Updating travel kit

NashtH

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Hello

I currently have a M43 travel camera kit that I purchased about 5-6 years ago looking for better photos and small. I wanted the whole kit under 1kg which it is. My current kit GM5, Oly 9-18, Pan 15f1.7 and Pan 35-100 f3.5-5.6?(the small one) with charger, spare batteries, the tiny flash, sd cards with holder comes in about about 1kg. I mainly travel by bike going A to B so nothing can be left behind for a day.

I have had a few problems with this kit and have changed my mind on the 1kg limit raising that to 1.5kg hoping that new/better gear will help with my short coming in the kit.

Problem #1 the Oly 9-18 is good for outside landscape but truly lacks ability in taking handheld picture of building interiors.

Problem #2 I would like more reach in the telephoto.

Likes
#1 with the small red GM5 I have no problem with anti professional camera rule, even when seeing these rules applied to things like the X-pro1 with lens

#2 The small size has all lenses in handlebar bag for easy changing

#3 I like the 15mm view point

Current use rate for lenses about 15mm 50%, 9-18 15% and 35-100 35%. Keeper rate is about the same.

I am looking for suggests that will improve my kit. I want to keep my total kit below 1.5kg current camera+lenses is 620g and other items are 300g. Price range for upgrades is $3000.

Thank you for your help.
 

comment23

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Always fun to spend someone else’s money, although your budget is far more than I would think necessary for your purpose. Some ideas:
  • I don’t think you’re going to find a more modern camera of comparable size and weight. If your prepared to go up a bit in size you would find the Olympus E-M5 Mark III (415g) a worthy upgrade. This body would also massively improve the in body stabilisation you’ve been used to and could breath new life into your 9-18mm. If not then the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 (170g) would come highly recommended by many here.
  • Your 15mm is already best in class and the small 35-100mm still can’t be beat for size and weight. If you need a little longer the Olympus 40-150mm f/4-5.6 (190g) punches well above its price, is smallish and cheap. Alternatively the 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II (285g) gives you a weather sealed kit with the E-M5 III which may also get you places you’ve not been before. How much additional reach are you looking for?
  • If you wanted to round out the kit I might suggest the Olympus 12-45mm f/4 PRO (254g) but I’m not clear that solves a real world problem for you.
All of this would come in way below your budget and remain well inside your new weight limit too, but may fall foul of the ‘professional camera rule’ in your #1 ‘like’ above.
 
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Olympus EM5.3 with the 14-150 is on sale now. As the above post states, it upgrades your capabilities, extends the zoom, and is well under the $3k limit by half. Add in the Laowa if you can deal with manual focus and you are still at under $2k for a huge upgrade.
 

RAH

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My main travel setup for the past few years has been the Olympus E-M10.2 mounted with a PL 12-60 f2.8-4 lens, plus a GM5 mounted with the Oly m43 9-18 (same lens you have). Total weight of that gear is about 1075g.

The obvious "improvement" in my kit over yours is a camera with IBIS. That's the first thing I would consider. That would certainly make the 9-18 a more suitable lens for interiors. So I'd say get either a refurbished E-M10.2, a new or refurb E-M10.4, or a new or refurb E-M5.3 (splurge!).

Since you seem to be happy swapping between the 15 and 35-100 (that would drive me crazy!), I think that's the only improvement I'd suggest (the camera with IBIS). I don't think you could improve on the IQ with anything that's easy to carry. You could do as I do and continue to carry the GM5 as a secondary body (and use it for the 15 or the 35-100).

Just some other options, a lens like the PL 12-60 (or especially the lighter P12-60 f3.5-5.6) might very well take the place of your 15 and 35-100, with probably some weight reduction and less swapping. And it could even eliminate the need for the 9-18 unless you need the ultra-wide FL. I DO use my 9-18 when on trips, but not all that much (maybe 10% of shots), since I find 12mm to be pretty good for most uses.

Another obvious idea is a super-zoom lens like the 14-140 or 14-150 from Pany and Oly. Myself, I find the PL 12-60 to be enough reach (truth to tell, I do also carry a Oly 40-150 or P35-100 that I occasionally use; but I'm not on a bike!). Good luck.
 
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In terms of body, I found the GX85 enough of an upgrade over the GM5 to switch, just for IBIS and ergonomics. But the GX9 us a step above the GX85 too. IBIS will open up that indoor shooting with the 9-18 as long as you don't have moving subjects you want to capture. Even the EM5II that I am now using is a significant upgrade for the IBIS alone, not to mention a very likeable viewfinder.
 

NashtH

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Thank you for your reply's

I have been given several suggestion by the camera shop when I looked around but I am not sure which changes to my kit would best fix my problems.

Suggestion I was given as well as more
1. New body, M-M5 M3 or the GX9
2. 8-18 f2.8-4
3. 50-200 f2.8-4
4. 100-300 lens
5. 7-14 f2.8
6. gorilla tripod 1k

As for increase in reach I would like a reach 200mm instead of 100 I now have but I am not 100% sold on the 200mm being perfect.

As for the changing of lens, I had a 14-150 but found when I changed to 3 lens set up where I change the lenses a lot that I get more keepers so not looking to go back to that.

I am looking very hard at the tripod idea and will at least try out the gorilla.
 

John M Flores

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On motorcycle trips where I have limited luggage space, I frequently carry a GX85, two zooms for the day, and a fast prime for the evening/low light. The smallest kit is the 12-32/32-100 collapsing zooms plus the 20 1.7.

If I were to start over with the OP's requirements, this is what I might choose:

Lumix G100
342g
A little lighter and smaller than GX85. Doesn't have IS but can rely upon lens OIS. Really hope its successor has IS.

Lumix Leica 12-60 F2.8-4.0
320g
OIS. Most of my photos are in this range, so I'll splurge for the quality. I have the 12-35 F2.8, which is quite nice, but the reach to 60 will likely reduce lens swapping during the day.

Lumix 45-200 F4.0-5.6 II
370g
Don't know much about this lens but it has OIS and the reach requested.

Lumix 20 F1.7
87g
Great little pancake. Thought about the a 25mm but would be tight for group shots in a cozy restaurant. A 15mm might work better for that but it's compromised in the other direction. 20mm seems like the Goldilocks focal length for me. No OIS but the fast aperture helps compensate.
 

ac12

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Thank you for your reply's

I have been given several suggestion by the camera shop when I looked around but I am not sure which changes to my kit would best fix my problems.

Suggestion I was given as well as more
1. New body, M-M5 M3 or the GX9
2. 8-18 f2.8-4
3. 50-200 f2.8-4
4. 100-300 lens
5. 7-14 f2.8
6. gorilla tripod 1k

As for increase in reach I would like a reach 200mm instead of 100 I now have but I am not 100% sold on the 200mm being perfect.

As for the changing of lens, I had a 14-150 but found when I changed to 3 lens set up where I change the lenses a lot that I get more keepers so not looking to go back to that.

I am looking very hard at the tripod idea and will at least try out the gorilla.

This is confusing, you want to keep the weight down, but the suggestion list has heavy f/2.8 lenses.

Here are my suggestions, with an emphasis on keeping the weight down, and keeping some of your lenses.
  • EM10 or EM5 (new)
  • Olympus 9-18
  • P-Lumix 12-60 (this is my GP travel lens). (new)
    • Or an Olympus 14-42 if you want to stay all Olympus.
  • Olympus 40-150R (new).
    • Or 75-300 if you want more reach.
  • Panasonic 15/1.7
or
  • EM10 or EM5 (new)
  • Olympus 9-18
  • Panasonic 35-100
  • Olympus 75-300 (new)
  • Panasonic 15/1.7
 

NashtH

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This is confusing, you want to keep the weight down, but the suggestion list has heavy f/2.8 lenses.

Here are my suggestions, with an emphasis on keeping the weight down, and keeping some of your lenses.
  • EM10 or EM5 (new)
  • Olympus 9-18
  • P-Lumix 12-60 (this is my GP travel lens). (new)
    • Or an Olympus 14-42 if you want to stay all Olympus.
  • Olympus 40-150R (new).
    • Or 75-300 if you want more reach.
  • Panasonic 15/1.7
or
  • EM10 or EM5 (new)
  • Olympus 9-18
  • Panasonic 35-100
  • Olympus 75-300 (new)
  • Panasonic 15/1.7

The confusion of the suggestions from the shop combined with their dislike of a clean kitchen scale to evaluation the suggestions, had me not buying anything when I was there.

The new body suggestion is also this forums biggest suggest so I am thinking that may be step one and then relook at the lenses for which of the those suggestions would work better to solve my list of wants and stay in weight.
 

PakkyT

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Ya to kind of pull from other people's posts. Your first issue is a combination of no in body image stabilization and none of your lenses having it, the 9-18 not the fastest for aperture, and of course the 3rd part is your own ability to steadily hold the setup while shooting. So it would seem that simple upgrading to a camera body with image stabilization would go a long way towards problem #1 allowing you to keep using both the 15mm which you like and the 9-18, assuming you are otherwise happy with it besides the lower light longer exposure issue.

Then the only remaining problem is what to do about longer reach from the current 35-100mm? As others mentioned the plastic-fantastic Oly 40-150mm is very light taking you from 135g to 190g, but not taking you all the way to 200mm, but maybe something to try out and see? You can often get the Oly for under $100 usd used. Another option is the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 at only 210g,
 

ac12

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The confusion of the suggestions from the shop combined with their dislike of a clean kitchen scale to evaluation the suggestions, had me not buying anything when I was there.

The new body suggestion is also this forums biggest suggest so I am thinking that may be step one and then relook at the lenses for which of the those suggestions would work better to solve my list of wants and stay in weight.

Disclaimer, I know close to zero about the Panasonic cameras.

I suggested the EM10 and EM5 because they have IBIS. I don't know which Panasonic cameras have IBIS.
Having IBIS allows you to use the unstabilized Olympus lenses.
 

NashtH

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Disclaimer, I know close to zero about the Panasonic cameras.

I suggested the EM10 and EM5 because they have IBIS. I don't know which Panasonic cameras have IBIS.
Having IBIS allows you to use the unstabilized Olympus lenses.

I am not very sure about the newer camera bodies but the GM5 has no stabilization and none of my lenses have stabilization.
Having never had a camera with IBIS I don't know a ton about it and taking a handheld shoot in a fairly well lit shop doesn't show me anything as I have mastered that with my current camera. I am able to handhold 1/4 second shoots because current set up but the 9-18 set wide open that is not good enough in a dim/dark church. Yes I may be needing to spend more time on technique as it may be the weak link but I am not to sure that it is the problem at this point.
 

ac12

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I am not very sure about the newer camera bodies but the GM5 has no stabilization and none of my lenses have stabilization.
Having never had a camera with IBIS I don't know a ton about it and taking a handheld shoot in a fairly well lit shop doesn't show me anything as I have mastered that with my current camera. I am able to handhold 1/4 second shoots because current set up but the 9-18 set wide open that is not good enough in a dim/dark church. Yes I may be needing to spend more time on technique as it may be the weak link but I am not to sure that it is the problem at this point.

Where I really see IBIS and IS in general working, for ME, is the long lenses.
But not in the normally thought of way, SLOW shutter speeds.
IS stabilizes the image in the viewfinder, so that I can hold the AF point on the subject.
Example. Even if I am shooting at 1/2000 sec, if I can't hold the AF point on the subject, I can't get the subject in focus. IS stabilizes the viewfinder image, so that I CAN hold the AF point on the subject.
 
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Hello

I currently have a M43 travel camera kit that I purchased about 5-6 years ago looking for better photos and small. I wanted the whole kit under 1kg which it is. My current kit GM5, Oly 9-18, Pan 15f1.7 and Pan 35-100 f3.5-5.6?(the small one) with charger, spare batteries, the tiny flash, sd cards with holder comes in about about 1kg. I mainly travel by bike going A to B so nothing can be left behind for a day.

I have had a few problems with this kit and have changed my mind on the 1kg limit raising that to 1.5kg hoping that new/better gear will help with my short coming in the kit.

Problem #1 the Oly 9-18 is good for outside landscape but truly lacks ability in taking handheld picture of building interiors.

Problem #2 I would like more reach in the telephoto.

Likes
#1 with the small red GM5 I have no problem with anti professional camera rule, even when seeing these rules applied to things like the X-pro1 with lens

#2 The small size has all lenses in handlebar bag for easy changing

#3 I like the 15mm view point

Current use rate for lenses about 15mm 50%, 9-18 15% and 35-100 35%. Keeper rate is about the same.

I am looking for suggests that will improve my kit. I want to keep my total kit below 1.5kg current camera+lenses is 620g and other items are 300g. Price range for upgrades is $3000.

Thank you for your help.
You've gotten a lot of good suggestions already.

Problem 1: the 9-18 is a great travel UWA zoom because it's so small. A body with IBIS like the EM10.2, 3, or 4 would help with handheld interiors and/or use the 15 f1.7. The EM5 III would be a good suggestion, especially if you were putting together a weather-sealed kit, but since none of your lenses are weather-sealed, it doesn't matter. Actually, you could use a PEN PL8 or something similar if you don't use the EVF. I have to have an EVF, hence my preference for an EM10.

Problem 2: The Oly 40-150 R provides a little more usable length, but it's not a lot more than the 35-100. I wouldn't recommend the 45-200. I had one and wasn't that impressed with it. I almost preferred using the 40-150 R. The 45-175 looks promising, and one can use the manual zoom ring instead of the power zoom (which I don't care for). Or, even the O 75-300? Depends on how much length you need. As some have suggested, maybe the O 14-150 II might be a good general purpose lens choice combined with your 9-18 and 15 f1.7?

L-R: O40-150, P45-175, O14-150 II, P45-200 II, O75-300 II. https://camerasize.com/compact/#856.95,856.375,856.918,856.628,856.376,ha,t
Screen Shot 2021-08-07 at 9.19.33 PM.png

I have a bigger travel kit, and settled on the 12-100 as my walk around lens. With reach out to 100, I don't really feel like I need anything longer for general purpose travel. I combine that with the 9-18 and the 15 f1.7.
 
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My current travel kit is Panasonic G85 plus the Panasonic 14-140 and if required the Panasonic 100-300.
The godox 350o flash is the one I take as well. I like the dual IS of the Panasonic kit and the 100-300 is very easy to use hand held.

I also have a Olympus EM1.3 and pro lens kit but I do not take that traveling. not that that is possible in lockdown anyway. But I never take my most expensive gear on holidays.
 

Macroramphosis

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I have pretty much everything you already have or have been suggested. The GM5 is perfect as a travel camera when combined with Panny OIS lenses. In my case this is the P12-32 and the P45-175, plus the PL15. The 12-32 serves me fine indoors if I can find a place to put a small beanbag. I use my phone to use the camera in these situations, putting the camera somewhere inconspicuous and then triggering the shutter with the phone. If you want yourself to be in the photo, this is a great way to go. The phone also works well with the 45-175, even zooming in while being at a distance.

Then for low light or evening strolls etc, you have the PL15 also, which is the third lens in my small kit. This simply requires good technique with the GM5, but I find the results perfectly acceptable.

If you have not seen much of the P45-175, there is the showcase thread here which might help. It would be my choice for your long lens - even at the full 350mm equivalent focal length it is still sharp for a consumer lens. They're cheap to find too, about $150 if you look around.
 

Ashenwelt

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Oddly enough I was in a similar need with a much smaller budget. In the end, I wasn't just looking at gear acquisition but recommendations based on where I was going and the type of photography.

I had an E-M1 Mark 1 and 14-54mm II, 40-150R, 17/1.8, 12/2 and 45/2. I had a grand to spend. I ended up doing some major gear shuffle. Major points were new body (G9), lens (PL12-60) and a tripod (3 Legged Things Ray).

I am not sure if the body or the tripod will have the biggest impact. I bought a fairly light but very robust tripod. But for travel it may become a mini tripod or a monopod depending on the trip.

I don't know what you are looking for... I will say a small prime can make a world of difference. What gap are you filling?

Thanks for reading my ramble...
 

PakkyT

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I don't know what you are looking for... I will say a small prime can make a world of difference. What gap are you filling?
Are you replying to the original poster? If so, did you read his full post?
If not the OP then which message is your response referring?
 

Ashenwelt

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Are you replying to the original poster? If so, did you read his full post?
If not the OP then which message is your response referring?

OP and yes. I was going a little deeper or trying, though a small prime and a tripod could answer part of one question. I left the long range completely alone. It was a comparative journey.
 

pseudobk

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I agree with everyone's suggestions about IBIS, but I'd offer that Olympus's, in my experience, is something magical. I sold a GX9 because the IBIS was so subtle that I couldn't tell if it was even functional compared to my previous Olympus. Even 1/4-second exposures would turn out blurry.

I think that the best camera for you might be a good-condition used Olympus E-P5. The IBIS is rated better than the E-M10 series and it's no GM5 but it's small (though dense, around a pound), and fits easily into a bag without a viewfinder hump. I used to have one and I upgraded to the E-M5 III, but I miss the ergonomics of the E-P5 with the tilt screen and the metal body.

Not to undersell the E-M5 III. Hump and swivel screen notwithstanding, it takes credible photos up to ISO 3200 (vs 1600 for the E-P5) and has another half-stop of IBIS—I've taken tack-sharp 3-second exposures, no problem.
 
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