?
01-07-2011, 04:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by koraldon Quote
Hi all,
I have recently purchased the K10D (used). I'm planning on going on a honeymoon next month to Patagonia, and planning to take the camera with me.

My current lens are:
18-55mm WR.
50mm FA F/1.4
and a 28-200 sigma f/3.5-5.6.

The quality of the sigma is not very good, the question should I get the 55-300 instead (or other lens) or is it not very important for a trip in patagonia which I understand is mostly scenes and not a lot of wildlife.


p.s. I like scenes and wildlife photography.
My advice:
DON'T worry so much about your camera and lenses on your honeymoon. And ignore the scenes and wildlife!!
Put your energies and attention on your 'honey' on your honeymoon!!!!
01-07-2011, 07:04 PM   #11
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Bottom line, you're current set up is just fine. You're covered. After that, you are just going to improve IQ, flexibility, and weather resistance.

You can go for the 55-300. Definitely a huge improvement in image quality.

You can go for the 18-250. I recently used it on a trip in the Andes. That extra length and flexibility was seriously useful when you are hiking around and don't want to slow down the group.

Or finally, you can go for the 18-135WR to have an all purpose, flexible, good IQ solution. I just bought it and it has effectively made my 18-250 obsolete although I am giving up the long end of course.
01-10-2011, 08:11 AM   #12
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You could also get something like a M135 f3.5 as a cheap telephoto until you decide what you want (or can afford) in the future. The reason that I suggest it is that it's very compact, very cheap and I rarely use a telephoto while trekking (time to swap, weather conditions, not my preferred focal length). But it gives you the option if you want to.

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