November 20, 2015 at 7:38AM



Hello everybody,

I've recently (due to short budget) bought a GH3 which is a huge upgrade to my former 4 year companion T2i (RIP).

Now I'm in a dilemma.

With no lenses (had to sell them for other reasons) and a 700€ budget do I buy a Metabones Speedbooster and start a new Canon/Nikon collection or do I buy a 12-35mm and start an MFT Lenses collection (with the future possibility of adding a manual speedbooster and cine lenses)?

Thanks in advance.


I would recommend staying in the m43 world. The lenses are smaller, lighter, and less expensive compared to equivalent performance in the FF35 world. And that's before worrying about all the vagaries of shooting everything through several extra elements of glass. The speedbooster is a great hack for folks who have a large FF35mm glass collection and didn't want to start a second collection of glass. If you are starting from scratch, and if you don't need super-special lenses only available in FF35 (such as 800mm f5.6 super-telephoto or 11-24mm f4 ultrawide zoom), keep it simple.

November 20, 2015 at 4:15PM


Thanks Michael.

Yeah my worry would be the real advantage of low light capacity but I don't think it will pay off in long term.

M43 lenses it is!

Ricardo Constantino

November 23, 2015 at 2:35AM

A lot will depend on what you want to shoot. Currently I own four Micro 4/3 lenses that I mostly use for still photos and live-event shooting, and I own eight used Nikon AI-S lenses that I use for interviews and more "serious" shoots.

If you own no lenses at all then I see two routes you could take...

1- Buy a new generation Panasonic 14-42mm kit lens ( good general purpose zoom lens with image stabilization for hand-held work ) and then add on some Nikon AI-S lenses. ( you can always start with the regular non-SpeedBooster Metabones Nikon G adapter that gives you step-less control of the aperture, and is one third the cost of a SpeedBooster adapter )

2- Buy the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 which is a great work-horse lens for both photo and video, that also has excellent optical stabilization.

November 21, 2015 at 7:55PM, Edited November 21, 7:55PM

You voted '+1'.
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks a lot for the answer Guy.
Yeah I'm really considering getting the 12-35mm for my main lenses and adding a couple of manual lenses.

I will mainly shot sort of mini docs, events and some music videos.
I might have low-light situations but I think an f1.4 and some led lights can handle it easily.

What Nikon lenses do you have? I had some vintage glass but I might be just unlucky because they were all too soft and with so much CA.

Ricardo Constantino

November 23, 2015 at 2:33AM

Having shot on two GH4 bodies since they came out I would strongly suggest manual lenses with a focal reducer. Unless you shooting photos a lot and want manual focus. The GH4 is a completely different camera when you put larger lenses on it and use a focal reducer. You can save some money and get off brand focal reducers. I've used Roxsen adapters and have been very happy with them. Similar image to my Metabones adapters.

If you're really strapped for cash FD lenses with a Roxsen FD to MFT focal reducers is a gorgeous combo. You could get the adapter and several lenses for $300 or less!

November 23, 2015 at 7:02AM

Caleb Pike
Shooter, Educator

Thanks Caleb, great fan of your work!
How's the Roxsen versus RJ and Zhongy?

Best regards from Portugal

Ricardo Constantino

November 25, 2015 at 2:30AM

>>>What Nikon lenses do you have? I had some vintage glass but I might be just unlucky because they were all too soft and with so much CA.

I only use Nikon AI-S lenses that are in extremely good shape. The lenses I own are:

24mm f/2.0 ( the 24mm f/2.8 is sharper, but I wanted the f/2.0 speed )
35mm f/2.0
50mm f/1.4
55mm f/2.8 Micro
85mm f/2.0
105mm f/2.8 Micro
135mm f/2.8
200mm f/4.0

All of them are quite sharp, though not as sharp as Olympus or Panasonic Micro 4/3 lenses which are great for photography but sometimes too sharp for video. I find the Nikon AI-S lenses to be absolutely great for video work, and the CA is as well controlled or better than the Panasonic lenses.

The faster lenses do suffer from coma which is a common problem with most fast lenses, but this can be cured by stopping the lens down by one F-stop or more. For example I would never shoot with the 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4, but it's fine at f/2.0 or smaller. If you use it with a Metabones SpeedBooster then stopping down to f/2.0 gets converted back to f/1.4. ( i.e. the 50mm f/1.4 becomes a 36mm f/1.0 lens, and stopped down by one F-stop it's a 36mm f/1.4 lens with the SpeedBooster )

November 23, 2015 at 12:58PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

In addition to Guy's advice:

There are some Ai-S lenses on this list that I want to get soon, to.
But not to break the budget I use and love these ones (with a used metabones speedbooster and noname adapter without itnegrated lens):

20mm f2.8
35mm f3.5
50mm f.1.4 (even wide open if I want to have its dreamy kind of look)
50mm f.1.8 (very good wide open and perfect at 2.8; cheaper than the 1.4)
75-150 3.5 E (very affordable- makes me not miss longer primes at the moment)

Btw, I sold my panasonic 14mm 2.5 as well as the Leica 45mm 2.8 macro, and don't miss them at all (though they are very good).

Also consider that manual focusing with a follow focus does'nt work well with most native M/43 lenses because of the wired focus system.
On the other hand, focusing with the old Nikkors feels and works sooo fine :-)

Josef Weisleitner

November 24, 2015 at 3:59AM

One thing I forgot to mention is that all of these Nikon lenses take 52mm filters, so one set of filters will do the job.

Guy McLoughlin

November 24, 2015 at 7:56PM

Greetings Ricardo,

I think you're on the right track about getting the 12-35 for your shooting needs.
I would also back what Caleb said about the focal reducer from Roxen, as that's the same set-up I went with for my GH4, with vintage lenses and rokinons.

You may also like to take a look at "Vivitar" vintage lenses with serial numbers that start with "37######" as this indicates the lens was made by Tokina. I've really enjoyed the performance on these lenses, hopefully you will too for your future needs.

Good luck and have fun filming!

November 24, 2015 at 3:44PM

Jason L. Wang

Are you still happy with your Roxen focal reducer? I'm thinking about getting one of those cheaper and cheaper G7 and going that route too, roxen and FD canon lenses!

Philippe Orlando

March 14, 2016 at 9:53AM

If possible, limit the number of lenses you have. The reason being with say two manual prime lenses you will really learn to use them, where as if you have alot of lenses, chances are you won't. Ansel Adams would say the best wide angle lens was two steps back

November 26, 2015 at 5:03AM, Edited November 26, 5:03AM


There is no end to the lenses and camera bodies available to use. Learning to use any lens is far better than any particular lens.

November 26, 2015 at 5:05AM


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