Is E-P1 best camera to take around the world?


New to Mu-43
Hi all,

I am new to the forum. I bought the E-P1 last summer and took over 2,000 pictures traveling in Italy. As a complete amateur, I had a hard time at first but eventually sorted out the trade-offs among ISO, speed, aperture and started to get some decent shots. It was light enough to carry around all the time.

After reading the great posts in this forum I bought the Panasonic 1.7/20mm. It is truly super, especially the faster auto-focus.

Now... I need some expert advice.

We are taking the kids out of school next year and will be visiting 30 countries across 12 months. We will be in Greece, Paris, Florence, Egypt, Vietnam, Cambodia, Africa, Galapagos, Machu Picchu, etc. Needless to say, this is once in a lifetime and we want to come home with lots of amazing photos. (I am planning to take a course in photography along the way and that should help the user side of the equation.)

Question 1 - is the E-P1 the best "main camera" for this journey? What would you take? I was assuming the E-P1, because of its super blend of small size with bigger sensor than point and shoot. But I am a bit worried that in hindsight I will look back and wish I had something more powerful. If there is a better camera to bring, then I am ready to buy that and switch or supplement. I know a DSLR would be better but coming from point and shoot world it just seems so big and bulky that it would be painful to carry every day for a year. Would an upgrade to an E-P2 make a worthwhile difference?

Question 2 - while loving the Panasonic lens, we still need a zoom lens. For example being in a cathedral and wanting to focus on ceiling detail. The possible ways to solve this are: (a) buy a point and shoot with a zoom lens - either bridge camera or now they even have some small cameras with 10X optical zoom... maybe my son could carry this; (b) buy the ZD zoom lens for my E-P1 when it comes out in June; (c) buy an adapter and some other zoom lens such as a not-micro 4/3 lens. The main issue to struggle with here is that the low f-stop Panasonic 1.7 was so impressive. The new ZD zoom lens coming this summer is higher f-stops like 5 or so... will that turn out to be slow to focus and poor in dim light? If I shell out some dollars I could get a lower f-stop zoom lens but the biggest ones are amazingly bulky! What is the best thing to do?

Question 3 - is it truly worth it to pay e.g. $600 for an expensive tripod (and carry yet another item around)?

Thank you for any help and advice.



Administrator Emeritus

I also love the EP 1 and now the EP2 with it. I have used the Pen 1 since it came out last year. It has never let me down. I love it. I have the 20mm also and I would think you could not go wrong with the Panny 14-45. It's a great lens with beautiful build quality.
I think you should just take the Pen, get the Panny zoom and enjoy your trip and your family. As for a tripod....forget it....what would you need it for? You can hand hold the Pen with any lens to a very slow speed...
Relax and have fun....


Mu-43 Rookie
An heretical opinion, I am sure:

1. To me one of the major drawbacks of any camera like the EP1, or my Canon 30D or my EPL1, is its reliance on proprietary batteries. When traveling around the world there is nothing worse than having your camera's battery crap out in a place like Peru and being unable to get a replacement. You have the same problem if the charger craps out as well. Two points of failure. For this reason you should consider a camera that runs on AA batteries. You can get these anywhere in the world. While not as "sexy" as the more professional micro 4/3 line, a camera such as the Canon SX10IS will give you excellent pictures and it runs on 4 AA batteries. The zoom reach is fantastic (20x) and if you are making 8x10 prints you won't see much of a difference in quality between it and what you have now. If you were just traveling in areas such as Europe, then my advice would be different. But you are going to places where there is little possibility that you can get replacement batteries or chargers.

2. See 1

3. No need for a tripod, IMHO. Just learn to lean on things. With image stabilization you should do just fine.


Administrator Emeritus
Batteries are dirt cheap. On the bay, I got 2-1500ma for $12.95 USD with free shipping.
There is a charger available that I posted on another thread. It will charge your battery in about 1 hour. BUT, the good thing is, it also holds it's own charge. You can charge the unit from a 12 volt car cigarette plug. It will charge about 5-6 batteries from it's stored power supply. It cost $29.95 USD.... more power issues....


Super Moderator Emeritus
And, Benerus, you might want to think about the upcoming two new lenses: the 9-18mm and the longer 14-150mm. The first is to be out in May and the second in June. Check out the News and Rumors forum for a couple of new posts about the 9-18mm in particular but at least one review on the 9-18mm, makes mention of the longer zoom, as well.

By the way, welcome to the board, too, Benerus!:biggrin:


Mu-43 All-Pro
well now... i would not take only one camera around the world ,on such a trip as you describe.
but i think the ep-1 worthy of making the trip

a kit i would make would include the ep1 with original and 2 or 3 spare batteries they dont have to be olympus branded ,imo

lenses: the 20 1.7...a 14-42 kit zoom,... and the 45 -200 panny zoom,... if you have extra funds the panasonic 7-14 zoom would give you a really well rounded arsenal , IMHO the new micro 4\3 9-18 is smaller and 400 dollars US cheaper but not as good a lens, also for some fun at low light restaurants , and museums banning flash [ that would be all of them]

a used 50 mm 1.4 slr or rangefinder and appropriate adapter [many brands to choose from,and adapter are inexpensive]

very inexpensive and very handy

sd cards too.... as many as you can bring , i would not offload sd files to a hard drive without some solid state backup imho , a hard drive is a delicate machine and would be your weakest link , storing all your memories in one jostled in a 30 city trip is too great a risk ,imo

you might consider an unlimited flickr or similar account and upload photos back at the hotels , alternatively

for a 2nd camera you have 2 choices ... a decent point and shoot of the 25\28mm -200\300mm equiv type panasonic make some nice ones....... ricoh cx3,which i personally recommend [28-300equiv] tiny and terrific........ canon s90 28-105 equiv [kind of short] but great... and there are others [ backup batteries too!]

or you could go micro 4\3 all the way with a gf1, an epL1, or a g1, gh1 slr type micro 4\3
second camera id go with a ricoh p&s or epL1 or gf-1

what a trip..... it sound amazing ......enjoy

Vic B

Mu-43 Regular
Many of us wrestle with such questions. In my recent trips to many parts of the world, I've just used a Panasonic ZS3 or earlier equivalent, sometimes a Panasonic LX3 for lower light, and have been very happy with the results. (See my blog and Blurb books at the URLs below my signature for examples.)

We're going to Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca next month. I've recently gotten a GF1 with 20mm f/1.7 and 14-140mm lenses, and think that this will be my travel kit. Somewhat larger than the P&Ss, but still comfortable, with faster AF, RAW capability, and better quality at low light/high ISO. The EP-1 should be just about the same.

Just make sure you have enough cards and a spare battery with charger and adapters for the various plugs you'll encounter.

Vic B
Photo blog:
Blurb books:


New to Mu-43
Thank you for the comments above. These were very helpful and I have spent four or five hours following up and reading about these lenses and cameras and of course the amazing travel blog site. I liked the Ricoh CX3 suggestion and specifications a lot and will go to the store to play with that. People like the 7-14mm wide angle lens but the 9-18 is five ounces lighter to carry.

Life got even a bit more complicated when I started to look at the "upcoming lenses" roadmaps and saw "8mm Panasonic prime in early summer" rumor and very little info available about the ZD 14-150 and also a rumor of a Panasonic 100-300mm. Yikes! Of those, the idea of an 8mm prime sounded really good since it would presumably be very lightweight and the 7-14m is 10.3 ounces to carry.

If the new lenses come out then I began to think the 8mm (for landscape) and 20mm (in the city) Panasonic primes with the new ZD14-150 zoom (faces / wildlife / video) would be a good relatively lightweight trio, and just leave the kit lens 14-42mm (which I have) at home. (Idea A)

Alternately the gallery shots for the 45-200 were amazing and the price seems fairly low at $300. So then an alternate would be 8mm, 20mm, 14-42mm and 45-200mm. (Idea B) The downside being that you now carry 4 lenses all over, so this does not sound as good.

Lastly Streetshooter lauded the 14-45mm Panasonic lens, and I wondered if he liked it so much that he would actually sell the Oly 14-42mm to buy the Pan 14-45mm? It makes no sense on paper but then I have limited experience and the Panasonic lens was so much better than the Olympic 17mm lens that maybe it does make sense?

Anyway - just noodling on all this... thank you again to the forum for the comments.


Administrator Emeritus
Lastly Streetshooter lauded the 14-45mm Panasonic lens, and I wondered if he liked it so much that he would actually sell the Oly 14-42mm to buy the Pan 14-45mm?
Yessir, I most certainly did.....
I'm out of the closet, I'm a Bi Brand guy....
I use Oly bodies and Panny lenses....... There I said it......


Mu-43 All-Pro
Just a thought - the E-P1 lacks flash for those low light, indoor, night time shots. Do you have a flash? Maybe the E-PL1 or a Pana body might cover more bases.


Mu-43 All-Pro
I agree with the above - BUT depends on your budget what you take with the EP-1

Money no object - EP-1 plus the full range of dedicated AF lenses

"getting the shot" is the most important factor and you can take your EP-1 with 20mm anywhere

The decision for me would be to take the EP-1 and 20mm plus kit 14 45 and something like a Canon S90, or go for two EP-1s and a range of lenses - but once you get into the wide and longer M43 lenses they are big money

depends on your budget - if it is low the EP-1 and 20mm plus S90 may be the way to go

I still prefer my Nikon D300 ........ but the portability, image quality and size really swings it to the EP-1 if you want to enjoy your trip and not be constantly "bothered" by loads of camera gear

Richard W

Mu-43 Regular
In general...

Consider the weight and take your m4/3 camera regardless of brand with one or two lenses as your main system. You don't want to be repeatedly swapping lenses over.

Also take a compact point and shoot which you or your other half can use and don't use it sparingly.

Make sure you have a spare battery and a charger with the appropriate plug for where you are going. Charge both batteries up overnight.

Make sure you have enough storage.


Mu-43 Top Veteran
I just returned from a trip to NZ where I took:

Olympus E-P1
Olympus 14-42mm zoom
Panasonic 45-200mm zoom
Panasonic 20mm f/1.7
JYC wireless remote control
Tripod and Gorollapod
Cokin ND and GND filters (used with 20mm lens)
Olympus FL-14 flash
Charger and cables etc.

It all fitted into a small shoulder bag or backpack (I took both).

I didn't use the flash and could have left that at home along with a charger and a spare set of AAA batteries.

If doing the trip in a couple of months, I would take the Olympus E-P1, Panasonic 20mm f/1.4 and get the Olympus 14-150 zoom. I would still take the Cokin filters, JYC remote and tripod. I would ditch most of the other bits. Not sure about the flash - it is tiny and I would probably take it but without spare batteries and charger as I may well not use it.


Cantankerous Scotsman
peter - can you tell me a bit more about the JNC wireless remote?

Benerus - 8mm is a very wide angle lens - not sure it would justify its place in my bag - maybe good for interiors, but for landscapes i would shoot a series of shots and look into panorama stitching.

existing 8mm lenses for 4/3 tend to have large exposed front elements which to me makes them a bit fragile for a travel lens



Mu-43 Top Veteran
can you tell me a bit more about the JNC wireless remote?
I got mine from an eBay store called HiGadget and the service was excellent. It is less than $19USD including shipping.

Link to remote from HiGadget on eBay

The remote branded JYC and is model number JY-110. The same or similar remotes appears under a few different brand names at varying prices but this was the cheapest wireless remote I could find that wasn't too bulky (actually, the one listed in UK pounds is even cheaper is you don't have a US PayPal account). See pictures of my actual unit.

The sender unit changes between normal shooting and a 3-sec timer. The latter is pretty pointless and an on-off switch would be better (as shown in the eBay listing which is another model - for Nikon I think).

The receiver itself is quite small and has two LEDs, one for power and the other for confirmation of half press and full press actioning.

While it does work perfectly, there are some negatives (but for the price these are forgivable).

The receiver on-off switch is a push button and the LED is not bright enough in daylight to see if the unit is off. Your battery will be flat within a few days if you don't notice. I would suggest you keep a spare CR2 battery in your kit (they have up to a 10 year shelf life). Note the claimed working life is stated as about 100 hours and this is probably correct.

The locking screw on the receiver hotshoe mount is a little small in diameter making it difficult to use but with such a light unit, it is more gadget candy than a necessity.

The sender unit requires a screwdriver to change the battery (but I have not needed to do this).

Those criticisms are quite minor. On the plus side...

The receiver even works with a flat battery as a wired remote control - you don't need to turn it on as the on-off switch is just for the electonics rather than the shutter switch.

Other than one occassion after the first use and I forgot to turn it off, it has worked flawlessly.

This unit cost me about 1/4 the price of the Olympus wired remote as it sells in Australia and was a great buy. I use mine on a regular basis as I do a lot of long exposure photography.

You do need to be careful when ordering a remote for an Olympus camera as they have used several different types of connector. Any remotes that are claimed to be compatable with the RM-UC1 wired remote should work on the current crop of PEN cameras.





Mu-43 Regular
I did a 2 month trip in Jan/Feb with the GF1, 20mm, and 14-45mm. The only thing a found i missed was a wide angle lens. I never missed a telephoto because I am more into landscapes, architecture, and street scenes. I also brought a travel charger and three spare batteries (1 panasonic 2 knock-offs).

It all fit into a small case and I was very satisfied. I am planning a longer trip (4-5 months) this Fall and will only consider adding a wide angle. If you think you won't need a long zoom, don't get one. Travelling light is fantastic, especially when you're taking lots of flights!


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Well since getting the 9-18mm Olympus lens, my travel kit would consist of that lens, the forthcoming 14-150mm Olympus lens (assuming I buy it before the next major trip) and the 20mm Panny, just in case I need a fast lens.