Long-ish Lens Car Photography

by | Jul 26, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I just got back from taking Mary’s 2018 Subaru Crosstrek in to Parker Imports for its 18,000 mile oil change. (Look for a service report soon.) Since I waited for the service I sat outside looking at the cars on their parking lot and sitting there was a worse-for-wear Jaguar XK8, which got me thinking about the XK8 I almost bought (and should have) and about Jaguars in general…

Jag.Mk2Once upon a time, Panasonic loaned me a Lumix G Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2  lens, a focal length that’s obviously aimed at portrait shooters but I decided to use it to photograph cars too. This an 85mm equivalent lens with a 29-degree angle-of-view and is designed for the Micro Four-thirds mirrorless cameras. I mounted it on a Lumix GX85 and used it to photograph Jaguar automobiles at a car show.

Shooting at first under overcast conditions and then later with hard sunlight was a exposure-related challenge and as expected the Nocticron is a bit long of a focal length for this kind of application but I was able to happily create the images shown.

How I Made this Photo: Lumix GX85 and Lumix G Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 with an exposure of 1/1250 sec at f/3.2 with plus one-third exposure compensation to compensate for Olde English White paint.

1424707258000_IMG_469654The DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens design uses with one aspherical element to control chromatic aberration and distortion. The f/1.7 aperture is handy for selective focus and shooting in low-light, something I plan to test in my studio shooting portraits with LED lighting. The 42.5mm Nocticron has a fast AF motor with internal focusing producing smooth, quiet focus. The built-in optical image stabilizer aka Power O.I.S. is also helpful for hand-held, shooting compensating for any camera shake.

etypeThe lens has a 67mm filter thread and a rounded seven-blade diaphragm producing a smooth bokeh when shooting shallow depth-of-field photographs or video.

A well-made metal lens hood is included and like the lens itself, is made with an extremely high build quality befitting German-made optics.

The lens has an all-metal lens barrel and bayonet mount and weighs in at a hefty (by mirrorless camera standards) 14.99 oz. By comparison a Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L weighs 36.16 oz.

How I Made this Photo: Lumix GX85 and Lumix G Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 with an exposure of 1/1600 sec at f/4.0 with plus one-third exposure compensation.

All this wonderfulness is not cheap. Right now, the lens sells for $1,397.99 and to put this price in some kind of perspective, I found at least one Jaguar XJS for sale online at $1400. As the former owner of an XJS I can only add that spending $1400 for any Jaguar is just the beginning of the cost of owning it. The Nocticron 42.5mm lens, on the other hand, should give you years of trouble-free performance.


Ilight.bookf you enjoyed today’s blog post and would like to treat Joe to a cup of Earl Grey tea ($2.50), click here.

Along with photographer Barry Staver, Joe is co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photograph that’s now out-of-print but new copies are available from Amazon for $21.49 with used copies selling for around nine bucks.