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02-14-2019, 03:09 PM   #1
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Smart photo gear kit for nature hiking, sailing, and big city visit

I am planning a July-August trip to Europe and thought Id ask for your advice about the smartest photo gear kit to take with me. The itinerary will include hiking in Slovakia, a few days in Vienna, sailing and kayaking in the Mazury region in northern Poland.

I've read a similar thread and still am not quite sure what to bring..

Here are the lens kits I am considering in addition to the K-3.

A: 15mm, 31mm, 77mm, 300mm, 1.4x TC
Id carry 15+300 for nature hikes; 15+77 for city walks; and the 31 when I cant decide

B: 18-135mm and 55-300mm WR lenses
Can carry one or both as they are light

C: 16-50mm, 300mm, TC
Carry both on nature walks, 16-50 the rest of the time

I was also considering the 90/2.8 Tamron macro to possibly replace the 77.

I have considered a 1" sensor small zoom camera as the only one to take with me but I don't have any experience with those.. I tried the SONY RX100M6 and my fingers hurt from trying to hold it and use the buttons at the same time.

I would only carry what I need for the next few hours/day. When kayaking, I would only carry a small waterproof camera like the TG-5. My group will be traveling by train, plain, and car and I can leave extra gear in the car or at the hotel.

I don't want to overdo it weight/bulk wise but also would not want to compromise too much on IQ, I mean, I will be seeing spectacular vistas and places..

02-14-2019, 03:33 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by akptc Quote
I am planning a July-August trip to Europe and thought Id ask for your advice about the smartest photo gear kit to take with me. The itinerary will include hiking in Slovakia, a few days in Vienna, sailing and kayaking in the Mazury region in northern Poland.

I've read a similar thread and still am not quite sure what to bring..

Here are the lens kits I am considering in addition to the K-3.

A: 15mm, 31mm, 77mm, 300mm, 1.4x TC
Id carry 15+300 for nature hikes; 15+77 for city walks; and the 31 when I cant decide

B: 18-135mm and 55-300mm WR lenses
Can carry one or both as they are light

C: 16-50mm, 300mm, TC
Carry both on nature walks, 16-50 the rest of the time

I was also considering the 90/2.8 Tamron macro to possibly replace the 77.

I have considered a 1" sensor small zoom camera as the only one to take with me but I don't have any experience with those.. I tried the SONY RX100M6 and my fingers hurt from trying to hold it and use the buttons at the same time.

I would only carry what I need for the next few hours/day. When kayaking, I would only carry a small waterproof camera like the TG-5. My group will be traveling by train, plain, and car and I can leave extra gear in the car or at the hotel.

I don't want to overdo it weight/bulk wise but also would not want to compromise too much on IQ, I mean, I will be seeing spectacular vistas and places..
Option C was my standerd hiking set for years. It does not cover everything but it does offer flexibility with the zoom and a wonderful way to compress landscapes with hills and mountains in it with the DA*300mm. The TC is nice if you encounter wildlife. You can add a speciality lens like a macro or the FA77&FA31 as an extra option you can leave in the hotel when you need to travel light.
02-14-2019, 03:41 PM   #3
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Door number 589: DA 15, DA 18-135, and then some kind of fast prime like a DA 50 1.8 or F 50 1.7 (both of which I own) or an FA 43 or FA 50 1.4 (both of which I don't own) or something around there that's wider than your FA 77 and tighter than your FA 31. Ultrawide, good WR zoom, and a low-light / portraits prime. DA 15, 18-135, and 50 1.8 was what I considered my "NY kit" with my K-5 II when I would head to the city.

Last edited by pres589; 02-15-2019 at 04:29 AM.
02-14-2019, 04:23 PM   #4
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I used a Panasonic LX7 for a trip to London and Paris with family. But for your trip a k3 and the da 16-85, and the 55-300 PLM and a fast dfa 35 f2 (or another fast prime) would really shine.

Consider the KP for size reduction and the 18-135 and DA 15 as another alternative to the 16-85.

02-14-2019, 11:06 PM   #5
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Thank you for the ideas, I've been comparing weights and focal length all evening.. so glad I have a few months to decide.

I've decided to also throw in non-Pentax gear, just to see how much I can save on total weight while sticking to APS-C with lots of pixels. Please don't get offended by my off-brand references So far I've discovered that no matter what I will probably be sacrificing potential image quality for weight savings... not too happy about that.. Here is where I am so far..



Looks like I will need to build up some muscle to get the lens quality I want, at nearly 2.5 kilo. If not, it gets lighter by going with a not-so-fast normal 35/2.4 and a not-so-long zoom 18-135 on the Pentax side. The lightest option takes me out of the Pentax gear altogether.

