Lightweight travel set-up for E-M1?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by az_chris11, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. az_chris11

    az_chris11 Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Mar 23, 2015
    Hey All,

    Just got back into photography and ordered a E-M1 w/12-40mm lenses. What would you consider to be the best lightweight/low volume set-up? We have two trips coming up, one to Yosemite in April and then Japan in late June/early July (aka rainy season). Looking for a very lightweight travel set-up to handle a range of environments from Tokyo Streets to Yosemite landscape work. Ideally two lens max (thinking Olympus 12-40mm and Olympus 40-150mm?), then some sort of small travel bag (thoughts?). I plan on buying 2x64gb cards, and 2x extra batteries. Any other recommended travel gear/accessories? I plan on offloading pictures to my iPad (then push to google drive), we are not wanting to take our computer with us as we want to be mobile and unencumbered with heavy/expensive gear.
     
  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Welcome to the forum! Lightweight is a relative term. Some find the E-M1/12-40/40-150 to be on the large side, and others find it quite compact. So, it depends on your frame of reference. Are you going to want some type of support like a tripod or clamp? How about flash? If you are shooting raw and shooting lots of images, I am not sure how your iPad/Google Drive arrangement will work, so you may want to test that a bit before heading out.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  3. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    You may need either the SD to Lightning or the USB to Lightning adaptor cables to transfer your photos. Yes, you could do it via WiFi too, I think, albeit a bit slower. I think Olympus has an app to facilitate that.

    I think the EM1 and the 12-40 isn't all that light and compact, although if you're comparing it to a DSLR, it definitely is. Using that frame of reference, even the 40-150 Pro would be considered light and compact. I have a 40-150 f4-5.6 R that I would take on travel because it's so light and tiny, but use the 12-40/50 range most often. Would probably take my newly acquired 9-18 too. Not as sharp as a prime or Pro, but still useful.

    Definitely recommend a weather-sealed setup. When we went to Japan in October 2013, we had a lot of rain and I was still able to take my EM5 with the weather-sealed 12-50 out in it. Had to leave everything else behind. Also want to make sure your bag is waterproof or has a waterproof cover. I thought backpacks were normally water-resistant and found out otherwise! Fortunately, my camera gear was in a Case Logic sling bag that had a AW cover. Lifesaver.
     
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    If you do not need quite the focal length range, but still want a bit of long glass, you could swap out the 40-150 for the 75. It is quite smaller, over a stop faster, and possibly the sharpest lens in the system. But, it is probably not as fast as the 40-150 at focusing, and it does not have a close working distance. If those are not issues, you can certainly lighten your load. Or, you could consider the 35-100. You give up a bit of focal length, but it is quite smaller than the 40-150. It really depends on your shooting style. I have an upcoming trip, and have been really wanting the new 40-150, but like you, I am space/weight constrained, so I am bringing the 75, and possibly packing the slow 40-150 if there is a bit of extra room.

    --Ken
     
  5. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Aug 16, 2012
    Sunshine Coast, Qld Australia
    Maria
    For a long lens you have the following options for fast long zooms
    * The new 40-150 f2.8 which is quite large but has extra reach
    * Panny 35-100 f2.8 which is a really good size for M43

    If however you tend to shoot more with a wider lens the following would make sense for good light photography and more compact size and reach
    * Oly 40-150 R (small and compact)
    * Oly 75-300 (again quite small but lots of reach)
     
  6. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    682
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    As you can see, it's very personal. Here's my kit for such a trip:

    - EM1
    - three zooms: Olympus 9-18/4.0-5.6, Panasonic 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 (I shoot about 15%/70%/15% on those; YMMV)
    - one prime: Olympus 17/1.8 (low light, evenings, etc)
    - three filters: 6x and 10x neutral density and circular polariser (I have 58mm filters and adaptor rings for the smaller lenses)
    - 32G cards to suit the expected duration and shooting rate (EM1 raw+JPEG is about 23MB / image)
    - a good tripod
    - at least three batteries (one in camera, one in pocket, one being charged)

    Except for the tripod and charger, all of this will fit in a Think Tank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i, along with an iPad.
     
  7. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    769
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Honestly, I would choose different lenses for Yosemite and Japan. The 12-40 is probably enough for Japan. I don't know what sort of photography you like to do, but a lightweight tripod and some filters would enable more types of images and could be worthwhile if you shoot long exposure or want to be in your own shots. You wont be able to use them everywhere, though, and they could just end up being unused weights. If you do get a tripod, make sure it meets the size limits of the Japanese airlines. Some of the smaller ones are stricter.

    In Yosemite, I'd add a high quality telephoto to the 12-40. The 40-150 pro is great, but you would likely want the teleconverter as well as that is not likely enough reach for wildlife. It's not light, but it is light for what it is and in my opinion the quality more than offsets the weight. The 75-300 is both serviceable, light, and has the reach, but for such important trips, I'd go for the best and most rugged glass (40-150).

