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Old June 18th, 2013, 08:02 PM   #16
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

I'm about to order my GH3 very soon, and since my current camera suffers in lowlight (i.e. inside churches and even the reception locales where I have to use a lamp and render all the people dancing blind and self-conscious), that's the issue I want to fix first. I'm ordering just the GH3 body and currently, after quite a few hours of research, I see 3 options:

1. Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 MFT (OR the 17.5mm variant)
2. Panasonic Leica dg summilux 25mm f/1.4
3. Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Pancake

I am reluctant regarding the third option since I know the GH3 does not have a sensor with awesome lowlight performance to begin with, and f/1.7 sounds like noise to me. I might be wrong, this is my first time buying lenses and filming with a DSLR.

From the youtube videos I've seen, the second lens, the f/1.4 Leica, seems like it can be used in lowlight with pretty good results. While I'm sure it will be enough for wedding use (which will be my main use for it), the Voigtlander is not a LOT more expensive, but I'm sure it has vastly superior lowlight performance. I'm interested in it because I might start filming club events/parties as well, and, as you know, the only light there is very scarce. I have looked for vids with that particular lens but almost all of them were used with a GH2. If anyone has any GH3 footage, please show me :)

Thank you!
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Old June 18th, 2013, 10:01 PM   #17
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Luc, you state: "I know the GH3 does not have a sensor with awesome lowlight performance to begin with..."

The GH2 and GH3 each have a sensor that is nearly 1", nearly three times the size of the best prosumer cameras.

F/1.7 is very fast, as is F/1.4 and F/0.95. They are all fine lenses. If you have the money, get the Voightlander, but be forwarned it is an extremely difficult lens to learn DSLR on.

It sounds like you are at the beginning of a difficult learning experience, good luck with your choice. I personally would begin with the 20mm or 25mm Panasonic, if it were me. The DOF on the Voightlander is intense, but it is said to be a great lens.

The Voightlander is the fastest lens you can buy for the GH3, if you want fast, buy the camera and the lens, it would be hard to find much of anything better in low light than that combination.
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Old June 18th, 2013, 10:52 PM   #18
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Jeff, thanks for your reply. What I meant by "not awesome lowlight performance" was in comparison to the big daddy, the 5D Mk3. But the body alone would have eaten up more than three quarters of my budget, so it simply isn't an option :(

Alright, I take it your vote goes to the f1.4 Leica then. I admit I am somewhat afraid of the very shallow DoF on the Voightlander, especially since while filming people dancing there is a lot of movement to keep up with. In addition, my only stabilization tool for the GH3 will be a Manfrotto monopod. I'm guessing one of my hands will have to permanently be on the lens's focus ring. Sounds like dangerous fun.

EDIT:

Here are 2 vids I found with the Voightlander on GH2s. One in which the DoF would be waaaaay too much for wedding videos:


And the second, in which there is hardly any!


I am officially confused.

Last edited by Luc Spencer; June 19th, 2013 at 01:36 AM.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 04:52 AM   #19
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

F/stop affects your DOF. You have more flexibility outdoors, since it's bright, so you can increase your F/stop if you choose, and thereby have more in focus. Indoors you could reduce shutter speed,increase ISO, and raise your F/stop to keep more of the scene in focus. When you're wide open, thats' when you get the intense DOF effect.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 06:19 AM   #20
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc Spencer View Post
...Here are 2 vids I found with the Voightlander on GH2s. One in which the DoF would be waaaaay too much for wedding videos:...And the second, in which there is hardly any!
...I am officially confused.
If auto focus and auto exposure are important to you, the web page I mentioned in this post provides compatibility information on lenses for the GH3:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasoni...ml#post1794797

When you say a lens has "to much DoF", that means there is too much depth of field. That is, the depth of field (the area in focus) is large. That is the opposite of what I think you meant. I think you meant the DoF in the first clip is way to little for what you want. I know english is a second language for you but understanding you will help us help you better.

