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08-06-2013, 07:29 AM   #1
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Recommendations for lenses to take on holiday to Europe

Hi

I currently have a K-r and kit lens, plus the 40mm F2.8 XS and a few old MF lenses (Chinon 50mm F1.9, CZ Jena 135mm F3.5 etc.)

I'm planning on going to Brussels for a few days in September and would like to get a wide angle and possibly replace my kit lens and also possibly invest in a telephoto.

I was thinking of the Sigma 8-16mm as a wide angle, and then possibly replacing the kit lens with the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8.

My questions are:

Is it worth replacing the kit lens with the Tamron or could I make do for now with the kit lens? e.g is it that much better that I would value it on the trip.

Should I get a telephoto, or can I do without it for now. I was thinking the 55-300mm DA which is a good price at the moment.

In terms of the wide angle, from reading around the Sigma 8-16 seems very good and I would be using it for buildings (churches, museums) where I often wish I had something wider. I have looked at the 10-20's and various other wide angles but keep coming back to this.

I know people will answer: it depends on your shooting, but I don't have anything wider than 18mm at the moment, and apart from the CZ Jena don't have a telephoto, much less an AF telephoto. Therefore it is difficult to tell. Would a telephoto get much use on holiday (in a city) or would it be better just stopping at 50mm?

In terms of budget theoretically I could afford all three but am reluctant to spend c.£900 if I could get by. I have been looking at the Limiteds and the Pentax 12-24mm etc. but they are very expensive at the moment and I just can't justify the expense of £700-800 for the 12-24 for example, or c £600 for the 15mm Ltd.

From analysing my lens usage on exposure plot I have about 12% usage at 18mm and around 22% at 40mm, 21% at 50mm and 13% at 60mm with other smaller percentages at anything between 0 and 250mm (probably the awful Vivitar and Cosina 70-210mm zooms I used when I first got the camera).

I'm just looking for your input on what you would do in the same situation as I'm having trouble making a decision.

Thanks

08-06-2013, 07:51 AM   #2
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Brussels has some narrow streets where wide angle will be of more use than tele. OTOH, a few of the buidlings (city hall, cathedral) might have some details you might want to get a close-up shot of? Depends on your taste... Personally I tend to shoot more wide than tele in a city. My most used lenses around Brussels would be the DA15, DA21 and FA43.

I also have the Sig 8-16, but generally leave it at home when I know I'll be walking around in a city. Since I want things in a small bag in a city, it's often too big to fit (plus too heavy (I feel it needs a grip to balance out), and it may also attract too much attention), but I can imagine it can result in some really nice shots. More so than tele. A 40mm lens could be a nice (and compact) addition to complete the kit (I rarely need anything longer), though I would miss something like a 21mm or 24mm for more general purpose shots.

Of course, If you're into architectural details or "sneaky" ( ) people shots, you need longer than 40mm, but the 135mm should be more than long enough.

hth, Wim
08-06-2013, 08:01 AM   #3
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I'd get a 21Ltd if I were you.

Great rendering, interesting FOV, can focus really close. Also it is very small, almost weightless, focus really quick. You can find it used (very good condition) for 400-450$.
08-06-2013, 08:12 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ishpuini Quote
Brussels has some narrow streets where wide angle will be of more use than tele. OTOH, a few of the buidlings (city hall, cathedral) might have some details you might want to get a close-up shot of? Depends on your taste... Personally I tend to shoot more wide than tele in a city. My most used lenses around Brussels would be the DA15, DA21 and FA43.

I also have the Sig 8-16, but generally leave it at home when I know I'll be walking around in a city. Since I want things in a small bag in a city, it's often too big to fit (plus too heavy (I feel it needs a grip to balance out), and it may also attract too much attention), but I can imagine it can result in some really nice shots. More so than tele. A 40mm lens could be a nice (and compact) addition to complete the kit (I rarely need anything longer), though I would miss something like a 21mm or 24mm for more general purpose shots.

Of course, If you're into architectural details or "sneaky" ( ) people shots, you need longer than 40mm, but the 135mm should be more than long enough.

hth, Wim
Hi thanks for your reply. The Limiteds do make sense although they are unfortunately so expensive at the moment. I wasn't actually going to take the Carz Zeiss because it is a M42 lens and it a pain to take off and put on the camera and is fairly heavy. So do you think a 8-16 and the 40mm could be a good kit?

08-06-2013, 08:13 AM   #5
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When I went to San Francisco I just took the 18-135. I was limited to carry-on so I didn't want to bring too much. It was good on the plane - out the window - and walking around. It had enough reach to get images of taller buildings and around the street, and it's pretty small. WR gives an added bonus of security, too.

I have rented the 8-16, and it's really really nice. It's one I think I may eventually buy, but not anytime soon. It's not small, as mentioned, and you need to really think about how it distorts on the wider end.

