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09-01-2011, 07:46 AM   #1
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Adventure Sports / travel 2-lens kit suggestions?

So I have a few fun things on the go: a trip to Ireland, some trail running and mountain biking video projects and a general love of outdoor photography and video work.

I'm picking up one or both of the LowePro Sport packs, showcased here: Lowepro | Photo Sport Series

The real question is what to do about lenses for my K5.

I have bee relying on my collection of old SMC Takumars: 17 fisheye, 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 120/2.8 and 300/4. For a work project (not aesthetically driven) I added a 18-55 WR kit lens and the DA-L 55-300. Those sport packs can only really hold two lenses and the body...and that's all I would want to carry with me. So for travel, mountain biking, hiking, climbing and all those other wicked outdoor sports, what would you take? Keep in mind weight, lens quality, versatility and the subject matter: landscapes and adventure sports

A few ideas:
1. Buy a DA*16-50 and pair it with the 55-300.
2. Stick with the 17/4 Fisheye and pair it with the 18-55
3. Buy an 18-135 and call it a day
4. Buy a UWA, maybe a 12-24 paired with 55-300?

Other random thoughts:
- I LOVE my SMC takumars, but i'm starting to think that the demands of my photography, moving from static subjects to "on the run" photos, makes AF lenses more appropriate
- I've relished the idea of shooting video and stills on the DA35mm Macro...keeping it as a walkabout.
- 15mm f4 would be a great walk about lens as well.
- Aren't the old takumars better for video?

What would you do?

09-01-2011, 07:55 AM   #2
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Well depending how wide you want it. I think that with some of the DA Limited lenses you can do nice things. But they are not wheaterseald on the downside. So a 15mm/f4 would be nice or 21mm/f3.2 if you don't need so wide. The 16-50 is very bulky, but if you don't mind that is no problem. For Ireland you need at least one good wheaterseald lens, so make a choice on wide side, long side or travelzoom.
09-01-2011, 08:03 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
some trail running and mountain biking video projects and a general love of outdoor photography and video work
QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
Aren't the old takumars better for video?
The old Takumars are great for video -> 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm

For a solid set of video lenses, the above plus:

13, 14 or 15mm MF
8mm FE

With the 8mm FE, really that is a no brainer - once set, anything past 2 feet from the glass will essentially be in focus. Check out the Rokinon 8mm FE, this one is the hottest seller for the video guys these days as it is a pretty solid piece and pretty inexpensive - you can also check out the other variants of this lens, some are cheaper some are more expensive (all manufactured by Samyang though).

For a 14 or 15, there are a couple of choices - I have the 13mm Vivitar (which is the 14mm Samyang and its variants) and it is a fantastic piece of glass. The pentax 14 or 15 is something to look into on the used market.

EDIT: Ron posted before me, my post is strictly for your video question...

09-01-2011, 08:33 AM   #4
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I would say the 16-50 is a great choice, for it's all around versatility combined with weather sealing that gives you a great lens even when the weather gets rough. The 18-55 WR lens would be fine too if you don't need the wider 16mm, F2.8 aperture, and sharpness of the DA*. The DA* is much bulkier and heavier than the kit WR lens, so be prepared for that if you go down that road.

Then, combine one of those standard lenses with either the 12-24 or 55-300 depending on your personal preference or what you'll be doing for the trip. That should cover you pretty well. I don't own an ultrawide right now, but I'm pretty sure that either the Pentax 12-24 or Sigma 10-20 will be my next real (read: non-collector) lens purchase. Actually I wish pentax would just release the DA* 12-35mm lens that was rumored several months ago. That would be a killer backcountry lens.

here are some combo's that I have used while 1-2 night backpacking, all with the K-7 + a decent tripod...
- DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135: (A bit bulky but lovely image quality).
- DA* 16-50 + FA 100 Macro: (didn't end up using the macro due to inconvenience in lens changes and some bad weather...)
- A28/2: (Nice leightweight minimal option with good sharp IQ...I definitely could have used a wider option for some scenic stuff, but it did well for group shots and tighter landscapes)
- DA* 16-50 + FA20: (FA20 is much easier to handle due to little weight, but it didn't stay on long because of the versatility of the 16-50.

09-01-2011, 08:48 AM   #5
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About the adventure backpack...

I suggest you take a look at the F-stop adventure backpacks:

Fall / Winter 2010 Product

I have the Loka and like it, especially as it doesn't give a hint of carrying expensive camera gear.

