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06-28-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
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Fast Prime for Vacation

My wife and I are investigating a short vacation to Scotland at the end of July. Because the K30 is late to market, I suspect I would bring my K200D rather than my K-5 because I can use AA battery power and not have to worry about charging with an AC converter. I get upwards of 1500 shots on a single set of lithium AAs so one extra pack would bring me to about 3000 shots.

I would probably bring my Pentax 18-250 because it's my traditional vacation lens and I get good results with it. But because the K200D is not really a high ISO camera, I'm a bit concerned about low-light work. I have plenty of Pentax primes but the DA 35 f/2.4 is currently my fastest. I'm talking about shots in dark castles, museums and nights in pubs. And I want auto focus. And I also don't want to bring more than one extra lens after the 18-250.

So, with all of the above in mind, is a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 too over the top? I'm open to suggestions but don't want to shell out for the FA 31.

06-28-2012, 10:37 PM   #2
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I have a K-7 and like yourself a DA18-250mm as my workhorse. I shoot outdoor and I often take a fast prime for low light. My favourite fast prime is the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 The lens has a superb IQ, it is very sturdy (all metal) and MF. MF is not an issue as most landscape shooting is set at infinity (ie no MF).

Right now I am travalling in Europe with a single lens and the VL58mm is my camera. It is small, neat an deliver great shots.

My next favourite fast prime for travelling is the FA31mm f1.8. Great IQ, AF, but a bit heavier and bulkier than the VL58mm. I suspect that the Sigma 30mm is similarly bulky and heavier than the VL58mm.

All in all, the VL58mm is worthwhile to consider although it is no longer manufactured for Pentax K-mount.

Hope that the comment may help.

Last edited by hcc; 06-29-2012 at 06:59 AM.
06-28-2012, 10:41 PM   #3
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I'd suggest you take your K5 and a converter, or just buy a UK lead as your Pentax D-BC90 charger accepts 110-240v (ie 50cm Power Cord UK Plug to Figure 8 Fig of 8 Lead Cable | eBay). This isn't rural Africa or somewhere, we get power 24/7 you know...!

With the K5 you'd be more than fine with the 18-250, and something like the DA35/2.4 or FA50/1.7.
06-28-2012, 11:15 PM   #4
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K-5 with 18-250 should work. With better ISO on K-5 you may not need faster lens. Instead of that extra lens weight/price, you can carry that adatper

06-28-2012, 11:49 PM   #5
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I would like to take my sigma 10mm fisheye on your trip. It's 2.8, but as a wide angle slow speed is not an issue and a tenth of a second hand held is easy. Trouble with a lot of the sigma lenses they are as solid as cricket balls and seem to be as heavy as lead.
06-28-2012, 11:59 PM   #6
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Bring your k5, and the 18-250.
Get the FA50/1.4 and one of FA35/2 or Sigma 30/1.4 for lowlight bar shots. Sigma is bigger, heavier.
Personally, I also bring a macro, one of 90/100/105 in f2.8 or f4 as macro and portrait.
06-29-2012, 12:50 AM   #7
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Why not get a battery grip for the K5 instead? I don't own one myself yet, but from the description the Pentax grip can take AA batteries as an alternative to the standard rechargeable.

Of course a fast prime has more use than just the holiday and I'm usually in favour of getting more lenses, but I thought I should point out this option.

Edit: Of course you can also get a grip from another brand than Pentax, some of which also use AAs - as I just found out. That would save quite a bit of cash. You could get a grip and a new lens! (That's what I would probably do, but then I'm a case for LBA anonymous).

Last edited by mano; 06-29-2012 at 12:55 AM.
06-29-2012, 01:04 AM   #8
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I don't see why you should leave K-5 home, you can find power adaptor easily and cheaply from ebay, as long as you have 2+ batteries and charge them every night I wouldn't think you would have problem, unless you are camping in the wild.

As for lens, DA 18-250 will work just fine most of the time, some of the most satisfying shots I had for my trip last year was from my FA43 1.9, but sometimes I wish it was faster and wider, so I'd say Sigma 30 1.4 should work very well for you.

06-29-2012, 02:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
My wife and I are investigating a short vacation to Scotland at the end of July. Because the K30 is late to market, I suspect I would bring my K200D rather than my K-5 because I can use AA battery power and not have to worry about charging with an AC converter. I get upwards of 1500 shots on a single set of lithium AAs so one extra pack would bring me to about 3000 shots.

I would probably bring my Pentax 18-250 because it's my traditional vacation lens and I get good results with it. But because the K200D is not really a high ISO camera, I'm a bit concerned about low-light work. I have plenty of Pentax primes but the DA 35 f/2.4 is currently my fastest. I'm talking about shots in dark castles, museums and nights in pubs. And I want auto focus. And I also don't want to bring more than one extra lens after the 18-250.

So, with all of the above in mind, is a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 too over the top? I'm open to suggestions but don't want to shell out for the FA 31.
As rob1234 wrote, the Pentax battery charger will acept the UK voltage. You just need the plug adaptor, which will be useful for other appliances at the same time. Won't cost you more than 3-5 Pounds, when you buy it in the UK. The adaptors are widely available. So, I would use the K-5. If you want to add a fast prime for indoor shots, the Sigma 30/1.4 is one possibility. Perhaps a slightly wider 28mm (Sigma also makes them fast...) would be more universell, if the location does not allow for a solid shooting distance (too many other visitors block the view inside a museum, if you stand back too far). Or, if you want a slightlynarrower field of view the FA 43 Ltd might be a wide choice. It is tiny and light weight and offers super IQ.

