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08-04-2019, 12:23 AM   #1
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What gear to take on Central Australia Trip?

Hi all,
I have been away from here for a long time (off fighting cancer, and related stuff!!), anyway, I have a question, not sure where I should ask it, so I figured I'd start here, and someone would move it if I am wrong. (Sorry!)

So, we are going on a caravanning trip to Uluru and surrounds, and I was wondering what gear I should take. 🤔

I have a: Pentax K3, Pentax K7, and even an old K100D kicking around.

For lenses I have:
Tamron 18- 50mm, 2.8
Tamron 70-200mm, 2.8
Tamron 90mm, 2.8, 1:1 macro, AF
Sigma DC 18-200, 3.5-6.3
Pentax FA 50mm, 1.4, SMC
Plus a multitude of old kit lenses lying around!!

What will I need?
Will these lenses do?
Should I leave some at home?
Do I really need a super wide angle to get good shots of Uluru?

Thankyou so much, for taking the time to read this post, and help me with some suggestions.
Cheers,
Judy

08-04-2019, 12:38 AM   #2
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Keep it light and down to two lenses maximum. I find it becomes an obstacle having to dive into the camera bag and change lenses, sometimes at awkward times. You will probable be taking a lot of landscape pictures, and some closeups of plants. What camera and lenses you take under these circumstances is up to your preferences. The Tamron 70-200 and 90mm macro should cover it. I have heard the K7 has a different and pleasant colour rendition which may be useful in the red desert.
08-04-2019, 12:41 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I lived in Alice Springs for six months and have visited the Centre on two other occasions, so I reckon I have some runs on the board. It was all pre-digital though. [note to self: must go back!]

Most shots of Uluru are taken from a considerable distance, as trying to fit it all in from closer produces crazy perspective distortion.

From your gear list, I would take the K-3 with the 17-50/2.8 (I'm pretty sure it's 17 rather than 18....) and 70-200/2.8. Leave the rest at home unless you're really into wildflowers, in which case the 90mm macro might be handy.
08-04-2019, 12:48 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
From your gear list, I would take the K-3 with the 17-50/2.8 (I'm pretty sure it's 17 rather than 18....) and 70-200/2.8. Leave the rest at home unless you're really into wildflowers, in which case the 90mm macro might be handy.
Agreed, but I think I'd take the FA 50 f/1.4 as well for low light opportunities. It's light and compact, so not a burden. My concern though is that none of the listed lenses is WR. Dust, rather than rain, may be an issue. If any of your "old kit lenses" is WR, it may be worth throwing in the bag too.

08-04-2019, 12:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I think I'd take the FA 50 f/1.4 as well for low light opportunities.
Yep. I left that out to keep the message simple. Mind you, f/2.8 isn't all that slow....
QuoteQuote:
My concern though is that none of the listed lenses is WR. Dust, rather than rain, may be an issue. If any of your "old kit lenses" is WR, it may be worth throwing in the bag too.
Good point.
08-04-2019, 01:46 AM - 1 Like   #6
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It can be dusty in central OZ. While you already get some good advice, I would suggest a different approach: 2 bodies and 2 primary lenses mounted on the bodies to avoid lens swapping.

I may suggest a primary combo of K-3 + Tamron 18- 50mm, 2.8 and K-7 + Pentax FA 50mm, 1.4, SMC. I would add in the luggage (to swap indoor or in your accommodation) the Tamron 70-200mm, 2.8 (and possilby the Tamron 90mm, 2.8).

I have also a K-3 and K-7, plus a few lenses. I like to use a combo of 2 body+lens systems. Very easy to switch from one system to another. Based upon this experience, my suggestions. The K-7 still works wonder at low ISO (up to ISO400 IMHO, possibly ISO800), especially mounted with a fast prime. In your case, the FA50mm f1,4.. The K-3 is a great all-rounder body. The Tamron 17-50 f2.8 should work nicely as the main lens, with the 70-200mm for longer tele.

My 5 cents, hoping that the advice may help you to nail great shots.
08-04-2019, 04:05 AM   #7
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Thanks for your replies. I am liking the idea of K3/17-50 and K7/50 combo. The tamron 70-200 Is very heavy, but I do, but have a 70-200 3.5-5,6 WR kit lenses ��
As we are travelling in a van, I can leave the other suggested lenses and do the changes there if needed.
Your suggestions are greatly appreciated, Thankyou.
08-04-2019, 04:49 AM   #8
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We visited Red Centre last year. Most of the pictures were taken with Pentax 16-45/4, Pentax 15/4 and 18-50 WR as backup. I had 50-20 WR with me but haven't use it that much. Bodies KS-1 and KS-2. Walking around Rock you will need wide angle lenses. The same in canyons of Kata Tjuta (Olgas) or Kings Canyon. Concentrate on taking pictures of sunset and sunrise every morning and evening so tripod is very useful. Light is changing rapidly. Plants are beautiful too, grass, shrubs small trees. Sometimes it looks like botanic garden. Macro lens will be handy. Not many animals, mostly birds and lizards. Fast lenses are not necessary, plenty of light. Enjoy.

