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01-22-2018, 10:40 PM   #1
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Full Frame travel zoom

I will be traveling in the near future and weight/size is going to be a huge limiting factor. I will be bringing my K1, 24-70, and Samyang 14. I am trying to weigh the best possible options for a zoom. I own a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 but bringing it just is not feasible where I am going. I have been doing a ton of reading on the forums but want to see if anyone has any first hand experience comparing any of the options I am listing. Most important factors are size/weight and image quality but zoom range, weather sealing, sensor coverage, reach, focus speed, etc are still things to consider. I know I will not be able to match the 70-200 in terms of sharpness but what comes closest from my options?

1. Either the Tamron or Sigma 70-300. Full frame compatible and decent image quality from what I have heard. Good reach. Excellent price. No weather sealing, a tad on the heavy side but not terrible.

2. Pentax 28-105. Weather sealing and full frame compatible with great image quality. Not much reach, still fairly large and a good deal of overlap with my 24-70. May be able to sub it and leave the 24-70?

3. Pentax 55-300. Weather sealing available. Good reach, but crop only.

4. Pentax 50-200. Smallest and lightest lens option. Weather sealing. Crop only. Not as good of reach as the 300mm lenses.

5. 1.4 or 2x TC. Smallest/lightest options but image quality generally will take a hit. Not much reach advantage, especially with a 1.4

6. What am I forgetting? I am sure there are a few other options but these are currently the most obvious.

Does anyone have experience comparing any of these? I know there are a ton of factors and everyone's opinion on which are more important will vary but any serious input/considerations will greatly help my decision. All lens models above are the most recent digital era lenses but I am open to considering older models if reviews are good.

01-22-2018, 11:02 PM   #2
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If weight size is an issue, leave the 24-70 at home and get the DFA 28-105. It is a bit slower and you lose 24-27 but otherwise an exceptional lens. I keep thinking I need to use the 24-70 because I have it, but honestly I see no difference in images from it and the 28-105. Of course you give up the F/2.8

For a lighter tele-zoom you are a bit limited right now. Here are a few options:
DFA*70-200 not likely a good choice
DA 55-300 might work either in crop or shoot FF and crop on the computer
DA 50-200 not worth the trouble when the 55-300 is available unless budget is a priority. It's a fine lens, but the 55-300 is as good or better with more range
FA 100-300 (there are two and the f/4.7-5.8 is the better one) I have one and it does fine in good light and is certainly light weight
DA*60-250 this needs modified a bit but when that is done it works just fine on FF. I modded mine and it is what I use for tele-zoom. Not the fastest focusing, but excellent images
F 70-210 f/4-5.6 an old standby. Very small very fast to focus and decent image quality. I still pack it occasionally when I want to travel light.

PS. I am considering selling the FA 100-300, if interested PM me and we can talk.
01-22-2018, 11:11 PM   #3

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Where are you going, how are you getting there, and what do you plan to take photos of?

I have done (and still do) my share of traveling. I am constantly honing and refining the art of what to take and how to get it there.
01-22-2018, 11:22 PM   #4
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my short review DFA28-105, but translation through google is not very good

Preklada? Google=
more samples
Preklada? Google

01-22-2018, 11:47 PM   #5

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I've travelled with a crop frame, I had a sigma 18-125 and a 50mm, a 35 would have made more sense than a 50, but it worked well. And was light enough to carry.

If I was travelling with a full frame I'd look at the older 28-200 type lenses (or the 28-105) and a fast sharp prime. Not the most amazing kit, but it would work well enough to get most shots - otherwise I'd look at 28mm, 50mm & 135mm as primes, That's what I used to use for film.
01-23-2018, 12:21 AM   #6
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I'd take the 28-105 and supplement it with a light fast prime if you want to shoot outside of daylight/indoors.

Or, drop the K1 entirely and just buy a super compact travel camera

I recently picked up the GR II thinking it would be the perfect travel camera... it is. But I'll still lug around the K1 on my next trip. I plan to take the either the 24-70 or the 28-105 (the latter would be the smart choice, weight wise), plus the 31mm ltd (not weather sealed), plus the 50mm DFA macro (tiny, also not weather sealed).
01-23-2018, 12:45 AM   #7
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If 105mm is long enough then I'm +1 for the DFA28-105. Just took mine on a trip up north and it did an incredible job. I also took a FA35 (for indoor shooting and shallow depth shooting) and while it was useful, I could have got by without it on this trip.
01-23-2018, 02:45 AM   #8
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The 28-105 for sure. Compact and weather sealed. You can always get a Sigma or Tamron 70-300 when in need of longer focal lengths. They are not so good, but extremely cheap.

