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Thursday, 25 January 2018


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This is almost exactly where I am with mirrorless. My newly acquired Eos M6 has the 35mm equivalent 22mm pancake attached as a walkaround generalist lens and I have a 15-45 for when I need it.

I like the idea! :-)

I practise a variant, using the bigger OMD when with some pro zooms when photographing purposefully. Else, I carry the Olympus Pen F around in my (office) bag with either one or more small primes.

But you are right - the 12-100 would be more than enough for most considered shooting for me walking in the nature or nabour-parts of Norway (my way of doing shutter therapy), exept maybe for some instanses where I like to use a really wide angel lens.

Yes. Amen. Absolutely.

My most used m43 kit is 14/2.5, 19/2.8, 25/1.8, 45/1.8 and a 14-45. I occasionally also use the 9/8.0 fish-eye and an M-Rokkor 90/4.0

A few years ago I bought a Panasonic GF3 very cheaply on closeout in a kit with a 14-42 zoom and a tiny 14mm prime. The zoom wasn’t quite good enough to do what you’ve described above but the combination of body and prime lens in a package no bigger than a compact camera was a game changer for me. I wouldn’t have said at the time that 28mm-e was my preferred focal length, but that kit was so damn handy that it soon became that way.

It still gets a bit of use; that first-gen micro 4/3 sensor wasn’t the greatest ever but it’s still the only camera I own (bar my iPhone) where I don’t need to take a bag, which of course means I take it many places where I previously wouldn’t have bothered.

When I know I'm going to be indoors I take the Olympic 9-18 (slow, but fine for non-moving subjects) and the PanaLeica 15 f1.7.

As you say, the zoom for considered shots, the 15mm for anything and everything.

I already do something like this.

The Pentax K3 usually has a 16-50mm f/2.8 fitted. My old K20d leaves the house fitted with a manual focus 24mm f/2.8 Tamron lens; it's the manual focus camera, with a Katzeye split image rangefinder screen and a Pentax Magnifying Eyecup.

Part of the reason I went to Pentax was the wide end of that zoom. Other companies made fast standard zooms with 17mm or maybe even 18mm wide ends. It's only a millimetre or two, but it made all the difference to me.

I was a bit of a wide angle merchant at the time, but I've moved away from that now so the 24 is just the job.

A few more millimetres on the long end of the zoom would be better; a 16-60 f/2.8 of the same size would suit me very well. I don't often need anything longer than that.

I have to admit that I usually take a 50mm f/1.4 out with the K20d and 24mm. I nearly always take the camera in a bag, and the 50mm makes no noticeable difference to the weight and takes up little room.

I nearly forgot! Years ago my brother bought a Minolta X700 and one of the early superzooms; something like a 28-210mm f/3.5-5.6.

I found a used 50mm f/1.7 for just a few quid and gave to him for Christmas. At least two stops faster than the zoom, and small and light.

>>no one else likes this idea but me.

I beg your pardon, but not only do I like this idea, I have been using it for several years now. It's quite possible it was my idea before it was "yours." That means there are at least two of us. Four or five others would be stretching it, though.

[Well, I've been writing about it since the Zeiss Contax Vario-Sonnar 28–85mm ƒ/3.3–4 and Zeiss Contax Tessar 45mm ƒ/2.8. You? --Mike]

I have to concede that Mike's 'perfect two lens kit' just does not work for me, which is a consequence of shooting mostly landscapes. Generally (at least for me) the subject prerequisite is the atmosphere and light, while the photographic/technical prerequisite is getting the framing/composition just so, meaning precise position and focal length are critical. So I always go forth with at least two zooms, generally Canon's 24-70 f:2.8 II which is optical nirvana, and the 70-200 f:2.8 which is very good except for short subject distances. I'm more than willing to deal with the weight in return for the bright viewfinder image.
I will sometimes go forth to take portraits with just one lens, generally Sigma's gorgeous 135 f:1.8, but it's not something you bring along casually, being big and heavy as a brick. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that my 'walk around camera' by default is a cell phone. I found a smaller mirrorless camera 'neither fish nor fowl'; too big to bring along casually, but (lacking an optical viewfinder and too small for my hands) too limiting for what I like to shoot.

