Backpacking/world travel 45mm or 75mm?

Started 9 months ago | Questions
jeffharris
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,829Gear list
Like?
Re: Three zooms for All Opportunities
In reply to JeanPierre Martel, 9 months ago

JeanPierre Martel wrote:

wilsc wrote:

I'll be leaving for an 18 month world packing packing trip. The trip is going to be a mix of everything (hiking in the Himalayas, European cities, snowboarding in Japan, SE Asia....) as will my photos.

At the moment I'm taking my EM5 with the 12-40mm and the 9mm fish eye body cap (takes up no space and is cheap).

I want to take one more prime with me, the 45mm or the 75mm?

Unless the purpose of your World tour is to take portraits, I'm not sure that these primes are essential for your trip.

My suggestion is completely different. Bring 3 zooms:
A) a Lumix 7-14mm (for narrow streets, landscape and ceiling of churches),
B) your M.Zuiko 12-40mm (as your main all-purpose lens),
C) a M.Zuiko 40-150mm (to zoom on distant objects).

Panasonic 45-150mm. It's a better lens. It's more compact and uses a 52mm filter. The 40-150mm uses a 58mm.

These zooms would cover from 7mm to 150mm. That's about all focal ranges that you could need to cover during that trip.

You could also bring a small bright prime like the M.Zuiko 17mm (or the M.Zuiko 12mm, Lumix 20mm or PanLeica 25mm) for street photography.

I'd vote for a 17mm. It's extremely flexible as a walk-about lens, indoors and on the street. Not too narrow, like a 25mm, or too wide like a 12mm.

I spent a week in Paris using primarily a 12mm and 25mm and was rather frustrated by the too wide/too narrow thing. For my next trip, to Marseille and Genoa, I picked up a 17.5mm. When I got home, I was very surprised to see that I'd used it for nearly half my shots!

 jeffharris's gear list:jeffharris's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Aspherical Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm F0.95 +25 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dave Sanders
Contributing MemberPosts: 952Gear list
Like?
How dedicated are you to the photographic part of your trip? Take both.
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

wilsc wrote:

In 7 months time I'll be leaving for an 18 month world packing packing trip and can't decide what lenses to take. The trip is going to be a mix of everything (hiking in the Himalayas, European cities, snowboarding in Japan, SE Asia....) as will my photos.

At the moment I'm taking my EM5 with the 12-40mm and the 9mm fish eye body cap (takes up no space and is cheap).

I want to take one more prime with me, the 45mm or the 75mm? I don't want to take both because I'm backpacking and weight/space will be an issue. If you could choose one of these for my situation which one would it be?

If you are dedicated, take both. I wouldn't travel without a long lens and while zooms are handy, the speed and ability to isolate will result in much better photos. The truth is, if you're not going to put the time in to get decent photos, just take your 12-40 and a tele zoom and be happy. If you want to spend a bit of time focusing on photography, go with a couple of primes. My most used lenses, especially when I travel, are generally telephotos. They're not only usual for street scenes but for highlighting details and for mountain landscapes...I found that it was difficult to convey the grandeur of Nepal's mountain ranges without using the compression effect of a telephoto. Then again, I backpacked with a 28, 50, 85, 100 and 100-300 lenses so I may be on the extreme end of what people are willing to carry.

-- hide signature --

Dave Sanders

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jeffharris
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,829Gear list
Like?
Re: 14-140 + 20 ... or LX7 + FZ200
In reply to Jacques Cornell, 9 months ago

Jacques Cornell wrote:

wilsc wrote:

In 7 months time I'll be leaving for an 18 month world packing packing trip and can't decide what lenses to take.

I want to take one more prime with me, the 45mm or the 75mm? I don't want to take both because I'm backpacking and weight/space will be an issue. If you could choose one of these for my situation which one would it be?

My two lens choice for traveling would be a 14-140 II and a 20 f1.7 (on a body with IBIS), no question. If I were an ascetic/purist, a 12, 20 & 45 (they're tiny). The 14-140 covers pretty much everything in decent light. The 20 is for interiors and nighttime street shooting. If I had to take the 12-40, I'd complement it with a 45-150. For tele, it's more useful than a 75, and the 75 is too long to be much help in low light.

