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06-12-2011, 04:16 PM   #1
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Going to Colorado in a week, want a second opinion on lenses to take

Going on a spur of the moment trip to Colorado to Estes Park, Pikes Peak, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and whatever else catches our attention. No back country camping this time, just day hikes, whitewater rafting and some rock climbing.

I'll be going with a few friends that aren't photographers, but tolerant of giving me some time to shoot. While they're good friends, they aren't good enough to haul my lens bag for me, so I have to pick what I want to take and keep it a compact load. Too bad this was spur of the moment and I don't have an unlimited budget, otherwise a set of Limited glass would be in my bag!!

The bag I intend to use has a capacity of 2-3 average lenses. Space getting out there is limited as well, so I can't bring the full selection and adjust once I see what I'm up against.

Originally, my thoughts were: Ricoh 28mm f2.8, FA50 f1.4, and maybe the Tokina 80-400mm.

1. Is the 80-400mm worth the bulk, or will the reach of 400mm never likely be utilized? If all I'll need is a shorter tele, I could take the SMC 85mm and save weight and space.

2. I have a 12-24, but I suspect that how the UWA's compress the background, it'd make the mountains rather unimpressive. Am I passing up an opportunity by intending on leaving it behind?

3. I'm thinking of bringing the Spotmatic with the 55mm f1.8 along as well, even if it doesn't go on any of the hikes because I simply enjoy using it. If I took the 85mm instead of the 80-400mm, I'd be able to use it on both cameras. The spotmatic typically has some flavor of black and white iso 400 film in it.

I won't be making any lens purchases, so all there will be to work with is what I've listed above and what's in my profile. Maybe a new polarizing filter, but nothing big.

06-12-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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Take a wide lens; I toured the Southwest for more than a month this spring and, by far, my most commonly used ens was by far my 15mm, seconded by my 55mm. I hardly used my telephoto at all. The landscapes are broad, open and beautiful. My best shots were with the 15mm.

Ed
06-12-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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If I was taking only one lens you mention, it would be the 12-24.
06-12-2011, 06:03 PM   #4
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Take the 12-24, FA50, and if you have room the 85mm.

06-12-2011, 08:53 PM   #5
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I just spent a week based in Breckenridge CO, arriving from Santa Fe NM via Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek Pass, Creede, Gunnison, Leadville, and Vail. I wandered around the Breck area, drove over to Aspen and back via Leadville again, and up 14,150ft Mt Evans. My knees suck so it was all drives and short walks around incredibly scenic areas.

I took a panoply of around 25+ lenses -- but what I *used* in Colorado were 50's (K50/1.2, Zeiss 50/2.8 [12 iris blades]) a lot, a Kiron CFWA 28/2 a lot, a Tamron 10-24 a bit (mostly in towns), and an Enna Tele-Sandmar 100/4.5 to shoot portraits of marmots atop Mt Evans. I tried, but couldn't find reason to shoot anything longer than 100mm. If I were to repeat, I could get by (minimally) with: Tamron 10-24, FA50/1.4, Nikkor 85/2, and Raynox DCR-250.

So I recommend you take your 12-24, 50, and 85. And a Raynox if you have one. If not, think about taking a de-glassed A-type TC (if you have one), so you can use your 50 and 85 to close in. No, the 80-400 probably won't be worth taking unless you shoot birds.
06-12-2011, 09:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Take the 12-24, FA50, and if you have room the 85mm.
^^^This
06-12-2011, 10:08 PM   #7
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The most used lenses on all my backcountry trips are my wides and macro. A long lens if you think you will be shooting birds or wildlife. I rarely see any wildlife on hiking trips and when I do, it's such a quick think that I never get a shot off anyhow. I agree with Twitch also. I would bring the 80-400 along but probably not carry it on hikes.
06-12-2011, 10:36 PM   #8
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definitely something wider than a 28mm. And if you plan to do lots of hikes and walks, maybe the 12-24mm wouldn't be the best choice. you're already accustom to primes, so the DA 15mm would be perfect for you. just keep it at f8 and capture everything, almost everything

06-13-2011, 07:10 AM   #9
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
^^^This
This is what I was starting to think after I posted. Funny how your own take changes once you read what you were initially thinking.

I know wildlife well enough that how I suspect these hikes to be, I won't be prepared for a shot even if one presented itself. I'll probably have enough room to bring it so I likely will, but I don't see it getting used. Just in case I hear of a herd of XYZ is always feeding in this meadow or at that lake at such and such a time.

Rico- Thanks for the input and good call on the empty TC. I would have forgotten to bring it. Got scared/confused for a second when I tested it out- no aperture control. What the, make sure the custom menu is set right, try my other TC, still nothing. Look at the FA50, oops, must have bumped the lock button, no longer in A. Move it back, now all is golden.

So the kit will be DA 12-24mm, FA 50, SMC Tak 85 and the Tokina in the car. I'd love to have the DA 15mm. Its on the short list of future lenses, but unless someone wants to donate to the TVFD911 has too many hobbies and too little $$ fund, it will stay on that list for a while yet.

Thanks for all the feedback, much appreciated.
06-14-2011, 02:26 PM   #10
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From Estes, I'd suggest circling through the mountains instead of Colorado Springs. The Front Range is very populated; Colorado State Parks are less mobbed with people than National Parks, and you may have surprisingly nice experiences. So you could profitably skip Pikes Peak, unless you are going that way. Even if CSP, skip Pikes Peak and do Garden of the Gods, Castlewood Canyon State Park, Roxborough State Park, Eldorado Canyon (you're climbing, right?).

I'd highly suggest the Sand Dunes NP for photography rather than the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Campsites are usually available if you reserve ahead or get there by 1:00 pm.

For sure bring the wide. Full rainbows require 18mm, I think. I'm living (somewhat happily) these days within a 135mm limitation, but you will certainly have opportunities to shoot deer, elk, sheep, chipmunks or birds, so you might bring the 80-400 in the car. If you shoot birds you know what you need.

Important: Graduated ND filter for sunsets, ND4 and tripod to blur waterfalls. In truth, I don't end up using the ND4 or a polarizer much, but when you need to cut reflections from wet leaves or wet rocks the polarizer is essential.

If you are on film, the high-altitude skies are very blue and an 81A helps warm things. Velvia is great, but has a lot of trouble with sunny, high-contrast days. Have some for cloudy or rainy!

Tripod for starry-skies away from city lights. Welcome to the West!
06-14-2011, 06:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetaD Quote
From Estes, I'd suggest circling through the mountains instead of Colorado Springs. The Front Range is very populated; Colorado State Parks are less mobbed with people than National Parks, and you may have surprisingly nice experiences. So you could profitably skip Pikes Peak, unless you are going that way. Even if CSP, skip Pikes Peak and do Garden of the Gods, Castlewood Canyon State Park, Roxborough State Park, Eldorado Canyon (you're climbing, right?).

I'd highly suggest the Sand Dunes NP for photography rather than the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Campsites are usually available if you reserve ahead or get there by 1:00 pm.

For sure bring the wide. Full rainbows require 18mm, I think. I'm living (somewhat happily) these days within a 135mm limitation, but you will certainly have opportunities to shoot deer, elk, sheep, chipmunks or birds, so you might bring the 80-400 in the car. If you shoot birds you know what you need.

Important: Graduated ND filter for sunsets, ND4 and tripod to blur waterfalls. In truth, I don't end up using the ND4 or a polarizer much, but when you need to cut reflections from wet leaves or wet rocks the polarizer is essential.

If you are on film, the high-altitude skies are very blue and an 81A helps warm things. Velvia is great, but has a lot of trouble with sunny, high-contrast days. Have some for cloudy or rainy!

Tripod for starry-skies away from city lights. Welcome to the West!
Thanks for the advice. I passed it on to the rest of the group for the travel suggestions.

I guess I'll bring my tripod with even though I'm afraid it may just stay there due to its ancient heft. I forgot about a nighttime sky shot though. A lot less light pollution out there even compared to some relatively remote country areas around WI.

Looks like the weather there isn't too much cooler than what we've had here recently. I was figuring it'd be cooler at altitude out there yet.

Last edited by tvfd911; 06-14-2011 at 06:53 PM.
06-15-2011, 08:20 PM   #12
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Nights can be very cool.

Daytimes may be hot, but humidity low, so you'll be a lot happier than you think.
06-15-2011, 09:06 PM   #13
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Only reason for the 400 would be wildlife. You may well see some, but you'll have to decide if it's worth lugging that lens around just for the opportunity to shoot it a little closer.

Take the 12-24, but indeed, don't expect to use it for shots of distant mountains unless you want them to be dwarfed by the foreground.
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