What are your lens choice when backpacking

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Good question. The charger is in the bag because I dislike taking it out, I there are huts on longer trails which have outlets from solar power and I can use the inverter in my car. I just leave the charger there so I don't have to worry about forgetting to pack it when I do other forms of photography. So I just leave the charger in the Amica 10 and put the camera bag inside whatever day pack I bring.

I don't do long treks anymore but my treks are attached to my off-road tours (or what they call overlanding in some countries) and I can always use the inverter in the car.

This is my usual setup with my go-to lenses:
View attachment 875672
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The USB cable, charging cradle and cord live in the front pocket inside. The lens cap of whatever lens I am using is placed in the front outside pocket. The whole setup is pretty compact so I don't really need to repack except when changing the lenses that I bring with me. The whole lot can fit in either my Dell EDC bag or my Vaude Jura 25 when I am on tours. Cheers.
Nice setup, and you could also use a battery pack to charge the battery on the go.
 

va3pinner

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I have been backpacking since the 1970's. American style. No huts, no B&B, sometimes no trails. I carry all my gear, set up camp wherever, and try to leave no trace when I leave. photography is one of the reasons why I backpack, so I make very few concessions about gear. Yeah I do sort of try to keep it light, but I want flexibility and accuracy, and I want to record what I see. Whatever grabbed my eye, shapes, composition, texture, colors, depth - whatever, I want the ability to capture that as closely as possible. And what I carry changes.

I have always carried a DSLR type camera and tripod with me. First one was a Minolta SRT 101 and that was a very long time ago! I currently carry Panasonic G9 and a selection of zoom lenses. A bit of boring history might give insight into my current setup.

My first digital camera was an Olympus E-510. I bought two of their professional lenses for that body, including an 11-22 f2.8 zoom, and a mid range zoom (14-54 f2.8 I think), and used those almost exclusively.

My idea of backpacking photography (landscape, macro, just records of trips etc) is to try and show what your eye wouldn't naturally see. So I usually carry a wide angle zoom, and telephoto zoom. What drove that decision - one day I started looking at the specs of my images, and found that most of them were in the wide angle range, with a leap to telephoto. So I eliminated what most would call the Normal focal lengths.
With the E-510, the 11-22 was used the most. When I switched to Micro Four Thirds, one of the first things I purchased was an adapter to continue using the 11-22. Just loved that lens!
My first micro four thirds was a Panasonic G2 (to reduce the weight), then a G7, and finally the G9 (no weight reduction there!) and I consistently carried the 11-22 with adapter, and a Panasonic 14-140. that was my setup for a long time.

Last year, after quite a bit of saving, I replaced the 11-22 with the Panasonic 8-18 f2.8 and then the 50-200 f2.8 with a 2x tele extender. Man did THAT combination change my view! And I'm still getting used to seeing both extremes. I lose 23-49mm, but most of my images on file aren't in that range anyway.

I still carry a travel tripod - A Cullmann Mundo 522T. Its legs can be set in infinite horizontal and vertical positions allowing stable shots in weird terrain. yeah it's all a tad on the heavy side, but it fits my style of photography perfectly. I found out last year it is plenty stable for recording the milky way. The Panasonic body/lens image stabilization is phenomenal, but I 'grew up' working with ASA64 slide film in the forest, and a tripod was mandatory. Hard to explain, but setting up a tripod often times helps me to really 'see' what caught my eye and I get the shot - but this has nothing to do with lenses!

Long story short (or longer!) I don't obsess about the weight of my photo gear. (Everything else is another story!) I select the gear that will cover my needs. Yes there are lighter alternatives, but I really don't care about it too much.
Use Darktable or Lightroom and look at a good selection of your images. What focal length is most common? (for me it was around 12mm). Take a lens with that focal range. If you can only handle one lens, take one with the widest zoom range that suits your needs. The 14-140 II is a great lens. Sharp enough for most. Panasonic 12-60 2.8 is a lot sharper, and I am considering using that lens (because its lighter than the 50-200)
The 8-18 will have a permanent place in my kit, and I will continue to bring the 50-200 for now. I've never had a lens in that range before, and I really like what I see. But it is heavy!!
But who knows, I may get another 14-140 (sold my other one with the G7) I'll make that decision after I review my image data and see what focal lengths I'm currently using most.

Bottom Line - If you really backpack, your photo gear will go through just as many changes as your hiking and camping gear does. Just remember - the image you want is always the King!
Sometimes it's fun to be a nerd eh?
 

ABFoz

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No estoy listo para esto todavía.
Nice setup, and you could also use a battery pack to charge the battery on the go.
I've seen that modification done by Pentaxians on their stock chargers. I am thinking of building a solar alternative.

I carry a similar kit and more in my truck as well...but this doesn't really qualify as a backpacking kit as per OP.
By short treks, I mean hiking for less than 3 days, haha. I still get isolated from power sources but not as much as when one does 2-week to 5-week hikes. With my sort of hiking, I still leave the charger in the camera bag just because it fits and I just can't be bothered removing it unless I have more than one camera body.

Even with shorter treks, I would still put in the three lenses I mentioned in my first post. I still could do them with the 12-32mm and 35-100mm kit lenses but I just can't go around without a 25mm MFT prime. Cheers.
 

Indianpeaksjoe

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I bring my 12-40 and the 8mm Pro. I always bring my RRS mini table top tripod for photos too. With the EM1 mk3 I bring an extra battery and I am good for the whole trip.

-Joe
 

Dinobe

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The/my general rule of thumb while trekking is: go as light as possible and only take what is absolutely necessary.
In your case I would take the 12-40 f2.8 and leave the 17, 25 and 45 1.8's at home. Yes, the 12-40 is heavier but it's weather sealed and also far more convient not having to swap lenses on the go.

In my case, I'd take my O14-150 f4-5.6 and add a brighter prime like the O17mm 1.8 for those limited occasions.

[Edit]
Yes, my camera would be mounted via a PD clip on my backpack strap
 
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Mike Wingate

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I find convenience a big factor. So there I was, Hanging by 1 hand on the inside of a giant Caldera in Gran Canaria. I had my GX80 with P14-140 mounted via PD clip on my rucksack strap. No way I could have changed lenses, maintain my grip and fight off huge birds circling me.
 

bassman

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If I’m hiking with a group (which is most of the time) I just use my iPhone 12mPro. As long as the light is okay and you can get close enough (52mm equivalent) it’s great. For my camera club meeting today, 3 of my 6 submissions for the monthly theme (“Snow and Ice”) were with the iPhone. And I’m sure no one noticed; certainly, no one commented.

If I go alone with the thought of finding images, I’ll take my E-M1.3, 12-40/2.8 and 35-100/2.8. Gitzo GT0545 tripod and a couple of filters.
 

apete

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When going for a one day long hike I take only one: 12-100. Everybody praise it for its image quality, and the real gem is that it is perfect for both wide and narrow landscapes. While some says "landscape = wide", having up to 100mm opens a whole new range of possibilites:

P9094541.jpg
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mfturner

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This has been a good thread for me to ponder my kit. I really like my 14-150 ii at 10 ounces and weather sealed. With a 2x diopter close up lens, it covers a lot of situations in the mountains. So what can I do to make that lighter and still be weather sealed, that I could use in heavy rain? There are a couple of choices around 7 ounces (200g) that I'm eyeing.

PL 25 f1.4 ii is an interesting option, I have the o45 f1.8, and wouldn't mind a wide aperture 25mm lens. The o25 is pretty inexpensive though if I go another route.

O 60 macro is also an interesting option. I'd like a dedicated macro to replace the 2x diopter close up i use with the 14-150, and 60mm is a nice mid telephoto FL which I like.

P12-60 is a great option for a lightweight, sealed zoom, has great reviews, probably the best practical answer.

O12-50, gets a bad rap, but the close up focusing keep it on my radar, and it's the lightest and cheapest by a tiny bit.

