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03-14-2012, 09:39 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by okitoki Quote
wow... thats a pretty big basic kit to lug around
Doesn't bother me, but I don't try to stick them all in my pockets either. They really don't bulk too fat nor heavy (for me) in my sling bag. I really couldn't do without any of them. They're all proved themselves in operation. I've been in too many situations where lacking any of them would have severely crimped my shooting.

If I were really trying for a compact general-purpose kit, I'd start with my F35-70 (230g) and FA50/1.4 (240g) and M135/3.5 (270g), and add a DA15 Ltd (210g). These wouldn't really cover my needs, but they'd be better (and smaller) than most alternatives.

Why those focal lengths? Because one way to build a usable prime kit is to double FLs, so I know that each lens has 1/2 or 2x the FOV of its neighbor. 15mm x2= 30mm, and the F35-70 is close. 70mm x2= 140mm, and the M135 is close. And the 50/1.4 is just a necessity, period.


Last edited by RioRico; 03-14-2012 at 10:02 PM.
03-14-2012, 10:05 PM   #17
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I'll be headed back to Japan in about 3 weeks and have been going through the same decision tree. I feel your pain. In the past, I have gone very light and basic - K-7 + DA 18-250 and that was all. I'm going specifically for photography this time so am taking more gear but have still had to speak sternly with myself about over-doing it. I've pretty much settled on K-5, DA 18-135mm, Sigma 10-20mm, Benro Travel Angel tripod and misc accessories. The primes, macros and long zooms will have to stay home or I'd risk not being able to move around on foot as much as I do. Getting older really sucks!

In case you haven't been to Tokyo in the summer, I agree with the above. Tokyo in late July can be a close approximation of h*ll. Be prepared to sweat and search constantly for shade or air conditioning.
03-14-2012, 10:48 PM   #18
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Sweet; I'm there (Tokyo) for about 12 days in the middle of April myself for a family visit!

It's a family trip so not sure just how much time I'll have to do anything too fancy so I'm looking to limit myself to:

K5/21mm/43mm/70mm (for me)
Lumix GF2/14mm/20mm (for my wife & myself as a second casual shooter)

I'm actually on the fence whether I should actually just do K5/50-135 and use the GF2 for anything on wider-than-50mm shots.

Lastly, I'm looking at picking up the Zuiko 45mm F1.8 for the GF2 as the shots off that are simply stunning.


QuoteOriginally posted by abmj Quote
I'll be headed back to Japan in about 3 weeks and have been going through the same decision tree. I feel your pain. In the past, I have gone very light and basic - K-7 + DA 18-250 and that was all. I'm going specifically for photography this time so am taking more gear but have still had to speak sternly with myself about over-doing it. I've pretty much settled on K-5, DA 18-135mm, Sigma 10-20mm, Benro Travel Angel tripod and misc accessories. The primes, macros and long zooms will have to stay home or I'd risk not being able to move around on foot as much as I do. Getting older really sucks!

In case you haven't been to Tokyo in the summer, I agree with the above. Tokyo in late July can be a close approximation of h*ll. Be prepared to sweat and search constantly for shade or air conditioning.
03-14-2012, 11:16 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by legacyb4 Quote
I'm actually on the fence whether I should actually just do K5/50-135 and use the GF2 for anything on wider-than-50mm shots.
That sounds like a good idea to me, although you might still want to keep the 21 and/or 43 in your pockets.

03-14-2012, 11:22 PM   #20
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the biggest issue I worry about is the light level... I always find my shots to be under expose with the K200, so I really hope that I can carry the right lenses....

However, my girlfriend is looking at getting one of those mirroless camera... either the Olympus Pl3 or Nikon J1, so if she does get one of them, I might be able to get away without the zoom lens...

Found a local guy is selling a Sigma 10-20 f4 for $400... tempting
03-14-2012, 11:36 PM   #21
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i think it depends on your shooting style

as i live in hong kong (which has some similarities to tokyo main city), i find i can get by shooting with just my FA31 (yes kind of expensive) but before i was more than happy with just my da21 for daily street shooting

sounds like you like wide angles given your decision for the sigma -> so i would advise either da15 or da21
03-15-2012, 01:44 AM   #22
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My recommended travel lens is always a 17-50mm f/2.8 zoom or close. It provides some flexibility in focal length while providing a decently wide aperture when needed.

