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Special Family Project - Advice on Lenses


nagual
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Hello everyone,

Most certainly this year I'll be buying GH5. This will be strictly for family use and a special project I have in mind to take photos and movies of my 3 year's old daughter. We think that she has a talent for music (violin) and dance. Here is the request: would you please suggest 2 (maximum 3) lenses in the order of importance to have. Superb bokeh and very filmic look is a must. If you are going to suggest please state why this particular lens, thank you. If I need speedbooster no problem, just mention it. We might later present these files to promote her in appropriate agencies.

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Three of the best primes for u4/3 are the Olympus 75mm f1.8, the PanLeica 42.5mm f/1.2 and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. They all have nice bokeh and are blisteringly sharp. The Leica is the only one with OIS, but to me the IBIS alone is good enough. You'll probably want a wide as well, but I can only provisionally recommend the Leica 12mm f/1.4, as I've never used it and haven't seen any videos with it as of yet. It is also insanely expensive for a focal length I wouldn't be using very often. If you get a focal reducer, the options are limitless, from Zeiss Milvus to Sigma Art lenses, and they will all give you incredibly detailed images with next to f/1.0 or thereabouts. Here are a few tests I did with the lenses mentioned above.

 

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13 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

My favorite m4/3 prime is easily the Olympus 17mm f1.8. Razor sharp, quick AF, real manual focus with stops and a scale. Nice size as well.

The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 falls below the level of Olympus's best offerings, it is inferior in resolution even to Panasonic's modestly priced, more compact 20mm f/1.7, and for a moderately wide angle lens, it is too slow to create amazing bokeh. In sum, the Olympus 17mm is an average instrument that is nowhere near the level of the lenses mentioned by me earlier. 

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Thank you all for contributing to my request. I looked at the videos, researched a bit more on the subject by reading on the similar thread, and decided to be more specific about my situation.

Budget wise I have a limit of $5000 CAD which for time being I cannot stretched out. Body camera will cost a bit more than have of this, so I left with probably 22 - 2400 for lenses. 

I will get 2 lenses ONLY. So many choices of lenses ...

Jonpais thank you for your comparison sigma vs PL, I even looked at your round I video. Both are good. I understand you chose PL over Sigma, right? Beside, they are evenly priced keeping in mind price of metabones?

I have my very limited experience with Oly 75mm on OM-D camera - nice, sharp lens … but feel uncomfortable to work with due to distance to the subject.

Santiago de la Rosa thank you for the suggestion. No experience with adapted lenses, UNFORTUNATELY. Speedbooster plus Sigma lences or vell regarded Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 IF D is my consideration. Or buy the announced revised version of 12-35mm f2.8? Please share your opinion, thanks.

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nagual, Tiffen has some very informative vids showing tests with their filters. You might want to consider getting one if you want to cut down on the sharp video look. Also, you might want to look into the Veydra lenses. If it was me, I'd get the 17.5 and 42.5 Voigtlander. But you'll miss out on autofocus and these lenses are much heavier than the Panasonic/Olympus offerings.

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9 minutes ago, Flynn said:

nagual, Tiffen has some very informative vids showing tests with their filters. You might want to consider getting one if you want to cut down on the sharp video look. Also, you might want to look into the Veydra lenses. If it was me, I'd get the 17.5 and 42.5 Voigtlander. But you'll miss out on autofocus and these lenses are much heavier than the Panasonic/Olympus offerings.

Interesting read, thank you! As some might know I also have a love/hate relationship with the Voigts. Sold and rebought it twice. The image is awesome, but there are just times when you need AF - especially when things are going fast. 

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Thank you Flynn, thank you jase. I also have very limited use with Voigtlander, I think it was 17.5mm I tried it with my OM-D back then. I can certainly relate to jase experience awesome unique image, somewhat heavy, expensive even in second hand store no AF ... still it's a consideration. This time I am really after unique filmic look and the tip about Tiffen filtres is well appreciated.

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15 hours ago, jonpais said:

The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 falls below the level of Olympus's best offerings, it is inferior in resolution even to Panasonic's modestly priced, more compact 20mm f/1.7, and for a moderately wide angle lens, it is too slow to create amazing bokeh. In sum, the Olympus 17mm is an average instrument that is nowhere near the level of the lenses mentioned by me earlier. 

From a technical perspective you might be right, but the Olympus has definitely some magic that cant be expressed in numbers.  Currently busy with an edit and this lens shines again!

