1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Costa Rica - keep my existing kit or update?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by keith1200rs, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. keith1200rs

    keith1200rs Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Nov 8, 2011
    North Yorkshire
    I am not sure if this is the correct forum but here goes ...

    I am planning to go to Costa Rica next year. Interests are birds, wildlife, flowers, plants, bugs and scenery. My current kit is:

    E-M10 Mk i & Mk II
    Olympus lenses:
    9-18mm
    14-42EZ (x2 - one spare)
    40-150mm f4/5.6
    75-300mm
    30mm macro

    Also, Samyang 7.5mm fisheye.

    My concerns with my kit are: weather resistance - rain forests are wet and I have rarely get great results with the 75-300. My thoughts are whether to buy an E-M5 Mk ii, 12-40 Pro and 40-150 Pro with 1.4x converter.

    This would give me some water resistance and a better quality long-ish lens, although I actually get decent results from the 40-150 f4/5.6. While the 300mm f4 is an option, I am concerned about weight and also, being fixed focal length you cannot quickly change from photographing a bird to a closer, larger subject such as a monkey. Using two bodies would help but not with weather resistance if one is the E-M10.

    I guess a 14-150 is a weather sealed possibility, although probably not the best lens for cropping at the long end compared to the 40-150 Pro.

    Photos are unlikely to be printed larger than 16x12". The last time I took photos in such an environment was a long time ago with full frame film SLRs and I have changed my kit several times since then before settling on m4/3 as the best compromise for weight (I hike a lot) and quality.

    E-M5 mk ii would also give me focus stacking with the 30mm. I can do focus bracketing with the E-M10 mk ii but rarely use it due to the post processing required. Being able to do it in camera would be a bonus. I did have the 60mm macro but never got on well with it. The 30mm seems to better suit my needs and I have some great pictures from it. I use off camera flash triggered from the E-M10 built in flash. That is a slight concern with the E-M5 - no built in flash to trigger the remote so I would need to buy another tiny one as a trigger.

    Sorry for the long post. I would appreciate and suggestions, particularly from anyone who has been to such environments. While weather resistance is useful, it may not be that useful when swapping lenses and I also remember condensation problems with my cameras in humid places.

    Thanks
     
  2. saladin

    saladin Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 29, 2015
    jason
    what you have listed is certainly "better" than what you have. particularly optically re the lenses, and as you note, weathersealing.

    The 12-40 is a GREAT all-round lens that can focus surprisingly closely. I could mount a case that you should buy that whether or not you do anything else.

    The 40-150 Pro isnt big compared to other formats, but its certainly big compared to your 40-150R. Its brilliant, but are you the sort of person willing to carry it?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. keith1200rs

    keith1200rs Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Nov 8, 2011
    North Yorkshire
    Yes, that is my concern. Going to m4/3 from full frame was about reducing weight while retaining acceptable quality. Even the 12-40 is a heavy lump. I do worry when I get drops of rain on my lenses though when I know they are extended and the drops are going to end up inside the lens if I don't wipe it off before retracting it.
     
  4. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    You should do it.
     
  5. I expect the lens to have sealing between moving barrel and the fixed part, and the seal will wipe any water droplets away, rather than the opposite. Some think that the danger exists when you zoom in, because the barrel moving outwards create a vacuum pump effect and suck in water. I doubt that very much. Sealing design and materials are far enough advanced nowadays I believe. If it is any comfort, I am using my gear in the rain without concern, and they seem to be holding up.

    Regarding the choice of body: if you are going for the 40-150 pro, I would recommend that you add a grip to the em5 mk2 to make for better handling. With a battery grip, you also have extra battery already installed, avoiding having to change battery just as you have acquired focus on that elusive whatever that you spotted. In any case, I would not want to open the battery compartment door when it is wet.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    He was referring to his non-weather sealed lenses which don't really have the seals to wipe away water when a lens extends/retracts.

    Very much true, especially for a non-sealed lens. Weather sealed lenses are designed to channel the water that gets sucked in out of the lens harmlessly.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    While they may be heavy compared to other m4/3 lenses they are still lighter than a full frame kit with similar effective focal lengths. Honestly, I don't find them heavy at all. Then again I am a wildlife photographer use to much heavier lenses and even my "heavy" m4/3 and 4/3 lenses are much lighter than my old full frame kit.
     
