Lenses abound
Lots of lenses

My name is Chad, and I have a problem. I've become addicted to lenses. OK, perhaps addiction is a bit strong of a word, but it's definitely a fun hobby.

A couple years ago, I stepped up from point and shoot cameras to my first interchangeable lens camera. Rather than get a DSLR, I got a Panasonic G1, the first Micro Four Thirds camera. Micro Four Thirds cameras are have no mirror like an SLR, and instead have the sensor directly behind the lens. This means that they can produce SLR quality images (due to larger sensors and nice lenses) while also offering many of the features of point and shoot cameras (real live view, face detection, etc.) in a package smaller than any DSLR. I've since upgraded to a Panasonic GH1, which adds some of the best video around.

It didn't take long after getting the camera that I started to add lenses to add different functionality. One of the really cool things about the Micro Four Thirds format is that it can accept almost any lens ever made due to its short flange-focal distance. So, while I have 3 Panasonic lenses that are great and have all the bells and whistles, I've also started getting some legacy manual lenses to offer different capabilities. These have no electronics to them, meaning you have to manually set the aperture and focus them, but they can be really fun to use.

So, what have I got now? From left to right above:

  1. Olympus WCON-08B 0.8x wide angle conversion lens - fits on the 14-140 to make it more like 11mm at the wide end
  2. Panasonic 20mm F1.7 prime lens (Micro Four Thirds) - incredibly sharp and very fast, used more than any other lens here
  3. Canon 50mm F1.4 prime lens (Canon FDn) - very fast portrait lens for under $50 used
  4. Panasonic 14-140mm F4.0-F5.8 super zoom lens (Micro Four Thirds) - not very fast, but quite sharp, lots of reach, and almost silent autofocus (which is nice for video)
  5. Vivitar 135mm F2.8 prime lens (Canon FD) - a bit faster lens at this length, and cost a whole $8
  6. Panasonic 45-200mm F4.0-F5.6 telephoto zoom lens (Micro Four Thirds) - more reach and faster at a given focal length than the 14-140
  7. Vivitar 200mm F3.5 prime lens (Canon FD) - faster at 200mm than the Panasonic, and cost a whole $9
  8. Canon 300mm F5.6 telephoto prime lens (Canon FDn) - lots of reach, at 600mm 35mm equivalent (due to the 2X crop factor) for a cost of only $27

Do I need all these lenses? No, but it's a fun hobby. Now that I've started to get into the legacy prime lenses, it's not even very expensive. It's certainly become a great way to learn more about photography, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's got a photographic itch to scratch.