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01-31-2013, 11:02 AM   #1
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France and Italy lens kit critique

Hey All,

I haven't bought any lenses in about a year and there is nothing with my current kit, but i was wonderinf if you guys think I could improve it. I wanna take amazing photographs in Europe (going to Rome, Venice, Florence, Nice, Beaune and Paris) My questions are as follow.

My current kit is the Sigma 10-20mm, Pentax DA *16-50mm 2.8, and Pentax DA 50mm-135mm. Would you replace any of this for a better lens? or maybe add a new lens to this? (do you think they are good enough for night photography?

What Would you recommend for a good camera and lenses bag? This time I really wanna take my tripod with me I would love a bag that can carry a tripod as well (or something similar)

Would you recommend polarizer filters for all of my lenses? going in August.

Thank you so much in advance! and sorry for so many questions.

01-31-2013, 11:48 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
• My current kit is the Sigma 10-20mm, Pentax DA *16-50mm 2.8, and Pentax DA •50mm-135mm. Would you replace any of this for a better lens? or maybe add a new lens to this? (do you think they are good enough for night photography?
For Paris (i live there) it's perfect, you won't need anything else, except maybe a fast fifty (i saw you have some manual one.), and a fish eye for fun (only if you like fish eye effect)

QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
What Would you recommend for a good camera and lenses bag? This time I really wanna take my tripod with me I would love a bag that can carry a tripod as well (or something similar)
something confortable to carry. like a specialized backpack ?

QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
• Would you recommend polarizer filters for all of my lenses? going in August.
You can, if you want no matter what a magnificent blue sky
i'd take one for the 10-20 or 16-50.

in that case put money on it and don't take a dirty cheap one. Cheap one are crappy and will gives you bad pictures.
01-31-2013, 11:50 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
Hey All,

I haven't bought any lenses in about a year and there is nothing with my current kit, but i was wonderinf if you guys think I could improve it. I wanna take amazing photographs in Europe (going to Rome, Venice, Florence, Nice, Beaune and Paris) My questions are as follow.

My current kit is the Sigma 10-20mm, Pentax DA *16-50mm 2.8, and Pentax DA 50mm-135mm. Would you replace any of this for a better lens? or maybe add a new lens to this? (do you think they are good enough for night photography?

What Would you recommend for a good camera and lenses bag? This time I really wanna take my tripod with me I would love a bag that can carry a tripod as well (or something similar)

Would you recommend polarizer filters for all of my lenses? going in August.

Thank you so much in advance! and sorry for so many questions.
With the exception of Rome I have visited all the cities you mention and can offer the following comment.

Your 10-20 will live on the camera, you are talking about visiting cities with large architecture on small narrow streets, where the ability to zoom with your feet is quite limited.

For interior work, churches and cathedrals the 16-50 is good both for focal length and speed.

I suspect except for some street candids and architectural details the 50-135 will remain in the bag most of the time.

As opposed to another lens or a prime, a second body would be more use in my opinion.

Ps when in Beaune go to the Marche au Vin. It is well worth the visit,
01-31-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
With the exception of Rome I have visited all the cities you mention and can offer the following comment.

Your 10-20 will live on the camera, you are talking about visiting cities with large architecture on small narrow streets, where the ability to zoom with your feet is quite limited.

For interior work, churches and cathedrals the 16-50 is good both for focal length and speed.

I suspect except for some street candids and architectural details the 50-135 will remain in the bag most of the time.

As opposed to another lens or a prime, a second body would be more use in my opinion.

Ps when in Beaune go to the Marche au Vin. It is well worth the visit,
This is about as spot on as you'll get. You might appreciate taking a lighter load, but if you're used to those lenses they will be a perfect fit. I took the 15mm, 43mm and 70mm limiteds to Italy (same 3 cities) 2 years ago (along with the 18-55mm WR) - 80% of my photos were with the 15mm, 7-8% split between the 18-55 (used on a couple of rainy days) and 43mm, and less than 5% with the 70mm - and when I took that lens out, it was for a couple shots before I felt I was missing out and went back to something wider.

Unless you specifically know you want to take closer photos of architectural details, the 50-135 is likely unnecessary.

01-31-2013, 12:21 PM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
something confortable to carry. like a specialized backpack ?
Exaclty! would you suggest one? I don't have a 50mm rightnow, I'm thinking of getting one for the speed. I will definitelly look for a good Polarizer filter!

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I suspect except for some street candids and architectural details the 50-135 will remain in the bag most of the time.
That is exaclty what I was thinking about! I'll take a look at Marche au Vin.
01-31-2013, 12:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pxpaulx Quote
This is about as spot on as you'll get. You might appreciate taking a lighter load, but if you're used to those lenses they will be a perfect fit. I took the 15mm, 43mm and 70mm limiteds to Italy (same 3 cities) 2 years ago (along with the 18-55mm WR) - 80% of my photos were with the 15mm, 7-8% split between the 18-55 (used on a couple of rainy days) and 43mm, and less than 5% with the 70mm - and when I took that lens out, it was for a couple shots before I felt I was missing out and went back to something wider.

