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02-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #1
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Advice on what lenses to take on outdoor holiday trip

Hello,
Since the purchase of my first DSLR (the K5) last year I have purchases many lenses, both new zoom and old mf primes.

Among those:
New:
18-55 WR
50-200 WR
Sigma 18-200 HSM

Old:
M50 F1.7
Sigma 28 F2.8 mini wide
Chinon 300mm F5.6

Next week I will take this amazing trip in Sweden and Norway. There will be city trips in Stockholm, Kiruna, Bodo and Bergen. There will hopefully be very sunny days in Stockholm, but I also expect a lot of ugly rain in Bergen. In the northen region I will take an 8 days hike crawling through 5 meters snow, carrying all my luggage with me. Winter in Scandinavia is the perfect moment for Aurora Borealis, which I hope to photograph as well to the best of my abilities.

The WR lenses are perfect for the rainy conditions and the outdoor hikes in the snow, not stopping me from enjoying every moment of it. But of course, you loose all WR as soon as you start swapping lenses.

The 18-200 lens is perfect for carrying around in the cities without the need to swap lenses in the middle of a crowd or when the perfect moment is there. In a side by side comparisson, I do clearly see the limitations of this lens.

The manual lenses are significantly sharper and more light sensitive than any of the zoom lenses. The short ones would be perfect for night sky photography and hopefully the Aurora Borealis. The 300mm lens I could use to photograph that reindeer hiding one kilometer away.

I am willing to experiment a little bit with settings, but not endlessly. There is limited room in my pack, because I also need to take warm clothes and raincoats in order to be out at night and in the rain, to WR myself.


So, according to your opinion, which lenses should I take?
Thanks.
John

02-20-2013, 03:00 PM   #2
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I am doing the same thing next month...going on a trip but for me the destination is from Canada to England. For me, I'm only taking:
  • K30
  • 18-55 WR
  • Pentax 135mm Manual lens (very light and small)
  • 2x Pentax-A teleconverter
My telephoto zooms (manual Vivitar 75-205 and others), are big and heavy and I must travel light. I figure if there's a must have shot, I can use the 135 and the teleconverter, photograph in RAW and bring out the shot (hopefully!) in post.

For you, I'd take your two WR lenses and that's it. It would cover probably most of your shots, and the Aurora Borealis would probably look pretty good at 200mm.

Maybe consider getting a 2x Teleconverter if you haven't one already. They aren't the greatest for clarity, but they're small and light, and if you have a "must-have" shot (like your reindeer example) perhaps it might be good enough to capture the moment if you shoot Raw and/or bump up the ISO??
02-20-2013, 03:04 PM   #3
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Take the two WR lenses and the 50mm for low light / special shots. Your kit lenses cover the whole range and there is no need to haul anything else around..

If I was going to BUY lenses for that trip I would add something very wide like Sigma 10-20 but with what you have you should be just fine.
02-20-2013, 03:29 PM   #4
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A lot is personal preference and what you are shooting. I think the best combo is a mid range zoom (16-45mm) and a low light prime for night/indoors shots like a 50mm 1.4. However, on my last trip to Germany, we visited a lot of old, compact medieval towns and i found I used my 15mm prime for the vast majority of the trip.

I like the versatility of the mid-range zoom, but also highly value compactness; so, its a trade off. IME, the more lenses you bring, the more you fret about which ones to carry around and which to use. My first overseas trip I brought so much gear with me, I missed a whole lot of the trip changing lenses and worrying about dust/dirt particles.

I'd say pick two and leave the rest at home and enjoy your trip.

02-20-2013, 03:31 PM   #5
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Also, another good indicator of what to bring is to look at the exif data on your existing collection of similar surroundings and see what focal range you use the most.
02-20-2013, 03:48 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
If I was going to BUY lenses for that trip I would add something very wide like Sigma 10-20 but with what you have you should be just fine.

Thanks! Still considering the Sigma F3.5 version or the Pentax 10-17. Need to decide soon. I hate to take a lens which I have not tested at home before.

QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxian_tmb Quote
I'd say pick two and leave the rest at home and enjoy your trip.
Yes agree. I am enjoying all my lenses very much, but I do not want to take them all. So which one?

Last week I was concidering my short WR for the outdoor stuff and my Sigma 18-200 for the city stuff. After a quick comparison between the WR 50-200 and the Sigma I don't know anymore. The posts so far suggest to leave the Sigma at home.

Funny thing is that I bought the Sigma specifically to be my travelling/carry-around/do it all lens for travels. It is my most expensive lens. The 50-200 WR beats the sigma hands down at the ranges specified, yet the 50-200 WR cost me less than one third or sigma 18-200. What was on my mind when I bought the sigma?

Last edited by JohntheThird; 02-21-2013 at 02:57 PM.
02-20-2013, 09:07 PM   #7
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Well, it overlaps with your existing lenses, but the DA 18x135 which is WR would pretty much handle all your needs.
02-21-2013, 12:47 AM   #8
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Well, I have concidered the 18-135WR instead of the two other WR's when I bought the body. Reason that I did not chose the 18-135 were:

* The 18-135 is heavier than the 18-55 and 50-200 combined
* The 18-135 is more expensive than the 18-55 and 50-200 combined
* The 18-135 does not have the range of the 18-55 and 50-200 combined
And last but not least, it had a terrible review on www.photozone.de

02-21-2013, 07:48 AM   #9
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Ugghhhh... not that photozone.de review again. So many people here on this forum have concluded that they simply got a very bad copy (albeit one that Pentax said was w/in specs). Check this site for the extremely positive reviews of that excellent lens.
BTW: 18-55 @ 230g; 50-200 @ 285g is more than 18-135 @ 405g.
You are right about the cost and range.
02-21-2013, 09:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
not that photozone.de review again.
+1 I've no idea what they tested but the 18-135 is a significant step up from the kit lens. At least my copy is. Noticeable just with a casual look at images you tell one lens from the other.

It is not DA* quality but for the range and WR well worth the price.
02-21-2013, 10:05 AM   #11
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I am sorry all, I did not mean to insult any lens or lens owner...

Any other suggestions on what lenses from my list I should or should not take?
02-21-2013, 12:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohntheThird Quote
I am sorry all, I did not mean to insult any lens or lens owner...
No worries, I doubt anyone here would be concerned with you expressing an opinion. That particular review has however raised some eyebrows as numerous other reviews, both technical and user have rated the lens as very good. Maybe they got a bad copy maybe they muffed the review. It is not a 'pro' level lens, but for what it is I think it is worth the money. Here are the forum user reviews: SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Regarding your trip, unless you are going to buy a lens, then the two kit lenses and the 50mm cover everything except the very long range and I doubt the 300mm would be worth carrying unless you are planning on some wildlife shots. And it sounds like you will be traveling a lot so how much weight do you want to carry around? No point weighing yourself down with things will not use much or at all.
02-21-2013, 12:31 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohntheThird Quote
But of course, you loose all WR as soon as you start swapping lenses.
Not quite true, you can swap lenses in the bag or under your coat, then use the camera under the rain. It's not ideal but better than no WR.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Take the two WR lenses and the 50mm for low light / special shots. Your kit lenses cover the whole range and there is no need to haul anything else around..
I wholly agree. You've got a nice kit and it covers most cases. If you enjoy the 28mm focal length, consider bringing it also, but that depends on your style. The kit covers it, but if you find yourself taking your best pics with that lens, it could be a good option.
02-21-2013, 02:33 PM   #14
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Hello all,

Thanks for the tips. The favours right now are for the two WR lenses and the 50mm for the dark. Still considering purchasing the sigma 10-20 or pentax 10-17 or Samyang 8mm.
02-21-2013, 09:38 PM   #15
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Hi there. Looks like you have some good options. I would like to give my two cents.

I hate swapping lenses in the field. It's inconvenient, and can expose the guts of the camera to dust and the elements.

I used to run with a kit of the 18-55 WR and the DA 55-300. Lens swaps occurred frequently. This resulted in a ton of dust on my sensor. Not just bits of dust either, but huge blobs shaped like hairs that are quite visible in my pictures. After a particularly bad incident like that, I ended up getting an 18-250 to replace the other two lenses and I haven't been happier since (both my 18-55 and 55-300 have been sold off since).

As for low-light, the K5 rocks in this category. Unless you are going caving, I think you will be fine with your Sigma 28 2.8 for low-light situations. Also, 28mm is a perfect normal length for interior shots inside of restaurants and other places like that. My benchmark for this is if you can sit down across from someone at a restaurant table and still get a comfortable shot of them with their plate of food. 28mm is perfect for this. 35mm is probably the upper limit for that sort of thing.

Based on your listed lenses above, I would run with a kit of:

Sigma 18-200 (outdoor/daylight)
Sigma 28 2.8 (indoor/low-light)

(This is very similar to my own personal two lens kit of the DA 18-250 and the F 28 2.8. A minimalist combo that can do 90% of the things I need it to do).

And then any of those wide angle lenses you listed in your last post would be a fine compliment to round out the kit. Go for the 10-17 fisheye because it's cool!

Have fun on your trip.

PS. Don't worry too hard about the weather resistance of the lenses. Coming from someone who purchased a K30 specifically to take onto west coast adventures, unless you're going right underneath Naigra falls, don't worry about getting your lenses a bit damp. They can handle it. I don't own any WR lenses anymore.

Last edited by EarlVonTapia; 02-21-2013 at 09:44 PM.
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