March 5, 2015 at 3:09AM


Nikon Primes or Native Lenses

I am about to invest in Panasonic Gh4 primarily for non-fiction work but I am not able to choose between native or nikon lenses. If native I would like to go for Panasonic Leica 25 1.4 and Olymous 12 2.0 to start with. Other option is Nikon primes which includes 50mm 1.4 manual focus and 20mm 1.8 Afs paired with metabones speedbooster. Suggestions on the choice would be appreciated. Would Nikons be a better option as they are better make and can be used with other camera systems in future?


The main difference for me is if you want to shoot still photos, as AF makes life a lot easier for still photo work but is pretty much useless for video shooting.

I own eight Nikon AI-S prime lenses, but also shoot handheld video work using the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 because of the great OIS stabilization. Handheld without an OIS lens means some other form of camera stabilization to get a smooth shot.

I had the 35-100mm f/2.8 lens for about 18 months, but was never very happy with the OIS in this lense, even after the recent firmware update, so I sold it off. I plan on buying the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 later this year because of the focal range, that it's a very sharp lens, and appears to be parfocal, so it will hold focus as you zoom.

March 5, 2015 at 6:07PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks Guy Mcloughlin for replying, focus is not an issue, have never been a fan of autofocus. I like to work the old way. My main concern is the depth of field and the perspective that I will achieve with metabones. For eg when using 20mm 1.8 with metabones, I will be affectively around 30mm 1.2. Now first of all I dont think increase in light with metabones will make the dof shallower as its just an physical increase in amount of light rather than increase in aperture opening. Secondly the dof will remain of a 20mm lens only despite the fact image size of 30mm is attained. And then its a smaller sensor.

March 5, 2015 at 11:30PM


The SpeedBooster will indeed make the DOF shallower for your GH4 camera, but not beyond what this lens can do on a Full Frame camera.

In this case your camera reference is your GH4, so everything relates to what happens to the image on your GH4. ( it's NOT relative to what happens with a Full Frame camera )

I think too many people get caught up with trying to relate the two formats, when they should just focus on the effect the lens optics have with the format they are shooting with.

Yes, from a technical perspective a Micro 4/3 lens has to be half the focal length and 2 F-stops faster to match an equivalent lens on a Full Frame camera, but that can be pretty hard to do when dealing with fast wide angle lenses on both formats.

i.e. You would need a 10mm f/0.9 Micro 4/3 lens to match the look of a 20mm f/1.8 on a Full frame camera. ( Voightlander does make a 10.5mm f/0.95 lens that is just coming to market now )

So your 20mm f/1.8 with the SpeedBooster becomes a 14mm f/1.5 lens on your GH4, which is fairly fast and fairly wide ( about the same as a 28mm on a Full Frame camera )
but NOT the same as mounting this lens on a Full Frame camera.

March 6, 2015 at 8:18AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

I completely agree with you when you say that two formats should be looked differently and dof should also be treated differently like it used to be in the case 16mm and 35mm motion picture formats. As far as Voigts are concerned, the problem that I have observed in various test videos online is how they perform at wider apertures. Its a matter of personal taste. So thats where Nikons come in.

March 10, 2015 at 10:02AM, Edited March 10, 10:02AM


I have a decent set of Nikon lenses that I've carried with me through 3 or 4 different camera bodies now. I've just popped a Nikon to Canon adapter and I can pretty much put them on whatever camera I want to. I'm not sure how easy it is to adapt Panasonic lenses to different branded bodies, so keep in mind whether or not you're sticking with Panasonic for the long haul.

I do have a few auto-focus lenses though because sometimes they do make your projects a little easier depending on what you're shooting.

March 6, 2015 at 2:28PM

Brad Tennant
Director / Cinematographer

Your Comment