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Old March 20th, 2013, 05:46 PM   #1
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Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Hi everyone, just recently joined the forum. A little background about me: I am a video editor, motion graphics designer and camera person for a Christian TV studio, been working there for about 8 years. My camera experience mostly consists of in studio shoots and ENG type shooting, with HD grass valley cameras in the studio and Panasonic P2 cameras such as the HPX 2700, 300, and 170 for ENG. As such I have zero experience working with DSLRs and know nothing about DSLR lenses, the m4/3 system, etc etc.

Anyway, my studio is a NPO with a not so high salary in a high cost of living area, so I've been seriously considering buying a used GH2 and doing wedding video for supplemental income. So I've been trying to study up on all the different options I have for setting up a good wedding rig, and was having a hard time finding a fast, versatile zoom lens. Maybe I'm a little spoiled by the ENG lenses I have available at work? My budget is limited so I wanted to get the best bang for the buck from a single lens and try to avoid buying multiple lenses for now. So as I was researching lenses, I came across this:

Canon 13X 9 117mm F 1 6 B4 Lens for Panasonic AF100 GH1 GH2 GH3 Olympus OM D | eBay

used B4 ENG lens with 2x extender and a B4 to m4/3 adapter with built in tripod mount included for $579

I researched the B4 to m4/3 option and seems like the general consensus is the image is great, but the cost is prohibitive. So this may sound like a dumb question, but can listings such as this on ebay be trusted? Are any of the inexpensive ebay listings for used B4 lenses with adapters included legit? A B&H listing of a B4 to m4/3 adapter was over $500 for the adapter alone, and a lens like this would cost $6000 new. But if the ebay listing is as advertised then with the 2x extender I'd get F3.2 with a huge zoom range, and with 1x on 1:1 crop mode I'd get F1.6 also with huge zoom range. All for cheaper than a slower m4/3 lens with less zoom. Is it too good to be true? Should I stick to Lumix or Olympus?
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:20 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Hi Eddie, welcome to DVi.

Looking over the seller's info on Ebay, it seems he's been using that ID for two years and has a feedback score of 99.8% over 1,423 transactions. That would indicate to me that he's trustworthy. As to the value of this deal, I'll have to yield the floor to our other members here who will hopefully have some useful input for you. Good luck,
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Looks too good to be true (for your purposes anyway). You don't get the f1.6 aperture unless you shoot without the 2x extender because without the extender that lens will not cover the full sensor. The one exception would be if you shoot in Extended Tele mode where only the center of the sensor is used.

Some feel in that mode you get more aliasing.

If it was that good for things like wedding work at that price level others would be snapping it up fast. As it is, if you had some basic lenses to work with something like that might be a lot of fun to have. It looks pretty good on macro from that video.

Now here's your real dilemma. New GH2's are pretty much gone, there's a few used left but if you want one in pretty good close to new shape you better be leaping on something like yesterday. I had two used bodies, the first sold just as B&H ran out of new ones and the second went just this morning.

For wedding work you're going to need two so even if you work alone you have a backup unit if the one in your hand starts "barfing". They are actually pretty reliable but the old logic of "two is one, one is none" applies.

I hope this info is helpful (or at least somewhat useful).
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:45 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Remember you'll also need power for the zoom motor somehow (or try doing it manually.) This usually involves a V-mount or AB battery and an adapter cable.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:45 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
You don't get the f1.6 aperture unless you shoot without the 2x extender because without the extender that lens will not cover the full sensor. The one exception would be if you shoot in Extended Tele mode where only the center of the sensor is used.

Some feel in that mode you get more aliasing.
Is extended tele mode the same as 1:1 crop mode? I actually had heard a lot of good things about the 1:1 crop mode, didn't think it would increase aliasing because it's a crop, and no scan lines are removed.

Yeah, it sucks that I missed out on getting a GH2 new, but I still see used ones come up on ebay for half the price of a new GH3. Perhaps I am trusting ebay a little too much?

Also, I don't really mind using the manual zoom ring, but the same ebay vendor has a solution for powering the zoom with a 12v DC battery for $124
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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:00 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Ok well here's a downside I should have thought of. That lens is not an HD lens. The footage in macro does look good though. Anyone here at all have any kind of experience putting a B4 lens on a GH2 that can chime in? Also anyone with experience shooting in extended tele mode care to share their experiences?
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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:11 PM   #7
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Eddie, I don't know either but it does sound OK. Ergonomically, I think once this is off the pod it will be really hard to use. Basically these things come off ENG cameras. Also, you won't get Auto anything will you, so it will be a manual; lens - which can be OK but.....This just seems to be going back to the videocam format.
DSLR's are a great cheap and flexible option for shooting a high quality cinematic style and personally I would stck with Olympus and Panny. I have also played with Nikon ED's and Canon FD's but went back to the others.
Keep it simple.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:40 PM   #8
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