01-23-2018, 03:28 AM   #9
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28-105 for sure. It's versatile, brilliant, WR and very compact.

Don't write off the HD55-300WR though (I don't have the PLM, but that would be even better). I took mine on a holiday to the UK eighteen months ago and for the times when I needed the reach it did admirably on the K-1. You'll only need to shoot it at the longer end, where it covers more than the APS-C image circle. I nearly always want to crop images with it anyway.

Taking both should still give you a manageable kit.
01-23-2018, 04:58 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I'm going to make a suggestion that will probably make most people cringe... however, bear with me.

If you can find a nice used (or well-priced new) pre-PZD Tamron AF 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) (quite the mouthful, eh? ), it's well worth a look.

I have one in Minolta AF mount that I use on my Hasselblad HV (Sony A99) from time to time, and it produces really decent results - for a super zoom. It's better than the Tamron 18-250 on APS-C in my view, presumably because the designers were able to limit the wide end to a more realistic focal length. It's not a fast lens, nor the sharpest, and you have to accept chromatic aberrations in high contrast situations (easily resolved in post), but it's capable of taking very nice photos considering the broad focal length range. It's also very light and quite compact. No WR, of course, but no lens of this type has that.

I think I paid about 120 for my lightly-used Minolta AF copy, and aside from a little dust behind the front element (which has no effect on images), it looks and works like a new lens. If you can find one at a sensible price, it's a good piece of kit to have. It won't ever replace good primes or shorter range zoom lenses in the IQ department, but what it does, it does well
01-23-2018, 07:58 AM   #11
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Thank you for the great responses, you guys have given me plenty to think about. After everything I have heard I may very well go with the 28-105. It does not quite have the reach I would like but at least with 36 MP I can crop in significantly. I don't use my zoom too frequently either.

A couple people asked where I will be going. I will be heading to Norway toward the end of summer. I primary shoot landscape but certainly will use the camera plenty to document the trip as well. I take backpacking trips frequently in the US and Canada but the airlines are not as restrictive on size/weight as the airline I will be traveling so I need to cut back a bit.
01-23-2018, 10:27 AM   #12

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QuoteOriginally posted by turff Quote
...I will be heading to Norway toward the end of summer. I primary shoot landscape but certainly will use the camera plenty to document the trip as well...
IMO base your travel kit around the 28-105. It's a sharp, contrasty, compact lens. Very good for landscapes.

Also take your Samyang 14 when you need ultrawide landscapes, and architecture if your trip inlcudes cities.

Maybe buy a 55-300 if you plan to photograph wildlife. Research the area you'll be visiting first to see if there will be much wildlife. 55-300 corners vignette a bit on full frame, but with wildlife I find I'm often cropping for composition so the corners don't matter much.

Leave the 24-70 at home. The f2.8 aperture is rarely needed for landscapes. You'll lose the 24-28 range but sacrifices need to be made to travel lightly. I wouldn't be happy limited to 28mm but that's why I said to take the Samyang 14.

You'll have a gap from 14mm to 28mm. It's not a problem IMO, but if you need to fill the gap consider the 15-30. It's a heavy lens for travel but you could leave the Samyang 14 at home.
01-23-2018, 11:14 AM   #13
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I would probably opt for the DFA 28-105 and supplement it with the F 70-210 f/4-5.6. If you want wider, I can suggest Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF].
Have not tried it with the K-1 but with the K-5iis and K-3 it works pretty well and its Full Frame.

Another option could be the Pentax FA 24-90mm F4 which I love on K5/K3. It really shines as reviews show it does well on Full Frame as well ....

Last edited by eminker; 01-23-2018 at 11:20 AM. Reason: Pressed Enter to Quickly
01-23-2018, 11:18 AM   #14
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Put the K-1 into crop mode to get more reach with the 28-105?

Samy 14 on full frame sounds awesome for catching the Northern Lights, if they're actually visible when you go. Small tripod sounds useful as well.

Unless you plan on birding or something like that, more reach doesn't really sound all that useful. Two lenses and a full frame DSLR, that sounds like plenty to me. It's all I want when I'm traveling, save for the full frame part.
01-23-2018, 01:40 PM   #15
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For travelling light the 28-105 can't be beat. However if it forces you to bring something wider or faster then you'd lose the weight advantage over the 24-70. I took the 28-105, m-20 and fa31 on a trip recently and I could have gotten by with just the 24-70(a good compromise for speed, wide angle and wr) and saved some weight. Add the F70-210 if you really need reach or FA135 if you need reach and speed.

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