If you want to go REALLY light then I'd recommend a standard prime such as the DA 35 ltd or DAL 35.
03-15-2012, 02:09 AM   #23
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well, B&H does have the Sigma 18-50 for $250 shipped to Australia... hmmm.......

Found another local guy selling his K5 for $900 and comes with a DA 21 f3.2 and a kit lens DA 18-55 F3.5.... end up upgrading my K200D? Only thing Im not sure of is that it is a Japanese version, and not sure if it would have any issues with Australian Power... Waiting for the guy to get back to me

03-15-2012, 02:33 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by okitoki Quote
well, B&H does have the Sigma 18-50 for $250 shipped to Australia... hmmm.......

Found another local guy selling his K5 for $900 and comes with a DA 21 f3.2 and a kit lens DA 18-55 F3.5.... end up upgrading my K200D? Only thing Im not sure of is that it is a Japanese version, and not sure if it would have any issues with Australian Power... Waiting for the guy to get back to me
The battery is the same nomatter where the K5 was sold. The charger might ( ulikely but might) be an issue but that's a very good price if the K5 is in good shape and has a moderate shutter count.
03-15-2012, 09:16 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by okitoki Quote
well, B&H does have the Sigma 18-50 for $250 shipped to Australia... hmmm.......

Found another local guy selling his K5 for $900 and comes with a DA 21 f3.2 and a kit lens DA 18-55 F3.5.... end up upgrading my K200D? Only thing Im not sure of is that it is a Japanese version, and not sure if it would have any issues with Australian Power... Waiting for the guy to get back to me
That 18-50 is the older discontinued version of their new (and much improved) 17-50. However the Tamron 17-50 is sharper still than the Sigma (which is expensive and almost the price of Pentax's 16-50) but just lacks HSM .. however considering the $$ saving it's an absolute bargain (check out the Tamron thread here on PF).

As I live in Shanghai (many similarities to Tokyo) I can say that even 17mm may not be wide enough. I have the 15 Ltd / Sigma 10-20 (older variable aperture is supposed to be better than the constant - still available new) and the Tamron 17-50 and if I'm shooting the city downtown then I almost always use the 15mm. Since you prefer zooms then the 10-20 may be a better choice for you.

For street shooting here I use the Sigma 50-150/2.8 and Sigma 30/1.4. For the countryside the 10-20 and something with a longer range (maybe the 18-135 WR now with it's price reduction) could be a good option. I find a good 28mm (for stitching landscapes - there's no distortion with the 28 whereas there is a lot with the 21mm and some with the 15mm never mind the 10-20 !) and the 50-150 has me covered if I wanted to go light (I never do so there are always some primes in the bag too) !

To narrow it down for you there is the zoom route for which I'd recommend :

Sigma 10-20 (variable)
Sigam 18-135 WR (this could be good for an Asian Summer - where we have far more rain than in Winter - if you have a WR body).
A fast 50 for low light - the new Pentax 50/1.8 should be out by the time you go and is very cheap.

or the prime route (15, 28, fast 50, and one in the 70-100 range), which would be far more expensive unless you bought older MF primes.

BTW - that is a great price for the K5 with 2 lenses !
03-15-2012, 01:02 PM   #26
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QuoteQuote:
the biggest issue I worry about is the light level... I always find my shots to be under expose with the K200, so I really hope that I can carry the right lenses....
If you are saying that you are finding that you are always at or near max aperture and still have longer than desirable shutter speeds then yes, definitely go with faster lenses (I still say fast fixed aperture) but if you are saying when on auto the camera tends to under expose all the time, my K20D used to piss me off by always playing that game, then I realized keeping it on center weight instead of the multi segment metering usually fixes that (wheras spot metering always seems to overexpose). I don't know what the metering modes on a K200 are though.

