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04-08-2013, 09:55 AM   #1
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Shooting from +/- 10' away from a guy holding a fish in the rain

I'll be guiding fishing trips in Haida Gwaii, the boat is a 20' center console aluminum. If I stand on the bow to take a picture of a guy (and maybe his buddy) holding a Tyee or two.... will the 50-135 have enough close range? I might have to opt for the 18-135mm but it is well documented how much better the DA* line is. I'll be shooting wildlife too, so getting the 16-50mm leaves me a bit short...

04-08-2013, 10:15 AM   #2
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Keep in mind that

image size = subject size x focal length / distance

You subject will vary from perhaps 2-3 feet up to 6 , and shooting distance from 2-3 feet up to 20

Lets simplify things a little assume minimum subject is 1 meter, minimum distance is 1 meter, maximum subject is 2 meters and maximum distance is 6 meters. Your working frame is either 24 or 36 mm, that is your image size

For the tallest person at 1 meter distance on a horizontal frame you would need 12 mm, although this is not likely.

For shortest subject and vertical format, (the other extreme) at maximum distance you would need 216 mm

So the first suggestion would be something like a 18-250 but that is not a lens I would normally purchase.

My suggestion would be to accept the fact you won't use 12mm and shoot a 6 foot person within 3 feet of you, and also you can crop a little so a 18-135 seems like a much more realistic lens and likely better.

Shooting wildlife too could be an issue because unless you are close, 135 (or 250 for that matter ) is likely not enough, especially in a boat full of people making noise fishing
04-08-2013, 12:11 PM   #3
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You're correct in thinking that a WR kit may be a good idea on a boat, and that the DA*50-135 will give you nice results on any current WR Pentax body. And a portrait situation is exactly where the DA*50-135 can shine. But you may still need to go a bit wider. If you get a reasonable price on a kit with the DA18-135 you can try it out to make sure. The 18-135 still takes good quality shots, just not as striking at the 50-135 does. You could later add the 50-135 and sell the 18-135 here for about what you paid for it as part of the bundle But either way you'll eventually want to have something to cover that range from ~18-50mm as well.

I just put my DA*50-135 on my K-5 to try this quickly. At 10 feet away at 50mm in portrait orientation you'll get most or all of the body of one or maybe two people. In Landscape you'll get the upper half of 2 or 3. Obviously if you can move back a little you'll be able to get more in the frame.


It's hard for me to understand exactly what your needs are at this point. But these are the lenses I think you may want to be considering:

DA18-55 WR (but only average Image Quality)
DA18-270 (average to good IQ)
DA18-135 (good IQ)
DA*60-250 (very good IQ)
DA*16-50 (very good to excellent IQ)
DA*50-135 (excellent IQ)
DA*300 (excellent IQ)

I stick with the 'excellent' or 'vg to ex' IQ lenses. Many people really like the DA*60-250, and it may be a great solution for you, but its images don't captivate me like the DA*50-135 and DA*300 do. Hopefully you've had a chance to do some of your own evaluation - just find the images that capture your attention:

PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model

As long as you can afford to change lenses (in terms of taking the time and dealing with the weather) I think your ideal kit would be the DA*16-50, DA*50-135, and DA*300. You can even get the K-30 to save a little money while sacrificing almost nothing in IQ. If you don't want to change lenses then either deal with the more limited range of the DA*50-135 (which is often worth it because of the IQ) or get the 18-135 or 18-270 (which, being a Pentax version of the Tamron model, is probably still the best ~18-200+ lens available today).

Last edited by DSims; 04-08-2013 at 12:31 PM.
04-08-2013, 05:33 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, very helpful... I purchased the K5IIs and got the $250 rebate for a FA 31mm. This set up is wayyyyyy, out of my league but I got it anyway hoping to grow into it. After several months of viewing shots, and reading reviews I have to admit it would be hard to buy any lens other than a DA*. So I'll try a 50-135mm, and if it doesn't work out it my boat, the guys in boats beside me will appreciate it. Thanks again Lowell and DSims, the time you spent answering my questions in depth are impressive and just one more reason why I chose Pentax.

04-08-2013, 06:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by drpower Quote
Thanks guys, very helpful... I purchased the K5IIs and got the $250 rebate for a FA 31mm. This set up is wayyyyyy, out of my league but I got it anyway hoping to grow into it. After several months of viewing shots, and reading reviews I have to admit it would be hard to buy any lens other than a DA*. So I'll try a 50-135mm, and if it doesn't work out it my boat, the guys in boats beside me will appreciate it. Thanks again Lowell and DSims, the time you spent answering my questions in depth are impressive and just one more reason why I chose Pentax.
Stick the 35/2.4 in the bag for wider shots, still great IQ
04-09-2013, 02:03 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Stick the 35/2.4 in the bag for wider shots, still great IQ
He has an FA31, I don't think the DA 35/2.4 adds much.
04-09-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Stick the 35/2.4 in the bag for wider shots, still great IQ
QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
He has an FA31, I don't think the DA 35/2.4 adds much.
The idea is right take the 31 if that's what you have already. Something wider than 50 could be of use.

