Friday, February 14, 2014

Is 40mm (or Equivalent) the Most Natural Field of View?

I have always liked the 40mm field of view on a 35mm camera. It's a nice middle point between 35mm (which I'm learning to love, but initially felt a little too wide) and 50mm (which has always been my standard focal length, but can be a little tight).
I first discovered the 40mm focal length with my Leica CL and Rokkor 40mm f2 lens that was designed for it. A world-class lens, the Rokkor (or otherwise branded 40mm Leica Summicron) is about as good a lens as I could hope for.
I rediscovered the focal length with the Lumix 20mm f1.7 on my Panasonic Micro 4/3 cameras (giving the same field of view as a 40mm on 35mm format). Here's an example shot with the 20mm f1.7:
Perfect Field of View?, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens
iso 100, f8, 1/80 sec.
(Click Here) to read a great post on to see what other people think. Be sure to click on the link to read a related piece by Mike Johnston.
Not being a real wide angle shooter most of the time, I find the Leica CL's standard 40mm and 90mm focal lengths to be an excellent choice for a two prime lens travel kit. If I pick either 35mm or 50mm as my standard lens, I feel that I need to carry three lenses (35, 50, 90). The biggest issue I have with the 40/90 two lens kit is that my CL is the only rangefinder camera I own with 40mm framelines. Of course, the Micro 4/3 format fixes that with the electronic viewfinder (EVF).