Photography with a 35 mm Lens


I have a 17 mm prime lens for my E-PL5 micro 4/3 system, the newer M. Zuiko17 mm 1:1.8 with the shift feature for manual focusing.  In full frame terms, that makes the lens an effective 35 mm in terms of field of view, etc.  One of the things I am trying to decide is what lenses work best for me.  I am trying this prime lens since it has a classic field of view and many have used this as a walk-about lens, but I have been concerned since I walk out in the open … not on city streets.  While out walking with it after our paths had drained from the high water I came across this little dead fish … actually there were several of them.  This one is about two inches long.  I don’t think I will have any problem using this lens for small objects as long as I can walk up close to them.  I am now strongly considering this lens for my walk-about setup, primarily because I love the quality and size of the lens.

If I walk with an effective 35 mm lens, it will mean many changes.  My past favorite lens for walking outdoors with my DSLR has been a zoom with an effective focal length of 75 to 300 mm … in other words, a relatively long and heavy lens.  If I switch to 35 mm it will require me to make major changes in what and how I photograph, but I haven’t decided yet.  I will try a 40 – 150 mm micro 4/3 zoom lens which will give an effective 80 – 300 mm focal length but the micro 4/3 lens is a lot lighter and smaller.  If I don’t like it I might change my photography to fit my small camera and a few prime lenses.  I like to walk and photograph with a camera and lens that I love.  The question is, “will I photograph with a small package in my hand that I love to hold and use, or do I go for a system that gives me more flexibility in what I photograph?”


  1. John from Boston

    Generally speaking, my thought is to play to the strengths of the system. That would mean mostly using primes and maybe have one longer zoom on the shelf for the odd occasion when you need it. Some of the micro 4/3 primes can vanish in a pocket as an easy second lens to carry.

    The Panasonic 20mm is one of the better known lenses for micro 4/3, so I’m not exactly giving a big secret here. However, I just love what that lens does. I will always keep a micro 4/3 body just to have the use of that glass. To my style and tastes, it’s just magic. It is effectively a 40mm, so it is quite versatile. It’s my default lens on micro 4/3.

    The Panasonic 45-200mm zoom is very average (and big and slow).

    The Panny 14mm is amazingly small, and focuses quickly. It’s quite good, but it didn’t suit my style and lacks the “magic” of the 20mm for me. I didn’t see any advantages (besides size) over one of the kit lenses

    The older Panny 14-45mm kit lens is quite nice for general use.

    The collapsible Olympus 14-42mm is worth it on a micro 4/3 body simply because of the practicality of the collapsing design.

    Aside from adapting older glass, those are the lenses I know first hand.


    • John

      The 20 mm was my favorite years ago, but I did not get it this time since I had heard that there were banding issues with it at high ISOs with the E-M5 and the E-PL5 has the same sensor.