Lightweight travel kit to India

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by aidanw, May 5, 2015.

  1. aidanw

    aidanw Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    I'm in India for 3 weeks, both in fairly hot (Delhi, Kolkata) areas and somewhat cold (Leh, Shimla).

    I am taking 7kg of gear total in a 25L pack and want to minimise weight and size as much as possible. The 12-35 is the biggest splash out here in terms of weight, but I'm expecting to use this most of the time.

    My proposed kit is going to be:
    - E-M5, 2x batteries
    - Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 (weatherproof all-purpose)
    - Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye (for interesting photos)
    - Panasonic 20mm f1.7 (for low-light and small size)

    Other options are:
    - Olympus 17mm f1.8, one of my favourite lenses with better focusing than 20mm but bigger
    - PL 25mm f1.4, because it takes purdy photos, but it's the biggest prime
    - Pana 14mm f2.5, great size and sharp, but already covered by 12-35.

    Also taking good quality CPLs 12-35mm 58mm and a 46mm for Pana 20mm.

    Edit: My shooting style is generally wide-close. I almost never use anything over 50mm. I sold my 45mm f1.8 as I didn't like that focal length, and I never use the 40-150mm.

    Welcome any suggestions. I can post back in June after the trip and advise how it went.
  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Your original kit sounds good given how you describe your shooting style. Did you want to add a small second body (GM1/5) or P/S in case of problems?

    Happy travels,

    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I don't think you'll really use the P20 enough to justify it -- even though it's tiny, but a 7kg luggage limit justifies even tiny savings.

    Suggest replace the P20 with a battery charger -- you might actually use that quite a bit! ;)

    How about a selfie stick? :rofl:
    • Funny Funny x 1
  4. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    I can just bring the 12-35... but hey you got a 17 1.8 and 25 1.4, I will bring them along! Share some photos when you're back... :blush:
    • Like Like x 1
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The first kit is fine. The 20 is a tough call, but I would take it. It's useful to have one faster lens for nighttime. It's only 1.5 stops faster than the zoom but that that is often the margin by which you save a lot of noise at high iso.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    You could bring the clip on flash instead of the 20. Sometimes flash is really useful, especially for fill when shooting people on sunny days.

  7. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    I'd sub the P20 for the O17. Wider and faster AF. The weight difference is negligible (100g vs 120g) in the whole grand scheme of things. A U.S. penny weighs 2.5g, so the difference between the lenses is exactly 8 pennies. As far as size, the O17 is only 0.4" longer. Not enough of a size or weight difference for me to choose it on that basis alone.

    To me, India would be a place to do a lot of street, architecture and urban landscapes. The O17, with it's 35mm focal length, would be a natural fit for both street and urban landscapes.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. mannukiddo

    mannukiddo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 28, 2013
    The 12-35 plus 25 1.4 will cover almost every situation you can come across short of telephoto needs. The 25 is preferred by me over the 20 due its lovely colors and rendering which IMHO is a must for the colorful people of India. The 12-35 will cover most of the wide needs and general needs.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    A very small travel kit to me requires wide, long, and fast. Preferences of what fits 'wide' and 'long' vary greatly, for me it means 12-45mm (12-32 pancake, P20, O45), but for you 7.5-25mm sounds preferable. Just keep the 20 in the kit, you'll likely want something fast at some point.
  10. Qwerty

    Qwerty Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    Whatever you do, on a big trip like this be sure to take a backup body in case something goes wrong with your camera & leave it at your hotel.
    In terms of optics I would take your 12-35mm f2.8 (I love my 12-40mm) and that's it. No time to change lenses in dusty and crowded environments.
  11. johnvanatta

    johnvanatta Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    I found that having a normal prime was nice for feeling more casual during street shooting. The reduced size and having one less thing to worry about (zooming) made enough of a difference to my mindset that I'd definitely take along either the 17, 20 or 25. They are all different focals, why not just pick your favorite?