The 14-140mm II and 20mm makes a lot of sense. It's simple, yet flexible.

BUT, I'd still augment it with a 7-14mm!

My first M4/3 kit consisted of those three lenses and they were great a set. Not much lens changing, easy to manage when carrying or packing.

 jeffharris's gear list:jeffharris's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Aspherical Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm F0.95 +25 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jacques Cornell
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,173Gear list
Like?
Re: How dedicated are you to the photographic part of your trip? Take both.
In reply to Dave Sanders, 9 months ago

Dave Sanders wrote:

The truth is, if you're not going to put the time in to get decent photos, just take your 12-40 and a tele zoom and be happy. If you want to spend a bit of time focusing on photography, go with a couple of primes.

While I agree that the added discipline needed to use primes can sometimes focus the mind in a way that results in better photos, I disagree with the implication that excellent work can't be done with zooms. Primes have two main advantages: 1) more light gathering, and 2) shallower DoF. For shooting in good light with deep focus, primes are simply inconvenient. For shooting in low light or using selective focus, primes help. The choice really has more to do with the location, time of day, subject, and the photographer's visual style than with whether one wants to "put in the time to get decent photos." I put in plenty of time and work hard to get good photos, and I do it mostly with zooms. But, not always.

-- hide signature --

jacquescornell.com

 Jacques Cornell's gear list:Jacques Cornell's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +27 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jacques Cornell
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,173Gear list
Like?
Re: 14-140 + 20 ... or LX7 + FZ200
In reply to jeffharris, 9 months ago

jeffharris wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

wilsc wrote:

In 7 months time I'll be leaving for an 18 month world packing packing trip and can't decide what lenses to take.

I want to take one more prime with me, the 45mm or the 75mm? I don't want to take both because I'm backpacking and weight/space will be an issue. If you could choose one of these for my situation which one would it be?

My two lens choice for traveling would be a 14-140 II and a 20 f1.7 (on a body with IBIS), no question. If I were an ascetic/purist, a 12, 20 & 45 (they're tiny). The 14-140 covers pretty much everything in decent light. The 20 is for interiors and nighttime street shooting. If I had to take the 12-40, I'd complement it with a 45-150. For tele, it's more useful than a 75, and the 75 is too long to be much help in low light.

The 14-140mm II and 20mm makes a lot of sense. It's simple, yet flexible.

BUT, I'd still augment it with a 7-14mm!

Yeah, me, too. But, that's not on the OP's agenda, and he's got the 9mm body cap fisheye for ultra-wide. My 3-lens travel kit is a 7-14, 12-35 and 35-100. And, now the 20. OK, 4-lens, but the 20's so small & light it doesn't really count. I can carry all this plus flash & batteries on my shoulder all day easily. Then again, I generally work from a base and can leave my luggage in my room. If I were backpacking and had to carry all my belongings all the time, I'd want the 14-140 + 20. And, if I knew I wasn't going to make prints bigger than 12"x18", definitely the LX7 + FZ200. Gotta have a backup body.

I don't often make bigger prints, but I want the option and also the ability to sell stock, so it's m43 for me. My second body would be a GM1.

-- hide signature --

jacquescornell.com

 Jacques Cornell's gear list:Jacques Cornell's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +27 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Surefoot
Contributing MemberPosts: 578Gear list
Like?
Since you're packing the 12-40mm
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

get the 75mm, for those neat high compression effects, superb up the mountains especially at dusk / dawn. Most of my best shots are coming from the 75mm:

So no, these are not the majority of my shots (these would be from my wide angle lenses, the 12mm and 7-14mm), so you'll be mostly carrying that lens for little usage. But when the opportunity arises, the result is worth the trouble, i think. Also when the light gets dim, the large aperture becomes real useful.

For the run & gun shooting the 12-40mm or 12mm, upcoming 15mm or 17mm lenses are good i think, even the Pana 20mm will cover a lot of situations.

 Surefoot's gear list:Surefoot's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-P5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +9 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
brentbrent
Contributing MemberPosts: 936Gear list
Like?
Re: Backpacking/world travel 45mm or 75mm?
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

Taking you at your word that it is either the 45 or 75, and assuming that you are able to handle the extra 6 ounces and $500, definitely get the 75.  I have both and like the 45 a lot, but the 75 is really something special, and the 45 is too close to your 12-40 in FOV.