Unless you specifically know you want to take closer photos of architectural details, the 50-135 is likely unnecessary.
Yes, I don't think I'll be taking closer photos. Thanks so much!
01-31-2013, 01:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
Hey All,

I haven't bought any lenses in about a year and there is nothing with my current kit, but i was wonderinf if you guys think I could improve it. I wanna take amazing photographs in Europe (going to Rome, Venice, Florence, Nice, Beaune and Paris) My questions are as follow.

My current kit is the Sigma 10-20mm, Pentax DA *16-50mm 2.8, and Pentax DA 50mm-135mm. Would you replace any of this for a better lens? or maybe add a new lens to this? (do you think they are good enough for night photography?

What Would you recommend for a good camera and lenses bag? This time I really wanna take my tripod with me I would love a bag that can carry a tripod as well (or something similar)

Would you recommend polarizer filters for all of my lenses? going in August.

Thank you so much in advance! and sorry for so many questions.
- Hi! For what concert your trip to Italy, I can say that's enough!! Few time ago I discuss the same topic on this forum and what came out was that for Italy in particular, zooms are the best choice(between zoom and primes); you have them, so that's good!
For a walkaround lens, I think that you will use the most the 16-50, especially at 16mm. Maybe in the interior of church, dome or some fountains (like Trevi) you will change it with the sigma. The 50-135 would be ok for particular shots, but IMO I will not bring it with me (please, don't consider this, since I don't like that focal lenght and above all I don't have it..just consider it heavy for an holiday trip )

- Yes, they will be great for night shots!! (again, for me 16mm in Venice will be enough, and I think that you will take beautiful night shots there).

- As a camera bag, I suggest you something not too much big or heavy, since when you are in Rome, in August, it will be *very* hot. And really full of people. I can suggest you what I have, so a Flipside 200: I feel very comfortable with it, also because it has the opening side in the inner part (so no worries about thiefs). In any case, as main advice, take this: something not heavy, also because I think you will take the camera on the neck for most of the time.

- For the polarizer, I really don't know what to suggest you. It's not heavy or big, so if you have, bring it with you. If not, it doesn't matter

Hey, if you will come also to Milan, call me!!
Have a nice trip!!
01-31-2013, 01:58 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabro822 Quote
- Hi! For what concert your trip to Italy, I can say that's enough!! Few time ago I discuss the same topic on this forum and what came out was that for Italy in particular, zooms are the best choice(between zoom and primes); you have them, so that's good!
For a walkaround lens, I think that you will use the most the 16-50, especially at 16mm. Maybe in the interior of church, dome or some fountains (like Trevi) you will change it with the sigma. The 50-135 would be ok for particular shots, but IMO I will not bring it with me (please, don't consider this, since I don't like that focal lenght and above all I don't have it..just consider it heavy for an holiday trip )

- Yes, they will be great for night shots!! (again, for me 16mm in Venice will be enough, and I think that you will take beautiful night shots there).

- As a camera bag, I suggest you something not too much big or heavy, since when you are in Rome, in August, it will be *very* hot. And really full of people. I can suggest you what I have, so a Flipside 200: I feel very comfortable with it, also because it has the opening side in the inner part (so no worries about thiefs). In any case, as main advice, take this: something not heavy, also because I think you will take the camera on the neck for most of the time.

- For the polarizer, I really don't know what to suggest you. It's not heavy or big, so if you have, bring it with you. If not, it doesn't matter

Hey, if you will come also to Milan, call me!!
Have a nice trip!!
I would question 16mm being enough in venice, or in europe in general.

I spent 2 years in france during my film days and constantly wanted wider than 24mm on my PZ-1, which equates in FOV to 16mm on an APS-C sensor. Like i said, when i travel in europe, the 10-20 lives on one body

01-31-2013, 02:49 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would question 16mm being enough in venice, or in europe in general.

I spent 2 years in france during my film days and constantly wanted wider than 24mm on my PZ-1, which equates in FOV to 16mm on an APS-C sensor. Like i said, when i travel in europe, the 10-20 lives on one body
Agreed - Venice was particularly tight and my 15mm was often pressed to get the right shot - I doubt the 10-20 would ever leave the camera there of all places!
01-31-2013, 03:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
Hey All,

I haven't bought any lenses in about a year and there is nothing with my current kit, but i was wonderinf if you guys think I could improve it. I wanna take amazing photographs in Europe (going to Rome, Venice, Florence, Nice, Beaune and Paris) My questions are as follow.

