Panasonic Lumix GH1 in Joshua Tree and PL lenses!

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3519347887_7cff4a03c0When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: sunblock and vitamin water (first person to name the semi quote wins nothing!) Well it was VERY bright sunlight and I had just seen Star Trek (great), but it was time for my long planned shoot in Joshua Tree Park in California and it was VERY hot!

I have been hired by Panasonic to make them a nice little short to show at the European press launch of the GH1 on May 21st at Panasonic HQ. Originally I had hoped to do this filming in Hawaii, but I had so much on it was difficult, although I did manage to knock off a quick slow motion test during a sunset which you can see here. That was just knocked off quickly over an hour using nothing but the stock lens, no filters, no tripod, just a little gorillapod!

This 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. Carey put together a pack perfect for filming in the desert. A .6 ND grad. a 1.2 IR ND, a 2.1 hot mirror ND (7 stops!), an antique suede and a polarizer. A really cracking set of filters.

But not only that, Illya Friedman of (his new site launches on the 19th May) joined up with me with his brand new prototype PL mount adaptor for cinemas lenses so you can actually put them onto this little camera! Naughty man that he is, he actually stuck a chart in front of my lens and made me shoot it. He knows I don’t film charts!!

I knew the kit lens performed well but as this camera is seriously being considered by indie film makers. So,  just how well would it perform with lenses that cost over $10,000 each!?

p1000070I had to use Illya’s old Matte Box as my Genus one couldn’t take the 95mm diameter (!) of these lenses!

Also along for the ride were Jake Carpenter who was documenting the shoot for me on my little Canon Vixia. Jehu Garcia of Jag35 came along too (I will have a special interview with him coming soon!) and David Aldrich who makes the $100 follow focus was there too! So it was a bit of team! We also bumped into Bui brothers at the end of the shoot too, they had a Canon 5dMk2.

I can’t post the finished edit until the 21st May after the press event, at the same time I will post the making of. In the meantime I wanted to share with you some screen grabs, some shot with the stock lens with full Genus set up and some with the PL lenses. We had Zeiss Ultra Primes, from 16mm to 85mm. They were all T1.9

Now the stock lens is great, it has incredible auto focus features including facial recognition and tracking which is completely silent, optical stabilisation and a nice range (35mm equivalent 28-240mm) although understandably for such a range and price it is quite slow at f4.

I was really happy with the shots we got, both with the stock lens and the PL lenses. Illya’s adaptor worked a treat , the only thing was focusing was much harder as the zoom in extender didn’t seem to work without the stock lens.

Have a look at some screen grabs from both:

Stock Lens

Stock Lens

Zeiss Master Prime 85mm

Zeiss Master Prime 85mm

Zeiss Master Prime 85mm

Zeiss Master Prime 85mm

Stock Lens

Stock Lens

zeiss 85mm

zeiss 85mm

Zeiss 16mm

Zeiss 16mm

Zeiss 16mm

Zeiss 16mm

Zeiss 16mm

Zeiss 16mm

When you put on full frame slr lenses from Canon or Nikon onto the Gh1 you get a 2x magnification factor as the four third sensor is about half the size of a full frame SLR sensor. But with the PL lenses you get about a 16-17% increase in focal length as movie 35mm size is much smaller than a full frame SLR 35mm.

Thanks to Martin for the sensor chart

Thanks to Martin for the sensor chart



The results were terrific with the PL lenses, beautiful bokeh and nice to have nice fast glass to get that shallow DOF, but, the stock lens did a great job. I probably shot about half and half and they cut great together, sometimes it’s hard to know which is which.

So here is a list of the kit that I had:

1 GH1 with stock lens

2 16gb Class 6 SDHC cards

1 Genus Matte Box

1 Genus advanced adaptor bar support system which was necessary due to the stock lens getting longer when you zoomed, the whole plate move back and forth to accommodate it

5 Tiffen 4×4 filters as detailed above

1 miller solo carbon fibre solo ds20 tripod. perfect for this location, the ds10 would be perfect for the GH1 . Don’t get a stills tripod for this camera. You need a proper video tripod.

1 PL adaptor

5 Zeiss Ultra Primes

and LOTS of water.

On the 21st May there will be a blog post with the new short film on it and also the making of which should be a lot of fun. Don’t forget to come back then to check it out!

Thanks to Illya Friedman and Jehu Garcia for the stills.

Until I post my making of and of course the finished film next week, enjoy Jehu Garcia’s little behind the scenes film shot of the Jag35 $99 static DOF adaptor and his second video laughing at my misfortune!

