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04-19-2016, 05:35 PM   #1
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Wife taking me on a glacier cruise - need a longer lens

My wife & her sister decided they needed to see glacier bay (Alaska), so they booked a cruise, with husbands. This provides me with a great excuse to get a longer lens.

I'm presently using a Pentax K-5II with a 28-80mm Sigma Zoom kit lens. I'm thinking about an HD DA 55-300mm F/4.0-5.8 ED WR.

I'm also lusting after a K-3II camera body, however I'm having a hard time convincing myself that there is enough difference to justify spending the money. I mainly shoot pictures of grandchildren, commonly with a cell phone.

Thoughts?

04-19-2016, 06:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Jim.
Feel free to post your lens related query over at Pentax SLR Lens Discussion - PentaxForums.com
04-19-2016, 06:16 PM   #3
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Or, you can go large - See https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/94-pentax-price-watch/319184-da-560mm-100...9-adorama.html
Might be more than the cost of the whole cruise though!
04-19-2016, 06:20 PM   #4
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The 55-300 HD WR is a crazy bargain. I would suggest that it would be a fine choice.

There are many heavy expensive lenses that it outperforms and the ones that it doesn't are rather expensive.

04-19-2016, 06:21 PM   #5
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I had great results with my DA 55-300 on a Glacier Bay cruise a few years back.
04-19-2016, 06:52 PM   #6
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I had two K-5s, and now have a K-5IIS and K-3II. The K-3II would provide you with a detail advancement in that it does not have a low pass filter (as the K-5IIS does not) and it has the higher megapixel count. The AF is also more advanced in the K-3II, plus you get pixel shift resolution (for tripod shooting), Astrotracer, built in GPS, and dual card slots. When I do action shooting now, the AF shows excellent performance.

If you are not planning on doing any dedicated wide angle shooting, possibly the 55-300 would cover your interests for your trip. I used to have the older model of it and it took nice pictures, but the AF was not the silent type, so I sold it and got a Sigma 150-500 DG OS and Pentax 16-85 for my wider angle needs.

If I was going on a trip similar to what you have mentioned I would want to have a wider angle option along with telephoto due to the abundance of landscape and wildlife scenery. I suppose it is a matter of user preference.

Have a nice trip!
04-19-2016, 06:58 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Or, you can go large - See https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/94-pentax-price-watch/319184-da-560mm-100...9-adorama.html
Might be more than the cost of the whole cruise though!
The total cruise is costing $6,000+.

---------- Post added 04-19-16 at 07:10 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The 55-300 HD WR is a crazy bargain. I would suggest that it would be a fine choice.

There are many heavy expensive lenses that it outperforms and the ones that it doesn't are rather expensive.
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The 55-300 HD WR is a crazy bargain
Sort of the conclusion I've come to based on a lot of reading. Thanks.
04-19-2016, 07:24 PM   #8
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If I were you I would get the 55-300 WR and take a small fast prime to cover your indoor/low light needs. The 40ltd or the 40xs are super great lenses either one you could carry in your pocket for when you need a wider angle shot. But I would take my 35 2.8 macro and the 55-300wr. here's a few of what my 55-300 WR is capable of

https://flic.kr/p/FqcxiX

https://flic.kr/p/Gia2d7

04-19-2016, 07:42 PM   #9
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+1 on 55-300.......
04-19-2016, 08:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jayman_1975 Quote
If I were you I would get the 55-300 WR and take a small fast prime to cover your indoor/low light needs. The 40ltd or the 40xs are super great lenses either one you could carry in your pocket for when you need a wider angle shot. But I would take my 35 2.8 macro and the 55-300wr. here's a few of what my 55-300 WR is capable of

https://flic.kr/p/FqcxiX

https://flic.kr/p/Gia2d7
Thanks Jayman,

Nice pictures.

My son has a dog that looks just like K3__1846.

---------- Post added 04-19-16 at 08:10 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Aaron28 Quote
+1 on 55-300.......
Thanks Aaron,

Nice pictures. I particularly like the Bumble Bee.
04-19-2016, 09:12 PM   #11
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If I had to choose between a K5II and 60-250 or a K3 and 55-300 to take once in life time shots I would take the K5II and 60-250 in a heartbeat.... (I own a K5II and K3)

An alternative lens that may be more usefull later given you like taking grand kid photos would be the Tamron 70-200/2.8
04-19-2016, 09:49 PM   #12
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I would personally want something wider to bring with the longer lens. I've been on a couple of glacier cruises outside of Whittier (before I had any interest in photography...) and the sheer massiveness of the glacier fields would demand a wide lens for me. Especially if the seas are decent, and your captain can get you in close. I remember an instance where we were all intent listening to the glaciers groan, the sound intensified -- and we all sat there slack-jawed as a football field sized section of ice broke away. crashing into the water. Lot of blue ice fields too. It's always nice to pack light, but the 55-300 is such a great bang for the buck lens in any of the three variations, I would bring it for sure, but would also look into a nice used Tamron 17-50, or if the budget allowed -- a DA 16-85. Even a disposable hero like the 18-55 would be nice to have in the pocket. I've owned three copies of that lens, and stopped down, it makes nice enough images -- especially for the price. The K-5II is excellent, so you're already covered there. Put the money into the glass IMO. If I still had my Pentax gear, for a cruise like that, I would have brought my Tamron 70-200, and either the Sigma 17-50 (kind of a big lens compared to the Tamron counterpart, but made nice images), or I would have packed my HD DA 21. Reasonably wide on crop, and would have delivered some awesome colors with the blue ice. Have fun!
04-19-2016, 09:50 PM   #13
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I'm going on some glacier cruises this summer as well. I've been buying/exchanging lenses to find a nice kit. I think I'm going to end up with a Tokina AT-X 100-300/4 and a Pentax-A 400/5.6. Both are manual focus KA lenses, but that doesn't bother me much.

If funds weren't limited, I'd totally just go for the DFA 150-450, that's the lens I'd like to end up with one day. For ~$800, the DA*300 can't be beat as well. Also, I went through two copies of the DA 60-250, it's an impressive lens, but both copies had autofocus quirks (back/front focus at wide/tele).

I'd agree with the above poster on spending money on lenses over sensors. What's the use of higher pixel density if you don't have a lens that can resolve it?
04-19-2016, 10:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimhudspeth Quote
This provides me with a great excuse to get a longer lens.

Hi Jim. Welcome to the Pentax forums. Looking forward to seeing the photographs of your cruise with whichever lens you choose !!
04-20-2016, 02:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by esrandall Quote
and the sheer massiveness of the glacier fields would demand a wide lens for me.
Yeah, I think it really depends how close you get (and I think there are some who offer a smaller boat ride or even going onto some glaciers). 28mm might be enough, but I am more of a wide angle shooter, so I would want to have something a little wider with me (like DA 21mm or 12-24mm). Still, the 55-300mm WR is a good lens. Be sure to use fast shutter and to give SR enough time to activate (a little icon lights up) to get the best out of this lens!
Sounds like a great trip, have fun!
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