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.