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Backpacking Kit

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dornblaser, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I regularly do a lot of front country outings: base camp or stay in a cabin and then hiking, fly fishing, etc. One of my neighbors, now that his kids are all in college, wants to do a couple of short backpacking trips this year in the Boundary Waters, UP or the Northwoods in the Lake Superior area. I am already over-thinking my camera kit. I will probably take the O-MD, O12, O12-50 & O40-150. I am thinking of taking some Milky Way pictures and I will probably take along my underused Gorillapod. We will be light but not ultra-light. Eight miles a day on average. Any thoughts or recommendations?
     
  2. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I think you've got a decent sounding kit for your intended purpose, but you might consider adding a fast prime in the 17-25mm range for low light if you want to do night and campfire photos etc.

    I've done quite a few backpacking trips and one canoe trip with my m4/3 gear, and usually find the most use out of a fast lens like a 25mm f/1.4, and/or a general use zoom like the 12-35mm (or even the 14-140mm before I sold it) during the daylight. Your 12-50 would probably do ok for the zoom, and it's even weather sealed which is nice if you hit inclement weather on your trip.

    Some random thoughts, in no particular oder:
    - You may be surprised how dark it gets under the forest cover; there a faster lens is often helpful even during the day.
    - A longish prime can be cool for snapping portraits of your friends and such, but a fast normal lens or the kit zoom can also suffice depending on your preferences. I've gotten some fun portraits with the 75mm or 45mm camping, but I do leave them at home most trips.
    - Telephotos don't seem to come out much for me except when shooting wildlife or certain landscapes. If you don'd mind the weight, the 40-150mm might be cool to have along just in case, but I can say if I brought one it'd likely never make it out of my bag (see next item).
    - Bearing in mind you're likely to have your gear packed in a backpack or pocket, how likely are you to switch lenses a lot? I find myself sticking to one or 2 lenses max, even when I bring 3 or 4 along. For example, 40-150 is nice for close wildlife or isolating a landscape, but wildlife rarely gives you time to change lenses. Plus I find myself feeling often feeling a little rushed if on the trail stopping to take photos, so a I dislike changing lenses or setting up a tripod etc. IMO it might be easier to stick to a single zoom + one good prime lens, and add the 12mm if you wanted to do some wide+fast milky way photos.

    Hope some of that helps!
     
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Your kit sounds just fine.

    I love backpacking, and usually keep to the back-country. I like to travel light with a Mini, 50mm/1.4, and 85mm/1.8. :) I don't think I could get any lighter than that.

    Only thing is, with an OM-D I would seriously consider the 35-100mm/2.8 as a one-lens solution which is fully weather proof, fast enough, wide enough, and long enough. Yes, I mean to accentuate "enough", as we are traveling light remember? You should be more than pleased by the image quality of that pairing, and feel safe carrying it around anywhere.

    If you really feel you need to go wider or closer, you could add in your 12mm/2 and maybe a 60mm/2.8 Macro, which shouldn't add too much extra space.
     
  4. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    Take two spare batteries if you'll be shooting in the chill of night, one spare should be enough otherwise. I'd personally expect the 12-50 and a prime to be sufficient, though if you chase wildlife maybe the 40-150 is worth the few extra grams.

    Sounds like fun - health problems have curtailed my backpacking time since 2009, but I still plan and dream! :cool:
     
  5. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    926
    Nov 6, 2012
    Canada
    +1 on extra battery. The kit looks fine but you never know what temperature will do to your batteries. So just in case, bring an extra one.
     
