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04-15-2009, 07:37 PM   #1
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Wide angle zoom for night shooting.

Hi!

I'm re-planning a trip to Japan in december. Who knows, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for me (I hope not) and I want to carefully choose what gear to bring since I will walk a lot.

I've owned a K200D for a little more than 6 months and, besides the kit lens I own a FA-J 75-300, A-50 1.7, 50 1.4 Super Takumar and a DA 40.

After extensive practicing decided that the FA-J and the 50s stay at home, and would bring only the DA 40 and the kit lens.

However, my tests also "revealed" that the kit lens it is not fast enough for handheld night street photos, sometimes the results at ISO 1600 were not very pleasant.

I'm considering getting a "fast" wide angle zoom. So far I've seen a Tamron 17-50mm and a sigma 17-70mm. Both of these are have a 2.8 constant aperture and it seems it is the faster one can go within the wide angle zooms.

Finally, the question: Do you think it is worth to spend on any of these two lenses to replace the DA 18-55? Sadly, here in Mexico I haven't seen a single shop which sells Pentax gear, so there is no way I can try before I buy.

Thank you for your time.


Last edited by hahifuheho; 04-15-2009 at 07:38 PM. Reason: Spelling error.
04-16-2009, 12:13 AM   #2
Damn Brit
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You might want to consider the Pentax 12-24 or the Sigma 10-20 and go really wide.
The 10-20 is cheaper (and slower) but it seems to do pretty well in low light conditions.
04-16-2009, 01:00 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
You might want to consider the Pentax 12-24 or the Sigma 10-20 and go really wide.
The 10-20 is cheaper (and slower) but it seems to do pretty well in low light conditions.
Sorry Gary, but if OP considers DA18-55 as slow , I don't think he'll be happy with f4 or f4-5.6, it's definitely not faster....

To OP: Sigma (non macro version) 18-50 or the Tamoron 17-50 both f2.8 have great reviews. Sigma 17-70 gives you more range but goes from 2.8 after zooming only little bit (not first hand experience). The only other choice in zoom category is DA*16-50 but that one would cost you bit more...
You may want to have a look at primes though, Sigma has very decent 30 f1.4 and 20, 24, 28 all f1.8. I believe any of those would serve you better than f2.8 zoom...

BR
04-16-2009, 08:13 PM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
Axl: Sorry Gary, but if OP considers DA18-55 as slow , I don't think he'll be happy with f4 or f4-5.6, it's definitely not faster..
LOL--I was thinking the same thing, but feared moderating the moderator--ya know what I mean? This could come back to bite you in the arse, as we say here in New England.

04-16-2009, 08:27 PM   #5
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For what it's worth I don't think even 2.8 is fast enough for night street photography without a tripod...
04-16-2009, 11:23 PM   #6
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ILoveVerdi For what it's worth I don't think even 2.8 is fast enough for night street photography without a tripod...
That may be true, but the OP asked for a ZOOM in the title of the thread. With these parameters, Axl did pretty well. Also, some night scenes have decent lighting, which can be manged with Shake Reduction especially. I have gotten some good shots at events like miniature golf courses, without tripods.

This, though not a zoom, was handheld (1/6th) at or very near 2.8. And I only used ISO 400, still could have bumped up more.

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:06 AM.
04-16-2009, 11:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ILoveVerdi Quote
For what it's worth I don't think even 2.8 is fast enough for night street photography without a tripod...
Sure it is. f/4 @ 1/30th @ ISO 400. Extrapolate from there, and I bet SR in the digital bodies helps as well. You don't want to blow out the signs and streetlights, but then again I don't want night shots to be 'properly' exposed, gotta keep the moodiness and atmosphere.

I'd not consider 17-50 a wide zoom, just a standard. Wide zooms for APS-C cameras are either slow, slower, or limited in range.
04-16-2009, 11:58 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
Sure it is. f/4 @ 1/30th @ ISO 400. Extrapolate from there, and I bet SR in the digital bodies helps as well. You don't want to blow out the signs and streetlights, but then again I don't want night shots to be 'properly' exposed, gotta keep the moodiness and atmosphere.

I'd not consider 17-50 a wide zoom, just a standard. Wide zooms for APS-C cameras are either slow, slower, or limited in range.
17mm on APSC = 28ish mm on FF/film. As far as I know, with full format lenses:

35mm is considered moderate wide
31mm "perfect" wide in Pentaxland
28mm standard wide
24mm wide
20mm ultrawide

so 17mm is standard but still wide...

BR

04-17-2009, 12:19 AM   #9
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If you're shooting night shots in Tokyo, the place never sleeps so the hot spots are pretty well lit. Depending on what you want to take photos of also, do you want cityscapes from a high rise like Tokyo Tower or street shots of people? If from a building or lookout, press your lens to the glass to cut reflection and to steady your self and shoot away. If you want moving traffic and or people, you need a tripod. Luckily, you could pick up a cheap tripod while in Japan just for night shooting for under $50. Sturdy...no, but better than hand held.
04-17-2009, 03:44 AM   #10
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Just so you know, the Sigma 17-70 is not constant f/2.8. It is a f/2.8-4.5. It is a very fine lens though. Many folks love it. Here is a shot I have taken with it.

04-20-2009, 12:54 PM   #11
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Thank you all for you replies. Just now I had a chance to check back the thread.

I expect to do mainly street photographs. Just as figmental1978 appointed, Tokyo never sleeps so I think light will be acceptable most of the times. I wish for a zoom lens since I'm not still good enough to make the best of primes, and also wouldn't like to miss an interesting shot while changing lenses.

This photograph OrenMC posted is the kind I would like to be able to take. Was it handheld?
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