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Old 28th March 2014
ScottMorris ScottMorris is offline
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Micro 4/3 travel kit recommendations?

Hi everyone - longtime lurker, occasional lapsed poster here, but I was looking for a bit of advice for an upcoming trip.

I'll be off to Japan with the better half in July, and while mostly we'll be in Tokyo we also intend to move around a bit to see relatives and such - so travelling light seems the best option. Sadly this means my trusty E-5, 14-35 f2, 35-100 f2, 150mm macro combo is probably not going to cut the mustard, or even spread it a little. And the Bigma practically requires its own jumbo to transport, and another one for the tripod to support it, so that's out.

I'm seriously considering purchasing an E-M1 over there, given the price difference and the opportunity, but I have a perfectly lovely E-P3 that I intend to use. I've got the Panasonic 14mm pancake for wide shots, and the 20mm pancake for probably close to 95% of what I'm likely to shoot, if I'm honest with myself.

I've also got the Olympus 14-150mm lens, which is obviously a super-useful range but I've never really got on with it, for some reason. The handling seems off, somehow. That said, it's a decent enough lens. Perhaps I should give it a little more of a chance.

I have a few points I'm considering. I'm thinking that a little more range could be nice, and maybe renting/picking up a 100-300mm or the 45-200mm Panasonic might not be the worst idea.

I like macro shots, but a vacation probably isn't the time for this. That said, I'm sure I'd get long term use out of the Olympus 60mm macro. Any advocates for this lens? Another alternative would be to bring my relatively compact 4/3 Oly 50mm macro plus an adapter.

Perhaps not for this trip, but I'd also been considering the 8mm Samyang fisheye, with the possibility of perspective correction, for some really, really wide shots, but I suppose that's going to be so niche an application that I can live without it.

So, any advice from m4/3 travellers? Anything I'm missing? I'm currently leaning towards the 14mm, 20mm and the 45-200, if I can find a suitably cheap one, ignoring ultra-wide and macro and saving towards the E-M1. (I mean, at 786 at Yodobashi Camera vs 1250 from Amazon? Suppose it's only really much cheaper if I dodge the customs officers on coming back, though...)
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Old 28th March 2014
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Re: Micro 4/3 travel kit recommendations?

Having had both, if you don't get on with the 14-150, you won't like the 45-200. The 60mm is a great macro lens, but of an awkward focal length for general purpose. How about the cheap and cheerful 40-150?
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Old 28th March 2014
DerekW DerekW is offline
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Re: Micro 4/3 travel kit recommendations?

Given that you will want a high keeper rate of your images I think that it is a high risk policy of buying and using the EM1 for real in a couple of days. However you may be a wizz with cameras, however if you think that you will be able to wing it you will have to add a laptop computer to your luggage to get feedback on how you are getting on with the camera.

I also suggest you get the PDF copy of the manual and get it printed down and you spend some time with it before you get the camera. Also read the Wrotniak documents and the biofos articles.

As for lenses take get the 12-40 and a 75-300 m4/3rds lenses
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Old 28th March 2014
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Re: Micro 4/3 travel kit recommendations?

For travelling with the M5 and now the M1 over the past couple of years I have got on really well with taking just the Panny 12-35 and Oly 40-150. The former gets about 85% of the usage - I do tend to do a lot of street photography when away. The combination's amazingly light, it fits in a variety of small bags or big pockets, and you've usually got the right lens on.

On several trips I've tried taking along various other things - Panny 7-14, PanLeica 50 f1.4 and Oly 75 f1.8, but I've barely used them. Just about the only other thing I've actually used on trips away has been the 100-300 plus a monopod for motorsports and birds/wildlife.
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Old 28th March 2014
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Re: Micro 4/3 travel kit recommendations?

The 20mm would be good because it is small and gives an indoor/low light option. I traveled to the far East last year with one plus a 14-45, 40-150 and 100-300.

The 100-300 got little use because it is quite big. I used it for specific projects or outings. The 20mm was available to me but I didn't need it. I would still take it again, though

The two cheap zooms got the most use with one on the camera and the other in the nappy bag. I found the light so good that I didn't need wide apertures and they are easy to carry and deliver great (if not pixel-peepers-perfection) images. You could pick the pair up for about 150 (14-42 & 40-150).

If it were me, I would probably leave the 100-300 and take the others.

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Old 29th March 2014
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Re: Micro 4/3 travel kit recommendations?

I think the important thing is having a general purpose lens that you feel comfortable using because you are more likely to get images you are happy with.

I went to Yosemite last year and took a selection of lenses however resorted to using the 14-150mm most of the time even though it wasn't the best quality, just because I use it so much it feels right. I also took the 12-60 4/3's lens which although better quality was one that I wasn't used to using and when it came down to it, that showed in both my speed of handling and the photos I took. I have been using it a lot more now to get more familer with it.

Personally the 14-150 is my perfect travel lens when space is an issue. It is lightweight and relatively small for the focal length it covers so it means you are not constantly changing lenses. You can throw it in your bag and happily walk around for the day knowing you can cover most things. That said I've only used it on an EM-1 and EM-5 so have the benefit of a view finder.

I also tend to pack my 12mm, 14mm Panasonic and 45mm when travelling as they are so small. I don't take the 75-300 anymore as I found I rarely used it. Travelling to me means landscape type photos or street photography so the wider lenses are more useful.

Everyone is different so this is just my take on it. I would practice with the 14-150 so that it 'handles' better for you and pair it up with the EM-1 when (if) you buy it, it's a great combination. Keep the pancake lens on the EP-3 for the street photography. The 60mm is a fantastic lens but it isn't a useful focal length when travelling especially if you have that length covered on another lens. If you think there are opportunities for macro then it would be worth having. I stopped carrying mine when travelling because I just didn't use it.

Hope you have a great time over there whatever you end up taking!
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