13 October 2012

a month's trials and a fine hike

I took a pretty walk early in October, trying out several lenses in turn.  The bag carried the DA18-135 for simplicity, plus a Sigma 15 fisheye, Rikenon 28 and the DA40.  The Sigma 50 stayed in the car, victimized yet again by the DA40.  Sadly the Promaster 100 macro stayed at home; it would have been a fine complement to the other primes.  Also sadly, the 49-52mm step ring did not come, so the DA40 had no polarizer like the 28 and 18-135.  While I'm filled with regrets, the Rikenon 70-150 f/4 really should have been there too!

At first the 18-135 got all the shots and I found it satisfactory - especially since it was my only 'telephoto' option! - but weather conditions were perfect at the time, so its weather sealing was of no value here.  No need for silent focus either, as I was essentially alone and 6500 feet up!  So after taking a shot at  around 40mm I popped on the Limited prime and enjoyed it for a while.  The smaller camera/lens combo was most pleasant!  It alternated with the all-manual Rikenon at times, which with the cPL filter took several powerful images.  I must say that overall I preferred the primes as my way to shoot.  Having fairly large FL gaps is not big to me, and 15-28-40 felt just fine; I would like to add the DA70 some day to fill the space to the 100, but I also have a Rikenon 70-150 zoom that would have served very well - sadly it also stayed home. 

At the turnaround point on my hike I broke out the 15mm fisheye, and it was great fun.  Starpoints made the sun into an artistic light source, and the larch and huckleberry shrubs were great color features.  I'm always impressed that the sun can be in an image yet exposure doesn't overcompensate with a black foreground!  Soon the 15mm went back in the pack, and the DA40 was back on.  The 40 and 28 got plenty of use on the way back.

So what did I learn?  (And will it stick?)
I think the 18-55WR is enough WR range for my purposes, and the $300 saved can go back in the fund for a DA70.  I will need to try that 70-150 f/4 with the other two primes first however - as the Rikenon 28 makes the DA21 less vital to my plans, the 70-150 may restrain my 'need' for the DA70.  I'm still on the fence for a macro, with two fine choices: the Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG has been sidelined by the DA40 and the Promaster 100/3.5 lost its chance to shine this trip.  So a few more tests to winnow the set are needed.

More shots from this trip on Picasa!