Keep in mind there is a learning curve for you to shoot video with a DSLR after being a TM900 user with zebras to help you with exposure and focus peaking to help you with focus. The GH3 has neither. Be prepared to come home to a lot of blurry video.

On the other hand, the focus tracking feature by tapping on an object in the display is totally awesome. However, you'll need a lens that is compatible with the GH3 AF (see compatibility chart).
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Old June 19th, 2013, 10:00 AM   #21
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Les, you are absolutely right, and while it is my second language, I knew the term "shallow depth of field" but completely forgot about it :) I only slept 2 hours last night as I was researching lenses and watching countless youtube vids, and my post was immediately after those 2 hours and before any coffee!

Bill. I cannot express the gratitude I have for you right now. That is the type of footage I needed to see to know I need not look any further. I am completely sold, sir. The low light performance is MILES better than the TM900's, and with no lamp either! The DoF is not as shallow as I'd hoped it to be, but I'm guessing if you get closer to the subjects you will get a much more blurred background, no?

Alright, added this lens to my shopping list. Now, one last question, and here I am a bit scared: stabilization. I have been advised to buy a Manfrotto monopod (the 561 BHDV with 700 series fluid head) to use with the GH3. However, if you look at the first Voigtlander vid I posted, you will see a lot of focus play while the camera remains absolutely planted, no shaking at all! How is that possible considering those are macro shots and you have to actually operate the focus ring and rotate it quite a lot? Do you think he is using a really expensive tripod for the shots? I sent him a PM but got no answer back yet.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 11:05 AM   #22
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

It depends on what you are doing but I have a 12-35 F2.8 and it is excelent. I have even used it for shooting drama.

Also be VERY wary of low light test videos on Youtube and Vimio. They both do verry efective noise reduction so hide noise.

The reality is if you really want no noise you cant go above 400 ISO. This means you really need a .95 lens to shoot at night (for drama). For documentary it is less of an issue but it is best to not go above 800 in low light.

Ben
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Old July 1st, 2013, 10:54 AM   #23
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Quoting Ben Edwards:

The reality is if you really want no noise you cant go above 400 ISO. This means you really need a .95 lens to shoot at night (for drama). For documentary it is less of an issue but it is best to not go above 800 in low light.

End quote.

Concerning noise there are some variables to take into account.

One would be "do you forgo the shot, or do you slavishly go no higher than ISO 800 and get video that is too dark and murky?" I'll go as high as I have to to get the shot, then worry about noise (use something like NeatVideo if I have to).

Another is delivery format, maybe this is where noise is best evaluated. Does the noise you see on the computer show in the delivery product.

Third would be your monitor settings. ANY DEGREE of oversharpening will take minor artifacting that is normally not very visible and accentuate it creating noise where there is little or none. Most monitors seem to come out of the box with Sharpness, Contrast, and Brightness set to high. I pull those back to midpoint and "tweak" from there for the best balance between settings that keep the image sharp but stop short of accentuating noise. I'm a "sharpness nut" so I'm not sacrificing any definition in doing so (better sharpness is why I switched from Canon to the GH2).

Tests with my GH3s show no objectionable noise at ISO 6400. And I have and use both the Lumix 20mm f1.7 and the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4
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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:24 AM   #24
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Bruce, yes I agree, there are lots of factors. All I stated that above 400 ISO noise starts to creep in, its up to you if this is an issue.

In terms of 6400 was this a low light test or a high ISO test? A low light test is shooting a VERY dark image (i.e. at night not directly below street light) and seeing how much noise you get. A lot of tests are simply high ISO tests and test high ISO in good lighting (i.e. outside during the day). This is NOT as low light test. Signal magnification (which is what high ISO is) works fine when the sensor has lots of light, you can magnify a lot and you do not see artifices. On the other hand if there is verry little light the sensor does not have much to magnify, the less light the some noise FOR THE SAME ISO.

This means that it is not simply a case of saying you can shoot in low light at X ISO, the ISO you can get away with depends on how little light there is.

I have shot performers in not so well lit venues on 6400 ISO but there is noise, it is actually in the darker parts of the image so crushing the blacks helps but when shooting Drama I am very verves going about about 600 ISO (when you have light the client does not expect to see any noise).