  6. Mr Hahn

    Mr Hahn Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Jul 9, 2010
    SLC, Utah
    Nate
    I like camping as much as I like photography, here's what I use when I'm in the mountains or canyons here in Utah:

    Camping Bag: I highly recommend the F-stop Satori EXP with the Small or Micro insert. I can easily fit 3-5 days of supplies in this bag along with my m4/3 camera kit. I purchased it when I was using a Nikon D7000 with big glass and I wanted better weight distribution. Now that I'm back into m4/3 this bag went from great to perfect for backcountry backpacking because I have much more space for camping gear if I want to stay out longer. And, if I'm not carrying any camera gear for some reason, I just pull the ICU out for even more space. This bag replaced my camping ruck and my camera backpack in one stroke. For reference I'm 6'2" and the waist belt actually goes around my waist, not my belly button like most camera backpacks that tried out.
    F-stop Gear: Satori EXP

    Camera Satchel: If I'm leaving my base camp and I just want a couple pieces of camera gear and a water bottle for a short hike, I pull out a light canvas shoulder bag that I keep folded in the backpack. I purchased one on amazon for $20 and it's based on the bag used by Jack Bauer from the TV series "24", it's similar to this one:
    Jack Bauer Bag

    Tripod: For the lightest yet most stable I went with the Gitzo GT0531 and a RRS BH-30 head. There are cheaper alternatives, but none of them are lighter AND more stable. This combo is barely 2 pounds to carry and it's very durable.
    Amazon: Gitzo GT0531
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Thanks for the recommendations. The suggestion about a a prime for low light situations is a good one, I have thought about taking the O17. I like having a short zoom on the camera when I am hiking and unless Olympus releases their mystery 2.8 beforehand I will stick with O12 - 50. We won't be burning daylight at 8 miles/day so the times that we see a landscape that we won't approach, an eagle, loon, black bear; or moose, the O40-150 is worth the pack space/weight. As much as I complain about :43: zooms, I do use the O40-150 a lot. Good call on the mini but we haven't upgraded our E-PM1 to the E-PM2 nor E-PL as we are waiting to see if the E-Px is a rangefinder. I would want the OM-D sensor for the Milk Way captures. I haven't thought about a camping bag/satchel for the kit, I was just going use Micro Lens Pouches for the lenses and bury them in my clothes, sleeping bag, etc. and carry the camera on a sling.
     
  8. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Is there anything particular you're hoping for from the 12/2? For landscapes the kit 12-50 seems like it would be sufficient, except maybe in dim lighting.
     
  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Milky Way shots.
     
  10. Mr Hahn

    Mr Hahn Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Jul 9, 2010
    SLC, Utah
    Nate
    The 9-18mm is also capable of doing some great wide angle shots of the stars and milky way. I don't have any recent examples myself, but check out these 2 posted by "dukenukem" in the OM-D image thread:

     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I have seen those shots before and they are still WOW. Since I own the O12 and not the O9-18 I was hoping to use the O12.
     
  12. Mr Hahn

    Mr Hahn Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Jul 9, 2010
    SLC, Utah
    Nate
    Gotcha, didn't realize you already owned the 12mm. I'd really like to see what the faster 12mm can do for Astrophotography.
     
  13. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    There a couple of astro-threads on this board already. There were a couple where the photographers using the O12 but there was at least one using the O75.
     
  14. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    784
    Jan 10, 2013
    Sounds like a fantastic getaway. Have a great time.
     
  15. Talanis

    Talanis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Oct 15, 2012
    Sherbrooke, Canada
    Eric Cote
    If you have 300$ to spare, I would get the Samyang 7.5mm. Your kit could then be the 7.5mm, the 12-50 and then a fast prime.
     
  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Thanks. I am looking forward to our trips.
     
  17. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I have never been able to wrap my head around a fisheye. I would need to rent one first.
     
  18. brianb032

    brianb032 Mu-43 Veteran

    216
    Jan 10, 2011
    N.Carolina
    You don't wrap your head around a fisheye. It wraps around yours. :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Touché
     
  20. Talanis

    Talanis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Oct 15, 2012
    Sherbrooke, Canada
    Eric Cote
    You can de-fish it too ;)
    Just look at Norseman1968's work with aurora borealis in the Samyang 7.5mm photo thread :)