Using a Matte Box on the GH1

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Is it possible? Well yes it is…but there is a problem if using the stock lens as it changes length when you zoom making Matte Box use a real pain. Primes? No problem? Zooms that don’t change length? No problem. But as most of us will use the stock lens that causes a challenge…


Whilst at NAB I picked up a set of rails and a new Matte Box from Genus. Although more designed for video cameras (it works a treat with the EX1/3) I wanted to try it out on the the GH1. This is a really affordable set up…most Matte Boxes and supports cost a lot of money and are often out of the price range of the keen amateur orindie film maker, but they really are essentially in many situations. 

The Genus set up has managed to balance cost and build quality and doesn’t weigh much. Are there better Matte Boxes and supports out there? Of course, there is always something better (and much heavier!) But this has to be the best budget set up I have come across.

The Mattebox is very solid and well made but really light, as are the rails. Due to this light weight I was able to loosen the knobs on the side of the rails just enough so when I zoom in and out the Matte Box moves with it…I have a 62mm ring screwed onto the front of the lens and this fixes in solidly onto the Matte Box making this utterly doable. It’s not ideal…in an ideal world  I would want a lens that stays the same length, but we don’t live in an ideal world and the way this rig from Genus is set up and the amount it weighs make this an ideal solution. Of course you could just use a clip on mattebox which this cane be with the right ring, but then if you change lenses you need a different ring for each lens…

You do need a quick release plate from manfrotto to make this work though as you can see in the pic below…

Check out some more pics below to see it working with different lengths..

I am picking up some filters in LA later this week and will try them out on this rig.



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  1. Someone is having way too much fun. Kinda cool… kinda geeky. But, more so kinda cool. Most importantly, thanks for experimenting. It saves the rest of us time and money. Thank you.

    1. Did you get the filter pack with the Matte Box. I’m curious about the quality of the filters and how usable the ND grad is as well as the Polariser.

      Cheers Phil or is it Tom at

      Can hardly tell the difference these days 😉

      1. pbloom says:

        sorry didn’t get any filters from them

  2. Andy Michael says:

    Philip, how are the Genus products you bought priced?
    I wish Genus listed their prices on their website.

    1. pbloom says:

      Matte box is US$795. The GFFW French flag is US$98 and the GMB/A Advanced Adaptor Bars are US$270

      1. Nino says:

        That’s about the same price as the RedRockMicro mattebox. Is the Genus better?

        1. pbloom says:

          the redrock one is better but very heavy making everyday use tough.

  3. Sean says:

    Man! It’d be cheaper to buy the metal and a welding kit and make the parts yourself! :)

    1. pbloom says:

      go for it and will feature on my blog if it’s good 😉

  4. divide says:

    Does it really make a difference compared to the sun cap which you can found in the GH1 package ?

    1. pbloom says:

      the sun cap doesn’t let you put in 4×4 filters for all sorts of lovely optical enhancements like ND grads, polarizers etc…

      1. divide says:

        Ah, get it, but for that purpose you can have ND and polarizer filters directly attached to the lens, can’t you ? Plus you have all the ISO settings in the camera that can act as ND.

  5. StenR says:

    For lenses with changing lengths, something like the Matteblox maybe better:

    1. pbloom says:

      yes that works ok, i have one, but worry about putting my expensive filters in….a clip on matte box will work too, which this Genus can be with the right ring, but every time you change lens you need a different ring…a bit of a pain

  6. Matt Moses says:

    What about Cokin Filter Holders? they are $15-$20 each US and you could just leave them on the lenses if you had a case to fit them that way. Has to be the cheapest filter holder… and Black Foamboard taped to it for flags/barndoors.

    1. Matt Moses says:

      The Cokin stuff is plastic and super lightweight, and you get what you pay for for durability…but its gets you using 4×4 filters with a hood for around $40. – Does a mattebox affect the image? I am guessing other than shading light from entering from the sides, the image it is affecting is the photographers. :)

      1. pbloom says:

        that’s a good cheap solution.

      2. Andy Michael says:

        Didn’t see anything for $40 on their website. What is the link? (Are you cool with links, Philip?)

        1. Andy Michael says:

          Whoops. Sorry. Just saw the original post. Never ye mind.

  7. Philip, Big fan for what your doing and doing well as im not into Eastenders. :))
    i have a perfect F350L complete with extras i.e HD canon optic, case, top light, etc etc which i would like to sell it to go RED, i believe you also have a 350 want another heheh. sorry, do you have any ideas of the best way to sell it these days. via web sites etc as i am based in mallorca spain
    cheers and maybe we might meet one day soon i hope. power to the Bloom.


    1. pbloom says:

      Hi Jason…no idea how to get best price. I don’t use my F350 anymore myself!! Sorry!

      1. no problem thanks anyway, if not before i know now your a true pro, cant leave that laptop hey!!
        get some rest you crazy bloger.

        1. pbloom says:

          i can’t am six edits behind! got three video blogs, two shorts and one commercial to edit. As well as two more shoots at weekend!

          1. man if you dont finish by the morning im not gonna write to you for a month!
            good luck, and remember if your using motion APPLE “S” my friend APPLE “S”.
            cheers, time for a beer.
            oh p.s i sure its old hat to you but i aslo has a few EX1″s and have been shooting 3D, have you every tried it your self and do you think its the future.

  8. […] was a far more ambitious shoot, I had the Genus Matte box and support rails. A set of very cool 4×4 filters courtesy of Carey Duffey of Tiffen/ South London Filters. […]

  9. […] マットボックスに関しては別記事でも書かれていますね。こちらも写真が豊富で良い記事でした。キットレンズがにょーっと伸びるので、サポートレールが必要なんですね。 […]

  10. Russ says:

    Philip, nice coverage of matt box and rails. Thanks. It does look front heavy mounted on your Miller – can you off set it to sit further back?

    Would the Genus set up work with a 5D ii? I just bought one after hearing about the manual exposure firmware.

    1. Aleks says:

      Hi Russ

      I just converted this exact Genus Matte Box to fit my Canon EOS 5d Mark 2 with rails and Matte box it cost me R10 000, let me know if you want one.

  11. […] you can use the Genus matte box with an adapter to accomodate the zoom of the kit lens – see here […]

  12. Patrick Benson says:

    Philip, any issues using this matte box with the GH1 after using it for some time? Any risk of the auto-focus failing with the weight of of the matte box? I just ordered my GH1 and rail system, trying to decide on a matte box.