Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

Started Mar 11, 2014 | Questions
PC Wheeler
PC Wheeler Forum Pro • Posts: 17,435
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

paul cool wrote:

The 14-140 mm for ease of use ,sharp enough at all focal lengths ,and a good range ,if you could only own one lens in the m43 this would be the one ,or maybe the Nocticron but that lens is really all about luxury exotic glass,.i actually don't own either but own the two panasonic 12-35 -35-100mm f2.8 lenses and there pretty good and weather sealed ,if you need it .

Good lenses. I have both f/2.8 in use with my GH3, and also the 14-140 II -- and that's the one that's on the GH3 most of the time.

-- hide signature --

Phil

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OP scottyd5 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

e1rond wrote:

Are you planning on hand holding, or have some kind of stabilization rig? If you're hand holding, and video is a big focus, you probably want to concentrate on lenses that have image stabilization. Unfortunately that rules out all Olympus lenses, and the Panasonic primes that are 25mm or wider. I'd echo some of the other comments that the panasonic 12-35 2.8 and 35-100 2.8 are probably the best fit for your needs, but the cost is out of your budget.

It would probably be a mix of both. I could be up on stage hand held or I could be back near the mix position. My work does have tripods so I could use that if I'm not hand held.

I might be open to pushing my lens budget. Again I'm just starting out shooting on a camera like this and there's a ton of stuff I need to learn. I just need something to get me started so if it's a $1k lens that will work as an all around lens then that might be an option. I'll learn on that, read more about lenses and see what I want to pick up next.

xerophytenyc Regular Member • Posts: 428
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

Also keep in mind that if shooting 4k, there is an additional 1.2x crop factor since it will be a direct sensor readout at that resolution. For example, 28mm FF equivalent becomes almost 34...this may impact your decision especially for WA.

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OP scottyd5 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

PC Wheeler wrote:

paul cool wrote:

The 14-140 mm for ease of use ,sharp enough at all focal lengths ,and a good range ,if you could only own one lens in the m43 this would be the one ,or maybe the Nocticron but that lens is really all about luxury exotic glass,.i actually don't own either but own the two panasonic 12-35 -35-100mm f2.8 lenses and there pretty good and weather sealed ,if you need it .

Good lenses. I have both f/2.8 in use with my GH3, and also the 14-140 II -- and that's the one that's on the GH3 most of the time.

-- hide signature --

Phil

So the 14-140mm 3.5-5.6 is sorta an all around lens? What do you usually shoot?

Paulmorgan Veteran Member • Posts: 6,750
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

honeyiscool wrote:

Paulmorgan wrote:
I think you will be better off looking at the Panasonic G6 or Olympus EM10 leaving you with enough change to add one decent zoom and a prime or two to get you started.

While overall good advice, not sure that's a possibility, considering OP seems to want to use the camera for use w/ big screen, meaning clean HDMI out is probably important. Does G6 offer that?

While overall good advice, not sure that's a possibility, considering OP seems to want to use the camera for use w/ big screen, meaning clean HDMI out is probably important. Does G6 offer that?

Have you seen the quality of these big screens ? there designed to be viewed at some distance, up close they look horrible.

Paying more for increased video resolution is not going to make much of an improvement, a G6 or EM10 will do fine, and if a lot of this is going to be hand held shooting then the EM5 or EP5 will be even better thanks to the 5 axis ibis that would work with any lens.

Len_Gee
Len_Gee Veteran Member • Posts: 9,686
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4
2

scottyd5 wrote:

Posted this in the Beginners Questions forum, but would also like some opinions from you guys.
--

I mainly shoot concerts and other live events for IMAG (image magnification) where it's displayed on video boards. I would also be using it to record various events in a "run n gun" atmosphere. Most of the gear I have experience shooting on is pro-sumer type video cameras such as Panasonic AG-HMC80 with fixed lenses. I want to learn about lenses and such so I thought getting a DSLR/M would help me do this and also give me a chance to produce better quality footage.

I've been reading about the Panasonic GH4 and I'm really impressed with it. I went ahead and pre-ordered it, but now I need to decide on lenses. I'm guessing 2 lenses would be a good start. 1 being a close, mid range lens and another being a telephoto. Budget wise I don't want to spend more than a few hundred on each. I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions? Thanks!

