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What would be your basic set up?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Amo, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Amo

    Amo New to Mu-43

    Nov 4, 2010

    I recently joined here and have just purchased the GF1 with 20mm lens (I still don't have it in hand, but can't wait).

    I'd really appreciate any feedback of what you think a basic set up kit should consist of?

    Viewfinder? which memory cards? Extra battery needed? What zoom? What wide angle? I know there is so much based on personal preference, but I'm sure your input will help me in the right direction!

    Many thanks,

    • Like Like x 1
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Viewfinder - depends on your background. If you're coming from an slr, you will probably be more comfortable with it. If you're coming from a P&S, you are probably more comfortable using the LCD. It is quite expensive, IMHO, the money is better spent on high quality lenses.

    Memory cards - must be class 6 or higher. I use Patriot brand ones with no issues. They cost considerably less than lexar or sandisk.

    Extra battery - I highly recommend it, but depends on your usage. Note the latest firmware requires the battery to be chipped. Some aftermarket are, some are not. The tester13 hack allows the use of non-chipped batteries. One spare should be fine unless you are taking a trip several days away from power.

    Lenses - I have the 20/1.7 and 45-200 currently, and a 45/2.8 on order. The 20 is a must have - it is unbelievable the shots you can get without flash. I never miss the range from 20-45 and only occasionally use the 45-100 range. There have been a number of instances where I wished for longer than 200, and a ton of times I wanted wider than 20. My next lens is likely to be the 7-14. I will wait for a fast tele before replacing the 45-200. The native lenses are all at least "good" and some (20/1.7, 7-14, 45/2.8) are exceptional - some say maybe even better than canon L. Obviously, you will need Panasonic lenses to have image stabilization.
  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    A brief story:

    Many years ago I dropped off about 30 rolls (1,000 frames) of Ektachrome at a top-level pro lab for processing. Long, sad story short: Their E-6 processor had a bad day and about 80% of my take was ruined. Let's say that the customer was "somewhat" displeased. Lesson learned: Putting the whole take in one basket is a bad idea.

    From that day I always separated both exposed and unexposed film among several bags and/or people for carrying. I also never processed (or turned in for processing) my whole take in a single day. Or, if time was pressing, I would have the take processed on the same day but split among two or more labs.

    So ... for memory cards the lesson is more or less the same. Buy a bunch of small ones. If you are doing a big shoot (or a vacation trip), switch cards frequently so that your images are scattered among them. Don't carry them all together. If you are with someone else, give them half your cards to carry. Actually I think these little cards are much riskier than film. They are easy to lose, easy to temporarily misplace, and subject to getting electronically damaged. Get your images off the cards and onto backed-up storage as fast as you can.

    Whatever works for you.

    For me and a G1 (I am a less serious photographer these days.), the ubiquitous 14-45/45-200 pair did not work. My current 9-18/14-240 pair is wonderful. I will add a second body and a 100-300 before a planned Africa trip in 2011.

    The Y-strap is magic! See: The Y Strap | Indian Hill Imageworks and https://www.mu-43.com/f67/insanely-long-detailed-review-3-sling-straps-2901/ I wear it long enough that the camera falls to hand when my arm hangs straight down. This is longer than the inventor likes but it allows me to lightly hold the camera so it can't bump into things as I move around. Don't bother with the alternative straps with the big shoulder pads; with these little cameras they are completely unnecessary.

    Spare batteries? Of course. Same reason as for using many small memory cards. Batteries die. Use a hot soldering iron to melt letters or numbers into the plastic so you can rotate them and can keep track of the one that you become a little suspicious of.

    Always remember: The camera has very little to do with the quality of the photograph. Lighting is more than half, subject and composition are the rest. The "kit" can only make good results easier or harder. So don't worry too much about it.
  4. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    I use my G1 with longer focal length lenses, so can't advise about the viewfinder, I either zone focus with a wide angle adapted lens or rely on auto focus with my Panasonic 20mm and frame with a Voigtlander 40mm ovf in the hot shoe when using my GF1, unless it's on a tripod for landscape work, and then the rear screen comes into it's own.

    Spare battery - yes

    Lenses, depends on your subject matter, in the old film days with a rangefinder body the classic set up was a 28mm (or 35mm), 50mm and 90mm. That would equate to a 14mm, say 20mm and 45mm these days, now where can I find lenses that match those figures?

  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Totally depends on your needs/wants/budget, etc.

    I am (as of yesterday) back to having two m43 bodies. When I travel or do long days of shooting everything in sight, I love having two bodies ready to go. One usually with the 14-150 on a sling strap (similar to what oldracer mentioned above) and the other in an easily accessible part of the case with a wrist strap and usually the 9-18 mounted. So on two cameras instantly ready to shoot I have a range of 18-300mm in 35mm equivalent terms. Best travel setup ever, at least for me. I always have the 20mm lens in the bag for when I go into a low light area (indoors, major shadows, etc) and usually also have the 17. If I decide to stop sight-seeing and do an hour or two of street photography, I'll swap the 17 or 20 (depending on light and my mood) onto one of the cameras and just do that for awhile and stick everything else in the bag (and stow the bag if I have someplace safe to leave it) - I find its a mentally all-consuming endeavor so I don't need distractions for that kind of shooting!

    For a lot of stuff, though, I just take a camera with one lens on it and maybe another lens in a pocket and that's all I carry. Or if I'm traveling really light (which also has its charms), I just scrap all of that stuff and take the LX-5 - its a remarkable little camera and probably more camera in just about every way (shallow DOF being the only exception worth mentioning) than the mid-range film SLRs I used to generally shoot with. And it fits in my pocket.

    Edit - oh yeah, viewfinder. My cameras are ep2 and gf1 and I keep the appropriate viewfinder in the bag. I only use them when I need them, in really bright light. Or occasionally if I'm shooting with the long end of the 14-150 in less than great light and figure I could use the extra stability. When I don't need it for a specific situation, I'd rather leave it in the bag.

  6. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    After almost 40 years of photography I still do not have the outfit I want - there is always something new and shiny, something too expensive, something interesting.

    What do you want to photograph the most? Insects or flowers? A macro should be high on your list. Wildlife? Then telephotos. Street shooting? Then fast wide primes. Landscapes and architecture? The wide zooms would be high on my list. Portraits? Fast, shot telephotos. If you are a generalist like me you want everything (but cannot afford it).

    Where is your passion? What excites you most about taking pictures? Let that drive your lens selection.
  7. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    I'm in a similar position; just bought my GF1 and starting to build a kit. I purchased the kit with the 14-45mm because it was a great deal (a week later, the 20mm was available for the same amount, but that's how things work) with a solid IS'd zoom lens. I also ordered a 20mm for a pocket setup. Most likely, I'll snag a 14mm when they come out, which may replace the 20mm on my pocket setup. Recently, the 9-18mm has been catching my attention for a walk-around zoom, but I could be tempted into the Oly 14-42mm should their price drop considerably with the new version coming out. On size alone (1.5cm shorter than the Panny 14-45mm when collapsed), it makes a strong case for itself, despite not being IS'd on a GF1. After that, it will probably be a long zoom and/or adapted lenses.
  8. jmacpix

    jmacpix Mu-43 Regular

    My ideal kit would be two GF1s a 10mm f2, 20mm f1.7 and a 45mm f2.8 (non-macro pancake). Not holding my breath...

    But what I use right now is two GF1s with LVFs, 7-14mm f4, 20mm f1.7, 45mm f2.8. No flash (ever).

  9. sparkin

    sparkin Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 18, 2010
    Lexington, KY
    I'm hoping that the 9-18, 14-150 and 20 f1.7 will work for an ordinary pocketable carry around kit. I'm sorta addicted to 360° stitched panoramas though. In my Canon days, the Sig. 8mm worked great, but for m43, 8mm is not likely wide enough. For that I think either the 4.5mm Sigma, or the 5.6mm Sunex will be a must. I'll test m43 with my 8mm Sig with an adapter first, and if it is not too much hassle I may just get the new Panasonic 8mm. After that, I'm looking for a bargain on a good long telephoto - probably an old Canon FD.
  10. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    How does it look when you stitch fisheye images together?
  11. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Many good ideas above.
    For me... I have many cameras and lenses because I love them.
    They live on a few shelves near my computer so I can look at them from time to time...

    When it's time to work.... Usually the street...
    It's the GF1 with the 17mm and a lens pen for cleaning the glass...
    If I feel spunky or frisky, I take the 20 along just in case...
    I need simplicity... It don't get any simpliar that 1 camera and 1 lens.
    Ya need a good strap also... Luigi's is expensive but the best and conducive to shooting.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. sparkin

    sparkin Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 18, 2010
    Lexington, KY
    Click on the URL in my sig., scroll down, and there's a bunch of examples there. Those were all done with a Canon 20D and either an EF-S 10-22 or a Sigma 8mm. The Sigma 8 just needs 4 pictures for a full 360° pano. With either the Sigma 4.5 or the Sunex, three or two should suffice. Three is likely better.

    Cheers, Sean
  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Wow, a little funky for my taste, but cool nonetheless.

    Btw, I'm a metallurgist
  14. sparkin

    sparkin Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 18, 2010
    Lexington, KY
    There are a bunch of stitching programs, and they're good for 360° panos and for making mosaics. At the moment I prefer Hugin, partly because it's free, and partly because I'm cheap.

    I came very close to going into metallurgy, but that's many many years ago.
  15. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree with the thought that everyone's "basic" kit will be different depending on the types of photos they want to take.

    I'll shoot anything, so my basic kit consists of a GF1, an extra battery, three 16G Panasonic Class 10 memory cards, a Sherpa tripod, the Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6 zoom, Panasonic 14-140mm f4-5.8 zoom and Panasonic 20mm f1.7 prime. I figure this covers me for almost any situation. :thumbup:

    I have the LVF-1 viewfinder and an external flash, but hardly ever use them.

    I've augmented my gear with an Olympus EP1 camera (with extra batteries!) because of its in-body image stabilization. I use it with a bunch of old Canon, Leica and Nikon legacy lenses (see list below) that I've purchased adapters for. I'm enamoured with these lenses and love experimenting with them. They're awesome in low light and situations where I need faster shutter speeds. :cool: 
  16. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    I got the GF1 for one simple reason: ultimate portability with little sacrifices.

    I have the 20 and 14-45. I rarely use the 14-45 and want to replace it with a 12+45 pancake, neither of which exist. I will likely settle for the 14, but I'll wait for the sticker price to fall (and hope oly comes out w/ their supposed 12 pancake). The 20 stays on 99% of the time. I thought bout the 9-18/7-14, but it's hard to ignore my desire for extreme portability. That and they are both more than I want to spend for a wide angle lens =)

    I have the LVF-1 as well. Love it when it's sunny. Usually have it on when in use. I always feel like I might break it, but maybe I'm just paranoid. Other users seem to be not as worried.

    I have a spare battery, but have never had to use it (except once, when I thought it would be a good idea not to bring my LVF... but I also thought I could survive on one battery, oops).

    I have 2x8GB cards. It's hard not to buy them, it was dirt cheap vs 4GB. But looking back, I think I should have bought 2x4GB. I, too, have data loss paranoia.

    I use my GF1 with a Y-strap + r-strap tripod socket ring thing. perfect combo for me after trying to use the y-strap and strap lugs. Or the given strap over-the-chest. Or gordy wrist straps (which are really nice though).

    Regarding a case/bag... I still haven't figured out what I like. I have a small domke bag, but given I only carry the GF1+20, it seems mostly overkill unless I'm going on a long hike or something. But then, it's too small to also carry a snack and water bottle. I have an optech neoprene case that fits well, but does not work w/ my strap setup. Works great if I'm throwing the GF1 into my messenger bag though.
  17. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    I have an E-PL1, but my answers might help anyway.

    I don't have one yet. I decided to see how I go with the LCD first. If either Panasonic or Olympus release a rangefinder-style camera with built-in EVF then I'll possibly buy that instead.

    I have 2x8GB class 10 cards made by Delkin. Wouldn't recommend them: they seem to perform well but the brand sticker on one of them started to come off in my iMac card reader. I'll be extra-careful from now on.

    Always. They're small enough to carry easily. You charge the battery much less frequently when you can just run it down until it stops, which is better for the battery too. The E-PL1 seems to chew through its battery fairly quickly.

    I have the Olympus 14-150mm as a companion to a Panasonic 20mm. For me, this seems to be an excellent travel kit (which was my reason for buying), giving me versatility and compactness. You won't get image stabilisation with this zoom though, making it slightly less useful on the GF1 (i.e. you'll be limited to reasonable lighting conditions or need a tripod)

    None yet. I hope the 14-150 is wide enough, but I'm interested in the upcoming Olympus wide prime. The Panasonic 14mm is a bit of a disappointment for me: not wider than my zoom and the reviews suggest performance is only average. I'd think about the 9-18mm and 7-14mm wide zooms, but I don't think the expense is justified for occasional use.

    Other stuff:

    - A PacSafe "Metrosafe" 200 shoulder/mini-messenger bag. Just a small-ish general purpose bag with some security features. Will fit a water bottle and umbrella in side pockets. Plenty of space inside for camera, lenses etc.

    - An anti-static lens/lcd cleaning cloth that stuffs into an attached pouch. Works well.

    - A Joby Gorillapod SLR mini-tripod. Seems stable with the camera attached but I haven't used this in anger yet.

    I also want to buy a macro/portrait lens, but the Pana/Leica 45mm is too expensive for me. If the proposed Olympus 50mm macro (due Q1 next year) offers a reasonable price/quality combo then I'll probably buy. Otherwise I'll play around with some adapted lenses and manual focus.
  18. Amo

    Amo New to Mu-43

    Nov 4, 2010

    Many, many thanks to each of you who took time to respond with such care! I'm really "touched"! Now I have some basic ideas for the disks, battery and EVF.

    As for lenses: I got the 20mm and know it will be a great learning curve for me to get off the zoom thing and think more about what I see and how I can express that.

    That being said, I was thinking about one of the zooms for travel (I like close ups of architectural detail such as gargoyles!). So maybe the Pany 45-200 as it has more range than the Oly 14-42 for the same price? I can't seem to justify the price of the 14-140....

    I think once I get a better handle on the camera and how I start to shoot with it, a wide angle would be nice too. And then there's always macro.....but that's for later.

    Well folks, again my many thanks!

  19. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    There's a PL45/2.8 for sale in the classifieds section for $650 OBO. Still expensive, but a helluva lot cheaper than new
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