The best lens for me

The best lens for Me, maybe you:

or it could be depending upon your intended use

Many photographers like to have a wide selection of kit that covers a range of situations. Others prefer to only carry two or three lenses with them. Some prefer to keep it very simple and opt for one camera with just one lens. It is a personal choice.
I think that most of us have a preference for being one of these three types, with a second option as and when the need arises, and occasionally even a third option.

For many of us whose photographic beginnings are pre-digital, our first experience would have been the standard 50mm lens. Over the decades I’ve owned plenty of 50 mm lenses suitable for the camera that I was using at the time.

However, somehow for me the focal length didn’t really work with the image ratio of 3:2 of a 35mm film. It didn’t translate the image as I saw it and wanted to capture. Popular alternatives to this would be the slightly wider 35mm lens, or just simply a 28mm focal length lens, although this is one that never worked for me personally!  Adding into this mix a zoom lens, with its opportunity for multiple choice of focal lengths it becomes more confusing. Don’t hear me wrong, I’m not knocking zoom lenses, in fact I currently own two. 

Where is this all leading to? I went on a search for a lens that would suit my Panasonic GX8 rangefinder style camera body. It needed to have a fast aperture and be small in size as well as weight.  it needed to give me the flexibility, aperture control and sharpness that I need for my composition and to form my images. Outdoors or indoors this lens needed to be quick, simple and reliable. I had a lot to look at, think about, and to choose from.

The first lens I tried was in fact the first prime lens I owned for the micro four thirds system, this being the Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN lens. I felt that this was a good place to start as many of its features were familiar. 

This little lens was a good size, a good weight and produced a good enough image quality. It worked well, but somehow didn’t quite have what I was looking for! Its price had also been part of the attraction as it was very affordable. 

Moving on I decided to not count the cost financially but I went straight for the best equivalent 50mm lens that I could buy for my micro four thirds camera body. The lens was the Panasonic Leica DG summilux 25mm F1.4 aspherical. 

That’s a Wow lens – it is solid, but not heavy, it is well built and feels lovely in use. Quality is not a question to even think about – it’s exceptional. Let’s not think about the price, just remember it’s over 4 times the price of the Sigma! 

I did have just one fear about this lens and it came about that I was correct. It really was down to my eye sight and the image format that I was shooting. It didn’t work as the focal length was a little too long as it cropped into what I was seeing.  

The next choice had to be right. After all I had plenty to trade in. So the decision was made; I headed off to Park Cameras as I needed a lens that really did do what I was looking for. The joys of dealing with Park Cameras – they offer professional and knowledgeable advice and have new as well as second-hand stock available. A fair deal was struck, with a good guarantee on a second-hand purchase. 

Now I was looking at an Olympus M Zuiko 17mm f 1.8. This, I thought to myself, must be my Nirvana. Harking back to my film days with OM cameras and film lenses I knew the quality of them; they are built well and quality is not an issue. 

It was good, in fact very good. Equivalent to a 35-mm lens, in 35-mm terms that is. What, if anything, could be wrong with that? After all I had owned many quality 35-mm equivalent lenses before.  However that was not for the four thirds format size! 

 You probably think that I am quite a fussy pedantic photographer. You are totally correct. 

So that’s 3 lenses tried and three lenses sadly rejected, not because of the fact that they were poor in any way, but due to the fact that for me personally they were not really seeing as I see. 

Well done if you’ve got this far with my ramblings. You must be really glad that you’re not me, HeHe. So where did I go from here? 

My search took me onto the internet which I do use, but somehow I wish that I could deal with human beings rather than a computer system. MPB normally have quite a selection and good prices. But, boy oh boy, is it hard to sit waiting for the phone to be answered. When it is, very helpful staff are there to help, thank you guys. 

Having been given an idea by David Thorpe, a YouTuber, with a great deal of experience of micro four thirds cameras and lenses, I decided that I needed to try the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f1.7 aspherical mark II.

MPB had one, in fact they had more than one. A part exchange was arranged and away I went. All I had to do was get to the front door faster than the DPD van driver could get away from it. 

So I’m now the proud owner of a rather cute looking silver lens which is fast, very good quality and works well in low light situations. It’s got quite a good build to it as well and from what I can tell should suit me well, so I’m going to be working with this. 

The Lens is termed as a “pancake” lens which is another good reason to own it! It has the equivalent 40 mm angle of view, which is as close as you’re going to get to what your eyes see in a micro four thirds format. Remembering that no lens is ever going to be perfect, there has to be a downside , and there is. Its autofocus system is relatively slow compared with all my three previous lenses. So far this is not a deal breaker for me so I’m a happy boy. 

If you’re looking for a lens with image stabilization built in to it, this lens is not for you.  I’m not sure personally that a lens this small and this light should really need any form of image stabilization within it.

If you need it to be supplied with its own lens hood it’s also not for you. Panasonic do not supply a lens hood with this lens. However a suitable hood can be found on the internet quite easily at very affordable prices.

So far so good, it seems to see what I’m looking at – a very natural perspective on the world, and I’m happy. No distortions and no chromatic aberrations. “Can it really be this good?” I ask myself. Also I think the lens price is excellent value for money whether new, or second-hand from reputable dealers. 

M

 

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