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01-12-2017, 04:30 PM   #1
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China conundrum

I fly to Beijing tomorrow. I'll be there for a week and a half, mostly work, but there will be a side trip to the Great Wall and a weekend to explore Beijing (smog permitting). I did the Forbidden City a year ago.

Normally I would take K-3, DA16-85, DA15, DA40, DA55-300, which is pretty compact. However my son has shot through to far north Queensland with my K-3, DA16-85, Tamron 90 macro (as well as his own 50-500 Bigma). So, should I take
  1. K-5, DA 18-135, DA15, DA40, DA55-300; or
  2. K-1, DFA28-105, DFA15-30, DA55-300.

The K-5 has a very stiff on/off switch, but is useable. If I took the K-1, I could substitute the DFA*70-200 for the DA55-300, but the weight is a worry. I could also substitute the DA15 for the DFA15-30 and shoot crop mode or 1:1. A further option is to take my only other remaining FF lens, the Sigma 35mm Art, which would be good for low light, but otherwise the 28-105 covers it pretty well.

Any advice or thoughts?

01-12-2017, 04:40 PM   #2
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Take some very warm clothing including a hat as Beijing and especially the Great Wall section can be quite cold in winter. You can probably buy some heavy winter jackets in Beijing, there's a sort of big shopping alley way were you can pick up stuff for cheap. If you're with a tour they'll probably take your group there, just hope it is before the Great Wall excursion.
01-12-2017, 04:42 PM   #3
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Hope you enjoy the trip. don't take this as an advice, I just saying.
I would take K-1+DFA15-30. During a trip I usually try to enjoy my time as must as possible Therefore I usually go with a 20 mm prim on a crop (I don't have a k-1) b/c I feel like 20mm (or 21 on crop / 31-35 on FF) is the best for urban walk around. and I don't want to change lens or even carry it. definitely no camera bag. I need hands for food and gifts
01-12-2017, 05:11 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I fly to Beijing tomorrow. I'll be there for a week and a half, mostly work, but there will be a side trip to the Great Wall and a weekend to explore Beijing (smog permitting). I did the Forbidden City a year ago.

Normally I would take K-3, DA16-85, DA15, DA40, DA55-300, which is pretty compact. However my son has shot through to far north Queensland with my K-3, DA16-85, Tamron 90 macro (as well as his own 50-500 Bigma). So, should I take
  1. K-5, DA 18-135, DA15, DA40, DA55-300; or
  2. K-1, DFA28-105, DFA15-30, DA55-300.

The K-5 has a very stiff on/off switch, but is useable. If I took the K-1, I could substitute the DFA*70-200 for the DA55-300, but the weight is a worry. I could also substitute the DA15 for the DFA15-30 and shoot crop mode or 1:1. A further option is to take my only other remaining FF lens, the Sigma 35mm Art, which would be good for low light, but otherwise the 28-105 covers it pretty well.

Any advice or thoughts?
If this was my setup, I would take #2 hands down. It is pretty compact all things being equal.

01-12-2017, 05:13 PM   #5
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Welcome to Beijing^v^
01-12-2017, 05:16 PM   #6
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First, the K-1 basically contains a built-in K-5 (K-1 crop is 15 MPix) so unless you want to save some grams, take the K-1.

Beijing is an interesting city -- lots of temples, parks, and street life. Besides the Forbidden City (which you've been too), I highly recommend the Summer Palace where a photographer can easily spend an entire day among the walks, temples, architectural details, sculptures, overlooks, etc. Jingshan Park has a nice overlook and a potential prospect for a baleful-red smoggy sunset if conditions cooperate. Other interesting sites include Beijing Ancient Observatory and Bell Tower & Drum Tower.

The smog is likely to make a hazy mess of most telephoto shots, so I'd bias the kit toward the wide side. (That said, there's bound to be an occasional opportunity pulling in some distant architectural tidbit or making one of those cityscape-receding-into-smog/fog pictures so the DA 55-300 will get some use. I can only imagine the 70-200 being useful if you really want to pull in some details of the decorations inside the dimly-lit temples.)

Have a great time!
01-12-2017, 06:07 PM   #7
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Option 1 for me on the grounds of mobility, compactness and flexibility.

K5 + DA40 - Unobtrusive, light street shooter.
K5 + 15 - Lightweight cityscape/landscape
K5 + 18-135 - Poor weather daily driver
K5 + 55-300 - only if you know you need more than 135mm
01-12-2017, 07:06 PM   #8
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K1+28-105
The bigness of most of the places you mention should be ok with the 28mm.
My widest was 28mm on film years ago when I visited Beijing, did not find that I missed anything.


K1+15-30
A sort of 15mm to 50mm (cropping the 30mm to give 50mm).
Not a bad option so long as you can justify the 15-20mm end of things in terms of using it enough.
Useful for the cityscapes (smog permitting) in Beijing too.
30mm and "50mm" will be good for streets/candids as well.
The bad is that if you spy the portrait of Mao on TianAnMen or that distant guard tower at the Great wall, etc, there won't be enough reach for them.

Ideally, if you can shoulder the weight, it will be 15-30 and 28-105.
Again, the 105 really reaches to 150-200mm with a crop.

01-13-2017, 03:23 AM   #9
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We were there a few years ago. A wide angle lens is a must. Some of the streets are very narrow. With so many people about it is difficult to take time for framing. I found I was shooting wide with a view to crop later. I also found telephoto a waste as the smog was awful, anything more than 200-300 metres away was a blur. The gardens are magnificent although you may not be at the best time. Macro is useful for detail. The great wall. at least the part we went to was very steep. Weight is an issue there. I am on the wrong side of 60 and was really struggling to climb just one section with camera bag in tow.

All the best and I look forward to see your results.
01-13-2017, 09:38 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bruce Clark Quote
I am on the wrong side of 60 and was really struggling to climb just one section with camera bag in tow.
I heard that. When I was working for a newspaper in my mid-20s, I thought nothing of carrying 20 pounds of camera gear with me just everywhere I went but now that I'm in my 50s and have calcium spurs on my shoulder, I try to be much more strategic about what I take with me, usually just a camera with whatever lens I feel will be most useful for the situation, but sometimes a second lens to give me greater flexibility.
01-18-2017, 02:39 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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So, in the end, I took only the 28-105 and the 15-30. I visited the Summer Palace in Beijing on Sunday, and will go to the Great Wall tomorrow.

One picture from the Summer Palace lake to go on with (DFA28-105 @ 105, 1/60, f/8)

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