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02-28-2011, 05:44 PM   #1
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Travel set-up question

I have some trips coming up this Spring & Summer (one of which I feel is the trip of a lifetime) and am constantly running lens-combinations through my head. I currently have the DA 40 ltd. in addition to the DA L 18-55 & 55-300 kit lenses. I'm very happy with my DA 40 and find that the 55-300 works beautifully given there is decent available light. So, I feel like my "needs" are on the wide end.

I find that, other than with my DA 40, I tend to shoot either wide or long. When traveling, a lot of my pictures are at 18mm (shooting mostly architecture and landscape). I'm sure I'd go even wider if I had the option.

I'm considering either the DA 12-24 or the DA 15 to pair with my DA 40. I also want to mention that I would love to eventually get the FA 77 for portraits of my daughter.

I think the DA 12-24 / DA 40 / FA 77 would be a great kit. The problem is, since I can only afford one lens before my upcoming trips, if I get the DA 12-24, then I'll be traveling with two large zooms (12-24 + 55-300).

However, if I choose DA 15 / DA 40 / FA 77, I'm weary of the gap between 15 & 40. Although, I've read some people say they use the 15 for 90% of their shots when traveling. I can't imagine doing this but then again I've never used the 15 before.

Anyway, you can probably sense the madness going on in my head. Any advice for me? Maybe listing your own travel kit would help steer me in a completely new direction.

02-28-2011, 05:59 PM   #2
hcc
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Have you considered an all-around lens ? The DA18-250mm and DA18-135mm are in that category although the former (DA18-250mm) has a longer reach.

I travel often overseas (Asia, Europe, North-America, Australasia) and I want to travel light. I also want to avoid lens swapping. I have two preferred combo to travel light (cabin luggage only):

- K-7 + DA18-250mm, or

- K-7 + FA31mm

The first combo is my favourite and covers nearly all my needs. However, there some instances when I want image quality and the second combo (FA31mm) is my preferred choice.

When I travel with more than a cabin luggage, I would also consider the combo:

- K-7 + DA18-250mm + Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4

The DA18-250mm being the lens mounted on the K-7, while the Nokton 58mm f1.4 (a fast prime) covers the low-light situations.

Food for thoughts and Hope that the comments will assist...

Last edited by hcc; 02-28-2011 at 06:18 PM.
02-28-2011, 06:01 PM   #3
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I recommend taking a all-around zoom such as the 18-135 and then your favorite prime. Can never go wrong with that!

Adam
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02-28-2011, 06:54 PM   #4
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I always recommend the 12-24 for travel (and many other things). The 40 and 55-300 rounds it out.

02-28-2011, 07:04 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I always recommend the 12-24 for travel (and many other things). The 40 and 55-300 rounds it out.
12-24 is one of my favorites for any type of travel, as well. Usually I bring that one and the DA*50-135. The gap never bothered me but now that I have the FA 43 I'm sure it'll fit somewhere in the bag!
02-28-2011, 07:17 PM   #6
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I wasn't a fan of the 12-24/4 when I first got it, but now I cannot imagine going on a trip without it. Invariably, when I'm showing off my photos later to friends and coworkers, it's the photos taken by this lens that provokes the "wow!"

Seriously, I am a prime snob, and the first trip I ever took with serious photo gear was with the DA 21, the FA 43, and the DA 70. I personally thought that 21mm wasn't wide enough for what I want to accomplish, but there's a pretty huge difference between 21mm and 15mm (of course, the same could be said for 12mm-15mm).

If you'd like to see what kinds of travel photos I take and why I like the 12-24, please feel free to peruse here: 1224 tag.

Happy travels!
02-28-2011, 07:33 PM   #7
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Get the 12-24.

Oh, and the 12-24 & 55-300 are definitely not large zooms, you should try out a 70-200 f2.8 one day
02-28-2011, 07:57 PM   #8
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I gotta cast a vote for the 15. I'm not really a "wide" guy but I love that lens. I know the 12-24 is an impressive lens, but believe me, so is the 15. A 15,40, 55-300 kit would serve you very well and would be easy to travel with both in size and weight. I think you might find the gap between 15 and 40 entirely acceptable in real-world shooting. If it were me, I would buy it, try it and decide for yourself. I used to have a Sigma 10-20 and just found that 15 was plenty wide for me and I just enjoyed using the 15 so much more. There's a reason it has the longest "love-letter" thread on this site.

02-28-2011, 09:37 PM   #9
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To HCC and Adam: I have considered the all in one zoom and it is definitely a tempting solution. It really would solve the convenience/practicality side of things. In fact, the photozone review of the 18-135 will be out long before I'm able to make a purchase and I'll be anxiously waiting for it.

