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02-28-2014, 04:17 PM   #1
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Alaska Cruise - worth it to rent a K5iis / glass?

We're taking a cruise (our first) this summer up to Alaska for our 30th anniversary… I am one of those Luddites who still uses a K100D as my best camera (works just fine for what I have needed!), but for this I am wondering if it would be worthwhile to rent a K5iis and some higher quality glass for the trip. I like the idea of weather-sealed both on ship and ashore, since I don't have any problems getting *my* body out there regardless of conditions. Looks like about $100 for a body for the week, and depending on the lens around the same. I'd likely be taking along my DA 12-24 too, and my little Oly compact, so mostly interested in medium to long ends for wildlife opportunities

Going with a super zoom 18-270 or some such would let me have adequate reach, decent image quality, and really reduce the number of lens changes. Or that and a 1.4 TC (are there weather sealed ones?).

Thoughts? Suggestions? Is it worth it? I might even consider a K-3 except the rentals I have found are all K-5s ….


02-28-2014, 04:21 PM   #2
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borrowlenses rents a K-3, BUT with the prices you pay to rent the stuff(long term) you might be able to just buy a K-5 then just rent a nice piece of glass. How long is your cruise?
02-28-2014, 04:35 PM   #3
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You do realize this will give you an excuse to replace your old one, right? After you see the difference in image quality you're going to be getting a new camera quickly.
02-28-2014, 04:39 PM   #4
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You need lenses for scenics, and also just in case, a lens for humpback whales. The DA 12-24 + 18-55 + 70-300 you already have will work. On our cruise it was back in film days, 1990, out 25th anniversary. I had my KX, M 28, K 55, A 70-210 and M 400 and even took the Manfrotto. The 400 caught a whale. Not the best shot through the rain, but it is MY breaching whale shot.

02-28-2014, 04:45 PM   #5
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I'd say just rent some glass. The K-5 IIs is a MUCH better camera than the K100D, but I'm not sure you'll be giving yourself enough time to get used to it; how it handles, what it's capable of, it's quirks, etc. I upgraded from a K100D to a K-5 IIs and it took time to get good with it. It really is a huge upgrade.
02-28-2014, 04:52 PM   #6
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I will say the low light performance of any of the newer bodies could be greatly helpful on overcast days or indoors.
02-28-2014, 05:41 PM   #7
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Because I support GAS & spending OPM, buy a used k-5/ii/s!
02-28-2014, 05:48 PM   #8
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Get the k5 while it's still available / on sale, you won't regret it! And then maybe rent a nice lens for the trip.

See your homepage for the current Adorama deal on the camera.

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02-28-2014, 05:50 PM   #9
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Congratulations on the Anniversary! An Alaska cruise sounds like a good way to celebrate.

We did a major trip on our 25th, I upgraded from my K10D to a K7 before our trip, along with a Sigma 10-20, it was a good opportunity to do an upgrade.

You might find it hard to go back to the K100D, after shooting with the K5IIs.
Enjoy the trip.
02-28-2014, 05:57 PM   #10
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I took a cruise from San Francisco to Ketchikan/Juneau/Skagway +1 year ago.
I took my K-x + Sigma 18-200mm back then. It worked fine, with the following exceptions:

1. Tracy Arm (where the glaciers are) and Ketchikan have a lot of drizzle. My lens + camera fogged up going in/out in Tracy Arm. I was 'lucky' enough have someone lend me their Sigma 120-400mm lens after my 18-200 was all fogged up.
2. Between the Mendenhall glacier and Tracy Arm, you might want to have something with some range unless you want to hike to the waterfall (at Mendenhall).

A standard zoom will cover short stuff ok, but you might want to rent a 18-135mm WR. Borrowlenses doesn't carry it, but does. I used it on a cruise to Hawaii. The 50-135 or 60-250mm is available but $$$ and probably heavy for walk around.

If you're on a budget - Sigma 70-300mm purchase is less than a rental. Just don't go in/out on the ship and fog it up.
02-28-2014, 06:00 PM   #11
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K-5 dynamic range would be great for all those alaskan landscapes, but if you get one i would get a k5 or k30 or k50 body and rent the lens. The reason being is because that gives you time to learn the body. If you rent the body right before the trip, you might struggle with the controls (although comparing my ist-dl and my k5, its still wayyy more consistant than any canikon i have played with which seems to put buttons in different locations and not have any consistency in interface.)
02-28-2014, 06:10 PM   #12
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I used a K-x on my Alaska trip and never found it wanting.

Actually, I take that back. I had one family photo shot indoors at a hotel where the K-x wasn't really up to the task, due to low light conditions.

I don't think you need a new camera to have a good time, but it certainly won't hurt.

I also shot film on a Pentax Super-Program. Some of those pictures are real keepers. Probably would look good even if shot from a K100D or K-5IIs.
02-28-2014, 06:20 PM   #13
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I say YES- either buy or rent a nice camera or some glass or REGRET not doing so... FOREVER.

Go ahead, it's an opportunity to treat yourself- you deserve it!
02-28-2014, 06:59 PM   #14
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Way back in '04 (yes, 2004!) when we went on our Alaskan cruise, I wished for more length than width. Getting the K5 will be worth the money for its extra quality and weather proofing. I think your 12-24 will be a good choice and then a 60-250 for the rest. Get an extra battery too. Don't forget to spend a little time just looking outside the viewfinder and going, "Wow! Cool! Awesome!" Hope you have a great cruise.
02-28-2014, 07:15 PM   #15
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Original Poster
Great inputs, thanks everyone! The big attraction is the WR, but I'll admit the improved body capability is quite tempting too I'll take a look at that and see what the cruise package may have missed when it scoured out the ol' bank account (yikes!). I hadn't thought about having time to adjust to a new body, so I'm really glad it was mentioned… That's why this is such a great bunch of folks around here

Cruise is a 7-day out of Seattle, stops at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and hits Glacier Bay in there. We are going to try and get on a whale-watching excursion, but nothing solid on those yet. And we got a balcony so I plan on plenty of time watching the scenery go past!


Last edited by RoxnDox; 02-28-2014 at 07:22 PM.

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