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06-10-2014, 07:26 AM   #1
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Returning to Pentax, looking for some advice on setup for the Wilderness

Hi guys and gals!

I been stalking the forum on and off for a few years and well now i am here

I used Pentax (, K-r, K-5 and then K-30) a few years ago but got bit by the FF bug and left for the N system. Now i have used it for a while and good as it is, it just doesnt have the features i found out i treasure more than just IQ, namely WR, SR compact and light... Unless a millionare

So i am putting most of up for sale now, keeping a FF body and a few good but no-money lenses for "Those days", and this should set me up with enough cash for a neat system for the upcoming month-long trip into europes last wilderness.

The conditions will be wet, cold, humid, tent-living, mosquito-up-your-nose and chased by a moose down the river.

So i am thinking Pentax.
The shots i will go for are static, composed scenary of the great wild, some "on the run" snapshots but mostly there will be time to arrange everything and F6,3-11 on low iso, but i still want to be able to go for that eagle diving in the late night

Now i am just a bit on the ice when it comes to what body and what lenses. WR is a must.
I read very mixed reviews on the 18-135, perhaps the 20-40 ltd? But that seems to have some issues aswell... Any input would realy be helpfull. This is intended for landscape shots.
For the tele i plan on a 60-250/4, "only" issue there seems to the the SDM drive, if it still is a problem?

For the body i was first looking at the new K-3 but 24mp? Hm. The K-5 IIs is very good in price at the moment. I will shoot in raw, got plenty of memory cards so my biggest concern here is how well it handles on high iso. Any toughts here will be appriciated aswell.

Thanks for your toughts!

06-10-2014, 07:50 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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The 18-135 is a very good walkaround lens. It's not a dedicated macro, it's not a Limited, it's not a prime. That said, when walking around the park or somewhere it's really good. It focuses quickly and silently, and tracks motion well. I would make it a priority to have, since the WR is a priority - this is the best WR walkaround available.

A K5II is good, read some of the comparison articles vs. K3 etc. just to know what you're getting. The K3 is really the camera we've all been waiting for, though. It has so much packed into its body, it's a compelling camera.

I have a K5 and I don't hesitate to let the ISO float up to 6400. Above that there's a definite tradeoff you'll need to calculate. That said, when shooting static subjects handheld I also don't hesitate to drop the shutter speed to 1/45 to keep the ISO below 1000. There's the beauty of TAv mode, it's so quick to make these tradeoffs.

Personally, I'd get a DA21 or the plastic DA35 rather than the 20-40, as I think the primes are more attractive.
06-10-2014, 07:57 AM   #3
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I think that the 18-135 is a great lens as a walk around lens and the WR is great. It practically lives on my K5. I've heard some of the bad reviews were because of bad copies. Here's examples https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html

Of course if I were going for maximum IQ with WR I'd probably go 16-50 and 60-250 along with the new 1.4 tc.
06-10-2014, 09:44 AM   #4
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I'll second hte 16-50. It seems have a bad rep, but I like my copy. At hte wide end it's very sharp stopped down. At hte long end it seems sharp wide open. It's weather-sealed and is a good complement to the 60-250.

There was some discussion in another thread about whether the K5IIs (I have this one) or the K3 (I want this one) would give better results in low light. The consensus seemed to be that the better high iso performance of the K5IIs was more than offset by the increased resolution of the K3, so the K3 seems the way to go, even at high iso.

06-10-2014, 10:14 AM   #5
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Will you be traveling under your own power in the wilderness? If so you should think about how much you can or want to carry.
For traveling under my own power (hiking, biking, skiing) in the wilderness I usually go with a minimal setup with a couple of favorite primes (DA15, DA40) and a K-5 or K-3 body. Depending on how conditions look I might substitute just the DA 18-135 or bring it as well. It's not a perfect lens but it does well stopped down a little and the security of WR and a versatile lens is nice when you need it. It's also pretty compact and light.

