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Animals Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 Pentax K-5

Whale of a Time

Back in 2006 when I toured New Zealand, I stayed in Kaikoura for a few days over winter hoping that the weather would clear up enough for the whale watch cruise ship to be able to go out for whale sightings. It didn’t happen.

Fast forward, oh, 13 years and that chance came out of nowhere. It’s also the really rare time where I deliberately chose the SMC Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 lens for “serious” photography. I don’t have any other long lenses, so that made the decision really easy!

Whale Tail
Whale Tail

As the saying goes… the best camera (or lens) is the one that you have with you at the time. This may be the cheapest store-bought lens that I’ve ever paid for, but it’s taken one of the most memorial-to-me photos I’ve ever taken. Yes, it’s the typical cliché image of a diving whale, but it brought back vivid memories of that trip, which was a Christmas present for me 🙂

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Holiday Snaps Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Pentax K-5

Pentax K-5 and DA 18-55mm

It must quite a few years ago since I last shot with my 9-year-old Pentax K-5 and the kit lens, a SMC Pentax DA 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AL WR (to give it its proper name…). I tend to just shoot with a “compact” Fujifilm X100T these days, as I love the Fujifilm colours and rangefinder styling, and even when I do shoot with the Pentax K-5, the lenses that I stick on them tend to be prime lenses (having also own the optically excellent SMC Pentax FA 31/1.8, 50/1.4 and 77/1.8 lenses).

An upcoming trip to Europe got me thinking about shooting with zoom lenses again, instead of the fixed-lens Fujifilm X100T which had been my go-to travel camera over the years. Today, I thought I’ll try to get reacquainted with this fancy new zoom lens wizardry.

Now, I know that the kit zoom lenses (I also own the SMC Pentax DA 50-200 f/4-5.6 ED WR) aren’t the sharpest tools in the catalogue, but are they decent enough for travel photography? I hope to make some test shots and determine that. Here are some shallow depth-of-field shots with close-focus at f/5.6.

Here’s some wider depth-of-field shots, with medium-focus at f/5.6.

And here’s a single low-light shot in a dimly-lit museum.

These shots were taken with the shorter, more travel-friendly 18-55mm lens. I don’t think they turn out too badly, certainly better than what any of my cellphones can capture.