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08-08-2017, 08:43 PM   #1
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Next potential K-mount film travel kit.

Place: Sydney, Australia.

Body: ME or MX (because they both have manual reversion to one degree or another).

Lens combinations so far considered:

19-35 + 35-70 + 80-200

17 + 40 (SMC-M) + 80-200

17 + 35-70 + 135 (SMC-M)

28 + 50 + 135 (or 80-200)

+ small tabletop tripod + cable release.

Very definitely taking a metered camera this time. Meterless was fun once, but not again in any great hurry (or have I just not done it enough?). And unlike Toronto, where I never wanted for anything longer than 55mm (and sometimes not even that), I know Sydney well enough to know there are things I'd want a longer lens for. It's a pity the FA28-90's manual focus is so terribly undamped as to be useless; in every other way, it would be ideal.

Intended trip is not till February 2018, so I have a while to mull this one over. Mostly trying to provoke debate and discussion. No purchase suggestions, please - I have enough lenses already!

08-08-2017, 10:07 PM   #2
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The "classic" combo would be the 28-50-135. I'd bring that with the 17mm.

I personally prefer the 40's field of view over a 50, but the 50 is likely to be 1-2 stops faster. Pick your poison, speed or a slightly wider normal.

17mm is a fisheye correct? There's always interesting things to be done with a fish, but is that what you're going for?

Is the 135 long enough for what you want to shoot?

Assuming you have mostly A lenses, I'd bring the ME because I prefer aperture priority. Otherwise the MX.

Last edited by skierd; 08-08-2017 at 10:17 PM.
08-09-2017, 01:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Body: ME or MX (because they both have manual reversion to one degree or another).
Wouldn't the ME super be ideal then? Complete manual override plus bonus of 1/2000 fastest shutter speed.

Can't really help with the lenses. In general I prefer primes. I'll ramble a bit about the 40, if you don't mind.

As a travel kit, the 40mm is tempting at first sight, especially with an MX or ME. In my case it stays at home often, though, as I wouldn't want to miss a fast 50 and the 40 isn't wide enough to set it apart I in that regard and earn it a seat in the bag. Rather than that, it's slow and technically not the greatest lens (If my preferred aperture was around f8 or so, I would take it with me instead of a 50), so it's not as much an allrounder as a 50, which kind of defeats its purpose of a travel lens. For a day walk and some snapshots I like it, though, hard to beat.

QuoteOriginally posted by skierd Quote
Assuming you have mostly A lenses, I'd bring the ME because I prefer aperture priority. Otherwise the MX.
A, M, K, M42, it's all the same to an ME, aperture priority works with all of them - it's the only mode it offers. The A setting is not recognized by the ME, as the A on the lens is needed for shutter priority or program mode.

ME super lets you pick shutter speeds, but no Tv or P on that, either. A lenses behave the same as M or K on these.
08-09-2017, 06:29 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
Wouldn't the ME super be ideal then?
I don't own one, and given the film transport issues they come with I don't intend to. I'm also not completely sure if they have manual reversion to X-sync if the electronics or batteries fail.

QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
I'll ramble a bit about the 40, if you don't mind.

I've done this sort of thing with it before, so I'm well aware of the ups and downs. Small size is very much one of the upsides for me. It's said that your primes should be half or double the focal length of the next, and 40mm is the closest M-series-compatible prime I have to 2x17.

QuoteOriginally posted by skierd Quote
17mm is a fisheye correct? There's always interesting things to be done with a fish, but is that what you're going for?
No, in this case it's the (rectilinear) RMC Tokina 17/3.5.

QuoteOriginally posted by skierd Quote
Is the 135 long enough for what you want to shoot?
For the most part, yes. Having a longer focal length prime would not necessarily be of advantage, and the 135/3.5 M wins points for compactness.

08-09-2017, 07:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I don't own one, and given the film transport issues they come with I don't intend to. I'm also not completely sure if they have manual reversion to X-sync if the electronics or batteries fail.
X-sync and B are manual. I never ran into an Av-capable Pentax camera from that era where it wasn't like that (had/have the ME, ME super, MV and K2DMD). I also haven't run into any transport issues with my ME super. This doesn't rule issues out in general, but I'd be more concerned with the sticky shutter, which is a much more common problem with both the ME/ME super, as far as my experience goes. Since you don't have a super, it's a moot point, anyway.

In that case I'd go for the MX. No electronic shutter to fail and much more fun to use, at least to me. Not that I ever ran into a drained battery. On a longer trip I'd rather take a spare one with me instead of relying on constant 1/125s.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I've done this sort of thing with it before, so I'm well aware of the ups and downs. Small size is very much one of the upsides for me. It's said that your primes should be half or double the focal length of the next, and 40mm is the closest M-series-compatible prime I have to 2x17.
If the 17mm is rectangular, that sounds like an interesting lens. If it was a fish-eye, I'd still bring another wide lens, because I'd use both for different purposes. With your selection I'd opt for 17mm + 50mm + 135mm for a rather compact kit. Following your philosophy that leaves some gaps, but rules aren't meant to be followed, are they?