If you are going to be in a vehicle for much of the time you can bring more/bigger stuff for sure.
I have a DA* 60-250/4 and it's a wonderful lens. The only flaw is that it's kind of big and heavy. Enough so that I probably wouldn't take it backpacking unless it was a trip specifically to shoot wildlife. Handling and IQ are really fantastic on this lens so if you can carry it, get one and bring it. SDM problems seem pretty rare on this lens and mine has been flawless.

I've hesitated on buying a DA* 16-50 but it is a logical compliment to the 60-250 for a WR zoom kit. I still may get one; I've seen some very nice photos from them. SDM issues are not uncommon with this one, unfortunately. I've been hoping for an updated version for a while.

Good luck, have a great trip!
06-10-2014, 11:05 AM   #6
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Being that you are going to a wilderness that has moose, I'm thinking a lot of dense forest. If it is you are not always going to have much light, the high ISO helps but the 16-50 is 2.8. I have the 18-135 and it is a great lens, but it's not 2.8. You've already got the 60-250/4 picked out, I would the think the 16-50's speed and little extra width would nicely compliment it.
06-10-2014, 11:49 AM   #7
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You didn't tell us what you're going to be doing with your pictures, small prints, big prints, computer screen?

Unless you're learning towards prints bigger than 30x20, I'd suspect you could be quite happy with a K5IIs. On any of these cameras, any k-5 or above, (K-01-K-30, K-50, K-3) quality lenses make a difference. But a K-3 makes every lens better.

I spend time in a place that promotes itself as "a wilderness type experience", with moose etc.

For moose the 18-135 is adequate.
I have moose images taken with everything from the A-400 to an FA 50mm 1.8.

My feeling is, you're probably going to have to make a choice between, WR and 2.8 in the long end. While I love my 60-250, there's been times when a 70-200 2.8 might have been better.

But here's a 60-250 image at full reach... it's probably my most used lens for moose, although my A-400 is also handy its more for birds. The 60-250 with 1.4 TC is a nice combination, and many images are taken at less than full reach, so I wouldn't take a prime by itself. The zoom is worth a lot in the wilderness, Zooming with your feet is almost never an option.



My current lens list
DA* 60-250
DA 18-135
DA 21 ltd.
Sigma 70 2.8 macro.
Sigma 8-16 ultra wide.
HD DA 1.4 TC.

If I expect low light situations I'll also take the FA 50 1.8 and DA 35 2.4.

This all fits in two relatively small pelican cases for storage in wet conditions and safety in transportation. The 18-135, goes in one small case mounted on the K-3 or K5 that I can easily put in a back pack, the other lenses go in another case, accessible in camp.

My latest wilderness hike.

Last edited by normhead; 06-11-2014 at 09:12 AM.
06-11-2014, 02:50 PM   #8
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First: Thank you all for all your imput!

The conditions:
I will carry everything myself, clothes food tent camera etc. There will be no rides on any wehicle. I will bring my carbonfiber tripod or just get a gorrillapoddythingy. It is the wild, i will be able to wander a week and not reach a road The weather will be whatever the nothen gods decides so therefor my WR lust.

My toughts:
The 20-40 seems to be a good choise for me, but it is costly and ive seen some good 18-135 pics on this forum but usualy very open. Could anyone please comment or img how it is on f6,3-11? I am not a pixel peeper but i do enjoy a good return on my work I will not be printing, the pictures is for my own pleasure and i keep them on the web so the K IIs should do the trick with a bundle to spare.
The DA* 16-50 seems like a great lens but perhaps not for a trip like this where weight matters and the img difference is not that great. I will keep it in mind thoe for the citytrips.

Im uploading a pic from the last trip just to give an idea on the sort of landscape i will be in.

Again, thank you all for your imputs, i read them all and gived them tought.

06-11-2014, 02:54 PM   #9
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I didnt get the img trough
06-11-2014, 03:17 PM   #10
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Sounds like a great adventure and it looks like beautiful country!

I shoot my 18-135 around f/10 or 11, light permitting. I think that is the sweet spot for that lens. I usually have to fix a little CA in Lightroom if it was a high contrast scene but it does a good job and it's easy to do so I don't worry about it.

