OMD + one lens for mountaineering

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Questions thread
kenw
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9-18 or RX100
In reply to Thin_Ice, Mar 27, 2013

I'd actually recommend a RX100 if you want compact, good IQ and full featured.  That's the practical solution for lowest weight and good IQ.  However, there is nothing particularly "wow" about a lens that stops at 28mm on the wide end.  Still, I use an RX100 rather than a m43 kit zoom on lightweight hikes.  Very small and lightweight with IQ very close to m43+kit zoom in decent light.  I can stitch a few images to go wider than 28mm for vistas.

The 12/2 is a nice lens, but for mountaineering I'm not sure it gets you that much.  You won't ever need the wide aperture.  Sure, it is a very sharp lens edge to edge for landscape but really I suspect you'll rarely be printing a mountaineering shot large enough for that to matter.

As to the 12-35 if you are going to get it eventually anyway then that is a cost bonus.  But it is nearly double the weight of any of the other options.  Again the wide aperture is useless for mountaineering.  Compared to a lighter and cheaper kit zoom you are paying nearly $1000 to get something heavier that goes to 12 instead of 14.  (To be clear, I'm speaking about your mountaineering use here, the 12-35 is obviously a very useful lens for many other situations).

And so that comes down to the 9-18.  To me, from my extremely limited mountaineering experience, this is the "wow" lens you are looking for.  Such shots are often very close quarters so UWA is excellent for close in portrait and group shots.  You can't stitch in these situations, you need a true WA.  The 9-18 gets you that and extends into the 35mm EFL which is about where you'd want to be on a tighter vista.  Cropping to a 50mm EFL very plausible for 8x10 prints or any web images.  Obviously it is the lens for a 360 summit panorama as well.  And as already stated, you don't need a fast prime for this kind of shooting.  Is it the sharpest lens in the world?  No, but it is darn good for a UWA and again I really doubt you are going to blow up a mountaineering shot to wall size.  The subject matter and the UWA perspective is going to give you the "wow" at any size, not someone trying to stare at the individual fibers in your harness.

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Ken W
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