November 15, 2014 at 12:57PM

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Best affordable Micro 4/3 Lens for video

Hey guys,

I just purchased a GH3 for shooting video on ebay. I am completely new to the micro 4/3 system so I wanted to know what affordable lenses were good for shooting video. I am looking for a wide lens right now, maybe equivalent to the 35mm full frame size. I saw a Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 lens I don't know if that is a good one.

my budget is 500$ and under!
also if you guys have any advice on shooting short films with gh3's or micro 4/3 cameras I would love to hear.

Thank you.

24 Comments

If you don't already own one, I would start with the Panasonic kit lenses...

14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II Lens : This is version 2 of the original 14-42mm kit lens ( do NOT buy the version 1 lens, it's not as good )

14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens : This is the older, higher performance kit lens.

12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens : Brand new and wider kit lens.

All three of these kit lenses are very sharp and have optical image stabilization so they can be used to create very smooth handheld shots. Avoid version 1 of the 14-42mm lens as it was a poor performer.

If you want something faster, then you should take a look at the Samyang 12mm f/2.0 lens, which is both fast and still affordable.

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Lens for Micro Four Thirds Mount (Black)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1080323-REG/samyang_sy12m_mft_bk_1...

The Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 is a fast and sharp lens, but it's an electronic "pancake" lens which makes it harder to manually focus.

November 15, 2014 at 1:59PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30693

Thank you for taking your time to reply Guy. I was wondering, what is your take on the SLR Magic 12mm f/1.6 compared to the Samyang 12mm? Are they any good?

Alex Davalos

November 16, 2014 at 1:18AM

Scratch that. I ended up picking up a Samyang 12mm on ebay for 300$! What's a good lens to get after that? I really appreciate the help.

Alex Davalos

November 16, 2014 at 3:00AM

>>>What's a good lens to get after that?

If you want to continue with fast primes, then I would look at one of these lenses...

Panasonic LUMIX G Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Lens
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?N=11041519&InitialSearch=yes&sts=pi

Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS Lens
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/981719-REG/samyang_sy16m_m43_16mm_...

Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 17mm f/1.8 Lens
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/971405-REG/olympus_v311050bu000_m_...

November 16, 2014 at 3:42AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30693

I would totally add a 25mm. I tried the Olympus, and I don't like the electronic focus, how is the Leica?

November 16, 2014 at 1:57PM

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I have the Leica and it's absolutely RAZOR SHARP even wide open. Maybe one of the sharpest lenses in any format that I own.

Erik Stenbakken

November 17, 2014 at 11:03PM

The Panasonic Leica lenses all use electronic focusing, so manual focus is always focus by wire.

Some of the Olympus lenses have a manual / AF clutch mechanism that provides proper manual focusing.

Otherwise, there's alway the fully manual Voightlander ultra speed lenses...

10.5mm f/0.95
17.5mm f/0.95
25.0mm f/0.95
42.5mm f/0.95

November 16, 2014 at 3:23PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30693

I have a Voightlander 17.5mm, it is a joy to use and if price is a concern - think about it this way - a great lens kept in good condition has better resale value than a camera body that becomes outdated in about a year.

You can pick one up from ebay for a little less cash too.

Colin Fong

November 20, 2014 at 1:21PM

How about the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6. It is not the fastest lens out there, but at native 800 ISO you are not going to be shooting wide open all the time, for example outdoors on a bright day (unless having ND filters).

This is a very affordable and practical option. Not to mention is a "pancake like" lens, so it doesn't add to much volume to a small factor camera, allowing you to be somehow less intrusive.

It also covers quite a range for a tiny zoom lens, from a wide to normal - to telephoto. The optics are not state of the art, but still a sharp lens nonetheless.

So if you are looking for a lens that is affordable and practical, this is a great option.

PS: with the new BMCC firmware update, this lens is even better as it enables the OIS feature and it finally retracts when turning off the camera.

