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05-29-2007, 09:34 PM   #1
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Help me choose a travel kit!

For pretty much all of July, I will be going on a nice little trip through Europe- I plan to visit Greece, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. As you probably know, I thoroughly enjoy travel photography, but this year I have a small dilemma due to the large number of lenses I have accumulated from LBA purchases.'

What I need is a kit of 4, at most 5, lenses taken from the following list:

Wide-Angle

-DA 12-24mm F4
-FA 20-35mm F4
-FA* 24mm F2
-FA* 28-70mm F2.8
-FA 28-105mm F4-5.6

Normal/Short Tele

-DA 40mm F2.8
-FA 50mm (F1.7 [sharper] or F1.4 [faster])
-FA* 85mm F1.4

Macro

-FA 50mm F2.8
-FA 100mm F2.8

Tele

-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 (~1500g)
-FA* 200mm F2.8 (~800g)

Extreme Tele

-FA* 300mm F2.8 (carried/cased separately) + light tripod (~3000g combined)

----------------------------

This year I want to focus on getting some quality shots (like these) instead of just the normal snapshots. I don't want the kit to be too heavy, though, and I also want to include a macro. I'll be carrying a medium-sized Tamrac bag.

I'm currently deciding between the 85mm and the 28-105mm as my main walkaround.

Any suggestions as to what to bring would really be appreciated! Should I take the 300mm? Or would it be more of a burden than a pleasure...?

-------------------

For reference, this was my loadout last year:

-DA 40mm (never actually used it)
-FA 28-105mm
-FA 20-35mm
-FA 80-320mm


Adam
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05-29-2007, 09:59 PM   #2
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Hi Mo,
You do have a dilemma don't you. However...I can help.
Just send me the 12-24, the 28-70, the 80-200 & the 300 and your final decision will be so much easier....please post to Box 994. Burleigh. 4220.

If it were me, I would pack the 12-24, 28-70, 50f1.7, 100 f2.8 & the 80-200. If I thought I was going to have a serious need I would consider the 300 in place of one of them, but only if had a serious need.

I am heading for the states in November and will be taking 'ol faithful Sig 18-125, 24 f1.7, 135-400 and the Pentax DFA 100 f2.8. That should cover most situations.
Cheers
Grant
PS: two bodies.

Last edited by Mallee Boy; 05-29-2007 at 10:02 PM. Reason: see PS
05-29-2007, 10:04 PM   #3
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Adam, it appears from your selection of lenses that you use the tele end quite a bit.

I would choose the following:

1. DA 12-24, for those sweeping landscapes that you will inevitably want to photograph.

2. FA* 28-70, for almost normal to moderate tele

3. FA 50/1.4 (just in case you NEED that 1.4, though you could also dial in -0.5EV on the 1.7 I suppose)

4. FA 100/2.8 Macro, cos you want to take a macro along

5. FA* 200/2.8 (lighter than the 80-200 and you'll have a good tele lens.)

The FA* 300 appears to be overkill unless this is primarily a photography-centric vacation and you have particular photographs in mind.

(I know the DA 50-200 is nowhere near the same class as the FA*s but if you're going to be taking pix in daylight, it might save you some weight. Just a thought.)

Nikhil
05-29-2007, 10:12 PM   #4
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Mo if you limited yourself to several primes and one zoom like the 28-105 one option could be to bring along a film body. Then you could utilize your FA 24 for wide shots. The DA 40 is so small it is worth taking along as it has great edge to edge sharpness which will work for landscapes and on the street. Then it would be either one of the fast 50's and maybe the 100 macro. Or the 50 macro and the 85.

It might sound crazy but as you are on tour to take quality shots having two cameras going at the same time will help cover all the ranges needed. A film body helps close the gaps.

Just a thought.

Don't you have a quality A 35-105 also? One thing I have found shooting with manual lenses is the battery life of the DSLR seems to be greatly extended.

05-29-2007, 10:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input!

Here are the lenses that I've decided to take for sure:
-12-24mm
-100mm macro

I'm having a hard time letting go of the 85mm, though, becuase of the amazing sharpness it delivers. It's either it or the 28-70mm (which is a bit heavier) as my walkaround. I won't need the 50mm if I have the 85mm; otherwise it's also coming along.

