Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-28-2009, 04:40 PM   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 128
The K7 is going to Patagonia... it will need lenses

Hi, I like to plan my bigger trips carefully but I've suddenly found out that I have enough holidays left this year to take December off! So, what to do? Exactly, it's time to fulfill one of my all-time dreams and go hiking in Patagonia. Only problem is that now I'm in a rush to prepare for the journey, and on top of that this will not only be a hiking expedition. Because Patagonia is not only a hiker's dream, but also a photographer's... and I'm not quite ready.

I need a sturdy tripod (it's windy), I think I need lenses, and I need to rethink my carrying strategy. But in this thread I'd like to concentrate on lenses. I know there are many of you who can give me very valuable advice, and any input will be greatly appreciated.

So far my lens lineup is very simple, since I acquired my first Pentax on July, I only have the DA 18-55 WR (came free with the K7) and the DA 50-200 WR (I wanted a light and compact tele for wildlife). I don't have any major complaints with these lenses. Although I am not very experienced, I feel that they behave like a kit lens should. The weather resistance is a huge bonus over other brands as I shoot 99% of my photos outdoors. Anyway, when I look at my pictures, I feel like they are not sharp enough (especially with the DA 18-55), and this feeling is only enhanced by the many reviews I've read about the K7 stating that this camera deserves a top lens. I am a bit concerned that rather than lack of sharpness there may be a focusing problem, being inexperienced I don't know exactly how to find out. I meant to start a thread and post a few pics to hear the experts' opinions, but this sudden change of plans (Big Trip) has turned my priorities upside down.

I have meant to improve my lens lineup since the beginning, but my idea was to take it one step at a time, learn to appreciate what I like and dislike of my kit lenses, analyze my shooting habits, and so on, and in the end make better informed choices. But I truly believe that this occasion deserves that I speed up my "lens imrovement plan".

As I've explained elsewhere, I am first and foremost a hiker and mountaineer, but I'm becoming truly passionate about photography. My lens choices, however, have to harmonize with my hiking style (which is fast and light). The features that I value in lenses are:
  • Small and light
  • Weather Resistant
  • flare resistant
  • of course good IQ

I've been studying the Pentax lens lineup since before I bought my K7 in July, and if I'm not mistaken there isn't any lens that combines all these qualities. That means that I'll have to choose between compactness and weather sealing. To be honest I've been very attracted to the limited primes since the very beginning, but I'm concerned about their lack of weather sealing. Are they very sensitive to humidity, dust, sand...? On the other hand, I often find myself shooting in freezing conditions, and I've read that lenses with fewer elements resist cold better. That would favour primes... right? Lastly, I would like to (although it's not a deal breaker) have Macro (that is the only feature that I miss from my old Oly SP560UZ, and some Patagonian valleys are in full bloom in December!).

So after all these considerations, I feel inclined towards these lenses:
  • DA 35 f/2.8 Macro Ltd - a focal length that I find myself using very often. Sharp. Macro. The TOP praise made me lust for it almost wildly
  • DA 15 f/4 Ltd - the only very wide angle compact prime. When I want to go wide, I want very wide (wider than 21mm). A bit of a worry is I've found mostly lukewarm praise about this lens. It seems not to be as sharp as other primes, but on the other hand I find its good flare resistance very handy.

This duo would give me good IQ and a lot of fun, but I have a couple of concerns: first is use of polarizer. It seems it might be difficult to rotate the polarizer with the lens hood extended. Also I've read things about vignetting with thick filters. Second is that with these primes I would still have to take my WR kit zoom for those inevitable rainy days.

The alternative to the pair of primes might be the DA* 16-50 f/2.8. Cheaper than the two primes combined, and same weight as the two primes plus the kit zoom. Good IQ also, and less hassle changing lenses. Drawbacks: huge filter size (expensive), huge lens hood (unwieldy), and suspect QC. That really scares me a bit, as I'm not experienced enough to tell if I've got a perfectly good unit, even less so in a hurry. Also, I think it won't be as fun as the primes

My apologies for such a long post, I wanted to give you a little background to help you help me So, is there any blatant issue that I haven't considered? Would the primes be a sound choice? Do you have another suggestion? As I said your input will be very appreciated, I'm a little stressed about these choices...