Ben
06-29-2012, 03:16 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
My wife and I are investigating a short vacation to Scotland at the end of July. Because the K30 is late to market, I suspect I would bring my K200D rather than my K-5 because I can use AA battery power and not have to worry about charging with an AC converter. I get upwards of 1500 shots on a single set of lithium AAs so one extra pack would bring me to about 3000 shots.

I would probably bring my Pentax 18-250 because it's my traditional vacation lens and I get good results with it. But because the K200D is not really a high ISO camera, I'm a bit concerned about low-light work. I have plenty of Pentax primes but the DA 35 f/2.4 is currently my fastest. I'm talking about shots in dark castles, museums and nights in pubs. And I want auto focus. And I also don't want to bring more than one extra lens after the 18-250.

So, with all of the above in mind, is a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 too over the top? I'm open to suggestions but don't want to shell out for the FA 31.
I'm a NYC transplant to Europe. The problem with much of Europe is that things are packed very close together. While in the US, one might be able to get away with a 50mm equivalent, it is much tougher out here. Saying that, I use an FA35 as my primary lens. I would certainly look into something that will give you a wide angle in the mid 20s, and from there, we're going zoom and a 2.8. A FA24 might allow you to get away with the larger aperture. However, your concerns about ISO and apertures are valid. I've had issues as well. It's not an easy thing to do, to be honest, and Pentax makes it somewhat tough to get fast, wide angle lenses. Also, if you're not looking to go that wide, one can get a Sigma 28 1.8 quite economically. Regardless, all this could be solved, in part, by bringing the K5. Don't know why such a minor thing would prevent you from bringing the better camera. There are a multitude of solutions, including bringing extra batteries, battery grip, $3 adapters for outlets, and so on.
06-29-2012, 04:37 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
My wife and I are investigating a short vacation to Scotland at the end of July. Because the K30 is late to market, I suspect I would bring my K200D rather than my K-5 because I can use AA battery power and not have to worry about charging with an AC converter. I get upwards of 1500 shots on a single set of lithium AAs so one extra pack would bring me to about 3000 shots.
I took the K5 and just one extra battery on 4 day ireland trip. It was way more than enough. Used an adaptor/converter at the hotel. Really would have been fine with just one. It was more of an insurance.

I dont like taking prime lenses when I am going somewhere I have not been before. So I just took 2 bodies instead:

My small k2000 with tamron 17-50 and the K5 with the pentax 50-135. I had the k5 on a small shoulder sling bag and the k2000 on a B-grip holster -the latter is pretty geeky but the weather was cool and so I had a light jacket on and it was not too weird. It really takes the weight off. But I would not use it if it was too warm for a jacket.
06-29-2012, 05:29 AM   #12
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These responses have been quite helpful. And most of point to the same truth that even I knew deep down inside: I should bring the K-5. I'll just charge up both batteries before I leave but toss the charger and an adaptor in the suitcase. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is another matter. Still a highly useful lens even with the high ISO performance of the K-5 (Pentax still needs to bring back a fast 28mm prime). But maybe for another time.
07-01-2012, 06:56 AM   #13
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Don't worry too much about batteries Scotland is not that "third world", that you can't get AA size batteries in most shops, garages and even wee post offices here. Perhaps not Lithium but certainly Alkaline ones, that will keep you going.

I hope you both enjoy your visit when you get here.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 07-01-2012 at 07:54 AM.
07-01-2012, 10:02 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Don't worry too much about batteries Scotland is not that "third world", that you can't get AA size batteries in most shops, garages and even wee post offices here. Perhaps not Lithium but certainly Alkaline ones, that will keep you going.

I hope you both enjoy your visit when you get here.
Thanks so much. Two questons for you:

1) Another Scot has told me the weather has been very rainy this year. Might I be better advised to pick up a DA 18-135 instead of bringing the 18-250?

2) With only three days maximum on the ground in Scotland, with Edinburgh as my base, give me a must-see or must-do for each of those three days.
07-01-2012, 11:59 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
Thanks so much. Two questons for you:
1) Another Scot has told me the weather has been very rainy this year. Might I be better advised to pick up a DA 18-135 instead of bringing the 18-250?

2) With only three days maximum on the ground in Scotland, with Edinburgh as my base, give me a must-see or must-do for each of those three days.
Questions answered in order raised;

1) True enough about the weather, but that's what keeps the place so green, so don't think of it as rain, but as we heard you were coming so just freshening the place up just for you. .

Unless we're talking monsoon, don't get too excited about the weather, just whip it out, take picture and put it away so to speak.

2) Bit of a tall order to "do" Scotland in 3 days especially when I don't know your likes or dislikes but here goes:

1 day in Edinburgh, open top bus tour of the city to get your bearings and some of the history, then go to the Royal Mile to check out the amazing whisky shops for take home presents and then later on, visit Edinburgh Castle.

For another day Rosslyn Chapel is worth a look, it's where part of the Da Vinci Code movie was filmed, later on in the that day shopping in George Street and Princes Street.

Final day I'd like to say come to the Highlands and see my wee beast that lives in Loch Ness, but it could make for a very long day, because it's 31/2 hours each way from Edinburgh.

Have a look at the Highland Experience Tours website Tour Scotland's Highlands 1 - 5 days | Inclusive Accommodation I've heard good things about them, small minibus organised tours and their site might give you a few other ideas.

Let me know how you get on.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 07-01-2012 at 12:24 PM.
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