1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

What is your FFL (favourite focal length)?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Luckypenguin, May 13, 2011.

  1. With inter-changeable lens cameras and especially zoom lenses we can now shoot an image at virtually any focal length we choose without too much trouble. However, despite all this choice I think that there is a tendency to hover around a particular focal length that you feel the most comfortable with. It's something I've never really thought too much about before but having recently gone through a variety of my photos from the last three years or so I've realised that a lot tend to be in the range of 28-35mm (I'm using full-frame equivalent focal lengths).

    If I had to pick one focal length it would be 32mm. This number doesn't just come from the average of 28 and 35mm, but instead from years of maxxing out my beloved Sigma 10-20mm on Canon DSLRs. 20 x 1.6 (Canon APS-C factor) = 32mm. On my E-P1 the M Zuiko 17/2.8 is a favourite because it provides a similar field-of-view at 17 x 2 = 34mm. Not quite as wide but the difference is not something you would lose too much sleep over. However, Panasonic, Olympus, a nice high-quality non-pancake 16/2 would be greatly appreciated :wink:

    This focal length is just right for me because it is wide enough to take in broader scenes, but not too wide so that you start to lose smaller details. It is also great for those perspective shots that quickly recede away to a vanishing point. The image below is (I think) a good example of 32-ness, taken with a Canon 50D + EF 20mm f2.8.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/5567581130/" title="IMG_2919-PPR2 Canon EOS 50D Brisbane - Street by Lucky.penguin, on Flickr"> View attachment 164585 "426" height="640" alt="IMG_2919-PPR2 Canon EOS 50D Brisbane - Street"></a>

    I get the feeling that the answer to this question might be influenced somewhat by the Panny 20/1.7, however it would still be cool to know what it is about that focal length (as opposed to the lens) that you like. Also, has there been a particular lens that has changed you favoured focal length (again, this may be the 20/1.7)? Please feel free to add an image that you think defines your FFL (favourite focal length). Please also remember to define what format you are relating the focal length to as I am really talking about the angle-of-view that a lens provides. 20mm on m4/3 is specific. 20mm alone is ambiguous.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    45mm. Always has been for 35mm format. For panoramic orientation it's 24mm equiv. When I had my Xpan I was the happiest man alive because the 45mm lens showed the equivalent of a 24mm lens in pano view. It was heaven.

    I'm happy to shoot from 40mm to about 150mm though, most of the time. Out side that range would be less than 5% of my shooting.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Oh this is great Nic....

    Hi Nic,

    Nice... I started reading, then I began going through reams of images looking at EXIF data...

    Great idea... I'll probably drive myself completely nuts trying to determine my favorite focal length.... hope I have time to cut the grass. :rolleyes: 

    Cheers... Alan
    • Like Like x 2
  4. sherlock

    sherlock Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 31, 2011
    35mm. My 35L made it so, and my Panny 20 f1.7 is close (in terms of framing).
    • Like Like x 1
  5. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I'm new to this game, but in general I've found that I prefer the longest lengths I can get my hands on.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Debi, strangely enough when I started taking an interest in photography years ago I would also tend to use longer focal lengths to isolate detail, but over time and after spending over a year away from the camera my preference for wider angles developed. Who knows, maybe I might return full-circle one day.

    P.S. Alan, the grass can wait
  7. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I've got the Panny 20mm, so I'm leaning a different way of looking at things. Still, I find myself often getting close to my subjects with the 20mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    45mm, half-frame sensor (of course).
    Hey that's simply because my favourite m4/3rds lens happens to be 45mm.

    By the way, you need to add a poll to this thread. Didn't we have one of these already?
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Hmm, I'm not sure. I think there may have been a thread relating to choosing one particular lens, but this is not meant to be lens or format specific, just what focal length or more correctly angle-of-view you prefer to shoot at regardless of the camera you are using.
  10. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    I probably use my 50-200 with 1.4x convertor the most often, but for general photography I am loving my 25 mm the best at the moment. Heading out to a concert in Brisbane tonight so will be taking the 25 mm and 50 mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    My choice (or habit?) is close to Gordon's.