I have a small messenger bag with a Nikon D750, 24-85mmVR, and 35mm f/1.8 ED. I was inspired to set this bag up from a previous blog you had on this kind of 2-lens kit strategy. I like it for travel, the bag loaded up is a whopping 6 pounds. The 24-85mm is the largest/heaviest lens I own, and my only zoom. It would be cool if Nikon produced a 40mm pancake, but I'm not holding my breath, and in any case the 35mm is a small, light lens that does the trick and f/1.8 is useful. Inadvertently I think I use this kit the way you described when I travel since I start with the zoom and am of a more deliberate nature. The 35mm comes out later when I'm "happy snapping" and enjoying being in a new place. Just wish I could travel more often!

Don’t say “no one else likes this idea”.
I like it, and I often use it, but in exactly the opposite way you describe.

The 35/1.4 is on the camera by default, as the “deliberate” lens, and the 24-70/2.8 rides along in the bag just in case...

I like this idea. A micro 4/3 cameras and a small lens with a equivalent field of view of 35mm to 50mm as a "do-everything" twould be similar to carrying one of the old fix-lens range finders. Olympus RC or RD comes to mind.

That is fairly popular, but some people still think of a "do-everything" lens as a zoom. Why not the Panasonic 14-42mm PZ or Olympus 14-42mm EZ. These collapsible zooms are small when powered off. Granted there is a trade off in maximum aperture size, but you still get the portability plus a range of focal lengths. I use the Panny lens on a Panasonic GF2 and Olympus E-M10. My only nit-pick with the lens is the switches for zoom and manual focus. The Oly EZ seems a better alternative.

And so you don't think I'm against the prime lens, I carry a Sigma 30mm f2.8 DN as a a "do-everything" for lower light situations.

I like the SL two lens combination, suggested by Gordon Lewis above, for excellent quality, but still baulk at the size and weight of that Zoom.

My preferred combination which I have now used since 2007 when I travel is the Canon 5DII combined with the very useful and not too large 24-105/4 IS L and the CV 40/2. It works well for me.

I neglected to say that the pancake zoom I mentioned would only be an alternative to the prime. I'd still be using the two-lens kit idea. Now if somebody could float me a loan for the 12-100mm...

You know, I think it's a brilliant idea.

I would put the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens and a Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. Lens on my Olympus E-M5 II and be happy as a clam.

Hell, I could even shoot some sports with that rig.

I totally second your idea. I've been using the Fuji 18-135 and the 23 1.4 as my travel kit for three years now, on an X-T1 now X-T2. It's worked well, is simple and reasonably light. I am thinking of replacing the 23mm lens with an X-100, which would give me something unobtrusive and semi-pocketable to use inside as well as a backup camera.

I love the image quality that primes give but when traveling to someplace I might never get back to, getting the shot with slightly less sharpness is more important to me than trying for a more technically perfect shot and missing it.

And, honestly, the lenses you are talking about and that I'm using are still capable of making very good photos. We've reached the point technically where the operator's skill is usually much more important than the last smidgeon of IQ.

As I contemplate switching to the micro four thirds format, these are exactly the two lenses at the top of my list for an affordable kit. Except that given an interest in wildlife I will have to hang on to one decent telephoto. That looks like being my old Sigma 150-500 which weighs about the same as a small car. Special occasions only!

Mine is the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 and the 30mm f/2.8 macro. Both lovely lenses.

I often do a variation of that. Sony e-mount with 18-200 and a prime (28/2 or 30/1.4). That works pretty well, but then I still sometimes miss a longer fast prime. Before that, Sony 16-80 with a 28/2 for when the sun set. But it always varies ... I might opt for 85 & 28 instead of a zoom. Or 70-200 and 35 on my DSLR (no overlap). In short, the perfect two lens kit is perfect sometimes, but not all the time.

I don't know if you are going far enough with this idea. Maybe the real answer it to have two cameras. Zoom lenses, particularly long range lenses seem to work better and are certainly cheaper on smaller format cameras, and prime lenses where you presumably want the lens's "personality" to be more apparent shine through on a larger format camera.
For example, taken to an extreme, get a Sony DSC-RX10 III for all your super zoomy needs (24-600mm 35mm Equivalent) and leaf-shutter 1/2,000 flash sync, plus a lot of other stuff like 4k video and ludicrous speed FPS that I don't care about. It seems to be the spiritual successor to the DSC-R1. There is a really bonkers fast IV version too or I'd probably get the half as expensive one without the 4k video and only 200mm equivalent lens, The flash synch is what attracted my interest.

Then get a bottom of the line A7 for all your at one with the lens zen photography.