    Backup bodies are nice but I think if you're going extremely light (and you're already cutting good lenses) you can probably just use your phone for backup.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    You should be able to find some m4/3 body easy enough in India, I wouldn't pack a backup body unless it's a GM1/GM5/EPM2 and you already have it.
  13. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Different strokes for different folks, but I'd find it hard to recommend travelling without a superzoom. The 14-140 II is small, light, sharp, and infinitely versatile. Even the old one served me very well.

    Having a real telephoto (~280mm equivalent) almost always on your camera really opens up your opportunities for taking novel shots that other people can't/won't get.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    IMHO, I bet the 12-35 will be used for the majority of shots you'll take. I have a 12-40, which is a bit heavy, but got heavily used. Beyond that, I would probably take the O17 primarily because of its focusing speed and aperture. It's pretty small to start with and really wouldn't take up that much more room. I took my O9-18 on a recent trip and found it useful, especially for interior shots, but you don't have that one on your list. I brought my little O40-150, but never even took it out of the bag. :)
  15. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I'd say that since you already have a solid plan, then I would stick with what you are proposing. As tyrphoto mentioned, I might go with the 17/1.8 over the 20mm, but I think you'll be OK with the kits either way.
  16. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    If I only had two lenses to take it would be the 12-35 and the 25 1.4.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. timinsingapore

    timinsingapore Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 17, 2014
    Londoner in Singapore for 21 years
    Timothy Auger
    I would take one more battery and a charger. Two batteries is not enough for a trip like this. I would certainly take some sort of backup body or P&S - relying on your phone in the event of technical problems will drive you nuts, and you are unlikely to be able to buy your way out of trouble in much of India. Nothwithstanding what you say about longer FLs, I would take one slightly longer prime, rather than the 7.5mm fisheye - that fisheye will certainly produce a few interesting photos, but more than a few and the effect becomes gimmicky and tedious, IMHO. India presents endless interesting details, human, architectural and otherwise, that you might want to capture with a slightly longer lens. The Panasonic 20mm is excellent for low light and for when you want to be discreet, but if it were 'either or', I would have taken a longer prime in preference. (FWIW I have just spend 3 wks in Cuba with a GX7 - used the Panasonic kit 12-32 a lot of the time: absolutely tiny, light, and performed brilliantly; the Sigma 60mm was also useful, but probably a bit heavy for your purposes. Worth considering though.)

  18. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Given a thought to the Olympus 9mm Body Cap instead of the Samyang?

    Or renting a Panasonic 7-14? It's only a bit bigger than the Samyang and gives more options.

    And I'd probably acquire the new Pannt 35-100 f4 if I were going; but if you're sure you won't use it...
  19. TetonTom

    TetonTom Mu-43 Regular

    You say that your style is mostly wide and close. So is mine, and I can't imagine going on a trip like this without my 9-18; it's super light and compact and image quality is on par with what I was used to with my Nikon 12-24. 9mm on the wide end lets you do things you can't with your 12-35, and I can live with the 18mm long end as my normal walk-around FL.
    I've gone on long overseas trips with just the 9-18 plus the 45 1.8, and really like the compact package.
    My wife travels with just a 14-150, and she likes that she never has to change lenses.
    You said you were thinking of bringing the 7mm for something more interesting... How's this; bring a GoPro. They actually take great stills on good light, and are small and weatherproof. And obviously a capable video tool. I've recently done a couple trips with a 12-50 plus the GoPro, and got a great variety of images.

    I find the clip flash next to useless for fill. On a sunny day, I need at least a 36GN flash to really do fill. For a trip that long I'd probably bring my FL-36, along with a diffuser and an arm-length TTL cable. This combo can really give you great portrait light, either as daylight fill or when the going gets dark...

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
  20. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I had recommended the clip flash as opposed to a larger unit and accessories because the OP specifically wanted to minimize the weight and size of their gear as much as possible. I am sure that the set-up that you have recommended would work as you have stated, but I did not get the impression that the OP was entertaining that amount of additional gear.

    • Agree Agree x 1
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