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I'm thinking about investing in a gh4 next month, but have no idea of which lenses to pair it with. Most of the lenses I have seen have fly-by-wire manual focus, and that's something I'd rather not work with.
Any good (on a budget) options?
Withe the Micro 4/3 lens mount you have to choose between auto-focus and manual-focus lenses, as almost all auto-focus lenses allow you to manually focus using a focus-by-wire setup. ( the exception being the Olympus PRO lenses, which engage a manual clutch in manual-focus mode )
With auto-focus we have Olympus, Panasonic, and a few Sigma AF ONLY lenses.
With manual-focus we have Voightlander f/0.95 lenses, Veydra T/2.2 Cine lenses, a few Samyang lenses ( Bower and Rokinon are re-branded Samyang lenses ), SLR Magic lenses, and just about any legacy still-photo or cine lens ever made by using Micro 4/3 mount adapters.
I own the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8 zooms, and eight Nikon AI-S fully manual legacy lenses that I use with a Metabones SpeedBooster.
Sometime in the future I would like to pick-up the Olympus PRO 7-14mm f/2.8 zoom and their 40-150mm f/2.8 zoom.
If I shot more Indie Cine work I would definitely look at buying the Veydra cine lenses, as they are optimized for the Micro 4/3 platform and they are cheap compared to other cine lenses. ( most of the Samyang cine lenses are still-photo lenses re-housed to turn them into cine-like lenses )
The Voightlander f/0.95 lenses are also really interesting ( 10.5mm, 17.5mm, 25.0mm, 42.5mm ), as they can be switching into step-less aperture mode allowing you to smoothly open and close their aperture to any setting between wide-open and f/16.
If you're on a budget, I would look at the legacy Nikon AI-S lenses ( for medium to telephoto focal lengths ) using either a Metabones non-SpeedBooster adapter or a SpeedBooster adapter, and either Olympus, SLR Magic, or Voightlander for wide-angle focal lengths. ( Panasonic lenses are all focus-by-wire )
December 18, 2014 at 2:23PM
Great answer! Thank you.
I've checked out some of the lenses you mentioned, and have fallen in love with the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95, which is pretty expensive, so I thought about the gh3.
Would you go for the gh3+voigtlander instead?
December 19, 2014 at 10:05AM
>>>Would you go for the GH3+Voigtlander instead?
I owned this combo for about 18 months, then sold the Voightlander to help fund buying the Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm lenses. The Voightlander lenses are gorgeous, ultra-fast, and the step-less aperture feature is really handy for video work.
The GH3 is also a great camera for both stills and video ( which is why I still own mine ), but I would recommend checking out the Voightlander 17.5mm lens before pulling the trigger on the 25mm lens.
I really like having a slightly wide "normal" lens, and would have probably kept my Voightlander if I had bought the 17.5mm lens. ( when I bought my lens the 25mm was the ONLY focal-length they made )
December 19, 2014 at 11:00AM
Isn't the 17.5mm quite too soft at the corners when wide open? Seems so in some test footage videos I watched.
December 20, 2014 at 4:52AM
I like the Rokinons, they are EF mount and I have paired it with the Metabones speedbooster. Really nice images, but the only drawback is the lenses are quite hefty compared to M 4/3 lenses.
December 20, 2014 at 10:10AM
>>>Isn't the 17.5mm quite too soft at the corners when wide open?
It's as soft as the Voightlander 25mm lens is, but at f/0.95 you can't expect good corner sharpness from these lenses until you have closed down to at least f/2.0
December 20, 2014 at 11:06AM
Great, I'll check prices when I finnally buy it, then I'll decide!
Thanks for the answers
December 22, 2014 at 6:26AM, Edited December 22, 6:26AM
I've had really good luck with my Rokinon 35mm M43 Mount. Mind the crop factor the 35mm becomes a 70mm compared to full frame cameras. It's a little soft at T1.5 But as soon as you stop down to T2.5 it proves a very fast and sharp lens.
December 22, 2014 at 10:46AM