Two weeks in Italy... Lenses

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by j-rad, May 31, 2015.

  1. j-rad

    j-rad Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2015
    Spending two weeks in Italy (Rome and Amalfi coast) and want to make sure I have the right lenses without having to swap too often.

    Currently have the 14-42 kit, 40-150 and Oly 25 f1.8. While I'm sure this trio would be fine for me, especially as a beginner, I've been considering the 12-40 pro to replace the kit lens, and bringing those three. I'd imagine keeping the 12-40 on most of the time in that case.

    Thoughts? Would I be fine with 14mm as widest? I feel like the 12-40 would be a good long term investment and something I could grow with, but obviously having the smaller size of the kit lens would be a benefit while walking around the streets of Rome all day.
  2. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 7, 2011
    I have not been there, but usually I prefer wide angle lenses on European travels due to tighter streets and all the older architectural shots that I like to take. 14-42 might be enough with good light but it might be slow for low light/night time. I have Panasonic 12-35mm 2.8 and that was good enough for me in low light. Again it depends on what you want to capture from your trip. You can check Ray's travel to Amalfi coast at the sister site (I don't know how much he checks here since he doesn't shoot m43 any more):

    Enjoy your trip!
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  3. tino84

    tino84 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 29, 2013
    take at least a 12-32, would be useful to shoot all those great old buildings and some other stuffs in small ways. Shooting Rome would mean also a 9-18 ( Colosseo and Piazza s.Pietro would not fit well on a 14mm I think :p ).
    Here in Italy it's better to have something wide, you know...
  4. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Real Name:
  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    That is enough. You know it!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    It's been almost 14 years since Rome, but I do remember wishing for a wider lens than the 28mm equiv I had at the time.
  7. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Real Name:
    I know that you are looking for an excuse to get a 12-40 but IMO it is too big and heavy to pack while traveling. Sorry. Get a 9-18.
  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'm thinking most of your low light shooting situations are going to be indoors for the historic buildings/art, or some outdoor scenery at dusk. Both of these are also typically shot at the wide angle. Your kit lens is f3.5 at the wide angle, which means a much bigger and more expensive 12-40 is only going to buy you 2/3 of a stop of light. That's not even the difference between ISO 1600 and 800 and honestly, would you use f2.8 if trying to get a whole cathedral in focus anyway? More likely f5.6 and relying on stabilization on either lens.

    I don't think you will regret buying a 12-40, I just don't think you need it. You could swap your 14-42 for a 12-32 or 12-50 (for a little more wide angle) for not much out of pocket, though. The 12-32 is extremely tiny and light, but may force you to swap to a telephoto more often since it only goes to 32mm. Something going to 40-50mm might be just long enough to avoid bringing the telephoto out often.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Real Name:
    12-40mm pro is prob your best bet. Im not sure what kind of pictures you plan on taking but If you want to capture a lot in one shot, get the widest lens you can get. I just came from a 2 week trip in Italy and I was constantly using my widest lens. Brought with me a 7-14mm, 14-140mm, 15mm f1.7, and 25mm f1.4. The 7-14mm was basically glued to my camera. The 15mm and 25mm only was used at night and the telezoom rarely left the hotel room since it was just too heavy and there was rarely any need to zoom on anything. Thinking back, I kind of wish I had a O12-40 Pro or P12-32 instead
  10. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Real Name:
    I have no idea what kind of photos you like, and what you want to capture on your trip. Only you can answer those questions, and the answers will drive your lens choices to a large extent.

    What I can say is the 12-40 is a fantastic lens, and suspect you would be very happy with its image quality. While it is large and heavy for travel, it does take the place of other lenses you would likely carry to cover the same focal and aperture range. You don't say what body you have, but the 12-40 may be challenging on any of the smaller bodies. Its difficult on even an EM5 without a grip added... I liked the 12-40 so much that I recently bought another copy after selling the previous one I had earlier this year (it and the Panasonic 20mm are the only lenses I ever regret selling, and end up buying again).

    I personally find that having wider lens options is a good thing (traveling or not). Interiors, sweeping landscapes, and very close subjects that need environmental context really shine with an ultrawide. I have small children who are never far away, so a wide angle lens lets me capture them and some environment at the same time; the detail shots I've taken over the years with longer lenses seem really inconsequential compared to the photos of family. The 12-40 is just starting to approach this on the 12mm end, but it beats out other, wider options by being more versatile and splash/drip proof on the right body.

    Having said all that, I've seen phenomenal travel photos taken with very humble/minimalist gear. Check out the photos of Ethiopia and Sudan here:
  11. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Real Name:
    I won't argue if you want to invest in the 12-40, but a low-cost, low-weight alternative is a WCON-P01 wide converter on your kit lens, converting 14mm to 11mm. I've used it and the image quality satisfied me. There's a thread here with sample images.
  12. Ralf

    Ralf New to Mu-43

    Aug 4, 2014
    Bitburg, Germany
    I have not been at Rome yet, but have been in Florence, Pisa and Lucca in April. The majority of the pictures I took was with the 12-40. That plus occasionally the Samyang Fisheye were enough lenses.
    The 12-40 is a wonderful lens on my EM-1 with and without grip. Go order one :)
  13. j-rad

    j-rad Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2015
    The lens would be mounted on an E-M10.

    Lots of advice so far, appreciate it. I checked out the 12-32 and it is indeed very small. I could imagine, though, that it would force me to take out the 40-150 more often and if I'm trying to save on size, that wouldn't work. How is the quality on Oly cameras compared to the 14-42?

    The way I see it, the 12-40 is large and heavy, but from pictures online it doesn't look to be any bigger than the 40-150, just heavier. So size wise when traveling, it's just a weight difference. So if I'm going to use the 40-150 anyway, I don't see a difference in having 2 lenses about the same size.

    On the flip side, who knows what I'll end up taking most pictures with. If the 14-42 stays on the camera the majority of the time, that's a huge difference in size over the 12-40.

    I took a look at the pictures of the WCON-P01 and they look good, but what's the general consensus on this? Didn't see any commentary really in that thread.
  14. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    The other option is a 14-140mm II or 14-150mm which could easily replace both your 14-42 and 40-150 with essentially zero compromises. And that way you can actually use your telephoto side of things more regularly, allowing you to get interesting perspectives. Most people only get out the telephoto zoom when they really need it, and so they miss out on all the interesting opportunities it provides in everyday photography.

    I would find it very difficult to travel without a super zoom. Constantly juggling lenses isn't my idea of a fun time when I'm in a foreign country trying to experience it.
  15. j-rad

    j-rad Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2015
    Looks like new, the 14-150 goes for $500 currently on Adorama. I guess I just need to figure out if I want to spend that much for the convenience of not having 2 lenses, since my 14-42 and 40-150 do the same thing. Or for $250 more (about $750 new on ebay), get the 12-40 and sell the 14-42. In both cases I have a bulky lens, with the latter requiring switching lenses. Wish there was an easy answer ;)
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    There is, honestly. Use what you have! :D
    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. j-rad

    j-rad Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2015
    True.. but everyone always wants more!
    • Like Like x 1
  18. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You want more, but you want to bring less.

    I'm laughing because I'm the same way...... :laugh1:
  19. j-rad

    j-rad Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2015
    I'm sure I'll end up just using what I have. I really like the Oly 25 at the moment, so leaving that on for most walking around and bringing out the kit for some wider shots will probably work fine. Maybe I'll grab that wide converter to try it out since it's so cheap.
  20. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Real Name:
    FWIW I took a 12-50 and 40-150 on my last trip to Europe. Used the 12-50 over 95% of the time. Next time I'm bringing the 9-18 instead.