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02-11-2024, 08:11 AM   #1
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Lens advice for Faroe Islands

So, I will be visiting the Faroe Islands next June. From what I 've read and seen, you can get comparatively close to the birds, which seems to make my 55-300 PLM the obvious choice for my Kp. I will probably bring my trusty (now that it's got its solenoid replaced) old K30 paired with 18-135 along as well, also for my wife to operate.
My questions:
  • Will the 300 mm suffice? I also have an older Tokina SL 400 AF, but it is obviously a lot bulkier, and not WR. (Let's forget about the 150-450 OK? I am not that keen a birder, though I could afford the 1,4 converter)
  • Do I need anything wider than the 18 from my 18-135?
Thanks in advance for your responses,

Gerard

PS any other advice is appreciated!

02-11-2024, 08:27 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoGekko Quote
So, I will be visiting the Faroe Islands next June. From what I 've read and seen, you can get comparatively close to the birds, which seems to make my 55-300 PLM the obvious choice for my Kp. I will probably bring my trusty (now that it's got its solenoid replaced) old K30 paired with 18-135 along as well, also for my wife to operate.
My questions:
  • Will the 300 mm suffice? I also have an older Tokina SL 400 AF, but it is obviously a lot bulkier, and not WR. (Let's forget about the 150-450 OK? I am not that keen a birder, though I could afford the 1,4 converter)
  • Do I need anything wider than the 18 from my 18-135?
Thanks in advance for your responses,

Gerard

PS any other advice is appreciated!
Seems you are set up with tele---which is a good thing as tele for landscape is underutilized---everyone thinks wide but lots of times you get better looking shots from lenses that aren't wide---wide angles can diminish impressive scenes sometimes. Probably what you have is fine.


When i went to the Galapagos I was shocked how close you could get to the birds, basically you could just kneel down a take a shot from minimum focus distance---tele lenses were largely useless (i don't photograph birds). Only one time would one have been useful: when we spotted a rare owl which was quite shy. The tele was handy shooting from the boats, though.
02-11-2024, 08:29 AM   #3
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Not knowing much about the Faroe Islands, I think the 55-300 PLM will be much more useful than a 400 mm lens. The 18-135 is also a versatile range. You might want to look at more info about the islands to determine if a wider view is needed. Enjoy.
02-11-2024, 08:36 AM   #4
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My walk-around lens has been the 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 SDM ever since I bought it to replace my older 18-250. Here is the PF review page for it:

SMC Pentax-DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 ED SDM Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

They can be found quite reasonably priced for a good-quality used one ($200 - $250) and I have been extremely pleased with the image quality and sharpness. The auto-focus is almost silent when compared to a screw drive and has been quite accurate for me on everything but waves on water...if you're heading to the Faroes you may have to switch it to manual focus for water or water-bird shots. The zoom range is simply incredible and at least my copy retains sharpness across the range. One note is that my copy of the 1.4x TC does NOT activate the auto-focus on the 18-270mm, and image quality drops off when using it (or maybe I just couldn't hit focus with it).

For a wider range I bought a used Tamron 10-24mm which has also been a very sharp lens with very little distortion even at the 10mm setting. They're also quite affordable when purchased used. I live in NW Wyoming where landscapes often call for a view wider than the 18mm limit on the zoom.

Whatever you end up bringing here's hoping you have a wonderful trip...and I hope you'll share some of the images you capture with us!

02-11-2024, 09:39 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoGekko Quote
So, I will be visiting the Faroe Islands next June. From what I 've read and seen, you can get comparatively close to the birds, which seems to make my 55-300 PLM the obvious choice for my Kp. I will probably bring my trusty (now that it's got its solenoid replaced) old K30 paired with 18-135 along as well, also for my wife to operate.
My questions:
  • Will the 300 mm suffice? I also have an older Tokina SL 400 AF, but it is obviously a lot bulkier, and not WR. (Let's forget about the 150-450 OK? I am not that keen a birder, though I could afford the 1,4 converter)
  • Do I need anything wider than the 18 from my 18-135?
Thanks in advance for your responses,

Gerard

PS any other advice is appreciated!
I would imagine that the Faroes have a lot in common with Iceland, their neighbor about 600 km to the northwest. From my experience the most important attribute you'll want is weather resistance. It can and does rain at any time, sometimes for days on end, sometimes a lot. I'm not sure if the Faroes have as many waterfalls and geysirs as Iceland, but those come with a lot of spray as well. No matter what you bring, I'd also have some microfiber towels, possibly some plastic bags and maybe some desiccant in case the downpours get serious.


