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09-30-2008, 05:45 AM   #16
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I'd say get the kit 18-55 lens and the 50-200mm lens.

I went on a trip soon after I bought my K100DS, and I had originally bought the Sigma 70-300 APO, and it was huge, very completely wrong for tourist travel. I traded it in for the 50-200 instead.

Even being in a city, there are plenty of times where a longer zoom is useful. Both lenses are about the same size and weight, so you aren't lugging around heavy, bulky lenses.

Plus, if you get these two lenses, you can buy proper accessories, like a good camera bag, extra sets of batteries, charger, memory card, etc. Little stuff that you'll need that adds up the cost.

09-30-2008, 07:10 AM   #17
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Everyone sees things differently, so a lens that is perfect for one person might not be for another. And I've never been to Japan. But I was in a similar position on a trip to Europe - new camera, excited to see a new place, wanting to shoot everythingin - buildings, landscapes, interiors, etc. I went with three lenses: the DA 18-55, a 70-300 ("quantaray", the Ritz house brand, in this case made by tamron), and an M50/1.7.

Of these, the 18-55 was by far the most used lens, and while I shot it right at 18mm at times and probably would have gone wider if I could have, I didn't feel limited by that. The 70-300 was not used nearly as often, but part of that was it was bulky enough that I didn't really *like* using it - similar to what alohadave said. I might have used the 50-200 more had that been available then.

When I actually count my pictures, I find I did use the 70-300 rather more often than I used the 50. But for the most part, the pictures I took with the 70-300 aren't as meaningful to me. A closeup of a bird sitting on a rock in the distance? I could have taken that at the park near my house. There were definitely some shots I took with it that I am very glad to have, but if for some reason I couldn't have both the telephoto and the prime, it would be a toss-up, really.
09-30-2008, 09:27 AM   #18
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As with Marc, I had several lenses with me on our trip to Ireland but the 18-55 kit lens was the one used 99% of the time. Like others I've heard remarks putting down the kit lens but there is nothing wrong with it for everyday use. Oh sure, Ben's not going to use it for one of his fashion shoots, most wedding photographers aren't going to shoot the bride coming down the aisle with it and I doubt seriously if Kerrick James keeps one in his bag. But for us average, everyday, run of the mill, I take pictures because I like to take pictures type of photographers, it's quite the useful little lens.

Oh BTW, Alohadave had an excellent point about extra batteries. Mine went out on a Saturday evening in Connemara and the nearest village was Roundstone which was about an hour away. Luckily, I had an extra set because at 8PM in Roundstone you could have gotten a pint of Guinness at any of the pubs there but good luck finding batteries. LOL


Last edited by straightshooter; 09-30-2008 at 09:32 AM.
09-30-2008, 10:05 AM   #19
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Marc says: "Everyone sees things differently, so a lens that is perfect for one person might not be for another..."

So all comments should be taken with a grain of salt. Only you know how you shoot, what you want to do with the photos and how important photography will be during this trip.

Many people will want an easy, light system to document where they were and what they saw. They don't want the act of photography to become "work." In this case a decent range zoom is all you need.

Others will have a more serious approach: the whole experience is very tightly wrapped up with the photography. It becomes more than just snapping tons of "snaps" of the group in front of everything they see. In this case the photographer will bringer heavier, more expensive gear.

But if you are on a budget and want great quality in a small package then I think having a fast prime like a 50 1.7 is a great idea. With this lens you can keep the ASA down, avoid using the flash on the camera (kills photos) and experiment with depth of field and focus. They are very creative lenses and perform very well.

Which ever lens you pic be sure to practice before such a trip, so buy it way before you leave.

09-30-2008, 11:14 AM   #20
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Accessories, I forgot to mention them.

As said above, backup batteries are a must. I went on a trip recently and, yes, not all your budget must go on body+lens.

Buy backup batteries (I think it is AA for the k200d, I've heard sanyo eneloops are good), also a battery charger, camera bag and filters for your lenses (a cheap filter, just to protect the front element, and make sure you buy the required filter size for the lens you buy).

A camera bag is also nice to have, it should be big enough for all the lenses, body and other stuff you get, but buy it when your have all your equipment (to avoid buying something too small or too large).

A tripod can be considered, but later, when you have more experience and if you need it.
09-30-2008, 05:04 PM   #21
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If you're looking to minimize lens changes, then most definitely go for something like the Pentax or Tamron 18-250. If you don't mind having 2 lenses to cover approximately the same range, then go for the 18-55II and either the DA50-200 or DA55-300.

