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Need Input: Lenses for Grand Canyon

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by TwoWheels, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    In a little over a month, I’m headed to Arizona for four days of backpacking in the Grand Canyon. I’m limiting myself to two lenses as weight is obviously critical. In addition, I’ll take a small tripod along with a pile of batteries for the insatiable appetite of my GM1. I’ll also have a 3 stop ND filter and a polarizing filter.

    I currently have the following lenses: Panasonic 12-32mm (GM1 kit lens), Panasonic 14mm, Olympus 60mm (macro) and Panasonic 45-150mm.

    I find myself using the P14 most often although I like the flexibility of the 12-32 in daylight. I really like the results I get with the 60mm, both as a short telephoto/portrait lens and as a macro, although the focusing is slow for general use. As I’m using it on a Panasonic body, it also doesn’t have any stabilization. I don’t know how many good macro opportunities I’ll find in May—flowers, plants, cactus, etc. I’ve taken the 45-150 on two very different trips previously and find myself rarely using it.

    This is obviously subjective and based on personal preference/shooting style, but any suggestions on which lenses I should take? How important is having a long lens? Is taking the 12-32 and the 14 redundant? Is flexibility or speed likely to be most useful? Is there a critical lens/focal length that I should have? Not that I'm looking to buy another lens...
  2. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Wide is good in the Grand Canyon from the top, but I've never gone all the way down. I would take the 12-32 for sure, but I guess the second lens all depends on what kind of shooting you do. The 45-150 could be useful if you wanted to get closer to wildlife, the macro could be useful if you do a lot of close up flowers, insects, or rocks and crystals. If you want shots of you and your friends having a good time around the campfire, the 14 would be great (plus it seems to be your favorite lens). So, you have to figure out what works for you, but I will say, the 14mm is so small and light... even backpacking I would think you could sneak that in.
  3. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    Yeah, the 12-32 and 14mm are both pancakes -- take 'em both. I own the Panasonic 45-150 and really like it. Whenever I am going on a trip and am not sure if I'll need a zoom, just in case. And, it's pretty light.

    The only macro I own is a legacy lens and I wouldn't take it. But, I don't do much macro photography. Do you do much?

    Sorry for not really helping. I sense that you want to take all of the lenses and are looking for reasons not to take one and all I have to offer is that I don't do macro photography.

    Edit: I should add that you don't have an obvious low-light lens listed. Panasonic 20mm would fit into your small theme and you could take it instead of the 14mm.
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Wide angle is nice, but so is telephoto in order to create compressed landscapes of the impressive canyons. So definitely take a telephoto. 60mm is probably long enough for that, though, so if you think you might find some small life to photograph as well, then take the macro. I think it is lighter than the 45-150, too.

    14mm is great, but a stabilized 12mm would actually be better for low light landscapes. I'd probably say 12-32 and 60mm macro.

    Although surely if you are torn between the 12-32 and 14mm, just bring both. They are like the size of a cookie, and probably less heavy!
  5. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Take that 45-150mm with you. Unlike narrow slot canyons (e.g. Antelope), Grand Canyon has a lot of what to zoom to and will appreciate distance compression.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  6. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    45-150 and the 12-32. 12 is barely wide enough IMO.
  7. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I'd take the 12-32 and also the 14: it is just 55 grams more. One for day, one for night. If you like primes take only the 14, even without OIS a 14mm does not require an high shutter speed and you have a tripod (how small?).
    So the 60 vs the zoom? The zoom covers the same focal length of the macro lens and you can also do some non-macro closeups. Unless you want to do macro, I'd go with the zoom.
    Remember that you can do photo stitching for panoramas.
  8. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I vote for the 12-32 (it covers 14 already and 12 is more of what you need) and the 45-150. This is the minimalist kit that will get you from 12-150 with a single lens swap.
  9. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Find a cheap 7.5mm ($200) to bring along. Check out my latest photo from the long exposure thread. You never know when you'll want to capture the whole scene.
  10. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Everything you see there is a lot farther away than you can imagine. To get a shot of a specific peak, or a glimpse of the river will take a lot of reach.

    It's also very, very dark at night and of course, once somewhere below the rim shadowed areas get dark in a hurry. The stars in that area are spectacular too., so a low-light lens is a good suggestion.
  11. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Thanks for all the input and perspective everyone. It gives me plenty to think about.

    That's exactly where I am. I've been to the south rim a couple times but haven't really been inside. We'll be doing almost a rim-to-rim-to-rim. I just don't know what to expect.

    One thing I probably hadn't given adequate consideration is the value or reach/compression. That suggests the 45-150 is an important lens to take.

    That's the logical choice--take those two lenses and I have everything covered. Maybe throw in the 14 as well because it's faster. I think the fundamental issue is that for some reason, I'm not a big fan of the 45-150. I just seem to have trouble taking good pictures with it. The opposite is the case with the 60. I just like using it. But for this trip, it's less versatile and I also suspect that its focusing (with more hunting) burns through batteries more quickly. And I'm really more worried about batteries than anything.

    I didn't bring this up in my original post, but the one additional lens I've considered getting for this trip is the 7.5. I've seen a lot of great pictures taken with it. It just seems like the perfect place to use it both as a fisheye and as a de-fished UWA. I'm just not sure if it's too much of a niche/specialty lens for a trip like this where I'm so limited.
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I would probably leave the 14 behind. It is not substantially faster than the 12-32, it is not as wide, and are how often are you going to shoot it wide open to take advantage of the extra speed? If you are using it for landscape work, you will probably have it on a tripod stopped down. I would either pack an extra battery in that space, a close-up filter (like a Marumi) if you did not want to bring the 60 (which I would almost always bring with me as it is one of my favorite lenses), or I would find a little extra space and bring something like the 12 (if you really do want extra light gathering regardless of cost) or the Oly 25 or 45 (for a compromise of speed, size and budget).

    Happy trails,

  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Could also do 9mm BCL. It weighs 1 oz. / .5" thick.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I wish you one great Thunderstorm. If you're on the rim at the time, you can see them coming from many miles away. Sometimes they seem to come down through the canyon and you feel like you're up in the clouds with it, but out of the storm itself. Opportunity for a lot of dramatic pictures.

    Then it overtakes you suddenly and all hell breaks loose. Yup, I hope you get one really good one!
    • Like Like x 1
  15. davdenic

    davdenic Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 14, 2014
    David D.
    Last September I was there and the best shots i did are with 40-150. Bye
  16. HazyOmega

    HazyOmega Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 25, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I went the Grand Canyon once in last September and I was happy having the 7.5mm with me. I also had the 12-40 PRO an 40-150mm. I only stayed one day atop of the south rim.
    The fisheye deliver great photo.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P9291098-T by HazyOmega, on Flickr

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    P9291104-T-1x1 by HazyOmega, on Flickr

    12mm Oly Pro
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    P9291000-T-bb by HazyOmega, on Flickr

    12mm Oly Pro
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    P9291065-T-1x1 by HazyOmega, on Flickr

    12mm Oly Pro
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    P9290969-T-4x6 by HazyOmega, on Flickr

    • Like Like x 6
  17. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Nice photos, HazyOmega!
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