Renting zooms

I've been thinking about my lens lineup, trying to decide where to go next with my travel kit. To give me a feel for one possibility, I rented a couple lenses each with a constant f/2.8 aperture.

The two lenses complement each other, one being 12-35mm (24-70mm full frame equivalent), the other 35-100mm (70-200mm equivalent). I'm pretty familiar with the latter range, but not so much with the former. After picking up the lenses, I made the short walk to Seattle Center and started shooting. I also had my 7-14mm (14-28mm equivalent) with me, since I would probably also take it when traveling.

I did most of my photo walk in the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. It gave me a good chance to take advantage of the speed of the lenses. For the outdoor shots, the weather was fantastic, so I didn't have to worry about shooting in the rain.

12–35mm f/2.8

There are several lenses in the same approximate range as the Panasonic 12-35mm, but not only did I eventually decide this was the lens I wanted to try, it was the only one of them that Glazer's had.

The lens was a good size for my camera (Panasonic GX7) and seemed only a bit larger in diameter than the kit lens with my previous camera (58mm filter size vs. 52mm).

I found the range of this lens to be very fun, especially since it goes to 12mm instead of the more normal 14mm.

Another thing I explicitly tried to do was get a shot with a sunstar in it. I was pleased with the results.

 Float Boat, 30mm, f/2.8, 1/60, ISO 2000

Float Boat, 30mm, f/2.8, 1/60, ISO 2000

 Mille Fiori, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/80, ISO 800

Mille Fiori, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/80, ISO 800

 Glasshouse, 12mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO 200

Glasshouse, 12mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO 200

 Garden, 12mm, f/7.1, 1/640, ISO 200

Garden, 12mm, f/7.1, 1/640, ISO 200

 Olympic iliad, 26mm, f/22, 1/60, ISO 1000

Olympic iliad, 26mm, f/22, 1/60, ISO 1000

35–100mm f/2.8

When I started out, I was enjoying the 12-35mm so much I was wondering how much I would actually try the 35-100mm. Ends up I didn't need to worry, since the way things were set up in the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit allowed me to do a lot of playing with having a subject in focus with a very blurred background. All of my shots were handheld and the combination of lens speed and image stabilization, along with my camera staying pretty clean through ISO 3200, made it so the shutter speed didn't go very low (no slower than 1/200 in the shots below).

The lens is a little longer than the 12-35mm, and has a very deep hood.

I was curious about the shape of out-of-focus elements, and not too surprisingly, they end up becoming more oval as you move away from the center of the lens.

 Northwest Room, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/200, ISO 3200

Northwest Room, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/200, ISO 3200

 Chandelier Room, 100mm, f/2.8, 1/200, ISO 1000

Chandelier Room, 100mm, f/2.8, 1/200, ISO 1000

 Glasshouse, 54mm, f/4.5, 1/500, ISO 200

Glasshouse, 54mm, f/4.5, 1/500, ISO 200

 Garden, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/320, ISO 200

Garden, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/320, ISO 200

 Bamboo Forest and Experience Music Project, 100mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 200

Bamboo Forest and Experience Music Project, 100mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 200

Results

I was very happy with the lenses. They were both fun to use, fairly small (especially considering their full frame equivalents), and had great color and sharpness. I did do quite a bit of lens swapping, but I think using a superzoom (such as the Panasonic 14-140mm f/3.5) would ultimately be less satisfying, since in addition to the the ultra-wide, I'd probably want to carry a prime or two for lower light situations.

The other question is whether 200mm equivalent would be long enough, since right now I carry a 400mm equivalent. Fortunately, I could always come close by cropping (my current camera has enough resolution to spare), even though the perspective and depth of field would be different.

Decisions, decisions.