As for the two tele's- yes, the 200mm is a lot more compact and easier to carry around (because you don't have to worry about having your camera mount fall off !), but the zoom does have that added reach at the wider end that may come in handy for whatever "action" shots I may be taking (i.e. landscapes from an open train window). It also has a tripod mount...

One more thing- the lens hood on the 200mm is really tedious. I don't think you can avoid scratching the lens in the long run

Another issue is the cosmetic condition of the lenses. The 28-70mm is new, the 80-200mm is mint-, and 200mm is mint-, and the 85mm is like new. Obviously, the better the condition, the more I want to leave each lens on the shelf

So, what's left for us to choose from is as follows:

-FA 50mm
-FA* 85mm
-FA 28-70mm
-FA 200mm
-FA 80-200mm

Much easier now, isn't it?

The DA lens is fine when it's really bright out, but in extreme conditions it's nowhere near the other lenses in terms of quality. If I really wanted to save space, I'd bring the FA 80-320.

-------------------

QuoteOriginally posted by GWP:
Just send me the 12-24, the 28-70, the 80-200 & the 300 and your final decision will be so much easier....please post to Box 994. Burleigh. 4220.
No problem, given that I find a 600mm F4 at my door first

Adam
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05-29-2007, 10:30 PM   #6
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Da 12-24
Fa 80-200 f2.8
Fa 50 f1.7
Fa 100 f2.8 macro

I think these would be the best choices if I were you
05-29-2007, 10:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rico Quote
Mo if you limited yourself to several primes and one zoom like the 28-105 one option could be to bring along a film body. Then you could utilize your FA 24 for wide shots. The DA 40 is so small it is worth taking along as it has great edge to edge sharpness which will work for landscapes and on the street. Then it would be either one of the fast 50's and maybe the 100 macro. Or the 50 macro and the 85.

It might sound crazy but as you are on tour to take quality shots having two cameras going at the same time will help cover all the ranges needed. A film body helps close the gaps.

Just a thought.

Don't you have a quality A 35-105 also? One thing I have found shooting with manual lenses is the battery life of the DSLR seems to be greatly extended.
Yeah, I have a 35-105mm, but I recently sold my original copy and found one that was mint, so I'm reluctant to use it now...

If I were to take my Super A with me, I'd be using the 35-105mm, A 15mm, and A* 200mm, no questions asked. Scanning film is tedious and time-consuming, though, so it's not an option if I also shoot digital.

If I could only bring primes, choosing the loadout would be much easier. 24mm, 40mm, 85mm, 100mm, and 200mm, nice and compact. I don't like switching lenses more than 3 times a day, though, since I don't want to get too much dust on the CCD.

Following the logic I posted above, my 24mm is in mint condition, and I'm hesitant to use it.

Adam
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05-29-2007, 10:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Da 12-24
Fa 80-200 f2.8
Fa 50 f1.7
Fa 100 f2.8 macro

I think these would be the best choices if I were you
Perfect- I think that's what I use, plus the 85mm


Adam
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05-29-2007, 10:52 PM   #9
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Question.

What's your "walk around every day" lens?

If you are going to be very intentional about taking pictures and go for only the carefully consider shots then changing lenses isn't too big of a deal. If you're going to go out and shoot every interesting thing that crosses your path, ....

I recently spent 2.5 months walking around with a 10-17, 18-55, and 50-200. I found myself using the 50-200 most of the time but wished it were a bit wider at the low end.

I'm following the reviews of the Tamron 18-250 closely. That lens and a carefully selected prime or two for the most 'special' shots might be my choice next time out.

If you take the five lenses listed in the above be prepared to give yourself permission to leave some of them in your room. My 10-17 didn't go out too often with me. Might have had a been in places with better 'landscapes'.
05-29-2007, 11:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob Wallace Quote
Question.

What's your "walk around every day" lens?

If you are going to be very intentional about taking pictures and go for only the carefully consider shots then changing lenses isn't too big of a deal. If you're going to go out and shoot every interesting thing that crosses your path, ....

I recently spent 2.5 months walking around with a 10-17, 18-55, and 50-200. I found myself using the 50-200 most of the time but wished it were a bit wider at the low end.

