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Lenses for Alaskan Trip? Lens questions

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by fastcar888, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Apr 2, 2011
    Florida
    Greetings. This is my first post here.

    I was a long time Nikon DSLR/SLR and Leica rangefinder photo enthusiast . As with most, I got rid of everything not digital including Leica gear. I wound up with a Nikon D90 a 24mm-70mm zoom and a few other. Eventually, the weight and bulk started to wear on me. So I ventured in the MTF world and was blown away.

    After reading about the Pany/Leica 45mm lens here (and seeing the outstanding results), I decided it was a must have lens. I like the 90mm to 105mm range. So I wound up with an Olympus E-PL2 , the 14-42 kit lens and the 45 Pany/Leica. The Pany/Leica lens is remarkable, especially when used with Apples Aperture 3. I am hugely impressed with it. My days with enormously large Nikon DSLR's are over and I am a believer in Micro Four Thirds for my needs.

    My wife and I are heading out to Alaska on a cruise in a few months. We have been there before. I have a few questions and need your opinion:

    What do you like better the Olympus 9mm-18mm vs Panasonic 20 mm 1.7 for outdoor shooting?

    What micro four thirds zoom (no adapters) would you recommend north of 45mm? ( I am not sure that I am getting a zoom at this time, but what do know renders the best image quality). Thank you very much. It is appreciated.
     
  2. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    If you want to remain compact, the panny 45-200mm is good and gives you 400mm or reach. Just use the IBIS over the lenses IS, the battery last longer that way. The panny 100-300 is just large, and will bring you back to full size dslr lens scale, and it was awkward to handle on my epl-1.

    The olympus 40-150 focus faster then the panny, and it you are okay with the 300mm reach it is a nice lens also. And does a bit better for macro as is.

    If you found your self taking photos wider then 40mm on your last trip to alaska, then the 9-18 would be a better choice. The 20 1.7 is a nice around the cruise ship lens as it has a nice FL for walking around. And it does a nice job in low light with the oly, but it might not be wide enough for the vista's you may be looking to capture form the landscapes.
     
  3. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Apr 2, 2011
    Florida
    Thanks. Do you prefer the Olympus 9mm-18mm over the Panasonic 7-14mm? Without seeing the Pany, the size of the Olympus seems to be more appealing. Thoughts?
     
  4. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    for the price, that extra 4mm is allot. And all the 9-18 samples I have seen are excellent. Everytime I play around with the uwa, the price of the 7-14 can seem to sell me. And the 9-18 telescopes, so it packs smaller.
     
  5. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Apr 2, 2011
    Florida
    Makes sense.
     
  6. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    for the price of the panny, you can get both the zoom and the 9-18. And it is not leica like the 45mm macro.
     
  7. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    I would agree on the Panny 45-200, which I have and love, and will be taking to Alaska this summer (our daughter lives there). There is a lot of great wild life, and the 45-200 with its effecitve 400-like reach should be great. And it is small and light.

    I am a fellow prior Nikon and Hassleblad Xpan user, who has also sold all that heavy stuff for m4/3 gear. I totally love the Panasonic gear I have, GF1 with 14, 20, and 45, and a G1 with 14-45 and 45-200. Have a great time!
     
  8. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Apr 2, 2011
    Florida
    Thanks. We both feel the same way.

    I will check out the Pany 45-200. I am really scratching my head with either the 20mm Pany 1.7 or a ultra wide angle Olympus (probably) or Pany. My main focus is image quality.
     
  9. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    523
    Sep 5, 2010
    I have lived in ak 4 times, from kodiak to mcgrath to kenai to anchorage to glean allen. My photography has been almost all landscape with some wildlife. For wildlife, 300mm is minuim, in my opin. Landscape, wide as you can get, up to 200mm, works great. Be prepared for lots of rain and possibly wind too. The mm I mentioned are ff equiv. Note: take a lot of menory card capacity!
     
  10. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    both the 9-18 and 7-14 and 20 1.7 all have excellent IQ. Though choice. But if you were considering the 7-14, you can get the 9-18, 45-200 and 20 1.7 for just a little more, about 100 more then the 7-14. Just something to consider, and you will have everything covered pretty much.

     
  11. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    798
    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    Lisa
    I visited Alaska several years ago pre M4/3. I shoot with 2 cameras at most times and shot Nikon D700 24-70 and Nikon D90 70-300. If I were to plan for M4/3 I would take 9-18, 20 and 40-150 for a really nice small kit. 45-200 is another option if you really like to shoot wildlife the 100-300 should be considered.

    The 7-14 is a wonderful lens especially if you like really wide lenses but it is large and rather expensive for M4/3 and as noted above you could practically get 3 other lenses for the price of it. The 45-200 is also significantly larger than the 40-150.

    3648780929_a9bafb1da8_z.

    Here are some of my Alaska Photos:
    Collection: Alaska
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. tomas

    tomas Mu-43 Regular

    A Lot of Choices-- A Lot of Money

    It all depends on what kind of shots you want to take, how much you want to carry, and how much you want to spend on lenses. My whole mFT system weighs about as much and takes up about as much space as my FT e30 and 12-60 together with a flash.

    I was in Alaska on tour twice and so I'm thinking of the shots I could have/would have taken if I had had my mFT system then.

    If you are on a large cruise liner, most of the time you won't be close enough to the wildlife for nice tight shots, regardless of the lens.

    When you are on smaller wildlife touring boats or on land, in good light, and closer to the critters, then I suggest the Olympus 75-300mm. It's about the size of a 12 oz soft drink can. This would work great, especially for the wildlife in Denali. IMH experience you'll want the longest lens you can reasonably use for Denali unless you really get lucky and the wildlife moves close to the bus. The 200 range doesn't add that much to the 150 range.