10-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #2
Senior Member




Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ft. Myers Florida
Posts: 169
I have the DA 35 and DA 15 both are very good. *I* really like the DA 15. Using a polarizer is not a problem on either lens. You have to retract the hood to rotate the filter. I don't think and adapter for a filter holder (for graduated neutral density) can be fitted to the DA15 though.

I decided to go with primes but zooms are good too. I don't care for the size of them though. Personal thing. However, I am keeping the 12-24.

Post some pics that you feel are not sharp.
10-28-2009, 06:36 PM   #3
Loyal Site Supporter
dadipentak's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,073
I think those are very good choices--for the trip and after. If it were me, I'd really want to take something long (there's wildlife-yes?) and I'd be tempted to take the DA*300mm & a TC but it's a load. The DA 55-300mm would be a lighter, more compact and more versatile alternative.
10-28-2009, 07:08 PM   #4
Veteran Member
Spock's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 419
Yes, definitely take a DA15. It's the perfect wide angle for travel.

Otherwise the DA 18-55 WR and the DA 50-200 WR would pretty much cover most other photographic situations - and are weather resistant.

10-28-2009, 08:07 PM   #5
Veteran Member
Eaglerapids's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Idaho,USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,588
OMG, Patagonia for a month? That would be awesome. You know there are HUGE Brown trout in those rivers, right? Besides everything else you have to prepare for, I would be learning to fly fish if you don't already know:-).
I can't wait to see your pics when you get back.
10-28-2009, 08:07 PM   #6
Veteran Member
lbenac's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Burnaby, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,313
Considering that Patagonia is almost always under a lot of wind which means dust or water thrown in your face, I would for once look at the weather proof lenses.
Regretfully I think that only the very expensive 55mm is weatherproof.
So you could look at the DA* zooms but they are heavy. Or do a mix so that you have at least one weather proof lens not to miss the incredible shots that can be taken in this kind of weather.

Cheers,

luc
10-28-2009, 08:57 PM   #7
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,998
Congratulations on your trip! On the wide angle end of things, I think that the DA 15 is the only way to go, especially considering that you're going hiking. With the 15, 35 and the kit lenses, you should get some absolutely spectacular images!! In that you like to go as wide as you can go - and are worried that 15 may not be wide enough, I have some additional suggestions.

Rather than go with thick filters, there are thin filters out there. Nikon has a line of thin filters (I picked up one for my 12-24) and it works well. With thin filters, you reduce the potential for vignetting. There are other makes too - just look for thin.

On the wide aspect of this. Have you considered "stitching"? That is taking several shots as you pan across a scene and then digitally stitch them together in to a single wide panorama (on your home PC). You can do this hand held, but it does work better on a tripod.

Here are some links on stitching....

Photo Stitching Digital Panoramas
Digital Panoramas
Photo stitching software 360 degree Panorama image software - PTGui
Hugin - Panorama photo stitcher
AutoPano Pro - Panorama stitching software - Panoramic photo software - image stitching

Also, if you are inclined to possibly stitch, down load the free software, pick up your camera right now and go take some hand held shots and practice. Then stitch them together and evaluate the results. This way, with a bit of practice before hand, you will be able to evaluate the images as you take them.

You may also want to bring along a little squeeze bulb to possibly clean the sensor if you get dust on it while changing lenses.

Hope that helps.....
10-28-2009, 10:18 PM   #8
Site Supporter
Mallee Boy's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Hindmarsh Isl. Sth Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,485
Dont overlook the DA 21. It is one very handy, very small (shirt pocket) lens.
Have a great trip.

10-29-2009, 07:58 AM   #9
Pentaxian
fearview's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Jakarta
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,067
dude. youre a real lucky man.

for those mountains. i would go as wide as Pentax can. so it it would be.. DA 10-17 or 12-24.

both i believe from pics i saw.. is great lens.