I think everything else is 9 or more ounces, I'll stick with the 14-150 at those weights. None of my current really lightweight options are weather sealed, but are cheap enough to be somewhat sacrificial, like my pm1 with p35-100 + 9mm bcl. I use that in light rain and snow, but would probably not pull it out in heavy rain. I could just keep going in that direction, maybe adding an o25f1.8 or p20f1.7 for low light and bridging the FL gap, all in a water proof freezer bag.

Lots of great options.
 

Generationfourth

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For me it's going to be based on a variety of factors and style of trip.

For shorter trips, not much elevation, and with the intent on capturing nature/landscape images: the PL 8-18 (which I just bought as a wider alternative to 12-35), 35-100 f/2.8 and maybe a 20 or 25 1.7. Truthfully none of my backpacking is like this but I'd like to take some in the future.

For longer trips or through hikes where I'm carrying 5-8+ days of supply, off trail, lots of elevation, everything is scrutinized in grams and photography is only secondary (I did a lot of these and was the basis for choosing m43) then I go with 20 1.7 and 9-18 Oly (when I had it). No weather sealing so I bring a dry bag for when I have to cross a stream or it rains. If the weather is bad I'm not taking any photos. I did try out the 12-32, and 35-100 4-5.6 but the zoom ring broke on the 12-32 and I didn't really use the 35-100 much.
 

John King

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John ...
O12-50, gets a bad rap, but the close up focusing keep it on my radar, and it's the lightest and cheapest by a tiny bit.
The bad rap is quite undeserved IMO.

Imaging Resource gives it a surprisingly good review here:

https://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/olympus/12-50mm-f3.5-6.3-ez-m.zuiko-digital-ed/review/

Mine lives on my E-M1 MkI, is very flexible, and is weather/dust sealed. Nice little lens. Matches up very well with the 40-150R. Both take very nice photos, don't cost a kidney, and don't weigh as much as a brick or two.

Shame that the 40-150R isn't weather sealed.

Here is my overused photo of Rosa taken with the 12-50 at ISO 6400. I've printed this at A3 size from the OoC JPEG. It's gorgeous. I have no doubt that it would print well at A2 size from the RAW.

E-M1_JAK_2016-_2112448_Ew.jpg
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The bad rap is quite undeserved IMO.

Imaging Resource gives it a surprisingly good review here:

https://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/olympus/12-50mm-f3.5-6.3-ez-m.zuiko-digital-ed/review/

Mine lives on my E-M1 MkI, is very flexible, and is weather/dust sealed. Nice little lens. Matches up very well with the 40-150R. Both take very nice photos, don't cost a kidney, and don't weigh as much as a brick or two.

Shame that the 40-150R isn't weather sealed.

Here is my overused photo of Rosa taken with the 12-50 at ISO 6400. I've printed this at A3 size from the OoC JPEG. It's gorgeous. I have no doubt that it would print well at A2 size from the RAW.

View attachment 877516

Agreed. The 12-50 came with my first M43, the original EM5. I took both to Japan on a 2013 trip and was so glad they were weather-sealed. Got a lot of rain, and was still able to shoot when other cameras would have frozen up or failed, or had been left behind in the hotel. I sold it with the EM5 when I upgraded to an EM1 w/12-40, because the 12-40 had clearly superior IQ and I stopped using the 12-50. But, it was a very useful and serviceable lens especially when I needed the weather resistance. An under appreciated little gem.
 

John King

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Agreed. The 12-50 came with my first M43, the original EM5. I took both to Japan on a 2013 trip and was so glad they were weather-sealed. Got a lot of rain, and was still able to shoot when other cameras would have frozen up or failed, or had been left behind in the hotel. I sold it with the EM5 when I upgraded to an EM1 w/12-40, because the 12-40 had clearly superior IQ and I stopped using the 12-50. But, it was a very useful and serviceable lens especially when I needed the weather resistance. An under appreciated little gem.
Quite, Walter.

I deliberately bought the 14-42 EZ (with JJC auto-opening lens cap) and the 40-150R.

