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09-30-2010, 12:32 PM   #1
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K-7 Kit recommendations

Looking for recommendations for next weeks K-7 purchase

a lot of outdoor photography in wet conditions

a lot of family photos

looking for insight on lenses, batteries, grips, etc

much appreciated~!

feel free to include other info relevant to the K-7

09-30-2010, 12:35 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by SkagitFly Quote
Looking for recommendations for next weeks K-7 purchase

a lot of outdoor photography in wet conditions


a lot of family photos

looking for insight on lenses, batteries, grips, etc

much appreciated~!

feel free to include other info relevant to the K-7
Thats a little vague....

budget, and more specifics are needed.

Based off of the bold, buy a DA* lens in the focal length you like.
09-30-2010, 01:00 PM   #3
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i do that sort of shooting and have found the da* 16-50 to be an excellent fit, i'm planning on buying the da* 300 and the 100 2.8 macro wr as well to fill out my lenses. (at one point i had the range from 18-410 covered but i sold all my other lenses once i got a da*, once you buy nice glass you'll never want to go back... and for good reason.
09-30-2010, 01:11 PM   #4
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thanks!

looking forward to the DA*

sorry for being vague

budget is open

planning on playing with some macro and fisheye, a tele would be nice too for certain wildlife situations

a lot of hiking in wet conditions, riverside, mist, sunrise, sunset, a lot of indoor/outdoor family, will be bringing a tripod for certain applications mostly landscape from mountain top, a lot of wildlife but not hummingbird wings, more like animals I run into, etc

some campfire low light situations and a whole ton of family everything

again thanks for the help

09-30-2010, 01:36 PM   #5
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A lot of your needs are similar to some of what I do.

First thing to address,

before any other issues is how do you intend to carry it. If you are looking at photo backpack, you need to pay particular attention to the suspension. Most backpacks in my experience have the straps sewn to the top of the bag, and there is no adjustment with respect to bag and straps for the length of your torso, as a result, smaller backpacks are generally carried up on the back, supported by your shoulders. If you do up the hip belt that is supplsed to transfer most of the load to the hips, it winds up being across your stomach. If you lengthen the straps to put the hip belt where it should be (assuming they are long enough) the chest strap ends up around your neck. What you really want is a bag where the straps can be lengthened to move the bag down on your back, the lowepro phototrekker AW100 is a good example of this.

You also need to address weather protection because the WR rating of lenses and bodies is when a lens is attached to a body, not in your bag. also regardless of WR lenses and bodies, camera flashes are NOT WR.

Regardless of shoulder bag or backpack, you want one with an integrated rain cover, or purchase a separate rain cover. Again Lowepro integrates covers into most (but not all) bags

If you are going to canoe / Kayak, consider also a dry bag or a pellican case, but test it first to see if it leaks and remember things that can hold water out are also pretty good at holding water in, so drybags and cases are to be used for transport only, not to be opened during transport to shoot.

Now for lenses.

I don't shoot with WR lenses even with my K7. If you are going to shoot in the rain, or spray consider a flexible protective bag or hood, leaving only the filter exposed. WR is nice, but I consider it as insurance not primary protection. The dryer you keep your gear the better.

A DA300 is a food lens, but perhaps a little short for wildlife, birds especially. I use 2 lenses for birds, an SMC300F4 attached to the 1.7x AF TC and a siga 70-200F2.8 with 2x TC. The zoom is a little more flexible and faster but the 300 plus TC is a little longer. If you are getting the 300F4 (DA) also consider the AF TC , as many members here do use it to get 500mm.

You should also consider an intermediate zoom, that is macro capable, WHile not as good as a macro lens it is more useful, and can be agumented with close up lenses as well, and since you will have an intermediate zoom probably in the kit any way it will save weight and volume.

Wide angle for scenics is up to you, the intermediate lens will get more use

Accessories
COnsider a flash, and if doing birds, also look into a flash extender to give more reach. I have a better beamer to put onto my AF540FGZ, and this adds about 2 stops in terms of light projection. The better beamer is a fresnel lens that focuses the flash narrower, since you don't need a 90 degree FOV with a 500mm tele.

With respect to the tripod, make sure it hooks on the side of the bag, close to your back, as opposed to being hung off the front of the bag 6-8 inches away from your back, the weight will make this pull very uncomfortable. For the tripod, get a ball head with a good quick release, and get extra plates, one for the camera and one for thelong lens, and leave them on, set up will be a lot faster.

Take lots of silica gell, (most shoe stores get some in each bag and some stores save it for hikers)

Consider also, as opposed to a tripod, a monopod integrated into a hiking stick. It might serve you better.

Second body

Since budget is open, consider a second body,. when you are on the mountain top with your WA lens on a tripod, doing HDR shots or what ever, that is when you will need a 300-500mm lens for the mountain goat that is just a little too curious, a second body, one for what ever you are concentrating on, and one to take the other extreme of your lens range is a good idea,
09-30-2010, 02:02 PM   #6
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great information Lowell! really informative and specific, thanks!

more questions! wanting your opinion

I'm using a K5 Adventure pack from Naneu and an Arc'teryx water proof mid size pack for canoe trips

I am an avid hiker/explorer and most of the time it is in wet/snowy conditions. Both packs above meet all criteria especially the Naneu. When I'm on the river fly fishing it's not uncommon for me to have 50lbs on my back since I'm out there 7-10 hours at a time and I do a lot of winter/spring mountaineering

can you talk to me more about Lens and flash in bad weather as well as macro, pretend I'm an idiot and spell it out for me

I like to be cautious as well but the K-7 is suppose to be pretty rock solid in bad weather. Not sure how I feel about the bag idea, but a hood makes sense. Though I don't want to be wrong!!!

The Naneu can carry about 4-5 lens and I don't mind the extra weight, I'm used to being over prepared. I will be up in some rough weather areas too, like the White Mountains where wind could be a major consideration

I'm really excited to hear back

I'm going out with family for a bit but if you or any others have a chance, I am really hungry to hear more insights and recommendations. I'm total psyched and doing my homework and research as fast as possible without it cutting in on other things - so I'm looking for cliff notes so to speak
09-30-2010, 02:14 PM   #7
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I have a K7 and use the DA*300 for everything from butterflies to birds (with the 1.7 AF TC). It's a superb lens and close focuses. It as a * lens is WR and I have used it in soaking rain with zero problems. I also use my DFA 100 WR macro for real macro work and just as a short tele lens.

As others have said protect even these lenses off camera in a waterproof backpack I have the Lowepro and it is superb if a little heavy full!

The K7 or the K5 with these lenses or any of the DA* range makes an excellent setup for rugged use. Best of luck with your plans.

Terry
09-30-2010, 06:46 PM   #8
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Glad you liked the comments

Re WR note this does not mean water proof. As far as lens and camera are concerned some exposure is ok but biggest risk factor would be a TC on the long lens and changing lenses, this could be the real decider for a second body. It is much safer to pick up a second camera and lens then to change lenses in a storm. That could leave you with a lens in the 20something to 70 range and the 300. Then you could go under cover (tent or what ever) if you need to change lenses. I don't have any WR lenses and don't fret if they get a little dampnon the surface but I wipe them off frequently. That seems to work for me.

I also shoot from a recreational kayak but for that I generally take only one lens on a body and have it in a dry bag when not shooting


Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 10-01-2010 at 05:31 AM.
09-30-2010, 06:48 PM   #9
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Lowell: which model of Better Beamer for the AF540FGZ - was it the FX-2?

I've thought about one for my longest lens, but I believe the flash extender needs a slight modification due to the larger head size on the AF540FGZ. Your experience with this is appreciated!

Regards,
Marc
10-01-2010, 05:02 AM   #10
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You already received a lot of good advice. Your needs "a lot of hiking in wet conditions, riverside, mist, sunrise, sunset, a lot of indoor/outdoor family" are pretty close to my own photo activities. I just come back from 3 weeks of outdoor shooting close to the sea in wet, salty, muddy and cold conditions. I use a K-7 with a DA18-250mm for most shots, but the Nokton 58mm f1.4 for low light conditions.

A number of factors will affect your decisions incl. prices and space. If you want to limit yourself of an all-rounder lens for space and practicability, the DA18-250mm is an excellent sturdy lens. It can take a lot, it is a very solid fabrication, and has no HSM (a great advantage in my case). Further I can take a lot dynamic/action shots over a wide range of focal lengths without changing/swapping lens. The only weakness is the low light and a fast prime lens is a great companion of the DA18-250mm. (In my case the Nokton 58mm is the ideal 'partner in crime' of my DA18.250mm, with its very solid built and excelllent IQ.)

Alternatives to the DA18-250mm are its sibbling Tamron 18-250mm (highly recommended also) and the newer Sigma 18-250mm OS HSM. While the Sigma had some good user reviews from a few Pentaxians, the OS is redundant (to the camera IS) and I prefer not to have HSM when I am out for a few weeks. There have been some reports of HSM failures.

The DA18-250mm is not WR, but, as pointed by Lowell Goudge, WR does not mean waterproof. With care, the DA18-250mm is really solid and I wipe/clean it regularly. (Especially, avoid too much zoom pumping when the lens is wet.)

Hope that the suggestion may help.
..
10-01-2010, 05:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Lowell: which model of Better Beamer for the AF540FGZ - was it the FX-2?

I've thought about one for my longest lens, but I believe the flash extender needs a slight modification due to the larger head size on the AF540FGZ. Your experience with this is appreciated!

Regards,
Marc
Marc

I have the FX-5 for the AF500FTZ (to use on my *istD with TTL metering) and the FX-1 for the AF540FGZ for use with my K10D and K7D.

