Japan Trip lens selection

Started 3 months ago | Questions
gnik1 Regular Member • Posts: 167
Re: Japan Trip lens selection
3

jeffharris wrote:

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

20mm f1.7

12-32mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens

45-150mm f4-5.6

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.

Any suggestions appreciated.

Another thought.

Sell the 45-150mm and 12-32mm and get a 14-140mm. Although, you probably wouldn’t get much for those lenses.

The 14-140mm is a great lens, super flexible, fun to use, excellent image quality given it’s range, size, weight and price.

That would give you 8-18mm, 14-140mm (for daylight use) and 20mm. Simple, flexible kit.

My basic travel kit is similar. 7-14mm f4, 14-140mm and a fast prime or two.

Yeah, I tend to agree - central to a good travel kit is a general purpose zoom with a range that covers most situations.  Lens changing on the go is a pain - your travel companions get annoyed and half the time you miss the shot.  Any of 14-140, 12-100 or 12-60 are good depending on your preferences & budget.

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Space the final frontier Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Re: Japan Trip lens selection
1

If you can afford to get another lens, consider the 12-100 f/4. Together with your 8-18, it is a great combination.

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Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro
Kent Ekasak
Kent Ekasak Contributing Member • Posts: 607
Re: Japan Trip lens selection
2

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

20mm f1.7

12-32mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens

45-150mm f4-5.6

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.

Any suggestions appreciated.

I travelled to Japan a lot!, countless times, from cities to nature and many unknown destinations.. I assumed that you will take train to travel, and it will involve lots of walking.. So, "minimalism" is the key..

If you don't want to spend any more money, 20/1.7 alone will be fine.. I used to take 20/1.7 as a single lens for many of my Japan trips years ago.. If you want to take more lens, 8-18 will be the choice.. That's it.. This 1 prime and 1 zoom are happily good for your trip..

If you want to spend some $$$, the prime I would suggest is 15/1.7 as a single prime for everything, day and night especially in the city.. I find 15 much more fun to use than 20.. For zoom, 1260/2.8-4.0 is my recommended choice, especially for nature trip in Hokkaido..

I would choose the lightest and most minimalism as possible for Japan trip..

2ndact scene1 Regular Member • Posts: 245
Re: Japan Trip lens selection
1

Kent Ekasak wrote:

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

20mm f1.7

12-32mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens

45-150mm f4-5.6

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.

Any suggestions appreciated.

I travelled to Japan a lot!, countless times, from cities to nature and many unknown destinations.. I assumed that you will take train to travel, and it will involve lots of walking.. So, "minimalism" is the key..

If you don't want to spend any more money, 20/1.7 alone will be fine.. I used to take 20/1.7 as a single lens for many of my Japan trips years ago.. If you want to take more lens, 8-18 will be the choice.. That's it.. This 1 prime and 1 zoom are happily good for your trip..

If you want to spend some $$$, the prime I would suggest is 15/1.7 as a single prime for everything, day and night especially in the city.. I find 15 much more fun to use than 20.. For zoom, 1260/2.8-4.0 is my recommended choice, especially for nature trip in Hokkaido..

I would choose the lightest and most minimalism as possible for Japan trip..

Minimalist is the way to go with everything you pack, including your electronics. You will end up carrying your luggage and walking significant distances. Plus many train and subway stations do not have convenient elevators and sometimes even escalators. So you have to carry everything up and down crowded staircases. Japanese people travel light and it is best for tourists to do the same.

In the past, I have taken a FF DSLR and two or three primes on trips to Asia, including Japan (28mm and 50mm most recently). I rarely regret not having anything longer. However, notwithstanding the minimalist lens selection, the FF kit was still heavy and my back and shoulders hurt. So M4/3 should solve that problem - which is why I am here today checking out alternatives.

If I was taking just primes today, my choice would be 24mm (FFE) and 50mm (FFE). But in m4/3, a zoom like the Oly 12-40 might work even better.

If you take a zoom, a fast prime for dark interiors might be very useful. However, many temples in Japan forbid interior photography, so depending on your interests, there may not be many opportunities use it. One place a fast lens is quite useful is at the large train museums in Kyoto and Nagoya. They offer great photo opportunities and I recommend visiting them. They make a nice change from visiting temples too!

I have been going to Japan for almost 40 years now but don’t get tired of it. But I do recommend concentrating on seeing it and making photography a second priority. You will still get some great images!

My next trip to Japan is in early 2020 and I want to upgrade my travel kit soon. So I am hoping for great Black Friday discounts on M4/3 gear!

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larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 16,168
Re: Japan Trip lens selection

2ndact scene1 wrote:

If I was taking just primes today, my choice would be 24mm (FFE) and 50mm (FFE). But in m4/3, a zoom like the Oly 12-40 might work even better.

If you're suggesting packing light, you should also consider the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 which is even smaller/lighter.  It doesn't focus as close as the 12-40 but for me, that's never been an issue.  I love this lens for its versatility and compact size.

amipal
amipal Senior Member • Posts: 1,107
What I took in 2014

StayReal wrote:

These are my current lenses:

Panasonic 8-18mm 2.8-4

20mm f1.7

12-32mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens

45-150mm f4-5.6

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.

I visited Japan in 2014, shortly after getting my GH3. I took the following lenses with me:

  • Olympus M.Zuiko 9/18mm
  • Panasonic Lumix 14-140 Mk2
  • Panasonic Leica f/1.4 25mm
  • Olympus M.Zuiko f/1.8 45mm

I never felt like I was missing anything with this range of lenses.You can check out my album on Flickr if you want to see examples.