Congrats on acquiring the new GH4. From pre-reviews on the web, GH4 appears to be a fabulous camera for those who want the very best 4K video capability and also to take nice stills. It should be awesome for your concert work.

Unfortunately, IMHO, with a top end pro quality camera such as the GH4, to get the best out of it, you should consider top pro quality glass. In otherwords, the GH4 is only a fancy box to hang your lenses on. Cameras always get updated with new models, depreciate, but good glass will serve you well into the future. But that's just my opinion.

Perhaps, your credit card will allow you to obtain the 2 Panny Pro Quality lenses to start your journey in MFT?

  • 12-35 f/2.8
  • 35-100 f/2.8

Post some video and/or pics here once you decide on lenses for GH4.

Enjoy new camera and lenses whatever you decide on.

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pdelux Contributing Member • Posts: 696
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

I agrees with the above poster.

If you are into Video - then you need to get video lenses. The Voigtlander 17.5 F0.95 is a great lense. Its manual Focus (no problem for video), you will have focus peaking. and its F0.95 and creamy bokeh give it a very cinematic look. Then there are the other Voigtlander lenses 25, 42 which are also F0.95.

There are also the SLR magic lenses at T0.95  which have had good reviews. These lenses are not cheap, average 1000 dollars each but they are also great for still sif you dont mind manual focus.

If you want autofocus there are plenty of great lenses out there! Olympus 25mm has been getting good reviews and looks like a great normal lense, as is the Panalieca 25 before it.

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OP scottyd5 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

Len_Gee wrote:

Congrats on acquiring the new GH4. From pre-reviews on the web, GH4 appears to be a fabulous camera for those who want the very best 4K video capability and also to take nice stills. It should be awesome for your concert work.

Unfortunately, IMHO, with a top end pro quality camera such as the GH4, to get the best out of it, you should consider top pro quality glass. In otherwords, the GH4 is only a fancy box to hang your lenses on. Cameras always get updated with new models, depreciate, but good glass will serve you well into the future. But that's just my opinion.

Perhaps, your credit card will allow you to obtain the 2 Panny Pro Quality lenses to start your journey in MFT?

  • 12-35 f/2.8
  • 35-100 f/2.8

Post some video and/or pics here once you decide on lenses for GH4.

Enjoy new camera and lenses whatever you decide on.

Thanks for your post. It's becoming more obvious I need to spend more on glass so I'm thinking I'll invest in 1 high quality lens for now and hopefully buy more in the future.

DonTom Contributing Member • Posts: 535
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

scottyd5 wrote:

Posted this in the Beginners Questions forum, but would also like some opinions from you guys.
--

I mainly shoot concerts and other live events for IMAG (image magnification) where it's displayed on video boards. I would also be using it to record various events in a "run n gun" atmosphere. Most of the gear I have experience shooting on is pro-sumer type video cameras such as Panasonic AG-HMC80 with fixed lenses. I want to learn about lenses and such so I thought getting a DSLR/M would help me do this and also give me a chance to produce better quality footage.

I've been reading about the Panasonic GH4 and I'm really impressed with it. I went ahead and pre-ordered it, but now I need to decide on lenses. I'm guessing 2 lenses would be a good start. 1 being a close, mid range lens and another being a telephoto. Budget wise I don't want to spend more than a few hundred on each. I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions? Thanks!

Hi Scotty,

You've received lots of good info here, but I think you may be better served over at EOSHD, that is where the video gurus hang out...

My 2 cents anyway, and I feel you may be overbuying on the camera, underbuying on the lens:

(1) How do you manage the live feeds to the video boards, and what resolution is required? That should be your starting point, and make sure everything you are looking at matches. It may be that any m43 body with HDMI out will serve you just as well. Certainly the GH4 will be the most "future proof" body at the moment.

(2) Your budget (about $400?) for lenses is very low. I guess it means you are thinking $2000 all up. For that money, the Panny 14-140 HD used is probably the best option in a native, AF lens. BIG drawback is that it is not really a low light lens. If you buy old legacy manual focus lenses, you lose AF, and other issues such as flare and resolution need to be thought about.

(3)Tele-Conversion:  Do you need continuous footage? Or is there a mixer choosing video from several different videographers? If you can break up your footage, the video teleconverter would work really well with legacy manual focus lenses, which are quite cheap, or a single native m43 lens (like the Olympus 12/2.0). This gives you up to a 2.4x magnification, while keeping full HD (1080) or 3.6x in 720. There are a few things to be aware of with this. The big positive is no real loss of resolution or aperture, because the camera is reading a progressively smaller section of the sensor. On the negative ? You have to stop filming to activate the conversion, and the GH4 is really no better for this feature than the GH2 or 3, because there is no crop factor available in 4K, which uses most of the sensor.

What would I do in your situation? Talk to my peers, those doing similar work.

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OP scottyd5 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

DonTom wrote:

You've received lots of good info here, but I think you may be better served over at EOSHD, that is where the video gurus hang out...

My 2 cents anyway, and I feel you may be overbuying on the camera, underbuying on the lens:

(1) How do you manage the live feeds to the video boards, and what resolution is required? That should be your starting point, and make sure everything you are looking at matches. It may be that any m43 body with HDMI out will serve you just as well. Certainly the GH4 will be the most "future proof" body at the moment.

(2) Your budget (about $400?) for lenses is very low. I guess it means you are thinking $2000 all up. For that money, the Panny 14-140 HD used is probably the best option in a native, AF lens. BIG drawback is that it is not really a low light lens. If you buy old legacy manual focus lenses, you lose AF, and other issues such as flare and resolution need to be thought about.

(3)Tele-Conversion: Do you need continuous footage? Or is there a mixer choosing video from several different videographers? If you can break up your footage, the video teleconverter would work really well with legacy manual focus lenses, which are quite cheap, or a single native m43 lens (like the Olympus 12/2.0). This gives you up to a 2.4x magnification, while keeping full HD (1080) or 3.6x in 720. There are a few things to be aware of with this. The big positive is no real loss of resolution or aperture, because the camera is reading a progressively smaller section of the sensor. On the negative ? You have to stop filming to activate the conversion, and the GH4 is really no better for this feature than the GH2 or 3, because there is no crop factor available in 4K, which uses most of the sensor.

What would I do in your situation? Talk to my peers, those doing similar work.

I'll check out EOSHD. Thanks.

1. Feeds to the board go to a switcher. We have HDMI to SDI converters. Since the SDI add on for the GH4 is very pricey it might be something I would look into down the line or possibly rent. The Panasonic AG-HMC80 cameras we use are usually shooting at 720p @ 60.

2. I would like to stay around $2000, but if I'm going to invest in 1 really nice lens to start I might consider going over budget. Not sure if light will be a huge issue since the stage is usually well lit. Other uses for the camera are recorded interviews and run and gun shooting.

3. Mixer is choosing from 3 other cameras. In the concert scenario I most likely wouldn't even be iso recording. Mixer would just take my feed. There's also the possibility I could be on stage shooting with a wireless HDMI transmitter back to the mixer.

Reason for picking the GH4 was mainly because it seems like it really caters to video. Especially with the SDI add on. Even if I don't get it right off the bat I like having the option for the future. The 4k  is nice, but for live stuff I wouldn't be using it. I just need a clean feed for live events. If I'm shooting interviews or b-roll then I might use 4k.

Fredrik Glckner Veteran Member • Posts: 3,641
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

For run-and-gun use where you are able to get fairly close to the action, I think the 12-35mm f/2.8 lens is ideal. It is a fantastic lens, probably the best I have used:

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2013/01/lumix-x-12-35mm-f28-review.html

The 12-35mm lens is also going to be good for the 4k mode of the GH4. The GH4 will crop a bit in 4k mode, hence, the 12mm end will be useful for you to have.

If you cannot always get close, the 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 is the best in terms of flexibility. This is also a very good lens:

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2013/08/lumix-g-hd-14-140mm-f35-56-review.html

Both lenses fit the GH3/GH4 ergonomics very well.

