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4/3 camera for around the world trip!

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by brents, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. brents

    brents Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently looking at an EPL-1 or a GF2 for a round the world trip that i will be doing for a year with my girlfriend come december. I will be living out of a backpack for the whole year and won't be staying in any place for very long at all. :eek:  Yes, I'm scared, very scared!

    I have played with the GF2 and I'm not massively keen on the touch screen but the build quality did seem to be slightly better than an EPL-1.

    My only real worries with the EPL-1 are;
    Build quality - hopefully some of you epl owners can give me your opinions?
    Shutter speed - is not having 1/40000 really that big of a deal?

    On the plus side - the image quality, especially jpegs straight out of the camera, is fantastic. I won't be doing barely any post processing for obvious reasons so this is an important aspect of the camera.

    I've also considered the NEX 5 (is that a swear word here? :tongue: ) due to it's build quality but the kit lens kind of lets it down.

    Ideally the epl2 would be an option but I've been very put off by the numerous reviews and gripes regarding the red spot problem! Again, your opinions on this would be great.

    Thanks all :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  2. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    First. You'll have a lot of fun on that RTW trip. You might catch the bug and not stop. I really haven't. About 5 years out of that last 10, I've been on the road. Yes, it's scary the first time but after the first week, you'll realize that it's awesome. 6 weeks in, you'll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner. 6 months in, you'll be crying to go home. Just settle down in one spot for a week or two and let it pass, you'll get your second wind. In the end of the year, you won't want to stop.

    How much luggage are you taking? A roller, a big backpack or a little backpack. It helps to determine which camera you should take. I have both an E-P1 and a NEX. The NEX has a larger sensor and thus larger lenses. To be honest though, the twilight and HDR modes make it worth it. If you are taking a big backpack anyways.... I travel very lightly. As in my "big" backpack is about the size of most people's daybacks. I also have a laptop bag. I don't have the space for the E-P1 or a NEX. Here's something you might want to consider. Get a tough camera. If you will be traveling for a year, you'll need a camera for all occassions. Are you going snorkeling the Galapagos? You'll need an underwater camera. Are you going to be climbing a glacier in New Zealand? You'll need a cold weather camera. Are you going to be floating down a river in Laos? You'll need both a waterproof camera and a tough camera once the mud starts flying. For those reasons, I travel with my trusty TX5. It takes good pictures and works in all environments. It's been dropped, kicked, dunked, slammed and frozen. I've met a lot of sad travellers who's cameras have been smashed or soaked in an unexpected tide. It's also tiny and thus is always in my pocket. A bigger camera would be a hassle when you're crawling using your elbows in a tunnel in Vietnam.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. brents

    brents Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    Thanks for some great info lenshoarder. It's good to hear from someone who has been there and done it.

    I'm like you, i will be travelling light. A 35litre pack to be precise!! I have considered the rugged cameras such as the TX5 and totally understand the reasons for taking one but at the same time i would love to have something like an epl1 to capture the journey. The route we are taking is 6 months in South East Asia, 3 months on the gold coast in Oz, 3 months in NZ, 1 month in Fiji and then a quick stop in LA on the way home.

    Have you ever travelled with your NEX or epl1? Did you find that you were always worrying about them because of their price tag and relative fragility compared to a tx5??

    Thanks again!
  4. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    I always think it's best to have at least 2 cameras when traveling but with only 35 liters of packing space even things like size of battery charger are important. I would lean towards a P&S (Canon S95 or Panasonic LX5) and GF2 or EPL1 etc but do look at little things like size and even if the battery charge needs a cord or not. What are you planning for data backup?
  5. Bluebear

    Bluebear Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 23, 2011
    You might like to consider the GF1. I looked at the GF2 last week and was put off by the touch screen. The GF1 has superb build quality and lots of control.
    I look forward to seeing some of your images when you're back from your trip!
  6. Fred49

    Fred49 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    2 cameras

    I would take one camera each, thats what i did for the last hiking holiday with my wife and we enjoyed it.

    We carry up to 2 weeks of food while hiking, so i am very careful about the weight of everything we carry.
    Back then i had EP2 + 14-42 and she had a pana FZ38 we loved the combo.

