[Image credit: Panasonic.net]

[Image credit: Panasonic.net]

…it’d be the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4.  Of course statements like that are kind of stupid, since no one lens is going to be perfect in every single situation and a 25mm wouldn’t be all too helpful when, say, trying to photograph eagles up on the Plank next winter.  But as a general feeling it holds true.  When I’m packing the little Domke bag and space is limited, given my choice of lenses the 25mm almost always makes the cut.  And if I’m going to take just one lens, that’s the one.

On m4:3 cameras, 25mm is equivalent to a standard 50mm lens (if you want to play the equivalency game), and all through my photographic career I’ve had a fast 50mm.  It used to be an excellent copy of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mk 1, which was often then my go to lens for times when I wanted a single, small lens to carry on my 400D.  So I guess it’s no great surprise that I’m continuing that tradition on the new system.  Except in this case, this little Leica gem is even better.

So hiking, check.  Landscapes and nature?  Yep.  Events coverage?  Definitely.  Low light work?  It’s my go-to lens.  Standard, all-around shooting lens for a day out, or in the city, or with family?  25mm all the way.  Basically any time I need a general workhorse lens, where I know that I’m going to get great quality under almost any conditions, I know I can count on the 25mm.

BRENT PENNINGTON "The Last Cocktail Party of Venus," an interactive theater event held at The Vintage in Downtown Scranton on the evening of 10 August 2013.

I used it (and only it) to shoot the performance of “The Last Cocktail Party of Venus” down at The Vintage a coupe of weekends back.  Being a combination theater performance and actual cocktail party, the lighting was best described as “say a little prayer and find a wall to brace yourself against.”  It was dark, with most of the light bouncing from the stage lights, off the wall and then around the space.  ISO 1600 and f/1.4, combined with the E-M5’s IBIS, nailed it.  I deleted a number of shots because the subjects were all moving too much, but didn’t have to toss a single one due to camera shake.

I used it to shoot nearly all the promos for “Venus” as well, despite having planned to do the gig with the Oly 75mm.  Didn’t have enough room for that, especially when it came to small group shots.  The little Leica 25mm did a perfect job.  And thinking back across the past weeks, I’ve used it (or had it with me) on just about every outing I’ve made, regardless of subject/genres/assignment, including the Whiskey Bacon trip to the Shawnee Brewery:

BRENT PENNINGTON Members of Whiskey Bacon Traveling Food Circus sample beer at the Shawnee Craft Brewing Company's tap room at the Shawnee Inn Resort in Shawnee on Delaware, PA, on the afternoon of 11 August 2013.

And of course it’s a workhorse for my nature and landscape work; there must be dozens (at least) of photos here on TRP that I’ve taken with the 25mm, including many of my panoramas.  In fact, it’s my go-to lens for panoramic work, having both a working field of view and limited distortion characteristics that I find ideal.  Where it’s not wide enough on its own, shooting a panoramic series works out well.

Panorama of Trostle Pond on the morning of 19 May 2012.

[Click to view larger]

Or just for regular, single-frame shots.  Great for shallow depth of field, as in the image of the Dogwood blossom below, but also great when stopped down.  In fact it’s just a great lens all around.  So there you have it, just a little shout-out to a lens that I feel is extraordinary and easily one of the strongest lenses in the m4:3 lineup.  If you can only afford one good prime, you can’t go wrong with this one.

BRENT PENNINGTON Flowering Dogwood blossoms adorn a tree in the Courthouse Square in Downtown Scranton on the evening of 03 May 2013.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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