November 17, 2014 at 12:40PM

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Carlos Andres Cuervo
Director of Photography / Editor
86

If you are shooting video, then autofocus is not a big deal. You can get some good inexpensive lenses with precise focusing by purchasing classic Nikon primes on eBay. For $500 you should be able to get a 35mm f/2 Ai-S, a 50mm f/1.4 Ai-S and a 85mm f/2 Ai-S. You'll need a Nikon F mount to M43 adapter. If you shop wisely you can pick up all 4 pieces for less than $500 and that old Nikon glass is pretty nice.

November 17, 2014 at 1:19PM

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Eric Benson
Creative Director
93

You may already know but it really depends a lot on what you are planning shoot or the look you are trying to achieve. I personally love fast lenses, so I wouldn't buy an f 3.5-5.6. Especially for the GH3 since we all know it's not so good at low light. If you already have tons of light, or are planning to shoot in day only, well, then that's not a problem.

My main cameras are currently a couple of GH3s and the one thing I really like about these is that you can pretty much fit almost everything with an adapter. At least the most popular brands... but also old lenses. Get primes, they're the best. I really recommend any Rokinon for its glass and build. You don't "have" to spend extra to get cine lenses, as even the normal ones are great. My favorite and most versatile is a Rokinon 35 1.4 that I found pretty cheap on eBay, it had a Pentax mount but with and adapter it's great on the GH3.

While optical image stabilization is great, I would suggest not to limit yourself to lenses with stabilization and rather spend on some stabilization tools (at least a monopod, shoulder mount, blablabla...). You can find really affordable stuff that will make a big difference in the outcome.

November 17, 2014 at 1:35PM

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Hello there Alex. I am not an expert but I've been looking lately for the same, a nice wide lens under 500$.

A 35mm equivalent should be a 17mm lens:
- Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 17mm f/1.8
- Rokinon 16mm T2.2
- Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8
- maybe the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake
The Voigtlander lenses are awesome but expensive if you want to buy a set of lenses.

I wanted something wider. Since I can't afford the Olympus 12mm 2.0 which as a lovely look I searched for cheaper solutions. I wanted a 24/22mm equivalent. Here's a nice option, lumix 14mm 2.5 plus wide angle adapter (with good reviews):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlgX2lEPGk8

You can also search for rokinon 12mm t2.2 cine lens by samyang but I think it distorts the image too much.

Hope it helps. Good luck figuring it out!

November 17, 2014 at 2:28PM, Edited November 17, 2:28PM

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João Peixoto
Freelance Videographer
86

Meanwhile I got the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 in a very good deal and I'm very happy with it, though it's just 40mm equivalent.
Also, search for the metabones speedbooster and see what it does, might fit your needs. Cheers

João Peixoto

February 6, 2015 at 4:09AM

Start with the old 14-45 Panasonic kit lens (version 1). It's not sexy, but it IS respectably sharp and super versatile. Then, I'd buy a Nikon --> MFT lens adapter for $20 on eBay and buy a Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens for another $120 or so and have a killer prime for dirt cheap. Old glass can do wonders with a cheap adapter! Then spend some money on lunch for friends as crew and **shoot!**

November 17, 2014 at 11:06PM

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Erik Stenbakken
Videographer & Photographer
383

The Panasonic 20mm 1.7 is my favourite. It's pretty common, so you might be able to pick it up second hand for a good price. It's sometimes a bit tight when shooting in a smaller room, but generally it's pretty versatile. Personally, I'd go for that and combine it with a decent zoom (14-45 mentioned above) to give you the coverage. I've also got the 45mm Olympus, which makes everyone look beautiful, but it's probably a bit of a luxury at your budget.

November 17, 2014 at 11:54PM, Edited November 17, 11:54PM

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I am a GH2 owner and personally I am a huge fan of Canon FD lenses which you can usually buy for cheap money on B&H or EBAY. The quality in these lenses I find to be more pleasing than the digital look of the lumix series lenses. The only problem is the crop factor which will make your 50mm Canon FD lens into a 100mm. They aren't electronic so you have to manually operate the aperture and focus settings. If you check out the fotodiox graduated Canon FD mount to micro 4/3 adapter you will be able to expose properly outdoors in daylight and keep your F stop wide and get some amazing shallow depth of field with creamy bokah. I find the images they create to be more cinematic and they create beautiful bokah. They look less digital.

