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10-16-2009, 01:42 PM   #1
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Last minute decision on lens(es) for the Grand Canyon

I'm going on a hiking trip in 4 weeks that will include time in Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon. At the Grand Canyon I'll be hiking to the floor and spending 2 nights down there. I wasn't planning on getting any new gear before the trip, but at the last minute I'm planning to use the Bill Me Later option on B&H and deal with the damage next year.. Too cool of a trip to not get some great shots.

Now I have to decide quickly on what to get. I'm looking on the short end because of the amazing views. Plus anything really good for wildlife will be heavier than I want to hike with on this trip. I'm mostly torn between the light weight of the limiteds and the water resistance of the DA*s. Here are the scenarios I've been debating:
  • Combo of DA 15 and 40 Limiteds
  • DA* 16-50

The DA 12-24, 16-45, and 17-70 probably deserve consideration as well, but it seems that if I'm going to carry the weight of a zoom I should get the weather resistant DA*.

Your thoughts and guidance are appreciated.

10-16-2009, 01:50 PM   #2
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There's a Bill Me Later option at B&H? Curse you, JamieP!

DA15 was first thing that occurred to me to suggest, but everyone is going to have their own preferences. Pairing it with the DA40 would be great, but I wouldn't discount the DA35 either, although of course that's more expensive.
10-16-2009, 03:19 PM   #3
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The answer is DA 12-24mm. You need it to capture the wide vistas.
10-16-2009, 04:19 PM   #4
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when I went in 05 I took my *istD, PZ-1 and 3 zooms, SMC-FA-J 18-35, SMC -FA 28-105 and my sigma 70-200 F2.8 plus a 1.4x TC.

I used the 18-35 on the PZ1 and shot film for wide angle shots.

If I were to return, the PZ1 would stay home, and I would take my newer zooms (sigma 10-20 and tamron 28-75F2.8) as well as my SMC 300F4 and 1.7x AFTC. Why? because there is wild life there, and although I got some OK shots with my 70-200 F2.8 and TC the condors would have been much better with an additional 200MM.

ALso, when you think of landscapes, the grand canyon is so big, ultra wide is not a necessity, that would be better for shots that have massive red stone in the foreground (brice canyou especially)

You should also try to get to Glenn canyon as well, I missed it and regret not getting there,

10-16-2009, 05:15 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
There's a Bill Me Later option at B&H? Curse you, JamieP!
Yes, they don't do a very good job of promoting it. It only shows up when you go to the cart after adding an item.
10-16-2009, 05:20 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The answer is DA 12-24mm. You need it to capture the wide vistas.
That was the first lens that came to mind. I have a Sigma 24-60 2.8 that I'm happy with. If I picked up the 12-24 now and the 60-250 in the future I'd have nice coverage. I've been hesitant to commit to that because I'd also have a very heavy setup for hiking and backpacking. If I stay with primes for the wide end, I may still be able to carry a heavy long lens in the future.
10-17-2009, 07:23 AM   #7
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Grand Canyon

I'm just back from there and I used a combination of lenses, but I was driving to my vistas. First of all, my primary was the 10-17 fish. I love this lens. My second lens was my 77. Great color, fine detail. degree of telephoto. My third most used was my Tamron 70-300 which I like and feel does a good job. Now if I had lots of money I'd go for the Pentax 600 zoom, but still waiting for the lottery.

Caught a beautiful rainbow from the watchtower, down in the canyon it was. I was shooting level with the top, almost. The fish got it all at 10mm, the 17 most of it, and switching to the 77 let me get bits. Still evaluating them now that I am home, as to which I like best.

Anyway, fish and 77 would be my choice. Or, in your terms, as wide as you have then good tele.

Don
10-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The answer is DA 12-24mm. You need it to capture the wide vistas.
Any other blanket proclamations you'd like to make?! We all know how limited Galen Rowell was with his lenses... Check out this link (check the entry under 24mm ƒ2.8 AI-S): Mountain Light Photography: Galen's Camera Bag

You are only limited by your vision. The 15mm would be perfect, if you enjoy primes. If you don't, then look at some of the zooms available. Just remember, the broader the lens coverage, the greater the pain in your back and shoulders from carrying it around. If you're going to be hiking and shooting, the Limited is a far better option. If you're a car shooter exclusively, bring a whole case of equipment. It's far cheaper than a return trip.

10-17-2009, 09:59 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Redwood10D Quote
the 77 let me get bits
This is helpful... Prior to deciding to buy with this trip in mind, the DA 70 was next on my list. I have a newborn and I thought that would be a good portrait lens. Since my original post, I've been rethinking my limited combo and was considering the 15 and 70. My thoughts were that I'd keep the kit lens on the body most of the time I'm on trail to have the flexibility of the zoom and to keep the limiteds safe in the bag until I get to location where I'm going to shoot for a bit. With that approach in mind I thought it would make sense if both the primes were outside of the range of the zoom.

The only thing holding me back was that I thought the 70 might be an awkward length for the trip. Since you liked the 77 so much, I think I'm going to order the 15 and 70.

Would love to see some of your shots...
10-17-2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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I'd recommend you at least take a cheap long zoom or a long prime. Pretty much everyone who visits the Grand Canyon comes away with an impressive wide angle shot. With the compression effect of my M200/4 and 1.4x TC on my K200D plus having the sun at a decent angle, I'd have some fun with some cool non-traditional shots.
10-20-2009, 07:46 PM   #11
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Final decision

I just ordered the DA 15mm & 70mm Limiteds from B&H. Thanks to the Bill Me Later option I have delayed buyer's remorse for 6 months. Hopefully I'll have some great shots with these lenses (including a few from the hiking trip) by then to soften the blow when the bill comes.

I have few questions about filters for these lenses, but will start a new thread.

Thanks to those who helped with the decision.
10-21-2009, 08:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JamieP Quote
Yes, they don't do a very good job of promoting it. It only shows up when you go to the cart after adding an item.
Curse you again! And curse you once more in six months when the bill arrives for the DA15 I just ordered... :-)

My official excuse: I was buying a DA40 for my wife anyhow, and I needed to get the order total high enough for the six month option to kick in...
10-21-2009, 09:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Curse you again! And curse you once more in six months when the bill arrives for the DA15 I just ordered... :-)

My official excuse: I was buying a DA40 for my wife anyhow, and I needed to get the order total high enough for the six month option to kick in...
I will indeed be cursed in 6 months since that is when the bill for my DA15 and DA70 arrives.

My official excuse: I bought the DA limited case and just 1 lense in there would have seemed sad and lonely.
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