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View Poll Results: Which would you use to shoot?
DA* 16-50mm 844.44%
DA* 50-135mm 527.78%
DA 12-24mm 316.67%
DA L 55-300mm   00%
Other or buck up and swap during the parade... 211.11%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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01-31-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
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Which lens to use at the Chinese New Year parade?

From the event website:

QuoteQuote:
Named one of the top ten Parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is one of the grandest night illuminated Parades in the country. Started in the 1860's by the Chinese in San Francisco as a means to educate the community about their culture, the Parade and Festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. Parade highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, costumed elementary school groups, marching bands, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats, and a 250 foot long Golden Dragon ("Gum Lung.")
So the parade is occurring on the 19th of Feb and I'll be in attendance with a brand new K-r (which hopefully arrives this week). The parade is scheduled to begin 5:15pm (PST) and the sun typically sets around 5:30pm. I have the following lenses and don't really want to swap in the middle of the parade. Given the facts I've already shared and the following list, which would you choose and why?

1. DA* 16-50mm f/2.8
2. DA* 50-135mm f/2.8
3. DA 12-24mm f/4
4. DA L 55-300mm f/4-5.6


Last edited by einstrigger; 01-31-2011 at 01:06 PM.
01-31-2011, 01:01 PM   #2
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Well I was last year in The Hague in The Netherlands. With me I had the 55 and 21mm lens. Only changed 55 -> 21 and back -> 55. So anything in that range could do the job.

DA*55mm/f1.4




and DA21mm/f3.2 Ltd
01-31-2011, 01:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing the photos. I didn't list any primes in the list because I like the versatility of the zooms. I am a fan of wide lenses though, which is why I threw in the 12-24mm.
01-31-2011, 01:23 PM   #4
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How far away you are will determine much of your lens selection.

01-31-2011, 02:08 PM   #5
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The parade route goes through the surface streets of China Town:



I hope to at least be at street level, with no one in front of me, probably somewhere near a corner like Post & Kearny. It probably means camping out on the sidewalk several hours ahead of time. They offer bleacher seats, but at $30 a person, I don't think that will happen, especially since I'll have other people with me.
01-31-2011, 02:27 PM   #6
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From the list, the 50-135 would probably be best

DA 40mm or FA 77 would be my pick though.
01-31-2011, 02:48 PM   #7
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Assuming you'd be able to get fairly close, rather than from two blocks away or something crazy, I chose the DA* 16-50. Second choice would 12-24, which is a lens I love using, but might there be some instances where you want to fill the frame and not be able to with a 24? (Photo 1 & 2 above, for example).

Everyone has their preferences. Something like an Olympus 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 seems like a great bet for this job, but what Pentax equivalent can you use?

It comes down to what focal length you most comfortably shoot. Send five good photographers, all with their "favorite focal length lens" and you'll get wonderful shots from all of them, but composition, distance, subject matter will vary.

Last edited by yucatanPentax; 01-31-2011 at 02:49 PM. Reason: clarify wording
01-31-2011, 03:31 PM   #8
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personally it all depends what shots you want.

since it will be going on till evening, the 16-50mm is good especially if you want the people to notice that you are taking photos and "pose" suitably.

01-31-2011, 03:32 PM   #9
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12-24 without a doubt, and 16-50. Nothing longer.
01-31-2011, 05:09 PM   #10
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As it happens, I was walking around SF Chinatown a couple weeks ago, and along part of the parade route (which only brushes the edge of CT). I carried my usual kit, plus a slow 100mm (Enna Tele-Sandmar 100/4.5) which I ended up using the most. My new Tamron 10-24 got a bit of exercise, but I confirmed that I like the slow 100 during the day and my Nikkor 85/2 in the evening, with maybe my Vivitar-Komine 24/2 for wider shots.

Were I there for a daytime parade, what would I mount on my K20D? That's easy: my DA18-250. It's been good for parades. But it won't be daytime. Maybe I'd take the 18-250 and a tripod. But that won't exactly be a tripod-friendly environment. Bother.

So I'd say, suck it in and take (and swap) your 16-50 and 50-135. You'll need the speed.
01-31-2011, 07:54 PM   #11
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for shooting the whole street parade or shooting a large crowd, from the widest lens you have available to 35mm. for shooting far shots, close-ups and inaccessible areas due to traffic and prohibition, the 55-300 comes into play. personally, I would choose the 55-300 if you shoot people closer and their faces without having to move from your position. the downside is you can't shoot a large crowd wide enough which is infront of you. so it would depend on what you are shooting and your shooting location. for me, it's people and close-ups.
01-31-2011, 08:21 PM   #12
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I'm weird, but I'd go with a nice prime or two (DA 40 ltd and/or DA 70 ltd, or whatever you have) and carry a decent point and shoot zoom to cover wider/longer eventualities.
02-01-2011, 08:36 AM   #13
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pentup, that's an interesting idea that I had not even considered. I have the exact lenses you mentioned (DA 40 & 70) and a Canon S95. Hmmm...maybe the 50-135mm plus the Canon would do alright since the S95 at its widest is about 28mm at f/2.0.

I was originally going to set myself up along Kearny, but now I think I should be nearer to the beginning of the parade around Market. I figure that way I can get more available light from the setting sun instead of being at the tail end of the parade when it would be darker.
02-01-2011, 08:44 AM   #14
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Chuc mung nam moi!!!

Can't wait to eat some Tiet canh this weekend.
02-01-2011, 10:18 AM   #15
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None of the above. Sigma 24-70mm or Tamron/Sigma 28-75mm. You will not need anything super wide but you will need to get into the short telephoto range. The DA50-135, I think will be quite limiting but the DA16-50 will not get you close enough for real portraits.
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