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02-08-2011, 01:35 PM   #1
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Choosing the right lens for travel

I am beginner with a pentax K-x, aside from the 18-55 kit lens I have a sigma 70-300.
The sigma lens is great for portraits and has great range, but it is really inconvenient having to constantly change lenses due to lack of low range.

I am going to europe soon and want to find a good lens to accomodate a decent range, and have the capability to take nice sharp images in good light.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

02-08-2011, 01:43 PM   #2
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I am considering:

Tamron 18-200 DI-II 3.5-6.3
Tamron 18-250 AF 3.5-6.3
Tamron 28-300 3.5-6.3 XR Di LD
Sigma 18-2503.5-6.3 DC OS HSM
02-08-2011, 01:57 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I have used the Tamron 18-200 for travel and it is a very convenient range for an all in-one lens.

It is not as sharp as the Tamron/Pentax 18-250 from what I hear, but the cost is lower.

For city shots you may find the 28-300 is not wide enough and the long end may not be that useful.
02-08-2011, 02:23 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
For city shots you may find the 28-300 is not wide enough and the long end may not be that useful.
This.

You want to cover 18 ish to 100 ish well, this is where 95% of travel shots will be taken IMHO.

Pentax 18-135 would work.

So would the 17-70. In fact, I don't think you would miss the 70-100 range much.

You will spend most of your time under 50mm.

Also, bring a cheap 50mm (1.4 or 1.7) with you, for when the light goes away.

02-08-2011, 02:43 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote

You will spend most of your time under 50mm.

Also, bring a cheap 50mm (1.4 or 1.7) with you, for when the light goes away.
+1

I recommend a Tamron 17-50 2.8 fast, very sharp, low distortion (great for taking photos of buildings etc) and will cover most of what you need for travel. I travelled for 20 months straight with a nikon d60 kit, I took 90% of my shots at 18mm. The wide end is really what you will use most imo.

Im sure the Sigma 17-70 is also nice the IQ wont be as good and the speed is lower, I cant image the extra 20mm being that useful.

Those 18-200's and 18-250s and stuff are good, but the IQ is so-so they are pretty big and heavy that said there will be some times when you want the long range but to be honest it wont be nearly as often as the wide end
02-08-2011, 02:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input.

I agree that for most city/scenery shots I will be hovering somewhere below 70, but having the 100+ range for taking macro shots is nice, something I enjoy with my sigma 70-300.

The pentax 18-135 is a fantastic lens from what ive read, but a bit out of my price range right now being a beginner.

So I think my choices may are narrowed down between the Tamron and Sigma 18-250. I'm not really concerned with weight or noise, but mostly the quality and sharpness. And I havent really read anything thats helped decide which produces better pictures. Any ideas?
02-08-2011, 03:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nayuop Quote
100+ range for taking macro shots
Interesting - macro is not really a travel photography thing.

Have you considered something like the DA 35 macro? It would be a great general lens, with macro, without the need for a super-long lens.

A true macro lens is going to be a prime, so you will run into budget problems when you add macro into the mix...

The tamron 17-50 is a great suggestion. I would steer you away from those super zooms ... tend to be jack of all trades, masters of none.... but if you look at the lenses in my sig, you would notice that I have no problem changing lenses.
02-08-2011, 03:20 PM   #8
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There's no way I'd want to go to Europe with 18mm as my widest option. I'm going there this year and I'll be packing my 12-24 as my main lens, plus the 15/21/40/70 limiteds. I don't think I'll even bother to take my 55-300 or my 50-135.

02-08-2011, 04:02 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
There's no way I'd want to go to Europe with 18mm as my widest option. I'm going there this year and I'll be packing my 12-24 as my main lens, plus the 15/21/40/70 limiteds. I don't think I'll even bother to take my 55-300 or my 50-135.
The answer to the OP's question is highly dependent on one's shooting style/habits, but...

+1! From past experiences, I would not go to Europe without something wider than 17/18mm (I too own a DA12-24), and I basically never feel the need for anything longer than 77mm (you can guess which lens that is ). I used to carry my DA50-200, but had to force myself to used it so lately I've left it at home.

