Monday, October 12, 2009
Panasonic 20mm lens (40mm-equivalent)
I'm a little disappointed that Panasonic's new compact prime lens (non-zoom) Micro-Four-Thirds 20mm F:1.7 does not have stabilization (or the camera body). It would be nice, because otherwise it's a real damn pleasant lens, physically and optically. It's the equivalent of a 40mm lens in 35mm film terms, and very compact.
(And the lens with the Panasonic GF1 actually fits in my pants pocket. Although visibly. "Is that a GF1 in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?")
But even though I think no stabilization is just stupid these days, I can live without it if I have to, in this case. For one thing, the lens is sharp at full opening. For another thing I have found out that if I'm not too rushed, I can take a sharp picture at 1/15 of a second, with a 40mm-equivalent lens. I honestly did not think I could. I used to get the occasional shaken picture at 1/125.
Either the cameras and shutters have gotten better, or I have. I suspect both are true.
Lookit this picture. At 400ISO, 1/15 second, F:1.7, hand-held. The picture looks like there was much more light than it looked like in reality. That end of the corridor is very dark. (Oh, obviously that is not a flash which is reflected on the door, I didn't use flash.)
I did not sharpen the picture in the computer, in the interest of objectiveness.
I used to think that if I had a "street camera" with just one lens and no zoom, it should have a 28mm lens or a 35mm. But I might just be coming around to Sally Mann's and Mike Johnston's position that there is something "Goldielocks" about a 40mm. It takes in the scene naturally. 50mm is a bit too long, it's a shame that it became the defacto "normal lens" for some reason or other, despite the diagonal of the 35mm format, 43mm, being closer to 40.