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New lens for my vacation...which one?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by kgeissler, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. kgeissler

    kgeissler Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 25, 2012
    Rowlett, TX
    I am going on vacation to Vancouver Island in March for the Pacific Rim Whale Festival. I plan on do lots of hiking and wildlife/landscape photography. I currently have an E-PL5, with the the kit 14-42 and 40-150 lenses.

    Here are my questions. Should I get a good prime lens (I was looking at that Panasonic 20mm) or should I get a lens with better zoom (like the Panasonic 100-300)? I was thinking if I took a boat tour to go whale watching, I might not be able to get clear shots of whale with a 300mm lens. I thought the camera shake might be too much with the boat moving and all. I really like wildlife photography, but I think the 300mm might be a waste of money since I already have the 40-150. Or should I get the prime lens and get better landscape/low light photos?

    Any ideas/suggestions?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    If you're going whale watching, I'd definitely want a longer lens personally. I've only been once, but the only "keeper" shots I got of whales from the boat were all with the 100-300, racked out to 300mm

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/7875879112/" title="Major Marine Tours Wildlife Cruise - Orca by jloden, on Flickr">
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    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/7875905098/" title="Major Marine Tours Wildlife Cruise - Orca Fluke by jloden, on Flickr">
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    Granted you already have the 40-150mm but there's a pretty big difference between 150mm and 300mm and in my experience wildlife is usually pretty darn far away :biggrin:

    Having said all that, the 20mm or a similar normal range prime lens with large aperture would also be an excellent addition to your kit as well. It just depends on what would be a priority to you for the trip. Low light photos, or the wildlife opportunities?
    • Like Like x 5
  3. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    • Like Like x 2
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    No question. The 100-300 is really useful for wildlife of all kinds.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I really like my 100-300mm. It's a great lens and will give you the extra reach you need for wildlife. :thumbup:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. mkee

    mkee Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2012
    Long Beach CA
    Go for the longer zoom. I had the 45-200 on a trip to Alaska and I was really wishing that I had spent the extra money on the 100-300 instead. So much in fact I sold my 45-200 and plan to buy the 100-300 before my next big trip.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

  8. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I agree that for wildlife you will want as long a lens as you can get! As for lens shake the IS works great when shooting from a boat. This last summer I went on a river boat tour and got a few picture of a hawk flying by while the boat was moving. Granted it was bright sun and the situation might have been different in low light.

    Primes are great but are not do all lenses! A trinity of primes(wide angle - normal - telephoto) can work great for travel however. For general "touristy" photography zooms are far better choice, in my opinion. I personally love my 14-150mm. Later this month I am going to Disney World and that lens will be my most used, I am sure.
  9. larsjuhljensen

    larsjuhljensen Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Excellent kit you have already. I bought the E-PL2 with the same dual-lens kit a couple of years ago. I have since complemented the two kit lenses with the Panasonic 20/1.7 and the Olympus 45/1.8 primes and a Raynox DCR-150 close-up lens. For me that makes for an excellent and light travel kit with a lot of flexibility.

    When it comes to which lens I would recommend you to buy, it really depends on whether you are looking for the best lens to add for the purpose of the trip you are going on, or if you are looking for the most useful lens more long term.

    If you are looking for the best long-term addition to your kit, I would buy the 20/1.7 prime. I find 20mm to be a very useful focal length, the larger aperture makes a world of a difference in low light, and on a PEN camera it makes for a very compact package. All-in-all it is my favorite lens, but for landscape photography I would generally want something wider and for wildlife something much, much longer.

    If, on the other hand, you are looking for the best lens to add for your trip in March the 100-300mm is in my opinion clearly the best choice. When it comes to wildlife photography, lenses only come in one length and that is "too short". I have been photographing whales with the 40-150mm myself and I ended up shooting at 150mm almost all the time and even then I had to crop.
  10. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I would go for the 100-300; as others wrote, in the great outdoors reach is always a good thing. The 20mm is more a city or indoors thing I would say.
  11. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Best travel lens in the lineup is either the 12-35/2.8 or 20/1.7 IMHO.

    12-35 is weather sealed, which will be important in Vancouver in the spring, and it's a zoom, so you have some control over the framing, etc during all those situations where you can't zoom with your feet. f/2.8 is literally night and day over your current lenses.

    20/1.7 because of the field of view, size, and brightness. It doesn't appear the IQ of the new 17/1.8 is as good, but I would say that would be the other contender here.
  12. Dalton

    Dalton Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2010
    Portland, Oregon USA
    Dan Ferrall
    Tough question...

    I think the answer to this really depends on trying to separate short term and long term priorities. I believe there is no question that the Vancouver trip would benefit highly from the 100-300mm lens. As another poster pointed out, for whale captures you really do need as long a focal length as possible.

    The long term answer has to do with what is the primary style or type of photographic capture you tend be engaged in. The Panasonic 20mm is an excellent walk around lens. It also happens to be a first class piece of glass. If you can be patient and know that your long term budget will allow for the purchase of the 20mm down the road, get the 100-300mm for the immediate trip and buy the 20mm later in the year.
  13. kgeissler

    kgeissler Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 25, 2012
    Rowlett, TX
    Well, my Panasonic 100-300 lens arrived today! We leave for Vancouver Island in 2 weeks. Hopefully I will get some good pics. Thank you everyone for the advice!
  14. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Make sure you post up some pics when you get back. Have fun!
  15. kgeissler

    kgeissler Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 25, 2012
    Rowlett, TX
    Well...I have taken some good shots with the lens so far (will post some when I get home). One thing I have found is that it will be very difficult to get any pics of whales... With the boat movement and the whale only being visible for a second or two, it will be pure luck if I get any pictures of a whale, but I will definitely try. :) 

    Sent from my Nexus 10 using Tapatalk 2
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