I went right to the better beamer site and they have a guide to determine the correct product based upon flash head dimensions

I have attached a link here

Better Beamer Flash Extender Support - RPPhoto.com

I can't remember now the logic behind the decision, but I think I decided that since the FX-1 fit the side dimension of the AF540 (excluding the hump for the pull out defuser) it would be the most stable when mounted, Although the reverse curve is not the same as a flat top for the upper corners of the flash, overall it fits snugly and the velcro holds the sides square.

I did some tests early on, but not conclusive in terms of measuring the benefit. I guess 1-2 F stops at 40 feet.

I am also looking to modify the units by adding top and bottom reflective plates to force all the light through the freznel lens.

I have also played a little with a home made snoot. I used foam lined with alunimum foil tape for a 6 inch snoot around the flash head. this can also work pretty well.

If I get time I will try to set up a test with my 300F4 and tele converter, (making 500mm) and shoot manual exposure at a wall to measure the real benefit using greyscale measurements in my photo editor with and without beamer, as well as the zoom setting to see what is the optimum flash head zoom setting .

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 10-01-2010 at 05:31 AM.
10-01-2010, 10:27 AM   #12
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SkagitFly, guessing from your name you're in the Skagit area of NW Washington? As a WWU grad, I know the area well!

I'm going to suggest a couple of setups, although I'm not sure of your budget. If you really don't mind weight and are serious about the very best image quality, I'd go with this:

1) D-BG4 Grip for K-7 (if you're using a heavier lens, this is very ergonomic)
2) DA 10-17mm Fisheye (though, I wouldn't include this on a hike)
3) DA* 16-50mm (standard length, pro optics, weather-sealed)
4) DA* 50-135mm (Standard telezoom length, pro optics, weather-sealed)
5) D FA 100mm Macro WR (weather-resistant, light and small)
6) DA* 200mm or 300mm

If you would like something that works well, but would keep weight down if you could, I'd go with this:

1) DA 10-17mm FE
2) DA* 16-50mm
3) D FA 100mm Macro WR
4) DA 55-300mm (not WR, but small enough to cover with a ziplock freezer bag if necessary)

The main reason I'd personally go with the second kit: if you're not actively/seriously trying to photograph wildlife (i.e., setting up a blind, waiting for hours or days to get the shot you want) I don't think you need to pony up the cost or carry around the weight of a DA* 200/300 type of lens...in other words, the DA 55-300 optics are pretty dang good, the zoom range is very useful, and it's significantly lighter, at a fraction of the cost. You say you want to photograph what you come across, this lens is good for that. My wildlife photography is the same way. I hike/explore, and if I see wildlife I photograph it. If you were going on safari, or planning a trip to Yellowstone just for wildlife, then maybe I'd go with a DA* 300mm.

my 2 cents
10-02-2010, 05:27 PM   #13
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I'm really enjoying this thread.

Thanks everyone

I will certainly keep lenses in H2O proof bags inside my hiking bag and certainly never change lenses unless there is a safe dry place to do so.

I think I'm going to start out with the DA* 16-50mm and DA* 50-135mm. Spend a lot of time with both of these before moving into a 100 Macro lens and some tele lens - which consequently I am equally excited about so it was not an easy decision

the lens forums show excellent shots with the DA* not that I will limit myself to those but the above mentioned seem to be a given in any inventory


I'm not too concerned about weight except on like a 500mm which I just can't picture me using. 300 is about as big I will go

gnat: the Skagi reference is for the NW area, but more inline with a type of Spey and Switch casting. Fly fishing is a highly enjoyable activity of mine especially since I can combine photography with it, it leads me to some beautiful places.

Congrats by the way on being a grad. of WWU - very very nice!

I'm still rereading everyone's contribution and mulling over what works best for me but I'd like to thank you all for your insight and taking a moment to share

hope everyone has a good & dry weekend
10-02-2010, 05:32 PM   #14
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consequently, since so many people here share a similar active lifestyle with their camera, care to point me in the right direction for the following with the K7 in mind:

medium-full size tripod
lens cleaning kit
preferable cards
batteries
flash

any other relevant gear would be appreciated, I'm very new to Pentax and it's a bit overwhelming comparing every aspect of gear but I like to thorough

steer me in the right direction or what to avoid

thx!!!
10-03-2010, 06:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SkagitFly Quote
I'm really enjoying this thread.

I think I'm going to start out with the DA* 16-50mm and DA* 50-135mm. Spend a lot of time with both of these before moving into....
May I offer a contrarian view?

You have received a ton of good advice, but it's based on hindsight and lessons learned. Given your planned use, the gear you are considering sounds like massive overkill to me. There's not enough time between now and when the next best thing surfaces for you to really, really, learn how to use these two fine lenses paired to a K-7 (or K-5).

I sense huge changes in the air for personal imaging technology.

As such, I'd recommend a good P&S (Panasonic DMC-LX5, or better). Learn how to use it well and let the dust settle.

Cheers...
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