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.
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?
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