Lens choices for Japan vacation

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by sprinke, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    My family and I will soon be embarking on a 10-day trip to Japan. We will primarily be in the Tokyo area although we will be taking a couple of shorter trips up to Sendai and down to Nagoya.

    We'll be traveling with a four-year-old so I figure I'm going to be on-the-go quite a bit and not have much time for carefully arranged shots.

    I have a GH2.

    Do you think I'll be pretty well covered with the 14-140mm, the 20mm f/1.7, and the Oly 45mm f/1.8? I'm planning on leaving the 100-300mm home, as well as all of my legacy glass.

    My son is a train buff, so I figure I'm going to be taking a lot of candid family portraits in and around trains. We'll also be visiting several train museums and riding on a steam locomotive in some wild countryside. Probably I'll be taking a significant amount of video, and bringing a monopod as well as my external flash (Metz 50 AF-1).
  2. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Real Name:
    Kelly Gibbons
    That sounds like a great spread
  3. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Take me and I'll carry the 100-300 around for you. I'll also need payment so that I can attend Eric Kim's street photography course while there.;D

    I'd take the 20 and 45 OR the 14-150. I'm all about carrying as little as possible
    If it doesn't fit into my 70-300 lens bag, it doesn't come with me out of the house! Lol
  4. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    Everything in Japan is compact, including the streets and the buildings. To get good coverage, I always bring my wide angle zoom (17-40 attached to a Canon 5D). If you're visiting temples and castles, you'll also want something wide and fast because many of the buildings have no interior lighting. I always took along my Canon 28mm f/1.8 for that. For my next trip, I'm thinking of picking up the Oly 12mm and/or the Oly 9-18mm zoom.
  5. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Real Name:
    Kelly Gibbons
    A 7-14 and you would have it made
  6. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    your lenses i think will suffice. except if you want to take wider then 14mm.... a uwa might be in place - escpecially for night train scene. a tripod over a monopod too.

  7. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    Enjoy your trip... but remember you're going to Japan. You can pick up any extra lenses - like an UWA - in Tokyo. Maybe for less money than at home. Personally, the 14-140, 20 and 45 would be the absolute maximum number of lenses I would leave with.
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I'd take the 20mm, 45mm, and 100-300mm, and forget the 14-140mm. What's the point in a superzoom when you're taking along dedicated lenses that better suit the purpose? The 100-300mm will give you a real telephoto when you need it, while the 20mm and 45mm primes will cover your wider scenic and shorter portrait ranges.
  9. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Real Name:
    I brought my Oly 14-150mm and the Panny 20mm with me on my last trip to Tokyo, and I ended up using the 20mm most of the time. Of course I didn't have my 12mm or 45mm back then. I did wish I had a wide lens sometimes, but the 20mm forced me to look for more interesting compositions...

    Like what others have already said, I think you are pretty well covered, even without the 100-300mm, except for a wide angle zoom which could come in handy, considering how close you are to the skyscrapers and trains at the stations most of the time...
  10. DDBazooka

    DDBazooka Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    I think those three would make a pretty good combo. 14-140 on most of the time, 20/1.7 when it gets dark or inside, and the 45 for events or shows.
  11. dtchan

    dtchan Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 24, 2010
    I went to Tokyo last year around this time too. Quite warm during the day and cold at night. I had the 45-200 and the 9-18 at the time. I think a wide is a must. So many tight streets and ppl. I didn't have too much problem shooting even at f4 at night cause of all the lights. I use the zoom occasionally for some close up temple shots.

    I have no idea what I will bring next time now that I have 20, 25cv, 9-18, 45, and soon to be 7.5 fish.
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 8, 2011
    my friend did moscow on only a 50mm lens.. just take what you like to use and have fun :)
  13. theflyer

    theflyer Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2011
    assuming you aren't planning on buying any new lenses for the trip, i think the three you mention (20/1.7, 45/1.8, 14-140) are perfect. some have mentioned replacing the 14-140 with the 100-300 but i disagree, especially if you plan on shooting lots of video. you'll need the wide end of the 14-140 for video, especially since the 20 is - in my opinion - a major compromise when shooting video because it's so mechanically noisy.

    if you were considering purchasing an additional lense for the trip, then i'd recommend picking up the olympus 12/2.0 and bringing the three primes - 12/20/45 - especially if you plan on taking full advantage of the GH2's video capabilities.
  14. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Real Name:
    Totally agree! :thumbup:
  15. madvette

    madvette Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 2, 2011
    El Monte, CA
    I go 3 times a year and carry a 7D with a 17-50mm, 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.2 primes. Two gf2's one with the 14mm 2.5 and the other with the 20mm 1.7 . I used to take the 45-200 but never really used it. Like everyone has already said, everything is tight and compact.

    But your lens choices sound fine!
  16. leungw

    leungw Deal Hunter

    May 26, 2011
    Real Name:
    Definitely bring your widest lens. When I went last year I brought my 20mm and 14-140mm. Wish I had the 7-14mm with me.
  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    I never travel without a UWA zoom lens, and I could see Japan as a great place to have one (but then, where isn't a great place to have one :wink:). I reckon the 14-140 is a killer lens as well; certainly the best superzoom lens I've ever used. It would be part of my travel kit, for sure.
  18. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    Thanks for the comments, all. I'm intrigued by the many suggestions for a very wide lens. Wide is usually not my style but I can see where it would be useful.
  19. awatahurm

    awatahurm Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2011
    Please post your results. I am quite curious because I will be going in November.

    I visit Japan twice a year, but this will be my first time with anything more complicated than a point-and-shoot.
    Even with my limited experience, I would say that the 45mm 1.8 is a no-brainer. Japan has stunning scenery and a rich culture. But nothing is more beautiful than the warmth and hospitality of its people. (Not to mention, I never ran into anyone that didn't love to be photographed.)
    Other than that, I can't recommend specific lenses, but I don't think you should leave Tokyo without capturing some good shots of the architecture. If you want to make your friends jealous, you should also take some tasty food shots.

    I plan on taking all my lenses ( = 12mm, 20mm, 45mm, 14 - 42mm, 40 - 150mm ) because:
    a) I'm not experienced enough to know what's essential, and don't want to get caught short.
    b) The dollar - yen exchange rate is not favorable for buying new gear when I get there.
    c) I can pack all my gear — plus extra batteries — into a padded bag that's only slightly bigger than a football.