Would I change that if I went again? Yes, but mostly because I've replaced some of those lenses, as well as now using different focal lengths for different needs (i.e. 17.5mm for street instead of 25mm). If I were going this year or next, I'd take the following:

  • Laowa f/2 7.5mm
  • Samyang 7.5mm FE
  • Panasonic Lumix 12-32mm
  • Voigtlander f/0.95 17.5mm
  • Panasonic Lumix f/1.7 42.5mm
  • Panasonic Leica 50-200mm

Cheers,
Paul

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2ndact scene1 Regular Member • Posts: 245
Re: Japan Trip lens selection

Thanks. I have not checked out the differences yet. The size and weight of a fast zoom are a potential issue. Like everything in photography, there are always compromises you have to make. Size/weight vs. maximum focal length in this case.

I may end up with a two fast primes instead - but which ones is still to be determined (15mm and 45mm?, 12mm and 45mm?, 25mm f1.4 and a wide angle, slow zoom?). The number of m4/3 lens choices is a plus but you have to work hard at choosing!

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Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 33,285
Re: Japan Trip lens selection

2ndact scene1 wrote:

Thanks. I have not checked out the differences yet. The size and weight of a fast zoom are a potential issue. Like everything in photography, there are always compromises you have to make. Size/weight vs. maximum focal length in this case.

I may end up with a two fast primes instead - but which ones is still to be determined (15mm and 45mm?, 12mm and 45mm?, 25mm f1.4 and a wide angle, slow zoom?). The number of m4/3 lens choices is a plus but you have to work hard at choosing!

Right now I can't remember exactly what I took on each Japan trip but I do remember that the 2009 trip I took only a Panasonic LX3 with its "24-60mm" performance and didn't miss much. So nice to travel with only a compact camera in a small belt pouch.

In 2011 I do remember an E-PL1 with 14-150mm lens, not sure that I enjoyed that and its results so much.

In 2014 I think it was E-P5 + 12-40/2.8 (best combination for me ever, still is) and some tele with Panasonic 45-150mm. I think that the 9-18mm taken was hardly used at all.

A later trip to Taiwan took E-P5 + 12-40/2.8 + Panasonic 35-100/2.8 + Samyang 7.5mm fisheye also a Casio ZR5100 with "19-95mm" and was happy with the results, but my small bag now getting a little heavier, except when I carried only the Casio in a belt pouch.

Experiment in 2019 was two weeks in Singapore with only the Sony RX100M6 with its "24-200mm" performance in a small belt pouch, really enjoyed the freedom of that trip and the results are close to M4/3 results, but I sorely missed wider than "24mm" thus ...

Recent trip to Ireland+England was with E-P5 + 8-18mm doing most of the work and some from the Sony to pick off details as mentioned in my earlier post above somewhere.

More for the OP....

Keep to thinking light weight travel for Japan as big cases don't always fit in crowds, on buses, on train overheads (if they exist) and on high speed trains. If you want to keep bags with you then smallish ones can fit in the high speed train knee space (it's generous knee space, not like cattle class on airplanes). Otherwise they stay in racks at the end of the carriage. Avoid peak time travel on suburban trains and totally forget that if carrying luggage.  Japanese are very honest, it's the other tourists that you need to worry about and they are everywhere.

Regards..... Guy

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Chez Wimpy
Chez Wimpy Veteran Member • Posts: 9,042
Re: Japan Trip lens selection

Guy Parsons wrote:

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.

Wow, these are the first numbers I have seen, but my experience on the ground mirrors this.  I live in a tourist location and the foreign visitors have shot up significantly in the 2014~ period (wasn't sure if it was a Lonely Planet related shift).  Part of it is down to the discount airline tickets that let foreigners fly here for a 1/3 (or less) of what locals have to pay during peak season.

As for lenses, the 8-18 would probably be enough (though the 12-32 could be made to work).   Since the telephoto lens is small enough the OP might bring it along, but mine rarely gets much use.

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-CW

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Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 33,285
Re: Japan Trip lens selection

Chez Wimpy wrote:

Guy Parsons wrote:

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.

Wow, these are the first numbers I have seen, but my experience on the ground mirrors this. I live in a tourist location and the foreign visitors have shot up significantly in the 2014~ period (wasn't sure if it was a Lonely Planet related shift). Part of it is down to the discount airline tickets that let foreigners fly here for a 1/3 (or less) of what locals have to pay during peak season.

A big jump happened when China eased up on travel and money restrictions for its people maybe around 2013 it seems, but generally cheap airfares mean that a heck of a lot more tourists from all over are everywhere. Being a tourist is nowhere near the fun it was, say, 15 or 20 years ago.

As for lenses, the 8-18 would probably be enough (though the 12-32 could be made to work). Since the telephoto lens is small enough the OP might bring it along, but mine rarely gets much use.

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Jerrwhy01 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Japan Trip lens selection
2

I’m currently in Japan on vacation. I’m 1/2 way thru my trip and I’ve probably taken between 1500-2000 pictures so far. 
I only brought two lenses to accompany my PEN-F; the Oly 12-40 and the 17mm 1.8. In lieu of a tripod, I’m using a Platy Pod and ball head combination. I have zero regrets with that decision. I use the 12-40 during the day and the 17 at night.

Most of my images have been in the 12-25mm range. There has only been one or two occasions that I’ve wanted a little more reach. However there have been a number of instances that I’ve wanted more width than the 12-40 can provide.

If you vacation will be anything similar to mine then you’re going to do a lot of walking with a bag or backpack of some kind. Weight may not be a concern to you but it certainly was for me. On average were walking around 12-15 miles a day by the time everything is said and done.

Hope it helps.

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