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scottyd

Lens Suggestions for a Newbie with a Panasonic GH4

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I posted this over on Dpreview, but it was suggested I head over here to talk to the video gurus so here I am. I did get quite a bit of suggestions as far as lenses and it's a bit overwhelming. I'm interested to know what you guys think from a more video orientated aspect since that's mainly what I'll be using it for. 

 

The Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 has been suggested a few times. Others...Panasonic 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 PZ, Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8, Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8.

 

While I would really like the YAGH attachment for SDI it's a bit too much. I might consider it at a later time or possibly rent it.

 

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I mainly shoot concerts and other live events for IMAG (image magnification) where it's displayed on video boards (usually 720p @ 60). I would also be using it to record various events in a "run n gun" atmosphere and occasional interviews and b-roll. Most of the gear I have experience shooting on is pro-sumer type video cameras such as Panasonic AG-HMC80 with fixed lenses. I want to learn about lenses and such so I thought getting a DSLR/M would help me do this and also give me a chance to produce better quality footage.
 
I've been reading about the Panasonic GH4 and I'm really impressed with it. I went ahead and pre-ordered it, but now I need to decide on lenses. I'm guessing 2 lenses would be a good start. 1 being a close, mid range lens and another being a telephoto. Budget wise I don't want to spend more than a few hundred on each. I might consider investing in a nicer, more pricey lens to start as long as will be an all around lens I can learn on. I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions? Thanks!

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Just get the 12-35 and 35-100 if you can afford them? These are professional quality lenses, constant f/2.8 with IS..

 

These are really just the best and most convenient choice.. Some people may recommend things like older Nikkor AIS manual focus lenses etc and they are GREAT but seriously if you're just started out (and even when you're more experienced) the pro pana lenses are extremely useful and great quality.

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Just get the 12-35 and 35-100 if you can afford them? These are professional quality lenses, constant f/2.8 with IS..

 

These are really just the best and most convenient choice.. Some people may recommend things like older Nikkor AIS manual focus lenses etc and they are GREAT but seriously if you're just started out (and even when you're more experienced) the pro pana lenses are extremely useful and great quality.

 

I think if I'm going to spend that much on a lens it's going to be 1 or the other for right now. Can't really afford to get both.

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So 12-35 will be Wide to Medium to Tele and the 35-100 will be Tele to Super Tele. You'll just have to pick what you are going to use more.

 

I would choose the 12-35 as then you can use the camera's built in crop mode to shoot tele.

 

Also, having at least one native MFT lens gives you the option for Auto Focus, etc

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I think if I'm going to spend that much on a lens it's going to be 1 or the other for right now. Can't really afford to get both.

 

Then I would recommend the 35-100.. You said you shoot concerts so I'll base my recommendation off of that.

 

The main reason being f/stop.. Lenses always get darker at the telephoto end, since you are shooting concerts (generally all sorts of lighting conditions) then a low light telephoto lens is pretty much a must. But the 35-100 will let you zoom in too 200mm equiv and shoot at f/2.8.. 70-200 lenses are pretty much the best choice for most concerts 24-70 just won't be tele enough if you're anything other that first row.. and even then.............

 

However the 35-100 isn't the most versatile being that it starts at 70mm equiv.. you will need another lens, HOWEVER if you can afford a 12-35 that's no prob.. You can get something cheaper to accompany the 35-100.. even the 14-42 BECAUSE when it's at its wide end you can shoot at 3.5 (which isn't great but it isn't bad).

 

If you get a 14-140 you will have a more versatile lens in terms of focal length however like all lenses it will get dark at its telephoto end if you're in dimly lit situations f/5.6 just won't be enough.

 

Atleast with a 35-100 you have decent telephoto low light performance and your cheapo companion lens will be decent enugh for wide low light until you get a 12-35.

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Ok it might or might not have a crop mode. The crop mode multiplies the the reach by either 2x or 3x. A smaller portion of the sensor is used thereby narrowing the field of view. so a 12-35 becomes a 24-70 on MFT which is similar to 48-140 on a 35mm photo camera.

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Have you considered the Sigma 18-35 f1.8? Get the Nikon version with a Metabones Nikon to M4/3 adapter and you have a 36-70 f1.8 (35mm full frame equiv) and with a Speedbooster you have a 26-50 f1.2 (if my calculations are correct). The best thing is that you have a nice smooth iris control, not so good for stills because there is no automation of any kind but for me it's essential for filming.

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After talking with a co-worker it seems like we might split the cost of a Canon 5D Mark III. Reason being the full frame sensor. The mini HDMI outputs a clean feed so I'm happy about that. Seems like whenever I see camera operator job postings a lot of the time they request the 5D Mark III, so I figure it would be good to learn for future gigs. There's some body + lens bundles on B&H we've been looking at it. Any thoughts on these?

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After talking with a co-worker it seems like we might split the cost of a Canon 5D Mark III. Reason being the full frame sensor. The mini HDMI outputs a clean feed so I'm happy about that. Seems like whenever I see camera operator job postings a lot of the time they request the 5D Mark III, so I figure it would be good to learn for future gigs. There's some body + lens bundles on B&H we've been looking at it. Any thoughts on these?

