Japan Trip lens selection

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 33,064
Re: Japan Trip lens selection

StayReal wrote:

Hi guys,

First things first, I'm only a beginner in photography so sometimes don't take the most amazing photos. I'm planning a month long trip to Japan next year and wondering whether I should take all my lenses or invest in new one with greater range of focal length to take less. Will be going from Osaka up to Hokkaido, so will be shooting a bit of everything.

These are my current lenses:

Panasonic 8-18mm 2.8-4

A must. I recently acquired one and ended up using it way more than expected.

The supplied petal hood annoyed me with its size and didn't fit my small snoot bag that easily so I ditched the petal hood and added a 68-62mm step-down ring and also a plain third party edge squeeze 62mm lens cap. That worked well. The lens is only liable to flare when at or near 8mm so added hand shading works.

In Japan there are plenty of space confined situations such as in some temples and narrow streets and very wide is the way to go then.

20mm f1.7

Personally I would not bother, but a small lens that helps in very low light may well be of use at times.

12-32mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens

So small and can be so useful, yes, take it. But there is an overlap with the better 8-18mm so maybe just maybe this tiny one could be left behind and think about another lens that covers the 18mm to 45mm gap better. The old 14-45mm would be the ideal there.

45-150mm f4-5.6

In my case not many shots in that range but it certainly is useful for picking off details, plus it is so small and light it also is a must have on a long trip.

Just organise a camera bag that makes it easy to swap lenses.

I don't know if I should take the whole lot, or should I invest in another lens with a greater range of focal length and only take 1 or 2 lenses.

Less lens juggling certainly makes life easier and does not annoy partners or travel groups so much. If travelling on your own then no problems.

I solved the "less lens juggling" by buying a Sony RX100M6 with its "24-200mm" range and then also took on the last trip the M4/3 with 8-18mm lens, where the 8-18mm did most of the work and the Sony seemed to be mostly used for picking off details or when I needed a quiet unobtrusive camera.

As usual you may get a heap of conflicting advice but in the end you should only take what you are comfortable with. A day outing or two pretending to be a tourist may help you decide.

Japan is a great place to see lots of interesting things, but the warning is that tourism is extreme there now and all the popular places are always crowded. I was there in 2009 (quiet, after GFC) then 2011 (also quiet after nuclear disaster) and last time in 2014 (getting very busy, and is way busier now). See the growth in tourist numbers..... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_Japan also https://www.tourism.jp/en/tourism-database/stats/inbound/

From memory the Japan aim was 20 million tourists per year but it has climbed way over that now, the Wiki chart stops at 2017 with 28.7 million. So make sure all trains and accommodation are booked, winging it would be extremely difficult. Olympics of course will cause even more chaos for the July to August period.

My favourite time was Cherry Blossom (it is getting earlier and more random due to global warming), second was Autumn colours in November, early summer was OK but gets very hot and humid later on in summer.

Regards..... Guy

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