Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 16,179
Re: OT - Japan travel

Guy Parsons wrote:

larsbc wrote:

This will be our first trip to Japan and I really should've paid more attention to the JR Pass window first, rather than booking accommodations first.

We make bookings to fit the train window. Such as flying into Narita around 5pm then waddle off to a hotel near Narita airport for one night, then kick off the 3 week train pass the next morning - so far not sure where to at first. Back at the end of the train pass we book the express back from Tokyo to Narita on the last day of the pass and fly out that evening.

Yeah, we've got a hotel in Narita we're staying at right after we land.  Then begin the trip proper the next day after some rest.  We're flying home from Narita, as well.  Right now, we're not sure what to do re: getting to Narita.  The flight is at 4pm and the last city we'll be at is Osaka.  So we could either take a train to Tokyo/Narita the day before our departure and spend the night there, OR we could leave Osaka early in the morning to catch our flight.  I'm leaning towards getting there the night before.  What do you think?

The train pass gets you through the side gate where the attendant is and not through any normal ticket gate.

I'll have to remember that.

We use Hyperdia.com to sort out the train travel. Seats need to be booked on each long distance train leg (for free with the pass), do that early, best sort all train bookings out on the first day, particularly the high speed trains as they get busy. From then on it's an easy cruise with just getting on the train at the correct door (can be fun to find the right door at times) and get to your booked seat.

Thanks for that suggestion.  I did use Hyperdia to get a comparison of pass vs no pass to see which to buy.

Large luggage stays in racks at end of carriage, but if using carry-on size or not much bigger then that can fit near your knees in the high speed trains.

We're going to travel light on this trip so all four of us will have one 40L or smaller backpack each.  I'll have my camera bag as well.  We should be fine with keeping the bags with us on the train.

My wife just called out, they are clamping down on big suitcases on trains, they may be starting charging for bigger cases. Not sure what the limits are, we will explore and advise.


If you need to change trains on any trip, make sure that you have something like 10 or 15 minutes to do that as it is easy to get confused at some stations. We did a high speed train swap at Shin-Osaka in 6 minutes and it was a very close call.

Wow, good tip.  I'll have to remember that.

Make things easy to carry as Japan is known for lots of stairs. Trains run strictly on time, be there with a safety margin of time.

What about escalators?  Are they quite common in the stations?  My wife is still debating backpack or smaller roller bag.

and make sure we know how to use the buses in one or two of the small towns.

They are easy. Have lots of the local coins and sort out how to use them. When you get on most buses there is a ticket machine at the door and you grab one. It shows where you started the journey. An indicator panel up front updates as you travel and shows the price to pay at the next stop correlated to all the stops that you could have started from.

That's reassuring to know, thanks.

I keep telling myself that thousands of photographers better than myself have photographed Japan with less but it's still hard to pare down.

It all depends on if you are chasing "perfect photography" or simply getting well composed memories of the trip.

I'll probably spend more time schlepping my proposed gear setup around town locally before making a final decision.  I need to find that balance between comfort/enjoyment and photographic versatility/quality.

Sometimes I temp myself with bringing the lightweight 12-60/3.5-5.6 and leaving the 12-35 and 35-100 at home. Maybe I'll do some shallow DOF comparisons between 100@2.8 and 60@5.6.

The 12-60mm makes sense, better sense would be a 12-100/4 plus the 8-18mm and nothing else. I may yet get the 12-100/4 for just that upcoming Japan trip.

I usually carry my most used lens/camera combo on a Capture Clip on a cross-chest strap.  I'm skeptical that I'd be comfortable with a lens as big/heavy as the 12-100/4 in that role.

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