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05-23-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
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Need suggestions re "travel lens"...

Years back I did two trips a few months apart where I carried two film bodies, a motor drive, and a bunch of lens (including 2 Vivitar Series 1 zooms; pretty heavy lenses). Even though I was serious about my photography, by the end of the second trip I was so sick of lugging it all around, that I put everything in a closet and used a P&S (Pentax of course) for a long time.
That said, now that I'm serious again (and digital), I've taken a couple of trips carrying either a DS or K10D and two lenses. This setup is essentially the limit for me now, unless I'm going to be working out of my car. With this mindset, I'm looking to get a fast AF zoom, as wide at the bottom end as possible and no longer than around 135mm (+/- 200mm effective at the long end). I figure that (if I choose to) I can carry the FA 50mm 1.4 as a second lens for low light situations. If I can't make that combo work, I'll live without the picture and enjoy the trip anyway.
Would appreciate any suggestions (from experience) regarding this type of zoom lens.
Thanks.

05-23-2007, 03:02 PM   #2
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Hmmm, here are a couple of suggestions. No experience with any of them, though.

Tamron SP 28-75 f/2.8 (not as long as you'd like)
Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8 (not here yet, and not as wide as you'd like)

Not much else that I see out there in the speed you're looking for. Maybe someone else will chime in.
05-23-2007, 11:39 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PeterAM Quote
as wide at the bottom end as possible and no longer than around 135mm
I can think of only one such lens that is currently available:

Sigma 18-125mm F3,5-5,6 DC

There is a Tokina 17-135 in the planing stage, but it's not clear if it will be available for Pentax.
05-24-2007, 08:20 AM   #4
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Hi Peter

I don't own it but the Sigma 17-70 has always gotten good words here. It's not constant aperture but is relatively fast at the wide end at F2.8-4.5. Don't know if that gives you enough reach, but it definitely gets into the wide end well enough. And, like I said has gotten good words from everything I've read.

NaCl(you could always throw in the DA 50-200 it really is light and small)H2O

05-24-2007, 10:39 AM   #5
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Thanks to all for the feedback.

PhotoZone just posted a test on the Sigma 18-125; I read it as mediocre at best, with a couple of negatives that I don't like.

When I got serious about photography again and started up the digital learning curve, I pledged (to myself) to not immediately start buying lenses. I had very good results on a trip with the 18-55 kit lens on the DS two years ago; didn't really miss the reach. Took another trip last fall with DS, 18-55, 50-200 and 50mm 1.4; used them all but rarely needed the extreme end of the 50-200. Thinking about what I needed/used on those two trips and thinking about a trip this fall, led to the one "travel lens", most likely on the K10D with grip. Coupled with weight, bag size and less lens changing, I think it's the way to go (for me). I'll look at the data from the two trips and see how often I used the longer focal lengths. Depending on what that shows, maybe I'll back off on the long end. I definitely want at least f2.8 (constant would be best), fast AF and minimal vignetting.

The search for the Holy Grail is nothing compared to looking for the right lens, or worse yet, the perfect bag.

Last edited by PeterAM; 05-24-2007 at 10:41 AM. Reason: add text
05-24-2007, 02:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PeterAM Quote
PhotoZone just posted a test on the Sigma 18-125; I read it as mediocre at best, with a couple of negatives that I don't like.
What were their negative comments? I've owned this lens for over a year now and absolutely love it! I've not used it on my K10D yet, but on an *istDL it was simply awesome. Always sharp, was quick to focus and the colours were great. I never shot RAW with the DL and got some fantastic results.

Let me know what you mostly shoot and I'll dig out some examples. I've done everything from landscapes to weddings to motorsport with this lens and never been upset with the results.
05-27-2007, 09:00 AM   #7
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blwnhr:

This lens is right on regarding focal lenght(s);not as fast as I'd like. My concerns are primarily vignetting and AF accuracy/speed. You indicated that your AF experience has been good, so I assume that it would be similar or better on a K10D. Vignetting would then be the primary issue. Although it hasn't been a issue with the couple of DA zooms I have (probably luck; the right combos of FL and aperture), it was in my film days when I would leave one lens on the camera and really push it it to the max.
As a "travel lens" I would use it to shoot virtually everything. Would be great to see some shots wide open at extreme wide & extreme telephoto and some low light/interior shots. Coincidentally, there a post in the photo section from the other day with pictures from this lens.