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25 minutes ago, jase said:

From a technical perspective you might be right, but the Olympus has definitely some magic that cant be expressed in numbers.  Currently busy with an edit and this lens shines again!

I recently watched some jaw droppingly beautiful music videos - crystal clear, gorgeous bokeh - shot by a friend with a 50mm f/1.5 Nikkor AI and cheap Chinese adapter that altogether cost him under $50.00. If you have talent, you can create great stuff with any tools at your disposal. 

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15 hours ago, nagual said:

Thank you all for contributing to my request. I looked at the videos, researched a bit more on the subject by reading on the similar thread, and decided to be more specific about my situation.

Budget wise I have a limit of $5000 CAD which for time being I cannot stretched out. Body camera will cost a bit more than have of this, so I left with probably 22 - 2400 for lenses. 

I will get 2 lenses ONLY. So many choices of lenses ...

Jonpais thank you for your comparison sigma vs PL, I even looked at your round I video. Both are good. I understand you chose PL over Sigma, right? Beside, they are evenly priced keeping in mind price of metabones?

I have my very limited experience with Oly 75mm on OM-D camera - nice, sharp lens … but feel uncomfortable to work with due to distance to the subject.

Santiago de la Rosa thank you for the suggestion. No experience with adapted lenses, UNFORTUNATELY. Speedbooster plus Sigma lences or vell regarded Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 IF D is my consideration. Or buy the announced revised version of 12-35mm f2.8? Please share your opinion, thanks.

Do not throw your money away on the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8: it's nutty expensive, slow even by 2012 standards, and not pin-sharp wide open - on top of which, it's super plastic fantastic: and by f/4, unless you're shooting up close, the bokeh won't be spectacular. I'd sooner spend $600.00 total on the Sigma DC DN 30mm f/1.4 and 12mm f/2 Samyang, and save the $400.00 or whatever. Of course, even with in-camera sharpening turned all the way down (for a cinema look), nobody is going to say your images are blurry or anything like that - same goes for the Olympus 17mm f/1.8... You're right about the Olympus 75mm, though - you've got to be able to have some distance from the subject. But it's indisputably the sharpest lens with the nicest bokeh of any native mount u4/3 lens, surpassing even the legendary Nocticron, which costs some $700 USD more. I'll be posting another field test this evening, if you want to have a look. If manual focus doesn't intimidate you, you might be better off buying a few vintage lenses and a cheap Chinese adapter. The Samyang cine lenses will work in a pinch, too, Just not wide open. Zoom lenses aren't the trash they were when I was studying photography back in the 1980s, but none of the u4/3 zooms can hold a candle to the best primes in the system. Actually, anything at all will suffice: you might shoot better videos of your precocious daughter with a $50 lens than I ever could with a $10,000 Cooke. I would still suggest investing in some primes that are no slower than f/2, or a focal reducer (the Mitakon for $150?) and some APS-C lenses.

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15 hours ago, nagual said:

Thank you Flynn, thank you jase. I also have very limited use with Voigtlander, I think it was 17.5mm I tried it with my OM-D back then. I can certainly relate to jase experience awesome unique image, somewhat heavy, expensive even in second hand store no AF ... still it's a consideration. This time I am really after unique filmic look and the tip about Tiffen filtres is well appreciated.

Adorama has the 75mm f1.8 and the 45mm f1.8 in a kit for $899. It includes carrying cases for each lens and lens hoods. They've also got the 20mm f1.7 for $267.99 and it includes a $25 gift card. You could finish up with the 30mm f1.4 for $339 (or $314 if you use the $25 gift card). Those 4 lenses new are only slightly more than the Panasonic 42.5 f1.2 by itself and would give you far more range. However, none of them are stabilized so you wouldn't get to take full advantage of the stabilization. The 42.5mm 1.2 is very nice but is also very expensive. Still, if you want just one lens that has autofocus and image stabilization, and you don't mind spending the money, it would be a good choice. I agree wit jon about primes being the way to go, especially since you said you want nice bokeh.

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Thank you Flynn, thank you Jonpais, all excellent suggestions. For time being I decided to start with PL 42.5 prime, even though it is expensive by any standards ... but native, stabilized, fast with good bokeh. Another lens I am very tempting is Voight 17.5 or I'll try to get 50mm f/1.5 Nikkor AI to see what I can accomplish with. Based on my previous use of OM-D and bunch of Oly native lenses this time around I want to steer away from "generic" look ... Found this enlightening video if anyone is interesting  

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So just to clarify the OP's request... will you be filming your daughter's dancing primarily at recitals?

