Common Photo Lenses & When to Use Them

Lonely Planet - USA

Anyone can own a camera and learn how to use it. The truth about taking photographs is that there are rules, but those rules can be broken anytime. This is because it is all about seizing the moment and running with it. One of the most confusing things about photography to the layman is the lens. We see different photographers with different types of lens and we wonder which is which, and which is used where. In this article, we will try and iron that by looking at the common photo lenses and when to use them. This way, the nest time that you’re out photographing, you won’t be too confused. What actually differentiates these different lenses is the focal length, also the zoom length, and it is usually measured in millimeters. 

Common Photo Lenses & When to Use Them

Wide Angle Lens 

These are lenses with a wide viewing angle and shorter focal length, usually 24mm – 35mm. straight lines at times end up looking as if they are curved due to the wide viewing angle, although rectilinear lenses can correct this. 

Standard “Kit” Lens 

These are easy to use lens that usually come with the camera, and their focal lengths range between 35 and 70mm. their viewing angles are the same as the human eyes. 

Telephoto and Superzoom 

Telephoto lenses come with focal lengths that are more than 70mm, and they bring the object that is far away as close to you as possible. Superzooms differ in the fact that they offer wider ranges of focal lengths. 

Macro Lens 

Macro lenses are perfect for close-up photography, bringing out the smallest details on any object. They are mainly used when flowers, insects, and other small objects. 

Prime Lens 

A prime lens comes with a single focal length, making it the opposite of a zoom lens. They can be used in any focal length, bringing out higher quality images because they have fewer moving parts. They also come with faster apertures, producing better quality photos in low light. One thing that you can’t do with a prime lens is zoom. 

Best Lenses for Panasonic G85 / G80 

We are now going to review the features of some of the best lenses that you can use for the Panasonic G85 or G80.this will make it easier for you when you’re looking for the best lenses for the Panasonic G85. 

Best All-in-one’ lenses (Standard Zoom) 

Panasonic LUMIX VARIO 12-35 mm F2.8 ASPH X 

This lens comes with a fixed aperture fixed zoom that is light and fast. It has a nano surface coating, and is dustproof and splash proof. 


·         Very compact design 

·         Excellent image quality 

·         Weather proof design


·         It is pricey

Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 

This lens comes with a wide angle focal length that enables one to shoot almost anything, coming with a 12 – 40 mm lens. It is one of the best lenses for the G85 although it is a little pricey.


·         Highly versatile 

·         Amazing performance in poor lighting conditions 

·         Impeccable build quality


·         Lack of image stabilization 

·         Pricey

Panasonic Lumix 14-140 mm f/3.5-5.6 

This lens is designed for micro four thirds mirrorless cameras, providing a 28-280mm equivalent focal length range. It has an optical image stabilization that makes up for camera shake for sharper handheld shooting. It has image sharpness and clarity, and has multi-coatings that reduce the lens flare and ghosting for increased contrast and color fidelity in harsh lighting conditions.


·         Impressive zoom range 

·         Excellent image quality 

·         Image stabilization


·         Slightly uneven sharpness, higher in center than the corner 

·         No constant aperture

Best Telephoto lenses

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 

·         Premium compact design / easy to carry around – retractable-type telephoto zoom lens, sophisticated metal design 

·         High-speed, high-precision focusing – 240 fps drive capability to take advantage of cameras with high-speed AF 

·         Stable Flaming Even in Telephoto Setting – MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer)


·         Weather sealed body design 

·         Excellent sharpness 

·         Fast autofocus

·         Image stabilization feature


·         High minimum focus distance 

·         Slight reduced sharpness towards the edges

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F/4.0-5.6 OIS 

·         Maximum focal length of 600mm super telephoto zoom (35mm camera equivalent) 

·         7 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm (F4.0[Wide] – F5.6[Tele] to F22) 

·         An ED lens in the first lens group for superb optical performance by suppressing chromatic aberration at entire zoom range 

·         67mm filter size, Multi-coated lens elements minimize ghosts and flare. 

·         Auto-focus


·         Built in auto-focus 

·         Image stabilization feature 

·         Excellent sharpness in center and the edges 

·         Pretty lightweight for a lens providing such wide angle of view


·         Not weather sealed 

·         Focus speed could be faster

Panasonic Lumix 45-200mm f/4-5.6 

·         Micro Four Thirds lens mount system produces professional level images while greatly reducing the overall size compared to traditional DSLR lenses 

·         Macro focus range:1.00 m, focal length: 45-200 mm 

·         Built-in optical image stabilization reduces blurry pictures due to hand movement that is especially useful at longer focal lengths 

·         Maximum f/stop opening of 4.0 (at 45mm wide) to a minimum of f22 with a filter size of only 52mm 

·         16 elements in 13 groups utilizing 7 circular aperture diaphragm blades with a total weight of only 13.4 ounces 

·         Standard accessories include front and rear lens caps, lens hood and lens storage bag


·         Lightweight lens 

·         Pocket friendly price 

·         Very low distortion 

·         Effective optical stabilizing


·         Relatively poor sharpness towards the corners at 200mm

Best Wide Angle Lenses

Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 

·         7-14mm focal length 

·         14-28mm equivalent focal length on Micro Four Thirds cameras 

·         F4.0 constant maximum aperture; F22 minimum 

·         Image stabilization, via camera body where available 

·         0.25m/9.84″ minimum focus 

·         Micro Four Thirds mount for Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens cameras


·         Amazing center sharpness at maximum aperture 

·         Highly impressive optical performance 

·         Compact and well-built design 

·         Low CA levels


·         Not effective for low light shooting

Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro 

·         7-14mm (14-28mm 35mm equivalent) lens with splash and dustproof construction. Angle of view 114° – 75° 

·         Closest focusing distance at just under 7.5cm, Maximum image magnification: 0.12x, focal length: 7-14 mm 

·         Manual focus clutch mechanism and L-Fn button for assignable functions 

·         3 Super ED lens elements, 1ED lens element, and 2 ELD elements to diminish aberrations 

·         60%of the weight of 35mm full frame lens (with same angle of view and max. aperture)


·         Impeccable image quality 

·         Excellent build quality 

·         Weather sealed body


·         Heavier than other lenses in the same range

Best Portrait lenses (Fast Primes)

Panasonic LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm f/1.4 

·         This version is originally intended for sale outside the US and may contain adapters, manuals, and warranties not compatible with US standards. 

·         25mm bright F1.4 – F16 Leica optics 

·         46mm filter size 

·         Nano Surface coating


·         Weather sealed body 

·         Built-in autofocus 

·         Resistance to flare and ghosting


·         Heavy 

Olympus Zuiko ED 45mm f1.8 

·         Fast portrait lens 

·         Minimum focusing distance: 0.20m, Focal Length : 45 mm 

·         Maximum f/1.8 aperture, great for low light shooting, f/1.8 maximum aperture delivers beautiful defocused backgrounds 

·         Quiet Movie-Still-Compatible lens drive for video shooting 

·         Optional LH-40B lens hood for shooting in bright conditions 

·         Optical Image Stabilizer provides up to 4 shutter speed stops of correction. 

·         Ring USM, high-speed CPU, and optimized AF algorithms for fast auto focusing with a minimal focusing distance of 0.20m. 


·         Produces very sharp images 

·         Very low distortion 

·         Compact design 

·         Budget friendly 


·         Lack of O.I.S. 

·         Plastic body 

Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 II 

·         20mm focal length, equivalent to 40mm on a 35mm film camera 

·         Closest focusing distance: 0.2m / 0.66ft, maximum magnification approx. 0.13x / 0.25x (35mm camera equivalent) 

·         F1.7 brightness for beautiful, soft focus, comprised of seven lenses in five groups 

·         Used with Lumix G micro system cameras, allows for use of the advanced contrast auto focus (AF) system 

·         Lens can’t zoom 


·         Excellent image quality 

·         Minimal distortion 

·         Improved design and build as compared to its predecessor 

·         Very light weight 


·         Not fit for video using AF, as it makes noise while focusing 

·         Slow auto focus 

Best Macro Lenses 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro 

·         Weatherproof macro lens withstands harsh conditions 

·         7.4-inch minimum working distance, focal length – 60 mm 

·         1x 35mm equivalent maximum magnification 

·         13 separate lens elements in 10 groups assures faithful reproduction of finest details 

·         Focus limit switch speeds up auto focus, built-in working distance window for subject distance confirmation 


·         Outstanding image quality 

·         Short minimum focus distance 

·         Compact and well-built body 

·         Weather sealed 


·         Does not come with a hood 


Those are some of the best photo lenses that you’ll find on the market. Now that you have an idea of how to differentiate the lenses, it will be easier for you to choose one according to the specifications of your photography expectations.

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