Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 33,302
Re: OT - Japan travel

larsbc wrote:

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.

Not time for rest, must get going and see things!

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?

I always work on trying to get closer to my leaving point, so Tokyo sounds good, then book the express to Narita with plenty of time of course before the flight. Last time we stayed in a nice small hotel in Ueno for the last few days exploring Tokyo (we both loved Fabric Town, Nippori) and was easy to get to Narita from there. That Tokyo-Narita express is only booked seats so need to plan ahead with timing.

My wife says it's OK from Osaka, carefully check the timings though, you would need to be at the airport at 1pm in theory. It's 4 hours 20 mins travel if all goes well, catch 8am train at Osaka. Also it could depend on when your pass runs out, the tickets and booking fees are quite expensive. I would cover the most distances with the pass and just use paid tickets for the shorter travel at the start or end of the pass use.

[Guy] 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.

When in Japan you validate the train pass voucher you bought and you are issued with a "travel card" I'd suppose you would call it and that is what is shown to the side gate attendant, they like to see the expiry date usually.

[Guy] 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.

Each time we go, be it 2 week or 3 week pass, we seem to end up getting about 3x the value of what we paid for the pass. Tokyo of course is a mess of private lines so some travel is pay as you go, but basic routes around the city are JR so the pass gets us to most places we need.

Last trip we sought out the last tram still running in Tokyo and went end to end on that for an interesting little adventure, plus found a magic little local park on our walk back to the nearest train station. Interesting things happen all the time when off the usual tourist high point trails.

[Guy] 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.

Sounds good, sometimes the small overhead racks will cope with luggage, otherwise around the knees on the Shinkansen. They are way roomier than cattle class on planes.

There's a floor lever to enable turning the seats so you can have 2 facing 2. An attendant will help with that if confused.

[Guy] 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.

[Guy] 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.

Big stations yes, little stations no. Small roller bag OK as long as she can carry it easy up/down those inevitable stairs.

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

[Guy] 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.

It all works out, you will not be the only confused people on the bus. Be very aware of where you need to get off as you might not recognise or understand where you are at times.

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.

For me the super enjoyment mode was using only the Sony RX100M6 in a small belt pouch while having a two week Singapore holiday. Happy with the results, but I did miss wide angle beyond "24mm". Japan is full of wide angle shots.

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.

OK I can see that as a problem, the 12-100/4 is getting a tad big. But not so bad for me using the E-P5 as the base camera and using screen only. It would be lighter and more compact to carry. I need to make a decision on that myself in the 60 days leading up to departure as I then can get the 10% tax refunded at Sydney airport.

The 12-100mm lust comes about because of the "24-200mm" ease of use of the little Sony, I ended up taking way more tele shots than I usually do as I enjoyed it so much. No lens to change so why not take a tele shot of that little detail that I usually would not bother with. The Sony totally altered my spread of used focal lengths and even outdid my wife who is usually the tele shot enthusiast.

Anyway, this is getting boring for others so if you like then PM me with your trip details or any questions then we'll try to help.

A lot of shops don't open until 10am but there's always 7Eleven and Lawsons and other early-late convenience stores that you can survive with. Credit cards were not really used much even last time in 2014, it was more a cash only society especially in small shops, check latest information about credit card use in Japan.

Japan = my favourite destination, so it's hard to stop me talking about it.

Regards.... Guy

 Guy Parsons's gear list:Guy Parsons's gear list
Sony RX100 VI Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II +5 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow