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jasonmillard81

GH4 - Native vs. Speedbooster

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Greetings,

I am looking for some banter on the topic of using native m43 lenses vs. a SpeedBooster + lenses

Maybe you could provide both technical and anecdotal feedback on the following situations:

1. Video work - Narrative
2. Video work - Documentary
3. Photography


In each domain you would discuss the Pros and Cons of native m43 lenses vs. SpeedBooster + lenses

I just got my GH4 and thinking about either getting a speed booster and working with my current line of lenses:

-Tamron 17-50 2.8
-Canon 50 1.8
-Samyang 85 1.4


OR

Sell them all and use the cash to buy native m43 lenses. A third option would be to keep them and slowly add native lenses. I personally do both photography and video and selling my 5d3 to pay for new lenses or speed booster.

Thanks in advance!

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I own a GH3, two native mft lenses (Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8) and a bunch of Canon APS-C lenses but no Speedbooster as of right now. I have used the APS-C lenses on my Canon 600D extensively though. 

 

Video work: Both mft lenses are great as long as you don't touch the focus ring. There is a little bit of purple fringing when shooting with the 25mm f/1.4 wide open but not worse than any of my Canon lenses. Sharpness is great even wide open. You can't really focus manually because the focus throw depends on your focus speed. If you turn the ring very slowly, it'll shift focus very slightly. If you turn the ring quickly, it goes from very close to infinity within half a rotation. So you can't do repeated focus pulls and I found it to be impossible to focus manually with these native lenses. I had no issues focussing manually with my Canon lenses. As far as I know, there are some mft lenses that offer mechanical focussing so I imagine they're much better for video. Also, the small size and weight of the native lenses makes shooting handheld a lot more difficult because the camera is so lightweight. 

 

Photography: Much better than my experience with Canon really. AF speed is very fast, it's very reliable and the results are great. Both mft lenses I own are very usable even wide open. The difference in sensor sizes (mft vs APS-C) usually isn't an issue for me. Getting usable wide angle shots with a shallow depth of field is very difficult. I don't see myself spending 1000€ on a 12-35 f/2.8 lens for an mft system. 

 

In general: Build quality of the lenses is alright. They do feel fairly plasticky but that's also due to the small size. I do feel that the native lenses are quite overpriced. I bought the 25mm and 45mm lenses because I wanted to give the mft system a chance both as my main videography and my main photography system. So far I like the system but I can definitely see its limitations. I would not spend too much money on native MFT lenses. I feel like they are very overpriced and the build quality does not justify the price tag. 

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Very interesting almost contradictory hahaha :) thanks thought!

 

So then having read all that I may be leaning toward the following line of thought:

 

1. purchase a speedbooster for $600 and try out my lenses

2. purchase a tamron 24-70 for my "workhorse" equivalent to a 12-35 used for $900

3. Eventually get a native lense or two for AF photography

immediate cost = $1,500

 

Or

 

1. sell glass and recoup about $650 and buy a Lumix 12-35 used total cost = $400

Or

1a. sell glass and rcoup about $650 and buy a speedbooster + tamron 24-70 used total cost = $1,000

2. Wait until I figure out what I would need next in terms of photography/video for stills and lowlight

 

 

Thoughts?

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Remember the speedbooster doesn't have AF.  If you're fine with manual, then go with the speedbooster.  But in my experience the Panasonic 12-35mm is one of the best lenses ever.  Fast AF, especially with the GH4, in both photo and video.  F2.8 is good not great in low light, but I consistently shoot ISO 1600 at F2.8 indoors and get great results.  OIS is really good too, especially handheld video.  I believe if you get one lens, the 12-35mm is the best (35-100 would be next).  Yes the native m4/3 lenses are expensive, but the savings in weight is great.  I like lightweight, and if you're shooting all day you'll appreciate it too.

 

Also remember that the speedbooster is more about the rendering of the image.  Do you want shallower DOF similar to APS-C sensors?  Best way is with a fast prime + speedbooster.  If you're more run-n-gun, then it might not matter so much.  It is expensive for what it does, but you get a nice look.  It all depends on what you shoot and how you want the image to look like.

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The main problem with GH4 is the image is too "Digital Sharp" and far from organic. Using softer lenses, manual really helps to bring things back to normal. The Speedbooster on lenses Canon/Nikon look great and brings the "Cinematic" dog we're used to seeing when watching movies/shows.

 

Now if you want a nice 30p video camera look with everything sharp and in focus which resembles something you see on your local news channel then the GH4 is an excellent camera. I've seen and done great work on GH2/3/4 but it does require the right lighting, color coring/grading etc.

 

At the end these are all consumer/entry level prosumer cameras. Personally my strings opinion is 5D Mark III is one of the best "cheap" semi-pro cameras and with the "Raw Hack" is the best video Slr camera. Second being Sony A7s which has great dynamic range and excellent high iso simply not possibly with any other camera consumer/professional in the world.