OP scottyd5 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

Fredrik Glckner wrote:

For run-and-gun use where you are able to get fairly close to the action, I think the 12-35mm f/2.8 lens is ideal. It is a fantastic lens, probably the best I have used:

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2013/01/lumix-x-12-35mm-f28-review.html

The 12-35mm lens is also going to be good for the 4k mode of the GH4. The GH4 will crop a bit in 4k mode, hence, the 12mm end will be useful for you to have.

If you cannot always get close, the 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 is the best in terms of flexibility. This is also a very good lens:

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2013/08/lumix-g-hd-14-140mm-f35-56-review.html

Both lenses fit the GH3/GH4 ergonomics very well.

I like flexibility. 14-140mm seems to be a popular recommendation.

jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,028
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

scottyd5 wrote:

Reason for picking the GH4 was mainly because it seems like it really caters to video. Especially with the SDI add on. Even if I don't get it right off the bat I like having the option for the future. The 4k is nice, but for live stuff I wouldn't be using it. I just need a clean feed for live events. If I'm shooting interviews or b-roll then I might use 4k.

Since you may not be shooting 4K video, have you considered getting a GH3? It's quite a bit cheaper, which would allow you to get at least one good lens.

Without good lenses, what's the point? Seriously.

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RickPick
RickPick Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

The GH2, GH3 and GH4 (to be) all have HDMI output in live view. The G6, GX7 etc do not - they have HDMI restricted to playback mode only.

GH2 and GH3 are both cheaper alternatives for you and of the two the GH3 is the better choice for many reasons. The price of the GH3 is likely to drop further I would imagine with the release of the GH4. But I quite understand you wanting to get the latest and greatest as it does look good for the money!

For concerts I use the f2.8 12-35 and 35-100 as the staple lenses (on two cameras), often wide open and at ISO 1600. I do not like to go above that with these cameras. I use manual mode  in order to keep shutter speed constant at roughly 1/(2 x frame rate) and also to have control of aperture since lighting is liable to change rapidly at these events. I sometimes use the 20mm f1.7 and Oly 45mm f.18 for video and stills.

Good luck with your choice.

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Ido S
Ido S Senior Member • Posts: 4,923
Depends on the lighting conditions

I'm sure it was already put up here, but I don't tend to read through all the comments of every post I reply to, and this one is no exception...

It all depends on the lighting conditions in the venues you shoot at. If it's a dark venue, then you should really look into f/2.8 zooms. The range between f/2.8-4 can also be useful -- especially for video, as you actually shoot at a relatively slow shutter speed -- but it's a stretch, in my opinion, beyond f/3.2. Anything narrower than f/4 will be utterly useless.

If it's a brightly lit venue, then a lens with a relatively narrow variable maximum aperture, like f/3.5-5.6, will usually suffice.

You may not like my recommendation for shooting in a dark venue, but there's really no cheaper option than the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 ($1,275). I assume that for most concerts you'll be using the telephoto much more than the standard zoom, as I know some concert photographers, and they shoot concerts almost exclusively with their 70-200mm f/2.8 behemoths on their huge full-frame DSLR cameras. If that's the case, then you can probably make do with the latest version of the 14-42mm kit lens (II). It's really quite a sharp lens, significantly better than the typical kit lens in the same equivalent range of focal lengths. If you do need to use the standard zoom often, then the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 is your best option. I would usually recommend the newer, cheaper, and equally impressive Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8, but for shooting video on a Panasonic body, the Panasonic lens's optical image stabilization will usually come in handy, unless you shoot on a tripod.

For a well-lit venue, just get the Panasonic 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6. It's quite a fine lens, in fact, and has become pretty much a favorite among video shooters, apart from those who need the f/2.8 zooms...

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OP scottyd5 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

jeffharris wrote:

scottyd5 wrote:

Reason for picking the GH4 was mainly because it seems like it really caters to video. Especially with the SDI add on. Even if I don't get it right off the bat I like having the option for the future. The 4k is nice, but for live stuff I wouldn't be using it. I just need a clean feed for live events. If I'm shooting interviews or b-roll then I might use 4k.

