Panasonic 14-140 or fast primes for video on GH2?

Started May 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
Keith Lommel Contributing Member • Posts: 695
Re: Panasonic 14-140 or fast primes for video on GH2?

I own a 14-140 and a bunch of primes, and if I had to chose one or the other, I'd vote for the primes.

I find the 14-140 is really only useful outdoors in good light. Indoors or in the evening, it's just too slow to be useful in my opinion. Yes, the zoom is more convenient than changing lenses, but don't mislead yourself into thinking you'll be able to change focal lengths in the middle of an event and keep the footage rolling. With a manual (as opposed to motorized) zoom, the the focal length change is going to look almost as bad as taking the lens off and swapping a new one while rolling footage. I wouldn't want either in a final edited project, so you're going to miss moments when changing focal length either way.

And I really don't understand the fascination with OIS for video. To my eyes, it doesn't look natural. It was designed for taking still photos, so it holds things steady within a certain range, but then if you move outside that range, it snaps to a new position and holds that steady... resulting in a queasy floating look punctuated with herky-jerky jumps. Best bet is always a solid tripod, but if you don't have that, then I find a shoulder support or even just bracing the camera with both hands close to the chest to give me far better results. The latter technique with a wide-angle prime (like 12/2 or 14/2.5) works perfectly fine. The 9-18 should be even more hand-holdable at the wide end.

In my mind, the 14-140 turns the GH2 into the equivalent of a small sensor camcorder... flexible zoom range and seamless auto-exposure/auto-focus, but no real shallow DOF, and less than stellar low-light performance (because you have to crank ISO up in anything but bright sunlight). For more serious work that will show off what the GH2 is capable of, you'll always do better with manual focus and prime lenses -- even without the OIS.

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