The 75 will give you good reason to switch from your 12-40 from time to time, but it would probably be a rare subject that would make it worthwhile to switch from the 12-40 to the 45.

-- hide signature --

Brent

 brentbrent's gear list:brentbrent's gear list
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Rokinon 7.5mm 1:3.5 UMC Fisheye CS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +8 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
larsbc
Forum ProPosts: 11,494
Like?
Re: Since you're packing the 12-40mm
In reply to Surefoot, 9 months ago

You did an excellent job of backing up your opinion with compelling examples. Very nicely done!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dave Sanders
Contributing MemberPosts: 952Gear list
Like?
Re: How dedicated are you to the photographic part of your trip? Take both.
In reply to Jacques Cornell, 9 months ago

Jacques Cornell wrote:

Dave Sanders wrote:

The truth is, if you're not going to put the time in to get decent photos, just take your 12-40 and a tele zoom and be happy. If you want to spend a bit of time focusing on photography, go with a couple of primes.

While I agree that the added discipline needed to use primes can sometimes focus the mind in a way that results in better photos, I disagree with the implication that excellent work can't be done with zooms.

That isn't totally what I mean to imply. On an extended trip, if photography isn't part of the game plan and one isn't willing to dedicate time/days to it, any tele zoom will be just fine. No amount of optical excellence will make up for lack of thought in executing one's vision.

Primes have two main advantages:

Three

1) more light gathering, and 2) shallower DoF.

3) (generally) sharper at any given aperture and, in the case of the 75, infinitely sharper at 1.8, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0 and 4.5 when compared to the zooms which have been recommended.

For shooting in good light with deep focus, primes are simply inconvenient.

Yes, they can be. On extended trips I usually have 'photography days' where I dedicate myself to making images and other days where I don't take photos at all. I also give myself 'wide angle day' and 'telephoto day' where I put one FL on my camera and challenge myself to compose around it. Over the years my special 'days' have resulted in my best and most memorable images.

For shooting in low light or using selective focus, primes help. The choice really has more to do with the location, time of day, subject, and the photographer's visual style than with whether one wants to "put in the time to get decent photos."

Indeed, those are all very important variables...but if they don't put in the time, they won't get decent photos and their lens choice won't matter. That was more my point.

I put in plenty of time and work hard to get good photos, and I do it mostly with zooms. But, not always.

Agreed: I'd say getting good photos relies upon whether or not the photographer is willing to put in the time and effort to get good photos, regardless of lens...prime or zoom. I prefer primes for travel because they are small, sharp and fast.

All that said, if the OP isn't worried about $1k, the Panny 35-100/2.8 would be an excellent lens to consider.

-- hide signature --

Dave Sanders

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dave Sanders
Contributing MemberPosts: 952Gear list
Like?
That first shot...
In reply to Surefoot, 9 months ago

Surefoot wrote:

get the 75mm, for those neat high compression effects, superb up the mountains especially at dusk / dawn. Most of my best shots are coming from the 75mm:

...is  a real beauty. I love the layers...telephotos are invaluable in the mountains when trying to convey...well, when trying to convey exactly what you conveyed 

-- hide signature --

Dave Sanders

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Fotoloco
Regular MemberPosts: 485
Like?
much luv to photos 1&2 nt
In reply to Surefoot, 9 months ago
No text.
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
.Sam.
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,124Gear list
Like?
Plan B option
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

My first thought: 18 months travel... wow! You must be one lucky guy

I guess you would like to save as much weight and space as possible.

  • 12-40 has great range and is weather sealed. I think it's the right pick for this case.
  • 45/1.8 is very small and light, but you have it covered with your zoom
  • If you have to take another lens, take the Oly. 40-150, it's also fairly small and has a good range. Zooms are easier to deal with during the travel.

Then again, I would also highly recommend taking..

  • Panasonic GM1 as a BACKUP
  • You would still have a very capable camera if your main one gets damaged
  • It has 12-32 lens (backing up your main glass)
  • You could mount the large zoom on it, and have two cameras with two different zoom ranges without having to swap lenses if the environment is bad.

You could also get the Oly E-PM2 instead. Currently (in US), Oly is offering the PM2 with two kit lenses for less than $350.

