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06-16-2010, 06:12 AM   #1
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Traveling with the K-x and DA Ltd.

I just came back from two weeks vacationing in Spain. My primary photo rig was a K-x with the DA15/21/40/70. I loved this combo. I also took along a K100d KitII and DA50-200 as backups, which were usually left in the hotel safe.

Here are some observations about traveling with the K-x/DA Ltd:

1. This has to be the best travel DSLR, ever. The size, especially with the DALtd, let me carry my whole kit in a small, inconspicuous, secure PacSafe camera bag with room for travel items. I also got lots of street shots without drawing attention.

2. The low-light performance kept the camera more than usable in all sorts of places where flash is not allowed or practical. The small size led to a similar advantage.

3. Battery life with lithiums is nothing short of amazing. Only one battery change in 6,000 shots.

4. The DA Ltd lenses are superb. The DA70 is so sharp that I could not believe my eyes at some of the detail. Even the wide angles, which get mixed reviews on this board, were terrific.

5. The years of practice with my zoomless film rig decades ago made quick lens changing like riding a bike--it came back almost immediately.

6. People don't know what to make of this rig, especially with the DA40. I must have an honest face, because guys with massive and leaden CaNikon rigs kept asking me to take shots of them, and when I would ask for return of the favor, they seemed to assume they would be using the K-x in live view, and they were looking for the zoom button. My entire rig was lighter than their camera-single zoom combos.

7. The K-x does have some metering quirks hinted at by other threads that require awareness. I found that in a number of brightly lit situations which are not exactly into or with the sun, the raw DNG image would appear washed out and overexposed, though the auto exposure of ACR usually fixes this. I often dialed in a bit of negative exposure compensation but seldom applied positive compensation. The AE Lock is a little quirky, but a necessity.

8. The much maligned kit lens and its compact extension, the DA50-200 take some damn fine photos in bright sunlight, though I did not use the longer lens often.

If I had it to do again,

I would take sensor cleaning supplies beyond a blower.
I would look into the DA35 for the macro
I would look into the Tammy 17-50/2.8 as a supplement to the primes.

All in all, I am more pleased with this setup than any with which I have traveled over the 35+ years I've owned an SLR. It combined light weight with excellent quality and versatility.

06-16-2010, 10:06 AM   #2
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great post.

i love my dfa 100mm wr as a semi-long tele as a replacement for the DA 70 or the FA 77. That lens is superbly made.
06-16-2010, 10:20 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
great post.

i love my dfa 100mm wr as a semi-long tele as a replacement for the DA 70 or the FA 77. That lens is superbly made.
That is a nice lens, and the non-WR version is on my list (I want the aperture ring). However, for me, it will not replace any of the DA Ltd lens because of the size. The K-x plus that tiny lenses is a special combo.
06-16-2010, 10:30 AM   #4
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Spain is a very beautiful country, what towns did you visit? I love my kx to death, perfectly small for a dslr, SR, very low noise, what else can I say? Alot actually jejeje

Could you post your best pic of each DA lens please, I'm still debating which I should get first.

06-16-2010, 10:35 AM   #5
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Like the post, too. Nothing beats a K-x with some primes!
Your observations about exposure with K-x coincide with mine. (One must be careful especially when the frame contains dark-shadowy zones as well as bright ones.)
06-16-2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by szurinaga Quote
Spain is a very beautiful country, what towns did you visit? I love my kx to death, perfectly small for a dslr, SR, very low noise, what else can I say? Alot actually jejeje

Could you post your best pic of each DA lens please, I'm still debating which I should get first.
We were in Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid. It was lovely--and hot. Cordoba was around 100 degrees F.

I'm going to be working on pp for 6,000 raw images for some time, and I may not be able to judge what I would like to post until I am further along.

Which lens to get first has been the subject of numerous threads on the lens section. I would suggest you look at one of the DA Ltd threads, where there are many images posted. Personally, I got the DA40 first because of price, performance, size and usefulness of the focal length.

To stay relevant to this thread, I took the most shots with the DA40 on the trip, but it was a very close contest. I have a feeling that if I had a DA35, that would have been my most used lens. I often wished I had just a hair more viewing angle. As a bonus, while the DA40 is a very sharp lens (sharp enough for just about anyone's needs), the DA35 is reputed to be even sharper and offers macro. I doubt one would lose anything if one needed to crop it the few degrees to the DA40 view.
06-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
Like the post, too. Nothing beats a K-x with some primes!
Your observations about exposure with K-x coincide with mine. (One must be careful especially when the frame contains dark-shadowy zones as well as bright ones.)
Yes. It may be my imagination, but it seems like the K-x abandons some of the caution about blowing out highlights which I perceive in the K20d metering.
06-16-2010, 11:02 AM   #8
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Eagle_Friends- I also replaced the 70 with the 100 WR and have not been disappointed .

06-16-2010, 11:34 AM   #9
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Nice! We've got the K-x plus the 21/35/40/70. Want the 15 and 100 to round out the kit. Yes, it's great to travel with. Looking forward to pictures!
06-16-2010, 12:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Nice! We've got the K-x plus the 21/35/40/70. Want the 15 and 100 to round out the kit. Yes, it's great to travel with. Looking forward to pictures!
Thanks. The 15 really does make the kit, and I highly recommend it. There were only a few times when I wanted something longer than the 70, and, fortunately, they were in good, outdoor light.

