What lens to add for my Hanoi trip?


silencer13

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This hobby is so very addictive and a great money drain. But hey, the results really make it all worth it. ;)
I need some invaluable advise on choice of a new lens. I have been thinking for over a week, but yet to find the perfect solution:

I will be making a trip to Hanoi very soon, will be travelling to the mountainous region of Sapa, followed by the beautiful Halong Bay.
Assuming I have a budget of up to $1,700 ($1.3k cash, plus perhaps $400 from selling off the 12-50), what lens or combination of lenses do you think I should get?

This is my current system now: (in order of % usage)
Olympus OM-D E-M5
Pana Leica 25/1.4
Panasonic 7-14/4.0
Olympus 12-50 (to be sold if need more budget)

My main objectives will be to shoot the scenery, as well as candid shots of the locals and local wildlife. most of the time will either be in the mountains or on the boat, with very little time in the city.

My thoughts so far:
1. Olympus 60/2.8 + Panasonic 100-300
2. Olympus 60/2.8 + Olympus 75-300 (smaller and lighter than the Panasonic, but expensive)
3. Panasonic 35-100/2.8

I figured a nice prime like the 60/2.8 can replace my 12-50 and complement my 25/1.4, then I can get a long tele-zoom to cover animals, birds (and girls suntanning on the beach ;)).
But the prospect of the 35-100 attracts me a lot, just wonder if I will miss that further tele-zoom range from 100-300?
For my shooting style, the versatility of the 35-100 is useful, as I like to take candids from a distance, which pushes me further towards this lens.
But the only bad point about this lens is the price.

What do you all think? What would be good for this trip as well as all future usage?
Do you think the 35-100 is worth it at the current high price, or just stick to choices 1 or 2? Or any better suggestions?
 

Oly5050

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Get the 12-35 f2.8.
 

mushroom

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Sapa lighting should be good so you may not need fast lens. There are many situations where you cannot get close - you should aim to have at least one long lens (at least 100).
 

silencer13

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Get the 12-35 f2.8.
This will probably be the lens I get after these, since right now I can still use my 25/1.4 and 12-50 to cover that range.
Just want to cover the focal lengths that I'm missing first, then slowly upgrade the rest.
 

silencer13

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Sapa lighting should be good so you may not need fast lens. There are many situations where you cannot get close - you should aim to have at least one long lens (at least 100).
Thanks! So is a maximum of 100mm enough for most cases? Or would a lens >100mm be more useful?
 

keithwee

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Oly5050 said:
Get the 12-35 f2.8.
Agree with Oly5050, from my experiences u wouldn't want to be switching lenses all the time.

I will only bring along my 12-35/2.8 and my 14-150mm if I need the reach. Wouldn't even bring a prime from past experiences.
 

cybertoxic

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I was at Hanoi earlier this year... Had my OMD-EM5 then and I brought following lens:
12mm F2 #
20mm F1.7
45mm F1.8
12-50mm kit lens +
14-54mm F2.8-3.5 FT lens # (default)
45-200mm F4-5.6 +

I end up using only those marked with # most of the time and those with + did not even leave my hotel room. When I spent two nights on at Halong Bay cruise, I used the 20mm for most night shots. I like prime lens but changing lens on the move is less than desired.
If I were to go again, I would bring:
12mm and 20mm
12-35mm (default)
35-100mm

Given your inventory, I suggest you bring your 7-14mm, 25mm, and get a 35-100mm.. Just my own opinion. cheers
 

mushroom

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Thanks! So is a maximum of 100mm enough for most cases? Or would a lens >100mm be more useful?
At least for me, I had a 200mm (1.6x) at that time and it was sufficient. So for m4/3, perhaps up to 150?
 

Oly5050

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The most important thing is wat you are planning to shoot.
 

iguoh

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I was just in Perth and the WA area. I took my OM-D with 7-14, 12-35 and 25. I used the 12-35 practically 95% of the time. If only the 35-100 were available then, I would have had opportunities to use it. The 25 was the least used. YMMV of course.
 

silencer13

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Very good suggestions, guys. Thanks very much!
For my trip, I guess the main things I'll be shooting are the people and the scenery. I guess the 7-14 covers most of the scenery shots, so really need something for people and stuff.

From my experience in Japan, 25mm is too short (for me) for people shots, especially the candids. And yes, I agree the versatility of a zoom is priceless.
I guess in the perfect world, the 12-35 + 35-100 would be the best choice. But I have a limited budget, so must only choose 1. :(
 

microcosm

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Sep 17, 2006
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Over time, collect the three Panny lenses and you should be fine for almost all kinds of shooting. And keep the 12-50mm for versatility because it can close focus on things like foods or interesting pieces you may see on your travels. That is what I am probably aiming for now.
 

microcosm

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Sep 17, 2006
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Very good suggestions, guys. Thanks very much!
For my trip, I guess the main things I'll be shooting are the people and the scenery. I guess the 7-14 covers most of the scenery shots, so really need something for people and stuff.

From my experience in Japan, 25mm is too short (for me) for people shots, especially the candids. And yes, I agree the versatility of a zoom is priceless.
I guess in the perfect world, the 12-35 + 35-100 would be the best choice. But I have a limited budget, so must only choose 1. :(
I traveled through Xinjiang this year with only the 12-35mm. So if there is only one lens I will take, that is the 12-35mm.