Lenses for railway photography


Link Posted 11/12/2012 - 20:48
I would be interested to hear from fellow Pentax Users railway enthusiasts their views and preferences on choice of lenses for railway photography.
After looking at several years worth of train photographs I found the a good majority of them, especially lineside shots, were taken at 50mm or thereabouts. I subsequently bought a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 standard zoom. I found this ideal for most of my lineside shots. With it being a full frame lens, thereby using the sweet centre spot on an APS-C camera (K5), it gives a very good image wide open and superb when stopped down to f4. This enables use of fast shutter speeds to stop most trains. I have found the colours from this lens to be not as rich as 'Pentax' colours but use of the vibrant picture mode compensates for this.
If I am at a steam gala or open day and similar events when I am moving around varied locationsI tend to use my 18-250mm DA lens (it came as a kit with a K200D some time ago). I usually use the TAv setting and leave it on f8 and let the ISO take care of itself. Despite having read some moderate reviews of this lens I find it gives excellent A4 size prints with lovely 'Pentax' colours.
What do other train snappers use?


Link Posted 12/12/2012 - 08:14
Generally speaking, my preferred lens for trains is the Sigma 10-20 for close shots and the Pentax 17-70 SDM for others. On the odd occasion that I need greater length, I tend to use the Sigma 50-150 HSM

No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more


Link Posted 12/12/2012 - 09:46
For lineside action shots when trains are moving at speed its always the DA*50-135mm lens for me. If I had a DA*2.8 200mm lens I would use that for action shots although the zoom allows me to pull back and shoot more frames.
For static and close ups its nearly always the DA*16-50mm lens but I sometimes use the Sigma 10-20mm lens, especially for cramped spaces or abstract details.
The great railway photographers of the past, long before there were any zooms or telephotos, standard lenses were all they had so the present day 50s would be the nearest. They always seemed to get their pictures pin sharp and cropped in using darkrfoom skills.

PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout


Link Posted 12/12/2012 - 19:26
Thanks. Very interesting. Like you David I too am amazed at the skills of the great railway photographers. Considering the equipment they had to lug about and the limitations to its use. Mind you we only see their successes and not the failures. They also had plenty of choice with the regularity of steam trains in those days. It did however normally have to be sunny to give high enough shutter speeds to stop them.
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