GH1 Prime Lens advice for a Video guy who's a Photograhy noob at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Panasonic P2HD / AVCCAM / AVCHD / DV Camera Systems > Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series

Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
4K and AVCHD on a Micro Four Thirds system camera with interchangeable lenses.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 9th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 218
GH1 Prime Lens advice for a Video guy who's a Photograhy noob

So I've been a videographer for about 5 years now. Had some measure of success, and love my job. But I never quite became a Cinematographer. So I never really learned about lenses that much. Now I'm getting a GH1 to work as a second camera (well actually a first camera because it shoots a better image) with my Sony V1U. But I know jack s*&t about photography to start. I've got a good solid class in January, however I'm going to be shooting before then. Long intro for an easy question.

I want to purchase a lens (it's sounds like prime will be the best choice with respect to my budget which is $500 max) that can perform well in low light, but also has the cool depth of field look I want (background entirely out of focus, face in focus documentary style).

I assume I'll have to buy a lens adapter as well. Can you point me to some options for a good prime lens I can use for this purpose as well as the standard lens adapter used?

Really appreciated.
Josh Hayes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2009, 03:17 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,771
One particular lens that gets talked about a lot is one that was made for the Micro 4/3rds cameras and that’s the Panasonic 20mm, f/1.7 lens. It’s the only fast lens that auto focuses in the video and it’s extremely sharp. The price is $400. The biggest negative is that it takes a little bit longer to focus manually if you don’t want to use the auto. It’s not perfect but I’m satisfied with it mainly because it’s very unique and it’s been very hard to find although Amazon has it in stock at the moment.

You can easily find cheaper fast lenses like the Canon FD ones that gets recommended a lot. They are cheap and some of them are faster but one thing to realize is that the ones that are faster won’t be as wide as the Panasonic. For example something like 50mm will almost look like a telephoto lens on the GH1 because of the 2x crop factor.

As for C Mount lenses, although their still cheep, they went up a little bit since the G1 came out. The reason is that you have a far better chance of finding lenses that are very wide and fast at the same time but you got to watch out, you may see dark edges so you need to find out which ones are good from people who already purchased them for the Micro 4/3rds camera.

Never mind the fact that if you wanted a telephoto lens, the choices will be far easier.
Paulo Teixeira is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2009, 10:44 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 218
re:

Thanks Paulo. Not only did that make a recommendation but answered a lot of the questions that were coming up during my initial research of brands/types of lenses as well. To clarify the lens you suggest most is:

Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Amazon address
Amazon.com: Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras: Electronics
Josh Hayes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2009, 11:32 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
There are a number of issues here in terms of the basics.

You say you want a "Fast" lens. That's fine. But let's talk basics for a moment in terms of cinematography. I'll speak in terms of focal lengths of full frame 35mm and you can do the conversions yourself.

In 35mm photography, the 85mm-135 (optimally about 105mm) is used for single subject photographs. It is very flattering to the features allows the photographer to stand off some distance, and the focus falls off VERY quickly giving a lovely soft background. That said, let's talk about the ranges of lenses.

Super Wides (less than 24mm): These are used for special effects, or for establishing shots where you need to show extreme width. I would generally avoid these unless you are spending real money on a production because they show EVERYTHING. You better be building sets or working in an environment where you can control everything in frame because you aren't going to hide anything.

Wides (24-35mm): These are your bread and butter for establishing shots. When you want to show the environment your actor is in, inside or outside, this is what you reach for. If you need to put 3-4 actors on screen together, this is what you reach for.

Normals (50-55mm): This range replicates the human eye. There is no "movie magic" in these lenses, so they are great for documenting, doing POV, etc. They feel "real".

Short Tele: (75-135mm): This is your bread and butter for your mediums and closeups. VERY flattering look, soft backgrounds. Use this for your over the shoulders, 1 or 2 people on screen, etc. It becomes the eye of the audience on most shoots.