Sort of like in the old days* when you could have a 35mm camera for 90% of what you needed, and a Calumet 4x5 and a super angulon for the other stuff.

* when you were scared to death of turning down an editorial job because the client might find another photographer who would put up with them.

For my style of shooting it seems a bit odd, either your are shooting zoom lenses or you are shooting primes. I would rather shoot two camera bodies with one having the zoom lens and the other a prime lens, preferably the prime taking over the weakest focal length of the zoom, (not right in the middle of the zoom lenses range). Changing lenses on a single body and going from a zoom mindset to a prime mindset makes the shooting experience less enjoyable for me but changing cameras seems an easier way to make the switch.

I do this. Olympus 14-150 zoom on my OMD E-M5ii with my iPhone as the second "lens." Carry the Oly when I'm out primarily to photograph. Just take the phone otherwise.

I've done that in my Nikon days, but unfortunately back then the long range zoom I used sucked enough that it soured me on most zooms for years after I finally realized how bad it was. I'm still recovering.

I also do that in certain travel situations, like one meditation retreat a couple of years ago when I brought the Micro Four Thirds (last one I brought the Sony and primes). The doors didn't have locks, and even though of course Buddhists are trustworthy, I always had the camera gear in a pack on my back. When I did this I had the 12-40 Pro and the 45 1.8 for the week. It worked out well. I did some good photography that week, especially with the 45 1.8.

These days, you can get a zoom that is sharp enough -- and especially these better Micro Four Thirds zooms -- that the prime doesn't need to be a sweet spot for sharpness. When I do this trick you mention, the prime lens is more of a bokeh/character lens.

I have that 20 1.7 you have pictured, and in my book you might as well use the good zoom unless you want the camera to get tiny. For my purposes I either want everything sharp -- the zoom is fine -- or I want exquisite bokeh -- which will need a longer fast prime or a vintage lens adapted.

My current go-to is the Olympus 25mm f/1.8, bought after a long period of agonising over MFT primes. The GX8 came with the regular Lumix 12-60mm (slower than the Leica badged version), which is surprisingly competent in good light, especially at the wider end, as long as shallow depth of field isn’t a priority.

I've been wondering for the last couple of weeks if I might actually be able to survive with just these two lenses, so your piece came at just the right time to give me a bit of a boost!

Things I’ve learned recently:

1) The Olympus 25mm f/1.8 gives you a somewhat wider angle of view than the Panasonic 25mm f/1.7, almost definitely due to the Panasonic’s need need for more (automatic) software correction for distortion.

2) Tiny differences in the focal lengths of my main primes seem to have a big effect on the way I feel about them, unlikely though it sounds. I used a Nikon 35mm for a few years on APS-C (52.5 e-mm) and it was just a hair too long, which often made me miserable. Odd but true.

Funny you mention this. I had planned to sell my XPro-1 and get the X100F since, for me, OCOL is usually a better choice. Er ... non-choice. In preparation I was able to sell the Fuji 18/2 to a friend at a mutually agreeable price, leaving me with the Fuji 18-55 OIS.

But It looks like I may not upgrade for quite awhile due to other priorities, so I'm left with the 18-55. It's a very good performer, but I'm not much of a zoom guy. So I am planning on using my OM 28/2.8 as my prime, 42mm equivalent and improve my manual focus skills. The Zuiko is a lens that the XPro sensor really seems to love. Especially the b&w rendering is very pleasing, at least to me.

So your suggestion is timely and yes, the reverse of what most people think.

Great idea. Though I have had the 12-100 nearly glued to my EM-1 for the past year, two years ago while spending two weeks touring the state of Washington, I placed the also versatile 14-140 Panasonic on my EM-1 and brought a Fuji X100T with its fixed 35mm equiv. lens. Plan A was to use the Fuji for everything I could and Plan B was to use the 14-140 only when I was unhappy with the composition or perspective of the Fuji. The result was that 70% of my images were with the Fuji and its fixed 35mm equivalent lens and the other 30% were with the 14-140 and larger E-M1 body.

When I'm walking around in town with a GX8 I often do the two lens system, but with a variation -- my prime is *outside* the zoom.

I use the very good Lumix G f2.8 12-35 zoom as the main on-camera lens, but carry either the Panasonic G f/1.7 42.5 or the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 or the Voightlander f/0.95 42.5mm in a pocket. I can't explain why I have so many lenses of approximately the same speed and focal length, except that sometimes I suddenly wake up to find myself staring at Amazon with a credit card in my hand. I'm just happy I'm not an automotive enthusiast.

The Voightlander is a weird lens that I don't use much. It's heavy and I kind of don't like it, and it's not especially pocketable, unless you're wearing a jacket. However, the rationale for working with a slightly longer pocketable lens in somewhat restricted lines of vision, like down in a city, is to carry a high-quality flexible mid-range zoom for almost everything, and then one more lens that might give you a bit of reach, and that is also excellent on natural light portraits.

When I'm walking around in town with a GX8 I often do the two lens system, but with a variation -- my prime is *outside* the zoom.

I use the very good Lumix G f2.8 12-35 zoom as the main on-camera lens, but carry either the Panasonic G f/1.7 42.5 or the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 or the Voightlander f/0.95 42.5mm in a pocket. I can't explain why I have so many lenses of approximately the same speed and focal length, except that sometimes I suddenly wake up to find myself staring at Amazon with a credit card in my hand. I'm just happy I'm not an automotive enthusiast.

The Voightlander is a weird lens that I don't use much. It's heavy and I kind of don't like it, and it's not especially pocketable, unless you're wearing a jacket. However, the rationale for working with a slightly longer pocketable lens in somewhat restricted lines of vision, like down in a city, is to carry a high-quality flexible mid-range zoom for almost everything, and then one more lens that might give you a bit of reach, and that is also excellent on natural light portraits.

I have two MFT bodies, a GX7 with a 12-35mm f2.8 and a GX80 with a 17mm f1.8.

If I wasn't bothered about the 12-35mm's f2.8 aperture and close focusing ability I could use the excellent and tiny 14-42mm Mega OIS but I'd miss the 12-35mm's advantages.

Neither of these zooms are particularly long but if I went for a long range zoom I
I'd lose the advantages these lenses give (the aperture and close focusing ability of the 12-35mm and the compactness of the 14-42mm) and they matter more to me than having a longer/wider zoom range.

I don't tend to want to take too many longer shots and I always end up choosing the 12-35mm over the 14-42mm so my do it all lens would be the 12-35mm f2.8.

Some talk about using primes and zooming with your feet but of course this changes the perspective and that's a drawback with primes but the positives include the wider aperture and being more compact.

With a zoom I can alter the perspective by changing position and then use the zoom to frame the shot so the 12-35mm f2.8 is really a long list of f2.8 primes (12mm, 17mm, 25mm, you get the idea...) and that's an advantage but the disadvantages include bulk, weight and the smaller aperture.

So maybe a two lens set up is ideal. A zoom for the flexibility of having a bag full of primes in one lens and a real prime for low light and shallow DoF and for when I want the most compact package but in reality I'd want three lenses as I love close up shots of flowers, leaves and anything else that catches my eye so I'd want a macro too. It doesn't have to be a 1:1 capable macro but would need to focus more closely than any non macro prime or zoom. I suppose if there was a 17mm f1.8 macro I could buy that :D

I also have an A7 but the zooms for that are big and expensive so I only use primes on it.

You described my experience just about perfectly. I started in the Fuji x series with a x-e2 when they were current, and an 18mm f2 to keep it all compact. The 18 has been decent for me, though I agree its optical quality falls behind lenses I bought later: the 16-55 f2.8, the 56 f1.2, and the 16mm f1.4. I also find myself wishing it was just 2mm wider....All the bigger/heavier lenses are ones I'll put on the X-t2 when working with some sustained serious intent. (As an aside, if I had known just how good the 16-55 was, I might have the skipped the 56, and may sell it yet. I so rarely need those extra 2 1/3 stops, but my god, when I do, it's soooo pretty.)

But the little 18 still goes on at least one body when I'm out and about, or even staying in. It's fast enough. It's sharp enough. It's almost wide enough. And it's SMALL enough.

I really like the FOV of a 16mm on APS-c sensors, and the 16 f1.4 is also the best lens I've ever used at this FOV level. But If Fuji ever made a 16mm f2 or even f2.5 / 2.8 that was as small as my 18, I'd sell the f1.4, too. I still have Canon EOS full-frame gear for some uses, but more and more, the Fuji-x's are appealing to my way of working, and my love for more compact tools. I love the traditional control options that Fuji offers in their line, so appealing to an ex-Leica M and Canon Fd 35mm user. I'll say it: the Fuji's seem to have soul. Not perfect souls, mind you, but souls nonetheless. Mine ain't perfect, either.