And - get used to carrying your camera cradled in your arm. The pickpockets are quite skilled at liberating lenses.
08-06-2013, 08:14 AM   #6
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I would get a new or used 17-70, which will cover most of the normal stuff. And something wider. I would not bother with anything longer. The 40 is small so you might as well take it.
08-06-2013, 08:16 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
I'd get a 21Ltd if I were you.

Great rendering, interesting FOV, can focus really close. Also it is very small, almost weightless, focus really quick. You can find it used (very good condition) for 400-450$.
Hi thanks for your reply. I have actually been contemplating the 21mm for a while. I really like the colour rendering of it. It's one of the cheaper of the Ltd's here in the UK at £395 ($606) with a two year warranty so it may be worth paying the extra. Do you think 21mm would be wide enough for a city or would something wider be needed. Could a 21mm and 40mm be a good basis for a kit and what else would you take?

Thanks
08-06-2013, 08:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by fizzyvimto Quote
Hi thanks for your reply. I have actually been contemplating the 21mm for a while. I really like the colour rendering of it. It's one of the cheaper of the Ltd's here in the UK at £395 ($606) with a two year warranty so it may be worth paying the extra. Do you think 21mm would be wide enough for a city or would something wider be needed. Could a 21mm and 40mm be a good basis for a kit and what else would you take?

Thanks
Photozone.de described 21/40/70 as a really great street combo. I have no reason to doubt them.

Personally, I am not a street shooter. In Europe people are so crazy about their rights and privacy, so I just find street photography uncomfortable.

08-06-2013, 08:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
I'd get a 21Ltd if I were you.
+1

8-16mm is more a specialty lens than a "wide angle lens". 12-24mm would be more like it but also big and heavy. DA10-17 is ultra hyper super wide and ultra super light (300 grams) but I think the 21mm paired with your 40mm would be a great, light, small kit.
08-06-2013, 08:47 AM   #10
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I wouldn't go to Europe w/o UWA zoom (8-16, 10-20, etc). I'd want something in the 28-50 range, too.
08-06-2013, 09:19 AM   #11
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Apapukas: Thanks for your reply. Yeah I don't tend to shoot any street shots really! If I did I think it would have to be from far enough away that they wouldn't see me. That is a good combo. I will have to have a think about it.

carrrlangas: Thanks for your reply. As the 10-17 is a fisheye at 10mm surely that is more a speciality than the 8-16? I guess the 8-16 can distort in some cases but the shots I have seen I barely noticed it. It's looking more and more like the primes kit seems to be the more popular choice. I will have to do some more research on it.

dadipentak: Thanks for your reply. I think I've come full circle now! I am still wondering if 21mm is wide enough. I often shoot in churches and even 18mm is not wide enough. What would you recommend in the 28-50 range? Something like the Tamron 28-75 F2.8?
08-06-2013, 09:37 AM   #12
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I have the Sigma 8-16 and love it. It's big, and you need to take care with the front element as it's pretty exposed. When I use it, it's cap off, snap the photo, cap straight back on. At the wide end you get some distortion, but remarkably little. Certainly nothing like a fisheye.
08-06-2013, 09:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by fizzyvimto Quote
carrrlangas: Thanks for your reply. As the 10-17 is a fisheye at 10mm surely that is more a speciality than the 8-16? I guess the 8-16 can distort in some cases but the shots I have seen I barely noticed it. It's looking more and more like the primes kit seems to be the more popular choice. I will have to do some more research on it.
Yes, the 10-17 is as much specialty lens as the 8-16mm but it also allows for certain latitude due to the "fun factor" and small size, weight. Don´t understimate this latter qualities, specially when travelling.

QuoteOriginally posted by fizzyvimto Quote
I am still wondering if 21mm is wide enough. I often shoot in churches and even 18mm is not wide enough.
Is it because you can´t get further away to get more in the frame or because you can´t get the extreme perspective you are looking for?

I could be wrong, but I think you´ll use the 40mm more than you think and a 15mm or 21mm would complement it nicely. If uncertain, the 17-50/2.8 is an excelent choice. Or DA16-50 if needing weather sealing.
08-06-2013, 10:05 AM   #14
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I took 4 lenses when I went. An 50A, 55-200, da40 and DA21. The 21 took about 700 of the 800 images. Most of the streets are small and crowded and the 21 was perfect most of the time. If I were to go again I would travel lighter.
08-06-2013, 10:14 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by fizzyvimto Quote
dadipentak: Thanks for your reply. I think I've come full circle now! I am still wondering if 21mm is wide enough. I often shoot in churches and even 18mm is not wide enough. What would you recommend in the 28-50 range? Something like the Tamron 28-75 F2.8?
No, I don't think 21mm is wide enough. I don't think the 8-16 is all that big but the DA 15 would be an option. In the mid-range, you could go with a zoom (the Tammy is good) or prime. From my kit, it would be the FA 43 ltd because sometimes speed is critical.

I don't think you should forgo telephoto either: sometimes you'll want to pick out some detail or person from a distance. For travel, the DA 55-300 is hard to beat. I was really glad to have it on our trip to Spain.
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