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02-27-2008, 12:46 PM   #1
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Advice for traveling

Just a little background, I am going to Germany in May with my college. I have a k100d super w/ the 18-55 kit lense, a manual focusing 100-300 f22-f5 plus about 4 other manual focus lenses at home. I have very little experience but understand the basics of photography. We will be visiting Hannover and Berlin for a total of 10 days. Some of our destinations are Bergin-Belson, a concentration camp, a soccer game, a medevil mystery dinner, the Volkswagen Headquarters, variuos castles, a german brewery, the Reichstag, which is the parliment building, brandenberg gate and obviously just walking/tour bus around in those cities.

EDIT : i have a 24mm f3.5-22, a 50mm f1.7-22, a 150mm f3.5-32 and then the 100-300mm is a f5-22

What I am wondering is what accessories/lenses do you think I will need to effectively get good pics?

I plan on buying a walk around lense, auto focus ~18 - ~200 lense, and a circular polarizer + step down rings so it fits all lenses. I'm not positive that I can use any of my dads older flashes or not.

thanks for any info you may be able to give me!

Last edited by wrxwheelman; 02-28-2008 at 06:30 PM.
02-27-2008, 01:16 PM   #2
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I have the Pentax 18-250 lens and it's a great all purpose lens. Constantly changing lens gets to be a real pain when waling around and sightseeing etc. However, as I mentioned in another thread, vignetting occurs at the wide end when using a CP filter so I have to remove it when shooting below 25mm. Vignetting does not occur on my other zoom lenses that don't have such a wide spread (50-200, 19-35).
02-27-2008, 01:45 PM   #3
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When ever I was in Europe I just had a point-and-shoot camera with a zoom covering around 28mm to about 110mm (full frame equivalent). That range served me very well. I'd take the walk-around lens (18-2xxmm), something for close shooting (macro) if you like that, and a fast normal prime (like the FA 50 f/1.4 for example) for indoor shots. The flash unit might not do you much good, since in many place like churches and museums you are not allow to use a flash. For nighttime social shots your on camera flash should be fine.
02-27-2008, 02:24 PM   #4
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Something like the 18-250 (Tamron or Pentax) makes a lot of sense. Changing lenses draws attention to yourself in crowds and you can also get yourself in a muddle with the wrong lens on at the wrong time. I have the 18-125 and it is a great travel lens, also have the 18-55 and its too short.

But I would be adding a fast wide prime for indoor shots. I found that in many churches, museums flash photography was not permitted, didn't seem to stop the p&s brigade although I also saw some spoken to by officials.

I would look at something around 20 - 35mm f1.8 or thereabouts, this will give great results in those indoor situations. I have the Sigma 24mm f1.8 which does the job well, but it is a bit on the bulky side, but only a bit.

02-27-2008, 02:24 PM   #5
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Photographing tourist sites here is no different than photographing similar sites in the United States. A lot of walking will be involved to get to and through many of these locations, so carry only the things you absolutely need (travel light). A single full-range zoom lens with the on-board flash is a good choice, but practice well on similar sites around your hometown before leaving to ensure you can use these to their maximum benefit.

In preparation for the trip (do this well in advance), check the voltage supported by any battery chargers or other electronics you intent to bring (Germany uses 220-240 volts) and either purchase voltage converters for the 110-130 volt only devices or plug adapters for the wall plugs for the devices supporting 220-240 volts. Voltage converters reduce voltage to allow 110-120 volt devices to be used with the 220-240 volts supplied here, while plug adapters simply adapt the plug connectors to the wall outlet with no voltage conversion.

Voltage converters and/or "Europlug" adapters to fit the standard wall outlets here can be purchased at Radio Shack, Office Depot, and similar stores. If you fail to obtain the plug adapters before leaving, they can also be purchased at most consumer electronics or home improvement stores throughout Germany. Voltage converters can be purchased at some electronics stores here, but are often more difficult to find. You can also purchase both of these at most airports, but often at absurdly high prices.



Last edited by stewart_photo; 02-27-2008 at 06:01 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
02-27-2008, 04:53 PM   #6
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Tough call. I tend to carry slightly more than I need so as to avoid the risk of not being able to take the photo I want. Certainly a single lens with a wide focal range (28-200 or something) is good. I notice you have a 'gap' between the max focal length (55mm) of one lens and the min focal length of the other (100mm) - that might be enough to warrant taking a third lens, but it might be enough with cropping.

Alternatively, to illustrate with my lenses, if I was traveling I'd take the widest angle (10-20), the longest zoom (70-300), the one with the fastest aperture (50mm f1.4) and the basic kit lens (18-55). That will pretty much cover everything. Depending on how fit you are, this may be a bit heavy to carry around, but it involves few regrets. Then again, the 10-20 is a bit of a 'boutique' lens in that it's wide but a bit slow (and most people don't have one, so the 18-55 would be the widest in many peoples' arsenal), but I'd certainly recommend a fast prime lens if you don't have one. Indoor and low-light shooting without a flash is a very good thing.