Another backup choice cold be Sony RX100.

Have a great trip. Think about how you'll be storing your images, backing them up (maybe sending a full hard disk home once in a while). How would you be editing the images? Laptop, iPad? Are you going to have a blog so that family and friends would be able to follow you?

On an 18 month trip, everything needs a backup or a plan B option

-- hide signature --

.Sam.
GF1+20+45 Sigma DP2 & Pentax K20D - ist* DS - ZX-5 - LX
Photos: http://www.flickr.com/shadzee/

 .Sam.'s gear list:.Sam.'s gear list
Sigma DP2 Pentax *ist DS Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus PEN E-P5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
sbszine
Regular MemberPosts: 464Gear list
Like?
75mm for sure
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

It's nicely longer than your zoom, and good for portraits and birds. I use mine all the time when travelling.

 sbszine's gear list:sbszine's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
FrankS009
Senior MemberPosts: 2,503Gear list
Like?
A vote for the Sigma 60mm
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

80gm, sharp, inexpensive. Might take the place of both 45mm and 75mm. A bit slower, but a great lens.

F.

-- hide signature --

When no-one else is there, the camera becomes my means...to say to a wider audience, "Did you see that?" David duChemin

 FrankS009's gear list:FrankS009's gear list
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
DLBlack
Forum ProPosts: 11,214Gear list
Like?
Re: Since you're packing the 12-40mm
In reply to Surefoot, 9 months ago

Wonderful series of photos!  I also found the 75/1.8 to be a very good medium telephoto lens that can be used for lanscapes.  Way too many people pigeon hole the 75 as a long portrait lens.

 DLBlack's gear list:DLBlack's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-7 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Pentax smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited +26 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
DLBlack
Forum ProPosts: 11,214Gear list
Like?
Re: Backpacking/world travel 45mm or 75mm?
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

From your question the 75 would be my choice.  It is a great medium telephoto.  The  45 is just a little too close to the 12-40.  After buying the 12-40 my 45/1.8 don't get used that much any more.  Still for low light and portraits it is great, but the 12-40 is close enough.

Now if I was doing this trip I would buy the Panasonic 35-100/f2.8 to pair up with 12-40/f2.8.  Then either the Olympus 17/1.8, 25/1.8 or the Panasonic 20/1.7 for low light.  Also a used E-M5 for a back-up camera.  The reason is that it takes the same battery as your E-M1 so batteries and charger can be shared.

Have a fun trip.

 DLBlack's gear list:DLBlack's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-7 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Pentax smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited +26 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
tjuster1
Senior MemberPosts: 1,512
Like?
Re: Backpacking/world travel 45mm or 75mm?
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

First of all, I'm jealous. 18 months hiking, trekking, cities, mountains . . . wow!

Second, I'm not you so I really don't know how valuable this advice is. I have, however, spent some time hiking, trekking, in cities and mountains, with a camera. To ME (big emphasis), size and weight are huge considerations under these conditions, even if you are a serious photographer. So I'd opt for a very different setup than you:

9mm bodycap: like you say, it adds practically no bulk or weight, and provides a unique perspective your other lenses won't be able to offer.

12-32mm kit zoom. Yup, that little guy. I know it's not as good as the 12-40mm--probably quite a bit poorer--but by any other standard it's an excellent lens and will enable you to carry your camera nearly everywhere. It's also a bit slow, so you'd need some kind of faster lens for when the light gets dim, like . . .

20mm f/1.7 pancake; another tiny lens with excellent IQ. Really excellent IQ. Its biggest flaw is that it's a big noisy and slow to focus, but if these aren't high priorities then it's an amazing value with incredible IQ for the size. And finally, because sometimes you need something a bit longer:

45-150mm Panasonic. The smallest medium telephoto and, in my experience, also the best at the long end (excepting the very expensive 35-100mm Panasonic). As someone else wrote, it's tiny with its reversible lens hood.

Obviously if you have different priorities then these suggestions may seem absurd, but I've found that the opportunity cost of missing a shot because the gear was too heavy to lug along is far more important than the slight IQ advantage you get with a bigger and heavier, albeit better, lens. But that's my experience and I'm sure many would disagree.

