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Best focal length for a hike in the woods.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TVAkevin, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. TVAkevin

    TVAkevin Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Apr 28, 2016
    Winfield, IL
    Kevin
    I am going hiking this weekend on a day trip with some friends to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. For the most part, the terrain is pretty wooded but there are a few look-out points over the Illinois River. I only want to travel with two lenses to keep the load light since I'll have other things in my bag.

    What two prime focal lengths would you take? What two (or one) zoom ranges would you take?

    Much appreciated!
     
  2. astrostl

    astrostl Mu-43 Veteran

    358
    Oct 4, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Justin Honold
    I recently went to a park with the kids, an E-M1, and a pair of f/0.95 Voigtlanders: 17.5mm and 25mm. After heading down a path into nearby woods, the 25mm rapidly became useless because of close quarters.

    If I were taking two primes, I'd probably go with a 35mm equivalent (e.g. the Nokton 17.5) and something even wider (e.g. a 7.5 fisheye or a 12mm). I think a single P12-35/2.8 or O12-40/2.8 would do the trick, though. And handle the elements.
     
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  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Since this is a day hike, I'd probably just take a kit lens. I don't think primes have any advantage here. If it has to be a prime, I'd just take my 15mm f1.7.

    If I am 100% honest, I'd probably just take my phone.
     
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  4. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    What do you like to photograph? If you are hoping to capture some wildlife, you are going to need something long, probably a zoom. If you are just going for landscapes/portraits you might be able to along with some shorter FL primes.
     
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  5. TVAkevin

    TVAkevin Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Apr 28, 2016
    Winfield, IL
    Kevin
    Good question. I should have been more clear about this. I don't plan on capturing much wildlife. I'd be focusing more on landscapes and portraits of the friends that I will be with. As @tkbslc@tkbslc stated, maybe my 14-42mm kit lens might just do the trick for both scenarios.

    Normally, I would too, but I have made it a point to bring my camera with me more, I need practice shooting. It'll be interesting to see how much I use it, or if I find it cumbersome.
     
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  6. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    The 14-42 is a decent lens and lightweight.
     
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    14-140mm Mk II with a 9-18mm in my pocket. (The MK II is much lighter than the Mk I.)
     
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  8. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I would probably say a 14-140. For general landscape photography in a tightly wooded area, it's nice to have something wide angle like the 9-18mm to capture the immersiveness of it. Honestly, a fisheye is really good for this - it really allows you to capture the sense of being enclosed by the landscape better than anything else.

    But you never know when you're going to see some wildlife. A bird, a frog, a turtle, a deer, a fox...I find those to be special moments that are nice to capture. And a picture taken with a 14mm lens with a spec of some animal in the distance is usually the opposite of interesting. So if you don't want to switch lenses, the 14-140 is really a good compromise.

    This was on a nature hike last week. Was lucky to catch him at all, and this was at the full 140mm end of the lens...

    3Sd9fP7.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
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  9. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Honestly, the 17mm lenses are almost ideal for hiking in my opinion. Wide enough to get most of the details of a scene but you can still frame in interesting ways that center the focus on what you want.

    In addition to the 35mm look, I find a somewhat long lens is great for vistas where there are dominant elements like mountains, plus they give you compression which enhances the look of natural features quite a lot. I'd bring my 60mm Sigma, but a 45mm would also do very well here.
     
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  10. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    I usually only take the 14-150ii and add the 9-18 on occasion
     
  11. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I wasn't sure what the OP had in his/her kit.

    I hike with an Oly 14-150II plus the MCON. Now that I have a GWC1 I will probably start taking the Panny 14 2.5 and the converter.
     
  12. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    P1000830-2
    17mm

    P1000519
    17mm

    P1000527
    60mm

    Sorry for the links, my phone isn't working too well with Flickr images at the moment. I'll change these to embedded images later.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  13. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Veteran

    399
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    I can only tell you what I'd take out of my gear, which would be the 14-42II and the O45. If I had the O12-40 f2.8, that'd be all I took despite the size - possibly the 7.5mm Samyang in my pocket. I tend to travel with three or four lenses but I'm not going on long hikes, it's just family walks for me.
     
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  14. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    I've been to Starved Rock a few times, I'd take my Oly 60 macro for macro & portraits, and either my Pan 25 or 14-42 for the waterfall.
     
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  15. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Regular

    32
    Aug 2, 2013
    Colorado
    Based on the lenses in your profile list, I would take either your 14-42 or 19mm (I really like the sigma and often carried it instead of my p14-42 kit before I got the 12-40Pro) plus your 40-150.

    From my kit (I don't own many primes)
    Primes I would take the only three native primes I own - Rokinon Fisheye, Sigma 19mm, and P42.5/1.7 Short of wildlife, this would cover everything I would need, and have often hiked with this kit (42.5 is practically macro for my purposes).
    Zooms when weight is a major concern: P12-32 and P35-100/4-5.6
    Zooms when weight is a medium concern: O12-40 Pro and P35-100/4-5.6
    Zooms when weight is no concern (I usually am willing to suffer) - O12-40 Pro and P/L 100-400 --- (I have been known to carry too many lenses, after camping gear and a climbing rack, what's a couple extra pounds?)

    Mix and Match for a hike in the woods.. Probably the fisheye and O12-40
     
  16. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    TVAkevin: Dunno what you already have, but if I were packing light, I'd probably take my O 9-18 or P 12-32 and O 60 macro. Even with the 9-18, you could get some close quarter portraits, and certainly with the 60 plus close-ups. I don't have the 14-150 II lens, but if I had one, that might be my choice as well. The O 60 would be kinda short for wildlife, but better than 18. :)
     
  17. TVAkevin

    TVAkevin Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Apr 28, 2016
    Winfield, IL
    Kevin
    @Mountain@Mountain Thanks for taking a look at my lenses in my profile and tailoring your response. I appreciate that.

    I'm leaning toward the O14-42 and the Sigma 19mm, and if I have room, take the O40-150.

    Appreciate everyone's responses.
     
  18. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I would second this!
     
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I took the Panny 14-45 and the 45-150 on a trip to the Galapagos. Big mistake. Changing lenses outdoors is not fun and it seemed like whenever I had a good shot, the wrong lens was on the camera. I came home, sold 'em both, bought a 14-140, and pocketed some change. I have never regretted it. YMMV of course.

    That was the original 14-140. I have since switched to the MK II because of the lighter weight.
     
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  20. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    True. Changing lenses could be a problem. Although, if I knew I was going to the Galapagos or or on a safari where wildlife would be the primary subject, I'd bring two bodies and have a wide to short tele on one and a long tele zoom on the other. Those are not the kind of trips where a light travel kit is the right means to the goal, although it could work.