Long(er) Lens Car Photography

Panasonic recently loaned me a Lumix G Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 Asph Power OIS lens that’s obviously aimed at portrait shooters. It’s an 85mm equivalent lens with a 29-degree angle-of-view and designed for the Micro Four-thirds system of mirrorless digital cameras. I mounted it to a Lumix GX85 and used it at this past weekend’s First Saturday car show to make portraits of cars! The show was sponsored by the Jaguar Club of Southern Colorado and while the club brought out some nice cars, including a knockout Jaguar Mark 2, other marques are also welcome at First Saturday events.


1424707258000_IMG_469654Shooting at first under overcast conditions and then later with hard sunlight was a challenge and as expected the Nocticron is a bit long of a focal length or this kind of application but I was able to create the images shown (and others that I will be using for a “before and after” comparison later.)

It’s an awesome performing lens that uses with one aspherical element to control chromatic aberrations and distortions. The f/1.7 aperture is handy for selective focus and shooting in low-light, something I plan to test for the Mirrorless Photo Tips blog in my studio shooting portraits with LED lighting.The 42.5mm Nocticron has a fast AF motor with internal focusing that produces smooth, quiet, focus. The built-in optical image stabilizer aka Power O.I.S. is also helpful for hand-held, compensating for 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 clips. Panasonic likes to call them “movies,” but Citizen Kane is a movie, Mr. Fluffy the cat paying the piano on YouTube is a video clip.

A well-made, metal lens hood is included and like the lens itself, is built to an extremely high build quality more befitting German-made optics. The lens has an all-metal lens barrel and bayonet mount  and weighs in at a hefty (by mirrorless standards) 14.99 oz. By comparison a Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L weighs 36.16 oz.

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