Tuesday, March 08, 2011

25mm F:1.4

Panasonic says they'll come out soon with a 25mm F:1.4 lens. This is equivalent to a 50mm lens in the old 35mm format, or a "normal lens".

Many companies in recent years are making fast normal lenses like this. I don't understand it, who has asked for them? They are not all that useful, and I think they only became "normal" because they, on a 35mm camera, are about the easiest focal length to make in good quality and cheaply too. ("Around the length of the diagonal" would actually be 43mm, not 50.)

But what I want is not a normal lens, my first two choices are 1) a slight wide-angle lens for general scene photography, and 2) a portrait lens for people and compressed-perspective photography. Those are really useful lenses. To me, a 50mm-equivalent is sat between two chairs.

...Of course some people have used those lenses to great effect, and if it was the only one I had, it would be a good choice for a universal lens (though I think around 40mm is better). But with a changeable-lens system, I don't see the great need for it, certainly not before anybody makes a good portrait lens (for the M4/3 system for example). Panasonic, I'd much rather have a 45mm F:2.0, please (90mm-equivalent). (There is a 45mm 2.8, but it's expensive and does not have the same background blur a 2.0 would give.)


Miserere said...

At some point in history, 55mm and 58mm were considered "normal" for 35mm film cameras, so go figure.

As for Panasonic, it's anyone's guess what they're up to. They made the excellent 20mm f/1.7 (don't you own it?) which is small and affordable, not to mention just 1/2 stop slower than the upcoming 25mm f/1.4, which will be large and expensive. I imagine people will buy it for bragging rights.

I agree with you that there are more pressing lenses needed in the m4/3 line up than a 25mm f/1.4.

If you ask me, Samsung is the only company that's putting out prime lenses for their mirrorless NX system that make sense. Numbers in parentheses are focal length in 35mm-equiv.; availability in second column. Oh, and the top 3 are all pancakes:

16mm f/2.4 (24mm-e), July 2011
20mm f/2.8 (30mm-e), now
30mm f/2.0 (45mm-e), now
60mm f/2.8 macro (90mm-e), Aug 2011
85mm f/1.4 (128mm-e), Oct 2011

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, the 20mm f/1.7 is the perfect "normal" lens, fast, super-compact, sharp.

emptyspaces said...

Samsung is making some nice cameras, too - that NX100 is usually overlooked, it seems, but I had it for a month and really liked it. I've used their two top P&S models (TL500/EX1 and TL350/WB2000) and found them fantastic as well.

I did notice that Samsung renders rather boring jpegs, and the meter tends to overexpose...but shooting in RAW and minus-2/3 or minus-1 remedies all that. I rather liked how the cameras handled.

The 30/2 is a great lens, too, a nice focal length on those NX cameras, with a pretty good bokeh.

I like normal lenses, but I agree that the 25/1.4 is an odd choice for Panasonic since they already make that sweet little 20/1.7.

A 45/2 would be cool. I'd like a 14/2 or a 17/2 to go along with it.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

The 14mm 2.4 is a good lens, and even more compact than the 20mm.