I think I am with thise that like two bodies
for me

Fuji X100F

Panasonic G80 with Olympus 12-40/2.8 .... I have this lens and cant justify the Panaleica!

The X100F is permanently in a tiny Think Tank 5 on my belt ..... no fear of leaving it anywhere ....
The Panasonic gives a 2.8 24-80 ....and when, in my case rarely needed, great video.

But as I am getting increasingly lazy .... I might just take the X100F with either the 28/2 or 50/2 external lens. Light as a feather ...no bag!

My two lens choice for my Nikon D850 are the Zeiss ZF.2 28mm and 85mm. I'm adding a 21mm and later a 135mm but its a good place to start.

The other time this is a good idea is if you are someplace dusty. When I was in Kathmandu a few years ago the dust was horrible. I wore a face mask much of the time. I mostly kept a zoom on the camera, but I had a fast prime that was really useful for the dawn and sunrise situations.
When I go back to Nepal again I'll be sure to do exactly this, and I think the dustproof/weatherproof Olympus will be the main camera, with one of these great pro zooms on it much of the time. (The Olympus cameras are the only digital cameras I've ever had that never get dust on the sensors. That will be the other reason.)

Much as my lens buying says otherwise, my photography bears out the wisdom of your suggestion.

The vast majority (99%) of my photography is done with two lenses. The go-everywhere lens is a Sigma 30mm f1.4 (which gets me close to my preferred field of view on an APS-C camera, and which helps in low light) and my “considered photography” lens is an old Tokina ATX Pro 28-70mm f2.8.

This is a great idea ... especially as I've been using this approach for the last 2 years ;-)

My current one camera / two lens set-up is the Sony A7Riii, Sony 35/f2.8 and Sony 24-105/f4.

Also, when packed away in my camera bag, the 35mm says on the camera. So if I think I'll take my good camera with me, there's a default lens all set to go.

For outings like camping trips, I take just the Sony RX10 (includes a 24-200f4 zoom). It's a decent general purpose camera, which I'm not precious about it.

My little Sony RX100iii hardly sees the light of day. Before buying any of the bigger cameras mentioned above, I started with the original Sony RX100.

I suspect the one camera / two lens set-up is only viable for hobby photographers like me.

For a few reasons if been moving in that 'one zoom, one prime' direction for a while now. But in my case the zoom, while being a excellent lens; the 14-54 Oly 4/3 is two heavy for me, and I seldom use it. I almost always have the 17mm 1..8 on the camera. I also have a 25mm 1.8 and a Oly 50mm 4/3 macro. These are great lenses and I'm reluctant to sell them since I'd get very little for them. And then when I look at the prices for the 12-100 or the other possibilities, yikes!!
It's tough being retired!

You described exactly how I shoot. I use the Canon 24-70 when I have time to concentrate on photography and I use the 40mm pancake when I'm out with my family.

For me, the biggest advantage of the 40mm is I can shoot one handed with it. As a dad with young children I'm lucky if I can get even one free hand.

A two-lens set up for the Leica M: A 28-35-50mm 4.0 Tri-Elmar-M and a 21mm 1.4 Summilux ASPH. A second two-lens set up could be a 16-18-21mm 4.0 Tri-Elmar-M and a 50mm Summilux or Summicron.

(The 16-18-21 is current in the Leica product catalog; the 28-35-50 is only available in the used market.)

I've been kind of doing this as well with the Fuji 18-55 and 27 pancake. (I admit to also owning a Canon FD 100 f/2.8, which is my favourite of the three, but seldom gets walk-around use.)

The problem is I kind of don't like the 27 at all, not that it doesn't take fine images because it certainly does, but having an aperture ring (albeit electronic, which I quite dislike) on the 18-55 and having to use the camera wheel for aperture on the 27 is really discombobulating.

Actually I don't like the focus-by-wire at all, either.

I might switch to shooting only manual focus lenses ... only issue with that is finding wide-angles.

My do-everything lens is probably going to be the (just acquired) Lumix 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 collapsible, which is even smaller than the 20mm. I would take the 20mm mostly for low-light work.