08-04-2019, 05:37 AM   #9
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I honestly don't think the dust is anything to get paranoid about. Unless it's blowing a gale, or you're changing lenses while rolling around in the dirt, you won't have a problem.

Have the air conditioning on recirculate (and your camera in the bag) when driving though....
08-04-2019, 05:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Have the air conditioning on recirculate (and your camera in the bag) when driving though....
Thanks for the tip!🙂
08-04-2019, 06:24 AM   #11
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K3 + 3 tamrons, my two cents
Enjoy the trip and share the results with us
08-04-2019, 06:59 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JLou Quote
Hi all,
I have been away from here for a long time (off fighting cancer, and related stuff!!), anyway, I have a question, not sure where I should ask it, so I figured I'd start here, and someone would move it if I am wrong. (Sorry!)

So, we are going on a caravanning trip to Uluru and surrounds, and I was wondering what gear I should take. ��

I have a: Pentax K3, Pentax K7, and even an old K100D kicking around.

For lenses I have:
Tamron 18- 50mm, 2.8
Tamron 70-200mm, 2.8
Tamron 90mm, 2.8, 1:1 macro, AF
Sigma DC 18-200, 3.5-6.3
Pentax FA 50mm, 1.4, SMC
Plus a multitude of old kit lenses lying around!!

What will I need?
Will these lenses do?
Should I leave some at home?
Do I really need a super wide angle to get good shots of Uluru?

Thankyou so much, for taking the time to read this post, and help me with some suggestions.
Cheers,
Judy
We just came back from Uluru, Kings Canyon, Ormiston Gorge, Roma Gorge and Alice etc. I have a K5 with the Pentax 18 - 135mm lens which was used for 90% of the photos, including Uluru. I did use a Sigma 10 - 20mm ultra wide angle for Simpson Gap and a couple of the gorges and some tight spaces around the base of Uluru. As per other comments above some of the best photos were taken close to sunrise and sunset. Dust isn't much of an issue unless wind is blowing hard. Lots of the good spots need a little bit of walking to get to so keeping the kit light to carry is often more important than having the ultimate selection of gear at hand.
08-04-2019, 09:58 AM   #13
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Central Australia? sounds very dark at night
You might want to consider a tripod and wired remote for star / Milky way shots. The K-3, Tamron 17-50 @17mm + f2.8 would yield good results I think.
08-04-2019, 02:27 PM   #14
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Hello from a fellow Gippslander Judy.

What's conspicuously missing from your kit is a 300mm telephoto, particularly for wildlife. Honestly even the cheap ($100) and humble DA-L 55-300 f4.5-5.8 or the optically-identical DA 55-300 f4.5-5.8 would be invaluable. It's actually a very capable lens, especially stopped down: Pentax DA-L 55-300mm f4.5-5.8 samples - Flickr - Des(Australia). Just that, the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and the Tamron 90 macro would be what I would take. I'm sure the 70-200 f2.8 is a fine lens but it's heavy to carry, not really long enough and the faster aperture wouldn't be essential.

I don't know what the kit 70-200 f3.5-5.6 WR that you mention is (could you mean DA or DA-L 50-200 f4-5.6 WR?) but while the WR would be handy, it would still lack reach.

Last edited by Des; 08-04-2019 at 02:58 PM.
08-04-2019, 08:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Hello from a fellow Gippslander Judy.

What's conspicuously missing from your kit is a 300mm telephoto, particularly for wildlife. Honestly even the cheap ($100) and humble DA-L 55-300 f4.5-5.8 or the optically-identical DA 55-300 f4.5-5.8 would be invaluable. It's actually a very capable lens, especially stopped down
I do have a Sigma 100-300mm F4.5-6.7 DL. Do you think that would do the job?

QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Just that, the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and the Tamron 90 macro would be what I would take. I'm sure the 70-200 f2.8 is a fine lens but it's heavy to carry, not really long enough and the faster aperture wouldn't be essential.
I agree, I think the Tamron large Tele is too heavy to cart around. The others are definitely on my take list.

QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I don't know what the kit 70-200 f3.5-5.6 WR that you mention is (could you mean DA or DA-L 50-200 f4-5.6 WR?) but while the WR would be handy, it would still lack reach.
I think that lens above was Meant to be Sigma 70-200, and no WR.
The WR lens I have is the kit lens that came with the K3, Pentax SMC DA 18- 55 3.5-5.6 AL WR.

I also have a Sigma EF-530 DG Super flash unit, will that be useful??

---------- Post added 05-08-19 at 01:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Kevin B123 Quote
Central Australia? sounds very dark at night
You might want to consider a tripod and wired remote for star / Milky way shots. The K-3, Tamron 17-50 @17mm + f2.8 would yield good results I think.
Thanks, I have a tripod and monopod, and was planning on taking both those. Somewhere, I have a wireless remote, might try and hunt that out!

---------- Post added 05-08-19 at 01:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by PhilipK5 Quote
I did use a Sigma 10 - 20mm ultra wide angle for Simpson Gap and a couple of the gorges and some tight spaces around the base of Uluru.
I would love to add one of these, but I don't think I can afford it 😕
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