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02-13-2014, 09:37 AM   #1
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K5+? for vegas trip

I am heading to Vegas in two weeks and would like to take my K5 without the grip with me. I'd rather bring a single objective along, preferably something compact. There's really nothing in my line-up of glass right now that is suitable.

On my last trip to Mexico I had my K10D, 12-24 and 50-135 and all my keepers were shot with the 12-24. Knowing myself, I like a lot of negative space or wide shots, but for Vegas it feels TOO short.

I don't have the 50-135 anymore, and my other glass are all primes for specific studio work.

Initially I thought about the 15mm limited because it's so compact. I could bring my DA35 and buy the 15mm limited and deal with those... or the 16-50? 16-50 sounds ideal, but I've never even held it in my hands.


Any suggestions?

02-13-2014, 09:40 AM   #2
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When traveling, I've usually taken my 18-135 (since I bought it) and found it up to most casual tasks. Enough zoom to reach the upper level of buildings and wide enough for a lot of street work.
02-13-2014, 09:43 AM   #3
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How is IQ and sharpness? I don't particularly care that it's not fast but I am not familiar with the 18-135 at all.

I see it's WR, though. Big plus.
02-13-2014, 09:50 AM   #4
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Take 2 And Call Me?

Hello FrancisK7,
From the lenses you've mentioned and a look at the work you linked (Nice photos, by the way!), I'd say the 12-24mm suits your style best. But occasionally you might like a tighter view, closer look, or 'people' shots without distortion. Your 35mm would be perfect for those, about 52mm in FF.
So, stick the 35 in your pocket, the short zoom on the camera and have fun!
JMO,
Ron

02-13-2014, 09:50 AM   #5
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if you do some research (and maybe you have already), you'll find a whole slew of activities within an hour of the strip that run the gamut from wildlife to expansive landscapes.

also night pictures of the strip are always fun. I think you'll find trying to travel light for two weeks will leave you wishing you had at least one or two more lenses no matter
how much negative space you prefer.

you can always rent a 50-135 again for the trip and I think the 16-50 and 50-135 would be the minimum you'd want.

I know a lot of people rave about the 18-135, but I personally don't find it very appealing. the distortion on the wide end and the IQ being just barely better than the kit lens doesn't satisfy my hyper sensitive tastes.
02-13-2014, 10:14 AM   #6
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1. The 18-135 is NOT compact. And I'd say the IQ is lacking.
2. For me, Vegas demands a fast, compact lens, something I can discreetly use in the casinos (compactness and fast) and on the street for night photography (fast!).

However, when I go to Vegas, fun, good-times, and gambling are priority one, photog is priority 2 or 3. If you are going for fun, something light, compact, deployable fast, and fast glass should be a priority. If you are going for photog/to build your portfolio, you may have a different priority. The last time I was in Vegas and decided to carry my camera all night, I attached my DA 40mm Ltd. and felt that was perfect. If I had the money, I would like to get the DA 35mm Macro: I think this would be great in Vegas. YMMV. Finally, I don't carry for ultra-wide like the 15mm, but I would definitely like the DA 21mm Ltd. Only problem? It's not particularly fast for night/neon shots in Vegas unless you're carrying a tripod, and it's not fast enough for inside the casino shots.
02-13-2014, 10:32 AM   #7
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Really it depends on what you want to do - I find the 18-135 is pretty good for what it is. Everything you do is a compromise, of course, and a zoom is no exception. Nor is a prime - you know you're limiting your range when you use one. Maybe my copy is pretty good, and on my K5 it performs well enough. Compared with the FA100 2.8 when taking close images no, it's not as sharp...
02-13-2014, 10:35 AM   #8
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I say go wide. There's a lot of stuff here (in Vegas) squeezed in a small space.
I say go fast. Vegas lights are a spectacle and casino interiors are dark.

02-13-2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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I am planning a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, which is why I thought a wide angle lens would do good up there for capturing those vistas.

I sold my 50-135 because I didn't like it. I had it with me in Mexico and never found it was useful because on the rare occasions I would try to capture say a surfer, either the SDM motor would be too slow (or just shit on me) OR the house-sized focus points would focus on a wave behind the surfer because he wore neutral colors. /facepalm The K5 just isn't a good camera for tight framing high speed shots. Or maybe I'm a bad photographer. I just know if you put a D800 in my hands with a 70-200VRII, I will rarely miss a shot. Unfair comparison, I know, but I pick the right tool for the job and my skill level, so the 50-135 definitely won't be coming with me to Vegas. Or anything in that range. I don't have much of an eye for it either.