November 18, 2014 at 1:36PM, Edited November 18, 1:36PM

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Thank you everybody for all of the suggestions! I will definitely take a look at all of these lenses. The Nikon F and Canon FD lenses also sound like a bargain considering the prices and quality output! I really appreciate you guys helping me get started with Micro 4/3s lenses when I understand so little. Cheers!

November 18, 2014 at 7:00PM

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Scrap and save however you can - the panasonic 12-35mm fixed f/2.8 is a winner. I love this M4/3 mount lens. It has built in OIS too.

November 19, 2014 at 8:16PM

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The 12-35 lens is my most frequently used lens. Good image quality, relatively fast at f2.8, decent zoom range (albeit short), fairly fast focus, and excellent stabilization (be sure to update the lens firmware). The only flaw with this lens is that it is not constant aperture when zooming. In spite of it being advertised as such, it flickers when zooming. Regardless, I use this lens a LOT.

David Patterson

November 21, 2014 at 12:11PM

Totally agree. The 12-35 f/2.8 is my do-everything lens. Unfortunately, it's twice the $500 budget.

Dan Koblosh

November 21, 2014 at 3:57PM

Unfortunately Alex, there is no "best lens" for anything. Interviews generally demand tighter lenses, like 42.5mm. Action shots usually demand wider lenses like 9-14mm. Let your content guide your decision, and buy from there. Remember that as your skills and budget increase, you'll be able to purchase a wider variety of lenses.

For those just starting out, I recommend a medium-range zoom lens. Not too wide but not too tight. On MFT, you may consider the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm, as that can shoot decently wide and fairly tight. It should get you started, and isn't too expensive as lenses typically run.

November 20, 2014 at 3:41PM, Edited November 20, 3:41PM

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Brandon Neubert
Color Artist / Writer / Director
728

I realize this will eat most of your $500 budget, but a Metabones Nikon G to M43 Speed Booster ($429) with any Nikon glass (borrow or buy used) is most useful.

The Speed Booster has an optical element in it that shrinks the lens's light circle down to fit the micro 4/3 sensor, like a reverse teleconverter.

This concentrates the light on the sensor, making it brighter by 1 stop. Thus, an f/2.8 lens becomes f/2.

Additionally, optical issues the lens might have like chromatic aberration are reduced and the lens actually becomes sharper.

The "G" version of the Speed Booster has a manual f/stop control ring, so no matter which Nikon lens you mount, you can stop it down if you need to. If you're using older non-G Nikon lenses, they have manual f/stop rings. Nikon no longer supplies their newer lenses with f/stop rings as the camera controls f/stop. But when you're adapting a newer Nikon lens to the GH series camera, you lose that control from the camera and have to use the lens wide open. If you have the "G" control ring on the Speed Booster, you can still control the iris.

Yes, it's way more than a $20 Nikon/M43 adapter, but you do get better performance out of any Nikon glass you might have.

November 21, 2014 at 3:55PM

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I did a review a while back for a 4-12mm 1.2 C mount lens ...it's 90 bucks...

"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38Za5JD6vYE"

Then you can probably get the Rokinon 12mm. or a used Oly 17mm 1.8 with the remaining cash.

November 22, 2014 at 4:01AM

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Gary Hanna
Videographer
168

Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I just realized how LOW FULL 4/3 lenses are becoming.

14-54mm Olympus Mark I (there are two versions a Mark 1 and Mark 2) is UNDER $100 USED. Yes you have to buy an adapter. Yes it's not the best for AF and you don't have continuous Af. But cheap adapters are $50. so $150 buys you a 2.8-3.5 14-54mm zoom lens, about the same price as a kit lens...not bad. The Mark 2 version (which has better AF) is about $200. the 12-60mm 2.8-4.0 Oly is about $250, $300 with the adapter used.

Sigma's 30mm 1.4 is $200 used on ebay. ($300 used on average if you get it from a store).

Not the most exciting thing, but you get your zoom lens or prime lens, with a few hundred to spare.

January 17, 2015 at 10:18PM, Edited January 17, 10:18PM

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Gary Hanna
Videographer
168

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