--
10-29-2009, 08:07 AM   #10
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 228
Patagonia in Argentina? Yes? Wind, wind and wind. In which state will you stay? Neuquen? Santa Cruz? Tierra del Fuego?

It's a really Photographic place. Take care with the inflation in Arentina. Compute this in your count.

Good luck ( and pics too).

Rino.
10-29-2009, 03:40 PM   #11
Senior Member




Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 128
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Spotmatic Quote
Post some pics that you feel are not sharp.
I feel that this would derail the thread a litlle. I will open a thread to ask about the sharpness of my DA 18-55 WR. But thanks for your reply, and the fact that you like the two lenses that I'm after is reassuring.

QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
I think those are very good choices--for the trip and after. If it were me, I'd really want to take something long (there's wildlife-yes?) and I'd be tempted to take the DA*300mm & a TC but it's a load. The DA 55-300mm would be a lighter, more compact and more versatile alternative.
I'm not going to buy a telephoto lens for now. So far I've been satisfied with my DA 50-200 WR. I hope that it will do the job (however modestly). It has served me well in the Pyrenees.

QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
Considering that Patagonia is almost always under a lot of wind which means dust or water thrown in your face, I would for once look at the weather proof lenses.
Regretfully I think that only the very expensive 55mm is weatherproof.
So you could look at the DA* zooms but they are heavy. Or do a mix so that you have at least one weather proof lens not to miss the incredible shots that can be taken in this kind of weather.

Cheers,

luc
Yes, if I finally buy the primes I will take the DA 18-55 WR anyway, for those days when the weather won't cooperate.

QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Congratulations on your trip! On the wide angle end of things, I think that the DA 15 is the only way to go, especially considering that you're going hiking. With the 15, 35 and the kit lenses, you should get some absolutely spectacular images!! In that you like to go as wide as you can go - and are worried that 15 may not be wide enough, I have some additional suggestions.

Rather than go with thick filters, there are thin filters out there. Nikon has a line of thin filters (I picked up one for my 12-24) and it works well. With thin filters, you reduce the potential for vignetting. There are other makes too - just look for thin.

On the wide aspect of this. Have you considered "stitching"? That is taking several shots as you pan across a scene and then digitally stitch them together in to a single wide panorama (on your home PC). You can do this hand held, but it does work better on a tripod.

Here are some links on stitching....

Photo Stitching Digital Panoramas
Digital Panoramas
Photo stitching software 360 degree Panorama image software - PTGui
Hugin - Panorama photo stitcher
AutoPano Pro - Panorama stitching software - Panoramic photo software - image stitching

Also, if you are inclined to possibly stitch, down load the free software, pick up your camera right now and go take some hand held shots and practice. Then stitch them together and evaluate the results. This way, with a bit of practice before hand, you will be able to evaluate the images as you take them.

You may also want to bring along a little squeeze bulb to possibly clean the sensor if you get dust on it while changing lenses.

Hope that helps.....
Thanks, I've tried my hand at stitching shots a few times, but it is quite hard to do with Gimp. I will this software. However, I think that panoramic shots have their place and their moment and don't work in every circumstance, sometimes I prefer a single wide-angle shot. 15mm should be enough for now, though.
10-29-2009, 03:53 PM   #12
Senior Member




Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 128
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
Dont overlook the DA 21. It is one very handy, very small (shirt pocket) lens.
Have a great trip.
Actually I have thought hard about this lens, but I've realized that with my kit zoom I' either shooting in the 30's, 50's or going as wide as I can (18mm). 21mm doesn't seem to fit my style, and on top of that is already covered by the kit zoom. It seems like the DA 15 would fit me better.

QuoteOriginally posted by fearview Quote
dude. youre a real lucky man.

for those mountains. i would go as wide as Pentax can. so it it would be.. DA 10-17 or 12-24.

both i believe from pics i saw.. is great lens.
--
The 12-24 must be a great lens, judging from the praise it receives everywhere, but man it is huge! (and not weather sealed) I need to keep the weight and bulk down (unless I go for a DA*)

QuoteOriginally posted by estudleon Quote
Patagonia in Argentina? Yes? Wind, wind and wind. In which state will you stay? Neuquen? Santa Cruz? Tierra del Fuego?

