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camera(s) advice needed
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Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
camera(s) advice needed on 02/06/2010 03:04:41 MST Print View

I am going to Chile Patagonia to hike late april, early may ( autumn ).
Longuest duration without food resupply will be 10 days.
My backpack weights 5,7kg
My food 7kg + water 1kg + canister 0,6/2kg = about 8,3kg at start.
My from the skin out weight at the start of the 10 days 18.2kg

that is prior to photographic gear that ill divide between my wife and i.

last year ( Greenland ) and the year before (Iceland) i used an Olympus 420+ kit 14-42 for about the same duration / conditions hikes.
I really enjoyed the result,and i printed books up to A3.

This year i would like to do some animals photos too so i am hesitating between :

1) E 420 + 14-42 +40-150 : approx 850g
2) E 620 + 14-42 + 40-150 : approx 950g but IS for the zoom.
3) EPL1 + 14-42 + pana TZ7 or equivalent : approx 750g, no lens changing .
( too bad the micro 4/3 zuiko 14-150 wont be released in time )
4) EPL1 + 14-42 + pana FZ 38 or equivalent : approx 900g , same but bigger zoom.

the problem with 2 lens is i would shoot more landscapes than animals, but i would probably keep the 40-150 zoom on to have it ready for animals and i would have too switch very often with the 14-42 for landscapes.

2 cameras would solve that problem, i would carry one and my wife the other one, i would have bigger zoom if i get the FZ38 , there is no weight penalty,
but the quality would be worse than with a reflex + the 40-150 so no A3 for animals photography.

i didnt list the GF1 because with the IS inside the lens are way too heavy, it ends being as heavy as the E620 for some lens combinations/choice.

any advice, i am leaving in less than 2,5 months so time starts being short waiting for the new 2010 models wich are due soon ?


Edited by Fre49 on 02/06/2010 03:12:17 MST.

Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
Super Zooms on 02/06/2010 05:40:40 MST Print View

I'm not a fan of the compact super zooms for any type of large printing such as A3 size. The way they get such impressive zoom ranges is by having the smallest sensor possible. The images might not blow up very well.

Camera Shake is going to be another problem. Even though you gain three stops or so with the IS, you lose 2 stops because of the low default ISO, which might not crank up that well. At ISO 100, to shoot 400mm you will only be able to get a high enough shutter if you have at worst a slight overcast day.

Go for the second lens. Also, leave the longer lens on most of the time. If you need a wider view, shoot a pano.

To add another choice, see about renting the 50-200 lens. It weighs around 900g, but give you more reach and a wider aperture.

What type of wildlife do you expect to encounter? Birds and alpaca require different lenses.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
no birds on 02/06/2010 08:30:19 MST Print View

I wasnt thinking about bringing equipement to shoot birds but rather mammals.
From what i have read too 150x2 ie 300mm is on the short side for shooting animals, but with a bigger zoom i would double the weight.
I know the best landscape photos taken with E420+14-42 will look great in A3 but if the animals photos needs to be smaller it doesnt matter , when i do an A3 printed book of photos i mix full page photos and composition of smaller ones on other pages.
I tried to do a few photos of whales , orcas , seals , foxes , taken with the E420 at 84 mm but i had to crop a lot .


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
wildlife photography on 02/06/2010 13:19:41 MST Print View

Believe me, any lens at 300mm or shorter, and you are wasting your time. The shortest lens that I carry when backpacking is 400mm. For dangerous wildlife, like a grizzly bear, double that.

For bird wildlife, it is even worse. Generally the lenses of choice are 500mm or 600mm or 800mm. A big lens like that must be on a tripod, and for birds in flight, you need a gimbal head.

If you find an ultralight solution for this, let me know.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: no birds on 02/06/2010 14:03:30 MST Print View

Hi Fred,

Have you considered the E-620+Zuiko 70-300 combination? It would give you an affordable, lightweight combination with a long reach. The lens is pretty slow and not waterproof like the Oly mid and upper tier lenses, but for the price is a very good performer. The 620 provides the much-needed I.S. Here are some nice samples from the lens.

I have the Zuiko ED 50-200, which is a better lens but is much heavier and more expensive. It works well with the EC14 teleconverter, which takes it to 283mm. I never take it on any hike longer than a day trip and usually prefer the 40-150 kit lens (I shoot landscapes primarily so always have a wide angle).

From what I've seen one key to success in shooting wildlife is their tolerance of you getting close. If they're skittish you need long, fast, heavy lenses and a lot of time and patience. OTOH if you want to shoot, say, elk with a cellphone cam you can go to Estes Park, Colorado in winter and get them wandering the street.

I share the anti-superzoom digicam prejudice, but don't let that viewpoint scare you away if you want magnification with minimum weight. Just don't expect publication quality.

µ4/3 long lenses will come but probably not in time for your trip. A year from now the lens selection should be broad enough to make it a viable option for nearly every type of photography, and an absolute godsend for backpacker-photographers eager to leave their dslr boatanchors behind.



Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
no perfect solution. on 02/06/2010 15:06:21 MST Print View

Thanks for the advices.

I think that from them i will change my choices to :

1) E 620 + 14-42 when hiking, and 70-300 only for the week of day walk / tourism we will do after.
2) any 4/3 or m4/3 + 14-42 and a 400ish g pinhead megazoom
the whole time
3)any 4/3 or m4/3 + 14-42 and buying animals postcards ! / joking i dont think i could :)


Edited by Fre49 on 02/06/2010 15:07:09 MST.