Honestly, it's easier to buy a car than pick travel gear.. I am pretty sure I will keep postponing the final decision until the very last minute.
02-15-2019, 01:38 AM   #6
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Assuming you already have those lens you mentioned:


I would just try to find a nice photo backpack and take everything with me except for the 18-135. Don't forget a tripod. Maybe I will also leave the 300mm at home but that's just me since I'm leaning more towards wide angles.



The 15, the 31 and the 77 are nothing to carry around. The 55-300 is also light. The 16-50 can stay on the camera.

I would carry the 15, 31 and 77 for city walks (77 is perfect for street photography IMO) and 16-50 + 55-300 for hiking because I would like to change lens as little as possible (maybe also take DA 15 because it's so small).

I would try to find a good travel tripod and carry it with me at all times
02-15-2019, 03:56 AM - 1 Like   #7
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15, 31, 77 are no-brainers for small size and pixie dust.
55-300WR + 16-50 for the aquatic stuff.
Forget the rest.
02-15-2019, 07:52 AM   #8
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I've used the d3200 Nikon, and wow is it cheap feeling. I don't know how reliable it is either.

The tamron 18-300 is an option on Pentax if your interested in super zooms.

M43 kits are even lighter if slower lenses are ok. I have a kit that has the gx-1 Panasonic, their 14-42 pancake zoom (12-32 would be smaller and lighter), the 20mm f1.7, and a 35-100 (slower version) that fits in a small waist pack. This covers 28mm-200mm in 35mm equivalent terms. I add an Olympus 8mm body cap fisheye for crazy wide shots also.

But I'm not trying to sell m43 here, I'm pointing out you need to decide what the target weight is, the target size, and the specific photographic needs before finalizing equipment. If possible on a trip like this you may want a backup camera/lens option. I'm partial to Panasonic for that role. The lx100 is relatively small and light and offers 24-70mm effectively with a fixed Leica zoom. Alternately the lx10 has a smaller sensor and smaller size. These make great photos, but given your desired dslr approach they would be backup options.

02-15-2019, 08:14 AM   #9
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some thoughts:

I always start with: what are the expected " targets " and what do you need to get the photos ???

do you need a telephoto, wide angle, macro, fast aperture, WR ???

is a zoom better than prime

indoor or outside

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since you live in the US, you have the option of renting equipment to test prior to buying it:

Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - PentaxForums.com

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you can check the reviews of tripods and back packs here on the forum:

Tripods - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

Bags and Cases - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

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I would definitely take the the 90/2.8 Tamron macro, it should be sharp as a short telephoto and you get macro

if you don't actually have one, I would urge you to look at the Pentax 100mm Macros [ you might save money by buying an earlier version ]:

Specifications

The lens covers the full 24x36mm format, not just APS-C. The aperture blades are rounded, delivering a smoother bokeh which is important for a macro lens. However, unlike its predecessor, it has no aperture ring.

. . . The optical design is the tried-and-proven formula of the previous generation D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, which in turn had inherited the optical design from the well-respected FA 100mm F2.8 and F 100mm F2.8 macro lenses introduced in 1991 and 1987, respectively. None of these earlier lenses had rounded aperture blades. . .


Read more at: Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Specifications | PentaxForums.com Reviews

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I would urge you to consider a back up camera, another Pentax would be best because you don't lose any use of the lenses, but anything would be useful if for some reason your main camera goes missing or fails.

don't forget to look at the items for sale in the market place [ you can sort them by country ]:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/?security...d+States&all=1

Last edited by aslyfox; 02-15-2019 at 08:23 AM.
02-15-2019, 02:30 PM   #10
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The D3500 is my kid's camera, she has a good compliment of lenses for it. The camera is very light and does indeed feel a little odd in the hand. The K-3 has spoiled me with its ergonomics, that body just feels right. To finish with the Nikon idea, I even considered taking just the D700 with 24-120/4 but that kit feels heavy and "thick" in longer use.

I no longer own any M43 gear..

Good question about my photo targets:

- landscapes and landscape details (wide and long tele)
- birds while visiting wildlife preserves, probably no birds in flight (long tele +TC)
- village and urban architecture (wide mostly?)
- interiors (not much of that) (~fast wide-ish)
- street life, street festivals (wide to short tele I think)
- friends goofing off (wide to short tele)
- spectacular shots from and including the sailboat (wide, WR)
- possibly some macros, starting to seriously consider the 90/2.8 Tamron; only other AF macro I have is the 50/2.8 Pentax

I expect variable weather so WR would be a benefit to have on all/most gear.

I currently really enjoy using primes as opposed to zooms and prefer zooms with wide/grippy focus rings, not those flimsy 1 cm ones.

Backup camera is easy, another K-3 that will stay in the trunk until needed.

Backpacks - I recently started using Peak Design's 20 liter "Everyday Backpack", super comfy and adjustable but not super light at 4 lbs..

Tripods - looking at Gorillapods, Ultrapods, and my ultra-light monopod; leaning towards a monopod plus a smallish Gorillapod.

This is kind of fun, I am really looking forward to a well thought-out decision as opposed to the usual throwing a kit together at the last minute.

Last edited by akptc; 02-16-2019 at 11:34 AM. Reason: My IP was blocked for some reason
02-18-2019, 06:25 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by akptc Quote
Good question about my photo targets:

- landscapes and landscape details (wide and long tele)
- birds while visiting wildlife preserves, probably no birds in flight (long tele +TC)
- village and urban architecture (wide mostly?)
- interiors (not much of that) (~fast wide-ish)
- street life, street festivals (wide to short tele I think)
- friends goofing off (wide to short tele)
- spectacular shots from and including the sailboat (wide, WR)
- possibly some macros, starting to seriously consider the 90/2.8 Tamron; only other AF macro I have is the 50/2.8 Pentax

I expect variable weather so WR would be a benefit to have on all/most gear.

I currently really enjoy using primes as opposed to zooms and prefer zooms with wide/grippy focus rings, not those flimsy 1 cm ones.
I have some big trips planned for late this year and next year, so I am doing the same as you, thinking through my kit well in advance. And I am taking a few short trips to test my combinations. I have learned a lot through experimenting with various zooms in particular. On the trip I started yesterday I have the kit discussed by pres589, 15mm, 18-135mm and FA50/1.4. I am already noticing the loss of long lens to isolate features in the scenery, and birds are very hard to catch, so I would add the 55-300mm to this kit, and maybe a macro (Tamron 52BB 90mm in my case).

Modern zooms can be really good optically, enough to convince me that the 55-300mm PLM is definitely my choice for a long tele - it's much lighter than your 300mm and easy to focus. I use this lens for bird shots, and then crop the images if I need to. I share your discomfort at skinny focus rings, but the autofocus is now so reliable that I would trust it on my travels, therefore the focus ring is almost unnecessary.

I have both the 16-85mm and the 18-135. The 16-85 is sharper and focus is quicker, but you could keep the 16-50 unless you want to spend $500 to save 200grams.

Primes are very personal preferences. I do lots of outdoor work, and I find that old M-series 28mm serves me very well, seems like you have the 31mm which is a close enough focal length. I have eight lenses in the 40-55mm range, for travelling I would choose the FA50mm f1.4 because it is sharp, auto-focus and just a little bit tele. You have covered these with your fast-ish 16-50mm and the two Limiteds.

So with the above reasoning I end up agreeing with Sandy and Hattinfatt in replying to you - take all your Limiteds, your 16-50 zoom, get a light 55-300 WR zoom for birdlife. The only risk is that the tele zoom is the only lens that is really WR. For the times when you are on the water, you could buy a very cheap 18-50WR or 18-55WR, leave in your car or hotel until WR is really needed and then sell after the trip. That tiny light 18-50WR has never appeared in Australia, so I am not sure how good it is, but it is very light. For the high-risk days you compromise slightly on image quality to protect your valuable equipment.

If you aren't expecting to do much macro, then consider a good quality add-on lens to screw into your 77mm, should cost you about $10 and is much smaller a dedicated macro lens that you might use only a few times. At about 50g you can carry this all day every day.

Your trip sounds pretty amazing, please let us know what you decide to take, and then how the lens combination worked for you.
02-18-2019, 06:37 AM   #12
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I'd suggest a raynox, nikon, or Canon close up lens (added on like a filter) if your macro needs are modest. These will work on the 55-300 and 77.
02-18-2019, 07:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I'd suggest a raynox, nikon, or Canon close up lens (added on like a filter) if your macro needs are modest. These will work on the 55-300 and 77.
I have the Canon 52mm thread add-on lens (cost me about $15 in a pawn shop) that will fit on the 77 Limited with a stepping ring. I use it on my 70 Limited, any 50s and, for an experiment occasionally, on my Tamron 52B.
02-18-2019, 07:30 AM   #14
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FWIW your K-3 has enough resolution to substitute the lighter and arguably even better resolving *200 for the *300. It will really cut down on the size and weight of your kit. Carry a TC along if you wish since the 2.8 on the *200 will handle it well.
02-18-2019, 07:37 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
FWIW your K-3 has enough resolution to substitute the lighter and arguably even better resolving *200 for the *300. It will really cut down on the size and weight of your kit. Carry a TC along if you wish since the 2.8 on the *200 will handle it well.
You can also test this by setting up shots and comparing beforehand.
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