    But remember, there are a lot of cloudy, rainy days in Alaska. Also for fast moving targets like whale tails on overcast days against the gray water, the mFT system struggles. (For low light/fast action situations I still use my e30 and 12-60, 50-200 system. But with the exception of a safari in Africa trip where the whole purpose is shooting wildlife, usually at dawn and dusk, I don't think I'll take that system with me again on a trip. It's too big and too heavy.)

    The 9-18 is a great wide angle lens for outdoor shots. I used the FT version with my e30 for several trips and got some very fine wide angle shots. IMHO the mFT 9-18 is even better--and much smaller, about the size of a jar of baby food. Having said that, I use the 9-18 range much more for building shots than landscape shots. If I were to go to Alaska again, I'd take the lens but I suspect most of my wide angle needs there could be met by the Panasonic 14mm.

    My walking around lens would be the 14-150 which I acquired recently and been most impressed with. I won't be without that lens and the 20 and 14 lenses. They are now my most used lenses--in that order.

    The Panasonic 14 and 20 lenses are very sharp. They both are fine choices for shooting on overcast days or at the beginning and end of the day. Obviously, they are superb on clear days as well.

    The 14-42 II kit lens is also a good lens. It works nicely on closeups. I also have the 40-150 which is a fine lens but I don't like switching back and forth with the 14-42. I don't like where the break is between these two lenses. (I wish there were a micro equivalent for the Olympus FT 12-60 lens--I took 95% of my photos on trips with that lens.) So I bring the 14-42 and the 40-150 along as backups now but usually they stay in my cabin or hotel room.

    Also I wouldn't go on a once or twice in a lifetime trip like Alaska without taking some kind of backup camera body or camera. I have a second e-pl2 and that means I don't have to do much lens switching: the 20 and 14 for inside shooting, the 14-150, and the 9-18 or 70-300 for outside shooting.

    For outdoor shooting I wouldn't want to be without the vf-2 viewfinder. It's expensive but very good.

    If you plan to take photos of salmon in streams (and normally you do get close enough to take some fine shots there,) then get a circular polarizing filter for one of your main lenses. Just keep an eye out for bears--they're best taken with a zoom. If you're using a prime lens with bears, you're about to become lunch.
     
  13. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Apr 2, 2011
    Florida
    Lisa...
    Did you shoot you photos with the Nikon in the Alaska collection?
     
  14. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Apr 2, 2011
    Florida
    Thanks Tomas. It is a large boat with smaller excursions .
     
  15. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    One of the advantages of the contrast detection autofocus m4/3 is that you can use a linear polarizer - my understanding is that to get the same quality in a circular polarizer, you have to pay more. I have linear polarizers in 52mm and 46mm for my Panny lenses and they work great.
     
  16. Ihavenewfs

    Ihavenewfs Mu-43 Regular

    Must be the year for Alaska :smile: I'm headed out in June with the EPL2 in hand and the 40-150 as well. I've just started using the lens and was wondering if it's any harder to focus than usual...I'm not getting as sharp an image as I would like using the monitor to view the scene. I'll have to see if I have better results using the EVF I guess.

    Any advice on focusing this lens? Or is it a case of practice, practice, practice on my part? I have until June :smile:
     
  17. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Greetings from a long time Nikon dslr/slr, & Leica user. I still use them, but my main kit is Mu-43.

    We went to Alaska last September (2010), and it was our first big trip using only Mu-43 gear. My original kit was: Lumix G1 w/14-45mm and Lumix 20mm prime. Just before we left for Alaska, I added a 2nd body, a Lumix GF1, and also the Lumix 45-200mm zoom. I used the entire kit extensively in Alaska. For my own style of shooting, I rarely go ultra-wide, so I never felt that I was missing an ultra-wide zoom.

    Being a long time slr shooter, it was especially refreshing to be able to carry both Lumix bodies at the same time, and not be overly burdened. I've been know to carry a pair of F3HP or F4s bodies :eek:. And when my wife got inspired, she would go off with the GF1 w/14-45mm lens while I would use the G1 w/ 20mm or 45-200mm. The reach of the 45-200mm was essential for the wildlife that we encountered. I was glad that I added it to my kit before the trip.

    At Haines, AK:

    G1 w/45-200mm
    http://fototime.com/0132618BF094610/standard.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    The 45-200mm is also good for the occasional telephoto-perspective landscape shot.

    Sailing from Ketchikan to Juneau, sunset on the Inside Passage:

    G1 w/45-200mm
    [img]http://fototime.com/311ED0559433199/standard.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    --Warren
     
    • Like Like x 4
  18. Ihavenewfs

    Ihavenewfs Mu-43 Regular

    Warren - was the camera hand-held for these images or did you have a tripod? Very cool shots!

    This trip to Alaska will be my first w/o my D300 - I lugged it (along with lenses & a tripod) to Montana last year and I was very happy with the results. Hoping I'll do equally well with the new, lighter gear :smile:

    Marie



     
  19. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Thanks Marie :smile:. Fortunately, my wife documented both situations using the Lumix GF1 w/14-45mm.

    In the bear picture, I was shooting handheld:

    http://fototime.com/8F49F3405DD3CC5/standard.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    In the sunset shot, I was shooting handheld with my elbows braced on the ship's railing:

    [img]http://fototime.com/D815A23CF14CBA4/standard.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    I have an aversion to tripods because it impedes mobility. I might occasionally use a monopod on super-telephoto shots, however.

    --Warren
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Ihavenewfs

    Ihavenewfs Mu-43 Regular

    Warren wrote: "Thanks Marie . Fortunately, my wife documented both situations using the Lumix GF1 w/14-45mm.

    In the bear picture, I was shooting handheld"

    That's terrific....but you were still pretty close to that bear :eek: