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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
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Old February 19th, 2012, 10:30 AM   #1
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Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

Looking to get a gh2 within the next few days. Will hack for short GOP HD video.

Used primarily for indoor music videos with greenscreen with pro lighting.

Wide shots. Occasional closeups, but nothing drastic, and relatively little use for long distance zooming.


Sorry, I know I have a learning curve ahead, but for now, just looking at the fact that I have an option to get the body only and pick a lens, or go with either 14-42 or 14-140 kit lens or...

However, some say fixed fstop, etc, so want to double check and make sure I'm not painting myself in the corner with lens I choose.

I don't necessarily need the world's most flexible lens, but want best suited for my purposes.

Will be shooting in either 720 or 1080 at 30p or 60p.. and always 16x9. If I can get something that works well in low light too, that's a plus, but optimized for standard wide shots in studio lighting is the priority.

thx
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Old February 19th, 2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

My first thought is if your lighting is as good as you seem to imply, the Olympus 12-60mm F/2.8-4.5 with a Panasonic adapter or the Olympus 14-54mm F/2.8-3.5 (newer version) with the same adapter would be excellent choices, giving you full electronic communication with the camera as well as manual focus if needed.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 09:04 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

OK, thank you.

Like I said... I know I have a learning curve ahead (I've never owned any type of camera before).

So, basically, I'll be using banks of fluorescent kino knockoffs where each has 6 tubes, but they can be turned off in banks of 2. The idea being plenty of light, but enough basic control over output to put me in the ballpark so I can dial in the final bit on the camera. Gravitating toward this approach vs dimming as I don't want to find out later I have an issue with color spectrum shifting due to fluoro dimming... Also much cheaper to get fixtures that work this way.

Looking at a few specs, I see that the commonly included lenses are

14mm-140mm..............f4-f5.8
14mm-42mm................f3.5-f5.6
14mm...........................f2.5
14mm-45mm............... f3.5-f5.6


Odd to me that the fixed 14mm is fixed at something outside range of all the others.

Looking today at various options and wondering: Does a lens with a longer zoom range tend to be any worse at a lower fixed value vs fixed mm lens or one with shorter range?


Hmmm... just looked at the olympus lenses mentioned. Should something that large have it's own tripod mount point to avoid stress on the camera connection?

Last edited by Greg Stout; February 20th, 2012 at 09:37 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 09:58 AM   #4
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

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Originally Posted by Greg Stout View Post
I don't necessarily need the world's most flexible lens, but want best suited for my purposes.

thx
The lenses I recommended previously are best suited for your purpose as best as I can tell. That the 14mm is "outside the range" is because it's a fast prime lens. This is normal. Primes are generally faster and produce great results, but the downside is that they are fixed lengths, thereby they are of limited use.

I suggest you research prime vs zoom lenses. Google it and study what you can find. The lens you choose should depend on your application. You asked for a recommendation, and I gave you mine. Sadly, as for the rest of us, you will likely end up buying an assortment of lenses as you try to figure out which works best for you.

Just so you can learn your camera, get the inexpensive 14-42mm or 14-45mm and play with it. Great little lenses for outdoors and in well-lit situations. I would still recommend the Olympus, but first timers rarely follow the first advice they are given, so just get something cheap and play with it. Unfortunately it is a time and money consuming process for many of us as we learn the various lenses available to us.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

Looking into recommendations and reading up.

Thx for the help.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

The 14-42 and 14-140 are inexpensive, and good lenses to have. They work wonderfully in good lighting. I'd recommend buying and using the kit lens and trying it in your setups, then you'll better know what limitations you need to address with future lens purchases.

Prime lenses are typically sharper, faster, and smaller than zooms, with the obvious drawback of inflexibility. After some playing, you'll get to know what focal lengths you use most if you choose to go the prime route.

The two 4/3 zooms Jeff mentioned are also great all-round choices.

Regarding large lenses, most very large lenses have an integrated support with a 1/4-20 threaded mounting hole. For those that do, simply put the lens on the tripod and then hang the GH2 off of it.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 05:10 PM   #7
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Stout View Post
Looking today at various options and wondering: Does a lens with a longer zoom range tend to be any worse at a lower fixed value vs fixed mm lens or one with shorter range?
Yes. Zooms have more lens elements inside them than prime lenses, and zooms with a larger range have more lens elements than zooms with a short range. Each piece of glass has its minor imperfections, so these add up as you increase the number of elements. At any given f-number, a prime lens is likely to be sharper and 'cleaner' than a zoom with a short range, which in turn is likely to be sharper and cleaner than a zoom with a longer range. Of course, an expensive zoom may be sharper than a cheap prime, and some lenses are designed to be softer in the first place (easier on the eye!).

