28 June 2013

the Kit - this time I mean it! mean it... mean it... me

OK, a final flurry of shopping and the kit is reshaped.  Here is the core* of my photo gear as of late June.

Mounted on the K-5 is yet another fine copy of the DA16-45.  That lens was one of the big reasons I went back to Pentax as a digital choice after letting Sony go reinvent itself without me.  I have been forced to sell it once, and chose to a couple of other times - this is my fourth copy so this is truly the voice of experience speaking -- and I dearly hope I've learned from it all!  If nothing else my pension checks will dictate that it stay around, I expect...

To cover the midrange I have the DA40 and DA70 Limited duo (hiding in their fine leather pouches).  These are absurdly good lenses and I hope never to part from them, unlike other lenses I have owned.

In the WR and telephoto department I will carry the DA50-200WR.  This lens is plenty good enough and much easier to carry than the well-regarded 55-300mm (another lens I have owned at least three times), and on a wet hike it will be the on-camera option for max moisture resistance.  It has the additional ability to make use of 49mm filters like the Limited primes!

On the occasional day when more reach is needed, the 100-300 Quantaray/Sigma will join me.  Other than being quite slow optically (f/6.7 at 250mm +) it's talented, compact and lightweight, and is faster to focus in good light than the DA55-300.  When lighting and weather are at their best, I can cover quite a bit with 16-45, 40, 70 and 100-300.

* Not appearing above because they won't get much use:
  • Sigma 15mm fisheye, good enough to get more use but less vital with 16-45 in the bag
  • SMC-A 24mm f/2.8, a nice lens but the 16-45 excels in this zone with greater versatility
  • SMC-M 50mm f/2, which cannot compete with the Limited pair & has 'limited' resale value
  • Sigma 18-200DC gen-1, a quite decent all-purpose lens that will be on the K-01 often
  • Quantaray 28-90mm w/1:2 macro, a great $35 lens that is hardly worth the price to ship! :~)
  • Hanimar 400mm f/6.3 preset, for emergency wildlife only!
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early-Aug update: the 28-200 and 18-200 are gone, as is the venerable Vivitar 28-105.  The 15-fish and 28-90 remain available but no takers yet.  The primes will not harm me if they stay, and if I take them to goodwill I fear that I might return home with more! :~)
mid-Aug: the 15mm fisheye is gone, sad to say.

15 June 2013

another old friend returns

Prodigal lenses surround me!

First it was the 28-90 Sigma/Quantaray (top), then a  100-300mm of the same vintage (left).  While seeking a wide option I rediscovered the Tamron 17-35 (right).  And now a used-but-effective 18-200 Sigma has reappeared (bottom).  I have many good memories from these lenses, from backpacking to general bikeabouts; the 18-200 is decently sharp for its type, shows far less chromatic fringing than the DA18-135, and reads f/5.6 out to 170mm before dropping to f/6.3 beyond that. Yes that means it's 5.9 with rounding but good enough for me!  Truly one could take prize-winning shots with such a lens, but I do not plan to dump everything else upon its arrival.

Depending on its focus speed it could be ideal for the K-01, and this plus a Limited prime in each pocket will do great things any time.  It's only 1:4ish for closeups, but I have just allowed my macro lens to leave the nest; seems I very seldom do more than 1:2 so extreme closeups are not my 'thing' and the 28-90 can do that.  At least I tried and I know my macro interest now, after trying out three dedicated macro primes!

So while this could be a kit-rearranging move, I expect that the budget is more likely the item that will cause changes.  As a newly retired human with smaller checks in my future, I may need to think about what gets used often and what just looks nice on my shelf.  We shall see!  In the meantime I can comfort myself with the knowledge that the four lenses cost me a total of just over $400 - and that's quite a lot of versatility for a relatively small price!

News Update 6/28
Well I did it again, but for a very good reason: a sub-$200 DA16-45 became available.  Compared to the Tamron 17-35 I gain coverage both wide and long, and shed 10mm off the filter size and 80 grams off the bag weight.  In exchange I lose full-frame/film coverage, f/2.8 at the wide end, and an  aperture ring.

 This change voids the last month or so of acquisitions, as the 28-90mm can go too: the DA16-45 goes nearly 1:3 on closeups at f/4 with smoother bokeh, so the 1:2 at f/5.6 is less amazing.  For that matter, even the 15mm fisheye is now at risk from the 16-45!  I'll probably keep the 28-90 for $35, and it can join the $25 100-300 as the film-capable lenses.  The 18-200 can stay too, as it's hard to beat as my casual lens.

In other news, the two excellent Rikenon lenses have moved on. They are both deserving of more time.  The 28/2.8P and 70-150/4 XR served me very well!  The Promaster 28-200 is also on the runway awaiting final instructions.