The DA50-200 is very light and compact and takes a very nice photo at >=F8 between 80-180mm. For the few times I needed the longer length, it did the job. One of the nice things about the K-x is that you have to look really hard to see any noise or degradation at ISO 400, so one can shoot the lighter, smaller zooms at their best, and avoid the lugging the heavier, higher quality siblings. As much as I like my DA 55-300, it is larger than all my DA Ltd lenses put together, and would have required me to carry a larger bag. If Pentax would/could make a sharp DA Ltd ~135mm/2.8 around the size of the DA15 (the largest of the series), the DA kit would really be complete.
06-16-2010, 04:18 PM   #11
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Gene,

Please help me justify in buying the 15mm. I have 21/35/40/70/77. I am off for a family vacation soon. I am undecided in the 15mm purchase. I have grown to love the 21mm/70mm in traveling in weekend short trip


How often you use the 15 vs 21mm in traveling, that is the question that I want to ask? Will the 15mm be too wide or just right for your trip. If so, does it leave the 21mm lonely in the trip. And will the 35mm too big to take to the trip.


And I will likely take the 35mm over the 40mm as I can use the 35mm for dual purpose for flowers and normal lens. I don't mind a bit of slowness in AF as the dual purpose will serve me better in trip. And is there any reason that you take your 70mm instead of 77mm in the trip?






The 70mm is actually very small
like the 21mm
when the hood is not mounted



Pentax 77mm vs 70mm dilemma

My hesitation in getting the 15mm are few folds. What if I just want three lens in the travel. Having 15 and 21mm together seem too close. I either go 15/40/70, 21/40/70, 21/35/77. Maybe I am talking an non-issue. The DA limited is so small that bringing 4 primes is actually not much of an issue as in your experience? Is that so? Please share if you feel the 15 and 21 competing instead of complementing each other.

Thanks,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 06-26-2010 at 04:36 AM.
06-16-2010, 05:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
Gene,

Please help me justify in buying the 15mm. I have 21/35/40/70/77. I am off for a family vacation in 2 weeks. I am undecided in the 15mm purchase. I have grown to love the 21mm/70mm in traveling in weekend short trip

How often you use the 15 vs 21mm in traveling, that is the question that I want to ask? Will the 15mm be too wide or just right for your trip. If so, does it leave the 21mm lonely in the trip. And will the 35mm too big to take to the trip.


And I will likely take the 35mm over the 40mm as I can use the 35mm for dual purpose for flowers and normal lens. I don't mind a bit of slowness in AF as the dual purpose will serve me better in trip. And is there any reason that you take your 70mm instead of 77mm in the trip?

The 70mm is actually very small
like the 21mm
when the hood is not mounted

My hesitation in getting the 15mm is few folds. What if I just want three lens in the travel. Having 15 and 21mm together seem too close. I either go 15/40/70, 21/40/70, 21/35/77. Maybe I am talking a non-issue. The DA limited is so small that bringing 4 primes is actually not much of a issue as in your experience? Is that so? Please share if you feel the 15 and 21 competing instead of complementing each other.

Thanks,
Hin
I agree with you about wanting the 35mm along. The 40 weighs so little that I'd probably take it in addition anyway.

I used the 15mm constantly indoors. I tended to use the 21mm outdoors. I don't have the pp done to post much, but so far, my impression is that my two best days of shooting were La Boqueria (a huge indoor vegetable and meat market) and shots of Gaudi's Casa Batlló. About 90% of the La Boqueria shots were at 15mm and more than half of the Casa Batlló shots were at 15mm. The 21mm just isn't enough for a lot of interiors and the 15mm is often too wide for outdoors. They are a great complement IMHO.

I used the 21mm quite a bit for street shots with people. I am pretty good at shooting candids from the hip with the 21mm. If I had to go with two lenses, I'd probably go with 21/70 like you or 21/40 but I don't have to go with just two of these little jewels.

I took the 70 because without the hood, it is half the size and weight of the 77. I could fit all of the lenses and the body in the bag I wanted to bring if I used the 70 without the hood. With the 77, I could not.

I used the 40 the most, but there was no runaway winner between the other 3 primes.

Here is one reason from La Boqueria why I am glad I took the 15mm, and it is not even the best.


Last edited by GeneV; 06-17-2010 at 09:02 AM.
06-16-2010, 08:09 PM   #13
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My favorite travel setup is my K-7 with two Limited lenses: 21/3.2 and 70/2.4 -- one on the camera, the other in my pocket.

Might have to invest in the 15/4 someday, but that would require another pocket....
06-16-2010, 11:24 PM   #14
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Great lens porn, hinman.
My VISA card wishes to thank you.
06-17-2010, 01:17 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I agree with you about wanting the 35mm along. The 40 weighs so little that I'd probably take it in addition anyway.

I used the 15mm constantly indoors. I tended to use the 21mm outdoors. I don't have the pp done to post much, but so far, my impression is that my two best days of shooting were La Boqueria (a huge indoor vegetable and meat market) and shots of Gaudi's Casa Batlló. About 90% of the La Boqueria shots were at 15mm and more than half of the Casa Batlló shots were at 15mm. The 21mm just isn't enough for a lot of interiors and the 15mm is often too wide for outdoors. They are a great complement IMHO.

I used the 21mm quite a bit for street shots with people. I am pretty good at shooting candids from the hip with the 21mm. If I had to go with two lenses, I'd probably go with 21/70 like you or 21/40 but I don't have to go with just two of these little jewels.

I took the 70 because without the hood, it is half the size and weight of the 77. I could fit all of the lenses and the body in the bag I wanted to bring if I used the 70 without the hood. With the 77, I could not.

I used the 40 the most, but there was no runaway winner between the other 3 primes.

Here is one reason from La Boqueria why I am glad I took the 15mm, and it is not the best.
Posts like these do not help my LBA :-P

I only want to get the DA 35 limited, but I'm beginning to think I should get all of them as I had originally intended to do! :-)
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