    For our next holiday i am hesitating , i love so much the 20mm i bought since.
    Perhaps EP2 + 20mm for me and again a bridge for her ( but i sold the fz38 and i dont find any decent and light bridge in the new models ).
    Or an EPL 1/2 + 14-150 for my wife , this lens is quite light.
  7. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
    Wow! You'll definitely be travelling light. Oh to be young again.

    You may want to prepare yourself for rain. If you hit SE Asia during the monsoon season, make sure you have some sort of waterproof bag for your camera. A couple of double seal zip loc bags would do the trick.
  8. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
    Oh, another thing. I don't think not having a 1/4000 shutter speed will be a problem. Back in the old days my SLR only had 1/1000 speed until I purchased the Nikon F2A and F2AS (which I still have) then my shutter speed capability went up to 1/2000.
  9. brents

    brents Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    Wow, thanks for so many replies already. It's a bit of a novelty to find a friendy and helpful forum nowadays!

    We are taking a small netbook with us aswell so all photos will be backed up on that and then emailed to ourselves (unlimited gmail account) for ultra security.

    I like the idea of having two cameras - especially as there will be two of us travelling. I'm thinking the combination of epl1 or gf1/2 + 20mm panny would be a good size to be put in a backpack. Also something like the Sony TX5 for the rugged camera that needs no protection!

    Luckily i'm not travelling in the rainy season so shouldn't have too many struggles with the weather but will definitely take a few ziplocs just in case.

    I'm planning to keep a blog as we go and will of course update it with any good pictures that i take along the way. I will post the blog link on here before i go for anyone that is interested.

    Any other advice/suggestions welcome :smile:

    thanks again
  10. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I've never travelled with anything other than a P&S. I simply don't have room for it. I've tried test fitting them in my laptop bag. No go.

    There are a lot of people that travel with DSLRs now days. In many toursit places they seem to outnumber the P&S shooters. I've travelled with backpackers and even a pro photographer or two who bring a full kit along. They always have their camera bag with them. So it's doable and many people do.

    Dude, if you are going to SEA, then I'm assuming you'll be snorkeling/diving in Thailand and floating down the river getting drunk in Laos. If you are going to NZ, you'll probably be climbing a glacier or two and swimming with the dolphins. How are you going to take pictures of any of that with a E-PL1 or a GF1? I guess you could get a underwater case but that'll be pricey. You could also risk it with one of those glorified zip lock bags. Are you going to be going out to bars and clubs? A P&S will fit in your pocket. You'll have to hang a E-PL1 around your neck or have a fanny pack. Neither of which is exactly the height of fashion.

    For someone travelling RTW for a year. I would definitely recommend a tough camera or you'll end up missing shots you will regret later. There are only two worth considering in my opinion. The Sony TX5 and the Panasonic TS2. Both those are real cameras with good IQ that just happen to be tough. The other tough cameras maybe tough, but not very good cameras. If you can wait, the TX10 will be a significant upgrade to anything else in the tough market.
  11. greyelm

    greyelm Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    Whatever camera you chose I would recommend taking a number of SD cards and swapping them out regularly. This way if you lose the camera you haven't lost all your shots. Of course if you get internet access you could upload them but I'm sure you'd rather be doing other things. Also spare batteries & international charger.

    BTW. I have both a G1 & GF1, I leave my 14-45mm on the G1 and the 20mm on the GF1. Not too bulky.
  12. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    It's always the rainy season. It's just less or more rainy. I always take ziplocs but not to keep out the rain, they are incredibly useful for organizing things.

    You should get a rain cover for your backpack. Or buy one of those disposable ponchos that can fit over you and your backpack. Or if you want to really be frugal aka cheap, a big trashbag that you can make into a poncho. Ziplocks will keep your things dry, but a drenched backpack is no fun. Even a "weatherproof" backpack short of a drybag won't do the job.
  13. brents

    brents Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    All of the above makes perfect sense. I'm in no rush to get a "tough" camera as yet but i will definitely get one before we go (probably the TX10) and that will be the daily camera. It will really come into it's own for the snorkeling etc. I will put some more thought into whether i want to take an epl1 or similar aswell and keep it in my day bag.

    One of the main things i'm thinking about is that because we are away for a year and not working at all, it's going to be a great opportunity to really get some good practice in with a "proper" camera like an epl1/gf1.

    again, thanks to everyone for all the advice, it's really helped.

