1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

European trip (of a lifetime) - Economy of Space and Economy of Economy - Lens Questions

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Rich Young, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Greetings all -

    Been a long time since I have been here. I have been pretty busy, and not a lot of time to engage with photography. Glad to be back - and with a Panasonic GX7 and 14-42 lens. Therein lies the conundrum. About a month ago, I had a Fuji X20 - fun camera, but try as I might, the vf was more of a hindrance than a help for me - but was planning on taking it as my camera to Europe no matter what. In fact, got a lot of good pointers from a bunch of folks at DPR. Very solid, non-judgmental insights. But the more I tried to use the vf, the more frustrated I became. Saw the GX7 and my heart went pitter-pat, bought it at Unique Photo for a great price, and well, the rest is history.

    So, I am going to Europe for four months. I am leaving January 3 and returning May 1. I will be visiting some Augustinian houses in London, Germany (Munich, Cologne, Berlin, ), Poland (Krakow, Auschwitz, Częstochowa), Czech Republic (Prague and Brno), Hungary (Budapest), Austria (Salzburg, Vienna), Spain (Madrid - el Escorial, Barcelona, possibly Santiago de Compestela) during January via Eurail and some local flights. Then to Italy for an institute for three months. Of course, there will be side trips throughout, visits to various museums, sights of interest, some sense of what the friars do in their ministries, etc. I am hoping to have a blog space to share with family and friends, and then use this experience, photos, etc. for any classes I may be teaching.

    Anyhow, I have this brand new GX7 and the kit lens, and I know I should get something either longer and/or wider. However, the budget is dictating (probably) one or the other. So, given I have some reach (and the use of cropping and in a pinch, digital zoom) should I go for wider? or...is 14mm wide enough for museum and vistas and so should look at longer?

    I realize that this can turn into a clustermess of opinions, but I am always impressed by the constructive conversation that happens on here. One reason I am glad to be back (at least now less a lurker!). So, any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Rich
     
  2. jziegler

    jziegler Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 15, 2012
    Salem County, New Jersey
    James
    14mm is wide enough. In my various trips to Europe, I have never had wider than 28mm equiv. That said, I have wished I had wider, but you can make do. Stiching panoramas together can help out for the landscapes, but won't work as well for interiors.

    I'd actually suggest that before going either longer or wider that you consider getting a faster lens or two for the interiors. You won;t be allowed to use flash inside many museums, and even if you can, the results will often be sub-par. A fast prime will be a big help in those cases. The 20mm f/1.7, 17mm f/1.8, or 45mm f/1.8 would all be worth considering. The Sigma f/2.8 lenses are very good as well, are faster than the kit lenses, and are pretty inexpensive.

    If you really want to go wider, there have been some great deals on the Samyang fisheye recently. Also, look for deals on the various telephoto lenses. You probably won't use one as much as a kit or wide lens, but last year the Olympus 40-150 was available for $100.

    -Jim
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Thanks Jim, for that information. You bring up a good point regarding faster lenses. Would probably be a good investment to at least purchase one.

    Rich
     
  4. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    The possibility of a faster lens also occurred to me. It sounds like you will be in Central Europe in January which means short daylight hours - sunset is before 4pm in Krakow in early January. And possibly rather murky weather even during daylight. So you may find yourself shooting indoors, or outdoors in dark conditions, more than you normally would. Of course Italy in spring should be a whole different story.

    Some great destinations on that list, best of luck with the trip.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. stargate

    stargate Mu-43 Regular

    131
    Aug 14, 2013
    Greece
    You will definitely need wider than 14mm. I would get the P20 1.7 and the Samyang 7.5. You can defish it easily with free software and it will be invaluable in monuments, churches etc. Also the 20mm makes for a pocketable combo with low light capability. A tele is also desirable for detail studies but not as essential as the others.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    I am wondering, would you consider the digital zoom of the GX7 usable in lieu of a tele?
     
  7. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Digital zoom is just crop so it's not a substitute for longer zoom.
    I would suggest a bright prime like 20 or 25mm for indoors and night, and possibly a wide angle . J would seriously consider getting a separate camera instead of wide angle lens, like Lx7. It gives you 24mm and also serves as a back up should anything happen to main cam.
    Longer tele zoom is nice to have but least essential IMHO .
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Steven,

    Certainly thinking different! Something to consider.

    Sent from my C6606 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  9. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    What would I bring? I'd bring a 14mm and a wide converter that made it into a 10.5 or 11mm. A fast 20mm or 25mm, A 45 or 60mm. And my 45-175mm lens.

    Alternatively: a 14-42 kit lens, with a wide converter that made it into an 11mm. a fast 20 or 25mm lens, and either the 45-150 or 45-175mm. This is the most compact kit I think I could live with.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Doug,

    I like your second idea a lot....need to consider that as an option...



    Sent from my C6606 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  11. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    The kit and a fast wide-ish lens of your choice. Mine would be the 17/1.8.

    I'd also get some kind of table tripod; easy to carry in your pocket and not expensive. I've gotten a number of great pictures that otherwise wouldn't have happened without it. With the GX7 and either of those lenses, you don't need some really heavy thing, but I wouldn't waste the money on a regular sized but flimsy one. Just a solid little one.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Bassman,

    Good ideas. Thanks.

    Sent from my C6606 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  13. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Three days after it arrived, my GX7 and I spent three weeks in Spain and Morocco. We typically travel internationally once or twice a year and I have been shooting M43 for maybe 4 years. Things learned:

    1) For travel, zooms are important tools. Changing lenses is a PITA and often your movement is controlled by others, leaving little or no time for lens changes. Vantage points are often inflexible as well. For me, the 14-140mm is travel lens #1 and the 9-18mm is lens #2. Add a 100-300mm for wildlife at distances as in Africa.

    2) To me, 24mm is the longest (35mm equivalent) focal length that gives a sense of space shooting interiors like churches, caves, palaces, etc. So, no, 14mm is not short enough.

    3) Fast primes (I have 12, 20, and 45) were important to me when shooting a pair of G1s where I didn't like to go above 800 ISO. WIth the GX7, though, I have very satisfactory images shot as high as ISO 3200, so I may be reducing my inventory of fast lenses. The IBIS helps, too. ISO 3200 lets you shoot at f4 or f5.6 in some pretty dark places if your hand is steady.

    4) The popular combination of a 14-42 and a 45-200 does not work for me when shooting with just one camera body. 45 is too long for a lot of outdoor shots and 42 is too short for a lot of outdoor shots, necessitating a lot of outdoor lens changing. I had that pair but after one trip (Galapagos) I sold it in favor of the 14-140mm and have never regretted it.

    5) A monopod is an essential tool for me. 4- or 5- sections so it collapses down to 17" or so. Carbon so I am less tempted to leave it behind. Top it with something like a small Manfrotto ball head with the RC2 release system. Currently I have a Benro "Travel Flat" carbon tripod with a monopod conversion leg and I like it a lot.

    So ... to be specific I would sell the kit lens and get a 14-140. The original, heavier, version will suffice if funds are tight. Build the rest of your travel system from there.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Wow - some very good advice. I appreciate it.

    Rich
     
  15. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    776
    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    What a great trip.
    If I were going on that trip I'd take 3-4 lenses to cover all the bases - then wish I'd taken only two after it was over. But I wouldn't know which two until I got back. I think I'd want a moderate wide and a short tele - or else a wide zoom and a fast normal - or maybe a fast normal and an all-in-one zoom. See what I mean?
     
  16. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Hah! I know exactly what you mean. In one sense I am limited by budget. The kit lens is usable, I think (and though I hate the thought of changing to accommodate a longer range, I am looking at the 45-150 - or the 45-175 pz), then it is looking for a decent prime. I was actually looking at switching out the kit lens for the Oly 12-50 as a general walk around....too many choices!

    This is where a point and shoot is a good thing - not too much to think about in the lens department!

    Rich
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    If your on a budget I'd suggest a fast prime. I prefer the 17mm 1.8 myself. A cheap telephoto like a 40-150 might be an option, but I don't expect you'll see as much use out of it compared to the 14-42. Getting something wide angle might be good, but personally I'd prioritise a fast prime myself.

    I don't think it's worthwhile 'upgrading' to the 12-50, unless you need the macro capabilities. Your body isn't weathersealed, so there isn't much benefit to the weather sealing of the 12-50 either. I'd say image quality is probably gonna be comparable to your 14-42. The panasonic 14-42 ver II, is acutally meant to be pretty good for a kit lens.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Any opinions on the Olympus 12mm? If I got that, and let's say the 17 or 20 or sigma 19?
     
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Now with the GX7 I consider my 12/2 to be a specialty lens for very dark places. By very dark, I mean darker than the usual church lit only by outside light through the windows.

    I would strongly encourage you to look at the 9-18 instead.

    For example, you cannot get this snapshot (library, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul) with the 12:

    Library.

    and the lens, zoomed longer (16mm here) is a nice street lens. It's physically smaller than the 12, too.

    Girl_and_House.

    If you have the 9-18mm and need to shoot in a very dark place, a good monopod is much cheaper than the 12mm and the monopod will enable a lot more shooting situations than the 12 will.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Rich Young

    Rich Young Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Dec 11, 2011
    Chicago
    Rich
    Nice images! And now the plot thickens!

    So, if I got the 9-18, and I have the 14-42 - what prime (if any) would you suggest?

    Thanks.