Art and Photography

Going to Japan in April, what to bring?

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  • Sep 3rd, 2018 9:36 pm
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[OP]
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Dec 28, 2005
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Going to Japan in April, what to bring?

Hello all,

I am heading to Japan for a few weeks in early April. My wife and I hope to catch the sakura bloom and I am trying to make sense of what to bring. Our most eastern point of travel will be Nikko and our most western point will be Miyajima. Right now I have the following gear:

-Olympus OM-D EM10 MkII
-Panasonic GF2
-Panasonic 14 mm
-Panasonic 20 mm
-Panasonic 35100 mm f4-5.6
-Olympus 14-42 II R

I recently picked-up a Panasonic 12-32 mm on eBay for a song ($120 shipped!) thinking I could travel with the the 12-32 mm, 20 mm and maybe the 35-100 mm; however, we plan on hitting Legoland and the Tobu World Square, so I've been eyeing the Olympus 12-50 mm kit. The idea would that the 12-50 would give me a wide range of focal lengths plus some decent macro ability and then use the 20 mm and 35-100 mm as needed.

Any suggestions on what to do? I'm open to selling lenses (E.g., dump the 14 and 14-42 and put the cash towards the Olympus 60 mm macro) since I have some time before the trip. Also, any suggestions on accessories? So far I'm planning on bringing my Capture Clip, GorillaPod and maybe my Dolica aluminum tripod.

Thanks for your help!
63 replies
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Nov 19, 2006
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Hey, I just came back from Japan for a third time a few weeks ago. What are your plans in terms of sight seeing. Are you mostly doing nature stuff or city? Are you hopping on the Shinkansen every couple days or are you staying put in a city for a longer period of time. Are you a streetphotog guy or a nature guy.

Personally, I traveled with an xt-1 (18-55 and 23) and my mju ii (35mm film). I found that I just shot with the mju ii about 90% of the time because it was light and compact. I used the xt-1 and 23mm during the night because it was a f1.4. In Japan, traveling light is the key (in terms of both going between cities and walking around). You'll also be happier with less choices of lenses when travelling
[OP]
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MoonDoggy wrote:
Jan 1st, 2018 11:33 am
Hey, I just came back from Japan for a third time a few weeks ago. What are your plans in terms of sight seeing. Are you mostly doing nature stuff or city? Are you hopping on the Shinkansen every couple days or are you staying put in a city for a longer period of time. Are you a streetphotog guy or a nature guy.

Personally, I traveled with an xt-1 (18-55 and 23) and my mju ii (35mm film). I found that I just shot with the mju ii about 90% of the time because it was light and compact. I used the xt-1 and 23mm during the night because it was a f1.4. In Japan, traveling light is the key (in terms of both going between cities and walking around). You'll also be happier with less choices of lenses when travelling
Hey, it's a pretty mixed bag. Our agenda is:

-Days 1 & 2: Land in Tokyo at 3:30 PM. Staying near the Imperial Palace, so do a bit of sight seeing there and head down to Tsukiji fish market and the gardens. Depending on how jet lagged, we may try to squeeze in some time in Ginza or Shibuya.
-Days 3 & 4: Nikko for Edo Wonderland, Tobu World Square, various heritage sites and spending some time enjoying onsen.
-Days 5 & 6: Nagoya (Legoland, castle, Toyota Tech Centre, Inuyama and Korankei if time permits).
-Days 6 - 10: Kyoto (city + Arishiyama)
-Day 10: Himeji/Koko-en in the morning and a train to Osaka to rest and take in the night life for evening.
-Day 11: Miyajima for the morning and train to Tokyo in the evening
-Days 11 - 15: Tokyo and if not exhausted, a day trip to Kamakura or Hakone, departure back to Canada

As you can see, there's quite a few days when we are zipping around on the shinkansen, but also spending some time with Kyoto and Tokyo as our base. We were hoping to squeeze in Beppu, but I think it's too far off the major rail lines given our agenda.
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Jan 19, 2008
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a 28 and 50 in a compact bag and perhaps something with macro for the food.
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12-32 & 20 sounds like a nice light combo.

