I get this question a lot and finally got around to making a longish video describing my kit and rationale. Prior to our New Zealand trip I always brought a Nikon DSLR and a point and shoot. My current Nikon is a D700 which I love and feel is more or less the perfect camera for me. I carried it on our trip from Oregon to Glacier National Park and loved the images but hated the weight and bulk (esp. on the Bromptons). When that trip was done, I swore I was through with big DSLRs for touring and searched for a good alternative. Just around the same time the Micro 4/3rds cameras looked like they were maturing. I pulled the trigger on an Olympus EP3 and eventually a Lumix GH2 and haven’t looked back ever since.

I eventually chose the Micro 43rds system because what I feel the most important feature of a camera on bicycle tour is how easy it is to get to while on tour. If it’s too much of a hassle, you’re not going to pull it out and take photos. I found that it felt like a chore to use the heavy D700 which also took up A LOT of room. I can ride comfortably with the m43rd cameras bandolier style and whip it into shooting position very easily. The more likely I am to use the camera, the more likely I am to get awesome photos.

Lenses I Own:

-Olympus 14-42mm 3.5-5.6 kit lens (small, light, good all rounder)
Olympus 14-150 4-5.6 super zoom (HUGE range, great for video)
Olympus 9-18mm 4-5.6 wide angle zoom (wide angle goodness…perhaps my fave lens)
Olympus 45mm 1.8 (pretty good portrait lens)
Lumix 20mm 1.7 (fast compact lens, autofocus a little slow)
** Not a lens but I really like the Olympus VF2 Finder

What lenses would I bring?

-If I could only bring one lens on tour it would be the 14-150mm
-If I could bring two lenses they would be the 9-18mm and 14-150mm
-If I could bring three lenses they would be the 9-18mm, 14-150mm and the 45mm 1.8

Nikon D700

-great control layout
-great image quality, esp with low light
-amazing selection of Nikon lenses


Olympus EP3

-awesome styling and okay control layout
-wide array of lenses
-good color and sharpness

-mediocre to poor low light capability
-not enough fast zooms or primes
-jelly roll video

Lumix GH2

-awesome styling and awesome control layout
-wide array of lenses
-excellent video quality

-mediocre to poor low light capability
-not enough fast zooms or primes
-stills lack punch

Some Conclusions:
If you’re primarily shooting stills with occasional video, go with the Olympus. If you’re primarily shooting video with some stills, go with Lumix. While the m43rds system is not perfect, it is a very attractive alternative to traditional DSLRs from Nikon and Canon. Their major shortcomings are in low light shooting and autofocus on fast moving objects. Since most of my touring photos occur during the day, low light isn’t as much of an issue. Since object tracking can be an issue, I have adjusted my shooting to prefocus where I want my subject to be and shoot when he/she passes in that zone.

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