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One lens could rule them all

As an outdoor photographer, the weight of everything I carry plays a big role in each of my journeys. When choosing which lenses to take with me, I often lean towards options some never consider: superzooms. And to my surprise, this continues to surprise many.

Being outdoors awakens your senses and reminds you to appreciate the small things in life. It can be the ease and calmness of watching a beautiful sunset from a hidden beach or enjoying a hot meal around a warm bonfire after a long day of hiking.

Being in nature, and going on different micro-adventures, helps me to practice that.

E-M1 Mark III • M.Zuiko 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 • 42mm • 1/160sec • F5.4 • ISO320

Boat + man, Faroe Islands

When working in the outdoors I can find myself in very different environments: hiking in the mountains, camping in a forest, or kayaking along the coastlines in Denmark. Years of experience have taught me to reduce the amount of things I carry – not just camera gear – to the mere minimum, since all excess weight takes away from the enjoyment of the actual trip. Staying as lightweight as possible is crucial for me.

Outlast, out endure

I got my first Olympus OM-D camera in 2015 while studying Outdoor Education in Norway. The E-M5 Mark II was a revelation to me since it was small and nimble enough to carry with me on every trip and expedition we went on during our studies.

The camera became my workhorse when documenting the numerous adventures, and I tested out the camera system in all kinds of weather, from rain and foggy conditions in the Norwegian mountains to multiday backcountry skiing expedition trips in minus 20 degrees in Svalbard.

E-M1 Mark III • M.Zuiko 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 • 12mm • 1/800sec • F8.0 • ISO250

Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Throughout these trips, I realised how important and valuable a lightweight camera setup can be. For example, on our skiing expedition in Svalbard we had to pull a pulk sled weighing 40–50 kilograms for 13 days, so packing a few extra kilos of lenses was simply not an option. I quickly learned to appreciate how choosing Olympus cameras helped me reduce weight, but also tolerate the weather when nature was working against us.

Another important aspect of being lightweight is that it allows me to get into the flow more easily when I am on my trips. It means I can spend my energy on enjoying the experiences, and I can easily capture the unique moments that contribute to telling the stories I aspire to share with you.

Could an all-in-one lens exist?

When I go on my outdoor trips or go travelling abroad I most often bring 2–4 lenses, depending on the purpose and type of images I plan to create. In addition to choosing a few select fixed focal lenses, I always bring one certain kind of lens with me: one of my superzooms, either the M.Zuiko 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 or the M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 ll.

Both are versatile, weatherproof, lightweight and they allow me to capture both the wide landscape shots as well as those extra close-up telephoto shots. By bringing this kind of lens on my adventures, I can meet most of my needs without worrying about changing lenses all the time in the field or in bad weather.

E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 II • 14mm • 1/160sec • F4.0 • ISO64

Seealpsee ridge, Nebelhorn, South Germany

For most of my trips, I am often gone for multiple days, hiking in different terrain and/or in various weather conditions, depending on the season and location. I therefore really appreciate – and prioritise – the ability to capture the shots I want without being forced to 'pause the moment' to spend valuable time on changing lenses. Instead, it allows me to concentrate on where the 'photographic magic' happens.

E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 II • 29mm • 1/40sec • F4.9 • ISO64

Seealpsee lake, Nebelhorn, South Germany

An example of this was my hiking trip to the iconic Nebelhorn Mountain in Southern Germany. It was a warm summer night and the sun was just peaking through the clouds. I remember how the warm golden light hit the mountain ridge where my friend was hiking.

Here the 14-150mm II was the perfect all-in-one lens to capture this sunset moment as well as the iconic Seealpsee in the sunset colours and with the endless mountain landscape behind it.

12-200mm – versatile telezoomed freedom

The 12-200mm lens has been with me on a lot of my recent adventures around the world. I have been able to test it when hiking in the rainy and foggy landscapes of the Faroe Islands, and the cold and snowy winter mountains of Northern Norway.

On my trip to the Faroe Islands, I went hiking and exploring the majestic landscape together with a group of friends. Since most of our hike days were long ones, it was important that I could make my backpack as light as possible, and that my camera gear wasn’t the part that made it heavy.

E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 • 200mm • 1/800sec • F6.3 • ISO200

Moon, Faroe Islands

For this trip, I enjoyed having such a versatile lens, since it allowed me to capture both the stunning scenery with the famous Faroese sheep walking in the highlands, as well as the highly zoomed photos of the Moon behind the distant mountain and the birds cruising in the air.

Bringing a lens like this gave me a feeling of freedom, to be able to shoot on the go when we hiked through the beautiful landscape.

E-M1 Mark III • M.Zuiko 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 • 80mm • 1/250sec • F6.1 • ISO200

Sheep, Faroe Islands

I find that the 12-200mm fits very well with the E-M1 series of camera bodies. With a weight of 455 grams, it makes a nice and lightweight setup and is really well balanced.

14-150mm II – the ultimate lightweight travel lens

The 14-150mm II was my first telezoom lens and it has been with me on countless adventures and travels around the world, from sailing in the Caribbean, kayaking in Denmark and hiking in the mountains of Southern Germany, Switzerland and Madeira.

I find that the 14-150mm II balances well together with the E-M5 series smaller camera bodies. With a weight of only 285 grams, it makes it a nice and lightweight setup.

By adding 1–2 small prime lenses (e.g. M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8, 25mm F1.8 or the 45mm F1.8) I get a great travel-kit setup that can cover most situations and can fit in a small and discrete crossover bag, or only takes up a small amount of space in my backpack. If I travel with hand luggage only, I also really appreciate bringing this setup.

E-M1 Mark III • M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 II • 18mm • 1/1250sec • F4.2 • ISO200

Hiker, Switzerland

I brought the 14-150mm II lens on my hiking trip in Switzerland where the summer heat made it important to carry as little as possible. After a long day of hiking up into the mountains, we were lucky to be able to cool ourselves down in the mountain lake you see in the background.

E-M5 Mark III • M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 II • 56mm • 1/1000sec • F5.5 • ISO250

Whale, Madeira

On my trip to Madeira, I appreciated the versatility of the 14-150mm II lens. For example, on a whale-watching trip, the 14-150mm II proved its worth, as I could get the close-up shots of a sperm whale that dived 50 metres from our boat. I got the shot without having to carry a big bulky lens on the small open speedboat, or interrupt the other passengers. Instead, I could easily get the shots while sitting in my seat.

Find what is right for you

If you are looking for a simple yet powerful lens for any of your Olympus or OM SYSTEM cameras, I urge you to have a closer look at the 12-200mm and the 14-150mm II lenses. Depending on your needs and type of photography, one of them really might be the only lens you need for the majority of your images.

Another aspect I enjoy when travelling is to be able to blend in with the surroundings. And I find that this is a lot easier to do when travelling with a small camera setup, consisting of a few small lenses. This really can't be done with big lenses and cameras.

I find that bringing a telezoom lens often allows me to adapt quickly to the photographic situations I encounter. In this way, I often manage to capture the more real and authentic photos, while still enjoying the moment. And the weather sealing of these lenses allows you to use them in every condition you might encounter on your adventures.

So go out and get creative and enjoy the light feeling of a small camera setup. You are welcome to check out my photo adventures on Instagram (@dvphoto.dk) and find inspiration for your next outdoor trips.


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