I think without a doubt you would want a zoom lens. Sure in most instances primes are better but for your purposes, I would only recommend a zoom. Since you would like some nice bokeh, you need either a fast zoom or an f/2.8 speedboosted.

For the filmic look you are after, I would certainly recommend one of three lenses...

1. Sigma 18-35mm with two adapters... the Metabones speedbooster and a Metabones electronic... this way you will double your zoom range with the one lens and depending upon where you are set up, you can choose the proper adapter accordingly.

2. Nikon Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8... the Bourne Lens... speedbooster and dummy adapter.

3. Tokina 28-70 f/2.6-2.8... Angenieux design... speedbooster and dummy adapter.

There are various other zooms that will work for your specified needs... the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 with a speedbooster would be lovely. Vintage Nikkor zooms. Canon L FD or EF zooms speedboosted.

But honestly... if you are after a filmic look, I wouldn't get the GH5 and the native primes or zooms.

The GH5 is going to be an amazing camera and there will be amazing work produced with it and some of that work will look filmic, but it will take work to get there.

I personally believe you can acquire what you are looking for with a better suited camera to your needs. For instance, if you are really interested in the filmmaking aspect of the project, then I would recommend either a BMPCC or a BMMCC. 

If you are interested in a good looking video with good colors and ease of use with great AF, I would recommend either the Canon 5d Mk IV or a C100ii. The Sigma 18-35mm will work brilliantly with Canon's DPAF (dual pixel auto focus) and your footage will thank you in the long run.

This was shot by fellow forum member @Kubrickian with a Canon C100 mkii. Now he is a pro, but if I were in your shoes, with your budget, this is the route I would take.

 

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3 hours ago, mercer said:

So just to clarify the OP's request... will you be filming your daughter's dancing primarily at recitals?

I think without a doubt you would want a zoom lens. Sure in most instances primes are better but for your purposes, I would only recommend a zoom. Since you would like some nice bokeh, you need either a fast zoom or an f/2.8 speedboosted.

For the filmic look you are after, I would certainly recommend one of three lenses...

1. Sigma 18-35mm with two adapters... the Metabones speedbooster and a Metabones electronic... this way you will double your zoom range with the one lens and depending upon where you are set up, you can choose the proper adapter accordingly.

2. Nikon Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8... the Bourne Lens... speedbooster and dummy adapter.

3. Tokina 28-70 f/2.6-2.8... Angenieux design... speedbooster and dummy adapter.

There are various other zooms that will work for your specified needs... the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 with a speedbooster would be lovely. Vintage Nikkor zooms. Canon L FD or EF zooms speedboosted.

But honestly... if you are after a filmic look, I wouldn't get the GH5 and the native primes or zooms.

The GH5 is going to be an amazing camera and there will be amazing work produced with it and some of that work will look filmic, but it will take work to get there.

I personally believe you can acquire what you are looking for with a better suited camera to your needs. For instance, if you are really interested in the filmmaking aspect of the project, then I would recommend either a BMPCC or a BMMCC. 

If you are interested in a good looking video with good colors and ease of use with great AF, I would recommend either the Canon 5d Mk IV or a C100ii. The Sigma 18-35mm will work brilliantly with Canon's DPAF (dual pixel auto focus) and your footage will thank you in the long run.

This was shot by fellow forum member @Kubrickian with a Canon C100 mkii. Now he is a pro, but if I were in your shoes, with your budget, this is the route I would take.

 

Agreed, if buying for m43, best to steer away from the slow consumer zooms. Any of the lenses you mention will be far more versatile than the PL 42.5mm alone; in fact, I would never attempt to create a reel of my daughter with just one prime of any focal length whatever. As far as the elusive film look goes, that would depend more on the OP's experience, artistry, color grading ability and so on than the camera itself. A GH2 could do it. So could the Sony RX100. I would also advise the OP not to get the GH5, but instead look into a less expensive camera and use the extra money to invest in good glass, a microphone, a brushless gimbal stabilizer and possibly some lighting. A Lumix GX85, Sigma 18-35 + MB SB, Rode mic, Crane gimbal and Aputure 120t + Light Dome would come in at around the OP's budget, and he could always upgrade to another camera in the future, since there is no end to G.A.S. anyhow. :) 

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