What mostly works for me:
TCTLF as in two cameras, two lenses forever

Defcon 1-iphone 6 plus (often toted by wife and accessible for my opportunistic shots-"Hey let me have the phone !")
Defcon 2-above plus D200 and 180 f 2.8 for minimalist 70-200 zoom sub since many shots are approx long end of zoom
Defcon 3-above plus Fuji X100F (wife gets to keep iphone and I run the X100F)
Defcon 4-above except swap 70-200 f 2.8 for 180 f 2.8

Defcon level is determined by what anticipated adventures might be "planned" for the day or the excursion. Higher Defcon for higher results and flexibility as well as speed. Good Luck. YMMV

Good lens idea, but changing lenses in the field is a drag on the creative moment and invites the accidental as well as dust invasion. I go with similar two lenses, but generally try to take them on two separate bodies that go well with those lens choices. Always a backup. And throw in a Oly XA for extra measure...

The one brand you CAN´T do that is at Pentax. The old 16-45 has been discontinued, and the 18-55 is the kit lens, whilst the 16-50 does not really deliver on optical performance. You can´t have an upgraded and light carry all zoom for the aps-c.

You can have, though, as many primes as you want [very compact at that, mind you], and zoom with your feet.

Disclamer: Don´t zoom with you feet if on a cliff, please, or other sudden edge change surfaces.

I've done a variation of this, but without the focal length overlap: A fast, wide-ish prime complemented by a decently sharp (non-pro) telephoto. When I had my Fuji XE-1, it was the 35mm 1.4 and the 55-200 OIS.

I moved to an EM5 II for a few reasons (speed, less bulk, stabilization, movie capability). Started with the 25mm 1.8, bought a used 12mm 2.0, and just picked up the comically cheap (but sharp) 40-150 4-5.6 R.

The 12mm and 40-150mm make for a nice lightweight Galen Rowell style backcountry kit to take cycling or hiking.

While a flexible mid-range zoom may be in the cards soon, I don't think I could *replace* the tiny 12mm with either the 12-40 or 12-100 PRO zooms. The speed of the prime is great for astrophotgraphy, and the discreet size makes photographing interiors (and the occasional arms-length self-portrait) much easier.

I do this too with my Fujifilm x-pro 1, 18mm f2 and 16-55mm f2.8 aka 'the brick'. Around 30 mm (equivalent) is where I see, the zoom does the rest.
I bought the zoom to take photos of my Dad before he died, but just couldn't do it. I'd rather stick with the images I have prior to his terminal cancer.

I have two kits:

1. For Oly EM-1 - Oly 12-40/2.8 and Mitakon 25/0.95
2. For Ricoh GXR - Zeiss Biogon 25/2.8 and Pentax SMC A 50/1.2


I do this exactly with a Pentax DA* 16-50 f2.8 and their cheap little DA 50mm f1.8. In my case, it's due almost entirely to my photography budget getting slashed when I got married and had a kid though. I'm quite sure I'd find some other, more satisfying lens lineup if I had the means.

I could see myself using just the kit you propose: The 17 mm Oly, which would on my camera most of the time to take pictures of my kids and shoot the occasional abstract, and the 12-100 for things like travel when I am going to be finding all kinds of subjects to shoot. I can't quite stomach it, though, since it would mean parting with the 45 mm Oly, which is the near-perfect lens for when I'm shooting purposefully. Thus, my actual two-lens kit is usually the 17 mm (or the 25 mm) and the 45 mm. Doesn't cover a lot of the range and requires moving my body (or cropping) for framing, but it's cheap and small and good.

The fancier Olympus zoom lenses (12-40/2.8, 12-100/4, 40-150/2.8) for some reason have a reputation for being "big and heavy". I don't really understand why this is.

An E-M5 style body with the 12-40 on it is maybe half the volume and weight of an APS Nikon with whatever their 24-85 lens is, and with the Nikon you have to put up with F4.5 or worse at the long end. If you want to get an actual 24-80 with the 2.8 aperture you probably have to spring for a full frame Nikon body and a lens that is larger and weighs more than the entire Olympus kit.

The 12-100 is for sure larger than the 12-40, but it's still nowhere near as big as the Nikon/Canon 24-105/4 lenses, but has twice the reach.

Finally, the 40-150 is definitely something you don't carry around a lot, but it's about the size and weight of the full frame 24-70/2.8 that you might have stuck on the Nikon above. The full frame 70-200/2.8 lenses are all 2 or 3 times bigger. Even the F4 lenses are a lot larger. It also has the best built-in hood I've ever used.

Anyway. I like to carry the 12-100 (or 12-40) and also a short telephoto with a wider aperture (the Oly 45 or 75) which I tell myself I'll use for shallow DOF shots. But then I never actually take the 12-100 off the camera.

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