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10-15-2008, 10:05 PM   #1
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Best Wide Angle for Backpacking Trips?

I know, I know... it seems foolish perhaps to take the K10d and an expensive camera lens out into the wilderness where all sorts of mishaps could harm them, but this is what I do =)

Right now my best option is either the Sigma 17-70mm (which I think is maybe too large?), the DA 18-50 (which I think doesn't have good enough IQ), or the A 50mm (which I think isn't wide enough)...

Should I try to grab a DA 14mm, or is that even bigger than the Sigma 17-70? Should I try perhaps the DA 21, which is small, and pretty wide, and pretty sharp too?

I'm open to other ideas if you guys are aware of them. I'd like to cheap this relatively inexpensive, if possible...

My trusty old Kodak C340 just doesn't cut it anymore, so I've got to do SOMETHING...

-Tim

10-15-2008, 10:16 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
Right now my best option is either the Sigma 17-70mm (which I think is maybe too large?), the DA 18-50 (which I think doesn't have good enough IQ), or the A 50mm (which I think isn't wide enough)...
I think you might want to challenge your assumption about the quality of the 18-55 (note: it's 18-55, not 18-50). Stopped down to f/8 or so - which is where you'd be using it most of the time for landscape - I'll bet you couldn't tell the difference.

QuoteQuote:
Should I try to grab a DA 14mm, or is that even bigger than the Sigma 17-70? Should I try perhaps the DA 21, which is small, and pretty wide, and pretty sharp too?
I'd find the 14 way to big and way to wide to use as my main lens for this. 21 makes sense, although I personally find even that wider than I usually want - 28 is more perfect for me. So an old manual focus 28 would be the easy/cheap/light way to go. but others would say that's too narrow. And advantage of getting the 18-55, of course, is that you could learn what your faovirte focal lengths turn out to be, then invest in something better if you end up being unsatisfied with the IQ (which, again, I'm not convinced you would be).
10-15-2008, 10:24 PM   #3
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Hmm... thanks for the thoughtful reply Marc.

I actually already own the kit lens, though I haven't shot with it in about 3 months. Maybe I'll give one more go and see how the photos turn out- perhaps I overlooked it.

I do most of my shooting at F8 and F11, like you said, so if it really is pretty good at that range, then I should be fine. Thanks for the advice!
10-15-2008, 10:44 PM   #4
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If you encounter lots of inclimate weather I'd say go with the DA* 16-50mm. If you get a good copy its pretty astounding. It's a little heavy but it's also it's weathersealed and it's f/2.8.

10-16-2008, 12:20 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
I know, I know... it seems foolish perhaps to take the K10d and an expensive camera lens out into the wilderness where all sorts of mishaps could harm them, but this is what I do =)

Right now my best option is either the Sigma 17-70mm (which I think is maybe too large?), the DA 18-50 (which I think doesn't have good enough IQ), or the A 50mm (which I think isn't wide enough)...

Should I try to grab a DA 14mm, or is that even bigger than the Sigma 17-70? Should I try perhaps the DA 21, which is small, and pretty wide, and pretty sharp too?

I'm open to other ideas if you guys are aware of them. I'd like to cheap this relatively inexpensive, if possible...

My trusty old Kodak C340 just doesn't cut it anymore, so I've got to do SOMETHING...

-Tim
If you will be shooting in wilderness, it looks like you should get the weathersealed Pentax DA*16-50mm. If price point is important, stick with the kit lens then

Daniel

Last edited by danielchtong; 10-16-2008 at 02:12 AM.
10-16-2008, 07:40 AM   #6
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10-16-2008, 08:41 AM   #7
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I second the motion regarding the 18-55 kit lens. It is light and the wide end is adequate for most mountain photography. At f/8 the performance is quite good. I have had my best results shooting just a little shy from the maximum wide at about 20mm. The only real drawback is the slow aperture and that is not quite the issue for landscapes.

If the 18-55 is not wide enough, there is always the Zenitar 16/2.8. It is significantly wider and a bit sharper at comparable apertures, but is not as handy to use.

Steve
10-16-2008, 08:46 AM   #8
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Brining the K10D in the wilderness is not foolish at all, I think it's in part what it's been designed for.