Note my estimate of needing a 12 mm is the real obscure chance, if you are several feet, I.e. half the boat length away, then likely the 50 is wide enough
04-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #8
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Look at the DA 18-135 thread. If you're thinking the DA*16-50 is better than the 18-135 in it's range well, it's pretty much a saw off from my perspective. For 50-135 the DA* is a better lens, but only if you find cause to take the DA 18-135 off the camera, which doesn't actually happen very often. I also have the DA* 6--250, and I love the images it takes, but it's heavy. Beware any lens that comes with it's own tripod mount. At 24 mm, the DA 18-135 clearly out performs the DA* 16-50. Just because it's not a DA * doesn't mean it doens't have it's strong points. And it's centre sharp al through it's range. Maybe not DA* 16-50 or DA* 50-135 excellent, but the difference is high end of excellent or medium low end of excellent, but still excellent.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-18-1...at-can-do.html

04-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by drpower Quote
I'll be guiding fishing trips in Haida Gwaii, the boat is a 20' center console aluminum. If I stand on the bow to take a picture of a guy (and maybe his buddy) holding a Tyee or two.... will the 50-135 have enough close range? I might have to opt for the 18-135mm but it is well documented how much better the DA* line is. I'll be shooting wildlife too, so getting the 16-50mm leaves me a bit short...
For your needs I have no doubt in my mind at least that the 18-135 is the ideal lens. Last thing you need to do on a fishing boat is juggle lenses trying to change them as a fish comes on board. The IQ of the 18-135 is easily more than enought to document a bloke with his 'catch of the day' and the 18-135 is a very flexible range. Any thought you need a DA* to do this job is very mistaken IMHO.

I own the 18-135 and 50-135 and I don't know if it's lightroom, or my new laptop with retina screen, but I've been very impressed with the sharpenss and general IQ of my 18-135; it's sharp and has great colours and the focus is very fast.

Last edited by twitch; 04-09-2013 at 05:13 PM.
04-09-2013, 04:35 PM   #10
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hmmmm, yes it's so difficult to choose... I believe the 18-135mm would more than suit my needs plus its cheaper.. I also juggled a 16-50mm in there because I found one for $650, what a deal!! There are a few 50-135mm I can get for $800, and I found a brand new 18-135mm for $450 shipped. One would have to agree that either of these 3 lenses would be a pleasure to own, I can only afford one and there would be no point to buying a second WR lens, because I won't be switching lenses in that torrential Haida rain! Thanks everyone for your help, this is a great community. I hope I can reward all of you with some shots of giant Chinook and Coho Salmon and Halibut taken from Hippa Island and Freeman Rock.
04-10-2013, 02:47 AM   #11
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Don't forget that the FA31 is an "artistic" lens if there ever was one. This means that while it may be able to make images like few lenses on the planet can do, it can also take a lot more work than, say, the DA*50-135 or the FA77. So don't expect images to look great - or even good - automatically. Do make sure you do the AF fine adjust for it on your K-5 IIs. If it's front-focusing, for example, your whole image will look fuzzy. But you may not realize what's going on, because unlike other lenses, the out of focus is still so smooth that it looks "only a little off."

When using wider apertures, you really need to select your point of interest carefully, and even then you don't get what you want much of the time. But if you're stopping down a few stops or more, the lens will be more forgiving, of course. At the same time, that's when many images from it come out looking quite ordinary at best. So don't give up, and if necessary try another lens first and come back to it later.

Have fun!
04-10-2013, 06:26 AM   #12
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I frequently have my lenses out in the boat canoeing.... I simply won't have a non-WR lens out in a boat. I lost my first long zoom, a Vivatar 50-150 to mould after a canoe trip. OUt on the water it's not just spray, it's condensation, spills, drip etc. You can use your 31 in your boat, but odds are pretty good after a few years you won't have a lens. It's possible to protect it with plastic sleeves etc, but do you really want to be babying you camera all the time?

You might actually really like something like an Optio WG2. I know that's blasphemy around here, but I have lot of great pictures taken with it. Before we got the 18-135 we always had on Optio W10 out in the boat, and we have sold prints of images taken with it. If you get the GPS version, you'd have a record of where you caught all those big fish.
04-10-2013, 06:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Don't forget that the FA31 is an "artistic" lens if there ever was one. So don't give up, and if necessary try another lens first and come back to it later.

Have fun!
I will! Thanks, yes I read this lens has a personality, and I am definately leaving it in a safe place until I have a better understanding and a controlled environment to try it. Just had to take it....$750 after the mail in discount, otherwise I doubt I'd ever get my hands on one.
04-10-2013, 11:04 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by drpower Quote
I will! Thanks, yes I read this lens has a personality, and I am definately leaving it in a safe place until I have a better understanding and a controlled environment to try it. Just had to take it....$750 after the mail in discount, otherwise I doubt I'd ever get my hands on one.
It's a great deal - I think it was a good idea not to pass it up. I figured that's why you bought it, since it didn't make sense you'd be using it on the boat when you're expecting such wet conditions!
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