I’ve been giving some consideration to what gear to take on my next trip. Currently my first choice for a travel camera is my OM-D E-M5 Mk2. I really enjoy using my OM-D E-M1 but it’s that bit too heavy for my liking as a travel camera. I lugged it up and down hills and all around the streets of Rome in the heat for a week and that proved the point to me.
Lens-wise I’ve decided to stick with zoom lenses and not take any of my prime lenses because one doesn’t miss shots and waste precious time constantly changing lenses, sometimes in inclement weather. As the vast majority of my shots are landscapes, both urban and rural, my main lens will, as always, be my M.Zuiko 12-40 mm PRO 2.8. This isn’t the lightest of my lenses by a margin but it’s a superb all-round lens with great build quality and matches their weatherproof bodies beautifully and, as such, it packs itself, if I had to take just one lens then this would be it. So far this lens has travelled with me to Malta, Rome, Brussels, Prague and Corfu as well as around the UK and has always performed excellently.
Seven of the eight shots on the left of my main page were taken with this lens, the odd one out being my shots from my trip to Liverpool where I took my 14-150 mm zoom lens.
I’ve decided that I’ve been missing an ultra-wide angle lens option and, after looking around, I’ve gone for an Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18 mm zoom lens. It’s a bit slow (f4/5.6) and not the widest of it’s type but it is, importantly, extremely small and lightweight and comes in at a good price, especially if you can find one second-hand 🙂 and I think that it will be a useful addition for the outdoor landscape shots which are my principal interest.
I’m also packing my M.Zuiko 40-150 mm zoom lens as it is also very light (and equally slow) but I’m not anticipating that this focal length range will be extensively used as I carried my 14-150 mm around Rome and used it for relatively only a handful of shots but who knows what one might find, if i chose not to take one of these lenses to save weight it’d be this one for the above reason. Where the 14-150 mm lens does come in very handy however is for-one camera-one-body type days out and it’s also has the advantage of, like the 12-40 mm lens, being weather-sealed.
I’m going to take my E-M5 Mk 1 body as a backup/second camera. I’ve been lucky to date when travelling and not had any equipment failures but, there’s always a first time. As always weight is a prime factor in my choice of what gear to pack and that is one of the main reasons that the Olympus Micro Four Thirds system remains my system of choice. You can expect to see some shots taken with the 9-18 mm in the near future when I’ve had the opportunity to take it out for a pre-trip test drive.
Additional: I’ve decided to pack my tiny Panasonic Lumix 12-32 mm lens as it only weighs 2 1/2 ounces and is a good backup for my most often used focal lengths. I’ve had some really good results with this lens. Total weight of the two camera bodies and four lenses approximately 1.7 Kg / 3.7 lbs, I had to double check this as it seemed wrong but it’s correct, amazing!!. To put this in perspective a popular make and model of top of the range DSLR body with battery and memory card fitted weighs in at approximately 890 grams, add a backup camera body and a comparable selection of lenses and one is well over 1.7 Kg. Okay I guess if one is young and/or of an athletic build or being driven around all the time but I’m neither of those.
PS. To help inform my decision making and as a matter of interest I thought I’d see which focal length(s) and also which lenses I’ve taken the most shots with so I used Lightroom’s smart collections feature to crunch the numbers. The focal length was a bit of a surprise as it turns out I’ve used 25 mm (50 mm in 35 mm film terms) the most, maybe not totally surprising as this was the first MFT lens that I bought and I have a soft spot for this focal length going right back to my film days, but nether the less I’d have thought that wide angle focal lengths would have featured significantly higher up. As for my most used lens, no surprise at all it’s my trusty, much-travelled and much-loved M.Zuiko 12-40 mm. 🙂 . As I expected my longer focal lengths, above 40 mm were well down in the numbers. As an aside, I also confirmed that the vast majority of my shots are taken at f5.6 which is the sweet spot for sharpness on most of my lenses. The irony in this being that my preferred style of painterly work isn’t meant to be biting sharp but one can always loose sharpness selectively, one can’t generally get it back if it’s not there to start with.