dave martinez photography » Official website of Dave Martinez Photography, Photographer based in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

My favorite focal length?

Dave picks his favorite focal lengths (full frame 35mm equivalent). This is meant to be a guide, everyone has their own preferences and comfort zone.

For everyday = 40mm (or 35mm or 50mm) – I think i can survive shooting whole day with this focal length. 40mm sits in between 35 and 50mm. And 50mm is said to be the “normal” or “natural” focal length. Actually so-called “normal” focal length is closer to 40mm than a 50mm. Hence, I bring a Panasonic 20mm 1.7 as my everyday lens, it’s equivalent to 40mm (20mm x 2, crop factor for micro 4/3). I would bring this in exchange of any variable aperture zoom any day… this is just so flexible and a joy to use.

For portrait = 85mm (or 135mm) – 85mm for head to neck and shoulder portraits, and 135mm for tighter. (200mm I like this a lot too!)

For landscape = 24mm (or 20mm)  – a 24mm prime is wide enough for most applications. (a 14mm will be nice too!)

For closeup / macro = 60mm – i prefer this better than a 105mm. If you are shooting for bugs and insects, a 105mm or a longer lens will be better.


Now for applications and lens setup, this will be my preference:

Travel / Street Photography – 24mm 1.4 + 85mm 1.4 – this is probably one my best and favorite combo. I can shoot from dawn until midnight (literally) with this combo. For a Micro 4/3 setup, this is what I will bring – 7-14mm 4, 20mm 1.7, 45mm 1.8. I can’t be too annoying to say what a heaven-sent a Micro 4/3 setup for travel photography is, especially coming from years of traveling with Nikon DSLR and Nikkor lenses.

Wedding / Events Photography – 24-70 2.8 if I will just use one lens. This can make the job done, day-in day-out. For a 2 lens combo, of course I will recommend 2 bodies to minimize lens swapping – my personal favorite will be a 17-35 2.8 + 70-200 2.8. Depending on the job at hand, sometimes the 24-70 2.8 + 70-200 2.8 combo is safer, getting all the critical focal lengths covered.

For everyday – 50mm will be an ideal one lens solution for me. But ironic as it seems, I don’t have a 50mm lens haha… so the closest that I have is the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 which is equivalent to 40mm. This alone or I’ll pair this with a 45mm 1.8 lens (90mm equivalent), I’m good to go. For a single zoom lens, it will be no other than the workhorse lens, Nikkor AFS 24-70mm 2.8.


trees in beuvron

A Beautiful Morning

Photographer’s note: F/8, 1/400, ISO 100,  Panasonic GF1, Panasonic 20mm 1.7

All these years, why I don’t have a 50mm lens? I don’t know… Maybe subconsciously I’ve been waiting for a Leica Summilux 50mm?

Feel free to interact with my blog articles, either by adding a comment below this article, or drop me an email. Thanks for reading! Keep clickin’ -Kindest, Dave

  • Ramon Go - You have lots of great shots here, makes me envy looking at your photos.
    You have found a new big fan over here, keep them coming…ReplyCancel

    • xdayv - Sir Ramon, thank you for your kind words. Appreciate it much!ReplyCancel

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