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11-25-2010, 09:38 PM   #1
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Europe Trip - Absolute newbie needs advice

Hey guys and girls, first and foremost i'm extremely jealous of you lot taht can take beautiful photos as it seems as hard i have no clue where to begin.

I'm hoping to change that on my trip to europe.

I currently have a k200d i purchased a while back that came with a 18-55 DA II lens.

Now i'll be heading to europe in january(winter time) and am hoping for any advice on lens i may need.

It would be for taking photos of the sights buildings and scenery, really just heading to the main touristy attractions.

I'm not looking to spend too much, hoping to keep it around $200 if possible.

On a side note, i am an absolute DSLR beginner and i pretty much shoot off auto. Would it be better for me to sell this and buy a high end p&s for around $500? Or add a half decent zoom lens if its possible for $200 to this kit?

Also any help with filters and such i'd need for i guess the lower light conditions during winter in Europe.

Basically ANY tips and help are appreciated.

11-25-2010, 10:35 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. I think that you will be fine with the DA18-55mm. I do not think that you reallty need another lens unless you have a lens buying addiction (LBA)!

If you really wanted to purchase another lens, I would suggest a fast prime lens with large aperture (like a 50mm f1.4) for the low light conditions of European winter.
11-25-2010, 10:40 PM   #3
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For a trip like this and the type of shots that you mention I would personally not consider buying another lens. Your current lens is basically fine for the intended purpose.

If you intend to shoot buildings at night (e.g. eifel tower), get a decent tripod instead of another lens.

I know, I know ...

Wider lenses can be an advantage but I have hardly missed any shots in the given scenario because the widest I have is only 18mm.

A fast lens for low light can be an andvantage, but you will probably end up with manual focus one; but reading between the lines of your post that is more than likely not what you want.

If you consider a P&S, make sure that the equivalent focal length at the wide end is 28mm or below (e.g. 24mm).

Note 1:
Your 18-55 is a half-decent zoom lens (and more than that).

Note 2:
Buy a book about photography so you have something read on the way to Europe.
11-25-2010, 10:44 PM   #4
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thanks for the tips.

I'm actually finding it hard to believe the 18-55 will be enough in terms fo zoom.

I jsut took a couple of shots of buildings say only 30 metres away and they show up really small and not very detailed even at full zoom.

Another issue i'm finding is under cloudy weather my k200d doesn't automatically flash and the photos come out dark.

AS you can see i'm still in the VERY early stages of using a DSLR and that's one reason i'm considering selling this and buying something like a panasonic LX3 or similar.

Should i stick with it as i only have 4 week to learn or ditch it and have a chance of getting half decent photos over horrible DSLR ones.

11-25-2010, 10:49 PM   #5
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Keep your kit lens and also get the SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database - you'll be covered all the way from 18mm all the way to 300!

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11-25-2010, 10:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Keep your kit lens and also get the SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database - you'll be covered all the way from 18mm all the way to 300!
Oh thanks i'll look into that, i notice a lot of people are complaining over lack of lens hood? What is the purpose of that, my 18-55 kit lens came with a hood which i don't use as it seems redundant to me.
11-25-2010, 11:16 PM   #7
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Use your feet to get closer

I assumed (incorrectly) that you would be either quite close (walking in the streets) or that the buildings are big (palaces and castles).

PS In most situations, hoods are NOT redundant. It prevents reflections from light outside the field of view of the lens that end up as flare in the photo.
11-25-2010, 11:28 PM   #8
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husky, hoods are indeed useful in lighting conditions that hit the front element at an angle, but don't worry much about the lack of lens hood with the 55-300 - if you're really in need of one you can easily purchase a stand alone hood for the lens. You won't find better in image quality from kit lenses than with the 18-55 II and 55-300.

11-25-2010, 11:38 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by huskybusky Quote
Oh thanks i'll look into that, i notice a lot of people are complaining over lack of lens hood? What is the purpose of that, my 18-55 kit lens came with a hood which i don't use as it seems redundant to me.
I always use hood in lieu of a UV filter to protect the front of the lens. The DA 18-55 is very good with flare and contrast that the hood doesn't really provide image quality improvement imho.

For the DA 55-300, an ebay clone of the pentax hood is cheap and readily available. If you want to cheap out a little you can also get the DA 50-200 L (or non-L). I do recommend the 55-300 if you can afford it though
11-25-2010, 11:39 PM   #10
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I just returned from a trek to Peru, and had nearly your exact dilemma. Although I have a decent selection of lenses to choose from I was wanting to travel simply and light, and be able to grab shots while always on the move, and not mess with a bunch of gear. I too have a 200D (and love it), and was contemplating a P&S camera to take instead, including the LX-3.

I chose simple and a bit redundant: I had my camera on Tamrac straps attached to my daypack straps, and used either the 18-55 WR when weather might be a threat, otherwise used my 16-45, another great value lens. That was it. You might really like the 55-300, which I have but didn't take. I'm glad I didn't buy a P&S as I like holding and using a DSLR much more, not to mention the quality. I much prefer the viewfinder. I'll save that money for a K5 someday, but I'm still learning much about the 200D, learning I can use largely for the K5 as well. The 200D continues to impress me with its rich colors, handling, ruggedness.
11-25-2010, 11:46 PM   #11
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Ah Biff great to hear and hope you had fun.

One thing i'm worried about is the zooming in. i'm still finding i can't get any detail on shots with my 18-55mm and everything seems far away and small. I really don't want to miss taking full frame shots of large areas/buildings.

Also would you any chat program I'd love to pick your brains for a small time over the basics of using a k200d but that is entirely up to you.

(As you can see i'm partly freaking out ..i really want nice memories as this trip is costing a fortune)
11-25-2010, 11:55 PM   #12
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If you go with a 55-300, or another longer range zoom, that would likely address some of you concerns. Many folks, including me, find that the more you shoot the more you are attracted to and rely on the wider end, but for distant building details and the like you may want the additional pull.

Feel free to contact me anytime on the forum private message system if you want to talk about the 200D.
11-26-2010, 01:29 AM   #13
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If possible, I also recommend a very light tripod/monopod to shot street light/decorative. Christmas time in Europe in the walking street in every city/old town is (very) nice. You may need to try out some settings for lightstreet ambient and flash portraits, even popup flash.

My gear during travel: sigma17-70 f2.8-4(most used), 55-200WR, sigma530super flash, sunpakpz40 mini, cpl and nd8 filters, flash gel, radio trigger/receivers pt04, a very light tripod, k20 w one extra batt, lots of SD cards (64G, I shot raw). For landscape/mountainscape: DA12-24, rarely use but must-have.

My wife conplained that I m married to the gear backpack - so be careful ;-)

Last edited by hoanpham; 11-26-2010 at 03:31 AM.
11-26-2010, 02:07 AM   #14
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I find that a gorillapod is a very good piece of travel accesory, and not an expensive one. It fits in a small back and allows you to use extant features like railings and signposts to make improvised "tripods" for night scenes etc - and it allows you to get interesting shots using the self timer also.
11-26-2010, 02:40 AM   #15
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Too bad the Tamron or Pentax 18-250 isn't in production anymore, but can still be found used.
It's a great travel lens and one to consider.
I also saw the Kx 18-55 & 55-300 kit pricing at $649 in Amazon for Black Friday.
That might be a package to consider if you're going to go the upgrade route.
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