So I think you're well set with the 55-300 PLM for wildlife and the occasional telephoto landscape.


I'm guessing that the 18-135 is also going to do just fine. When I went to Iceland in '18 I rented the 16-85 and it was by far my most used lens. I got many, many great photos out of it. Keepers that six years later are still in heavy rotation on my desktop background, and several I've long been meaning to print and hang (and I'll use this as an excuse to post one! ). You might get some use out of something wider, but I wouldn't worry too much about that. I have a 15mm LTD I used in Iceland, but you can always stitch together panoramas.


If it were me, and I was going on what might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Faroes, I'd want some backup, too. Like a 2nd body, extra SD cards, and another lens, even if it's an 18-55 WR kit lens. I have several older bodies besides my K-3 Mark III, and when I went to Iceland I also took my K-30. If something fails I seriously doubt that Tórshavn has a Pentax dealer. But I'll leave that up to your risk tolerance.
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02-11-2024, 12:03 PM   #6
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I was in southern Iceland last October and I was expecting rain - therefore took Pentax instead of Canon - but I enjoyed 6 dry days. Had my Pentax K-1 as the main body, with the Irix 15mm as the widest lens. Took the Pentax KP as a backup body, with the DA* 11-18mm. Had the 18-135mm as well, but I wasn't using it at all, the whole trip! IMHO, avoid 18mm on that lens, start at 22mm -24mm, where its sweet-spot is, regarding sharpness. The corner sharpness of that lens is very disappointing - if your composition needs details, to the edges, at f/11.

My most used lens on that trip was the tele, the Pentax DFA 70-210mm. Lots of pictures were taken at 70mm. Therefore I'd say the KP with 55-300mm PLM is good enough, but not at the long end. I was missing a long tele, capable of really sharp pictures. My buddy had a Fuji with a razor-sharp 200mm tele and the difference to my pictures was very stark. My next trip there will have the Pentax DA* 300mm F4, for sure! The DFA 70-210mm was not meeting my expectations.

As for the wide angle - it depends a lot on your talent and skill level. Mine still sucks. 16mm on crop-sensor KP is plenty wide. That's 24mm equivalent field-of-view on FF. You don't need to "get everything into the frame". Composition, careful choice of the camera position and height, the vantage point, the clear subject (ask every time: what's your subject?) and careful consideration of negative space will be much more important than how wide your lens is.
02-11-2024, 01:24 PM   #7
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The landscape is breathtaking in the Faroe Islands and the two lenses you suggest should cover most uses. I brought a K-1 and found that the 28-105 was a good choice. The 18-135 covers the same range on an APS-c body and in addition a bit more at the telephoto end so that lens alone is probably going to meet most your needs except perhaps the bird shots. You might contemplate bringing a wider lens though. Water resistance is quite useful of course. If you go sailing around the islands (highly recommended!) it is a must.

02-11-2024, 05:06 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I just want to warn you about the scam that is the "Faroe islands." In fact there is no such place and the whole thing is a hoax stemming from fictional origins of the music band "Týr."
02-11-2024, 07:26 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Speaking of scams…

How to avoid tourist scams in Tórshavn Faroe Islands
02-12-2024, 06:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
You should be mindful of other people and your surroundings wherever you go. But crime in the Faroes has been described as "nonexistent", and among the lowest in the entire world. The link you provided appears to have cut-and-pasted a generic travel warning and filled in Faroe Islands in the country blank.

If you were really paranoid and anxious and afraid of crime but still wanted to go on holiday, choosing the Faroe Islands would be among the best choices you could make. As I said in a previous post there are some similarities between Iceland and the Faroes, and in Iceland people often leave their children in their stroller/pram on the sidewalk outside a store when they go in to shop.
02-12-2024, 06:27 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThorSanchez Quote
You should be mindful of other people and your surroundings wherever you go. But crime in the Faroes has been described as "nonexistent", and among the lowest in the entire world. The link you provided appears to have cut-and-pasted a generic travel warning and filled in Faroe Islands in the country blank.