I usually choose a kit of three out of a 16mm fish eye, 24mm, 35mm and 55mm. The 24 mm comes in when I decided against the 35mm or the fisheye. Smaller steps between focal lengths, but overall a smaller span to cover. Still keeps me at 3 lenses I'd take with me and I've not yet missed a longer lens. I've grown to like each of my lenses for their characteristics and each serves its own purpose, though. Maybe that's a factor to consider if you want to decide between say the 135 and the 80-200 zoom. So far the talk was mostly about covering focal lengths, size and weight of lenses, not their character.
08-09-2017, 07:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
So far the talk was mostly about covering focal lengths, size and weight of lenses, not their character.
If I were going purely for the photography I'd be considering character, but this is a medical conference with a bit of time off in between sessions & at beginning and end. Emphasis is on capturing an image and bringing home a memory, not necessarily creating high photographic art.

I haven't had much opportunity to try out this particular 80-200. It was on my list for single-in, but then I got photographer's fatigue combined with extremely busy real-life issues and continuous awful weather - and ironically, now that I finally have better weather, work commitments are tying me down to the immediate vicinity of my hospital for an extended period.
08-09-2017, 07:50 AM   #7
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Tricky!

That zoom trio looks extremely tempting but somehow primes seem more in the spirit of going old-school.

What about a 17+28+50+135 set? Surely that's less bulky than the zoom-trio and provides a UWA for landscape and architecture.

Have fun in Sydney -- it's a fabulous city.
08-09-2017, 08:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Emphasis is on capturing an image and bringing home a memory, not necessarily creating high photographic art.
...
but then I got photographer's fatigue combined with extremely busy real-life issues..
I feel you. Hope that you got over the fatigue, at last.

A radical suggestion: only bring the 40mm. Make your own single in-challenge, don't tie yourself down with the question over what lens to choose and delight yourself with one of the tiniest SLR-packages available. Nothing but taking photographs. Just slap it on the ME, bring a spare battery and then focus on the one thing when you finally get away from the conference.
Guaranteed end of photographers fatigue and less things to occupy your mind when there are so many things going on already.

08-09-2017, 08:43 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
A radical suggestion: only bring the 40mm.
A thought I had entertained myself. I almost did that a couple of years back - in fact, I did take the ME with the M-40/2.8 mounted. But I had also recently got a whole bunch of DA Limited primes for Christmas, and it was the perfect opportunity to try them all out. So a digital body had to come too. Still managed to get at least three rolls through the film camera!!!

QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
one of the tiniest SLR-packages available
It certainly is that; it went halfway around the world and back tucked into the pocket of my travel vest! There are times, however, I find myself wishing I could lock the exposure - which is why this year, I favoured the MX instead. Six of one and a half-dozen of the other, I suppose: choosing between them the first time was nearly impossible and taking the MX this year was almost a matter of "Okay, it's your turn now", though I have to say it didn't let me down.

I've been in the habit of keeping one film camera loaded with colour film and another with B&W, but I've let that slip; perhaps I should throw some Gold 200 in the ME, put the 40/2.8 on, go out for a walk and get snapping.
08-09-2017, 09:48 AM   #10
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I think a 20mm or wider, a fast normal, and a tele zoom.

As there would be a (too big) gap between the UW and normal, I would consider one of the many 19-35mm zooms from the nineties instead the UW prime. Most of these offer the aperture ring and are AF, but the shorter throw for manual focusing should not be a problem at wide angle. The Tokina has the best reputation (Cosina, Sigma, Vivitar and others offered it too, some of them - I forgot which - were rebranded Cosinas or Sigmas).

The normal could be replaced by a fast 35-70, but there are not many F2.8. I own the Tokina AT-X 2.8/35-70, but it is a bit soft at 2.8 (and it is big and heavy).

The mentioned "transport problems" occur when an already old ME, MV, ME Super, Super A, or P series Pentax gets no use for a long time. This will apply for almost every such camera you will buy right now. Also because possible mirror and light seal problems, I would do a CLA after buying. The ME Super is all the ME is, plus M mode. A spare battery is never wrong, but fresh ones lasted in my ME Super 3+ years, and I used that camera several times a week.
It seems many people don't like the push buttons for shutter setting, but it makes it easy to change shutter speed while looking through the VF. Something that doesn't make much sense with the MX, as you may loose your composition.
08-09-2017, 10:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
perhaps I should throw some Gold 200 in the ME, put the 40/2.8 on, go out for a walk and get snapping.
That's never a bad choice!

We tend to over analyze gear the more we get, I feel. While it's nice to have the choice, at some point every choice becomes a compromise. That's not the kind of feeling I want to grab a camera and leave the house with. I'm far from having boiled my lens park down, though. The 40 mm is a prime example. If I didn't have it, I wouldn't have to consider it all the time.
08-09-2017, 10:32 AM   #12
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I'd say take the 17-28-50-135
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