On the subject of fast primes, the A50/1.7 doesn't cost much more (maybe $75-80) and is a good bit easier to use (it has the A setting on the aperture ring that allows you to set the aperture from the camera itself, whereas the M lenses don't).

10-01-2008, 12:51 PM   #22
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Hi! I'm just waiting for BH to take online orders again to buy the camera. Meanwhile I've browsing the lenses you have been talking about.

Keeping things within budget, I found these:

- Pentax SMCP-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED: $220.

- Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens: $280 (if I get rid of the kit lens I would save $50 since this lenses covers the kit's range).

- Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD: $160

- Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 LD Macro AF: $130.

- Pentax SMCP-FA J 75-300mm f/4.5-5.8 AL Autofocus Lens (Silver): $130 (does anyone knows what is the "J" for?)

Has anyone had any experience with any of these?

My trip won't be part of a tour, I will go at my own pace for three weeks Because of this, I expect to have enough time to change lenses in case I find a situation where I would need the telephoto range.

Thank you.

Last edited by hahifuheho; 10-01-2008 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Spelling mistake
10-01-2008, 01:07 PM   #23
Damn Brit

Be very aware about comments people have said about weight. Travelling around on vacation, your kit can feel heavier and heavier. Make sure that you get yourself a comfortable camera bag to take with you. Get one that will hold more than have to allow for expansion of your system but not so big that it's a nuisance. You can use the extra space initially to carry other stuff that you are taking with you.
Enjoy your trip.

10-01-2008, 06:40 PM   #24
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As others above have mentioned, don't just think of your purchases in terms of camera and lenses. You must also pay careful consideration to the other, less obvious things that you will need to properly store, carry, and use your camera.

A good camera bag, such as a Lowepro Offroad, which I personally have and recommend, should also be high up in your purchase plans. The backpack style camera bags are also nice and may be able to hold more camera equipment, but for quick lens exchanges they are less than ideal, as you would have to constantly take off the backpack, set it on the ground and unzip it, change out your equipment, and then put it back up on your back again.... whereas a bag such as the "Offroad" mentioned above is fairly customizable, will allow you to carry maybe three lenses safely, and would also have room left over for an external flash unit (should you ever decide to purchase one in the future). Best of all a bag such as the Offroad makes it a since to get at your lenses as a moment's notice.

As others have said, I also highly recommend that you purchase several sets of good, rechargable batteries and remember to keep them charged at all times. The last thing you want is to have $1,000 of camera equipment that you have to lug around all day but can't use because you ran out of batteries mid-shoot.

As far as lenses, others mentioned The 17-70's which I hear great things about and which should be wide-enough for most shots. For those wide shots I woud personally go with a Sigma 10-20mm if your funds allow. I, myself tend to stay away from "fisheyes" as I just can't see myself purpusly paying a lot of money for a lens which will intentionally distort my images. Just seems counter-productive to me since any other time we are all seeking lenses which provide the most accurate and least-distorted images.

Last but not least... consider a good monopod, such as the Canon Monopod 100. It's not as ubtrosive as a full-fledged tripod, but sure comes in handy at times!

10-01-2008, 09:24 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by hahifuheho Quote
- Pentax SMCP-FA J 75-300mm f/4.5-5.8 AL Autofocus Lens (Silver): $130 (does anyone knows what is the "J" for?)
I don't know, but I think there are only two. The other one is an 18-35mm f4-5.6 that was sold as a kit lens with the first Pentax digital model, the *ist D. The FA-J lenses don't have an aperture ring, so the aperture needs to be controlled from the camera body. They are designed to cover the larger image circle of film.

Pentax letter designation decoder ring:

no letter - often called K lenses because the rest have letters. These were the first K-mount lenses, all manual focus.
M - functionally the same as K, but mostly redesigned to be smaller. The M series cameras were a lot smaller than the Ks.
A - introduced the ability for the camera to control the lens aperture. The aperture levers also move in an arc rather than a straight line, and movement of the lever is proportional to the area of the aperture opening. (In M and K lenses, it's proportional to the diameter of the aperture opening.) That allowed cameras to add extra modes and features; A lenses are fully functional on your new camera except for manual focus and the camera can't tell what the focal length is. You have to input it manually for optimal SR.
F - introduced auto-focus, more exterior plastic, colorful oranges and greens on dark gray. Fully functional.
FA - Barely noticeable functional differences from the F lenses. The chip in the lenses can send more data to the camera about the lenses. The FAs are not as colorful. A few FA lenses have Power Zoom, a feature fully implemented on older film cameras that has some funtionality on newer digitals.
FA-J - functionally like the FA but missing the aperture ring.
DA - designed for digital, so they may have a smaller area because the digital sensor is smaller. They are also missing the aperture ring.