It's a really Photographic place. Take care with the inflation in Arentina. Compute this in your count.

Good luck ( and pics too).

Rino.
I'm going to Torres del Paine and Fitz Roy / Cerro Torre. That's for sure. I'm also torn between Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego. I can't do the three areas, not enough time, so I have to discard one

I think I don't get what you said about inflation... care to expand?
10-29-2009, 05:10 PM   #13
Veteran Member
lbenac's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Burnaby, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,313
QuoteOriginally posted by gfonso Quote

I think I don't get what you said about inflation... care to expand?

At some time inflation in Argentina was rampant, so that what cost 100 Argentinian pesos in the morning might cost 110 in the afternoon. That is not much of a problem when you pay in foreign currency or with credit card, but it would be an issue if you exchange your $ into pesos in advance of using them or if you take traveller cheques. Suddenly your $100 a day budget has shrunk by 20 or 30%.

Of course outside of Bariloche, I am not sure of how many places will take foreign credit cards in these regions.

Cheers,

Luc
10-29-2009, 05:11 PM   #14
Site Supporter
Fries's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Gauw
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,828
I kinda understand your dilemma. I bought my lenses with my hiking activity's in mind. I've gone the zoom route with the 16-50 mm (because of the weather sealing and the F2.8) and the 55-300mm. But those primes look very attractive and I've been trying to convince my self that one of the same primes you mention, complement my kit. The DA 35 f/2.8 Macro Ltd gives me an extra macro ability but I got some decent flower shots with my 16-50 mm too. I am also considering the DA 15 f/4 Ltd because there is quite some distortion when I use the 16-50 mm at the widest angle. But in landscapes I do not notice it and I am not sure the extra 1 mm wide angle justify's the expense.

The 'cheapest' option is perhaps to get the DA* 16-50 f/2.8 and take the DA 18-55 WR with you as a backup in case the 16-50 mm quits on you. But since weight and size matter you can also use the DA 15 f/4 Ltd as backup and a first investment in the limited primes. The weight is almost the same but the size is considerably less. I didn't have any problems using my 16-50 mm in some mild frostbite (-3 celsius) this summer.

My dilemma is still a live and kicking but I hope that posting my pro's and con's helps you to come to a good decision. A bit off topic but "In Patagonia" by Bruce Chatwin perhaps is a nice read before you go there. Have a nice and save trip!
10-29-2009, 05:20 PM   #15
Senior Member




Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 128
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
At some time inflation in Argentina was rampant, so that what cost 100 Argentinian pesos in the morning might cost 110 in the afternoon. That is not much of a problem when you pay in foreign currency or with credit card, but it would be an issue if you exchange your $ into pesos in advance of using them or if you take traveller cheques. Suddenly your $100 a day budget has shrunk by 20 or 30%.

Of course outside of Bariloche, I am not sure of how many places will take foreign credit cards in these regions.

Cheers,

Luc
I'll look into that. I thought that the situation had improved a bit. Fortunately I'll be sleeping under the stars (or clouds) most nights so I'm not going to be spending that much cash over there

The good thing about hiking is that, once you get there, you don't worry too much about money (other than it getting wet )

QuoteOriginally posted by Fries Quote
A bit off topic but "In Patagonia" by Bruce Chatwin perhaps is a nice read before you go there. Have a nice and save trip!
Very true, and worth a re-read
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
da, iq, k-mount, k7, kit, lens, lenses, light, macro, pentax lens, primes, slr lens, weather
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pentax Km and old manual lenses: SMC Takumars & Tamron Adaptall 2 lenses Kendrick Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10 04-14-2010 03:23 AM
Argentinian Patagonia. Andres Post Your Photos! 17 07-22-2009 09:50 AM
For Sale - Sold: Lenses, lenses, lenses... and a flash! pbo Sold Items 18 05-28-2009 04:35 PM
For Sale - Sold: M42 / K / KA / FA Lenses Grab bag of Vintage to Current lenses. 50mm FA f/1.4 MikeDubU Sold Items 10 02-09-2009 12:45 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:46 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top