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03-28-2019, 08:08 AM   #1
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Lenses for Landscape and Travel with K-3ii

Hi everyone,

I am looking for 1-2 new lenses for my K-3ii. I had an 18-135mm, but it's broken. Now I am looking 1 or 2 new lenses for travel and landscape photography.
I am thinking about Pentax HD DA 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR and Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4,5-6,3 ED PLM WR. The 16-85 for landscapes, and the 55-300 for wildlife and also landscape.
I've read many threads and thought about getting 1-2 limited primes, but I think the option with the two zoom lenses is more versatile.
What do you guys think?

Next destination will be Azores ;-)
I hike a lot and love to shoot photos in all weather conditions.

Thanks

Philipp

03-28-2019, 08:13 AM - 1 Like   #2
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That's what I'd go with. I have a broken 55-300 PLM (great lens but it may not survive a fall from 5 feet) which I plan to replace and the 16-85 is next on the list for my wife, so I'll be buying both lenses soon. The 55-300 is already ordered. The 16-85 will take bit longer.
03-28-2019, 08:36 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaphil Quote
Hi everyone,

I am looking for 1-2 new lenses for my K-3ii. I had an 18-135mm, but it's broken. Now I am looking 1 or 2 new lenses for travel and landscape photography.
I am thinking about Pentax HD DA 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR and Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4,5-6,3 ED PLM WR. The 16-85 for landscapes, and the 55-300 for wildlife and also landscape.
I've read many threads and thought about getting 1-2 limited primes, but I think the option with the two zoom lenses is more versatile.
What do you guys think?

Next destination will be Azores ;-)
I hike a lot and love to shoot photos in all weather conditions.

Thanks

Philipp
That's exactly my travel kit. A K-3II with the 16-85 as my walkaround lens (for both landscapes and in-city) and the 55-300 PLM is for everything else (i.e. wildlife, aircraft, etc.). A light lens package with great image quality, so you don't sacrifice much compared to the primes, with the added benefit of typically not needing to lose shots due to a need to change lenses.
03-28-2019, 08:37 AM - 1 Like   #4
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If the 18-135 broke and you liked it, you must have wanted wider or wanted something it didn't provide to go to the 16-85. The 16-85 is by all accounts a fantastic lens and the wide end is very good. I don't think you will regret this if you plan is to pair it with the 55-300, particularly the PLM version which has fast focusing by all accounts. The one gap might be something low light capable, you might think about that and decide if it matters or if a small tripod might be sufficient for your shot needs with the light gets dim.

03-28-2019, 08:45 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
If the 18-135 broke and you liked it, you must have wanted wider or wanted something it didn't provide to go to the 16-85. The 16-85 is by all accounts a fantastic lens and the wide end is very good. I don't think you will regret this if you plan is to pair it with the 55-300, particularly the PLM version which has fast focusing by all accounts. The one gap might be something low light capable, you might think about that and decide if it matters or if a small tripod might be sufficient for your shot needs with the light gets dim.
The DA 50 1.7 is the affordable lightweight option. That or the 35 2.4. I got by with an FA 50 1.7 for years, but now I'd take the 55 1.4 and the 100 macro for macro. With the 16-85 and 55-300 those cover everything. Wide angle, telephoto, low light and macro. What else could a guy possibly need?

Last edited by normhead; 03-28-2019 at 08:55 AM.
03-28-2019, 08:49 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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Hi Philipp If my 18-135 would break, I would replace it with another one, but with the combination hat you propose you will have better reach (the 2 mm at the short end is significantly wider and obviously the 300 at the long end much better than the 18-135). If I were to have only one lens, it would be the 18-135, but if you are willing to carry both of your proposed lenses on your hikes it will be a great combination. Zoom lenses are apparently inferior to the good primes, but with the lenses that you propose the quality is very good and you do not need to change lenses so often as you would with primes and I have had my fair share of problems with changing lenses when you really need to.
03-28-2019, 08:58 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Basie Quote
Hi Philipp If my 18-135 would break, I would replace it with another one, but with the combination hat you propose you will have better reach (the 2 mm at the short end is significantly wider and obviously the 300 at the long end much better than the 18-135). If I were to have only one lens, it would be the 18-135, but if you are willing to carry both of your proposed lenses on your hikes it will be a great combination. Zoom lenses are apparently inferior to the good primes, but with the lenses that you propose the quality is very good and you do not need to change lenses so often as you would with primes and I have had my fair share of problems with changing lenses when you really need to.
I think I'd probably get a 16-85 if my 18-135 broke. It would reduce the number of times I carry the Sigma 8-16, when I suspect I might need it.
03-28-2019, 09:22 AM   #8
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The combo you are thinking of would provide a very substantial FL coverage. Too bad about your DA 18-135mm lens, which is fine especially if used within its strengths, and it is amazingly compact for such a zoom range.