 

For photography I would not rely on crop sensor cameras as professionals use larger formats than Full Frame, which I would consider the minimum. Heck you can take a great picture with an iPhone, but you'll never achieve the look you get out of a pro medium format camera.

 

Personally I now own a Sony A7s (personal work) and work with Canon C100,300,Reds,Sony,Alexa (with the Production Company). Strangely enough some clients still ask for 5D and pay good money for it as it just has a certain look clients love.

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Nice!  Some great points.  I'd like to add I am acomplete amateur/enthusiast and never do paid work.  If I ever find myself being asked to do so I would reconsider certain things but then again the work would pay for new equipment.

 

I do video for myself and my students (mini-docs, narrative, instructional, travel, family events)  I love the detail of the GH4 and the colors of Canon...there is nothing inherent in FF video that appeals to me more than MFT...infact with a speedbooster you get closer to film with a MFT than FF.

 

Photography I have seen excellent prints on a MFT...I am shooting for myself and friends, and  family. I think 16MP printout is enough to do some decently sized wall photos for decoration etc.

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Nice!  Some great points.  I'd like to add I am acomplete amateur/enthusiast and never do paid work.  If I ever find myself being asked to do so I would reconsider certain things but then again the work would pay for new equipment.

 

I do video for myself and my students (mini-docs, narrative, instructional, travel, family events)  I love the detail of the GH4 and the colors of Canon...there is nothing inherent in FF video that appeals to me more than MFT...infact with a speedbooster you get closer to film with a MFT than FF.

 

Photography I have seen excellent prints on a MFT...I am shooting for myself and friends, and  family. I think 16MP printout is enough to do some decently sized wall photos for decoration etc.

 

 

It's not about the MP just like it's not about the Resolution either of a camera....... If you enjoy the video look coming out of the GH4 then film away and don't worry about anything else.

 

Peace

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi







If these don't look filmic and non-video like I don't know what is. I am one of the people who sold my GH4 because of that reason, I didn't like the image, just can't feel it. But does that mean that you can't make filmic images with it? Hell no. It's just means "I" can't. 

The GH4 just makes it harder to do so, but doesn't make it impossible, it's definitely possible... 

-First you need the s35 aesthetic if you want a filmic feel, it's essential. You add a Speedbooster for that. 600$. 
-You need to reduce the sharpness of the camera, it's too hyper-real to be filmic and pleasing, so you can use vintage/soft lenses, or lowcontrast filters, or add a tiny layer of gaussian blur in post. 
-The highlights clips harshly and non-film like. So make sure to never clip any under any circumstanes. compromise having more noise for clean highlights. 
-Avoid lateral movement as the rolling shutter gives a very strong video feel in 4k mode. Also use a rig or an IS lens because the microshake affect rolling shutter. 
-Tweak the picture profile to your need. Standard is ugly and especially take sharpness off. Contrast also off it screams videoy
-Avoid Cinelike D. The colours are awefull, especially the skin. Cinelike V is much better.
-Grade the footage and get the skin tones right. They're not very pleasing straight off the camera but the 4k files are robust enough to get any look. Add 35mm fine grain to low ISO shots,
-Try Anamorphic lenses with the new firmware. This seems to destroy any video-feel to the image. (I wish I hadn't sold it before experimenting with anamorphic)
-Shoot at native 24p and use a 180 degree shutter 

It's harder and more time consuming than getting a filmic image out of a 5D, it requires experience and knowledge and time, that's why more online videos look video-like than a 5d, it's easier. 

The GH4 is a great movie camera that in the right hand can produce filmlike images, I am not that hand! not willing to make my life harder. 

_______________

regarding the op: get a speedbooster and use your current lenses now. and try shooting stills with manual focus, it's super easy with gh4 evf peaking and magnification, it makes focusing with any other camera (canons/nikons) feel like guessing. If you find you do a lot of photography and need AF, just add a panasonic lens later then. either the 12-35mm or the 35-100mm. depending on what you shoot most (wide landscapes or people etc). If you're not going to use a tri/monopod or a rig, then get the panasonic lens now for IS, 

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Thanks for the information!  But I am confused if you know enough to give advice on how to make filmic images then it would stand that you, too, can make such images.  It is a bit contradictory and I am not sure where to follow.  those videos are amazing so what is so hard to do to recreate in your own environments?  Lastly, Which camera system did you go with that you felt made it easier to achieve such cinematic looks and do you have footage we could see of the other system to compare?

 

Thanks!

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Thanks for the information!  But I am confused if you know enough to give advice on how to make filmic images then it would stand that you, too, can make such images.  It is a bit contradictory and I am not sure where to follow.  those videos are amazing so what is so hard to do to recreate in your own environments?  Lastly, Which camera system did you go with that you felt made it easier to achieve such cinematic looks and do you have footage we could see of the other system to compare?

 

Thanks!

 

 

For some reason GH4 colors/sharpness just doesn't look right, which is the main reason I sold it and now use Blackmagic Pocket and Sony A7s for all personal projects and smaller budgets.