I've written this before, but here it is again: my European travel kit is as follows:
  • DA12-24
  • DA21
  • FA35
  • FA77

The 12-24 has a tendency to stay on the camera for a long time once I put it on...
02-08-2011, 04:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
There's no way I'd want to go to Europe with 18mm as my widest option. I'm going there this year and I'll be packing my 12-24 as my main lens, plus the 15/21/40/70 limiteds. I don't think I'll even bother to take my 55-300 or my 50-135.
True, 18 is not wide really enough. I always recommend the 12-24, regardless of what else you take. Add the Tamron 28-75 and you should have a good 2-lens travel setup.
02-08-2011, 10:02 PM   #11
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With regards to ultra wide angle: I think it's all about interpretation and working with the options that you have. I've never had anything wider than a 28mm prime on film; this however has hardly ever limited me in taking the photos that I wanted.

Yes, with a wider angle I would have been able to take other shots, but with the limitation that one has one will just take different photos.

I haven't done cities and castles / churches for a long time but I will be absolutely happy to do any trip with the kit lens only.
02-08-2011, 10:05 PM   #12
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OK, but to get to Europe and the cost while you're there = $$$$$$, while a DA12-24 is 'only' $700, and what's more you get to use it even after the trip
02-08-2011, 10:16 PM   #13
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Ah, once again, everyone has an opinion or three. Here are mine:

I started Pentaxian life with a K20D and 3 lenses: DA10-17 fisheye zoom, DA18-250 superzoom, and FA50/1.4 for low light. The latter 2 are still my most-used lenses, and have worked their way throu cities, towns, villages, and countryside in USA and Mexico. I consider the 18-250 to be the basic tool, with all my now-180 other lenses as specialty items.

Were I to retrace my previous journeys in Italy and Germany with my current kit, I'd have as a minimum: my Tamron 10-24 (but you may prefer a Sigma 10-20); my DA18-250 and FA50/1.4; and my Raynox DCR-250 (you might prefer a -150). Some may argue against taking anything longer than 135mm. I disagree; the 18-250 is just too useful in too many instances. And 18mm really isn't wide enough for grabbing contexts, hence the advisability of an 8-16 or 10-20 or 10-24 or 12-24. So that's my minimum kit.

I'd supplement those with some fast manual primes: my 24/2, 85/2, maybe my 35/2. These have proved their worth in dim situations. And I'd still take the 10-17 because there are times when only a fisheye will do. My strategy: Approach somewhere new with the 18-250 and 10-24. Wander around, shooting and thinking. Then come back with faster primes and do some serious shooting, into the evening even (hence the faster glass).
02-09-2011, 12:57 AM   #14
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For me, it always depends on where I'm traveling -

For major urban areas (i.e. crowded and fast-moving) (NYC, Metro Manila etc..), I find that I prefer compact primes - maybe 15/21/70, or 21/40/70 etc..

But for most other places, (e.g. small towns, beach vacations, sleepy fishing villages) - I prefer zooms. Either something like the 18-250, maybe I'll even consider the 16-50. But generally, I'm ok with the 12-24 and I'd throw in a fast-ish normal to tele prime. (typically the DA40 or DA70.

But generally, I very rarely take more than 3 lenses when traveling. Unless I'm hiking up mountains and I can hire a porter to carry my gear.
02-09-2011, 06:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by nayuop Quote
having the 100+ range for taking macro shots
There's no relation between focal length and macro capabilities, per se. I have a 50mm dedicated macro lens and it will create bigger enlargments than my 100-300mm lens at 300mm.

Regarding your original question, the best lens for your needs would probably be the Pentax 18-135. the Tamron 18-250 (or 270 now?) would be a good, but not great, choice optically.

A lens like the Sigma 17-70 would put you up one step in image quality, and improve your capabilities in low light (to some extend, it won't do magic). Plus it's great for macro.

If I went to Europe, I would bring my Sigma 17-70, F50 f1,7 and DA21 Limited for low light, and maybe, just maybe, consider bringing my 100-300mm tele lens. I doubt I'd use it a lot.
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