Japan Looming and the usual kit angst.

This next trip to Japan is going to be different. My wife and I agree that my street image catalogue can always do with more, but there has to be another element to my images this trip.

Part of this comes from the reality that the trip is not what we originally planned (a guide trip for our parents, who are not coming now) and many of the places we will visit have been done to death, so there is a need to see them with fresh eyes.

This makes my kit choices a less predictable (as if they ever are!) as I will be looking to do street, but also “high” art level images.

The best fine art rig I have is the Pen F and 12-100 used at low ISO’s. This offers totally clean, super sharp images with deep, subtle micro contrast, but this adds considerable weight and bulk for a one use outfit.

The EM5’s are proven (and preferred) for street with the light and sharp prime lenses and to be honest, they are kept with this role in mind.

This pairing of Pen and EM5 also allows me to use only one battery type and leave one camera behind on certain trips.

  • Pen F with 12-100 with filters and tripod

  • 2x EM5’s for street with 17/45 (or 25/75 or 17/75) lenses (not sure as usual, but any will do).


The EM1 adds the extra resolution, electronic shutter and custom settings to allow me to use it like the Pen F, but I am not fully convinced it is as sharp as the Pen F in this role (further testing has shown there is little, if any practical difference). AF speed is better. The EM1’s LSF jpegs are also very good and combined with the camera’s better metering, offer a cleaner work flow.

Negatives; The EM1 does frustrate me with it’s soft shutter release that is inconsistent and spongy when fired by thumb. I have also found this combination a little heavy for all day, at the ready use. 2 types of batteries.

  • EM1 and 12-40 for general street and landscape (filters included).

  • 75-300 for longer work (filters included).

  • Optionally, the 12-100 as the one lens option for the EM1. These two seem to really like each other.

  • EM5 with the strap and 17 as the cross body “everywhere” camera.

The quality the 12-40 and EM1 can produce in jpeg.

The quality the 12-40 and EM1 can produce in jpeg.


All of this has to fit into my TT Turnstyle 10.

The top kit needs to be broken down for travel, maybe forcing me to take a bigger bag to get to Japan and the TT for when I am there (where it would work well).

The bottom kit all fits fine as is, especially the 2 camera/2 lens version.


The temptation of just taking the 2 or 3 EM5’s and 4 primes is always present. This trip is more about consolidation and exploration than seeing things first time, so there is less pressure to get it right. There is also nothing wrong with the landscapes from the Em5’s, I just prefer to work with an electronic shutter.