    For a bag, check out the Think Tank Streetwalker. It's well-made. Everything would fit in it, and because you will be walking a lot, a backpack will cause less strain on your shoulders than a sling or messenger bag. That kit could be carried all day. It has a rain cover.

    Speaking of shoulder strain, I suggest ditching the neck strap and using a shoulder strap like Black Rapid or something similar. Your shoulder will thank you. If you also opt for a tripod, there are some quick release solutions I could tell you about.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  8. az_chris11

    az_chris11 Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Mar 23, 2015
    My frame of reference for weight/volume is lugging around my dad's spare body and lenses (so 5dMkii and a backpack of L lens), so the E-M1 is super light be comparison! Hadn't thought about a flash, probably a good idea.

    Yeah I'll have to do a dry run on the iPad/Google drive solution. After having a camera stolen on a trip (honeymoon) with almost a full memory card of unbacked up photos, very leery of leaving images on memory cards for long.

    Yeah I'd love to have the 40-150 lenses, and will perhaps rent it for the two trips as currently $1k is a bit much.

    Thanks for the tip about the bag, hadn't thought about that!

    Are you referring to the 75mm prime or is there a different lenses I'm not aware of?

    Wasn't aware of the 35-100, have to take a look.

    That's my ideal setup but don't think I'd have room for all of that sadly. Really like the bag though!
     
  9. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    769
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Are you good with a flash? The accessory flash is weightless, so even if you don't use it, no worries.
     
  10. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Jan 15, 2014
    I would also take different kits. My Japan kit would be 12-40, 35-100/2.8 and 25/1.4 in a Hadley Digital bag. My Yosemite kit would be 9-18, 25/1.4, 50-200, EC-14 in a Hadley Pro bag, also a tripod.
     
  11. az_chris11

    az_chris11 Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Mar 23, 2015
    Awesome tips, I'll look into the 75-300, would the teleconverter work on the 75-300 or just on the 40-150? Great bag and strap recommendations thanks!
     
  12. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    769
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    It wouldn't. The teleconverter is made for only the 40-150 and upcoming 300, to optimize IQ. without it, you might find the 40-150 wouldn't be enough reach for some situations in Yosemite, but with the teleconverter, it becomes 210mm, yet outperforms the 75-300 even at max range due to its sharpness, and it focuses much faster. That said, if cost is an issue, the 75-300 would still work well, and is the size of a soda can.
     
  13. az_chris11

    az_chris11 Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Mar 23, 2015
    Yeah Ideally I would as well, and perhaps it means renting a few different lenses for the different trips.


    I have the basic principles of a flash, good....well thats debatable haha. So I haven't received my camera yet, is the accessory flash included with the camera or would it have been something extra?
     
  14. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    769
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    One thing I would add, I wouldn't fear theft in Japan. It's a very safe place,
     
  15. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Yes, I was referring to the Olympus 75mm prime in my earlier post. The outlet sale just started minutes ago (and will not last long), so if you know there is something that you want there, you should consider buying it if you are OK with refurbished equipment.

    --Ken
     
  16. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    769
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Speaking as someone who totally sucks at flash, I would bring the accessory (it comes with the camera), but not spring for anything more expensive or heavier.
     
  17. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    682
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    A really inexpensive long zoom is the Olympus 40-150/4.0-5.6. It weighs less than half a pound and costs about $125 brand new (grey market), less used. I used it for two years (until I got the 35-100/2.8) and it was fine. I've been to Yosemite several times on photography workshops and have never had a lens longer than 225, and used this one on my last trip. Your 12-40 is already moderately wide by historical standards, so you could probably skip aa real wide angle lens.

    The accessory flash which comes with the EM1 is about as good as the built-in ones in most cameras, except much easier to loose and annoying to attach. I never use it (but I do have other cameras with built-in flashes). I rarely use flash when traveling.

    Carrying a tripod can be a real pain but can also significantly improve the quality of your shots and let you take otherwise unachievable ones - long exposures of waterfalls, night skies, etc. but a cheap one only adds the inconvenience without adding the benefits, so you might want to skip it for now.
     
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  18. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    769
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Agreed. Cheap tripods are useless, and flash would also be useless, unless you are good at it.
     
  19. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    Define "heavy/expensive". As has been said, lightweight is a relative term. I don't consider the 12-40 to be lightweight let alone the 40-150. Nor are they and the iPad inexpensive. On our last trip I found the cheap 12-50 and 40-150 a fine combo. The 12-50 did 95% of the work and is weather resistant. Next time I might take the 9-18 and 14-150. Losing or dropping any of these four would not be a catastrophe and they are decent performers. And pushing to the cloud wasn't an option in many of the places we visited and would have been prohibitively slow in others. I carried the tablet and backup HD, my wife carried a 128gb thumb drive with a backup of our photos so our eggs weren't all in one basket.. Next time I'll take two thumb drives and leave the HD unless it's a long trip.

    The main thing that I've learned is that I've never been sorry that I left something home and there are plenty of things I wish I had left.
     
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