Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?

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Jim in Hudson
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Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
4 months ago

Which zoom lenses do people like for travel?  I know the 12-40/2.8 is highly lauded but I'm not sure I want to plunk down $1000 for my first lens if I buy a m4/3 camera.  Are the 14-140 and 14-150 lenses good (I ask as I'm leery of 10:1 superzooms).  If yes, what is best to pair for indoor-oriented shots?  Many thanks in advance.

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australopithecus
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In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Jim, We are all different !

Some of us like to travel with several zooms offering a range from 12 to 150mm (in MFT terms). I couldn't be bothered carrying all that glass about with me and mostly just travel with my 20mm/f1.7 Panny.

In the film era I used a 35mm (17.5mm in MFT terms) prime as my "go to" lens and I still regard this as the perfect focal length for 90% of one's photography.

But I have to admit, the more expensive MFT modern day zooms are superb, and versatile, and if you don't mind spending a few pennies and also lugging some clunky glass about with you, then take a look at the Panny 12-35, or Oly 12-40.

They are both excellent - but pricey !

Dave

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Skeeterbytes
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Hi Jim,

I was happy with the 12-50, 40-150 and one fast prime (20 or 45) for two years with the E-M5, and would still recommend them for a versatile, compact and inexpensive travel set.

Now have the 12-40 so the 12-50 is stuck in the drawer, as the newer lens is simply better. But that doesn't make the 12-50 a bad lens (even if some folks have soft copies).

Confess I'm prejudiced against very long zoom ranges and own nothing greater than 5x.

Cheers,

Rick

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Michael M Fliegel
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Skeeterbytes, 4 months ago

The Oly 40-150 is an excellent cheap second lens for those times you want more "reach."

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NCV
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Jim in Hudson wrote:

Which zoom lenses do people like for travel?  I know the 12-40/2.8 is highly lauded but I'm not sure I want to plunk down $1000 for my first lens if I buy a m4/3 camera.  Are the 14-140 and 14-150 lenses good (I ask as I'm leery of 10:1 superzooms).  If yes, what is best to pair for indoor-oriented shots?  Many thanks in advance.

The normal 14-45 kit lens is fine for travel, the Lumix 12-35 2.8 even better.

I was in Berlin for work a couple of times and used a humble Lumix  GF3 with kit lens and I was more limited by the time I had than by the camera and lens: http://nigelvoak.blogspot.it/2013/05/berlin.html

The second time I took an EM5 with the 12-35 and was morelimited by the weather than lens range: http://nigelvoak.blogspot.it/2013/08/on-move.html

For travel I hate lugging around a lot of kit. When I am not alone on a trip I find it more productive to have a minimal setup, so perhaps the 14-145/150 is also a good answer.

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Kim Letkeman
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Jim in Hudson wrote:

Which zoom lenses do people like for travel? I know the 12-40/2.8 is highly lauded but I'm not sure I want to plunk down $1000 for my first lens if I buy a m4/3 camera.

Expensive solution and kind of heavy for travel.

Are the 14-140 and 14-150 lenses good (I ask as I'm leery of 10:1 superzooms). If yes, what is best to pair for indoor-oriented shots? Many thanks in advance.

Yes. Both 14-140 lenses are sharp, with the first being slightly sharper in the center and the second being sharper across the frame. The second is also quite a bit smaller and lighter, thus making it a better travel choice.

Thus, the 14-140 on a body like the G6 or E-M10 is just about perfect to toss into your bag.

But ... I have been moving in a different direction. I like to have access to multiple lenses, so I have been buying smallish bodies to take with me. So if I travelled today, I would try to take the GM1 and its excellent kit lens, the E-PM2 with the 45 1.8 on it, and the GX1 with the Samyang 7.5.

I am probably going to grab either the GX7 or the G6 shortly so that I can toss the 100-300 in the bag as well for trips where I know I will be visiting a zoo or a nature area.

If I had to carry one camera and lens, that would be the GM1 and kit lens. The G6/GX7 with my older 14-140 is also a very viable alternative.

Obviously, this is always an age old question. I go back and forth and really cannot easily settle on one approach. I've tried them all on various overseas business trips and always come back with images I like.

Maybe it just does not matter

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Klarno
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Travel is, of course, relative. Some of us travel with our entire camera bags, packed to the brim with assorted gear. Others would rather bring one camera and not more than one or two lenses. And that's not even factoring in what focal lengths you most like shooting at.

The superzooms in this system are unusually good. The Panasonic 14-140 which was released alongside the GH1 as a video-centric lens that was always quite good for stills too. A common criticism of superzooms isn't so much image quality as it is laziness though: If you're not even inconvenienced to have to swap lenses from time to time, you'll just end up standing in one place and not working with your photos' perspective. That depends on the photographer though.

Most of the kit lenses are good to excellent, especially for their price. Pairing one of those with a compact telephoto zoom such as the m.Zuiko 40-150 or Panasonic 45-150 can get you a very long way.

If you want to look at primes, I consider the Sigma 19mm and 30mm together as being a great kit lens replacement. Also look at the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, or the Olympus 17mm f/1.8; great lenses with the perfect focal length for a walkaround lens.

What camera are you looking into? General wisdom says buy Panasonic lenses with a Panasonic body because for all but one of the Pany cameras that's the only way to get image stabilization (also because Olympus cameras can be prone to UV-induced purple fringing with some Panasonic lenses, but that can be cured with a Skylight filter). But besides that there are no problems using Olympus lenses on Panasonic cameras, or vice versa.

If you get the Panasonic GM1, the kit option for that includes a unique kit zoom--a pancake 12-32mm. Otherwise difficult to get stateside.

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pocketpygmy
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

a $500 superzoom + a $400 prime (e.g. 17mm f1.8) is getting awfully close to a $1000 f2.8 zoom. since you're 'leery' of 10x zooms i'd just as well call it a wash.

if not, on the other hand, you do get a heck of a lot more reach snd a substantially brighter 'indoor option' with a 10x and an f1.8. up to you.

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JeanPierre Martel
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Jim in Hudson wrote:

Which zoom lenses do people like for travel? I know the 12-40/2.8 is highly lauded but I'm not sure I want to plunk down $1000 for my first lens if I buy a m4/3 camera. Are the 14-140 and 14-150 lenses good (I ask as I'm leery of 10:1 superzooms). If yes, what is best to pair for indoor-oriented shots?

To answer to that question, we have to take into account image stabilisation.

Some m4/3 cameras have in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) while other cameras rely on image stabilisation in the lens itself (IS). Practically, IBIS and IS give equivalent results.

If your new camera will have IBIS, the best "normal" zoom (a 3x or 4x zoom in the normal range) is the M.Zuiko 12-40mm. If your camera won't have IBIS, then the best normal zoom in the Lumix 12-35mm.

Next, the second choice as a normal zoom is the Lumix 14-45mm. This suggestion is controversial; others might disagree.

If you'd rather have a super zoom (for example a 10x zoom), you'll also have to take into account the image stabilisation. I don't have any suggestion to give you: other members will provide you with their suggestions. In any case, all m4/3 superzooms are good (a Pullitzer Prize winner uses the M.Zuiko 14-140mm) but not as good as the top-of-the-line normal zooms.

For indoor-oriented shots, bright lenses (F/2,8 or less) and a second-generation m4/3 camera (16Mb sensor) are the best choices.

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ARB1
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to pocketpygmy, 4 months ago

Took five lenses including my 12-40mm f/2.8 to Korea and Vietnam and almost never used anything but the 12-40mm.  I may be selling off a few lenses after getting that beautiful baby.

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mep
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to JeanPierre Martel, 4 months ago

I have both the Olympus 14-150 and the 12-40.  I really do like both of them and see them for different purposes.  The 12-40 is much heavier, but very good.  For me, sometimes it doesn't have the reach that I wish it did, but I really do like having the 12 on the wide side.

The 14-150 works well and is very versatile and is smaller and lighter.  It produces good images that you don't have to be ashamed of.

If I was going to put together a light travel package for general photography, it would be the 14-150, 9-18 for wide angle and 17 1.8 for low light.

Now, if I plan on doing serious photography, I would take some different lens.  So, all in all go with how you plan to shoot and what you can afford.

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MFiftysomething
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Depends what sort of travelling and what type of subjects you like.

The 14-140 MkII is the one lens solution, I like video so I prefer the power zooms:

If you are really travelling light the Pana 14-42x is very compact and is enough for most things if you want more reach the 45-175x goes with that very nicely.

The above zooms struggle in low light so either add the 20mm F1.7 pancake, a tripod or go with a F2.8 zoom , but as you say they cost quite a bit more.

The kit lens with the GM1 is also very compact and well thought of.  There is a lot of choice in zooms for M43, they are all good now.

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M Hamilton
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

I've heard GREAT things about the new version of Panasonic's 14-140mm, it'll probably be my next lens.

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Jim in Hudson
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Klarno, 4 months ago

Klarno wrote:

Travel is, of course, relative. Some of us travel with our entire camera bags, packed to the brim with assorted gear. Others would rather bring one camera and not more than one or two lenses. And that's not even factoring in what focal lengths you most like shooting at.

The superzooms in this system are unusually good. The Panasonic 14-140 which was released alongside the GH1 as a video-centric lens that was always quite good for stills too. A common criticism of superzooms isn't so much image quality as it is laziness though: If you're not even inconvenienced to have to swap lenses from time to time, you'll just end up standing in one place and not working with your photos' perspective. That depends on the photographer though.

Most of the kit lenses are good to excellent, especially for their price. Pairing one of those with a compact telephoto zoom such as the m.Zuiko 40-150 or Panasonic 45-150 can get you a very long way.

If you want to look at primes, I consider the Sigma 19mm and 30mm together as being a great kit lens replacement. Also look at the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, or the Olympus 17mm f/1.8; great lenses with the perfect focal length for a walkaround lens.

What camera are you looking into? General wisdom says buy Panasonic lenses with a Panasonic body because for all but one of the Pany cameras that's the only way to get image stabilization (also because Olympus cameras can be prone to UV-induced purple fringing with some Panasonic lenses, but that can be cured with a Skylight filter). But besides that there are no problems using Olympus lenses on Panasonic cameras, or vice versa.

If you get the Panasonic GM1, the kit option for that includes a unique kit zoom--a pancake 12-32mm. Otherwise difficult to get stateside.

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I'm considering the E-M1, E-M10, or E-M5. I had an E-P1 years ago but as hard as I tried I just never got comfortable with composing and shooting with the rear LCD. Between the former Oly and the current Pentax, I'm used to having IS for every lens and am reluctant to give that up.

I want to limit the the lenses to two and the DSLR is lot to lug around constantly. My wife and I are going on a tour of Israel next winter where we won't have much control over time so constantly changing lenses would be tough (or spending a lot of time finding vantage points).  A lot of outdoor and indoor venues so the needs are varied.  I'm also not all that fond of the Pentax JPEG engine and the thought of PP'ing a couple thousand photos seems like a time-waster, too.

If I don't go with an Olympus with EVF, I could opt to a Fujifilm. Probably would have done that already but then I'd give up the in-body stabilization (maybe that doesn't matter and it's "just me").

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Gregm61
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Jim in Hudson wrote:

Which zoom lenses do people like for travel?  I know the 12-40/2.8 is highly lauded but I'm not sure I want to plunk down $1000 for my first lens if I buy a m4/3 camera.  Are the 14-140 and 14-150 lenses good (I ask as I'm leery of 10:1 superzooms).  If yes, what is best to pair for indoor-oriented shots?  Many thanks in advance.

Two years ago I carried an E-P3, 12mm f2, 25mm f1.4 and 45mm f1.8 to Paris. Today I would sort-of mimic that outfit by simply taking the E-M1 and 12-40 and never have to change a lens.

OR, being the dual Micro system owner I am today I might instead take the GX7, 7-14mm f4, 12-35mm f2.8 and 35-100mm f2.8. A great selling point of this outfit, it fits with room for other stuff in the same Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag I carried in Paris with the Pen and the three primes.

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Thomas Kachadurian
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Jim in Hudson wrote:

Which zoom lenses do people like for travel? I know the 12-40/2.8 is highly lauded but I'm not sure I want to plunk down $1000 for my first lens if I buy a m4/3 camera. Are the 14-140 and 14-150 lenses good (I ask as I'm leery of 10:1 superzooms). If yes, what is best to pair for indoor-oriented shots? Many thanks in advance.

Travel means different things to different people. My m43 travel lens is the 9-18 Olympus. Paired with a 25mm or the 45 1.8 it's all I need.

Tom

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boxerman
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

RELATIVE TO YOU: People have emphasized that you have to decide how much you are willing to carry. I like to travel relatively light, but I also want to be well-prepared, at least in once-in-a-lifetime situations. Some people don't mind changing lenses; others want to minimize that. So, you have to say what your personal preferences are.

RELATIVE TO WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND HOW YOU ARE GOING TO TRAVEL:

Here are some of MY reference types of travel:

1. Business - If I'm traveling for business, I want minimum fuss, size and weight, and ability to get "people" pictures (restaurants) and also museums and other evening entertainment. Busy during the day, typically. So, I just carry my 20 1.7. That's it.

2. Safari - At the other end of the spectrum, some trips are ALL about cameras. On my last safari I brought two bodies (one for video and backup, and wider lens; the other mostly with my longest zoom glued on it). And, I brought ALL my lenses, 9-18, 20, 12-50, 40-150, 75-300, and I used them all. The only hassle was carrying the pack (not all that heavy) to the jeep in the morning, and back at night. No hassle in the jeep during the rides.

3. Typical "vacation." Going to a settle in at a park or the seaside? Often I'll take all my lenses, but only one body. But, as someone else said, if it's going to be a hassle (frequently moving with public transportation), I'll strip down. The 20, 12-50, and 40-150 is a good set, but I'd supplement with the 9-18 if I'm going to a European city or "big expanse" sites--or when I know I'll have the time and interest to get "art" shots. The 9-18 is tiny and light, so no big deal.

So, a lot of features of the "trip" play in, including transportation mode (hiking for several days?; lots of public transportation?; then go simple and light), subject (longest zoom you have for animals in the wild; wide AND bright for cities), and how you want to treat the trip. Is it FOR photography, or just travel snaps for the family?

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Michael M Fliegel
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to boxerman, 4 months ago

My travel kit is primarily my 11-22 and 14-54.  I have both the 40-150 and 70-300 but rarely take them unless I have the need. As previously stated, only you can decide based on your shooting style.

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Enir4
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

I'm going to Italy in a few days. I will take the GM1 with the kit 12-32. All the bigger stuff will stay home.

Enrique

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WW Webster
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Re: Preferred travel zoom for m4/3?
In reply to Jim in Hudson, 4 months ago

Jim in Hudson wrote:

I'm considering the E-M1, E-M10, or E-M5.

All of these bodies have IBIS, so buying any lenses with IS could be a little self-defeating.

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