I’ve been paying attention to which lenses I’ve been using the past couple of months, since I started shooting regularly again.  And no real surprise, it comes down to just one: the Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 (which for those of you worried about relative focal lengths, is the m4:3 version of the venerable 70-200mm).  I’ve been using it in most of my personal work and even on my client shoots.  In fact, I covered The Vintage’s “24 Hours of Art” event in August entirely with the 35-100mm.

To be fair, this is partially because I’ve made some changes in my lens kit.  The little Lumix 14mm is gone.  Too bad, since it was a good little pancake lens and has been the widest lens in my kit since I dumped Canon a couple of years back.  I’ve also sold the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, which I’ll probably regret.  The 75mm is the sharpest lens I’ve ever owned – wickedly sharp.  But I only pulled it out for the odd portrait shoot and all too often found that it was too long for the spaces I work in.

The idea was that the sale of the 14mm and 75mm would fund the purchase of a fast aperture standard zoom, either the Lumix 12-35 f/2.8 or the Olympus 12-40 f/2.8.  Either would overlap (and go wider) than the 14mm at the expense of only 1/3 of a stop.  And the 35-100mm covers the 75mm range, albeit with a definite loss of aperture speed.  But the overall result is a tighter, more useful kit.  I can go out with the 12-40 and 35-100 and cover 90% of what I’m likely to encounter.

I’m still maintaining a couple of specialty lenses: the vintage Takumar 50mm f/4 macro for studio work, macros, and some portraiture shoots.  And the Olympus 75-300mm as a bird lens.  (This one, however, will be gone shortly after the proposed 300mm prime hits the market…assuming it eventually does.)

Addendum: turns out both the Lumix 12-35mm and Olympus 12-40mm were difficult to find at the time.  I was leaning towards the Lumix, but it was backordered for several weeks, and used copies are apparently hard to come by.  In the end I was able to grab a used, like-new condition Olympus 12-40mm for a great price off eBay.  I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now and am getting a feel for it.  The only down side is that it has a much larger filter size than my previous m4:3 lenses, which means I had to buy another polarizer and ND filter for it.  Not thrilled about that – makes me miss my old Cokin system, which worked on all my Canon lenses via different sized mounting rings.  Unfortunately, the Cokin systems straddle the m4:3 lenses diameters, which leaves me using regular screw-on filters.  I’got two sets now; the 58mm size I’ve been using and the 62mm set for the Oly lens.  More on the Oly 12-40mm to come in the future.

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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