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02-04-2010, 01:38 PM   #1
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I need a lens for Alaska

I'm planning a motorcycle trip from Chicago to Alaska and I'm looking to get a lens.
Which would you suggest?

I currently have the 16-55 and 50-300 kit.

02-04-2010, 02:51 PM   #2
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That sounds fun. Both of those lenses are pretty good from what I hear and cover a wide range. Can you be more specific on what you may be shooting? Maybe something wider for sunset and landscape photos would be good.
02-04-2010, 03:03 PM   #3
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Well, I will be visiting Denali National Park and also I'm taking a 3 hour flight to visit Alaska from the top. Basicly, I need a lens for taking all types of pictures in Alaska.
02-04-2010, 04:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by pakuchn Quote
Well, I will be visiting Denali National Park and also I'm taking a 3 hour flight to visit Alaska from the top. Basicly, I need a lens for taking all types of pictures in Alaska.
If I understand you right you want a lens that does it all! And such a thing does not exist, so you have to compromise. If I were you I would take the DA16-45mm if that is the lens you own. You mention a 16-55mm...

With al the wonderful scenery around I would choose something that covers the wide end rather then a telephoto lens. But since you are on a motorcycle and the sun will not alway's be shining a weather sealed lens is perhaps a good option. The DA18-55 WR kit lens isn't that expensive although the 16-45 optically is clearly the better lens from what I've been reading. The other more expensive option for a weather sealed lens is the DA*16-50mm. I can vouch for the good optical quality of this lens, but there quite a lot of people posting about problems with de SDM motor failing which if it happens leaves you only with manual focus.

02-04-2010, 04:44 PM   #5
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WR lens would be good, but my K-x is not WR.
:-(
02-04-2010, 05:13 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pakuchn Quote
WR lens would be good, but my K-x is not WR.
:-(
Then I would just take the DA16-45mm and perhaps add a small prime lens like the DA70mm or the FA77mm for some extra reach beyond the 45mm but since I only have one (DA35mm) this is a somewhat uncharted territory for me. They are also pretty small and do have a very good reputation.
02-04-2010, 05:27 PM   #7
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Oops, I just forgot about the DA 18-250mm which I've seen mentioned as a good one lens solution! I am not sure if it is still in production though.
02-04-2010, 07:11 PM   #8
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10-24mm Tamron

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02-04-2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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With a good travel tripod, your kit lenses (18-55mm and 50-300mm) when stopped down to f8~11 should allow you to take good images of scenery in Alaska. How about a DA* 300mm for wildlife?
02-04-2010, 08:12 PM   #10
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I have been to Alaska twice, and its one non stop endless photo opportunity. I am going to guess that you have the 2 lens kit, 18-55 and 55-300. If you do not want to have to do any lens changes the 18-250 is a good choice, but you probably would not be improving image quality. Other than going to a long prime lens (pretty expensive ~1K+), your 55-300 is just fine. The only real upgrade would be a 16-45 (and don't worry about the gap in focal length - as I really do not think that something that small will matter). You might want to consider a 1.4 or 2x TC (relative expensive and light weight), and you could extend the range of the 55-300 pretty easily and lighting should be good.

Personally, what I would do would be a good travel tripod and panning head, along with practicing taking panoramas and stitching them together. Practice both handheld and on the tripod shots. Also get an IR wireless remote unit, too. If you go stitching, then you would not really need any type of wide angle lens, since the 18-55 or 16-45 would be just fine.

Are you taking any type of laptop or nettop? If not then lots of memory SD cards, or some other backup. A small nettop would be nice so that you can download your images and see them in the evening. If you are making some errors you can correct them as you go, rather then after the trip and wish you may have done something different. Also, some backup batteries, even if you use rechargeables.

