Best camera and lens(es) for my travel needs...Nikon D5300??

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tony almeida
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Best camera and lens(es) for my travel needs...Nikon D5300??
4 months ago

Ok so I am going to Europe this Winter (in Europe). I have been before and taken photos using standard point to point camera. I want better quality photos this time round to really capture the beauty of Europe!

Just for all your information I have never owned a DSLR before so this is my first purchase and usage of one.

So I have been researching and all things seem to lead to the Nikon D5300 with the 35mm prime lens.

My only problem is I would also like a small zoom lens because I don't want to be restricted by only the 35mm.

I have been looking at the 55-200mm and the 55-300mm. Now from my research the only thing I have been able to gather is that the 55-300mm loses some image quality/sharpness beyond 200mm. I haven't been able to find information if the same holds true for the 200mm (ie loses quality after say 100mm?)

My priority is sharp image quality. In terms of zoom, I don't know exactly how far (practically) the 200mm would zoom before sacrificing quality and the same story for the 300mm. This is because I am an amateur and to be honest in terms of reality I have no clue how far a 200mm zoom would be on this camera.

I will be shooting mainly landscapes, architecture, nature, a lot of things which basically do not move. I will be able to sit there and take my time with each photo. Most objects I will be able to "zoom with my feet" and use the 35mm but I'm thinking for some of the shots I will need a slight zoom.

For instance, there are many towers/churches/buildings etc whereby you climb up and you get a broad entire view of the city. Although i think the 35mm would suffice from the distance, sometimes you want to zoom in to a particular landmark, just to bring it in a bit closer into your image to emphasise it. In these types of circumstances is when I would like to use the 55-200 or the 55-300.

I am also aware of the Tamron 70-300mm but it seems too bulky for me and also it appears that it is mainly used for wildlife pictures to emphaise really closely the small bird etc. I don't think I will ever need that much zoom. So I don't think it is for me, but if you have other opinions, I would be open to it.

My questions really are:

1. Is there any image quality difference between the 55-200 and the 55-300 at their prime shooting settings (ie, when it isn't maxed out at say 200mm or 300mm) given that I have time to take pictures of generally objects which do not move.

2. In reality, how much zoom is 200mm. Do you think 100mm zoom would cover my needs as stated above? Would I ever even have to reach 200mm zoom? If the 55-200mm has the same image quality as the 55-300 at 100mm and I do not need to zoom above 100mm then ideally the 55-200mm would be my best option?

It is only a $100 or so difference, but lately I have been spending an extra $100 here and there I am sort of over it unless it is necessary. I will spend the extra $100 if the 55-300 does in fact provide better image quality and zoom lengths which I will most likely use. This is priority for me!

Also, on a further note, I will be in Europe during the Winter. As long as I get a good weather proof case for my D5300 would it be ok to pull out the camera in say the snow and take a picture? (so long as the snow doesn't necessarily touch it).

I have been thinking about the Pentax K-5 II (weather proof camera) but is it worth it over the D5300 just because I'm in Europe during winteR?

Thanks all in advance

Nikon D5300 Pentax K-5 II
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