  14. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
    Have you considered the LX5 or the XZ1? Those would be much more pocketable for travel than the GF1 or EPL1.
  15. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    I think you pretty much answered your question right there. :smile:
    You'll probably want to shoot in mostly jpeg, so you won't need to carry dozens of memory cards, or load up your hard-drive.

    As far as build quality, I find the Panasonics to be superb. My only gripes about it are: the hand-grips are usually slim on the GF series bodies. My big hands would cramp after holding on too long. For multi-tasking, I prefer the grip and ergonomics of the EP-L1. It feels like a better one-handed camera (especially w/ a pancake lens). Plus it's one hand-operation for the menu, unlike the touchscreen on the GF.

    To me, the camera you are least likely to drop or put down is probably the more durable one. The jury is still out on which one would survive a full-on ballistics test.

    My long-term travel equipment would be:

    EPL1 + 20mm Lumix pancake, and one zoom.
    (lots of memory cards, and aftermarket battery since it's cheap, maybe viewfinder for daytime)

    S95 or same class P&S that shares the same memory format as the Oly.
    (you can't deny the convenience of having a smaller camera in your pocket...especially in uncharted territory or questionable urban areas.)

    Have fun man!

  16. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    If you are interested in a S95, you can get a refurb directly from Canon for $320. It was $259 exactly 8 days ago but what can you do now?

    Canon Direct Store- PowerShot S95 Refurbished

    The S90 is $20 or so less if you really need to save money.

    The people who've bought it report the shutter counts can be as low as 8-10.
  17. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    We've not long ago returned from a 4-week trip to Vietnam. We took an EPL-1 with Panasonic 20mm and Olympus 14-150mm, and a Panasonic FT2 "tough" camera. Very worthwhile to have both: there were a number of occasions where the conditions were unsuitable for the E-PL1 (mostly splashes from boats, but also resort pools etc). I have no problems with the build quality of the E-PL1.

    Regarding GF2 vs E-PL1/2, I would ignore the red spot problem myself. It's hard to repeat. There was a good hands-on E-PL2 blog about it that somene referenced a few weeks back.

    For travel, I prefer the Olympus with built-in stabilisation. It means you can use non-stabilised zooms that are lighter and more compact. The 1/2000 shutter speed is only really an issue in bright sunlight with a fast lens, and the E-PL2 goes to 1/4000 I believe. If you really need shallow depth-of-field in bright sunlight, then you can use an ND filter. Otherwise, use your (slower) zoom lens. The Olympus 14-150 produces great images in good light, particularly in the mid-range of its zoom.

    I didn't worry too much about losing the camera gear. I was more worried about losing images, since the gear can (and should) be insured. One of the advantages of the m4/3 gear is that you can stash it in an unobtrusive bag so it's less obvious. There's a good bags thread here. With a pancake attached, the cameras are also fairly unobtrusive and less likely to attract attention.
  18. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    Why not have a look at Olympus E-PL2? I'm testing one right now and it's a really sweet camera. I like it quite a bit better than E-PL1 which I also had a chance to test.

    Price difference between them is less than $100 (at least where I live). I'd say Olympus E-PL2 with Oly 14-150mm lens and Panny 20mm pancake will make for a very good travel kit capable of capturing great pictures and decent video.
  19. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I think you should buy what you want and that any camera is better than no camera. Having said that........ After you've forgotten about the horrible in flight meals and the cramped seats. Long after you've forgotten how much the trip cost or how many people you met or the meals you ate or the idiots in airport security, you will have absolutely nothing to show for all the time taken and the money spent, except the photos you took while you were there. And you can never go back and get those pictures again, because things change. Take a good camera, one you will use often. Or like me take three. Learn its little tricks and quirks and take many, many photos. And just occasionally lift your eye from the viewfinder, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.

    • Like Like x 1
  20. brents

    brents Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    You've reminded me why i wanted a good camera in the first place. It's so easy to get obsessed with reviews and peoples opinions and forget your own reasons for really wanting something.

    From all of the above advice i think a 2 camera set up will be a great idea. One camera that can take the knocks and one such as an epl1/2 that will take photo's that will capture the moments i never want to forget.

    I have seriously considered the epl2 but still have concerns over the red spot issue. Again, i'm probably just reading far too many reviews and being overly sensitive. What have you found your experience to be with any red spot probs??

    thanks for everyones comments. There is a very good chance i will buying an epl1/2 this weekend :smile:
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