Thought Exercise: Bike Touring Kit

11GTCS

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As I often do on slow evenings, I’m doing some mental planning for a race I have coming up (if COVID can screw off!) In theory I’ll be racing a 200km gravel cycling ride in July in Iceland (if anyone else is doing the rift, let me know, I’m sure an MFT landscape meet up would be sweet!), and since I’ll be on my bike for 10+ hours riding through some of the prettiest landscape on earth, I figured I’d see what the group’s ideal ultralight setup would be. While minimizing weight is nice, my real goal is minimizing volume, since I only have so much room in my bag.
My natural instinct would be a setup centered around a GM1, probably with the P12-32, P35-100, PL15, and P30 macro. I’d be missing an ultra wide, but Iceland is a place with sweeping landscapes, so tele might be more important than ultra wide. That said, the GM1 isn’t getting any newer, and the GX85 is pretty small as well and offers IBIS, something much appreciated when I leap of my bike shaking from effort to try and snag a shot. Of course Olympus bodies are also a possibility, but nothing there speaks to me for an ultra compact setup except maybe a 10.2 or something.
What are your thoughts? I look forward to seeing some interesting suggestions!
It’s one of my favorite places to shoot if anyone is ever on the fence about going. Last time I just shot with an X100F!
 
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JensM

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Sounds like you are on the right trail, cant really beat the two first mentions for size and quality. Not familiar with that P macro, but a "ultra"wide variant, this one is worth schlepping around: Oly 9mm BCL , and it could possibly be worth having a look at the Panasonic GX800, if you feel that the GM1 is getting a bit long in the tooth. I understand it to be the same sensor as the GX85, less IBIS but with sort of the form factor of the GM1. Worth having a look at: Minimalist Landscape Photography –with the tiny Lumix GX880
 
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If, IF, it was me, I'd take my GX8, the P12-32, the P45-175 and buy a PL15 for the trip. Not sure why you would be taking the P30 (which I adore) unless you are specifically going to target macro. However, weather might be an issue and so some weather-sealed lens might also be considered...though to be fair, I have shot lots in the wet with standard lenses and they have never given me any problems.

I once wandered through Iceland for two weeks in a camper-van in 1989, and it rained every day. Still shot 50 rolls of film, though :) I would love to go back with my m4/3gear....
 

Panolyman

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If, IF, it was me, I'd take two weeks like Roddy, rather than 10+ hours.
Especially if I was cycling it. ;)

All good suggestions above;
but how is it a race if you're going to be taking so much trouble with the photography?
 

11GTCS

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If, IF, it was me, I'd take my GX8, the P12-32, the P45-175 and buy a PL15 for the trip. Not sure why you would be taking the P30 (which I adore) unless you are specifically going to target macro. However, weather might be an issue and so some weather-sealed lens might also be considered...though to be fair, I have shot lots in the wet with standard lenses and they have never given me any problems.

I once wandered through Iceland for two weeks in a camper-van in 1989, and it rained every day. Still shot 50 rolls of film, though :) I would love to go back with my m4/3gear....
I’ve got a GX8 now and do love it, but its far from small or light; fine for cycling around on a day that isn’t race day (and it’d be with me for the rest of the trip) but not necessarily for the race itself. The P30 is just a holdover from my usual photographic style... I often photograph small flowers when I bike, so having a macro lens is convenient


If, IF, it was me, I'd take two weeks like Roddy, rather than 10+ hours.
Especially if I was cycling it. ;)

All good suggestions above;
but how is it a race if you're going to be taking so much trouble with the photography?
haha I’ll be there a week in general and likely have my complete Fuji and MFT kit there, this would just be the race day itself. I’m really racing the race, I know I won’t be competitive enough to get anywhere near the front. I’m just in it to finish. And in that case, since I’m allowed 14 hours to finish, I figure a handful of 5 minute photo stops along the route for some beautiful scenery will be good for both my backside and the memories!
 

exakta

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I've done a few road bike tours with all my gear in a fanny pack (Think Tank Hubba Hubba Hiney). The rented bike itself had neither rack or bags.

Carried an E-M10 with a 14-42R II and 40-150R with some filters, spare battery (I was able to recharge every night) and had enough room to hold my passport, wallet, cell phone, some snack bars and map. I personally didn't find the need for a macro lens and made do without a fast prime.

The fanny pack easily rotated for quick access, no need to dismount the bike.
 

11GTCS

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I've done a few road bike tours with all my gear in a fanny pack (Think Tank Hubba Hubba Hiney). The rented bike itself had neither rack or bags.

Carried an E-M10 with a 14-42R II and 40-150R with some filters, spare battery (I was able to recharge every night) and had enough room to hold my passport, wallet, cell phone, some snack bars and map. I personally didn't find the need for a macro lens and made do without a fast prime.

The fanny pack easily rotated for quick access, no need to dismount the bike.
When I bike to work on a race bike or other bike without bags, I do the same thing. Ironically I then only carry a macro lens and something small and general purpose, last MFT kit it was a 10.2 with the 60 macro and either a 17 and 45 prime set or the P12-60. This time it’d probably just be the 12-32 and the P30 for daily ultralight carry. For long rides though my bike has a randonneur style front bag, so a little organizer bag tossed in there will hold my cameras... they’re also accessible then without dismounting, but I rarely find a shot I don’t need to dismount for, since like 80% of my shots are of flowers, and that’s late lupine season in Iceland, so that’ll probably be drawing my eye

Oh, I agree totally, but I was just using kit that I own for your scenario :)
I figured! Just wanted to be sure. GM1 or GX85 is probably my fundamental dilemma, I’ve had a GM1 in the past and it was nice to be sure, but some features (or lack thereof) are getting harder and harder to live without as time moved past 2014.
 
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The P30 is just a holdover from my usual photographic style... I often photograph small flowers when I bike, so having a macro lens is convenient
I can understand that - it's a lovely walkaround lens, but - if you're just using the macro ability to photograph flowers, the P45-175 stands in for my P30 quite nicely when the latter is not in the bag. The 45-175 is a damn fine lens for a lightweight telephoto zoom, and cheap as chips on eBay or similar. Better than the other mid-market zooms by some distance and it's only 30 grams heavier than the 30mm.

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11GTCS

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I can understand that - it's a lovely walkaround lens, but - if you're just using the macro ability to photograph flowers, the P45-175 stands in for my P30 quite nicely when the latter is not in the bag. The 45-175 is a damn fine lens for a lightweight telephoto zoom, and cheap as chips on eBay or similar. Better than the other mid-market zooms by some distance and it's only 30 grams heavier than the 30mm.

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That’s definitely worth trying; it’s cheap enough it’s worth the punt. The power zoom has always put me off. Some of that photog snobbery I guess. It would be convenient for ultralight scenarios to be sure, especially if I don’t go with a GM1 (the 35-100 is like magic with the GM1)
 
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Don't let the Power Zoom put you off. I don't even use it, the traditional ring is far more my stye. There's a showcase thread here too, if you don't know what the long focal length quality is like. I get the impression the images are better with newer cameras - the lens has been out a long time. I have some recent shots in there with the GX8, towards the last few pages. I would imagine your GX80 would produce similar images.

edit: I forgot to add that a Raynox works great on the 45-175. It's an internal zoom so the distance between the front lens and the target never changes. Highly useful!
 

mfturner

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Another vote for the 9mm bcl, although stitching panoramas would work great with the 12-32 probably.

My ultra light kit is a PM1, 9mm bcl, P35-100, and the Canon 450 close up lens that works well with the P35-100, it friction fits in the lens hood almost perfectly, and is better IQ than just cropping at 100mm. If I really want something between the 9mm and 35mm I either pull out the cell phone or stitch panorama with 35mm. So similar range and intent as yours, maybe gives a few options for ideas.
 

threeOh

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Other than the macro, I’ve had or still have all the bodies and lenses you mention. My thoughts:

- I assume the PL15 for a fast wide when the light is low. If that’s your logic, IBIS on the GX85 makes a lot of sense. You know the focal lengths that make sense better than I do. But for a bit more reach, there’s the O25/1.8 as well. Both are superb.
- Certainly the 12-32.
- I’d go for the P45-175 (as above) rather than the 35-100.
- You know the environment but I’d want to make sure I’m going to use the macro.

As an e-biker, I can only be impressed.
 

angusr

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I've been through all those thoughts! I don't race, but I've done the Highland Trail 550 route, as well as a load of other bikepacking routes where light weight and pack size are major concerns. Of course those trips are also where the best photos are. I have GX85, GX8, P12-32, O12, P20, O45, Samyang Fisheye, PL 12-60, P45-175 and a Sony RX100iv. I've tried pretty much all the combos but I would now take either the GX8 + PL12-60 +- fisheye or the Sony depending on how important photograpy is relative to the cycling. The zoom saves sufficient time to make it well worthwhile.
 

11GTCS

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Don't let the Power Zoom put you off. I don't even use it, the traditional ring is far more my stye. There's a showcase thread here too, if you don't know what the long focal length quality is like. I get the impression the images are better with newer cameras - the lens has been out a long time. I have some recent shots in there with the GX8, towards the last few pages. I would imagine your GX80 would produce similar images.

edit: I forgot to add that a Raynox works great on the 45-175. It's an internal zoom so the distance between the front lens and the target never changes. Highly useful!
It's worth considering! I'm also tempted by the 14-140 ii; that might be a good all in one for most things I'd need, and I'm getting good reports about its sharpness. I doubt I'd need more than 250mm for just about anything, and with the 9BCL that people are suggesting or the O9-18 I already have I'd be pretty much set, especially with a small fast prime for low light and people work.

Another vote for the 9mm bcl, although stitching panoramas would work great with the 12-32 probably.

My ultra light kit is a PM1, 9mm bcl, P35-100, and the Canon 450 close up lens that works well with the P35-100, it friction fits in the lens hood almost perfectly, and is better IQ than just cropping at 100mm. If I really want something between the 9mm and 35mm I either pull out the cell phone or stitch panorama with 35mm. So similar range and intent as yours, maybe gives a few options for ideas.
That's some good thoughts! I mean as far as the BCL, it's cheap and takes up no space so I might as well pack it right? I do have a 9-18, but I don't shoot ultrawide super often, I've never shot with my X70 and thought "Dang, I wish I could go wider", so 28 is probably as wide as I generally need. If I go ultra small your setup will likely be perfect.

Other than the macro, I’ve had or still have all the bodies and lenses you mention. My thoughts:

- I assume the PL15 for a fast wide when the light is low. If that’s your logic, IBIS on the GX85 makes a lot of sense. You know the focal lengths that make sense better than I do. But for a bit more reach, there’s the O25/1.8 as well. Both are superb.
- Certainly the 12-32.
- I’d go for the P45-175 (as above) rather than the 35-100.
- You know the environment but I’d want to make sure I’m going to use the macro.

As an e-biker, I can only be impressed.
I've had the 15/1.7 before; I like the work I've done with it. You're correct, since I'll be biking from my house to the staging/start zone, I'd use the 15/1.7 once there to shoot street style scenes of people prepping to start. It'd be dead weight most of the rest of the trip, but we are talking ounces here. As I mentioned to macro, I'm tempted by the 14-140 as a sole other lens for a truly ultralight setup with a GX85 if that's the camera I go with. It seems like that might be a good option. But otherwise the P45-175 would work. With the GM1 the 35-100 makes more sense; it's more compact and I don't see myself needing the extra reach for even expansive landscapes. The macro will just depend on scouting. It's light and doesn't take up much space, so if it seems like there are some nice flowers along the route I'll bring it, otherwise it'll stay at the base camp with the rest of the full kit.

I've been through all those thoughts! I don't race, but I've done the Highland Trail 550 route, as well as a load of other bikepacking routes where light weight and pack size are major concerns. Of course those trips are also where the best photos are. I have GX85, GX8, P12-32, O12, P20, O45, Samyang Fisheye, PL 12-60, P45-175 and a Sony RX100iv. I've tried pretty much all the combos but I would now take either the GX8 + PL12-60 +- fisheye or the Sony depending on how important photograpy is relative to the cycling. The zoom saves sufficient time to make it well worthwhile.
I don't see myself taking the GX8 or the PL12-60. I'd love to own the 12-60, but I usually shoot landscape shots either at the 12-25mm range or the 75mm+ range, so the back half of the 60 doesn't do much much for me in that use case. Ditto with the GX8... I love the camera but for a race day or beater type environment the GX85 or GM1 would be more than plenty and represent a much better fit in the particular bag setup I'm running... I've pretty much got my standard bag to hold the camera so it has to fit tetris style and the 8 for my hands and bag is about the biggest camera I'd ever use period (the G9 is way too big for me even in semi-pro environments for example).
 

threeOh

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I'm tempted by the 14-140 as a sole other lens for a truly ultralight setup with a GX85 if that's the camera I go with. It seems like that might be a good option.
I have the 14-140 II. I bought it with low expectations, avoiding lens changes in the American west being the only criteria I had in mind. Frankly, it’s a surprisingly competent zoom, let alone super zoom. Balances nicely with the GX bodies. Haven’t tried it with the GM1 — stranger pairings exist.
 

11GTCS

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I have the 14-140 II. I bought it with low expectations, avoiding lens changes in the American west being the only criteria I had in mind. Frankly, it’s a surprisingly competent zoom, let alone super zoom. Balances nicely with the GX bodies. Haven’t tried it with the GM1 — stranger pairings exist.
There's a great deal on a first gen in the buy-sell page, I might try and snag it just to see how it goes. If I really love it maybe I'll gun for a gen 2 for the weathersealing and better stabilization. I'd definitely only pair it with a GX series.
 

John M Flores

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I'd find it hard to take anything more than snapshots while in the middle of a race. Personally, I can't rush a landscape - I need time to think about the shot.

With that in mind, I'd document the race as much as I can and take the landscape shots later.
 

11GTCS

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I'd find it hard to take anything more than snapshots while in the middle of a race. Personally, I can't rush a landscape - I need time to think about the shot.

With that in mind, I'd document the race as much as I can and take the landscape shots later.
Well as I mentioned above, I'm really not doing the ride as a race... just trying to finish within a 14 hour window. That's a little under 9mph average. I'll have plenty of time to take a few choice landscape shots. I won't be able to go back to these locations after the race, that's part of the appeal of the race, many of the areas of the route are normally closed. I'll also only have my bike while I'm there (traveling with the team on vans), so I'll be limited to places I can bike to the entire time. I'm sure my landscapes won't be awe inspiring during the race, but they're views I'll never get any other time.
 

John M Flores

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Well as I mentioned above, I'm really not doing the ride as a race... just trying to finish within a 14 hour window. That's a little under 9mph average. I'll have plenty of time to take a few choice landscape shots. I won't be able to go back to these locations after the race, that's part of the appeal of the race, many of the areas of the route are normally closed. I'll also only have my bike while I'm there (traveling with the team on vans), so I'll be limited to places I can bike to the entire time. I'm sure my landscapes won't be awe inspiring during the race, but they're views I'll never get any other time.
Sounds like an epic ride. Enjoy!

FWIW, I sometimes ride with a 360 camera, shooting stills and video. It's a unique way to capture the moment.

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