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12-18-2013, 10:26 PM   #1
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Vacation lens - which to get ?

Ok - I'm heading to Hawaii - cruise ship style from LA (I've been there before).

I currently have 3 lenses for my relatively new K-30.
- Original RED 18-55mm DA-L (from Red K-x)
- Sigma 18-200 DC (all in one super zoom - not the sharpest/fastest - but a very good vacation outdoor lens)
- Rokinon 85mm f/1.4

I'm not looking for a fixed focal length (but could be convinced)
My thoughts are
a) Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 HSM - nice sharp short zoom highly rated
b) Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR - a WR would be nice to have in the event that I go into the rain forest/waterfalls - not the fastest but a decent WR zoom - just a little pricey for a slow lens
c) Pentax 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 WR - WR lens to replace my red one - price is good
d) Pentax 50-200mm f/4-5.6 WR - not sure if I really need a long end zoom if I'm going where its wet
e) Pentax 55-300mm f/4-5.8 WR - a better / longer / more expensive version of 'd'

Borrow lenses is also an option.
16-50mm f/2.8


Last edited by formercanuck; 12-18-2013 at 10:36 PM.
12-18-2013, 11:15 PM   #2
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I always liked my 18-200 Sigma, with a touch of sharpening it was plenty good enough in many spots. If you're not sure you want to carry a telephoto lens, the 50-200 is ideal since it's so small and light. That is my only WR lens right now and I'm OK with that, but that's me. The 55-300 is very tempting now that it's WR, but this time of year light is low in Oregon so stopping at 200mm is a good idea (unless I have a tripod or something solid to lean against). The 55-300 may be sharper but I've trusted too much in SR and on cloudy winter days it cannot always save the shot at 200-300mm.

I had the older 17-70 Sigma and it was quite nice, and HSM or the 18-135 DC motor is pretty nice to have. I'll let others speak of the 18-135. The 16-50 is heavier but images will impress, so I've been told
12-18-2013, 11:36 PM   #3
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Thanks - I'm not sure about the 50-200 or 55-300 ... was looking at them in general for WR, but I don't think I'll need the long range in the waterfalls or hiking paths. On the WR end - I'd probably end up with either the 18-55WR or 18-135mm WR. Pictures here show very nice samples of the 18-135mm.
If only the Sigma 17-70mm was WR!
12-18-2013, 11:36 PM   #4
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Think about aperture, more than focal length - you can always take the shot with the 'wrong' focal length, but if you run out of light, you're not taking any photos.

Need a daytime lens - got them - tick. 18-200 or 18-55 goes in the bag.
So you only now need a night time lens. I would say 85 1.4 would be too long - for me - consider a fast 35. Conveniently, the DA35 2.4 is one of Pentax's cheapest.

12-18-2013, 11:37 PM   #5
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What is it that you're unhappy with your current setup. All those options overlap with them in FL so it must be for some other reason I'm guessing? Sharper, faster, WR or all of the above?

If all of the above then the 16-50 is probably the only option.
12-18-2013, 11:38 PM   #6
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in general, for this trip.... mostly concerned if I go hiking up the waterfalls/ trails and get the camera/lens wet.
The 18-200mm isn't a bad lens for outdoors...my current setup is a little on the slow end for indoors, but for the most part, its acceptable for my use.
A little faster/sharper would be nice though.

Last edited by formercanuck; 12-18-2013 at 11:44 PM.
12-19-2013, 12:06 AM   #7
hcc
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I think that DA18-135mm WR is the perfect lens. Your K-30 is WR and the Da180135mm is the obvious complement.

Low-light: I have a K-7 and I need a fast prime when I go in holiday (to complement my DA18-250mm). But my wife had a K-01 with DA18-135mm. She rarely a fast lens, because she can boost the ISO. Your K-30 has the same sensor as the K-01, and you should be able to deal without a fast lens in most situations,

If you want the most convenient setup, the DA18-135mm is calling you.

My 5 cents...
12-19-2013, 02:35 AM   #8
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I too find the 18-135 to be perfect for a WR all-round lens. It would very much overlap with your Sigma, though, in everything apart from the WR. Might also be somewhat better in image quality - at least mine is noticeably better than my 18-55 WR.

The 16-50 would be better in every way except size/weight. Not the same reach, but having 16 mm could be very useful.

Apart from WR I'd say you're well covered. If you need something for low-light, add a DA L 35/2.4. It's small, light, sharp, good value, and plenty fast when used on a K-30. Of course, if you borrow the 16-50 you'll have covered the low-light stuff already.

12-19-2013, 02:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I think that DA18-135mm WR is the perfect lens. Your K-30 is WR and the Da180135mm is the obvious complement.

Low-light: I have a K-7 and I need a fast prime when I go in holiday (to complement my DA18-250mm). But my wife had a K-01 with DA18-135mm. She rarely a fast lens, because she can boost the ISO. Your K-30 has the same sensor as the K-01, and you should be able to deal without a fast lens in most situations,

If you want the most convenient setup, the DA18-135mm is calling you.

My 5 cents...
I haven't used it tons yet, but really enjoy my Sigma 18-250 that I just received. I find that the 18-55 range does well for most of the scenics, but in Hawaii I also want to take pictures of birds, flowers, turtles, whales and dolphins - i'd actually like to add some reach for that range. I would also like to add an ultra wide zoom in the 8-16, 10-20 or 12-24 range before I go to hawaii in Feb.
12-19-2013, 02:43 AM   #10
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I have the K-30 with 2 lens wr setup 18-55 and 50-200. I find myself having to change lenses fairly often and wish at times that I had gone for the 18-135. That being said the two lens setup is cheaper with a slightly longer reach. Just depends on how much you like to change focal lengths. I can get by with one or the other of my lenses but my first camera was a superzoom compact that had a 20x zoom. Old habits die hard.
12-19-2013, 02:44 AM   #11
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In my opinion a 2 lens combo of your 18-200 (daylight/outdoors) and the Sigma 17-70 (low-light/indoors) would make the perfect all-round setup. If you want to save some cash, borrow the 16-50 f2.8 instead.
12-19-2013, 04:08 AM   #12
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I've just got the 18-135 with my new K-5II as I wanted a general purpose WR lens. For holidays etc I will now be taking that along with the DA 35 F2.4 and the DA 50 F1.8. They are both small, light and cheap. I think that's a pretty good vacation kit as it gives a good combination of WR general zoom for outdoors along with portable fast(ish) primes that will all fit in a small bag.

Would love to add the 15ltd to that one day as my UWA is the Samyang which is too bulky. One day maybe...
12-19-2013, 06:11 AM   #13
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You are lacking high-IQ lenses in the "general" range, so because of that I would recommend the Sigma 17-70. It's probably the best balance of performance and convenience you will find. If WR is more important than IQ then by all means get the 18-135. In both cases you could sell your 18-55 and 18-200 and get a great prime at your favourite focal length for those perfect scenes.

In Hawaii I always used wider focal lengths, rarely full tele.
12-19-2013, 06:24 AM   #14
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I would also recommend the 18-135. I purchased one a few years ago for a trip to Maui and it was great for versatility and the WR came in handy in the rainforest. I also had my DA Limiteds with me, but the 18-135 was the walkabout lens.
12-19-2013, 07:55 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the info - I'm probably down to 18-135WR (for the WR capability) and Sigma 17-70 for image quality. If I was going for just a prime - it would probably be the DA 35 f/2.4 - but it may not be wide enough for all of the scenery.
If I really want to take in the rainforest/waterfalls - the 18-135WR will probably be it.
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