Since you may not be shooting 4K video, have you considered getting a GH3? It's quite a bit cheaper, which would allow you to get at least one good lens.

Without good lenses, what's the point? Seriously.

I've considered it, but the main reason for the GH4 is improved video features such as zebras etc. I also really like having the option for SDI with the additional interface if needed, but at that price I would probably rent it if needed. While 4k isn't a main draw for me the 1080p @ 200 Mbps bit rate is more practical. If it will make any difference, who knows. After reading some comments on here it makes sense to spend more on a lens so that's most likely what I will do.

honeyiscool
honeyiscool Senior Member • Posts: 1,376
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

Paulmorgan wrote:

honeyiscool wrote:

Paulmorgan wrote:
I think you will be better off looking at the Panasonic G6 or Olympus EM10 leaving you with enough change to add one decent zoom and a prime or two to get you started.

While overall good advice, not sure that's a possibility, considering OP seems to want to use the camera for use w/ big screen, meaning clean HDMI out is probably important. Does G6 offer that?

While overall good advice, not sure that's a possibility, considering OP seems to want to use the camera for use w/ big screen, meaning clean HDMI out is probably important. Does G6 offer that?

Have you seen the quality of these big screens ? there designed to be viewed at some distance, up close they look horrible.

Paying more for increased video resolution is not going to make much of an improvement, a G6 or EM10 will do fine, and if a lot of this is going to be hand held shooting then the EM5 or EP5 will be even better thanks to the 5 axis ibis that would work with any lens.

I don't think you understand. Not all cameras can feed an HDMI port cleanly. The HDMI port on a lot of these cameras are used for playback only, or when shooting, might show the shutter speed and all the on-screen cues. That's what I mean by "clean HDMI out."

With all that in mind, though, I think the GH3 would be more than fine and that should open up the budget for better lenses.

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honeyiscool
honeyiscool Senior Member • Posts: 1,376
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

scottyd5 wrote:

jeffharris wrote:

scottyd5 wrote:

Reason for picking the GH4 was mainly because it seems like it really caters to video. Especially with the SDI add on. Even if I don't get it right off the bat I like having the option for the future. The 4k is nice, but for live stuff I wouldn't be using it. I just need a clean feed for live events. If I'm shooting interviews or b-roll then I might use 4k.

Since you may not be shooting 4K video, have you considered getting a GH3? It's quite a bit cheaper, which would allow you to get at least one good lens.

Without good lenses, what's the point? Seriously.

I've considered it, but the main reason for the GH4 is improved video features such as zebras etc. I also really like having the option for SDI with the additional interface if needed, but at that price I would probably rent it if needed. While 4k isn't a main draw for me the 1080p @ 200 Mbps bit rate is more practical. If it will make any difference, who knows. After reading some comments on here it makes sense to spend more on a lens so that's most likely what I will do.

The 50 Mbps codec on the GH3 is more quality than you will likely need and I can't imagine needing a better codec than that for live concerts. I mean, that's basically all I ever use my cameras for, at concerts, although I'm usually at small intimate concerts (video screens? nah).

Just get a GH3 at a decent price, or two. If you need a GH4, sell the GH3 at not much of a loss, or you keep it as a backup for a GH4 (same battery, so that's a plus). I just think it's a little too much to be so ambitious with your first good camera.

Not only that, do you know how unpractical the 200 Mbps codec will be? You'll be burning through super expensive fast memory cards at record rate. The 50 Mbps codec actually gives you a chance of getting through a gig on a single 64GB card, and you can actually afford these cards. So don't bite off more than you can chew.

I think GH4 is useful for those who need it, but the GH3 is a hell of a camera. Especially for event shooting, I'm not sure the GH4 improves much. The only thing it really improves (IMO) is video AF, but GH3 already has excellent video AF.

And of course, when the GH4 is out, I would want to upgrade from the GH3, but that's because of stills improvements more than anything else.

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OP scottyd5 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

Does the GH3 or GH4 have the ability to use an external zoom/focus/iris controller?

ntsan Contributing Member • Posts: 803
Re: Lens Suggestions for Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

GH4 can use wifi for remote shooting, even include focus peaking to your phone/tablet

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