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Old Apr 25, 2008, 12:21 PM   #1
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OK I know this is not a question with a correct answer but I am asking for opinions anyway.

I have been to AK 3 times for work so I know what is involved in the vastly different scenery and conditions. This time will be for vacation. We will be in Denali, Anchorage, and all over the Kenai Peninsula. We will be in villages, wilderness, on trains, on boats, on Glaciers, and all around.

The dream would be to take 2 lenses, the K10D, and 100 Gig of storage. I might take 3 lenses but the goal is to leave the big bag at home and take thesmall camera bag.

I fully expect to buy one new zoom lens for this trip and I am really interested in the new HSM versions. If the new lens found use in my air show addiction as well, even better.

Thoughts?
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Old Apr 25, 2008, 2:04 PM   #2
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My suggestion would be to take the big bag and more than 3 lenses, but I do accept that itsnot a practical solution.

I'd have a hard time limiting my lenses - I'd probably want to take something like the DA 12-24 (or the Sigma 10-20 as a cheaper alternative), probably the Tamron/Pentax 18-250 as it seems to be very nice and you wouldn't mind the slower speed. Then I'd want to take one of the Pentax 300mm primes. Or maybe you should take the wide angle and a Bigma - down to two lenses.

Somehow I just can't limit things down much! I was thinking as a light-weight set-up, taking the DA10-17 fisheye, the kit lens, the DA 50-200 and one of the 300 primes. As much as I love my 50-135, it's no light-weight, and in your situation, I think I'd rather take atop quality 300mm lens and not worry about the extra speed of the 50-135.

I know, I'm not helping much.
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Old Apr 27, 2008, 2:37 PM   #3
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I would tend to agree with Harriet. Having been up there twice on vacation, the last time (2 - 3 years ago) forced me to come back and buy the K100D right after it was announced.

The 12-24 is given because of the landscape shots available (and also its IQ). I also think that a 16-45 or 16-50 would do real well also (and I would even consider the kit lens also), but something that is capable of wide angle shots at 20 and below. And even then you will probably be stitching 2 or 3 shots, so as to get the wide expanses of the vistas.

Then there is the other extreme, and there you sort of have to guess if 200, 300, 400 or 500 is enough. The 400 and 500 would be large and heavy (the BigMa, and maybe the Tokina 80 - 400 for something lighter - if you can find one), and you may need to lugg a tripod along, which may defeat the purpose.

I would tend to use zooms, even with the reduced IQ, if the number of lenses is a concern. So after all of that, I am thinking that the 18-55 and the 50-200 would get just about everything, if you were to keep it real simple, small and light, while cutting the cost down. Again Harriet's suggestion of the 18-250 and supplement it with where your interests lie (wide side or the telephoto end), to meet your 2 lens limit.

The last time in Alaska, I came home with a mission to pick up a dSLR. Up to then, I had used a Canon SD500 and really liked it for everything - size, weight, images..... We had taken the inland passage cruise to Anchorage, then took the Kenai Peninsula fiord boat through the National Park. I never thought I would see a whale breech, but we saw about 5 and I was only able to get one OK shot (with a glaicer in the background). That sent me to the DSLR and here I am. There were also 2 brothers who were wildlife photographers. Between them and their wifes, they had 6 DSLR bodies, and the lenses my wife still refers to as "the bazookas". We stopped at several rock outcroppings along the way, for the birds, otters, seals, .... A 300 would have been perfect. We also nugged up VERY close to a glaicer, and the 12-24 would have been a requirement.

The first time we went, my son took his laptop. I wound up using it to store the images, BUT more importantly, quickly review them in the evening to see what I had done right and wrong, plus how to improve, rather than getting home and saying if I could only take that set over. There are a number of pretty small laptops available that might work - not suggesting to do any photoshop and the like.

Your 100G estimate should be about right...

Have fun and hope you have a wonderful vacation!
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 10:39 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input. It seems we are too alike because everyone can see a spot where every lens they have (plus a few more they want) would be perfect. Since no one wants a less than perfect shot, no one can compromise down to 2 lenses.

I am thinking that maybe I will go with three if they stay compact.

Right now I am considering the kit lens, the 50-200 Pentax, and my 70 to 300 Tamron. The 70-300 Tamron does not fit in my small bag with the rest so it is currently my hanging point. If it fit in the small bag, I might just take it and the kit lens.