 

Like I said to the op and my final discussion on this post, if you are happy with the image sour of the GH4 then just shoot and enjoy. Personally I found it too difficult to get a pleasing image so I switched to a system I am more happier with, simply my preference.

 

I've seen some nice GH4 footage but always it's been used with Anamorphic Lenses and Speed Booster to get better separation DOF within the image. But still the main problem with GH4 for to me is the colors.... After working on even something so simple like a Balckmagic Pocket Camera, then you see how great the colors are out of this system.

 

Sony A7s is FF but also you can use it strictly in Crop Mode (S35 FOV) and imo it's the second best slr camera ever released, behind the hacked 5D Mark III.

 

*I strongly disagree with AaronChigaco regarding GH4 colors in comparison to Blackmagic, as a simple analogy it's like someone preferring "Concentrated Juice vs Organic Non Concentrated". You simply cannot get a better image out of a compressed codec/colors as something that is uncompressed and has better dynamic range + color fidelity on a technical scale.

 

$00.02

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To be honest much of what I think is cinematic comes down to the following:

 

1. How the movements of the camera align with the subject(s) of the frame

2. The competence of the creator in terms of their color grading and editing

3. Lens choices (anamorphic is king/queen)

4. Camera body ( some do better jobs in terms of color and detail/ISO etc.)

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Thanks for the information!  But I am confused if you know enough to give advice on how to make filmic images then it would stand that you, too, can make such images.  It is a bit contradictory and I am not sure where to follow.  those videos are amazing so what is so hard to do to recreate in your own environments?  Lastly, Which camera system did you go with that you felt made it easier to achieve such cinematic looks and do you have footage we could see of the other system to compare?

 

Thanks!

Those who can't do, teach :D 

Yes I can get pleasing images out of the GH4 but I just find it much easier with other cameras, and I am not willing to use a speedbooster (not available here at all and if I wanted one I would pay more than a thousand US$ overall), or willing to spend hours getting pleasing skin colours, or getting an adequately sharp image, or watching my movement carefully for rolling shutter, or watching the highlights obsessively (which all I found myself doing when I owned the gh4). It's just not for me. If you're willing to learn and want to master the craft of shooting and editing you will get stunning images out of the GH4. I think it's a better system for those who want to learn than Canons/nikons as it takes a bit of dedication to get a pleasing image. Other systems that make it easier to get a filmic look are for example Canon and Nikon DSLRs, put a 1.4/1.2 lens on a 5D and point it at anything, absolutely anything, and your clients will adore the look. I shoot primarily with a D5300 as I found the colours are very special. and the aesthetic of thew image is very filmic without much work needed, lowlight performance is also markedly better. At the end of the day my clients liked the Nikon footage more, and I am only here to please them. 

If you already bought a GH4, forget about other cameras and just shoot. you have one of the most capable movie cameras on the market. Get a speedbooster for your current lenses and learn manual focus even for stills, if you find it too cumbersome then add a 12-35mm later or 35-100mm. It's a great kit you have and with experience you can produce an oscar-winning feature that nobody would be able to tell the difference if it was shot on an alexa or a red...

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To be fair theres nothing un-cinematic about sharpness, sharpness is often mistakenly accused of giving a video look but the best vintage lenses are as sharp as any modern ones. 

 

-You need to reduce the sharpness of the camera, it's too hyper-real to be filmic and pleasing, so you can use vintage/soft lenses, or lowcontrast filters, or add a 

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Lens sharpness is different than electronic processing sharpness- which is what the GH's have always gone overboard with at default settings. They also do additional processing when you use native (electronic) m4/3 lenses, to correct each lenses' shortcomings (edge softness, CA, etc). Just turn the sharpness setting down and use your NLE to sharpen to taste, and/or use non-native (not Panny or Olympus) lenses.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I disagree. One of the native charachteristics of film is the organic low-sharpness look. I think sharpness is inheritngly video-looking. Don't confuse sharpness with resolution. Resolution is the amount of information visible in the scene, while sharpness is how ephasized/highlighted the edges are. Higher sharpness gives an illusion of higher resolution, coupled with a video look.

The GH4 has the resolution part covered, but not the sharpness. I even tried downscaling the 4K image to 720p resolution, yet is still had ugly high sharpness, so it's not down to resolution. And even at the lowest setting in the profile it's still way oversharpened. That's why I highly recommend using vintage lenes, low contrast filters, and even a layer of gaussian blur to give that creamy look, especially on actors faces where you don't want to highlight their edges and imperfections It's an essential practise for GH4 shooters. In wide vistas high sharpness might be desirabe though, depending on what you like.

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Fair enough, youre talking about 'sharpening' rather than sharpness, film may be unsharpened but it isnt unsharp! 

 

In any case, agree there is a clinical look to Panasonic lenses, low contrast filters help with lowering contrast but wont do anything for sharpness (well unless theyre very cheap / poor quality i guess!)

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