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    Most around here know how much I rely on weather sealing and trust/believe in the amazing weather sealing of Olympus. I would look at getting a pair of used EM1's and those two lenses, would give you a great range in two fully weather sealed kits. You could also look at getting a 4/3's 50-200 SWD and the EC-14, with the MMF-3 would give you a fully weather sealed kit.......but you really need an EM1 to go that route.

    Something to consider is you will be under a heavy canopy with light being something you are short of. While you may typically get good results with your 40-150 (I love mine and use it a lot for street photography), the slower lens will push the ISO much higher in the rainforest and decrease image quality as you lose a lot of detail to the noise of the higher ISO's. The 300/4 is a great option but you are correct about the limited use when things are close. I look at it this way, if that happens shoot close detailed shots and get some shots you would probably not take if you had some sort of zoom. Honestly I find that those with a zoom just shoot the same type of shot as the subject gets closer, full body..............moves closer so they zoom out, full body shot.........gets closer so they zoom out, full body shot. You get a much more diverse and interesting portfolio when shooting a prime over a zoom, an observation I have come to after looking at 1000's of photographers portfolios. But, if you picked up a pair of used EM1's (like I suggested) you could run the 300/4 on one and either the 40-150 or 12-40 on the other. In this case I would probably put the 40-150 without a TC on the other EM1.

    Night and day difference between these two lenses when it comes to image quality and sharpness (especially if you are going to crop).

    Used EM1's will also provide focus stacking.

    Not 100% positive about the EM5 but my EM1's came with a little tiny flash that is pretty much only good for triggering off camera flash. Personally I would look at upgrading flash to Godox for their amazing built-in radio transmitters if you like using off camera flash.

    Haven't done any rainforest photography since my film days but I spend a lot of time in the swamps of southeast Texas, which is a pretty similar environment (especially this time of year). It is also why I only use weather sealed gear and one of the reasons I went with Olympus when I left Canon after 25 years. They have some of the best weather sealing in the industry in my humble opinion.

    Condensation is really a problem when moving from cold inside to hot outside and will effect weather sealed and non sealed gear equally. Actually it probably effects weather sealed gear a bit more because it takes more time for the differences between the temp inside the gear to equalize with that of the outside environment. It's why I always travel with my bag open and the gear exposed, as well as with the top off of the Jeep. Camera bags are like little coolers and hold that cold air for a long period of time, so always make sure to open them and let them adjust to the outside environment.

    As for swamping lenses........................I will actually swamp lenses (mostly TC's) in the rain. I just get close to a tree and shield the camera/lens with my body while swamping out lenses/TC's after drying the camera and lens with a towel (always have several in my bag just for this purpose).

    Just my 2 pennies,

    Phocal
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. keith1200rs

    keith1200rs Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Nov 8, 2011
    North Yorkshire
    I think that is the reason I have struggled with the 75-300. I have had some good pictures but I am often in dull conditions so end up having to shoot wide open and/or with high ISO so the clarity isn't there.

    Thanks for all the other suggestions. I need to do a bit more thinking. I certainly feel that weather sealing and some better quality lenses are required.

    Thanks.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Following up on @Phocal@Phocal , em1 provide far better ergonomics and you don't have to get a battery grip (unless you have really big hands). Buy two used. That way you have backup as well.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    761
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    I took the 75-300 to Costa Rica a few years back. I can confirm rain forests are dark :)  I got acceptable shots, but I'm sure I could have got better with a nice fast prime (200-300mm). I didn't have an issue with weather sealing while I was there. Costa Rica

    I think while in the rain forest I was using the 75mm f1.8 which was a bit short
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. keith1200rs

    keith1200rs Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Nov 8, 2011
    North Yorkshire
    Thanks for the comments and link to the photos. It is very useful to see which shots you got with which lenses. If I buy the 40-150 pro with 1.4x, I could still take the 75-300 but weight is at a premium on the internal flights so I would rather only take what I need.
     
  13. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    761
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Yeah I don't know if that would do it for me, once you put the tc on it's no longer a fast lens. Maybe the f2.8 on the 150mm end would be enough. I do remember thinking the 75-300mm was useless while in the rain forest, it was fine out of it.
     
  14. TetonTom

    TetonTom Mu-43 Regular

    Even with “weather sealing”, rain forest travel is very hard on equipment. Helps, but not a miracle.
    To be honest, as much as I love traveling with interchangeable lens cameras, if I was really going to go get gritty in the rain forest I’d probably have a “tough” point and shoot as my main tool. I just used a new Nikon in the Caribbean and got some really great results. Of course, there’s always going to be something that will give you better result, no matter what you’re using...
    If I were to bring my m43 gear, I’d go with my EM5 (original) and the kit 12-50. This is IMHO an underrated lens, and can be a single-lens solution for most vacations. And, to be honest, if it got stolen or completely trashed, I wouldn’t feel nearly as bad as if it were a PRO piece of glass and new body...
    Have a good time, and focus on the places and experience, not on the tools...
     
  15. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    If it were me I'd take the 9-18/75-300 and a powerful flash with a flash extender (Moose Peterson) and a Canon 500D for the 75-300mm II. Both cameras can have a lens (I'd use camera slings and have a water resistant bag (LowPro?) and you won't have to worry about anything but imaging. I've found the Canon 500D works well on a 75-300 for things like small snakes, scorpions, and spiders, and of course the ever present leaf cutting ants. Carry a couple of gallon zip lock bags for shooting in rain. EM5 II I think would be a killer camera on a trip like this.
     
  16. keith1200rs

    keith1200rs Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Nov 8, 2011
    North Yorkshire
    Tentontom,

    Interesting you mention a tough point & shoot - I was thinking of that as well because I gave away my previous underwater camera to a friend.
     
  17. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    If you have a water proof smart phone that shoots 4K and DNG that would also work for a P&S.
     
  18. mumu

    mumu Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Jan 16, 2012
    I was in Costa Rica a couple of years ago and am going back in 2019. On the last trip, my longest lens was my Panasonic 35-100/2.8 and I had to do a lot of cropping of my bird photos. I'm looking for a longer lens for the upcoming trip and have considered the 40-150/2.8 + TC but I'm not sure it'll be enough of an improvement. I'm considering the Panasonic 100-400 because the Olympus 75-300 and Panasonic 100-300 lenses don't seem to be very good at their longest focal lengths (from what I've read, anyway). The downside, of course, is the slow aperture but I think I can live with it. It might drive my ISO a stop higher but I think it's worth the additional magnification. In poor light under the canopy, I think I was averaging around f/4 and ISO1000-1600. But there were also scenarios where I had more light where the 100-400 would definitely have been very, very useful.

    BTW both times I've been to Costa Rica (I was also there about 20 yrs ago) we had good weather. We were there around April and then around March on our last trip. We were in the Arenal area and then at the Pacific coast. It rained a few times but it came down hard and ended quickly. I didn't have any concerns using my non-weather sealed gear there. I'm pretty sure Costa Ricans don't buy weather sealed cameras exclusively, either. ;-) My point being that for a trip that will last a few weeks, I think you should be able to manage even with a non-weather sealed camera. A collapsible umbrella helps protect you and your gear from the rain. I use a white one which also works ok as a shade when photographing small things in direct sunlight, and as a reflector for your flash.

    Also, I had zero problems with condensation with either of my cameras (non-weather sealed LX100 and weather sealed EM5.2). It's not really a function of letting moist air into your camera as much as it rapidly changing its temperature.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. keith1200rs

    keith1200rs Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Nov 8, 2011
    North Yorkshire
    Thanks mumu. It is very useful to hear experiences from the location. We will be going in March and travelling around a bit, including the Pacific coast. One if my concerns about rain is that my 14-42 EZ stopped working in the rain and had to be repaired. I don't know if the rain was actually the problem. A few months later it failed again.
     
  20. mumu

    mumu Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Jan 16, 2012
    We're going in March as well. We're only staying in two areas: Fortuna/Arenal and Punta Uva (near Manzanillo), plus two days in San Jose for arrival and departure. Where are you headed?
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.