The only thing is that I feel that lenses like the DA12-24 and the ltd. primes would leave me with the real stunning images. I realize you both mention to travel with one prime in addition to an all-in-one lens, which makes a lot of sense, but I think I'm willing to sacrifice missing some opportunities (due not having the right focal length mounted) in order to gain shooting with only truly stellar lenses.

Thank you both for reading and providing your input.
02-28-2011, 09:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I always recommend the 12-24 for travel (and many other things). The 40 and 55-300 rounds it out.
Thanks SpecialK - I was secretly hoping someone would say this!
02-28-2011, 09:43 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
12-24 is one of my favorites for any type of travel, as well. Usually I bring that one and the DA*50-135. The gap never bothered me but now that I have the FA 43 I'm sure it'll fit somewhere in the bag!
haha! I'm sure you will. That sounds like a killer lineup - ESPECIALLY with the FA 43. From the images I've seen, the DA*50-135 would be a dream to have too. The only thing, again, is the size. I just wonder how difficult it would be to travel with - especially with the DA12-24 too. The problem is no one in my area sells Pentax gear so I can't see these in person.

I've heard people mention that when they shoot portraits, the size of this lens with the hood changes peoples' behavior/reaction. They can get more self-conscious, etc. Do you find that?
02-28-2011, 09:48 PM   #12
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I don't do a ton of portraits but, yea, I noticed that. People are a lot more casual when I use the FA 43 vs a big zoom, but if anything, its images come out better!
02-28-2011, 10:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by K McCall Quote
I wasn't a fan of the 12-24/4 when I first got it, but now I cannot imagine going on a trip without it. Invariably, when I'm showing off my photos later to friends and coworkers, it's the photos taken by this lens that provokes the "wow!"

Seriously, I am a prime snob, and the first trip I ever took with serious photo gear was with the DA 21, the FA 43, and the DA 70. I personally thought that 21mm wasn't wide enough for what I want to accomplish, but there's a pretty huge difference between 21mm and 15mm (of course, the same could be said for 12mm-15mm).

If you'd like to see what kinds of travel photos I take and why I like the 12-24, please feel free to peruse here: 1224 tag.

Happy travels!
Thanks for your feedback, Keitha. Funny that you responded on this because when you posted some pics on DPR a month or so ago from a trip on the NW coast, you had some AMAZING pics from the DA12-24. That's actually when I started to take this lens seriously and gravitate away from the DA 15 (not that I've completely eliminated that option. Anyway, so I've seen your website and flickr and really enjoy your work. One thing I love about photography is the juxtaposition of having the technical knowledge with having a creative eye to "see" great shots. Anyone can learn the former with some hard work but not everyone has the latter. You definitely do.

Unrelated: As you have a lot of gear and it sounds like you travel a lot, what kind of bag would you recommend traveling with (if you only had the DA12-24; DA40 ltd.; and DA L 55-300)?

Thanks again for your input!
02-28-2011, 10:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Get the 12-24.

Oh, and the 12-24 & 55-300 are definitely not large zooms, you should try out a 70-200 f2.8 one day
Yeah it's good you point that out. I'm definitely spoiled from walking out my door with my Kx and DA 40. What a phenomenal, compact combo. Touring a city, when you don't want to draw attention to yourself, these primes are a godsend.

This is my first DSLR and so the 55-300 is the biggest lens I've ever used. But, no, definitely not big compared to other zooms out there. I'll have to weigh-out if I want to walk a city with these 2 zooms. I'm definitely leaning that way.
02-28-2011, 10:30 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
I gotta cast a vote for the 15. I'm not really a "wide" guy but I love that lens. I know the 12-24 is an impressive lens, but believe me, so is the 15. A 15,40, 55-300 kit would serve you very well and would be easy to travel with both in size and weight. I think you might find the gap between 15 and 40 entirely acceptable in real-world shooting. If it were me, I would buy it, try it and decide for yourself. I used to have a Sigma 10-20 and just found that 15 was plenty wide for me and I just enjoyed using the 15 so much more. There's a reason it has the longest "love-letter" thread on this site.
You're killing me DogLover! Let me just be sure of myself with the DA12-24! haha

People who love the DA 15, LOVE THE DA 15... I would kill to get my hands on it - even just for a few minutes! But there just aren't any Pentax dealers where I am. Anyway, I'm sure I'll agonize over it for a few more months and may end up with it afterall : ) It seems to be like the FA 77 in that people can't put into words the type of qualities it has.

And I have heard many people say they use their DA 15 as a replacement to their kit (18-55). I never understood how that was feasible but who knows? Maybe the gap between 15 and 40 wouldn't be too bad for me.

Right now, I'd go for the DA12-24. Tomorrow may be another story. 3 months from now when I can make my purchase, I'll probably end up with a tele-zoom or something!
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