Manufacturers cap the maximum aperture (minimum f-number) of a particular lens at a size where they deem the abberations to be acceptable. Within a single range of lenses from a single manufacturer, such as the Pansonic lenses you've mentioned, this is pretty clear, but different manufacturers have different standards, and you can't just go by the numbers.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 02:20 AM   #8
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

My 2 kit zooms are as sharp as any of the pana and olympus lenses i own including all the pancakes, not as fast obviously.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

Hmm. Ok. Partly being dictated by availability of various deals, but I'm interested in 3 lenses.

I like what I see with the Olympus 12-60. Seems like it will do everything I'd want for now. My only concern is that down the road, I may well want something with OIS. Researching now to see how big of a deal that is and how well the Panny 14-140 does it.

Which brings me to the second item up for consideration. Looking at what's been available on ebay (I just missed out on a NEW open box GH2 that sold with the 14-42 kit lens for $655 on ebay on the first day of searching... and only lost out because my internet connection was too slow in the final seconds)

Unfortunately, since then, it hasn't been possible to buy a body from US source for under $800 or so... and there are kits with the 14-140 for around $1150. (I see specials that ran last year for kit at $999 which seem to hover in cyberspace just to irritate me).

Anyway, from a financial perspective and a lot of recommendations out there, it would seem that a solid first move would be to get that kit.

From a lot of other stuff I've read, though, seems like I might actually use the 20mm pancake more (or the 25mm f.95 that's out there)... which I'd have to buy separately as I don't see any included with it.

The other option is that I see this:

@ 7x CANON FD M42 Lens [LETUS 5D 7D 60D NEX FS100 G3 GH2 GF3 AF100 F3 ARRI] @ | eBay

Sounds like a lot of money until you consider that the 20mm pancake by itself is nearly half that.

Of course... I have mixed feelings at best about having something shipped from Poland.

Anyway, all things considered, leaning toward the 14-140 at the moment for financial reasons with the OIS being a further push. Frankly, I might as well buy new unless something else pops up on ebay or cl.

Anything I'm missing in my deliberation?
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Old February 21st, 2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

Because you're new to the camera, let me tell you that there are many of us, myself included that have moved away from using legacy lenses and adapters. My first lens for the camera were Canon FD lenses. I spend over $2K on them, including the famous 85mm F/1.2.

You have to set everything manually all the time. If that's what you want, go for it, but there are lenses in that group of lenses you likely will rarely if ever use after you've played with them a few times.

I have a 100mm F/2.5 I've used once, they are too long for most practical applications.

14-140mm has OIS but if you are using the lens indoors or in less than great lighting the OIS won't help you.

You need to focus on the shooting conditions you will be shooting in rather than looking at lenses everywhere. You start with your shooting needs, the scenarios you will encounter then you find what will work for those conditions. If the 14-42 works for you, which maybe it could, then you would know the 14-140mm would likely work also.

The 12-60mm is a nice lens, but it is expensive. On the other hand it murders the 140-140mm in low light, particularly when it's full wide. The 14-42 is best value, with the 20mm being second best value if you can get by without a zoom.

The best value technically are the legacy lenses, but you lose all communication with the camera. If you are willing to go manual they are great. Many of us have been there and done that and moved on. I wouldn't start out manual, but that's with hindsight that only comes from my personal experience.

Edit: there are many that use the legacy lenses and they get stellar results, it just depends on your style and level of patience.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; February 21st, 2012 at 10:57 AM.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 10:39 AM   #11
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

Thx for all the input.

Looks like I'm going to be starting off with a kit that includes the 14-140 for all around value and general purpose reasons... and then looking around for a deal on 20mm pancake or similar.

Seems this will get me started with minimal issues and well suited for beginner.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 07:13 AM   #12
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Re: Newbie needs help picking right lens for gh2

Thx for the input, guys.

Got a good deal on the camera bundled with 14-140 kit lens, so I went for it. Should be a good starting point. Camera on it's way.
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