If you were really paranoid and anxious and afraid of crime but still wanted to go on holiday, choosing the Faroe Islands would be among the best choices you could make. As I said in a previous post there are some similarities between Iceland and the Faroes, and in Iceland people often leave their children in their stroller/pram on the sidewalk outside a store when they go in to shop.
Interesting! Well, I have zero knowledge of the area so I will defer to your knowledge here. The described scenarios sound like Paris in the areas around tourist attractions.
02-12-2024, 06:35 AM   #12
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Well, on second thought I better only bring my K30 instead of my precious Kp ....... (or perhaps my K200?)
All others thx for the input, I will slip my 15 in a watertight container into my pocket as well.

Cheers, Gerard
02-12-2024, 06:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoGekko Quote
Well, on second thought I better only bring my K30 instead of my precious Kp ....... (or perhaps my K200?)
All others thx for the input, I will slip my 15 in a watertight container into my pocket as well.

Cheers, Gerard
I would defintiely bring the Kp, but perhaps use the K-30 if the weather is really bad.
02-12-2024, 09:38 AM - 8 Likes   #14
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I'm in Newfoundland which is related in many ways to the Faroes (plus their boats come here to fish consistently).

Some points:

--First off my go to lens pair is the 55-300 PLM and the 16-85 (I was never satisfied with my original Sigma 17-50 on landscapes). I have many others, but those two are the foundation. KP/K70 bodies.

--Parts of the land are BIG. So if you are thinking landscapes, you want a good lens for that. I've found the 16mm end of the 16-85 useful. That said, I've stitched panos in the midrange of the 16-85 with great success at times. As mentioned above, mid-tele landscapes can be excellent. Here is a 5x2 stitch of Holyrood Arm in NL (at full res--27 meg jpeg!--it prints beautifully with great detail). The peak to the right is exactly 1000' (and a very nice provincial park to boot). The bluff to the upper mid-left is a bit over 300' (and also has a mated pair of eagles on it!). The lower bluff to the right is ~400' with a 600' trail up there--and that's a very little bit of hyperbole! The Faroes have elevations 2 or even 3 times bigger, I think...





--You're North Atlantic maritime subarctic. Even in June the "spring" can be hanging on which means essentially rain, drizzle, and fog. Be prepared in camera gear, hiking gear, and photo-op ideas. You will have sun basically 24 hours (though some twilight depending on your dates), so you will have plenty of outdoor time. And even in June the North Atlantic can be cold and here we often still have ice (don't know about there). This was early June here as I remember...



--If you're looking for wildlife, do a lot of research first. If the Faroes are like Newfoundland, there are many VERY good facebook and other sites where photogs congregate. If you don't have a lot of time, some sort of guiding would be good. For example, tuna are becoming quite common again here like they used to be many decades ago. But a nonlocal has basically zero chance of seeing any. Some related situation probably applies there as well...



and of course local birders know where various species congregate...





EVERY local in St. John's knows this mated pair and the great location from which to photograph this nest (and I'm not really a birder)...




--BE PREPARED. I had my 55-300 on here when a minke suddenly came out of nowhere and decided to examine the underside of my boat. BARELY got this shot off at like 60mm.





If you've never experienced the North Atlantic maritime arctic/subarctic, it's unbelievably beautiful from Labrador all the way over to the Faroes and Svalbard. Bit harsh at times though! Good luck!

Last edited by jgnfld; 02-12-2024 at 05:11 PM.
02-12-2024, 09:58 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgnfld Quote
I'm in Newfoundland which is related in many ways to the Faroes (plus their boats come here to fish consistently).

Some points:...!
Oh, I should have added, be CAREFUL We lose tourists here from time to time who hike two ridgelines back and don't realize that they are probably 24-36 hours from any hope of rescue at that point. And totally out of cell phone touch due to the terrain. Carry a satellite PLB or other non cell means (and at least some minimal survival gear). For my part I'm NEVER without my PLB on the water or on the trail.

And one last thing: Bird flu absolutely decimated the gannet populations here over the last 2 years, hurt the puffins, and hit a lot of other maritime species fairly hard. I think I've read that the flu spread to a number of other North Atlantic nesting areas. Don't personally know the situation over there. But it might be a factor in your planning to check out.

Last edited by jgnfld; 02-12-2024 at 10:15 AM.
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