There are also Limited lenses and * lenses, which are top of the line lenses designed for ultimate quality.
10-01-2008, 10:02 PM   #26
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I would pack the best wide-angle I could find... and in your budget, I would say that's the 18-55 II. I honestly wouldn't pass up the opportunity to pick it up for $50... it's an excellent wide angle zoom for the cash, dpreview thinks it's the best of the "kit" lenses out there. And you don't want to be stuck at 50mm... Ive tried shooting landscapes with a 55/1.8 on a Spotmatic, and I'll tell you right now it wasn't a fun experience.
10-01-2008, 10:20 PM   #27
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Actually, the $50 lens is not the "II" version, but the previous one. Nevertheless, I have read that the differences between them are minimal.
10-02-2008, 05:08 PM   #28
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Here are a few things to try. I don't know what kind of pictures you enjoy taking, however if you think of that and what kinds of issues you had taking these type of pictures (ie - not wide enough, not long enough, could not get a fast enough shutter, etc), you may be able to narrow down your list. When I bought my K10D and my lens, I thought of the pictures we had been taking with the P/S cameras - a Casio QV3500 (33-100 equiv lens) and a Olympus 750 (38-380 lens). Overall, rarely did we ever take shots over 100 equiv, but the olympus was never wide enough. The casio was close, but I still wanted wider. Using a program called exposureplot, I could generate graphs of what shutter, aperture, iso and length lens I used based on the cameras EXIF data.

In thinking of these items, I came across the Sigma 17-70 lens (25-100 equiv range) It seemed to fit the bill quite nicely. It is a bit longer than the standard kit lens, and wider than either of my others. I am not saying that this is the lens for you, but wanted to highlight my method of picking the lens.

That said, going to Japan is a trip one would want to remember. I would think you need to think of the situations you will be in. If you think you don't mind the two lens solution, the 18-55 and the 50-200 or 50-300 is a great way to go. Yeah, they are not the best solutions, but they always seem to get better shots than you think they will for kit lenses. As someone said, check out Pentax Photo Gallery for those. I think you will be surprised.

The other option is the superzoom, the 18-250. If you can swing it, it seems to get better comments than the 18-200 does. The benefit of this that you can shoot all day without changing lenses. The drawback is the weight factor. You are lugging the larger lens all the time, plus it is not as bright a lens as others. If you do get a more "all in one" solution, maybe you can get a used 20-35mm lens too, so you have something for lower light situations.

As others have said, don't forget the accessories. On a trip like that, I would think you would want probably 4 sets of eneloops, a good Maha charger, a bag and 2-3 4gb cards.

Hope the trip goes well.

Last edited by sabarrett; 10-02-2008 at 05:10 PM. Reason: missed some typos
10-02-2008, 06:01 PM   #29
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Do you have a laptop or something else to store your images at the end of the day?

If you don't, then I'd suggest buying many memory cards.
10-02-2008, 10:05 PM   #30
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Well, today I placed the order at B&H for the K200D + 18-55 kit lens

Previously I had a Sony DSC-H7 P&S which I sold in order to buy the K200D. The H7 has a zoom lens which is 31-465mm 35mm equivalent and has an aperture range f/2.7-4.5. K200D's kit lens is a bit wider but not even close longer (27-82.5mm in 35mm equivalent) and a bit slower too (however, I think the K200D's bigger sensor may make up for this, the H7 was terrible at ISO 800-3200). At this moment I'm more urged into getting the camera and start practicing with it. As I mentioned before, I still have time and will later have the cash to get a longer lens, but that will be maybe one or two weeks before departing to Japan.

Anyway, I expect an overall improvement in picture quality (10MP APS-C RAW vs 8MP 1/2.5" JPEG) and I think, thanks to the advice from all of you, that the kit lens is no waste since it is cheap, can be sold later and, "budgetly" speaking, it is my only choice to start taking pictures now. Also, as many say, I need to think about bag, guns, lots of guns... err, batteries, and memory cards.

So far I already own a 4GB SDHC and two 8GB MicroSDHC cards with adapter. It would be fantastic to be able to shoot everything in RAW, wouldn't it?

And, yes, my laptop will also travel with me for everyday downloading.

Last edited by hahifuheho; 10-02-2008 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Missing info.

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