My travel combo used to be 12 & 20, but I just sold the 20 and ordered the 17mm 1.8...so thinking of selling the 12mm....
Jr. Member
Aug 14, 2015
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Burnaby, BC
Figure out your phone data plan before you head to Japan.
[OP]
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spiritsBB wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2018 1:59 am
Figure out your phone data plan before you head to Japan.
Thanks. We will probably get a a 2 GB data SIM while there.
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bhrm wrote:
Jan 1st, 2018 10:45 pm
12-32 & 20 sounds like a nice light combo.

My travel combo used to be 12 & 20, but I just sold the 20 and ordered the 17mm 1.8...so thinking of selling the 12mm....
That’s what I thought too...but what about macro capabilities for Legoland/Tobu World Square or a longer zoom for the nature areas?

That’s my dilemma.
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unshavenyak wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2018 7:17 am
That’s what I thought too...but what about macro capabilities for Legoland/Tobu World Square or a longer zoom for the nature areas?

That’s my dilemma.
I personally don't care too much for macro, just don't have the time especially when travelling. Interesting but not for me.

My setup might be, 12, 17, 45, if your budget is limited, i highly recommend 17, 45, and a zoom (40-150 or 45-200). Or 12-32 with 45 and a zoom.
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unshavenyak wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2018 7:17 am
That’s what I thought too...but what about macro capabilities for Legoland/Tobu World Square or a longer zoom for the nature areas?

That’s my dilemma.
To tell you the truth, I had the same dilemma when I was preparing for the trip as well. I think the next time and probably everytime I travel from now on, I'll just bring one camera/lense and my cellphone. I was able to enjoy the vacation more without having have to deal with my camera situation. Some situations don't require a photo.

Btw, it's just easier to get a mobile hotspot in Japan. Just be sure to get the one with extended coverage if you're planning to be outside the cities alot.
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Aug 14, 2015
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Burnaby, BC
unshavenyak wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2018 7:16 am
Thanks. We will probably get a a 2 GB data SIM while there.
Just do some more research on it - it's not as easy as purchasing and popping a Japanese sim card onto your phone.
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KISS
2 lenses max, IMO

for traveling I just bring 24-70mm f/4 crop on a small mirrorless body, a 3lbs tripod that throws into a carry-on, and a foldable quadcopter the size of a small telephoto...the previous times I've also packed a gimbal but didn't bother taking it out in the latter half of the trips.
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Sep 10th, 2011 12:29 pm
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Newbie
Mar 22, 2013
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Toronto
I went to Japan a few years ago and also shoot m4/3. I took my GX1, PL25 1.4 and Samyang 7.5 fisheye. There were times when I wished I had a longer focal length, but I also like to travel light. I’m also a bit lazy when it comes to changing lenses. I tend to change lenses, then shoot with that lens for awhile until I decided to swap again.

Having something fast was extremely useful. It helped with hand-held night photography, especially the narrow alleys of historic Kyoto. It was also nice to be able to have a shallow depth of field on some shots. For example, at the temples I could separate one statue from the rest and have a nice contextual backgrounded blur. So I would definitely recommend bringing a fast lens such as your 20mm.

While I did miss having something longer than 25mm, I found having a wider angle lens more useful. But that is usually my preference as I tend to like landscapes. One question to ask yourself is how wide do you want to shoot and how long do you want to shoot and choose the minimal amount of gear to cover that focal range.

I didn’t take a tripod because again, I like to travel light. I did miss a few opportunities because of that though. It was fairly overcast when I was there and a tripod would have opened the door to some long exposure shots where I could have created cloud movement. But there were many places that I would not have used a tripod because of the crowds. The gorilla-pod might prove useful.

Kyoto was wonderful for me because of the history and nature. It was a bit like combining a hiking trip with a trip to a museum which are two activities I love. If you plan on walking a lot, which I did, you will want to choose carefully to avoid lugging too much stuff around. I personally would not take two bodies, but that is my preference and you may not mind the extra weight.
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Feb 20, 2006
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Skip Nagoya and go to Nara instead.
[OP]
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hchai wrote:
Jan 4th, 2018 11:45 am
Skip Nagoya and go to Nara instead.
I tried to convince my wife but she is dead set on Legoland.

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