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09-26-2009, 08:54 AM   #1
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Which tele zoom?

HI
I'm planning a hiking trip from Cusco to Machu Pichu (in Peru) and need your opinion about a tele zoom to take with me. I have the short end covered with DA12-24 and DA35. If needed I'd also take FA50 (it's not that big a lens so maybe I'll take it anaway). But my F80-200 is something I'm worried about. I've make this table to figure out my options (++=best, -=worst, ?=I'm not sure):

__________F80-200_____DA55-300_____DA50-135
Price................++.....................+.......................-
Weight............++.....................+.......................-
Optics Q...........-?......................+?...................++
Built Q..............-?......................+?...................++
Reach...............+......................++....................-
Speed..............+-.....................+-...................++
Weather seal...-.......................+....................++

This is based on what I have read in web.

There's three evaluations of F80-200 in this site, but I'm not quite sure how it compares with DA55-300. DA50-135 is in it's own legue, but it is also expensive and heavy. And I already have DA12-24 hurting my shoulders.
In Machu Pichu and Cusco I can manage with my short lenses, but during the hiking I think I'll need a tele lens. My plan was only to buy a tele macro (Tamron 90) to complete my lens set but not for a while as I've spent a lot in my gear recently, but for this trip I could make an efford to save some bucks before the trip.

So, basically these are the questions:
Is it reasonable to buy DA55-300 to replace F80-200 (that much better IQ)?
Remember that it will cost me above $500,- after transport, customs and taxes.
The final price of the DA50-135 will be around $1200,- so the same question applies: is it worth it? Is the reach good enough or does the IQ after cropping the image 25 to 50% while post processing still match the other lenses?

09-26-2009, 10:06 AM   #2
Ash
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With travelling and going hiking, the extra reach may come in handy.
I'm not sure the kind of things you want to capture on the trip - this in itself will determine what FLs and therefore what lenses you ought to invest in.

If range is required, the 55-300 is a no brainer - an excellent value lens with just great IQ. I've not had an F 80-200 to compare, but from reviews, the 55-300 comes out on top IMO. I'd be weary of saying it had any weather sealing properties - it wasn't designed with this in mind. But to get anything better with this sort of range requires a hefty investment of the likes of the 50-135 (like a 100-300/4 or 70-200/2.8+TC)

If range beyond 135mm is rarely required for what you want to shoot and you have the money, well then the 50-135 becomes the lens to get for you. In its range it is unrivalled.

All the best with that.
09-26-2009, 11:19 AM   #3
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Personally, I'd be looking at the 50-200 WR - cheaper and lighter than any of the others, plus its sealed, IQ is likely to be at least as good as what you've got, and it doesn't leave you with this giant hole between 35mm and 80mm. 55-300 would of course also be a good choice - more reach, better IQ, but also more expensive, not sealed, and heavier. 50-135 would not be on my radar for soemthing like this - not enough reach to be worth its price or weight in this type of situation, and it's not like you'll probably be needing f/2.8. Shoot, take the 50 and an M135/3.5 and you'll be doing better. Sure, the 135 isn't sealed, but it's also unlikely to be damaged by water, and even if it is, you're only out $50.
09-27-2009, 09:36 AM   #4
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Thank's for both for your ideas!

I know 55-300 is not WR lens, but i thought "80-200 is old and has some wear...". But in reality, as 80-200 has internal zoom mechanism, 55-300 should have the "-" and 80-200 "+".
WR would be nice as half of the hike will be in sub-tropical rain forest. The idea is to go there out of the rain season, but ocational showers can still occur.

The need of reach in this trip would be basically for two things: ocational wild life and archeoligical sites from far (when the route does not pass right through).

I'd really like to know about the F80-200 IQ. What I can tell from my pics, it's not bad (I've seen worse), but I don't have comparation point with any quality tele zoom.
If there's not much difference in IQ to 55-300 or 50-200WR then I'll stay with it (as it's not costing me anything). If it fails during the trip, it's not end of the world either. BUT as these type of trips are once in the life time situations, the pic quality concerns me.

09-27-2009, 11:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by reytor Quote
HI
I'm planning a hiking trip from Cusco to Machu Pichu (in Peru) and need your opinion about a tele zoom to take with me. I have the short end covered with DA12-24 and DA35. If needed I'd also take FA50 (it's not that big a lens so maybe I'll take it anaway). But my F80-200 is something I'm worried about. I've make this table to figure out my options (++=best, -=worst, ?=I'm not sure):

__________F80-200_____DA55-300_____DA50-135
Price................++.....................+.......................-
Weight............++.....................+.......................-
Optics Q...........-?......................+?...................++
Built Q..............-?......................+?...................++
Reach...............+......................++....................-
Speed..............+-.....................+-...................++
Weather seal...-.......................+....................++

This is based on what I have read in web.

There's three evaluations of F80-200 in this site, but I'm not quite sure how it compares with DA55-300. DA50-135 is in it's own legue, but it is also expensive and heavy. And I already have DA12-24 hurting my shoulders.
In Machu Pichu and Cusco I can manage with my short lenses, but during the hiking I think I'll need a tele lens. My plan was only to buy a tele macro (Tamron 90) to complete my lens set but not for a while as I've spent a lot in my gear recently, but for this trip I could make an efford to save some bucks before the trip.

So, basically these are the questions:
Is it reasonable to buy DA55-300 to replace F80-200 (that much better IQ)?
Remember that it will cost me above $500,- after transport, customs and taxes.
The final price of the DA50-135 will be around $1200,- so the same question applies: is it worth it? Is the reach good enough or does the IQ after cropping the image 25 to 50% while post processing still match the other lenses?
Raytor,

I had a similar dilemma, we have just returned from a trip trough Zambia, where we did 50% of all safari's on foot.
I took the following lenses over there:
- Tamron 18-250mm, DA 55-300, DA* 16-50, DA* 60-250, Kenko 1.5TC.
The 60-250 performs like the 50-135, a little more heavier, but great quality.

I was planning to use the heavy stuff while driving and take the 16-50 + 55-300 while hiking, for its limited size and weigth.

Looking back, the DA* 60-250 has been mostly used, with the DA* 16-50 as a close second. Evaluating images on a laptop at night, the DA* 60-250 clearly has better corner to corner sharpness and a nicer bokeh. Also the environmental sealing has been important. I carry the equipment in a rather small backpack with little protection otherwise.
In the end, having several options while being there (weigth versus IQ), IQ was more important than weight.....

Of course Peru has different needs. Wide angle is probably much more important, long range mostly is important in distant people shots and wildlife, I guess.
That 12-24mm needs be with you. The 60-250 is not on your list, but I guess you should also consider it.

Remember, glass lasts much longer than a camera body, it will be of more use in future.
Your trip will not be cheap as well, you may very well never do that trip again, so why no go for the best solution?

- Bert
09-28-2009, 10:29 AM   #6
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Hi Bert;

Thanks for your feedback from Zambia.
I originally was not thinking of 60-250 because I had in my mind a price around $2K.
Now that I checked the price and it's about the same as K-7, it is more interesting, but unfortunately still our of my possibilities right now. I do agree with you that I should get the best gear I can and that's why I'm asking all these questions.

And you're right about the 12-24. It needs to be there together with 35 and/or 50 for both main sites (Cusco and Machu Pichu) . And I'm pretty sure those will be the only ones I need in these sites, except for some detail shoots of architecture.
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