For Drama you are almost always using lights if you are shooting in low light (if you want it to look any good) so noise would generally be not acceptable, for documentary there is a lot more flexibility as it is capturing the moment that matters most, aesthetics can take second place.

Best thing to do is experiment and get experience with the camera and make your own conclusions. This can be done with cheaper glass and then if you need more expensive glass you are making a informed derision.

Ben

PS when I say 'if you really want no noise' I mean in the footage, it is of course possible to reduce noise in the final product but it generally gives you some softening of the image.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 12:40 AM   #25
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Edwards View Post
In terms of 6400 was this a low light test or a high ISO test?
Both. I had just got my first GH3, grabbed the 20mm f1.7 the first night and went out to a shopping strip late at night after all the shops were closed. I had a variety of night street scene and shop front lighting conditions available. And yes I could see some subtle noise in the darker tones and even in some of the stone work if I looked for it (at ISO 6400) but nothing objectionable.

Underexposed darker areas were nowhere near as noisy as I used to get with the Canon 7D, the GH3 has much improved performance in this area. 1600 and 3200 looked pretty clean.

The "eye opener" for me on monitor settings and noise was when I was using Canon APS-C cams and had just ordered a new Dell, got a new 22" monitor with it and had horrible noise showing up on web videos. But on my other workstation with a 21.6" Samsung monitor the same videos looked fine.

It was months before I thought to check the monitor settings. Sharpness, Contrast were up around 95% ! Brightness at around 80%. Pulling those down to sensible levels got rid of most noise for me.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 04:14 AM   #26
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

The interesting thing I saw when I did my low light tests was that as well as that as well as noise in the dark areas I also got a LOT of noise in my garden shed (dark mid tone), there was even noise in whites.

In terms of the monitor thing I would want to set my motor up to show the maximum about of noise as you don't know how monitors people viewing your stuff is set up. In terms of brightness I use a i1 Display Pro.

Ben
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 05:17 AM   #27
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

It may be old news but it looks like the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 has been revised and will ship as a version 2 in August. Hopefully the AF speed is improved. It's a metal body.

Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH. Lens (Black) H-H020AK B&H
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 02:41 PM   #28
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Edwards View Post
The interesting thing I saw when I did my low light tests was that as well as that as well as noise in the dark areas I also got a LOT of noise in my garden shed (dark mid tone), there was even noise in whites.

In terms of the monitor thing I would want to set my motor up to show the maximum about of noise as you don't know how monitors people viewing your stuff is set up. In terms of brightness I use a i1 Display Pro.

Ben
Different picture settings will show a different amount of noise. That may explain the difference. Some of the styles show more noise than others. If I recall correctly I think the flatter styles will show more noise.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 03:04 AM   #29
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Before I click the "submit order" button, just wanted to double check with you guys if there are any reasons why I shouldn't get the Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I have a set of 3 primes so far (14mm, 25mm & 45mm, all pretty fast) and was thinking a zoom lens would complement them nicely (I miss doing some zoom work at events), especially since this particular model has stabilization.

Any better options out there or am I good to go on this one? Thank you.

Lens:

Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 G Vario Aspherical MEGA OIS Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras: Camera & Photo
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Old August 21st, 2013, 04:05 AM   #30
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Re: GH3 Lens Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc Spencer View Post
Before I click the "submit order" button, just wanted to double check with you guys if there are any reasons why I shouldn't get the Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I have a set of 3 primes so far (14mm, 25mm & 45mm, all pretty fast) and was thinking a zoom lens would complement them nicely (I miss doing some zoom work at events), especially since this particular model has stabilization.

Any better options out there or am I good to go on this one? Thank you.

Lens:

Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 G Vario Aspherical MEGA OIS Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras: Camera & Photo
You might prefer the power zoom version of this lens Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 Lens for Panasonic Lumix G-Series Digital Cameras (Black): Camera & Photo You can even operate the zoom remotely via the WiFi link & a smartphone or tablet.
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