Third lens for hiking in the Alps (besides 40-150mm and 7.5mm FE)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ogremage, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. ogremage

    ogremage New to Mu-43

    Jun 1, 2013

    In roughly a month I will be leaving for a one-week holiday of hiking the southern French/Italian Alps (Mercantour, P.N. delle Alpi Marittime), hopefully getting from St Etienne de Tinee to St Dalmas de Tende.

    I've done a few somewhat similar trips before, in Vanoise (with GF1 + 9-18mm and 40-150mm) and Nepal (with E-M5 + 9-18mm + 20mm + 40-150mm). I'm generally carrying a home-made tripod, polarizer, and an ND8 filter as well.

    I generally mostly shoot either very wide (9mm with 9-18mm, 14mm with the 14-45mm before I got the 9-18mm), or in the tele range. If I shot 20mm during that trip it was because I needed the light (e.g., astrophotography), the DoF (some of the plant pics - but I think 40-150mm would have worked there too) would or because I wanted the sharpness and was concerned the 9-18mm won't provide it, not because I like the FOV.

    Weight is very important - I have some back problems, so any gram saved is good. Also, I'd rather have 3 lenses than 4, as it is a bit of hassle to store and swap all of them.

    I was quite happy with the 9-18mm and 40-150mm combination from a focal length perspective, just that later on at home I got the feeling that many of my 9-18mm pictures were quite soft ( I have started some brick wall threads here Brick wall with 9-18mm and 7.5mm: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review ).

    The problem

    Anyway, I need to make up my mind on the lenses to take.

    I'm 100% set on the Olympus 40-150mm (202g) I like it, it is relatively light and very versatile.

    I'm 90% set on taking the Samyang 7.5mm Fish-eye (187g) - it is relatively light weight, apparently very sharp, and I think it will come in useful for landscapes quite often.

    But I doubt that having just a UWA FE and a tele lens will work well, I need something else in the middle. Also, I'd like to be able to use a polarizer more often than just with the tele, but it won't work on the FE.

    Here are the options I'm considering:
    • Just take the 20mm f/1.7 (100g) I already have. It is a nice little sharp lens and light weight. That said, I don't use the focal length that much, it's usually either too narrow or not narrow enough for me. Of course, if my only other alternative were 7.5mm FE or 40mm tele, I might use it more :).
    • Buy an Olympus 12mm f/2 (130g). Likely sharp. Light weight. Likely works nicely for astro-photography if I get a chance to do any. A good choice overall, but ~550 GBP new, ~460 GBP used. I haven't bought it so far because I was afraid it won't be wide enough compared to the 9-18mm, but now that I have the FE, perhaps that wouldn't be a problem.

      Would it be too close to the 7.5mm that I should take one but not the other?

      Is there anyone here who doesn't carry that many lenses with him, but DOES carry both 7.5mm and 12mm for landscapes?
    • Take the 12-50mm (211g) kit lense. I already have it, and it has a really nice pseudo-macro function that I quite like. That said, I haven't had much chances to use macro on these trips as it takes too much time, and I haven't gotten a non-macro picture out of it yet that I've liked (I haven't used it much though). It appears sharper at 12mm than my 9-18mm is though. It is also weather-resistant which can come in handy (but usually if it rains, there isn't much to shoot anyway).
    • Buy a Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 (55g). Really low weight. Low size. But when I had the 14-45mm then the 14mm felt too narrow for landscapes. That said, it might complement the 7.5mm FE better than the 12mm. Not sure how sharp it really is, the reviews appear mixed.
    • Just take my 9-18mm anyway. At 9mm the 7.5mm FE defished gets better results sometimes, so I'm somewhat reluctant to do that.
    • Get the 9-18mm (155g) repaired or replaced with another - probably cannot do the first in time for the trip, and I'm reluctant to do the second, because what if will be the same again?
    • Get the 7-14mm (300g) - this is an interesting and appealing option, but requires tinkering (and probably extra weight) to get a polarizer filter on it, and it is also quite expensive (850 GBP new, rare on used market), that I probably cannot get myself and my better half on-board with the idea of buying it before the trip. If I did get it, perhaps I should leave the 7.5mm at home; but then why did I buy it in the first place?

    Vanoise (example pics):

    Full gallery:
    Vanoise 2011 - a set on Flickr

    Nepal (example pic):

    Full gallery:
    Nepal 2012 - a set on Flickr

    Short blog post:
    Photography and Travels: Nepal, Annapurna Base Camp trek, 2012
  2. Hudsonhites

    Hudsonhites Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 14, 2011
    Hi ogremage

    Those are some beautiful photos you've taken

    The panasonic 7-14 doesn't take threaded filters so you'll have to rig that up
    Yourself if that's possible without causing something like flare, distortion or something else.

    The Olympus 12mm would seem to fit you the best out of the options you've mentioned. It's sharp, light, fast and takes filters.

    Another option might be the 4/3 version of the olympus 9-18mm it's considered quite good optically among 4/3 shooters. However between the lens and adapter needed 4/3 to micro 4/3 will weight about 350g.

    Olympus Zoom Super Wide Angle 9-18mm f/4-5.6 ED Zuiko Zoom

    Good shooting on your trip
  3. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    John M
    My longer than just a walk kit is the 7.5, 14, and 45-150.
    I think the 14mm is perfect for the job.

    Have a great trip.
  4. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Real Name:
    I think since you already have the 12-50mm, you should try and carry that instead. if you are concern about your back the 12-50mm and 40-150mm covers a very wide range already.

    I think you should only buy the 12mm if you need a fast wide angle glass. Otherwise, the lenses you have seems to fit your needs already:smile:

    Very very beautiful photos by the way:thumbup: