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Which Telephoto for Travel

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by ooheadsoo, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. ooheadsoo

    ooheadsoo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2018
    In my quest for a lighter travel/vacation setup, I opted to buy a Panasonic G9. I know, this doesn't make sense, but the deal is done. I wanted ergos and I wanted high res, and the e-m1 mkii is too expensive, and the pen-f with grip not that light weight at the end of the day, still pricy, and with questionable caf, so when the G9 dropped in price under $1000, I couldn't resist. :doh: hey, it's still lighter than my d750, that's what I keep telling myself. :doh:

    For a general purpose lens, I've settled (for now) on the Panasonic 12-60 3.5-5.6. Review of my lr catalog tells me that my vacation keepers are primarily f/8 or greater on FF. I've decided that the o12-100 and pl12-60 are, for the time being, too heavy. I would love to have the o12-100 but it puts me back within spitting distance of my d750 with 24-120. Fwiw I did a quick and dirty comparison between a pl12-60 and my p12-60 and found little difference between overlapping apertures. I might do a quick informal shootout between the p12-60 and my 12-40 if I get a chance, just to satisfy my curiosity.

    I'll throw a 20, 25,or 45 in the bag for portraits and low light. They're so small and light, and I know they will get some use.

    Now I'm trying to "settle" on a travel telephoto. I already have at my disposal the 35-100 f/2.8 mk I, 100-300 mk I, and 40-150 consumer kit. I fully understand that these lenses are tiny for what they replace in field of view for FF. However, I'm no birder or wildlife photographer. I know I will rarely need the reach for a distant landscape. But when I do want it, I'd like it to be cheap, small, sharp, and affordable. With baby gear now taking up photo gear space, size and weight are commanding higher premiums.

    Now with all this said, is there a case for me to add a 45-175 to the travel kit and leave the other telephoto lenses at home? Maybe even sell the 100-300 and 40-150? I'm no longer sure I will ever be able to afford the space and weight for the 100-300 on a family trip. I had been planning to take the 35-100 along in case we manage to make it to a concert at night or something along those lines, but it just seems more and more farfetched as I think about it.

    Any other suggestions for best compact telephoto that reaches beyond 100mm other than the 45-175? I know if I wanted to stay within 100mm, I'd just get the kit 35-100 or just stay with my existing 40-150. Anyone make any comparisons between the 40-150 kit and the 45-175?
  2. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 16, 2016
    For light travel weight I grab the 14-140mm f3.5.
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  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    14-140. Travel = zoom. My second and thrird travel lenses are the 9-18 and the 100-300.

    Changing lenses when traveling is almost always problematic. It takes time and time is usually short. You are moving, the group is moving, the taxi or bus is moving, the subject is moving, ... So you take the shot with whatever is on the camera. Dirt, sand, and dust are other reasons that changing is problematic.

    On a trip to the Galapagos in maybe 2012 when I started with a Panny G1, 14-45 and 40-150 I learned the hard way that the lens on my camera was always the wrong one. I got home, sold both, and bought a 14-140. Since then I have switched to the 14-140 MKII due to its significantly lighter weight. This lens is always on one body. The 100-300 is typically on a second body when shooting wildlife. Occasionally I will use the 9-18 for street photography or building interiors.

    At one point I was also carrying three primes. After two trips when I never used any of them I sold them all and have never regretted it.
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  4. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 16, 2016
    I used my 25mm f1.7 prime just twice last year...
  5. Swap the 40-150R for a 45-175 and be done. You could even get rid of the 100-300 if you don't really do wildlife - 175mm is plenty of reach for the zoo and works okay for aircraft too. If you don't think you need the reach, you could always get a 35-100 f/4-5.6 which is tiny, but the 45-175 was small enough IMO.

    The 35-100 f/2.8 isn't really fast enough for an indoor concert IMO.
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  6. longviewer

    longviewer Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 22, 2015
    SW Washington (Longview area)
    Jim R
    I own the Lumix 45-150 and it suits me fine. Spend a bit more on the 45-175 if you wish, I liked images from it in the past and I like its internal zoom (wish it were sealed!). I don't feel the 45-150 is inferior though, and it's really small even compared to the Oly 40-150.

    My plans for most travels are 12-60 and a prime or two at 70, 100, 135 or 200mm, but the 45-150 would come when a zoom is more useful than a prime's fast aperture.
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  7. Bushboy

    Bushboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2018
    Vacation with the G9, 12-60 and the 40-150 kit lens.
    Maybe a small, cheap body for the kit lens...
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  8. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    My diminutive Travel Kit = 9-18 & 35-100 f4/5.6. Sometimes I substitute the Oly 75-300 for the 35-100 depending on where I am going.
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  9. longviewer

    longviewer Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 22, 2015
    SW Washington (Longview area)
    Jim R
    That sounds pretty much ideal, with a fast 25 option to fill the FL gap & for low light! :) 
    I should go with GX1 + 12-32 + 40 + 45-150 to try and keep up with your tiny theme :D 
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  10. palombasso

    palombasso Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 31, 2014
    Your mention of baby gear taking up photo gear space reminds me of my trip to Portugal with a two year old, my wife, mother and grandmother.
    As others have said, time to change lenses and such were rare but I made do well enough with a gm1+ 9-18 and a gx7 + 45-175 mostly. Post about it here
    The 12-60 is a flexible range (you compared the weight with the Nikon 24-120 so should be aware if the range is enough for you).

    Depending on how much you like tele shots while walking around the option of the 14-140 is a good one with only one body (and the G9 is already a bit big).
    The 45-175 is great and I love the internal zoom but don´t know if its worth it to replace de 45-150 you have.

    One last tip about your phrase: " I'm no longer sure I will ever be able to afford the space and weight for the 100-300 on a family trip."
    Don´t know how old is your baby but things change a lot and fast. Mine is now 5 and it´s been a while that the photo bag is back being larger and heavier than the kids stuff.. :) 
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  11. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 24, 2018
    My travel kit is:
    • Panasonic 12-60/3.5-5.6 as my GP lens
    • Olympus 40-150R as my LONG lens
    • Olympus 17/1.8 as my low light lens
    Based on how I used the lenses on my last vacation, the 12-60 got 99% of the use.
    The 17/1.8 and 40-150R were used in TOTAL less than 20 times in 2 weeks.

    My logic in the 12-60 and 40-150R is that I don't need the reach beyond 60 most of the time, so why carry the extra bulk and weight. If I do think I want it, I will carry/bring it.
    But there is no denying the convenience of a P-14-140 or the O-14-150 as the GP lens of a 2-lens travel kit.

    IMHO, unless you are shooting wildlife or really distant stuff, 140/150 as your max FL should be just fine for travel. And that will save bulk and weight. But only you can make that call.
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  12. My opinion may not reflect that of the rest of us here but my travel kit includes 12-40 and 40-150 pro lenses and maybe a prime. I know these zooms are not the smallest but often times I need all the help I can get in low light and no other zoom does better than F/2.8 constant on M43 unless you adapt Sigma's fast 1.7 zooms but then you have to deal with adapting lens issues. I prefer using zooms if you're wondering why I don't just stick to primes for low light.
    What helps me justify the quote on quote "large" lenses is that I'd have equivalent lenses on FF if I had FF and these are still a good deal smaller and lighter, plus there's really no equivalent to the Oly 40-150 pro. I have no problem hand holding the 40-150 pro for a long time.
    If I needed one lens so as to not have to swap here and there, I'd go for the Oly 12-100 pro as it's still better than shooting with kit zooms. Just waiting on a good deal on one. It's hard to find them under $900.
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  13. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    The 40-150 f 2.8 Pro gets really heavy on a long hike. The 35-100 f 2.8 would give you 5 way in lens and in body IS. It would be my go to telephoto. The 45-150 is not one I have use,but may be a lot lighter.than the 40 -150 pro.
  14. The 45-150 is indeed lighter and smaller yes but not the same league in optical quality nor low light capability, especially at 150mm. As far as dual I.S. is concerned, it's a gimmick Panasonic want's you to believe that it's better when it's not for stills. Maybe for video but even then I have yet to notice a difference. 35-100 F2.8 is a fine lens as it's quality and size are hard to beat but doesn't go to 150mm nor can it take a teleconverter.
    That's why I said my opinion will differ from the rest of us here, as I think the 40-150mm pro is light. Yes, there are lighter lenses with equivalent focal lengths but it's still light enough for regular use for me.
  15. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 16, 2016
    The 35-100mm f2.8 screwed onto Nikon TC-E17ED becomes a handy 170mm f2.8 at the long end.
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  16. dpswbab

    dpswbab Mu-43 Veteran

    May 30, 2014
    Another lens to look at is the Panasonic 45-200 4.0-5.6, which is fairly light (370g) for its reach. It's my favorite long walk-around lens. The first version is available on the used market at very low prices. KEH currently has 3 of them for under $200. The newer version is weather-sealed and has more advanced optical stabilization, but is optically the same, I believe.
  17. It's distinctly heavier and larger than the 45-175, and the 25mm difference at the long end is not really worth it...
  18. Jay_M

    Jay_M Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    Surprised to not see the 45-200 ii mentioned much. It's only a bit bigger than the 45-175, it's splash/dustproof, and will utilize dual IS 2 on the G9.

    Compact Camera Meter
  19. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    My favorite travel lens is the 14-140.
  20. ooheadsoo

    ooheadsoo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2018
    Appreciate all the responses, and doing my best to reply in kind when I get a break from the baby.

    Thank you for all the recommendations re: the 14-140s and the unmentioned 14-150. I did consider them, but analysis of my lr catalog told me I would dearly miss 12mm. As I've seen mentioned somewhere else on the web, we could use a nice 12-100 3.5-5.6, or something along those lines. If they made one of those in the 3-400 gram ballpark, how many of us would consider it?

    I'm leaning towards this solution re: the 45-175. I've seen the shots from the gallery here, including yours, and they appear satisfactory. Most importantly, reviews tend to indicate this lens remains sharp at the long end.

    As for the 35-100 2.8 not being fast enough for indoors/night, I think it's more of a zoom/video compromise on my part. If I really wanted to do shoot something like this seriously with primes, it'd have to be because someone asked me to do it and gave me some flexibility for choosing my post.

    I see this (either the 45-150 or 40-150) as the more responsible option, since they are the most budget friendly and the fact that I already have one of them.

    I saw a vacation gallery posted here one time shot with only the 9-18 and the 300 f/4, and that was an impressive gallery. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I don't have the confidence nor skills yet to pull it off.

    I enjoyed your Portugal post very much. Baby is 11 weeks now and the big planned overseas 14-17 day trip is going to be at the 1 year mark. We may try to take some mini practice trips in-between, but those are yet TBD. For now, significant parts of the trip will be just my wife, the kid, and me, with no backup support from family/friends. I know I want some DOF isolating portraits of the wife and kid, so I will definitely bring a normalish or longer prime. I'm even toying with the idea of, say, pairing the p20 1.7 ii with my e-m5 mk i so that it's ready to go without pissing my wife off too much swapping lenses. As for 5 years...congrats on your surviving to that point...I have still have some time left on that clock!

    40-150R vs. 45-175 is, I think one of my big questions. What I really want is a compact and sharp 45-200. Unfortunately, the existing two versions appear to be one of the worst received m43 lenses I have researched.

    I'm with you (for now) on the 12-60. I do have a very few keeper shots from my 100-300 at around 200mm, so I'm ideally looking to achieve that in a smaller package. I think 175 with high res will be close enough, if the long end is sharp enough. I'm not sure if any of the 150mm zooms are sharp enough for high res mode.

    On the other hand, and I'm sure you know and take advantage of this, I realized that the 40-150R, the p12-60, and the p35-100 f/2.8 all use 58mm filter threads. Another way to save space/money.

    I thought about running my 12-40 with my 35-100. It's still an option...As for the 12-100, I need to make time one day and go to a store and hold it in person.

    As wjiang mentioned, the 45-200 is bigger. In fact, it's practically the same size as my 35-100 f/2.8, if not a hair larger. For that reason, and the myriad scathing remarks about its sharpness, particularly at the long end (yours are seemingly the first positive forum posts I've read on it) it seems to be disqualified for my purposes.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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