Whatever you choose, have fun and please share some of your pictures, either en route or when you return. We can all live vicariously with you for the next 18 months while we attend to our jobs, kids, responsibilities, bills . . .

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
JeanPierre Martel
Senior MemberPosts: 2,085Gear list
Like?
Re: Three zooms for All Opportunities
In reply to jeffharris, 9 months ago

jeffharris wrote:

JeanPierre Martel wrote:

C) a M.Zuiko 40-150mm (to zoom on distant objects).

Panasonic 45-150mm. It's a better lens. It's more compact and uses a 52mm filter. The 40-150mm uses a 58mm.

We have to take into account that the OP would use that zoom on an OM-D. Olympus cameras have a weak UV filter (contrary to Panasonic's cameras). Moreover, many Lumix lenses are prone to chromatic aberration because Panasonic rely on automatic Chromatic-aberration correction (which is not done by Olympus cameras).

I am sure that you're getting very good results with your Lumix 45-150mm on your Panasonic cameras. Probably as good as the results I'm getting with my M.Zuiko 40-150mm on my OM-D e-m5. But since the OP is also using this same camera, if he buys the Lumix 45-150mm, my suggestion would be to add a 52mm Haze 2A filter to it.

 JeanPierre Martel's gear list:JeanPierre Martel's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +22 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
WhiteBeard
Forum MemberPosts: 74Gear list
Like?
Re: Backpacking/world travel 45mm or 75mm?
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

I am sorry to have to say that a lot of these opinions are based on each person's favourite lens but not on the actual premise of an 18 months world tour.

Let's summarize the objectives here, based on my own travel experiences:

1) Weight sucks. Bringing along lenses that almost overlap is a sin.

2) In 18 months, you'll need - or you'll wish you had brought along - a wide range of focal lengths: 65-80% on the wide side but still 20-35% on the longer-range focals.

3) While a pocketable P&S with a good zoom lens would be a good back-up to bring along at times when even a µ4/3 set-up is cumbersome, you'll never forgive yourself to have compromised quality for size on those few unavoidable super shot occasions where high quality is needed. Let's face it, you probably won't do such a thing any time soon...

So... Your idea of bringing the EM5 with the 12-40 F2.8 i a great start and will cover by itself almost 80% of your needs on such a trip. Adding a good, light telephoto zoom in the 45-150 (Panasonic) or 40-150 (Olympus) range should cover the rest of it. The high resolution of the EM5 (bring a LOT of good SD high-capacity cards) will handle the few times when you'll want a tighter crop than a 300mm equiv. lens will provide. I'd forget the fixed focals since they are too dedicated; excellent at what they do best in certain situations but not worth the weight on such a trip. Now I am also rather fond of the P&S backup, as long as it is pocketable.

There you have it. My own experiences with exotic travels (French Polynesia and China/Japan) tell me you are a very lucky guy to have as much equipment choice as you do now. Enjoy your trip and bring us back a lot of good pictures!

 WhiteBeard's gear list:WhiteBeard's gear list
Canon PowerShot S2 IS Canon PowerShot S100 (2000) Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jay Siegel
Senior MemberPosts: 1,225Gear list
Like?
Re: Backpacking/world travel 45mm or 75mm?
In reply to wilsc, 9 months ago

It seems that you already have the E-M5.  Can't tell from your post whether you already have the 12-40mm f2.8 zoom or you're planning to buy it.  It is a great lens but it is relatively big and heavy.

I traveled to Hawaii and brought my E-M5, 12-40mm f2.8 and the Oly 40-150mm zoom lens.  the 40-150 while a bit slow, however, it is very light and makes a great travel companion lens.  I was very happy with this combination, small, light total package covering 12-150mm focal length (24-300mm 35mm equivalent!).

You definitely need backup.  I would get the two lens Oly E-PM2 great deal for under $400.  This would give you the 40-150mm and a backup camera and kit zoom in a reasonably light small total package.

If you really must go prime then I would get the (12mm or 17mm), 45mm, and 75mm series of f1.8 primes along with the E-PM2 two lens kit as backup.  The 12 and 75mm primes are not cheap but great lenses.

-- hide signature --

Jay S.

 Jay Siegel's gear list:Jay Siegel's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Olympus 9mm F8 Fish-Eye Body Cap Lens +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads