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Is the 14-42mm lens enough for travel?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Jcww_88, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Jcww_88

    Jcww_88 New to Mu-43

    Jun 10, 2012
    I will be going on a 1 month trip to Peru and debating which camera and lenses to bring.

    I have a Olympus e-pl1 plus the standard 14-42mm lens, is this enough to cover most circumstances I.e. landscapes, street photography etc? I want to travel light as possible because I will be backpacking, hiking, kayaking etc

    Can anyone please recommend alternatives? I know the 14-42 isn't great in low lighting.

    Thank you
  2. Alf

    Alf Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 23, 2010
    Northeastern Tuscany
    I used the E-PL1 with 14-42 on the road in Ethiopia and Rajasthan, and i think it's optically quite good. I loved the results! You can see some in my Flickr sets with those names.
    But I must say that it was often slow to focus and I missed some shots on the street.
    I added a 20mm Lumix which was good in low light and a little faster to focus, and with very good image quality.
    I also tried pre-focusing with a manual lens to overcome the slow focusing issue (used a Konica 40/1,8 at the time)

    So I think you can get good results from the 14-42mkI as long as you can take your time while shooting.
  3. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    You might consider buying the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. It does very well for low light scenes, but take both lenses unless you're completely comfortable with the 40mm equivalent focal length.
  4. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    If I had to take ONE lens, even at the cost of some softness it would be a 14-150. That way I know I'm covered, and don't have to worry about swapping lenses and being more of a theft target (I don't need a separate gadget bag).
  5. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I guess it depends on you. My wife and I were recently on vacation, and she shot with nothing but the 14-45. Then again, she uses her G3 pretty much like a high quality P&S with a viewfinder.

    that wouldn't have worked for me. I used a 14-140 as my primary lens, augmented frequently with a 7-14. The 14-45 just wouldn't have been long enough for many of the things I shot, nor wide enough. But if you only want to carry one lens, I'd choose the 14-140 or 14-150. If you can manage a second, add the 9-18 / 7-14 or a fast prime for low light situations.
  6. phdezra

    phdezra Mu-43 Stalker Subscribing Member

    Dec 6, 2011
    New York, NY
    IMHO, yes, the 14-42 would be sufficient if that was all you had and it was crazy-glued onto your camera's body. Period.

    However, if you know before vacation you'd only have one choice, I too would suggest the 14-150. From 14-70ish (imho), the lens is plenty sharp for casual purposes (and thus 'better' than 14-42 II R). And after all, you are posting here asking an excellent novice question, so I think it is a fair assumption that NatGeo isnt sending you to bring back photos of some lost human race... From about 100-150, it can be a bit 'soft', but only if you are looking for it perhaps. (For instance, my wife would never know the difference.)

    That said, back in the old days, I remember going on vacation with my Nikon and 24-70, with nothing else. :thumbup: And that was with FILM!! :2thumbs: OMG! Of course it was fine... zoom with your feet. BUT if you have the option going in, get the 14-150. I dont think you need to go wider; for most work, 14 (28mm equiv) would be sufficient. If you need wider, which would be a nice option in Peru, you can always take a few photos and stitch them together perhaps. (OK, that can be a pain in the arse, but usually 28mm is sufficient.)

    Just my $0.02.

  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    That one lens may be good enough for you, but it's a waste of a system camera as far as I'm concerned. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  8. 6x6

    6x6 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    Get also the 20/1.7, travel light and enjoy!
  9. Justified_Sinner

    Justified_Sinner Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 11, 2010
    Scotland, UK
    Dauvit Alexander
    I have to say that I would agree with 6x6: the 20mm f1.7 is pretty much indispensible for travelling. It is the only constant in my camera kit.
  10. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    I went travelling with the 20mm, after trading in a Canon 400d and Tamron 17-50 (a brilliant, brilliant lens) for it and the GF1. I missed the ability to go wide, but to some degree you can get around this by taking multiple shots and stitching them together. TBH I wish I hadn't gone so overboard on this, when I go back I had a load of panoramas to process! Some didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, but some were spectacular. Certainly now I have the 9-18, I would probably take that too if I knew I needed to take landscape photos.

    It was a really fun combo to go travelling with, really glad I made the switch. I think the 40mm equiv. view is very versatile, if it was me I'd be tempted to just stick with the prime. If it is going to be an active/adventure type holiday, you don't want a bag full of lenses do you? Plus if you're switching lenses and so on, then you're not enjoying your holiday.

    Take the zoom lens too, but I'm not sure you'll use it that much.
  11. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    Not sure I'd agree with that. (-:
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Okay, well I'll put it another way; the people you're travelling with and are waiting for you to switch lenses are not enjoying their holiday.
  13. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    I can only speak personally, but I'm quite capable of switching lenses whilst walking, chatting, etc. It's just a matter of how comfortable you are with interchangeable lenses generally.
  14. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Having multiple lenses forces you to make choices about which lenses to use. I spend far longer deciding what lens to use that actually making that switch (obviously that it not a concern, as you say it is quite easy and quick with practice, particularly with lenses that are so small). For me, if you are walking with other people and they are not photographers, you observe that they are operating at a different speed. You are constantly looking around for opportunities, and evaluating how best to take advantage of those opportunities. This gets to the point where it can actually get in the way of my own enjoyment of certain things. It is fine if you are with other photographers, or if you have gone out with the express purpose to take photos. Usually in life this is a secondary concern to experiencing events though.

    So there are times where I purposefully restrict my choice of lenses, or maybe I don't even bring the camera at all, because I know I will annoy myself. For me the 20mm is the exception to this rule, because I don't have to worry about these choices. With that lens and only that lens, it's more like you're just documenting what is happening. You're not really having to make conscious choices about the shots you are taking, you're just taking them. For me this is why the 20mm is the perfect travel lens. You can just have the camera around your neck at all times, and not even think about it.
  15. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    Without my camera, I'm just looking at all the missed photographs. I don't find photography to be an extra distraction, in that I'm doing it anyway. The camera just lets me record some of the images I see. With just one lens, I'm discarding all the shots that couldn't be pulled off. With many lenses, I'm judging whether the shot's worth the change of lens; if I'm with friends, we might have moved off before I can perform the change, in which case I might not start.

    I wouldn't let all this get in the way of my time with friends, but they're all used to me anyway; I'm an eternally distracted person. The odd time where I will decide I need to use a long lens and get this photo, right here, now, they all know me well enough not to wait. I'll catch up in a minute.
    • Like Like x 3
  16. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    I agree with the 14-150; the 14-42 is just not long enough for a good travel lens. I used it for about 4 months, being perfectly satisfied with the images but being constantly annoyed by it's lack of reach. I would suggest the 12mmm as the "other" lens for it's wider angle ability and speed. OTOH, buying a 4-150 and a 12 at the same time would be a sizable bit of money to spend.

    I have the 14-42, 12, 45 and the 14-150 but I only carry the 14-150 and 12. If I had it to do over, I would not have purchased the 45. It's a great lens but I just don't use it. Actually, I knew when I bought it that I wouldn't use it but when I was looking into MFT (from Nikon DSLRS) I drank a bit too much of the Steve Huff Kool-aid. :) 
  17. billhuegerich

    billhuegerich Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 27, 2011

    I guess it depends on your shooting style. If you are used to shooting only with the kit lens, then you may very well be content. That being said, the 20 1.7 takes up almost no space/weight, and is great for low light. I wouldn't travel without it.

    Are you hiking up to Machu Picchu? I've always wanted to do that. I was there a few years ago, but took the train up the mountain, as my wife and I were travelling with a 10 month old baby at the time. Enjoy Peru, I'm sure you'll come home with many wonderful pictures and memories!

  18. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    Agree 100%. I don't make my family wait on my hobby, just as I don't like to wait on their hobby.

    The kit lens will work for you. It will be fine in low light, given the IBIS. If you're looking to get a lens, then get the 14-150 and you'll have all your bases covered. I traveled to Peru with just an 18-250 on my Pentax and got great shots, even indoors.

    Whatever lens you take, just focus on the shots you can take with that lens. Don't worry about all the shots you can't take. You'll enjoy the trip much more that way.
  19. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    It's very personal....

    Looks like there's a broad range of options here - some like the 20 in addition to the kit lens, some like the 14-150, some want to leave a lens on the camera, some want to change lenses to suit situations.

    I've felt all of these pulls at one time or another. I've travelled with everything from a DSLR to a P&S compact.

    A couple of options that you could also consider:
    1) Sell your old 14-42 lens and buy the Mk2 version. The Mk1 go for about $60 used, the Mk2 go for about $110 used. This gives you a fast-focusing compact setup.
    2) Buy a large-sensor fixed lens camera like the Panasonic LX-5 or Olympus XZ-1 or Fujifilm X10 - this are similar in price and image quality (once you factor in 1.5-2 stops for the faster lens).

    BTW, all the options above are good ones. You may want to look at flickr images of regions that you are going to, and see what focal length lenses were used to get the types of images you want to shoot, and go from there.
  20. gr8-wrx

    gr8-wrx New to Mu-43

    May 8, 2012
    Isn't the 14-150 significantly larger in size than the 14-42?
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