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Originally Posted by Chris Duczynski View Post
you won't get Auto anything will you, so it will be a manual; lens - which can be OK but.....This just seems to be going back to the videocam format.
It's funny that you mention that because that is actually the production background that I come from. So I guess I'd rather build a DSLR with a videocam format because that's what I'm used to. The only reason I'm considering a DSLR is because of the low cost and quality picture of the GH2, not the form factor. I think I can live without auto focus or auto iris, I'm more concerned with getting a fast enough lens to shoot low light video.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Duczynski View Post
Eddie, I don't know either but it does sound OK. Ergonomically, I think once this is off the pod it will be really hard to use. Basically these things come off ENG cameras.
The ergonomics of a DSLR for shooting video already are poor though, but you are right, there's no way I would do this without buying some kind of shoulder mount rig.

Currently reading this article...
Adapting Servo Zoom Lenses for Smooth-Zooming DSLR Production, Part 1 - Streaming Media Producer

Last edited by Eddie Yamashita; March 20th, 2013 at 09:13 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:05 PM   #9
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Hi Eddie - I'm from ENG as well and getting the hang of DSLR is tricky, but the pics are worth it and I love using fast interchangeable lenses.
I would take no notice of that article, it's purely academic and if you look at the pic of him holding the camera, looking through the LCD in daylight, it's a totally unusable set-up. He recommends in another article that using the touch screen to focus for video is the way to go !!
Not for me I'm afraid.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:12 PM   #10
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Hmmm.. well he did have some useful info about model numbers and what they mean for older SD B4 lenses.

I found a video of someone who used the exact same Canon lens on a hacked GH2. Didn't notice any chromatic aberration in the video, although it is shot with 2x extender on and ETC off.

edit: hmmm.. after watching it again i can see the center of the image looks fantastic but the edges of the screen appear quite blurry, even when they're not supposed to be out of focus. it's quality glass but it's definitely not made for HD.. i wonder though, for wedding video, with the depth of field as shallow as it is, would clients even notice the blurry edges?
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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:57 PM   #11
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

My issue is not so much the quality. Anyone can put any lens on a tripod and shoot a location. For me it's about functionality and put simply if I wanted to shoot with this type of lens I'd buy a video camera. Really all it gives you is the abity to power zoom while shooting -if thats what you want great.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 10:57 PM   #12
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

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Originally Posted by Chris Duczynski View Post
For me it's about functionality and put simply if I wanted to shoot with this type of lens I'd buy a video camera.
good point! I agree with you! I'd much rather have the af100 over the gh2! The reason why i don't just get the af100 is because its like 4400 usd compared to 600-800 usd for a gh2. I'm on a shoe string budget, and it's just far more cost effective to get an eng like rig set up on a gh2 than get a eng camcorder with similar image quality. Switching between different lenses for changing distances and lighting conditions just doesn't appeal to me, nor do herky jerky zooms. The appeal of using this lens is smooth zooms, but also low light performance, zoom range and cost. The downside would be glass not made for widescreen resulting in blurriness on the edges. Upside for a conventional m4/3 lens would be made for widescreen optics and autofocus, but lots of downsides like slower, small zoom range, cost, jerky zooms.

Last edited by Eddie Yamashita; March 21st, 2013 at 02:03 AM.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 11:08 PM   #13
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Go for it Eddie, but I think you may need to buy so many peripherals for it so you can use it comfortably, that you may be saving a bit but sacrificing a lot.
I've seen footage using this of peoples backyards, their dogs, kids on a beach, some boats, but when it comes down to making money with it, I wouldn't touch it. Take a look at the other photo in that report of the guy holding it in one hand - does that look ergonomic to you? Easy to use? Functional?
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Old March 20th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #14
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

Ok 2nd question. If i don't go this route and go a more conventional route what would be a good low light lens for indoor? Anything that zooms? How does the 14-140 look in low light with iso bumped up?
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Old March 21st, 2013, 12:22 AM   #15
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Re: Cheap B4 lenses with adapter included on ebay

It's the kit lens starting at F4 and people seem to like it. I think it's a good starter lens on a budget. At F4 you're not going to get that shallow DOF but it sounds like you don't want it. Smooth zooming on this is pretty bad if thats your priority. It's really clunky - so, up to you.
In another post I mentioned I use a Sony Z5 for my "video" camera. It has a 20X zoom, XLR's and I record to a CF card. Everyone is getting rid of them because the quality has been superceded by many cameras, but if you're starting out they are a great camera and you probably get a whole kit for a good price. BUT....there are many, very good little cameras out there. DSLR's are tricky for new users on paid gigs, especially the audio.
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