I have nothing wider that the kit lens. While buying another lens for this trip is not an issue, I hesitate to buy on the wide angle end. I am not good at the panorama. I would love to get something tighter and beyond 300mm but the weight/bulk issue immediatly comes into play. Also it is a given that nothing in that group would fit in my small bag. That being said, I have considered the Bigma or maybe the 135-400. The other plus of a big lens is that would also apply to my airshow addiction.:-)


I was considering the 18 to 250 and one other "big" lens. My issue here is that I would end-up buying 2 lenses to do this. I am limiting myself to $1000 for glass so that would probably not work.


I will have a sturdy walking staff with a mount but I am not planning on taking my tripod.

More thoughts or input?


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Old Apr 28, 2008, 2:15 PM   #5
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Since your interest lies in the long end of things - why not the kit lens for wide-angle, the DA 50-200, and then (if you can find one) the A*300? It's not exactly light, but it's not that big (a bit shorter than the DA*50-135), not exactly light, but lighter than either the FA*300 or the new DA*300. Downside is its manual focus. But it sure is a really sharp, wonderful lens.
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 2:37 PM   #6
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After seeing all the great results of the A*300, FA*300, and DA*300 I am sure even I could get a few keepers if I put one to use. My concern is that 300 is too short for my desires.

When sitting on the flight line at an air show, I use the 70 to 300 Tamron exclusively. I frequently wish it went on out to 400. However a prime in the 300 - 500 rangemight be troublesomesince the target is approaching, passing, and departing on each pass. Concerning AK, a 300 might be enough. If it was a high-end 300 that I could put my 1.5 on, I am sure it would be enough. I seem to recall those lovely lenses were going for over $1000 (EBAY) last time I checked though. Am I mistaken?

Concerning the weight, maybe I should just start lifting weights instead of running until I go on vacation. By then I might be able to shoot the Bigma handheld. :lol:

Another plus for the 18- 250 is my wife. I am sure she would like it and it would be an ideal lens for hunting and dog trials.

I know no one can solve my dilema for me but I appreciate the suggestions.
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Old Apr 29, 2008, 8:49 PM   #7
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sgarthee wrote:
Quote:
After seeing all the great results of the A*300, FA*300, and DA*300 I am sure even I could get a few keepers if I put one to use. My concern is that 300 is too short for my desires.

When sitting on the flight line at an air show, I use the 70 to 300 Tamron exclusively. I frequently wish it went on out to 400. However a prime in the 300 - 500 rangemight be troublesomesince the target is approaching, passing, and departing on each pass. Concerning AK, a 300 might be enough. If it was a high-end 300 that I could put my 1.5 on, I am sure it would be enough. I seem to recall those lovely lenses were going for over $1000 (EBAY) last time I checked though. Am I mistaken?

Concerning the weight, maybe I should just start lifting weights instead of running until I go on vacation. By then I might be able to shoot the Bigma handheld. :lol:

Another plus for the 18- 250 is my wife. I am sure she would like it and it would be an ideal lens for hunting and dog trials.

I know no one can solve my dilema for me but I appreciate the suggestions.
The Kit lens...18-55mm....The Sigma "Bigma" 50-500mm and a 50mm f/1.4 for low light indoor stuff. With these and a light weight tripod you should be set! If you can stand it a very wide zoom would be nice too!(12mm or so)



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Old Apr 30, 2008, 9:03 PM   #8
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OK, a new idea...

I am thinking the kit lens and the new 50-300. I am not sure of the 50-300 quality/potential yet so it is not set in stone but that seems like a great combo that would leave me at 2 lenses. Also, the 50-300should not be real expensive so it may leave me room for one other new glass toy.

The kink in this one is the new DA* 60-250 (I think) that is also coming out and should be a much better lens. I am concerned that the price for that one will be beyond what I am willing to pay though. The beauty of the 60-250 is that it should work great with my 1.5Kenco on so I could still get some reach.

I still keep toying with the Bigma in the back of my mind but it keeps coming back to weight and bulk. I really dont want to take tripod and I think I would have trouble using it effectively from a monopod or handheld. I guess I could use it to beat a charging Grizzly senseless.:lol:
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Old May 1, 2008, 1:47 PM   #9
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The Bigma is heavier than some lens and on a trek of some distance might become uncomfortable...I've carried it around my neck for hours at a time and had no ill effects but I keep forgetting some folks aren't built like me. I sometimes shoot it hand held with one hand at full extension with a TC attached. Hope your trip goes well!

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