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01-03-2017, 09:51 AM - 2 Likes   #16
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I also am a landscape photographer interested more in contrast, crispness, color than in sheer resolution. I have found that the very best lenses for color and contrast and beautiful rendering of landscapes are the DA Limiteds, and I own a trio of them (DA 15, DA 21, DA 35). However, these exquisite primes are expensive and, truth be told, not well suited for harsh environments, nor are they the best option if you need to change focal lengths frequently. So I also own the DA 16-85, the quality of which comes surprisingly close to those limiteds. For landscape zoom in harsh environments, the DA 16-85 is clearly the best option. It might be the only lens you ever need and it will deliver the goods.

A sample image from the DA 16-85:



01-03-2017, 12:09 PM   #17
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I would point out that a Pentax camera is only WR with a WR lens attached. I wouldn't want to be swapping primes when it's raining/snowing. With gloves on and cold hands not as dexterous as normal, do you want to risk dropping an expensive prime in the mud or on a rock? How about getting snowflakes inside the camera body? To me it would make more sense to get a good quality zoom and just leave it on. What little you might give up in IQ you would gain in peace of mind knowing that your camera remains sealed against the elements. My walk-around lens is a 17-70mm. I like this range for day-to-day shooting. If I could afford it, I would get the Pentax 16-85.
01-03-2017, 12:21 PM - 1 Like   #18
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I'm in Fairbanks, Alaska and in my experience -20*C is nothing to Pentax's. If it's that warm I have no problem wearing my K-30/HDDA20-40ltd around my neck, outside the jacket, and going for a snowmachine ride. Hell I find it's easier in the winter to move around and change lenses because my parka has deeper pockets that hold my second lens better! Get a pair of shooting gloves or mittens that will let your fingers free if you can't work the camera with normal gloves on, or wear thin liners under your mitts. The battery starts to get used up quick at -30 and -40, but then I don't want to be outside long at those temps either, regardless of how pretty the northern lights are that night. I still find it'll last an hour or three if fully charged. Keep a spare tucked in an inside pocket, swap as the one in the camera gets in to the red.




As far as the condensation issue going in and out of the cold... meh. The only thing that gets in the way is the condensation fogging up the lens so I can't shoot immediately if I go in and out. The camera hasn't seemed to care much over the last 4 years.

I think 11x17's printed on metal from my 16mp K-30 is it's sweet spot, but I've printed as large as 24x36 with good results. I imagine the 24mp sensor in the K-70 would allow you to print 13x19 with optimal quality. Generally, for best print quality you want to be at 300dpi, but as low as 200dpi will create a pretty good image if you made a good shot with a good lens. (Take your sensor's resolution, divide by the dpi, and you'll get your print size.)

Lenses... I don't see the point in messing with the cheap kit lenses. Why spend $800 on a camera to put a $150 piece of glass in front of it? It's like putting cheap no-name-no-grip tires on a sports car and complaining about the handling or wearing $5 sunglasses and wondering why you can't see well in bright sunshine.

As good as Pentax's Limited primes are, I don't think you give up any IQ with a DA* lens or the Limited zoom.

People seem to like the HD 16-85 a lot, but I haven't used it. It does appear to be a step up from either kit lens (18-50, 18-55) I used to have the 18-135 and it worked well, but I replaced it with a DA*50-135 f2.8 and haven't looked back since I first saw the image quality it gave by comparison. If it dies, I might replace it instead with the DA*60-250 for reach and the DA*55 1..4 and FA77 limited for portrait work, but it is such a fantastic lens that I might just have it fixed too. It is by far my most used lens.

I paired it with a HD DA 20-40mm Limited after trying out the 'traditional' limited DA primes trio (21, 40, 70) for a while, finding the flexibility of the zoom plus the weather sealing to trump their wonderfully small size. I found that with street shooting, intimate portrait work, and from a couple weddings that I often quickly wanted to go from slightly wide with the 21 for a group or body shot to the somewhat tele 40 for a headshot, then back again that swapping lenses that often was a PITA. I went with the 20-40 over the DA*16-50 because I wanted the smaller size, DC motor, and limited's rendering... either lens would be a great choice. If only the 70 was weather sealed, the 20-40 and 70 would make a great 1-2 lens set.
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