Appreciate the offer to post pictures. Thank you.
05-27-2007, 12:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by PeterAM Quote
Years back I did two trips a few months apart where I carried two film bodies, a motor drive, and a bunch of lens (including 2 Vivitar Series 1 zooms; pretty heavy lenses). Even though I was serious about my photography, by the end of the second trip I was so sick of lugging it all around, that I put everything in a closet and used a P&S (Pentax of course) for a long time.
That said, now that I'm serious again (and digital), I've taken a couple of trips carrying either a DS or K10D and two lenses. This setup is essentially the limit for me now, unless I'm going to be working out of my car. With this mindset, I'm looking to get a fast AF zoom, as wide at the bottom end as possible and no longer than around 135mm (+/- 200mm effective at the long end). I figure that (if I choose to) I can carry the FA 50mm 1.4 as a second lens for low light situations. If I can't make that combo work, I'll live without the picture and enjoy the trip anyway.
Would appreciate any suggestions (from experience) regarding this type of zoom lens.
Thanks.
I think your approach will leave you disappointed.

any lens you find that goes out to 100mm+ at the long end will be in the 18mm ragen at the wide end. this means 28mm effective (on film). I often found when travelling that my 24mm was just not wide enough for shots in an urban area, inside or outside of castles or abbys, etc...

You may want to consider a pair of zooms lime a 10-20 or 12-24 plus something in the 28-135 range.

If you want something really light, there are some P&S cameras that go from 24-125 effective focal length.

05-27-2007, 05:11 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PeterAM Quote
Would be great to see some shots wide open at extreme wide & extreme telephoto and some low light/interior shots...

Appreciate the offer to post pictures. Thank you.
I will see what I can find that fits that criteria. If not I'll take some that do .

I can do low light ones, but the others will have to wait until next weekend if that's ok? It is just I'm working from dawn til dusk and there is no light in between.
05-27-2007, 06:33 PM   #10
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blwnhr:

Look forward to seeing your pictures. Glad that I could encourage you to get out and shoot. Thanks.

Last edited by PeterAM; 05-27-2007 at 06:33 PM. Reason: correct typo
05-27-2007, 09:40 PM   #11
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I used a Sigma 17-70 lens for a recent trip in Philippines, and quite liked its range. You can check some photos I took during the trip here:

philippines_2007 Photo Gallery by Frank at pbase.com

Most photos were taken by the Sigma 1770. Some were taken by a DA50200. I think these two would be a great combo for any trip.

Good luck.
05-27-2007, 11:57 PM   #12
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I have to back Frank's words.
I have both the Sigma 17-70 and Pentax DA 50-200. Both very light and manageable and give really good results. Would recommend this combination fo ease of travel with 1st class results.
All the best with your travels.
05-28-2007, 02:41 PM   #13
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Hi Peter,
I have the Sigma 18-125, along with a few others.

As a travel lens (assuming you intend to carry one lens only) the 18-125 is a pretty good choice. It will struggle in lowlight situations, but in good light and at f8 it will stand up against any competition and covers a good range of focal length.

I also have the Sigma EX DG 24mm f1.7 which takes care of my low light issues.
Grant
06-05-2007, 12:44 PM   #14
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I've been sometimes using the Pentax FA 24-90 f/3.5-4.5 when I want a simple kit. Not real wide or real long but reasonably light and compact, takes reasonable 67mm filter, and looks and balances very nicely on the digital bodies. Sometimes I wish for wider, sometimes longer, but I decided a while ago that I wasn't going to go with a Sigma or Tamron superzoom. If there's any doubt as to its usefulness, consider that its field-of-view range is nearly exactly the equiv. range of tons of point & shoots: 36-135.
06-06-2007, 05:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PeterAM Quote
I've taken a couple of trips carrying either a DS or K10D and two lenses. This setup is essentially the limit for me now, unless I'm going to be working out of my car.
I mostly do photography out of my truck, and keep my camera bag with the K100D and assorted lenses-n-stuff within arm's reach. On foot, I just carry an old rangefinder and enjoy the change of pace and lack of burdensome baggage.
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