EDIT: Finished film below!

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  1. The zeiss primes look great on the GH1.
    Looking forward to seeing your short at the end of next week.

  2. Mark Spencer says:

    The Outsiders. Loved that book.

    1. pbloom says:

      you win…nothing!! but nice!

  3. rhervag says:

    very nice looking images !
    just saw jehu’s snippet behind the scenes at vimeo, can’t wait for next week now lol.
    happy to hear the kit lens intercuts quite nicely with better gear as i hope to get the lumix working with my FD L collection…
    so, with that gh1 x2 factor, a FD 15mm fisheye with a 180° diagonal fov would roughly deliver something like a 35mm wide when adapted on the lumix right?

    1. pbloom says:

      yeah so you would lose a lot of the fish eye…olympus i believe are bringing out some cracking lenses, some are already out which are fast and are for this camera.

  4. Holy crap that’scrazy

  5. Benjamin Eckstein says:

    that snake gives me the heebie jeebies. I would have run up a tree. Nice shots though.

    1. pbloom says:

      I survived the snake but not the cactus. Still got bits of it lodged under my skin and it’s starting to swell…ouch!

  6. Xavier says:

    Stills look great.

    How did you adjust the exposure with the prime lenses? Did you just use the little light meter at the bottom of the screen? The live histogram? Eyeball from the picture on the LCD? Light meter?

    – X

    1. pbloom says:

      good old fashioned eye ball! got it right most of the time!

  7. squig says:

    you forgot one thing….a hat

    great results with those filters

  8. Avery says:


    Could a guy hook this camera up to the new AJA KI wonder box and output to Apple 442?


    1. pbloom says:

      no live hdmi out unfortunately

  9. Dumitru Tira says:

    Looks like you’re really into the Panasonic camera, do you prefer it over Canon 5D MK2?

    1. pbloom says:

      I love the way it operates way more than the Canon, but he image and low light from the canon is better

      1. Dumitru Tira says:

        of corse it is, 5D is fullframe and is whole lotta awesome 😀

        BTW, if I understand this whole 35mm adaptor thing, If I have a 5D, the footage will look like 35mm film(I’m talking about the depth of field and stuff like that) without really needing a 35mm adaptor, right?

        If so, do you think it’s a good investment for someone that is a photographer(me) who also wants to enter into video production?

        1. pbloom says:

          true, but you have the limitations of the current batch of 35mm DSLRs. Lack of manual control, poor audio, atrocious rolling shutter. Static shots look great!

          Are you talking about buying a 5dmk2 or a GH1 to start off with?

          1. Dumitru Tira says:

            If i’d buy one of those, it would be definitely 5dmk2, but only for photography and because it’s 35mm. But for now, i’d have to content myself with my 400D and try to invest in some L glass, before moving to full frame.

            As for video, at the place where I “work”, we have 2 HDV cams, Sony HDV HD HVR-V1 and Sony HD 1000. both ar nice, although I’m trying to convince my boss to get an 35mm adaptor and some carl zeiss primes.

            What do you think?

            1. pbloom says:

              i would look at the z5 as minimum if you can afford it.

  10. Phillip, this is brilliant!

    Are your screengrabs here from the AVCHD stream, or the Motion JPEG?

    I love your images, amazing work…

    1. pbloom says:

      its from apple pro res version of the avchd

  11. Ranger 9 says:

    I’m surprised the magnified manual-focus feature didn’t work with your cine lenses. Did you remember to enable the “Shoot Without Lens” custom function? This is required on the G1 to make the focus magnifier work with adapted lenses; I would guess the GH1 might work the same way. I certainly hope Panasonic didn’t disable this feature!

    1. pbloom says:

      it was probably me just being stupid and not having it in manual focus mode or something…i did have the shoot without lens enabled as you can’t do anything without doing that first

      1. Fduch says:

        There is a (strangely) rarely mentioned trick to magnify the image: press the left button (magnified part position selection starts) and then center button (confirm the position).

        1. thinkfat says:

          well, left button press is the standard way to activate the aiding in manual focus mode. If you shoot with adapted lenses a lot, you memorise that quickly. But I agree its well hidden, unless you ever became curious about what the “auto focus mode” button does when you’re in “manual focus mode” 🙂

  12. Irwin M says:

    Blimmin heck Phillip.
    You do enjoy your job don’t you?

    This stuff is great.

    see you soon.