The 12-50 macro came as a kit with my E-M1 MkI at half the full price of the body alone. My mate who works at Olympus Oz told me that "it's a lot better lens than it's given credit for, John". After many years of use, I have to agree with him.

So is the much maligned 14-42 EZ ...

Now, neither is in quite the same league as my FTs 14-54 MkII or my 12-100, but that's mainly due to shooting envelope matters, although the IQ is obviously superior as well. Does this really matter even at A2 size? Not really.
 

Armoured

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So is the much maligned 14-42 EZ ...

I got this lens thrown in with a larger purchase and I was planning on getting rid of it. It's far better and more convenient than I anticipated - and SMALL, almost pancake size. Turns out I like it quite a bit more than the other 14-42, non-EZ (which I'll probably get rid of instead). It is now often the lens I keep on for walk-around, toss-it-in-the-bag or large pocket, "just in case" - i.e. not so much when I'm planning to do photography but maybe.

It's a lesson to me in terms of my own conservative approach to things/prejudice - before I actually used it, I assumed it would be (noticeably) worse, but most of all that I would really dislike the zoom-by-wire. Turns out, I don't mind it much at all - can't say I like zoom by wire, but it's acceptable for casual use, especially since it provides a concrete size advantage.
 

John King

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I got this lens thrown in with a larger purchase and I was planning on getting rid of it. It's far better and more convenient than I anticipated - and SMALL, almost pancake size. Turns out I like it quite a bit more than the other 14-42, non-EZ (which I'll probably get rid of instead). It is now often the lens I keep on for walk-around, toss-it-in-the-bag or large pocket, "just in case" - i.e. not so much when I'm planning to do photography but maybe.

It's a lesson to me in terms of my own conservative approach to things/prejudice - before I actually used it, I assumed it would be (noticeably) worse, but most of all that I would really dislike the zoom-by-wire. Turns out, I don't mind it much at all - can't say I like zoom by wire, but it's acceptable for casual use, especially since it provides a concrete size advantage.
Goes very nicely on my newly acquired 2012 E-PM2. Mine is slightly soft on one side for a little bit - about 1/8th of the left side of the image. Certainly nothing to get in a lather about!

Have you got an auto-opening lens cap for yours? The JJC one is terrific, and cheap.
 

Steveee

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a trekking pole is not long enough. Trekking poles are designed so when you hold it your forearm is parallel to the ground.

In terms of size, I was bought one of these as a birthday present: https://www.harrisoncameras.co.uk/pd/leki-fs-carbon-4-section-monopod-trekking-pole_380098

It has four sections and will extend to above my head height. It’s only slightly heavier than my foldable one, and it fits the same into my backpack stick holders. And it feels better quality, too - it’s a solid stick.

Now, we only do day hikes, so it might not be suitable for multi-day off-grid trips, but I don’t see why not unless those extra few grams are important to you.

The only slight downside is that when the camera’s on the thread, it’s landscape only. I bet there’s a gizmo out there to let me flip it, but I can’t find one. Any suggestions?
 
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Armoured

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Goes very nicely on my newly acquired 2012 E-PM2. Mine is slightly soft on one side for a little bit - about 1/8th of the left side of the image. Certainly nothing to get in a lather about!

Have you got an auto-opening lens cap for yours? The JJC one is terrific, and cheap.
@Armoured. Do you know that you can set the camera body so that the lens stays at the FL and focus distance when you cycle the power?

Thanks. I haven't yet tried to examine in detail the image quality - for casual use, not noticed any problem. (Perhaps I got lucky, wouldn't be surprised at variability in kit lens quality...and perhaps my non-ez 14-42 is a mediocre copy)

I'm searching for the JJC lens cap - not available locally easily - and would emphasize the included tiny lens cap is really not convenient, too small. That's so far my biggest complaint actually.

Yes, have set the preference for power cycling. Can't say it's bothered me too much but definitely preferable.

I was also pleasantly surprised that focus speed/responsiveness is quite good, better than I'd expected.
 
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