Accessory wise, consider a tripod for night-shooting. Maybe keep it at the hotel or wherever you're staying and only take it out at night rather than lugging it around with you. Other accessories : lots of memory cards, and a spare battery or batteries!
02-27-2008, 07:18 PM   #7
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Germany is just such a marvelous gold mine for scenic and architectural photography. I took nearly a thousand shots on a previous visit

If you have the opportunity, take a night-time walkabout around the city - lots and lots of interesting subjects to shoot.

An 18-250 would be just great for the combination of wide angle and telephoto.

If you wish to keep the kit lens, then add a 70-300 mm (Sigma or Tamron has a offering). Even your manual focus 100-300 would do, except for the gap between 55-100 mm, which may be a composition problem in some situations.

Many museums and historical buildings do not allow you to use flash indoors, so a fast lens like FA50 f/1.4 is a good addition.

I actually didn't need the external flash much on a tour like that - for casual small group shots the on-board flash worked fine

European electrical power plugs are totally different, you may want to buy a couple of sets of Enegizer Lithium batteries to avoid the trouble - they last you over 600 shots each and you can easily buy fresh ones there when they go flat.


02-27-2008, 07:37 PM   #8
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I've thought of a couple of different options that might work for you...
1. If you have several hundred dollars and/or are willing to sell off some of the MF lenses you have...replace your kit lens with a Sigma 17-70 and replace the 100-300 with either the Tamron 70-300 or Sigma 70-300 APO version. If you're open to buying gently used, there's a 17-70 currently for sale on the Marketplace for $295, shipping included and a Sigma 70-300 APO for $175 (not sure about the shipping). For low light situations, pick up a fast prime, if you don't already have one (f2 or faster).

2. If you don't have a whole lot of money to blow, then hang on to the 18-55 and pick up a DA50-200. It's small, lightweight, and not that expensive (about $150-175 gently used). As of late, I've seen a good many of those on the Marketplace, as well. Even with the fast prime, this would be a nice, lightweight kit that would cover you for just about any situation you might run into. Another thing to consider is that both the 18-55 & 50-200 use the same size filter (52mm). If you stick with Pentax primes (ie--35/2,50/1.4,43/1.9), most of them take a 49mm filter, so you'd just need to add a 49-52 step up ring to use your polarizer with any of those.

02-28-2008, 06:27 PM   #9
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Updated with info on the lenses i had at my parents house.
02-28-2008, 06:36 PM   #10
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Stewart brings up a good point, make sure you have all your power adaptors battery chargers etc figured out.

One thing I note is that you are planning on an 18-something lens as a walk around.

My experience, first when I lived in france in the1990's and reienforced when I took the family back this summer, is that I don't believe 18mm is wide enough.

18mm on an ASP-C sensor is equivelent to 27mm on film for field of view. When I lived in france in the 1990's I had a 24mm F2.5 Tamron Adaptall 2. It was not wide enough.

Last summer, I had my sigma 10-20. in 17 days i used it a lot more than I expected to, and still do. It has become my principle sight seeing lens. I was frustrated for years by not being able to fit it all in when it comes to historical buildings, interior and exterior shots, etc...

If I were you, I would keep the MF100-300, use the kit lens and the wide angle for the walk around situations
02-28-2008, 07:11 PM   #11
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I like bringing an inexpensive tripod for night shots. In my last trip to Portugal, it was stolen out of my bag unfortunately...

Does the K100D Super have rechargable batteries? Many recharges, including the one for the
K10D can operate on 100-240 volts / 50-60 Hertz, so you just need the right plug adaptor...
02-29-2008, 04:18 PM   #12
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do you guys think that the limited 50mm will be sufficient for the indoor shots? or do i need a macro lense that most people are recommending?
02-29-2008, 05:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wrxwheelman Quote
do you guys think that the limited 50mm will be sufficient for the indoor shots? or do i need a macro lense that most people are recommending?
The 50mm lens is a light tele lens on your camera, good for close (in distance) portraits but in most other cases it has a way too narrow angle of view indoors. I would rather take the 24mm to use as a slightly wide normal lens, it is comparable to a 36mm lens on 35mm body. Perfect for streetphoto, surroundings and environments.
02-29-2008, 05:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wrxwheelman Quote
do you guys think that the limited 50mm will be sufficient for the indoor shots? or do i need a macro lense that most people are recommending?
By all reports the 50mm f1.4 will do the job very well. My only doubt is... is the focal length right for you?
03-01-2008, 06:32 AM   #15
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I use my new 18-250mm when I travel and LOVE it so far. The convenience of not having to carry extra lenses nor changing lenses in a dusty environment far outweighs any cons. The 18mm (27mm in real life) is wide enough for almost any shot, unless you plan of taking something huge from 5 meters away. Anything wider poses the problem of multiple lenses, which defeats to the purpose a "one lens does it all" like the 250 gets close to being....forget about the polarizer.

The 50mm 1.4 cant be beat indoors though...and if you don't need wide or extreme telephoto angles.

By the way, the K10D battery charger has a built in transformer and accepts 110 to 240 safely, all you need is a plug adapter, not an expensive and heavy transformer plug.


Last edited by Jasvox; 03-01-2008 at 06:37 AM. Reason: left something out

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