09-01-2011, 09:01 AM   #6
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I take a lot of shots of individual skydivers and tandems coming in for a landing. The motion is not super fast but there are few second chances. With my K-5 I found the DAL 55-300 frustrating because it frequently went into focus hunt mode and was not that quick to focus even when it didn't. I get very much better results from my Sigma APO 70-300. It is built like a tank, has a much shorter throw to reach a focus, and rarely focus hunts. Now overall I would agree with most people who say the 55-300 is optically a better lens but the Sigma is no slouch on my K-5 and if the edges are a bit soft at the long end the center is quite sharp. I miss the deeper wide end sometimes but I miss to many shots with Pentax. Now oddly enough when I was using my K2000, using the 5 point autofocus mode (essentially the 5 points created a large center point) the DAL 55-300 worked pretty well and I never used my Sigma. But on the K5 it was a different story. I realize the K5 can also be set to use a 5 point AF and I tried it along with using just the single center point. Didn't matter, the 55-300 was just too frustrating too often to use trying to capture things in motion. But my Sigma works like a champ on the K5. I see the APO version of the lens now runs around $240, there is a cheaper version of the 70-300, but I've never seen it well recommended.
09-01-2011, 09:03 AM   #7
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I would buy a DA 18-135mm and pair it with your Takumar 35mm f2.
09-01-2011, 04:46 PM   #8
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There is no two lens system for what you want. I shoot a lot of climbing photography with pictures in climbing mags and adds. My most used lenses are the 135mm 2.8, 70mm 2.4, and 43mm 1.9. I use the 15mm 4.0, 16-50 2.8, 300mm 2.8 also.

The I find the compact primes to be much easier to use when you are dangling from a rope 4 pitches up. The 16-50 really only gets use when I am shooting from standing positions... Zooming is hard when you are trying to keep from swinging into the rock, or you are holding an off camera flash with one hand and the camera with the other... Climbing isn't so fast action that you need high speed focusing.

Getting images that standout require a lot of flexibility and creativity. You need options.

09-02-2011, 02:18 PM   #9
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Original Poster often asked question, but perhaps different within the context of sports/travel. How about the 16-45 f4, should this even be on my list? I'm struggling with budget and trying to figure out how wide I need to go.

I wonder what the FOV is of my 17mm f4 fisheye, given it is a full 180 degrees on film?
09-14-2011, 10:20 AM   #10
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So I've been thinking it through some more and come up with a few more concrete scenarios for lenses for camping, adventuring, travel and filmmaking:

1. Do nothing. 18-55WR, 55-300, 17mm fisheye and my other takumars selected as needed.
The kit lens is light, but the takumars are heavy if relatively compact. The WR, if broken or dropped, I frankly don't mind. And takumars could probably withstand some light rain...

2. Carry only an upgraded standard zoom: 16-45, 18-135 or 16-50.
The 16-50 is big, and less weight while camping is a great thing...but this lens would do everything I need...sealed, versatile range, bright. It's big and expensive! The 16-45 would be cheap, light and flexible, while the 18-135 would be ok too, with lots of room on the long end.

3. Go pancake...carry a DA21, DA40 or both.
These little lenses wouldn't extend out past the body of the k5 much...light weight and small size make them easy to carry, and less likely to break, but they are not weather sealed...something that worries me. Also, small focus barrel would make video focus pulling a challenge I'm sure.

Any more thoughts?
09-14-2011, 04:12 PM   #11
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I can provide a bit of feedback on option 3 above: last summer I took a K-5 with only the DA21 and DA70 primes on our family vacation. The combination carries very well, which was what I was after. I used the DA21 probably 3/4 of the time. I think it would do very well for the landscapes you intend to shoot. I found the DA70 to be a touch short for "critter" photos, but it did quite well for pictures of the family at moderate distances. I suspect the DA40 would do just as well.

That being said, my vacation was not as athletic as yours. I don't consider these lenses to be the best choices for sports. I've missed some action shots with them. Admittedly, my technique can be improved...but a faster lens would help.

09-14-2011, 04:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
I wonder what the FOV is of my 17mm f4 fisheye, given it is a full 180 degrees on film?
It's about 100 degrees on APS-C.

QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
So I've been thinking it through some more and come up with a few more concrete scenarios for lenses for camping, adventuring, travel and filmmaking:
If WR is crucial to you (and it should be, in Ireland!) then go WR and DA*. If weight is critical (and it should be, cycling!) then go pancake and carry a plastic bag. (My ultralight lenses all weigh in the 100-150g range.) If coverage is critical to you (and it should be, for all that stuff!) then take everything you can.

That's probably about what you've been thinking. Good luck!
09-14-2011, 05:08 PM   #13
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A 12-24 and something else, perhaps the 55-300 if you shoot long, or a 28-75 that will do some portraits and building detail.
09-15-2011, 08:26 AM   #14
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A little lightbulb went on this morning...a combination of #1 and #3, as my priorities are Size/Weight, WR, IQ in that order.

My solution will be as follows: Carry the WR kit lens off camera, used for times when the weather is nasty or I'm putting the camera in precarious situations. But have either a DA40 and/or DA21 for quick and compact "off the hip" shooting. The idea is that the kit lens will stay off the camera in my backpack...accessible but not mounted. A pancake stays on the camera as the "go-to" lens while hiking in fair conditions.

Small/lightweight, prime-image-quality shooting when possible, and WR versatile zoom when required...all with a total kit weight that is very reasonable. With weights of

21mm - 140g
40mm - 90g
18-55 WR - 230g

Even all three total just 470g, over 100g less than the DA* alone, and takes up a lot less space.

The question then becomes 21mm, 40mm or both.
09-15-2011, 08:44 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
The question then becomes 21mm, 40mm or both.
Both, of course!

But with this kit you've nothing longer than 55mm. Will that be sufficient?

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