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11-22-2019, 07:24 AM   #1
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20-40 vs 16-85 what would you bring for travel?

Yes, another "20-40 vs 16-85" kind of topic, I know, and I've read quite a few topics of this, still being unable to decide. For the context, I'm bringing my family to Austria for Christmas time, there will be lots of driving, snow, and hopefully great landscape. On equipment side I used to travel with my KP and the limited trio of DA15, DA 20-40 and DA 70, and depend on each trip, another fun lens e.g. Sigma 30.

This year, my DA 15 was broken, I could not afford a direct replacement by the time, so purchase a DA 14 instead due to very good price. The 14 is very fine, but much bigger than DA 15. Also I now have the 50-135, I like it so much now it replaces the DA 70, even if it feels 10 times bigger and heavier. The problem now is the 14 + 20-40 + 50-135 is too big, barely fit into my small bag, so I'm thinking about taking my also recently acquired 16-85 instead, it can replace both the 14 and 20-40, not much lighter but it fits into one compartment in the bag, make way for an extra lens, e.g. the DA 10-17 for super wide need.

In conclusion:

- DA 14 + DA 2040 + DA 50-135:
+ Very nice image quality, I do really like the rendering of the 20-40. My habit of traveling
- Quite big, it's very hard to take the 14 in of out of the bag each time for example, also frequent lenses change, maybe not ideal under Christmas snow?

- DA 10-17 + DA 16-85 + DA 50-135
+ Much more range and flexibility. Less lenses change. The 16-85 is one of the sharpest lens I own.
- I'm not sure I can manage the fisheye very well, very limited experience with this new lens, and more importantly, while being very sharp, I always feel the images from the 20-40 have more subtle quality to it, very hard to explain, but I slightly prefer the 20-40 IQ in their common range.

Finally after a long post, it comes back to the question of 20-40 and 16-85, which is better for traveling?

P/S: the 16-85 so far has not been collecting dust at all, I use it a lot while hiking with my little girl, where its range is very appreciated, and no lens change is preferred.

Thanks for your idea.

11-22-2019, 07:50 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I own the 16-85 and rented the 20-40 to try on a trip to Africa this year

I used the 16-85 a lot more

one reason, I had more confidence in it

greater range, it was my go to close in lens always on one camera while I had a telephoto on the other.

I would choose - DA 10-17 + DA 16-85 + DA 50-135 myself

Last edited by aslyfox; 11-22-2019 at 07:56 AM.
11-22-2019, 07:51 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I'd go with the 10-17, the 20-40, and the 50-135. Perfect setup without having focal length duplication.
11-22-2019, 07:56 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Will this primarily be a city tour or are you visiting the mountains too?
If hiking/skiing or anything else in this direction is involved the 16-85mm lens will be the most usefull lens, because you don't have to change lenses that often or at all.
Otherwise take the 20-40mm lens, if you like this lens more. -> There will always be a porch roof, a passageway or in the worst case an umbrella to change lenses somewhat protected

11-22-2019, 08:17 AM - 4 Likes   #5
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16-85 one lens solution and spend more time with your family!
11-22-2019, 08:28 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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16-85. It is hands-down my favorite one lens travel buddy. The 18-135 isn’t very expensive used, so you could consider that if the long end is needed. For cities, the 16-85 and 10-17 will be all you need.
11-22-2019, 08:29 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I travel with the 14, 16-85, and a 135. I find the 14's extra width, flare resistance, and sun stars make it a valuable lens to take a long. It spends a lot of time on the camera, so the size in the bag is less of a concern.
11-22-2019, 08:32 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
YOn equipment side I used to travel with my KP and the limited trio of DA15, DA 20-40 and DA 70, and depend on each trip, another fun lens e.g. Sigma 30.

- DA 14 + DA 2040 + DA 50-135:
+ Very nice image quality, I do really like the rendering of the 20-40. My habit of traveling
- Quite big, it's very hard to take the 14 in of out of the bag each time for example, also frequent lenses change, maybe not ideal under Christmas snow?