I'm following the reviews of the Tamron 18-250 closely. That lens and a carefully selected prime or two for the most 'special' shots might be my choice next time out.

If you take the five lenses listed in the above be prepared to give yourself permission to leave some of them in your room. My 10-17 didn't go out too often with me. Might have had a been in places with better 'landscapes'.
My first walkaround lens was the A 35-105mm (F3.5), later replaced by the FA 28-105mm (F4-5.6). After all my LBA purchases, however, I've found that I use tele lenses much more often than wide-angles, and my three most-used lenses have been the 85mm and 80-200mm.

I'd like my loadout of lenses to be optimized for the two types of photography I enjoy the most: macro and landscape. The 80-200mm is ideal for landscape shots (IMO tele shots are must better composition-wise than wide shots) and the 85mm and 100mm are great for close-ups. The fast apertures allow for a broad range of applications.

The 12-24mm may not be the most useful lens at times, but it'll come in handy in one of the railway museums I plan to visit in Germany. Plus, it's not good to have any gaps in your lens lineup as you might miss out on several photo opportunites!

I'm not a big fan of extreme zooms (above 3x) since the larger the zoom range, the worse the image quality becomes. Primes are usually faster than zooms as well, so that's why this time around I think I'll be sticking to the following lenses:

-DA 12-24mm
-FA 50mm [compact alternative] F1.7
-FA* 85mm [walkaround] F1.4
-FA 100mm Macro
-FA* 80-200mm


Here's a sample landscape shot from my 80-320mm (my 20-35mm would have been handy, but I left it in the car and I didn't plan on returning to the parking lot until I finished touring the area):



As you can see, it could be better, but the shot is still acceptable. I hope to put the FA* 85mm to the test this year and make it deliver only the best in terms of both landscapes and close-ups.


Thank you all for the suggestions, and feel free to post any further comments. I can still change my mind about what I'm packing!

Adam
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05-30-2007, 02:25 AM   #11
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Based upon your list, I would take the following zooms

12-24 mm F4
28-70 mm F2.8
80-200 mm f2.8

Plus a 1.4x TC and leave the 300 at home.

You can then take the one single prime you want the most, although I don't see why. for macro, I am not sure what you would need it for, same as the 85mm for walk around. i would think the 28-70 F2.8 would be the wakl around lens.
05-30-2007, 03:17 AM   #12
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The last time I was out walking around and shooting, as opposed to my normal mode of driving and shooting from the truck, I took along my bag with:

K100D
SMC-A 28/2.8
Super Takumar 135
Super Takumar 105
SMC Takumar 55
Sigma 500 flash
Extension tubes
Monopod
Vintage Ricoh 35 DeLuxe rangefinder

I very quickly found myself wishing I had stuck the 55 on the K100D, the 28 in my pocket, the rangefinder on the monopod and just left the rest of the stuff behind. I also found myself wishing I had just taken the rangefinder and the monopod. Either way, I wished I hadn't chosen to lug all that heavy crap around with me.

Now when on foot I tend to just hang one of my rangefinders off a wriststrap and throw a couple rolls of film in my pocket. Toting too much stuff around makes apply to photography what has so often been said about the game of golf...."a good walk spoiled".
05-30-2007, 08:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Based upon your list, I would take the following zooms

12-24 mm F4
28-70 mm F2.8
80-200 mm f2.8

Plus a 1.4x TC and leave the 300 at home.

You can then take the one single prime you want the most, although I don't see why. for macro, I am not sure what you would need it for, same as the 85mm for walk around. i would think the 28-70 F2.8 would be the wakl around lens.
The reason I'm also grabbing the two primes is that the FA* zooms are heavy. I doubt I'd need a TC, but if I were taking one it would be my F1.7x.

If you look at my album of "best" photos, more than half of them are macro shots, and the others are tele shots.

Adam
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05-30-2007, 09:51 AM   #14
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Adam,

I assume you read my Italy "report" from last month. Don't have the same lenses you have access to, but general experiences might be helpful.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/5636-experiences-p...taly-tour.html
05-30-2007, 10:50 AM   #15
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Hmmm....if I were packing for you, I think I'd pack the 12-24, the 50 macro, and the 80-200. I'd also toss in a teleconverter and a long extension tube, if you have one.
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