My current kit is the Sigma 10-20mm, Pentax DA *16-50mm 2.8, and Pentax DA 50mm-135mm. Would you replace any of this for a better lens? or maybe add a new lens to this? (do you think they are good enough for night photography?

What Would you recommend for a good camera and lenses bag? This time I really wanna take my tripod with me I would love a bag that can carry a tripod as well (or something similar)

Would you recommend polarizer filters for all of my lenses? going in August.

Thank you so much in advance! and sorry for so many questions.
Only thing I'd really add to that is a fast lens for night use and more dimly lit interiors (catacombs in Rome, etc.). Remember that most museums, churches etc. don't allow flash photography, and even outdoors you're unlikely to have room to set up a tripod (particularly in Rome), so if I were in your position I'd definitely make a fast lens of some sort top of my list. Maybe the new Sigma 35 f1.4 if you could afford that and it's out in Pentax mount in time for your trip, which it might not be. Otherwise the Sigma 30 f1.4 apparently has a cashback deal of some sort at the moment in the US, so definitely pick up one of those if you aren't going for the 35.
01-31-2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrCynical Quote
Only thing I'd really add to that is a fast lens for night use and more dimly lit interiors (catacombs in Rome, etc.). Remember that most museums, churches etc. don't allow flash photography, and even outdoors you're unlikely to have room to set up a tripod (particularly in Rome), so if I were in your position I'd definitely make a fast lens of some sort top of my list. Maybe the new Sigma 35 f1.4 if you could afford that and it's out in Pentax mount in time for your trip, which it might not be. Otherwise the Sigma 30 f1.4 apparently has a cashback deal of some sort at the moment in the US, so definitely pick up one of those if you aren't going for the 35.
i would think that is what the 16-60 would be for as well as interior shots, where you could frame what you want with the 16mm FOV
02-01-2013, 08:33 AM   #12
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Thanks so much everyone! I've been looking at the flipside back, it looks amazing, now trying to decide a model.

I'm gonna look into the other faster lenses you guys suggested. Do you feel the 2.8 is not enough? if not would you suggest a lens within the 30 range or a 50?

Thanks,
Daniel
02-01-2013, 09:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
Thanks so much everyone! I've been looking at the flipside back, it looks amazing, now trying to decide a model.

I'm gonna look into the other faster lenses you guys suggested. Do you feel the 2.8 is not enough? if not would you suggest a lens within the 30 range or a 50?

Thanks,
Daniel
Daniel

with respect to bags / packs consider the following. where you will be staying, is some of your gear safe in your hotel/ accomodations?

The reason I ask is that there are 2 separate issues possibly, how do you transport your gear from city to city, and secondly how do you carry it in a city. these can be totally different bags. When I vacation, i pack my gear into a small lowepro backpack, this is usually the micro trekker 200, which can carry easily 2 bodies, my 10-20, 28-75 and 70-200 plus my 2x TC etc... but unless i do not feel secure about leaving part of this in a hotel (many have safes that can hold almost all the gear this bag can,...... I usually take just the two bodies and 2 lenses out with me, and keep the one that is not in my hand in a nondescript shoulder bag (presently a Fossil small messenger bag that can actually hold a camera with short lens plus a few primes)

the logic is really that when you are out exploring, you will always have one camera in your hand so the bag you take just needs to hold the second body, batteries, memory cards, perhaps you phone, gps etc...

I only take the backpack with me if I do not trust the hotel I am staying at.

as for F2.8, it is plenty fast when you have a K5, I never let that worry me too much because you generally are not using a lens for artistic ultra shallow DOF when vacationing. If you feel the need, however take a 50/1,4 along with you,. it is not that big and heavy, but I bet it won;t get used much
02-01-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsauna Quote
I'm gonna look into the other faster lenses you guys suggested. Do you feel the 2.8 is not enough?
it's way enought for 99% of the time. for the 1% bump a bit the iso

if you have cheap manual 50 it's great, otherwise you won't use it much i think.
02-02-2013, 10:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pxpaulx Quote
This is about as spot on as you'll get. You might appreciate taking a lighter load, but if you're used to those lenses they will be a perfect fit. I took the 15mm, 43mm and 70mm limiteds to Italy (same 3 cities) 2 years ago (along with the 18-55mm WR) - 80% of my photos were with the 15mm, 7-8% split between the 18-55 (used on a couple of rainy days) and 43mm, and less than 5% with the 70mm - and when I took that lens out, it was for a couple shots before I felt I was missing out and went back to something wider.

Unless you specifically know you want to take closer photos of architectural details, the 50-135 is likely unnecessary.
I disagree with this. Some of the most interesting shots in historic cities can be got with a 70, 100, or 150mm lens. Just as many people assume that landscapes require wide-angle lenses (they don't), so many people assume that old streets do too. Historic cities + wide angle = conventional postcard-type shots (very often). Frequently with scarily converging verticals.
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