Tele (150mm+): Very few reasons to use these lenses unless you are shooting something you can't get close to, or you need to flatten perspective to make your actor(s) appear to be closer to something than they actually are. I'd hold off on anything in this range until last unless you are shooting nature studies or something of that sort.


And for the crop factor. The sensor in the GH1 is about 2:1 if memory serves. So to get an equivalent of FF35 35mm lens, you'd need to be on an 18mm. And similarly, a 50mm FF35 lens becomes a 100mm for you. Perfect because those are usually the fastest lenses available, and for character driven stories, you'll spend a lot of time on that lens.

For a first lens, I typically recommend most new shooters go with a wide zoom. Something that will carry you from maybe 18-80mm if possible. Get as fast a lens as you can. Maybe an F2.8 which is still somewhat slow, but you'll still kill most video cameras with it. This will let you work through most of the focal range for short films without having to do a bunch of lens changing. And you can learn more about what lenses you'd like to buy in the future.

This is just my recommendation and you'll certainly get others. Primes are great, but they require time to change. Especially as you move forward and have rails, a follow focus, a mattebox, or other accessories. The speed of having a quality zoom on the lens can be worth it's weight in gold. And only going to a VERY fast prime when you have to.

If I was going to buy primes for a GH1, I'd want a 50mm F1.2, an 18mm F1.8, and the widest lens I could possibly get that wasn't a fisheye. Something in the 10mm range, but I know that would cost an absolute fortune.

Someone else will have to help you with mounts, but I would STRONGLY suggest you look at a mount for Nikon non-AF lenses. Having F-Stop on the lens is hugely helpful.

I wish you luck with the GH1. There are just SO many thing that are right about it, and just a couple utter showstoppers that keep me from buying one.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,771
Yeh, I forgot to mention the Nikon lenses. When the 5D Mark II first came out, a lot of uses bought a ton of them since it allows for extra control since at the time, Canon didn't want to offer that much control for some strange reason.

The bundled lens already gives you a lot of range from 14-140mm although it starts at f/4.

I really do see that 20mm Panasonic lens as the first extra lens that you should buy and then work your way from their. It's fully, fully worth it. Now if you really wanted a very wide lens, you can get the Panasonic 7-14mm lens.
Panasonic | Lumix G Vario 7-14mm Lens | H-F007014 | B&H Photo
It's also very popular but much, much more money.

While I'm at it, their is a Canon FD 85mm, f/1.2 lens that I've seen for around $600 to a little over 1 grand on EBAY.

Those are the next 2 lenses that I want to get but the prices are very steep.
Paulo Teixeira is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 218
re:

My first grant for the film will be coming in 10 days and that's when I'll purchase the camera and the Panasonic lens. Many good other suggestions but this really seems like the perfect 1st lens for the depth of field I want on a traditional talking head documentary.
Josh Hayes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:47 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 218
re:

First, I wanted to say that I didn't look quite that close at your longer post before Perrone and I appreciate the super helpful explanation you supplied. For somebody knew like me I found it super useful. Now that I have given it it's due attention I have a question for you and Paulo since I just got the funding to purchase the lens.

Where as the Lumix Pancake sounds like a great all around lens that is fast and performs well with the Micro 3/4 system, it may not be the best lens if the sole need I have is a soft focus background for documentary closeups (that's hopefully faster than the 5.6 I have now at full zoom with the stock lens). Am I understanding that correct?

Or will I still be able to get that nice soft background I'm looking for with the 20MM Wide Pancake lens? What do you two think?
Josh Hayes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 17th, 2010, 07:57 PM   #8
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 14
Hoping to clarify something:

Is the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 pancake lens true 20mm or do micro 4/3 lenses get cropped too to make the FoV a 40mm equivalent?

I guess I haven't really understood when exactly the crop factor comes into play.

