Hiking kit

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by dhazeghi, May 6, 2012.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    A hiking buddy of mine is looking for a new camera (his old camera - a Nikon D70 and an 18-70mm lens - suffered a water accident last month and is uneconomical to fix).

    A salesman at our local store suggested he try a Nikon D5100 and 16-85mm lens (around $1300 new). He asked me if I knew of something lighter that would provide comparable quality and range.

    m4/3 seemed like the obvious choice to save on weight and size, and for the stuff he does (good light mostly), I expect the Panasonic G3 or GH2 would be sufficient as bodies, but I cannot think of a suitable lens.



  2. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    If you're looking at a $1300 ballpark I can't think of any reason not to recommend this...

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera V204045BU000

    - Compact
    - Excellent IQ with plenty of resolution and dynamic range for landscape work.
    - Articulated touch screen - fantastic for landscape work with a tripod.
    - Tough and weather-sealed for hiking when wet.
    - 24mm equivalent wide-angle.
    - Macro ability

    For what it's worth, I use a GH2 (with a selection of lenses - Lumix 7-14mm, Lumix 20mm, Nokton 25mm, m.ZD 45mm and SMC 50/f1.4) seriously for landscape - it's my primary genre - and I've never found it to struggle in the IQ department. II'd imagine that the EM5 would only be better. In every case the lenses are absolutely fantastic.
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Have you tried the 12-50?

    My impression, based on samples and reviews, is that it is at best on par with the 14-42II kit lens. Given that the Nikon 16-85 is considered among the better DX lenses out there, it seems like the 12-50 would be a significant step down. But obviously if anybody has first-hand experience with the lens and its alternatives, that would carry a lot more weight.

    I don't think my friend is looking for good lenses so much as one good lens. Changing lenses on a hike is a rare and inconvenient occurrence!

  4. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    As usual, the "best" depends on the task to be performed. If your friend wants compactness and light weight, something in the rangefinder style bodies (GF1, EP-xx, etc.) would be better, even with an EVF attachment which IMHO is required outdoors.

    Again in the light and compact theme, the original and much-maligned Oly 14-42mm is by far the most compact of the kit zooms due to its collapsing body. And it is not nearly as bad as its reputation.

    If he wants to shoot wildlife, he will have to move somewhat away from light and compact. The 14-140mm is a great no-lens-changing choice. Or accept the changing and add one of the xx-200mm zooms.
  5. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    For a single lens solution the Panasonic 14-45 is probably the sharpest by a small margin over everything else. But it is a small margin.

    You might want to look through the E-M5 image thread. There's a lot 12-50 pictures. You may be surprised by the quality.

  6. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
  7. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Real Name:
    I use the GH2 + primes + 100-300 for hiking. A lot of hiking photos require the zoom, since you're shooting timid wildlife. If he's going for landscapes, maybe not needed.
  8. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
    I had both the Nikon D-70 and D-80 and backpacked with them extensively, but have since given them up completely. The G3 with the 14-45 (or 14 -42) is the perfect backpacking camera, in my opinion. The range is ideal, the camera is very light and compact and it can do virtually anything you need it to do. Once your friend takes a G3 on a trip, there will be no turning back. Having a Nikon around your neck backpacking is like wearing an anvil, compared with the G3.
  9. The only advantage of the D5100 is the ability to shoot in the dark at ISO 102,400 in grainy B&W. the Tokina 18-270 pairs nicely. My self I shoot way more E-P2 than D5100.
    $1,300 though sounds a tad high for a D5100 kit.
  10. bee

    bee Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 27, 2012
    As a previous DSLR user a built in viewfinder sounds like a good idea. These are body weights from Camera Size Comparison. I don't know how accurate there information is, but I would start here.

    Panasonic G3: 382gm
    Panasonic GH2: 444gm
    OMD-EM5: 400gm
    Nikon D5100: 560gm

    If he just wants a standard zoom lens I would just get the lightest or most compact one, and not worry to much about best picture quality they are all considered ok.

    panasonic 14-42 collapsible lens: 95gm (lightest most compact and most expensive)
    panasonic 14-42: 165g (most affordable by a lot)
    panasonic 14-45: 195g (best pic quality I think)
    Lens specs from panasonic.com

    If he wants to do telephoto I am pretty sure I heard that olympus has a really light lens. In that case go with the olympus body for in body stabilization. Or get the panasonic 14-140 and carry only 1 lens that can do almost anything.
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    OM-D E-M5 Body Only ($1000)
    MMF-3 weather sealed mount adapter ($180)
    Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II (look around used in the area of $400)

    That's only a couple hundred more than the Nikon kit and you get a faster and sharper lens - one worthy of being his "one standard lens", as well as a fully weather sealed kit. I'm sure he'll appreciate the weather sealing if he learns from past experiences. ;)

    And... he'll have lots of room to grow from there. Great body, and ability to use weather sealed Four-Thirds and Micro Four-Thirds lenses.
  12. p.h

    p.h Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 5, 2012
    If happy with a one lens option, should the Canon G1 X be on the shortlist?
    It's not a camera I know anything about, other than reading some reviews. The price has dropped a fair bit since launch, at least here in the UK. Maybe worth a look.
  13. bee

    bee Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 27, 2012
    Canon g1x is heavy but....

    FujiFilm FinePix X10 [350 g. Optical view finder and great zoom built in. Smaller sensor though
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Thanks for all the suggestions. My friend did manage to find an E-M5 kit to try. In fact, he actually did a test side-by-side with the Nikon D5100 and 16-85mm lens. He was quite impressed with the E-M5's weight, styling, EVF and SCP. However, he absolutely hated the power-zoom of the 12-50, and didn't care particularly for the 14-42, so in the end went with the Nikon. I was a bit surprised given how enthusiastic he was about micro 4/3 after the initial test, but I guess lenses really do dictate decisions sometimes.