It’s a good thing I like using a focal length of around 17 mm. I hadn’t thought about it much but today, I was looking at the new Panasonic 12-32 tiny zoom that comes with the GM1 (a camera that seems more Midget Four Thirds than Micro Four Thirds to me) and I realised that if I had one of these I would cover 17mm five times over. It’s contained already in my 12-35, 14-140, 14-42 compact and 17mm Olympus. Ditto 14mm with my 7-14 zoom.
I cover 60mm ‘only’ three times with 35-100, 14-140 and Olympus 60mm. I cover 45mm three times. And 100mm …well never mind. All these numbers. All these lenses. I have more lenses now than I did when earning my living from them. Nine of them.
Sometimes I think of cutting down. Why do I need more than two? The 12-35 and 35-100 Panasonics ought to be enough. After all, my basic location working outfit as a pro was 2 Nikon bodies, 24 f2, 35 f2, 85 f1.8 and 180 f2.8 Nikkors. Four lenses of one focal length each!
Not only that but my present lenses comprise five zooms covering multiple focal lengths from 7-300mm, 14 to 600mm in old money. My work is more exacting now than it was then, already? No, I have nine lenses because I can. I have nine but I want ten with the 12-32. And what about an Olympus 75mm f1.8? One of the great M43 lenses! I’m not rich but I am greedy. I want one. That’ll be eleven lenses then.
Do I need them? Of course I do. When I go out on my bike around the Languedoc vineyards in France, if I’m more in cycle mode than photo mode, I need the 14-140mm. All in one, see. Sling it in my back pack and ride on. But, if I’m on my bike around the Languedoc vineyards in photo mode more than cycle mode…well it’s my 12-35 and 35-100 zooms. If I’m just cycling the 6 kms to the village and a pic might crop but i won’t be looking, it’s my 14-42 zoom. If I’m out in London on the prowl, in Cartier-Bresson street mode, it’s my 17 and 45mm primes. If I’m shooting stills for my YouTube reviews, pix of the lenses or cameras I’m reviewing looking glamorous with ring lighting and sexy shots of the focus ring and electrical contacts, well it has to be the 60mm. A distant swan on the Thames? The 100-300 zoom. A beer in Covent Garden with my mate Stuart? Well, I don’t really want to bother with a camera at all but as an ex press man, I feel naked without…I’ll take tichy, the 12-32. Except, I haven’t bought that yet. Must nip up to SRS tomorrow.
You see? I was thinking too many and it’s not enough. I want to shoot some street candids with a portraity flavour tomorrow. That’s a job for the 75mm f1.8, wide open, creamy bokeh. Thats what I need. Except, I haven’t got one. I’ll just have to use my 35-100 zoom at f2.8. The selective focus at 2.8 or 1.8 though, it’s not the same, is it? I’ll put it off, keep it in mind until I’ve got the lens for it. The 75mm f1.8, that is.
It’s awful. I have a horrible feeling that if I were to be sensible, I’d make a financially and artistically sound decision. I’d either eBay everything except the 14-140 or keep the 12-35 and 35-100 and eBay everything else. Actually, the 14-140 for practical purposes is just as sharp as the f2.8s and it is one lens to carry rather than two. But I do like the 12-35. Great feeling lens. And the 35-100, it doesn’t trombone and I do prefer that. OK, I’ll keep those three and eBay the rest.
Tell you what, though, that 17mm Olympus, great lens, sometimes I think I could sell everything and just use that, minimalist style. But the 45, great bokeh and light and little so no trouble to carry around. No point in getting rid of those. I suppose the 100-300 could go but then how am I going to get those shots of the eagles in the hills at Monthaut that I’ve promises myself I will some day? The 60mm Olympus could go, I suppose. I could do my macros with close-up lens attachments. But then, if I’m going to buy and keep a box of attachments, I might as well keep the lens.
So I’ll just get rid of the 7-14mm zoom then. I don’t use it that much. Of course, it’ll be a bit worrying to go out and find that some of the interiors I like I can’t do any more. It’d be a bit silly to limit myself like that. So I’ll keep that. That just leaves the Panasonic 14-42 compact zoom. That can go. Don’t use it much and I’ll use it even less if I get the 12-32 midget zoom. Of course, it’s the only lens I have that can be zoomed via wifi, very nifty that. And useful sometimes. So that just leaves the….well, all of them. Except the 75mm f1.8 which I haven’t got yet. And a 150mm f2.8 when Panasonic make it.
I must have been taking crazy pills when I started writing this. I haven’t got too many lenses at all. Look at the picture – I had to put the mirror in the pic to show the 12-35 zoom lens that took the picture, just to be honest with you. Count them, that’s only 9 lenses.