The Wrong Lens in the Right Place

Today’s Post by Mark Toal

I love it when a Mirrorless Photo Tips reader or a customer I meet through Panasonic asks a question that causes me to see things in a new way.

A customer recently contacted me with problems focusing his new Leica 100-400mm lens on a Panasonic GX8. I suspected that it was just a matter of learning how to focus and hold such a long telephoto lens. The wide-angle lenses that I normally shoot with are forgiving about not getting perfect focus or using too low a shutter speed. The depth-of-field will usually cover any careless focusing and image stabilization while keep me steady at low shutter speeds.

When you get to telephoto lenses there is not as much room for error. Image stabilization can sometimes have a harder time overcoming the natural movement that comes when handholding a long lens. Focus must also be much more exact since depth-of-field can be very shallow.

Since I haven’t used the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH lens very much and it was raining out I decided to take it to a car museum in Tacoma, WA. I wouldn’t normally take a long telephoto lens to a car museum so I didn’t expect to get any good photos. My goal was to just see if I could handhold the lens and get sharp images. I discovered through the telephoto lens a new way of looking at the cars that I’ve seen a hundred times before.