The best option would be a weatherr sealed lens, as others ave pointed out, but the kit lens should do reasonably well. It's quite smaller than the Sigma, but if you plan on shooting anything other than landscapes, you WILL see a difference between the kit and the Sigma. For flowers, portraits, low light, etc, the Sigma is a step above.

You could also decide to bring yourr kit lens and your fast fifty, that would make a small and reliable combo. Whatever you do, in fact, I would bring the fifty. It's really small, and it can do things other lenses will not.

10-16-2008, 09:10 AM   #9
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I second Marc's idea: kit lens, and an inexpensive mf 28mm lens. I like the FOV of the 28 even on a digital, and it isn't easy to get the actual quality of a prime with a zoom. You don't actually need auto focus with landscapes... and you'll have f/2.8 to boot. The 50 is tempting with film, but it is a bit awkwardly long on digital for the sort of thing you're talking about.

The other idea would be a 35 macro. While I've not used one, 35 is not a bad landscape length either, plus you'll have the macro to play with.
10-16-2008, 09:36 AM   #10
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It's quite possible it was due to sample variation but to be honest my experience with the 18-55 kit lens was very disappointing & I almost immediately replaced it with the Sigma 17-70 which proved a revelation, massive difference between the 2 in my experience.

As you're off in the wilderness weather sealing would be useful though, unfortunately neither the Sigma or Pentax 17-70 offer this and for a decent walkabout lens your choice becomes very limited... the DA 16-50

Simon
10-16-2008, 09:42 AM   #11
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I don't think I can add much more then what people have said but I have used the 17-70 a lot and think it is a great lens. Personally I don't think it is too large and that was after almost a month in Alaska lugging it ever where I went.


John

Alaska photos if your interested to see how the Sigma performs in the field: palmor's Photo Galleries at pbase.com
10-16-2008, 02:13 PM   #12
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I find the DA 16-45mm to be quite good for day hikes, kind of a cheaper DA*16-50mm without the weather sealing. This is my "kit lens," but from what I read of the DA 18-55mm it might be all you need.
10-16-2008, 02:54 PM   #13
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I really like the 21mm for hiking/backpacking. I sometimes bring more than one lens on a trip, but that one has always been my first choice. I will sometimes bring a FA50 (for portrait and night shots), 10-17 Fisheye (for lakes, meadows, or other wide shots), or a Voigtlander 90mm (for macro or other closeups) as a second or third lens. Now that I have a 35mm macro, I'll probably bring that one along instead of the heavier Voiglander.

I like hiking with the camera out of the bag so I can quickly take a few snapshots without slowing everyone down. I find large zoom lenses to be really akward to carry when trying to scramble over rocks.

Although it's not out yet, the new 15mm Limited looks like a great hiking option. I think the 15L + 35L Macro might be a great hiking combo and could even cause me to leave the 21L at home.

I've found that the 21L focusing to be somewhat unreliable on my K10D. It would tend to backfocus at infinity I usually just set the lens to infinity manually (turn the focus ring all the way to the end, then back it off a little) when taking pictures of stuff thats far away. The 21L is very sharp in the center, but a little soft in the corners. The biggest problem for me is a moderate degree of lateral CA, which can be fixed in processing.
10-16-2008, 04:00 PM   #14
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If you're looking for wide-angle, the DA 14 is big, heavy, rugged, and a good performer. I've taken it down some slot canyons and it got knocked around but thanks to the hood and the metal body, it didn't suffer any damage. It's not weather-sealed, so keep that in mind, but it is built really, really well.
10-16-2008, 11:37 PM   #15
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Wow- some great replies and excellent information in here!

For the record, I already own the Kit Lens (18-55mm) and the Sigma 17-70mm.

What I'm trying to determine is if I need to pick something else up... it sounds like the 21mm might be a good option, but I've got it covered, so it's kind of a waste.

The 14mm sounds too big, and not versatile enough.

I'm considering a 12-24mm, but I feel like it's far too large for backpacking, and perhaps too fragile also.

The DA* 16-50 is on my list to purchase, but it's huge, and heavy, so I don't know if I'd use it either!

I think I'm going to try the kit lens again, and see how the results turn out. Hopefully I won't be too disappointed.

I haven't heard of this 15mm Limitd until now... I'll have to look into that one...

Thank you for all the input everyone!!
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