December 2, 2015 at 3:03PM

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What lens should I buy for my GH4?

I just got my GH4 with the purpose of making really, really beautiful imagery for my short films. I know a lens is a big part of this, and there are just so many choices that I don't even feel well-educated enough to know which to choose. I really want a lens that will give me cinematic imagery. Please-- the more the suggestions, the merrier! I'm in serious need of some guidance here. Thank you :)

9 Comments

Cinematic imagery depends on many different factors. Yes, a lens will help, but you'll also need to consider lighting and movement. Keep that in mind after making your lens purchases.

You'll need more than one lens to do this. However, if you're looking for a place to start, I'd suggest the following:

Sigma Art 18-35mm F1.8
Sigma Art 50mm F1.4
Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 (especially if you're looking to use the native M4/3 mount)

December 3, 2015 at 7:44AM

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RJ Ortiz
Cinematographer
159

Any of the Panasonic kits lenses are good to start with, then get a Metabones Nikon G lens adapter ( or the Metabones SpeedBooster Nikon G adapter ) and buy a few used Nikon AI-S lenses like a 35mm f/2.0 or a 50mm f/1.4 or an 85mm f/2.0 lens. Used Nikon lenses are quite inexpensive and produce a very cinematic image.

December 3, 2015 at 7:55AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32114

Your gear won't give you "cinematic images". If you don't know that, you shouldn't be plunking down thousands of dollars on a camera and lenses.

December 3, 2015 at 4:49PM

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Yes it will. An Arri Alexa will give you a more "cinematic" image than what you can get out of an ENG camera, for example. With that said, acting, lighting, set design, and many other factors are more important to shooting images that can be considered cinematic.

Alexandra

December 4, 2015 at 12:52PM

I currently own the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro, which is a micro four thirds lens and is, in my experience, a dream to use.

Good variable focal length, constant aperture at 2.8, extremely well constructed body and does both manual and autofocus if you're into that.

It's major drawback is it's price, as here in the UK it will cost you between £450 ($680) to £500 ($750).

Hope you find the lens you're looking for!

December 4, 2015 at 11:45AM

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Seung-ju An
Undergraduate at Ravensbourne University London.
133

I know this sounds crazy, but I'd rent lenses and test them thoroughly before I'd buy them. The panasonic native lenses are too sharp for my taste. For more cinematic lenses, I'd look too find softer lenses (my preference). Lenses aside, if this was eight years ago when I started shooting, I would focus on having a well rounded lighting kit, gels, filters, and lens filters for outside. As far as image goes, that's more important than any lens.

December 4, 2015 at 1:44PM, Edited December 4, 1:45PM

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Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1103

Since the GH4 sports a m4/3 mount, you can adapt just about anything to that camera. That being said, I think some of the best options have been covered here already. The Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100, if you have the money, should be IMO your first lenses. Yes, they might be a bit too sharp for some, but dial down your in-camera sharpness and contract a bit in camera and you can get them looking cinematic enough. The constant aperture and OIS is also a huge win for those lenses, and turns the GH4 into a run 'n gun beast.

If you're not heavily invested in either Nikon on Canon glass, I would give the Voigtlanders a good look. Sure, they're not as 'future proof', because they're only native to m4/3, but they help produce some of the most beautiful and cinematic images off the GH4 I've seen. You can go the Speedbooster route as well, but with the Voigtlander you feel like you're not Frankensteining glass-on-glass-on-glass (don't forget your filters!), just using something that was perfectly made for the camera. Not to mention lighter!

Anyway, hope that long-winded answer helps you out :)

December 4, 2015 at 2:29PM, Edited December 4, 2:29PM

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Michael Kern
Freelance Videographer
22

I use the Panasonic 12-35 2.8 on my GH4 and I almost never take it off. As others have said, cinematic images mostly come from other factors like lighting and framing but I'd suggest looking at old manual lenses like Canon FD's, Nikons, or Contax lenses as they do have a different feel to them than modern lenses.

December 4, 2015 at 3:16PM

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Daniel Guillaro
Director of Photography, Editor
200

16mm, 24mm, 32mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm - that's what u want to have in terms of perspective.

December 5, 2015 at 4:57AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1372

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