You will have lots of opportunities to photograph eagles.
02-04-2010, 08:21 PM   #11
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Sigma 10-20mm, Pentax 12-24mm or go on the cheap a manual 8mm fisheye for some fun shots. One of these and your current lenses should give you pretty full coverage and be easy enuff to stow. I'd get a camera mount for the bike as well.
02-05-2010, 07:53 AM   #12
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I have a K-x which is my sisters, so I will take that. I hope the K-x is good enough. For such photography.
And she has 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses.

I only want to bring two lenses. And I'm fine with buying one lens, but at the end, I just want to bring two lenses.


Do you think I need to bring an external flash? I will not have a laptop, but I will have 4 - 6GB of memory.


Thanks,
02-05-2010, 08:59 AM   #13
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The KX with the current lenses will be just fine. Its a wonderful camera very capable of taking excellent pictures. However, I would practice with it, so you would be familiar with it, rather than "on the job training" and being disappointed with the results. I would think that you will possibly be taking pictures like popcorn. On digital cameras, you can easily take 200+ a day. How long is your trip anticipated to be? Here is the manual - scoot back to page 298 and you can get about 550 JPG images on a 4GB card.

http://www.pentax.jp/english/support/man-pdf/k-x.pdf

Personally, without a laptop, I would take at least 4 - 4GB cards. They are cheap, and you do not need the fastest cards around. Just remember as you fill them up to slide the little locking latch to "locked", so that you will NOT reuse the card - and loose pictures.

4gb sdhc cards - Google Product Search

External flash - The camera has a built in flash which is ok and would probably be sufficient. I have never used an external flash, so I am not the best one to answer.

A small tripod with the remote IR would give you the ability to have the picture(s) - "Me and my bike in front of ________________" and you fill in the blank. Here are some ideas, it does not really need to be large......

http://www.google.com/products?q=small+travel+tripod&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozill...ed=0CCsQrQQwAw

Also, remember you can roll in to just about any drug store and pick up AA batteries, but try to get Energizer e2 AA Lithium Battery - 4 Pack. You need 4 at a time and these should be good for at least 500+ shots (well at least in my 4 year old K100D). They go for about $10 a package (take at least one backup set with you).

http://www.amazon.com/Energizer-Ultimate-L91BP-4-Lithium-Battery/dp/B00003IEME

Last edited by interested_observer; 02-05-2010 at 09:18 AM.
02-05-2010, 09:43 AM   #14
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What do you think of these?
Amazon.com: Powerex AA 2700mAh NiMH Rechargeable Batteries w/holder- 4 Batteries Per Pack: Electronics
02-05-2010, 10:26 AM   #15
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I have never used rechargeable AAs, so I do not really have an opinion. I just suggested the Energizer e2 AA Lithiums because you were borrowing your sister's camera, they are available pretty much everywhere, you should get several days worth of shots from them. You do not need to carry a recharger. When they go out, pop in the spare set, and you should have a couple of days to find another set on your trip. Plus, at about $10 a package - they are pretty cheap.

As I wrote earlier, I'v been up to Alaska twice, each time for a bit over a week. Each trip I took 2,000 images. A lot of those were stitched panoramas (each 4, 5, 6 images wide), so that accounted for quite a few of the images. I did have a laptop and down loaded them, taking a look at how they turned out, saw something that I was not happy with and made corrections (in how I took the pictures), thus over each trip, my images were much better at the end than at the beginning.

Many have found that moving from a P&S to a dSLR their pictures actually got worse then better. P&S have small sensors, while dSLRs have relatively large sensors. P&S are set up to be point and shoot getting pretty good images all the time. dSLRs have many more controls and as such take some learning in order to get really good pictures. Now you can put the camera in green mode (fully automatic) and blast away - but Pentax does minimal processing in JPG, so do not be surprised if you need to post process the images to get the best picture possible.

So between now and the time that you leave, practice - practice on anything - the "film" is free. Load them on to the PC take a look at them, and see what you like and don't like - you can always delete them. This will help ensure that you get the results that you are hoping for.

Well - since this is my day off, I guess I should really go out and load up the truck with the tree branches I trimmed last weekend and haul them to the dump..... (before my wife says something..).
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