Does having a favorite focal length make me too much of a photo geek?

Probably so, but I certainly have a thing for the 35mm focal length.  Usually described as a wide normal, I find it to be perfect for my style of shooting.  Even for casual family snapshots, I’ve been using a 35mm prime (manual focus, no less) on my digital camera for almost all of my photographs of my fast-moving daughter (who incidentally turned 4 today).  Mind you, one of the reasons I do that is for the challenge and because the lens is spectacular, but I really do ‘see’ in that focal length for that sort of photography (see much of it at blog.jimnickelson.com).  The lens I use on my Nikon digital camera is a Zeiss ZF 35mm f2.0 – reasonably compact and fast, made of actual metal, and beautiful results.

Why do I bring this up now?  Well, 35mm focal lengths have been in the news of late.  Many of the current rash of photographic announcements this week for the upcoming international photo show seem to involve 35mm lenses.  Nikon announced their high-end 35mm f1.4 autofocus lens.  Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer is a longtime proponent of this focal length and he writes a bit about this lens here.

Nikon likely announced this lens in response to the new Zeiss 35mm f1.4 lens that is coming out for Nikon and Canon.  As awesome as the Nikon looks, this is the one I’ll likely be saving my pennies for….if it is as good as the f2.0, I will continue to lust after it.  Lloyd Chambers has one for test right now (and he is a reviewer, one of the few, that I would trust with this sort of lens) and he is ecstatic about it.  See here and here just to start.  Oh my.

Even the compact digital camera segment is getting in on the 35mm focal length.  Perhaps the most interesting camera announcement of late is the Fuji X100 fixed lens compact with, you guessed it, a 35mm equivalent lens.  And this is a surprisingly good looking camera to boot:

And, finally, just in case this isn’t enough about this focal length, here is a comparison of a wide range of 35mm (and some 40mm) lenses from Mike Johnston…

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