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What Do You Consider "Normal"?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by penfan2010, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    A similar thread may have been started before, but lately I've been thinking about what lens feels the most "normal" to me, and which prime lens is the one I would use for all around shooting,

    I've loved the 42mm F1.7 on my Oly 35mm SP rangefinder, the angle of view is the most all-around one for me. As such, I have finally given in and bought a Panny 20mm F1.7 to emulate the FOV digitally. While waiting for the lens to arrive, I've been doing test shots again with some of my other "normal" primes to re-familiarize myself with their FOV and feel.

    First, a sample from the Oly 42mm on the 35 SP for reference -my Goldilocks FOV lens, not too tele, not too wide, just right.


    Then, from one of my favorites, the Zuiko 38mm F1.8 for the Pen F, shot with the E-PL1. The images have more of a short-tele feel, which is not surprising given the effective 35mm FOV of 55~60mm.




    And the 17mm F2.8 on my short-lived Panny G2; too wide for an all-purpose normal, too narrow for a real wide (which is why I have also purchased a Panny 14):



    When I tried out the 20mm in a shop it looked like it had a slightly wider FOV than the 42mm as viewed through my 35 SP's rangefinder. Hoepfully, that will not be the case when I do proper side-by-sides
    • Like Like x 2
  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    For me, I prefer a true 50mm (35mm format) FOV, so I'm (im)patiently waiting for the PL25. The 20 has been a nice one to use in the meantime, but I can't wait for the 25.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    Thanks, WT, I have seen a number of images from that lens on this forum. I have to say I spend more time gawking at the sharpness and color fidelity to notice the FOV! Look forward to some photos from you using that lens.
  4. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    I think the 20mm is very close - the 42mm you refer to would probably hit it just about perfect for me as well. Another lens I feel hits a normal view for me is my 15mm (22.5 equiv) pentax lens. It hits my normal peripheral vision! I know that isn't the usual view of a normal lens, but I think it is why I love it oh so much.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord Subscribing Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    I used to shoot zooms. When i was starting to learn photography (and still am) i just shoot whatever focal length it is. I couldnt careless. But now im a bit picky. At one point i only shot with the oly 17mm 2.8. And now, predominantly shooting 28mm (35mm equiv), and a little bit of
    24mm and 35mm (more like 34mm since its 17mm x2)



    Sent from my iOS using Mu-43 App
    • Like Like x 1
  6. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    Kabayan, looks like you prefer shooting wide, that is cool. The Oly 17mm is a great all-around lens for sure, but I just sold mine for the reasons in my original post. I just got the Panny 14, and I am happy with its wider FOV so I sold the Oly 17.
  7. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I like the 17mm. I've been on the fence for a few weeks on purchasing the 20mm. The 17mm for most of my shooting is a good walk around lens. It reminds me of my single focal length 35mm camera which was 36mm.

    If we are talking about normal though, I find that for indoors, 40mm is quite nice. But for outdoors, I think I like the closeness that a 50mm gives you.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I'm not to fussy - I like the 17 and 20mm.

    I guess I do have a preference for primes over zooms though.

    Except when you need a zoom. But, I often find I need it in a situation it wouldn't perform well in anyway (indoor, low light - like a concert or sports event).

    On my film camera I'm really enjoying my Zuiko 85mm f2 - I find it really useful in all sorts of situations. Closest equivalent on m43 would be my Pen F Zuiko 40mm which is wonderful for portraits.

    So I'm looking forward to the new Oly 45mm f1.8. Hopefully its reasonably priced when it surfaces in NZ (or available as a bundle with the new bodies).
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Pen F

    Pen F Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2011
    My second favorite camera is a Yashica Electro GX rangefinder with 40mm 1.7 lens. So I feel very comfortable with the 20mm panny.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    For :43:, wouldn't it be 76mm (38 X 2)?

    I started off shooting with a 55mm f1.4 Ricoh so I prefer the longer end of normal. I had the old standby kit of 35, 55, and 135mm and to this day I still prefer that range.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Depends how you look at it. I've had the opportunity to use the classic Pentax FA Ltd 43/f1.9 and this was the most 'neutral' lens I've used - in the sense that there was nil magnification when you raised the camera to your eye.

    However, I'm a sucker for the classic 35mm - I love the way it allows you to define a subject but still give periferal context (much like the way we see). I used an SMC M35/f2 extensively on my Pentax LX and MX film cameras, enjoyed the perspective of the m.ZD 17/f2.8 on my girlfriend's EP1 (even if I didn't particularly like the lens...) and am loving the lens on the X100.

    One thing I particularly enjoy is portraiture with a fast 35mm. For instance, I had the opportunity to use a friends A900 and Sony G 35/f1.4 and I loved the ability to place my subject in its context, and still be able to separate it from its background. This remains probably my only complaint about the MFT format and is the reason I will, at some point, get a 35mm body/lens combo.

    Here's some examples of the SMC 35/f2 on my MX and LX.

    Subject - Context ;) 



    • Like Like x 2
  12. On m4/3 yes, but on the half-frame (film) Pen F the crop factor is only about 1.4.
  13. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Right, but he said the lens is for a pen f, but shot on an E-PL1. So, comparing it to the FOV on the 35mm Olympus SP, it has the same FOV as a 76mm.
  14. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA

    The Pen F series is half frame 35mm, but oddly enough the crop factor is about 1.5 or so rather than 2x.

    I love the classic range of lenses for your Ricoh, very much like the standRd range of Leica RF shooters.
  15. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    Normal is the one FL or lens that I would choose if I could have only one. In the old days it was the Pentax M50/F1.7 on a MX 35mm film camera. When I moved to a Nikon D70, I got a 50/F1.4 but was too long for indoors with the 1.5 crop. When I moved back to Pentax (K20d), the DA35/F2.8 Macro was the one. And with M43 it's the Panasonic 20/F1.7 for sure. For now.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    But, original format does not change the focal length. A 38mm lens has a 38mm focal length on any system. So, when you are talking about "equivalent FOV" all that matters is the shooting format and standard format that you are comparing against. Here, the standard is 35mm (his SP rangefinder) and the shooting format is :43: (his E-PL1), so the appropriate crop factor is 2x.
  17. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    You are clearly more technically aware than I; I didn't know pen f lenses were 1.5 crop until I read somewhere elese. Regardless, 38mm still translates into a short tele Fov, which is why I can't treat it as a "normal". Razor-sharp, though.
  18. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    Part of the problem with the confusion over who meant/said what may be from me misreading the original post. The 38mm Pen F lens on a Pen F would be about the same as a 55mm on a 35mm (my fave). I think this is what penfan2010 intended and I misread it. So, on a Pen F the 38mm would be a long normal and on a digital Pen it would be a very long normal or barely telephoto.

    In my mind, you don't really get to tele range until you get past 80mm (35mm equiv.). I guess that is what I learned way back, and looking through some of my old books and manuals, most lenses weren't called teles until the went over 80mm. I guess it stuck. :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  19. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    50mm/25mm :43:
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    I haven't decided on "normal" for m4/3 yet. I'll need to shoot more with the kit zoom and see where the keepers fall out. Given my liking for 50 equivalent, the "Digilux" (25/1.4) is looking mighty tempting but the 20/1.7 might get the vote for price and size and that little extra width.
    • Like Like x 1
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