I have a m4/3 to Minolta MD/MC mount adapter and lenses (50mm F1.7, 28mm F2.8, and 125-300mm Telephoto) and obviously those are cropped.
Matt Hoecker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2010, 11:21 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 218
re:

The last thing I heard on the subject was basically a crop factor of 1.2 (for video). So multiply your lens size by 1.2 and you'll have the MM equivalent. Someone please correct me if I was misinformed by this and the multiplication number is incorrect.

i.e. 50mm X 1.2 = 60 MM


p.s. I keep reading multiple versions of the crop factor, so perhaps here is a good place to have the discussion so it can be hashed out. The 3 most common I hear are 2X crop factor, roughly 1/3 crop factor, and a 1.2 crop. The 1.2 crop as I read on one of the multiple forums I was patrolling was submitted as the official amount by a lens manufacturer. Where's the correct answer on this one?

Last edited by Josh Hayes; April 1st, 2010 at 11:46 PM. Reason: added the p.s.
Josh Hayes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2010, 11:43 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Hayes View Post
The last thing I heard on the subject was basically a crop factor of 1.2 (for video). So multiply your lens size by 1.2 and you'll have the MM equivalent. Someone please correct me if I was misinformed by this and the multiplication number is incorrect.

i.e. 50mm X 1.2 = 60 MM
No, it's 2:1. The 7D/550D are 1.6:1, the 1DMk4 is 1.4:1, and the GH1 is right at 2:1. It's a SMALLER sensor than what's in the 7D so the crop factor is higher, not smaller.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2010, 11:46 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Hayes View Post
Where as the Lumix Pancake sounds like a great all around lens that is fast and performs well with the Micro 3/4 system, it may not be the best lens if the sole need I have is a soft focus background for documentary closeups (that's hopefully faster than the 5.6 I have now at full zoom with the stock lens). Am I understanding that correct?

Or will I still be able to get that nice soft background I'm looking for with the 20MM Wide Pancake lens? What do you two think?
I never saw this question come through, so I'll answer it now. On sensors this size, a 20mm lens is not going to allow for shallow DOF and blurred backgrounds unless you are REALLY close to what you are fllming. If I wanted a soft background, I'd want to be in the 85-135mm FF equivalent range.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2nd, 2010, 12:14 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 218
re:

Hi Perrone. Yeah that's what I finally realized so I got an 85 mm lens and it's perfect for what I was looking for. I realized this after, going back and re-reading your well put together explanation above. Very grateful.

One question related to the other forum we just talked on, if this is a 85 MM lens and the crop factor is 2:1 that means my 85 MM lens is similar to 170MM? Do I have that right? I this is the case would that actually affect the amount of soft focus in the background and be equivalent to a "real" 170 MM lens or is it just a crop that makes it appear as framing wise?
Josh Hayes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2nd, 2010, 12:31 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Hayes View Post
Hi Perrone. Yeah that's what I finally realized so I got an 85 mm lens and it's perfect for what I was looking for. I realized this after, going back and re-reading your well put together explanation above. Very grateful.

One question related to the other forum we just talked on, if this is a 85 MM lens and the crop factor is 2:1 that means my 85 MM lens is similar to 170MM? Do I have that right? I this is the case would that actually affect the amount of soft focus in the background and be equivalent to a "real" 170 MM lens or is it just a crop that makes it appear as framing wise?
You have the DOF of an 85, but the crop of 170mm.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2nd, 2010, 02:28 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 218
Got it. That makes sense.
Josh Hayes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 11:03 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 623
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
I never saw this question come through, so I'll answer it now. On sensors this size, a 20mm lens is not going to allow for shallow DOF and blurred backgrounds unless you are REALLY close to what you are fllming. If I wanted a soft background, I'd want to be in the 85-135mm FF equivalent range.
With the GH2 there's the Extra Tele Conversion. That would make the 20mm an equivalent 40mm AND 104mm when engaged.
Patrick Janka is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Panasonic P2HD / AVCCAM / AVCHD / DV Camera Systems > Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:28 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network