- DA 10-17 + DA 16-85 + DA 50-135
+ Much more range and flexibility. Less lenses change. The 16-85 is one of the sharpest lens I own.
- I'm not sure I can manage the fisheye very well, very limited experience with this new lens, and more importantly, while being very sharp, I always feel the images from the 20-40 have more subtle quality to it, very hard to explain, but I slightly prefer the 20-40 IQ in their common range.

Finally after a long post, it comes back to the question of 20-40 and 16-85, which is better for traveling?

P/S: the 16-85 so far has not been collecting dust at all, I use it a lot while hiking with my little girl, where its range is very appreciated, and no lens change is preferred.

Thanks for your idea.
I've acquired the 20-40 in the last few months and took it along with the 15, and an F50 to London which worked out very well, although I never used the 50. That was good for being in the city, I would have taken something longer if it had not just been city, and it kept it lightweight since I was takin it all of the time in a small sling bag. The 20-40 was on the camera most of the time, which was good, it rained quite a bit and I didn't need to worry, and I was very pleased with the results. I feel your pain for traveling since you lost the use of the 15, which is so good and small. I have not used the fisheye you have, but to me a fisheye is probably not a lens I would use for travel, it is more artistic to me, but that's just my opinion.

I don't have the 16-85, but it would probably be your best option for landscapes, but the 20-40 would probably be better for towns. I guess I would take whatever you have room as long as you think it would be useful. I guess you could always rent a 15.

Have fun!

11-22-2019, 08:48 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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I also have the 16-85. It has a nice range and is an excellent lens.
11-22-2019, 08:56 AM - 3 Likes   #10
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I'd take my 18-135, but if I had the 16-85 I'd take that. But I'd also be taking my DA-55-300 PLM.

When travelling, zoom range, and the pseudo macro of the 16-85 make it versatile and largely eliminates lens changes. If you want low light performance get the DA 50 1.8 or the DA 35 2.4. 2.8 isn't worth messing with. The 20-40 is a lens change waiting to happen. Travelling with other people, I just don't have time for that.
11-22-2019, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #11
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If you're going through the trouble of taking the 50-135 instead of the 70 because you like it more, then I'd say just go with your heart and take the 20-40 with the 14. So what if every now and then you'll put the 14 on - at least you will end up with pictures you really like and will have no regrets

I personally would take the 70 instead of the 50-135 because I hardly ever use tele lenses on trips. Wide to normal or short tele is what I always end up with. But if you love the 50-135 that much and are willing to carry the weight around, it's something I understand perfectly.
11-22-2019, 09:47 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
If you're going through the trouble of taking the 50-135 instead of the 70 because you like it more, then I'd say just go with your heart and take the 20-40 with the 14. So what if every now and then you'll put the 14 on - at least you will end up with pictures you really like and will have no regrets

I personally would take the 70 instead of the 50-135 because I hardly ever use tele lenses on trips. Wide to normal or short tele is what I always end up with. But if you love the 50-135 that much and are willing to carry the weight around, it's something I understand perfectly.
16-85 every time. Bulkier than the 20-40, less range than the 18-135, not as neat as the 17-70, but in my experience it is far better than these others irrespective of its excellent range.
11-22-2019, 09:50 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'd take my 18-135, but if I had the 16-85 I'd take that. But I'd also be taking my DA-55-300 PLM.

When travelling, zoom range, and the pseudo macro of the 16-85 make it versatile and largely eliminates lens changes. If you want low light performance get the DA 50 1.8 or the DA 35 2.4. 2.8 isn't worth messing with. The 20-40 is a lens change waiting to happen. Travelling with other people, I just don't have time for that.
I agree with Norm. My travels to Europe have found my 16-85mm to be on my K-3II most of the time, with my PLM for longer reach, as needed. Very happy with the results, as well as the size and weight of the kit.

Last edited by subsea; 11-25-2019 at 10:00 AM.
11-22-2019, 11:11 AM - 2 Likes   #14
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I would vote for the 16-85 as well; it would probably be the lens spending the most time on your camera due to its versatility.
11-22-2019, 11:47 AM - 2 Likes   #15
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I would go with the DA10-17 and 16-85 combo. I would not bring the 50-135, too bulky for travel when you’re not on a dedicated portrait session. Or, said otherwise, the 16-85 is already good enough for casual portraits on a trip. You can still bring the small and lightweight DA70 just in a case...
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