EDIT: Ok I actually looked this up and its apparently a known trait of the K20D to do a piss poor job of multi segmented metering mostly due to it trying to save tiny highlights that it really should let blow out, If its cousin the K200D is the same programming just leave it on center weight or use spot if you know when and how to apply it best. I should concede the point that the lenses I use were definitely not what this camera was designed for and probably make the situation far worse.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 03-15-2012 at 01:26 PM.
03-15-2012, 07:03 PM   #27
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Well, unfortunately the K5 is too good to be true... guy never replied back... so thats too bad... the Sigma 10-20 guy also didnt reply back so thats a dead end too...

Talking to a guy who is selling a DA 15mm f4 for $550. As much as everyone raves about the 15mm, should I be worried that it is not that fast of a lens, as I am the type that would take low light pictures without using a Tripod (Granted that the 15mm users would be using tripods for their landscape and interiors)

Plus the ISO setting for the K200 is not that high with pretty bad noise at top level... so I feel like I need to restrict myself to a fast lens for my style of photography. (or is that a wrong assumption?)

Another budget lens I have come across is the SIGMA 17-35mm F2.8-4 DG....
03-15-2012, 07:17 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by okitoki Quote
As much as everyone raves about the 15mm, should I be worried that it is not that fast of a lens, as I am the type that would take low light pictures without using a Tripod (Granted that the 15mm users would be using tripods for their landscape and interiors)
Keep in mind that shorter lenses allow slower shutters handheld. If we follow the 1/FL rule (*) with SR on for sharp photos, then a shot that with a 50mm lens would require 1/50 shutter can be done with a 15mm at 1/15 second. And yes, for sharp interiors and 'scapes, a tripod is about mandatory. Aperture around f/8, mirror lockup, 3-second delay, that sort of thing. A fast UWA is only advantageous handheld.

(*) -- The old 1/FL rule without SR doesn't really produce pixel-peeper sharp shots. With SR off the rule should be more like 1/5FL. I'll cite Ansel Adams' THE CAMERA on this. SR gives the ~2.5 f-stop advantage needed here.

QuoteQuote:
Plus the ISO setting for the K200 is not that high with pretty bad noise at top level... so I feel like I need to restrict myself to a fast lens for my style of photography. (or is that a wrong assumption?)
Yes, faster is (often) better, but also is (almost always) bigger and costlier. Faster lenses can really really help from 24mm on up, but not so much in the UWA realm. Even though my Zenitar 16/2.8 is a stop faster at that focal length, I find myself using my Tamron 10-24/3.5-4.5 (it's f/4 @ 16mm) much more there -- more convenient.

So my favorite 'normal' lens is a 28/2 and my fave Fifty is the K50/1.2, but the DA10-17 and Tamron 10-24 are more than adequate in their ranges.

Last edited by RioRico; 03-15-2012 at 07:22 PM.
03-15-2012, 07:40 PM   #29
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Ok... so that narrows it down to

I already have:
~ FA 50mm 1.4
~ Old SMC 28 f3.5 (but have some smudges or mold on the front so not sure if I should bring it along)

will be picking up the 15 either today or tomorrow...
03-15-2012, 08:29 PM   #30
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I've travelled around Japan a fair bit and I only use primes. As for missing shot because you didn't have zoom, I say it's highly unlikely since there's so much happening there, you will always have a shot of something.
And I always end up coming back with few thousand photos from each trip.

Anyway, my kit is usually 15mm, 21mm, 31mm, 43mm, 77mm primes.

Funny enough in 4 times I've been there I've never used anything longer than 43mm. Also on my last trip in February I've not even used 43mm.
Sticking mostly to 15mm, 21mm and 31mm. You have to remember that streets are narrow and very often you will struggle to get enough distance between yourself and subject, because of that, I always opt for the wider lenses.

I've a number of photos from Japan on my website, so it should show you the focal lengths I've used for each photo (+ other details). Not that I claim to be great photographer etc.

But, here are few photos. First shot with 21mm, 2nd with 15mm and last with 31mm:





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