So if the Limited is too much money, the 18-135 wouldn't be a disaster but I'm sure that limited is quite a bit better in the IQ department.

If it were me, I might bring the 18-135 and a wide prime like the DA 15 or Rokinon 8/3.5 for those big shots.
I'd bring a tripod with a head that was decent for shooting panoramas too.

When I backpack with camera gear I take a small dry bag too, just in case it's really rainy or I fall when making a crossing.
06-11-2014, 06:35 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SweFin Quote
First: Thank you all for all your imput!

The conditions:
I will carry everything myself, clothes food tent camera etc. There will be no rides on any wehicle. I will bring my carbonfiber tripod or just get a gorrillapoddythingy. It is the wild, i will be able to wander a week and not reach a road The weather will be whatever the nothen gods decides so therefor my WR lust.

My toughts:
The 20-40 seems to be a good choise for me, but it is costly and ive seen some good 18-135 pics on this forum but usualy very open. Could anyone please comment or img how it is on f6,3-11? .
You can pixel peep that lens in that range. I'm generally shooting with it at f/6.3-9
06-23-2014, 08:42 AM   #12
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SweFin,

When do you leave? I believe I may be of some assistance to you as I have a bit of experience with both the K-3 and the K-5 IIs as well as taking my Pentax gear into the wilderness (and just beating it up lol), but I'm a bit busy atm (actually working on the 18-135 WR in-depth review for here since you mentioned that lens ) and I don't want to give you a half-assed comment that doesn't offer anything in addition to what's already been added here.

Also, I may have missed it, but what do you currently have gear wise and what is your budget for outfitting yourself? And do you have a specific weight/volume limit you are trying to stay under so the camera gear doesn't compete too much for space/energy spent carrying it?

-Heie

Last edited by Heie; 06-23-2014 at 08:52 AM. Reason: Typo
06-23-2014, 06:22 PM   #13
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Maybe get a Q and a good 200mm

06-26-2014, 07:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SweFin Quote
I didnt get the img trough
Looking at that landscape, I'd say 18-135 and 55-300 both WR. It looks like you may need longer, but you probably don't want to carry longer. You can use your 18-135 like a half macro, it focuses pretty close.

I always try and shoot the 18-135 at ƒ5.6.

Here's some 18-135 images of small flowers, really it's not half bad as a macro.
DA_18-135-small_flowers Slideshow by Norm_Head | Photobucket
06-27-2014, 12:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
SweFin,

When do you leave? I believe I may be of some assistance to you as I have a bit of experience with both the K-3 and the K-5 IIs as well as taking my Pentax gear into the wilderness (and just beating it up lol), but I'm a bit busy atm (actually working on the 18-135 WR in-depth review for here since you mentioned that lens ) and I don't want to give you a half-assed comment that doesn't offer anything in addition to what's already been added here.

Also, I may have missed it, but what do you currently have gear wise and what is your budget for outfitting yourself? And do you have a specific weight/volume limit you are trying to stay under so the camera gear doesn't compete too much for space/energy spent carrying it?

-Heie
Hey there!

My current gear is the nikon system;
D600
D7100 (up for sale)
lenses:
12-24/4,5-5,6 DG HSM II sigma (up for sale)
28/2,8 D nikon
35-70/2,8 D nikon
50/1,8 G nikon
80-200/2,8AF-S nikon
300/2,8 APO HSM DG sigma (up for sale)
some reverserings, filters flashes and misc.

I have earlier used the K-5 and K-30 and have a 35/2,4 AL, manual 135/3,5 and 200/4 left from then.

Sometimes when reading the lens reviews it feels like there is a "Pentax paradox"; there are these neat, light, robust, handy, weathersealed and excellent houses but no neat, light, robust, handy weathersealed and excellent zooms to go with it, just heavy ones or not excellent ones .

The budges right now is around 1600, if the 300/2,8 goes it will increase dramaticly. Now that is enough to get me the 18-135 WR with a 50/1,8 and either a K5IIs or K-3 body, the cost is about the same for a new bundle of either.
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