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Old February 17th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #1
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Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

Hello,

I'm curious to hear opinions regarding lenses for the GH-2. Specificially, if there is any drawback to using Nikon, Canon, etc., lenses with adaptors vs. using Panasonic or Olympus micro 4/3 lenses.

Coming from a videgraphy background, I prefer lenses that have manual focus and manual iris adjustments.

I need to invest in some additional lenses and am trying to decide what makes the most sense given I like to have manual control over those functions.

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 07:28 AM   #2
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

Well I can already tell you my opinion differs greatly from most who will post here haha

I have been using the gh2 for weddings for a year now, and I have a mixture of 4/3, micro 4/3s and fd glass. I also run the camera FULL manual, no auto anything.

The pros to the FD glass :
-Cheap and fast
-smooth focus ring
-you can adjust the aperture on the fly while recording

cons:
-No image stabilization ( you need it for longer lenses and run and gun)
-no auto anything to fall back on


Pros to proprietary lenses:
-made for the camera
-image stabilization ( on some of them)
-"auto" features work
-they are newer lenses therefore have the newer lens coatings on them.

Cons:
-Most of zooms are slow (there are some great pimes out there now and more zooms on the way so its getting better)
-you cant change the aperture on the fly while recording
-Cost allot more for the good lenses (but that is to be expected)


Thats just a list I threw together off the top of my head, I love my FD glass and I have some 4/3s/micro 4/3s lenses that I have and like aswell... but I just love the full manual control I have over the FD while recording
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Old February 18th, 2012, 08:51 AM   #3
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

You have answered your own question in your post. You have stated you like manual control. So you need to buy lenses that give you manual control. Canon FD lenses, Rokinon Lenses, etc and Nikon manual lenses are what you want.

Which lenses you choose should depend on your needs. Video or photo? Wedding videography or landscape photography? Choose the lenses best suited for the application.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 11:51 AM   #4
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

+1 to what Jeff says.

My experience is that I have Panasonic m4/3, Olympus 4/3, Canon FD, Konica AR and Nikon glass, but find myself selling off my manual lenses in favor of the system. I can shoot manual to my heart's content with the system lenses, but it's nice to have IA mode as a backup when I don't have the time or the inclination to figure out exposure, focus, and/or white balance.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 07:15 AM   #5
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

Another option you could consider, is a 2/3" B4 mount zoom like the Canon's and Fujinon's with a B4 -> m43 adapter. You would have to run your GH2 in the ETC mode, or get a lens with a built-in 2x (the edges seem to be quite soft at times).
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Old March 1st, 2012, 03:12 AM   #6
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

LPowell explains why old film lenses not so good for digital as modern digital Aspherical ones. Plus a list of video friendly lenses.
Video-Friendly Lenses for Lumix DSLRs - Personal View Talks

If you're used to being able to avoid all camera-autosharpening then don't use any M43 lenses.
GH2 Digital Sharpening removable with hack? - Personal View Talks
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Old March 16th, 2012, 06:54 PM   #7
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

Do any of the Olympus lenses work in IA auto mode on the GH2? If so, which ones?
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Old March 19th, 2012, 12:50 AM   #8
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

Not saying anyone here is wrong, not at all.

FOR ME, I tried to go to Nikon and all the lens options available there. Prior to that I was trying cheap legacy glass with my GH1, was fun to buy but rarely did I get good results. Also bought a crapload of adapters, buying and looking for those to put on a lens, really gets old after a bit too.

Anyways, after 9 months of fighting the Nikon, along with the Sigma, Tokina, Tamron and whatever other glass I had, I dumped it all and came back to almost purely Lumix. The reason I say almost, am keeping my Rokinon 85, otherwise every other third party lens is gone or going away.

Everything I have bought and tried to get from a camera and lens, going Lumix is giving it to me right out of the box. The first still I shot with the 45mm..... I'll kiss someone's behind if that Nikon could have done as well !!!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. As always though YMMV.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

I know Chip, I've been singing your song for months. I've dumped virtually all my glass for Lumix and Olympus/Zuiko lenses.

My first Canon FD lens amazed me for about 10 minutes, and after that it got old very fast. Some guys like Joe O. and Kevin M. use old and relatively exotic lenses to great effect, and I admire their skill with them. But for my purposes they are not so hot at all.

I do love the 45mm F/1.8, it is a great lens.

Sadly, if I had to do it all over again I would likely go the 60d route today. The lack of IS is a real bummer to me after playing with my friends 60d recently. The advantages of the GH2 are few, but significant for me, but I think the 60D would have made me happier overall.

I'll stick with what I have out of economic necessity, and I feel fortunate to have the nice primes I do, and I'm not complaining. I'm very lucky to be able to acquire the high quality images I can with my current crop of cameras. I only wish I would have known at the beginning what I know now.

It's interesting that I see others are dumping the legacy lenses out the same frustration I had, but it is inevitable with the advent of the 12mm 45mm and 25mm. These lenses just make it too easy.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

Jeff Said:
I only wish I would have known at the beginning what I know now.

Jeff, if there were ever words that should be enshrined for photo/videographers.....it is the above sentence!
We've all been there and have the "Why did I buy that"....box.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #11
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

I've rarely met a lens I didn't like for something...

Typically legacy primes come out only for situations where there's either time to set up discreet shots (ie, interviews) or as an artistic choice. They're also fun: most "day with the family" outings, I take two legacy primes (usually 28 & 50) and play.

Fast legacy zooms are simply unbeatable for things like wildlife and sports; I have three that get heavy use: a Sigma 50-500, Nikon 70-210/4, and Vivitar 28-90/2.8. I tried the Lumix 100-300, but while the OIS is nice, the range and zoom on that lens just don't work for me. My next lens will hopefully be a Nikon AF-D 80-200/2.8... the crop factor becomes a huge positive on such glass, as neither Canon nor Nikon can sport anything on full frame or APSC to compete with that range and speed - plus it's simply a ridiculously good lens.

Adapters have never been a problem - mostly because I only use legacy lenses with aperture rings, and can thus get the simplest dumb adapters from Fotodiox or the like.

All that said, the Lumix lenses still get a ton of my work - even though I'm not usually autofocusing, the range is ideal for a wide variety of shots and they take up (comparatively) minimal space and weight in a bag. My 7-14 and 14-140 plus a Leica DG 25/1.4 and D 14-50/2.8 can handle 95% of ENG, doc, and corporate shoots.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #12
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

I love the Lumix lens options. At the end of the day unless you are a seasoned photographer they really make sense especially for video. They are not super fast except for a few key lenses but they really do cover a pretty wide range now.

I have some Canon FD lenses which I love as well. I think they look so much more organic. I do have to agree with others however that they can be a pain to work with and you really have to know what you are doing. Sort of like photography in the old days. Not everybody could do it well. If you don't mind taking the time to get the right shot FD lenses can be great.

It all boils down to the type of material you shoot. If you work on mostly scripted material like we do at work then the FD lenses make sense. We almost always shoot with heavy duty tripods and light our scenes very carefully. If you are more of a run and gun shooter the FD lenses don't really make sense at all. This is why you hear so many conflicting statements on the issue. A lot of GH1 and GH2 shooters are indy film makers who do plan their shots and use Nikon and Canon lenses with great success.

The other problem with legacy glass is the cost for wide fast lenses. At the price point many of them are sold at you really are better off looking at the M43 wide lens options. As soon as you get a bit longer like 45mm or 50mm you really need stabilization. This is why while longer FD glass looks great it is a pain to use. Not to mention it weighs about 3x as much as a long Lumix lens. I have a FD 75mm to 210mm lens that looks stunning for video but it is a bear to shoot with even on a tripod. The Lumix 45mm to 200mm just is 100x easier to shoot with and also looks great for video.

These days honestly if I am shooting outdoors I use my Lumix 14mm to 42mm and as soon as I am indoors I switch to my 20mm and it never comes off again.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 01:11 PM   #13
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

Thomas, your post elaborates succinctly my feelings about the lens options. "This is why you hear so many conflicting statements on the issue". As you say, what works for an individual depends on their circumstances.

The legacy lenses can be perfect, especially for what you describe. However, they can be used for run and gun, I've seen Joe O turn out some superb stuff with them, for example, but as you say you need to know what you're doing. They are best for studio work, scripted work, and the like.

The 14-42 which so many have dissed is actually a perfect video lens outdoors or in very well lit conditions. I only used one once before selling it, but the images were amazing, just stunning. But it was in a very bright room. As soon as the sun went down it was useless. I still kind of miss that little bugger. I have an outdoor shoot today and would love to have the 14-42 for this shoot.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 01:52 PM   #14
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

I've been "feeling out" the Micro 4/3 concept with first an Olympus Pen e-PL1 and just got an e-P3. I don't think the Olympus body does the same oversharpening with Lumix lenses as the GH2 does, and the IS is in the body (and works quite well!).

I've been using the Lumix "pancakes", the 14mm f2.5 and 20mm f1.7 and so far with stills I really like the way they work. I got in the Lumix 45-200 a week and a half ago and an Olympus 45mm f1.8 should arrive tomorrow.

I'll start some semi serious testing with the e-P3 video today using mostly the two "pancakes". I guess all this is leading up to the new Olympus OMD E-M5 which I have on pre-order.

The Pen e-P3 looks ridiculously small for doing video but I've seen some footage shot in a night market in Kuala Lumpur that is absolutely amazing. Sharp, crisp, and most camera movement looked very smooth. No one interfered with him, much merchandise in that market is likely "pirated" and they are very "wary" of video crews with "real" gear. But he looked like a tourist with a tiny "point 'n shoot" so they left him alone. He even caught the "lookout" giving the "all clear" signal (finger in nose).

But it looks like I'll be sticking with Lumix and Zuiko lenses. I'm getting a bit used to "focus by wire", don't like it but I can adapt.

I'm not in business, what I do is whatever interests me, so I don't have to worry about gear impressing anyone. I actually like being "under the radar". If I need to show up with a "real" camera, I can grab the 60D.
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Old March 29th, 2012, 08:42 AM   #15
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Re: Lenses: Panny/olympus vs Other Brands

I agree with you on the Oly cameras... I love my ELP1 for family and travel and incidental photos... I just wish the video mode wasn't so nerfed. The colors and tones are just ridiculously good, as is the in-camera IS. Best JPEG camera I've ever owned.

If Oly ever puts out a camera that does convincing 1080 24p and 30p (or better), it would be a serious contender amongst video hybrid cams.
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