    My best loved, and most successful cameras were:
    &bull; Linhof 617 with its 90mm S-A: short standard lens (ca. 45mm equivalent) if cropped 6x7cm, like 24mm in full 3:1 ratio panoramic. I still have it...
    &bull; Hasselblad SWC (Biogon 38mm), special-order 35mm 24x56mm back. Same idea: a sort of 40mm when cropped 24x32, a 24mm in full panorama. Way more comfy than the Linhof for hiking, trekking. Hasselblad wondered why I needed that crazy contraption, but they did it, and kept questioning me about its use. But at a press meeting in Paris a few years later, their PR winked at me and said "now we have a camera we know you can't dislike". And he unveiled the X-Pan...
    &bull; X-Pan, whole 3 lenses set, but using the 45mm most of the time. Would have kept if it had proven a tad more reliable. Ruined a few valuable photo travels.
    &bull; Today: N.3Dx + 24mm PC-E. Often cropped to ca. 2400x6000 px. Great but bulky so when going by foot, MTB or motorbike, it's usually:
    &bull; E-P, 20/1.7, stitches for wider views.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    In film days it was 85mm(Olympus 85/2) or 90mm(Tamron 90/2.5) more often than not shot vertically. Second choice was 24mm. I had to have a wide angle with me.

    Today I find I prefer 40-45mm, so it's the same. I actually use several legacy 50s but they are a touch too long, but the available zooms are often too slow.

    I'm still waiting for a 12mm to replace my 24.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Conrad

    Conrad Mu-43 Veteran

    My ffl's are 14, 45, and 7. When I started with the 14-45 zoom, I quickly found out that I usually only use the two extremes. When I added the 7-14, it turned out to be the same. So I added the PL45 and find myself using the 7-14 plus 45 combo a lot.
    Just like I never really liked the 35 in my Minolta time, I don't feel comfortable now with the 20. I've had it on loan one day, but it's not high on my wish list. The upcoming 25/1.4 is higher.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    35mm. I didn't know anything else was around.
    Just kidding but not really.
    My natural FOV has always been right in that pocket. I see a scene, wait for it to come together, raise the camera and it's right there.
    With other lenses, I have to move around a little and of course that changes perspective.
    At 35mm... It's always right there.

    So this puts the Oly 17, A 24 on the Nex or the X100 right on the money.
    Thanks Nic.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
    20mm (becoming 40mm @ 35), without a doubt. Just opens up enough to allow for both intimacy in close shots and yet include for context. After that, as per street above.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Rob1975

    Rob1975 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 31, 2010

    I'm with streetshooter... 35mm just feels right!
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Camerafrog

    Camerafrog Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    Same here! I never had to adjust to that focal length, it felt right the first time I tried it. I use 40 and 50mm quite a lot too, but that's only because..:

    ...the best lens I own for µ4/3 is 20/1.7.
    ...my 50mm lens for Canon 5D has such lovely rendering.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. travisennis

    travisennis Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2010
    I tend to favor normal lenses. In the past I used 45mm and 50mm lenses when I shot film. On m4/3 I found that the Panasonic 20mm actually felt too wide for my comfort so I tend to use a 28mm lens for most of my shooting. I have also found that a 50mm on m4/3 isn't bad but sometimes feels a bit too long. So given all of this I would say that I'm happiest between 45mm and 85mm in full-frame terms.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    At first, I thought what an odd question!

    It is like asking a painter what his favorite brush is. The answer is, obviously, depends on the canvas size and subject matter.

    But reading through the thread, I can see how someone would get used to a particular length as fitting their style.

    I mostly use zooms nowadays, although I have a fixed 50mm for my DSLR. But I tend not to use it as much as the 18-105 zoom, even though it is a little faster. But like one commenter pointed out, I tend to use the extremes of the zooms ranges, and often wish I could go even shorter or longer to get exactly the perspective I want when shooting landscapes and locals on my vacation trips.

    You can only carry so much gear when traveling light, so the zooms are more practical than a whole bag full of fixed-length lenses, and one learns to adapt to their quirks.

    Here I wanted wider:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Here I wanted longer:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    • Like Like x 1
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.