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06-21-2012, 05:53 AM   #1
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what would you get 18-135,50-135 or 50-200 WR

i like to whitewater kayak and i want to take my camera with me to take pictures of fellow kayakers as well as scenery...i keep struggling with what lens i should get..the more expensive and faster? 50-135...the 18-135 which seems to have reviews that say it is fast too or the less expensive 50-200...i would most likely be using with shutter speeds of 600+ and F5.6 or higher...anyone have any recommendations...i have the 60-250 which i love but the boat doesn't have the room to handle the lens of that size..thanks

06-21-2012, 06:11 AM   #2
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The 50-135 is pretty big, and the autofocus is slow but for IQ on the long end it'll destroy the other two. It is much more expensive though. Personally, and bear in mind I own the 50-135 and have never tried the other two, I'd think that the 18-135 would suit you more because it'll give you the option of a wide end as well. The IQ won't be up to scratch with the DA*, but it'll be more than good enough. Plus it's lighter and smaller too, so it'll be much less unwieldy. And it focuses a lot closer. And given you say you shoot at f/5.6, it should just about be fast enough.

Though if you're generally going to be a bit further away and don't mind losing the wide end you'll be very satisfied with the 50-135. The IQ wide open is stunning all throughout the range. But all in all, you're looking at three totally different lenses. If you can afford the 50-135 and want it then go for it, if not then the 18-135 will give you closer, faster focusing and a wide angle option. And if you're broke but need a lens go for the 50-200, because it's not too bad all things considered. Not up to scratch with the 18-55 kit lens from what I hear, but it'll get you the shots certainly.
06-21-2012, 06:14 AM   #3
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If you are only going to have 1 lens, the 18-135 is the obvious choice. You are likely to want something wider than 50mm.
06-21-2012, 06:18 AM   #4
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I would choose the versatility. You will be in the kayak and want one system: 1 lens on 1 body. You do not want to change lenses, and you want a robust system which could get wet and get some knocks.

The 18-135mm will be the most versatile lens. It offers WR and a good range of focal lengths. An alternative would be the DA18-250mm: it is not WR but very sturdy and solid, with a wider range of focal lengths. I am biased for the a18-250mm because I have one and it is my most versatile lens:
SMC Pentax-DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Hope that the comment. may help.

06-21-2012, 06:18 AM   #5
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Interesting question. I sea kayak and take my K5 with me in a Pelican box. I've used a combination of either the DA*16-50, DA 18-55WR, or DA 17-70 at times. I used to carry an extra Tamron 70-300 but never used it. OTOH, several years ago, I bought an Optio W80 waterproof P&S camera and it's with me in the boat too and, quite honestly gets more use than the K5 in the boat. Personally, I'd think that a waterproof P&S camera would be a better choice. Frankly, I tend to use the K5 on the water a lot less these days and it's more for use at the lunch stop than on the water. Mostly because pulling it out of the Pelican box takes time and the P&W is right on my splash deck. Not much help here sorry.
06-21-2012, 06:26 AM   #6
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all excellent comments and in many cases you have presented me with all the reasons i am struggling with...i probably should look at the optio although i have to admit i want a quality picture and i get that from the k5...i also have the pelican boxes which i use with the long boats but unfortunately it will not fit in the little whitewater boat...hcc i agree with you... the 18-250 is an excellent lens...i have it but it isn't WR which is why i didn't consider using it...sometimes i over evaluate to the point my mind gets too full with thoughts and i don't buy anything...overload...overload...overload..
06-21-2012, 06:53 AM   #7
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I have the 18-135 and can only confirm: It's a wonderful, versatile all-round lens. However, I don't think I would trust it for whitewater kayaking. It is 'only' what Pentax calls 'simplified weather resistant' and I wouldn't dare to make it soaking wet.
06-21-2012, 07:12 AM   #8
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so is just the 18-135 simplified or are all WR simplified..thanks

06-21-2012, 07:29 AM   #9
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I own none of the lenses, but can appreciate the issue as a fellow kayaker

what is difficult to determine here is the focal length you really need. WR is not really an issue, it is insurance not functionally required because if you need WR to shoot, you are in water that requires 100% of your attention to keep the kayak upright.

If you are looking for action shots, I suspect you will be through the rapids yourself, and while sitting in a calm pool below them, you will look back and shoot your friends coming through behind you.

The problem is every rapid is different, but I would think get the longest lens you can, that will fit in your boat. In most cases (not all) I suspect you will be in fairly bright conditions, so I don't see maximum aperture being an issue.

as an afterthought, what about a prime?
06-21-2012, 07:37 AM   #10
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The DA18-55 WR, DA 55-200 WR, DA 18-135 WR and i guess the DFA 100 WR macro have the same type of sealing design which Pentax calls "weather resistant". They aren't " wave coming over the bow resistant"


the DA*55, DA*16-50, DA*50-135, DA*60-250, DA*200 and DA*300 are sealed and supposedly dust resistant too.
below is the blurb from the pentaximaging website.

The PENTAX DA* series of high grade lenses, designed exclusively for PENTAX digital SLR cameras, features the highest quality components and construction. DA* lenses also feature the quiet SDM focus system, and a tightly sealed weather and dust resistant construction to enhance durability and reliability in rainy or dusty conditions.


None of them are designed to take a dunking.


If it were me I'd be getting a GoPro, especially if rapids or waterfalls are involved.

edit: turn the sound down if you're not under 20 and a fan of dubstep.

Last edited by steve1307; 06-21-2012 at 08:41 AM.
06-21-2012, 09:03 AM   #11
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lowell i knew there had to be a reason i liked you...thumbs up for all fellow kayakers ...i have looked at the different pictures i have taken and they tend to range from 60-160 which is why i was leaning towards the 50-135...i don't plan to take it swimming with me (intentionally) and although i haven't had to pull out of my kayak because i couldn't roll back up, as soon as i put a camera in there that i don't want to get wet i will swim for sure...murphy's law...i looked at the go pro too but i want pictures instead of videos but nice thought...i used a kodak playsport for awhile (hated the editing program) but after being slammed against a few rocks it bit the dust...fortunately i had a squaretrade warranty on it and got full refund...so frustrating...i want it all but obviously i can't so maybe i need to go to the point and shoot as suggested....also steve thanks for the clarification on the wr...i didn't realize there was a difference...amy
06-21-2012, 09:37 AM   #12
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I'm with Tim on this one. Get a WG2 or The Oly TG-1, both built like tanks. Conversely another option that gives you an excellent walkabout camera when not in the kayak, with RAW would be grab a Canon S100 and the underwater housing, then if you go for a "swim" you can film it too....and certainly not have to wory about going over or dropping the camera in the river by accident
06-21-2012, 01:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pearsaab Quote
so is just the 18-135 simplified or are all WR simplified..thanks
Steve1307 has explained the differences above. I'll just underscore that you can tell the difference at a glance from Pentax naming convention: DA WR means 'Simplified Wether Resistant'; DA* (star) WR means weather(water) and dust sealed.

I have seen the DA* 50-135mm been used on a tall-ships-race in very harsh conditions without any issues at all. Still, whitewater kayaking also makes me think of the compact, waterproof and ruggedized Optio alternative as the safest option for you.
06-22-2012, 05:50 AM   #14
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thanks all!!!
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