I'm really not afraid to shoot at ISO1600 even indoors with my K5. With a good denoiser ISO3200 will work too, so I don't feel uber-fast primes are really necessary for my needs. We won't be gambling much, and out of our five nights there, three are booked with shows.

In effect I'll have my camera when we're walking the strip or when we're in the helicopter. We'll probably go to Fire Valley as well.

So super wide for vista/landscape shots, and my DA35 for portraits sound like the best suggestions so far. Especially because it means I don't need to buy a new lens.

I don't have any camera bag that I would be comfortable carrying during the day. So that should be my purchase... something to protect my lenses. Maybe a new strap for the camera? Any suggestions on that front? My photo travel gear is really really lacking.
02-13-2014, 10:59 AM   #10
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Look at sling-type straps, they're the most comfortable and secure. Joby makes a decent one, but there are others. I have a Lens Loop I got via kickstarter. I also have a small Tamrac bag which can hold the camera and a flash or extra lens(s) plus the essentials.
02-13-2014, 11:26 AM   #11
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I think taking a Fisheye to a place like Vegas would be LOTS of fun!
The DA 10-17 is pretty compact and doesn't take up much space....
02-13-2014, 07:46 PM   #12
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Here are a couple shots I took handheld with my 18~135, I live here in Vegas and am always shooting down on the strip, every where I go, I always have my camera on me. I usually have my K-5, battery grip, and 18~135 lens as my general set up, the weight doesnt bother me.
just feel free to jack the ISO up and shoot away.
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02-14-2014, 10:41 AM   #13
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As for bags, I have a Tamrac Rally 5 messenger bag that I love, LOVE: Amazon.com: Tamrac 3445 Rally 5 Camera/Netbook/iPad Bag (Brown/Tan): Camera & Photo It holds my k-5ii, DA 40mm Ltd., DA 70mm Ltd., an FA 35-70, an FA 80-210. There's another pocket where I keep my blower with some extra space. It could hold a speedlight (if I had a speedlight). Behind all this, there's an interior pocket that holds my owner's manual and lensbrushes. It can also hold my kindle if I know I'm going somewhere where there might be a waittime. There's an open pocket on the back, but I rarely put stuff in there because it's open and I'm afraid I might lose it. On the front, there's a zippered pocket that holds an sdhc card wallet, a remote, I can stuff my wallet in there too. On both sides, there's an elastic-y water bottle holder pockets. It holds a lot of stuff, yet it is still compact enough and light enough to carry all night. Also, it's pretty highly configurable. The inserts have very strong Velcro to move and configure as you wish. Finally, it's inexpensive and kinda doesn't look like a camera bag.

I wouldn't use a rapid-strap kind of sling in Vegas; I'd be too paranoid about bumping into things or people.

Finally, you SAY you might not need fast glass because you can bump the ISO up. And that's true...to a certain extent. You may be over-estimating the amount of light in casinos. That is, for a hand-held shot that doesn't offend patrons or draw ire from security, I often bump my ISO to 3200 with a wide aperture so I can use a fast-ish shutter speed: Then I frame/compose in my mind's eye, whip the camera out of the bag real quick, shoot, stow it real quick. Outside, I may have more time to compose, but if I want a street-photog kind of shot, it takes fast glass and fast action.

And not to threadjack, but Birddude, I have almost the exact same shot of the Wynn (you're first photo) and wished I could have made it down to where you took the second photo of the Wynn. We just didn't have time.
02-14-2014, 10:57 AM   #14
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I was out there last April and most of my shots were with the 18-55 kit lens and F50/1.7. Kit lens is the widest I have for buildings, and the 50 worked well for night street work and anything I wanted a fast lens and shallow DOF. I have other lenses now that I'd probably take over the 50, like the 31 or 77, but I'm still lacking on the WA and UWA side and would take the kit again if I went tomorrow. Unless you get a freak day with rain, the WR probably won't be necessary in Vegas. We stayed at Mandalay Bay with the beach and I used the WR kit lens because of the sand, but otherwise, it was dry with perfect weather.
02-14-2014, 02:12 PM   #15
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Amazing advice, tips and suggestions guys! Thanks so much.

BirdDude, could I trouble you for higher res samples? And as a local, would you recommend a helicopter operation more than another for a grand canyon tour? Id like to go in the morning when the light is still good.
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