 

GH3 dominates Mark III (I imagine the GH4 will do so even further lel).. You will have disagreeing on the basis of >magiclantern.. However, even with magic lantern you will only have 1 subpar codec which the GH3/4 destroys and complete overkill RAW (it has it's place, run'n'gun IS NOT IT lol)

 

Bad move IMO, more expensive =/= better, FF =/= better.

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GH3 dominates Mark III (I imagine the GH4 will do so even further lel).. You will have disagreeing on the basis of >magiclantern.. However, even with magic lantern you will only have 1 subpar codec which the GH3/4 destroys and complete overkill RAW (it has it's place, run'n'gun IS NOT IT lol)

 

Bad move IMO, more expensive =/= better, FF =/= better.

Hmm something to think about.

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GH3 dominates Mark III (I imagine the GH4 will do so even further lel).. You will have disagreeing on the basis of >magiclantern.. However, even with magic lantern you will only have 1 subpar codec which the GH3/4 destroys and complete overkill RAW (it has it's place, run'n'gun IS NOT IT lol)

 

Bad move IMO, more expensive =/= better, FF =/= better.

I worked on a few reality shows as a lowly PA a while back and I know they were using DSLRs and it was definitely run n gun style.I didn't pay attention to the model at the time, but I know from job postings I see that many are shooting on the Mark III a well as the C100, C300 and FS700.

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Hmm something to think about.

 

Consider the following..

 

>GH4 $1,698

>12-35 $1,104

>35-100 $1,275

 

>5D3 $3,299

>24-70 $2,299

>70-200 $2,499

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Consider the following..

 

>GH4 $1,698

>12-35 $1,104

>35-100 $1,275

 

>5D3 $3,299

>24-70 $2,299

>70-200 $2,499

 

That is quite a big jump. There's some packages on B&H that includes a lens.

 

Body + 24-105mm $3,899

Body + 24-70mm $4,199

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I said RAW wasn't a run'n'gun codec... Not a 5D3 isn't a run'n'gun camera. 5D3's native codec ISN'T VERY GOOD! I mean just look at Andrew's original 5D3 review, it was unimpressive even when it first came out............  With magiclantern you gain some decent features but you're still stuck with either native type codec i.e. shit codec to be blunt or RAW which will eat up memory like no one's business (like 64GB in about 12 minutes?) so not exactly "run'n'gun" (not to mention the cost of these cards)..

 

The 5D3 is a FINE camera.... But at least IMO it's silly to buy one over a GH3 which is better out of the box let alone a GH4 which has again improved codec and features.

 

By all means, buy a 5D3 if you will think it will suit your needs best, but if you are comparing cameras/features out of the box (even if you include magiclantern.. which you kind of need to if you even want a 5D3 in GH3 league) then GH3 still dominates it.

 

You will be spending more money for an inferior setup. I've owned both, GH3 is better.

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That is quite a big jump. There's some packages on B&H that includes a lens.

 

Body + 24-105mm $3,899

Body + 24-70mm $4,199

 

24-105 is a better run'n'gun lens due to IS (unless you plan on investing on and using a rig) but it's f/4 not f/2.8 like the Pana.. The 24-70 is f/2.8 but no IS, not an issue with a RIG but you are increasing size drastically with a rig and cost. The 12-35 is the best of both worlds being f/2.8 and having IS.

 

For the price of one of those kits you can get a GH3 kit with 12-35, 35-100, GH3 battery grip and genuine spare battery............... You would still need a loop for the 5D3...

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Maybe it's good I didn't cancel my GH4 pre-order although I had someone say on dpreview say I'm biting off more than I can chew. He might be right for someone who has no experience with a DSLR/M  :rolleyes:  I'm pretty confident I can learn how to use it once it's in my hands though.

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I've been using some Olympus primes lately to shoot video on my E-M1 (the 25 1.8 and the 45 1.8). Great, fast little primes, if a touch on the expensive side ($400 for a 50 1.8 equivalent? Aye!) You lose out on the IS which is incredibly important if you just want to go body+lens with a Panasonic camera, but if you're not averse to carrying a monopod or a basic shoulder rig I think the sub $500 primes from both companies are great. I quite like the 20 1.7 Mark ii from Panasonic as well; only went with the 25 because I prefer the focus ring on it.

My recommendations - absent a need for something like IS, of course, in which case buy an IS lens - would be:

- Oly 45 1.8
- Oly 25 1.8
- Oly 17 1.8
- Panasonic 20 1.7ii

(obviously not all of them, as some are redundant, but those would be the primes I'd choose from.)

Even the new Sigma A primes (19, 30, 60, all f/2.8) are quite nice, though the focus ring is totally smooth and requires a delicate tough. For $199 USD though they're hard to beat; sharp mostly from corner to corner with little distortion. I've been using the 19 (probably the worst of the bunch optically) for photography and have been quite pleased with the results.

Also, for a cheap IS lens, don't sleep on the Panasonic 14-42 mark II! (the all black one) Not a very fast aperture but quite sharp and under $200 brand new!

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