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08-10-2008, 03:04 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My personal view is that you are really looking in the wrong direction (or perhaps the responders so far are) in looking at something like a 18-200mm.

In much of france, you will be in tight spots and a 10-20mm would be much more useable than an 18-200.

Take the 10-20, your kit lens, and a single low cost ~120-200mm prome (even manual focus) and you will do just fine.

When I went to prague this year, I took my Sigma 10-20, my Tamron 28-75 F2.8 and my SMC 135 F2.5. That was it!

Unless you want to do some really tight framing of images, or wild life you don't need more.
I carried the Sigma 10-20 and 17-70mm with me around Europe for 2 months last year.

Silly me. It's a huge pain in the ass to carry almost 3kg of gear daily. If I were to do it again I'd take the kit 18-55 and the 50-200 - both light and good enough quality. I didn't use the 10-20 much, and wouldn't miss the extra 1 stop in the 17-70 - in the end, comfort will pay off, unless your trip is strictly for photography.

08-10-2008, 03:41 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by gawan Quote
Under $300, I agree with those suggesting Tamron or Pentax 18-250mm!
Those lenses sell for upwards of $400 new, though.
08-10-2008, 03:44 PM   #18
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Hi,

QuoteOriginally posted by ricardobeat Quote
I carried the Sigma 10-20 and 17-70mm with me around Europe for 2 months last year.

Silly me. It's a huge pain in the ass to carry almost 3kg of gear daily. If I were to do it again I'd take the kit 18-55 and the 50-200 - both light and good enough quality. I didn't use the 10-20 much, and wouldn't miss the extra 1 stop in the 17-70 - in the end, comfort will pay off, unless your trip is strictly for photography.
As an owner of the Sigma 10-20 I have to say that I wouldn't be without this lens. I visited castles in the Loire valley, Paris, Amsterdam, and London this summer. Probably about 30% of my shots were done with the Sigma. The other 70% were done with a Tamron 28-300mm zoom, which I am selling (along with my 18-55 and 50-200, already sold) to pay for a Pentax 18-250mm. I do think the wide angle is fairly important in Europe.
08-10-2008, 06:44 PM   #19
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What about getting the tamron 70-300 macro for $130-ish and use the rest to source a zenitar 16mm fisheye? You'll have your zoom covered with a lens that has great sharpness and color and a decent macro lens, albeit at the cost of of purple fringing that will likely require some post production. And with the zenitar, you'll get a huge jump in field of view over the short end of your kit which can be invaluable indoors or tight alleys. On top of all this, this lens may offer you some different perspectives than what your other lenses offer. Of course if this perspective isn't always welcome, defishing isn't all that hard with software and some cropping. But it's somewhat fast, if a little soft at the edges wide open. But in a pinch, it does the trick...

08-10-2008, 11:13 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
So, I'm heading off to France this fall, and want to take my 18-55mm kit lens, maybe my 50mm f/1.7 M, and I'd really like to get into a decent, inexpensive zoom to to take with me outside on site seeing, etc. I don't expect something very fast or constant aperture, want an automatic lens (AF/automatic exposure) so I can hand the camera off to my wife when needed, etc.

I'm looking into 28-200mm zooms, since it seems these can be found at really good price points, and I can create some drama in my shots with the far end of the focal range.

However, I really want to avoid junk third party lenses that are quite soft at either end of the focal range. I thought this range (28-200mm) would be fairly sussed out by lens manufacturers at this point in terms of optics. I also want to avoid a lens with massive amounts of CA. Distortion isn't too much of a concern.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated- I'll consider all manufacturers, just want to know what, in everybody's experience, is a good starting point!

Thanks!
Have to make a couple of assumptions in answering your question; they are: shots taken are for your general interest and a pictorial diary of your trip and NOT for commercial use or large format printing.

So on that basis I would go hunting for a Pentax 55-300 as has already been suggested or the Pentax 50-200. The next choice if $$$ are tight would be the Tammy 70-300.

This means you have 18-300 covered and your low light needs met by the 50mm.

Have a great trip and post some pics when you get back.
Cheers.
08-11-2008, 02:46 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by ricardobeat Quote
I carried the Sigma 10-20 and 17-70mm with me around Europe for 2 months last year.

Silly me. It's a huge pain in the ass to carry almost 3kg of gear daily. If I were to do it again I'd take the kit 18-55 and the 50-200 - both light and good enough quality. I didn't use the 10-20 much, and wouldn't miss the extra 1 stop in the 17-70 - in the end, comfort will pay off, unless your trip is strictly for photography.
I would have to agree with madbrain here, the 10-20 is very useful in europe. or in any city you visit.

If I am not doing wild life shots, my travel kit, which can be as many as 5 lenses, shrinks to 3. the 10-20, a tamron 28-75F2.5 and a pentax 135 F2.5. I carry the two spare lenses in a small 4"by 7" by 6" (width x length x depth) camcorder bag, along with spare battery for the K10D and memory cardss.

I guess it depends on what you shoot, but if you take any interior shots, in churches, museums, castles/palaces/villas or similar, the 10-20 or other ultra wide is indespensible.
08-11-2008, 03:24 AM   #22
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Da16-45/4

Allow me to suggest an alternative in the DA16-45/4. I think you might be able to find it for your budget, if not new, perhaps second hand...

This excellent lens provides the best wide angle you'll find in a standard zoom for a similar budget. If you're visiting cities, it will provide the best range possible, unless you want longer.

Wim
08-11-2008, 04:19 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ishpuini Quote
Allow me to suggest an alternative in the DA16-45/4. I think you might be able to find it for your budget, if not new, perhaps second hand...

This excellent lens provides the best wide angle you'll find in a standard zoom for a similar budget. If you're visiting cities, it will provide the best range possible, unless you want longer.

Wim
This one comes in mind too for me.. The 16-45mm will be great for narrow streets.. Add the kit 50-200 or another tele and you're good to go.. heheheh..

08-11-2008, 04:58 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ishpuini Quote
Allow me to suggest an alternative in the DA16-45/4. I think you might be able to find it for your budget, if not new, perhaps second hand...
I will "third" this lens. I live in Europe so I know about narrow streets etc. Only one shot in maybe 50 would I wish for anything wider than this... and in some of those situations a panorama will do. Of course this very much depends on your shooting style.

The 16mm does make a significant difference over 18mm and the improvement in IQ over the kit lens (not bad in itself) is well worth the cheap price this lens goes for.

This and my Vivi 105mm macro makes up my kit bag most of the time. Sometimes I add in the FA43 or FA77 if I'm expecting interiors.
08-11-2008, 05:43 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
Those lenses sell for upwards of $400 new, though.
Yep, I was thinking in euros
08-11-2008, 06:52 AM   #26
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DA 16-45mm a great option

Would love to get into this lens- but again, looks like it's going to be out of budget. Saw one here for 200 euros- that's right at $300.00.

I think I may have to really stick with the super-budget option: take the kit 18-55, and try and find something like a DA 50-200 either here or on Ebay: Not liking sample shots of the tammy 70-300mm that I've seen online.

I've been talking with Gerry here on the PF who has a Sigma 28-200mm (not an IF model, I imagine it was for film in the early 90's) and he's sent me a couple sample shots. It's just it's such a soft lens! I mean, I'm willing to sacrifice a bit now that I understand my budget limitations- don't think I'm going to find a decent lens in this price range without some CA issues, but I do like a bit more detail.

Even with selling my k 30mm, I can't finance a 10-20mm: that will have to wait a bit.
08-11-2008, 07:21 AM   #27
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Your complaints about certain lenses being soft are no doubt true... and sharpness is not the only IQ criteria. Budget lenses might also have unacceptable distortion, less than ideal colour rendering, greater size and weight, poor low-light handling and so on.

Yet your budget won't stretch to $300.

I think these criteria are contradictory. Your choices are:
  • to accept some IQ compromises
  • to pony up the money for something decent
  • to consider older stop-down aperture and manual focus lenses
08-11-2008, 07:33 AM   #28
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I totally agree with you, rparmar, in that my budget vs. desire are contradictory! I was hoping to find one of those "gem" lenses that are a great value for what they provide, with all caveats in place as to their issues. That's why I decided to come here to talk about what would be a good option.

I'm not afraid of manual focus- I love the M and K series lenses, I have an m 50mm 1.7, a K 30mm 2.8 and an M 28mm 3.5. (Going to sell either the 30mm or the 28mm: but I love the 30mm too much, don't know if I can part with it right now!). I shoot with them quite often, but I'm in a more "photographers" frame of mind when using these lenses, and esp. it's hard to hand off the camera to someone else and expect them to manage all the steps of using manual glass at the spur of the moment.

I just wanted to pick up a lens to take on this trip that is affordable and gives me a bit more focal length to work with, that is AF/AA, since this isn't a specific photography trip but time in France with my wife.

So, I'm searching for that "sweet spot": I really thank everybody for their input and ideas. It's good to see what other people use for their travel kit, and I'm definately willing to put up with some IQ issues. I also know that I'm a bit spoiled now, shooting with great old M and K glass- I'm not going to see that level of quality in the modern zooms.

My main concerns (from what I'm seeing now as I'm evaluating everything) are decent center sharpness across the focal range and decent color rendering.
08-11-2008, 07:48 AM   #29
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Super/SMC Takumar's for the win! Admittedly not the most portable in comparison to modern lenses, but you have to figure they worked for most Pentax users for 20-30+ years. Maybe our current standards for portability are to some extent somewhat high?

For $300, you could get a combination of the following:
  1. $25 for genuine m42 adapter
  2. $40-70 for a 28mm f3.5 Takumar
  3. $40-90 for a 50mm f1.4 Takumar
  4. $10-25 for a 55mm 1.8 Takumar
  5. $15-40 for a 135mm f3.5 Takumar
  6. $20-60 for a 200mm f4 Takumar
  7. $200 for a 16mm f2.8 Zenitar Fish Eye

Edit: was writing this up when your post came in above, disregard
08-11-2008, 08:15 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
I'm not going to see that level of quality in the modern zooms.
That sums it up right there. My advice, from the heart, is to save up until you can get something you'll be happy with. Otherwise you'll be spending money on something you just won't like.

I might recommend the manual focus Cosina/Vivitar 100mm macro for about $100. It's handy as a short tele or a macro and together with your manual 30mm would cover a lot of shooting situations.
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