The DA 55-300mm will be great for more reach. However, for a lot of hiking, the otherwise fine DA 16-85mm is considerably bulkier and heavier than the DA 18-135mm lens, or the DA 55-300mm PLM for that matter. You might consider going smaller yet. I have the nice DA 18-135mm and use it for events where I'll need instant availability of its zoom range, but otherwise when I am out and about, my favorite, especially on my KP, is the DA 20-40mm f/2.8-4 DC WR Limited. Along with that, in the front zipper accessory pocket of my camera holster case I have the tiny DA 15mm Limited for when I need to go wider. That combo along with the DA 55-300mm WR (I have the older non-PLM version) will provide a very great range with excellent quality (excellent to about 150mm and very good beyond) in an easy-carrying kit. The f/2.8 at 20mm is also good for low light shots.


Last edited by mikesbike; 03-28-2019 at 09:31 AM.
03-28-2019, 09:33 AM   #9
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Mine: K3ii with Da20-40Ltd & Da55-300PLM. I may include the tiny Da70mm Ltd if needed. The PLM zoom is very good, but 80% of my shots usually are with the 20-40 + 70mm Ltds.
03-28-2019, 10:05 AM   #10
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I experimented with a terrible copy of an old FA 28-80mm on a K50 just to see if I liked that zoom range. I didn't, but it was the long end I didn't like. I found my self always wanting a little more reach to about 100mm and thus having to change lens constantly to the 55-300. I now use a D FA 28-105mm as my everyday walk around lens, a great lens on an ASP-C body, a DA 55-300mm PLM, and a DA 15mm prime, which I don't use that much even for broad sweeping landscapes. I know you said you are looking for 1 or 2 lenses, but this 3 lens combo works great for me.
03-28-2019, 10:16 AM   #11
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I have a K-3ii and my typical lightweight travel kit is the 15mm LTD, the 40mm LTD, and a 55-300 (in previous years the older model, since the fall the PLM). On a trip to Iceland last June I rented the 16-85 for the weather sealing and it was really quite good, the only downside is that it's not small. If you're in town, or trying to be discrete it might not be the top choice. Images attached here are from the 16-85.

I'm going to Germany and Austria this summer, and I'm facing a similar dilemma as the OP. Do I rent or buy the 16-85 again in case of bad weather? Do I fill the hole in my prime lineup with the 21mm LTD, and just go with the 18-55 kit lens if it gets wet out? Or do I get my hands on a 20-40 LTD? I've thought about the 18-135, too. At various times over the past few months I've thought I'd come to a firm conclusion, only to waver. I think I want to go with the 21 + kit option, but then I drift to other things.
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03-28-2019, 10:38 AM   #12
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Iím with jeffdrew; 20-40 Ltd plus the 55-300PLM for most shots, backed up by the 10-17 for wide (or stack a panorama for wide).
03-28-2019, 11:25 AM   #13
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The problem is that there are a lot of ways to kit this out.

I have not shot the DA 16-85, I can only base things on what I read and see.I think that lens may be a bit heavier than I want for a hiking lens but I'm spoiled with a lot of good options including m43. I can say I have hiked with the DA 20-40 LTD and the DA 55-300 and found it a nice combo. That said some of the time I carried the DA 15 - primarily because I like starburst shots and the HD DA 20-40 doesn't deliver in that respect compared to the SMC DA 15.
03-28-2019, 11:36 AM   #14
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I have a 16-85 and 55-300. (Non PLM) for my K5ii and they're the perfect combination,good coverage of range,WR and minimises lens changes when you're travelling.
03-28-2019, 12:35 PM   #15
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The DA 55-300 gets weaker IQ and slower aperture the longer you go. Lately I've not traveled with it. Instead I bring the 16-85, a longer and faster prime like a 135mm or a 200mm, and the DA14. I get fantastic image quality out of the 14mm, The extra 2mm of width, and its close-up abilities, make it genuinely useful. I'm going on a trip in June and I'm debating whether to take my A*300mm. It's compact but heavy. I won't use it often, but there will be a shot that I'll miss if I don't have it. But since it's heavy I likely wouldn't bring it all the time and I'll miss the shot anyway!
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