  13. mjk says:

    Impressive. With all this good press about the GH1’s video capabilities from you, I wonder if Panasonic will consider making a full-blown camcorder with a Micro 4/3 mount. They could get better low-noise performance as the sensor wouldn’t need to be as dense (it would only need to have enough pixels to do 1080p). Just imagining a Micro 4/3 camcorder for the same basic price as the GH1 would be really cool.

    1. pbloom says:

      who knows…personally would be happy if the upped the avchd to 24mbps that would make me happy! 17mbps is too low.

  14. divide says:

    Watching the footage from your trip in the desert, did you see some obvious codec weakness ? More precisely, do you have to drop some shots because they were ruined by compression artifacts ?

    1. pbloom says:

      didn’t junk any shots…they all look pretty good, but yes there are codec weaknesses… I should have shot 720 50p as it’s much more robust.

  15. jkoch says:

    Under the desert sun, did the EVF or LCD become hard to see, especially with the lens filters attached? Did sunglasses further confound a shot se-up?

    What advantages or effects did the matte box provide? Did the camera tumble to the ground when you stepped backward into the snake and took fright? Do either the lens or the camera come with any assurance of survival from drops or vipers? At least one or both concerns are usually near the top of the average poorman’s concerns.

    1. pbloom says:

      Jehu Garcia of jag35 gave me a very cool hoodman type thing. Also the EVF works great too…

      The snake didn’t scare me at all…Mattebox let me use ND filters to limit the light coming in, also have me a nice grad effect and I also used antique suede to give a lovely warm image.

  16. Paul Reed says:

    WTF?! Charts?!

    1. pbloom says:

      i don’t need no stinking charts!!

  17. helcik says:

    Hello Philip,

    I would say the opposite, its good that you’ve shot at 1080! If there are any codec problems, then please suggest them a fix! 😉

    Thx for your great work.

  18. […] Phillipさんのブログを見ると、撮影状況の詳細がわかります。 […]

  19. […] Please read my earlier blog about the making of this as I used not only the stock lens but also some PL mount Zeiss Ultra Primes. They are the more shallow DOF shots. They were T1.9. You don’t need to use such expensive glass (each prime costs about $10,000), this was an experiment for me and to test out the new PL adaptor from Illya Friedman of, there is a lot of interest from Hollywood for this camera and that mount for easy extra angle work on stunts and the like as they have loads of PL lenses kicking around on set but not extra cameras, the PL projected image is only a bit bigger than the 4/3 so it’s a good fit. Thanks Illya for coming out on the shoot and buying me my huge supply of Vitamin Water! […]

  20. […] Not only can you fit Micro Four Thirds lenses and via the Four Thirds adapter, the Four Thirds lenses, and via Four Thirds adapters all the legacy lenses such as Nikon F, Leica R, Contax, Carl Zeiss, Canon EOS (albeit fully open aperture only on the EOS), but now for the first time, there is an almost affordable digital camera that can use Leica M, Voigtlander, Canon FD/FL (and focus at infinity without optical devices), and when adapters become available, Olympus Pen, and virtually any other 35mm rangefinder interchangeable lens you care to think of. You can see results of using it with Zeiss PL video lenses here. […]

  21. […] realize. For example, Canon FD lenses can be used, Leica M lenses, 4/3rds lenses, and perhaps soon Zeiss video lenses. The Canon FD lenses can control how large the aperture is open on the lens itself, meaning that […]

  22. hi don’t shoot me down on this but would c-mount lenses be an option?

    : )

  23. […] you just read that correctly. A shoot was done recently that used these expensive movie lenses on a Panasonic GH1. Granted these lenses are terribly […]

  24. Pedro Simão says:

    I am trying to buy one Lumix GH1, but every store I search for it say the camera is out of stock.
    Do you know where can I buy it? And when will it really be availbe?
    Thx very much

    1. pbloom says:

      No idea sorry!!

  25. […] the middle of the desert in California. Not that were were working together… actually, he was shooting some footage with a prerelease Panasonic GH1 and Vu and I were shooting a commercial for Hog for Kids. We just so happen to choose the same spot […]

  26. emil says:

    Hi Philip, as usual, you make great shorts ! Concerning the GH-1, I have a question, is it possible to change the shutter in 24fps mode ?? to maybe 1/48 ou 1/120 ? thx

  27. CJ says:

    Can you please tell me where you got the LCD hood/visor you use on the GH1? THX!!!

    1. pbloom says:

      That was loaned to me by Jehu at, drop him an email and ask him!

  28. Jesse Paul says:

    Philip, You said you had a Canon with you. I’m curious about your Canon Vixia and the setup mic, grip lens etc..many thanks Jesse

    1. pbloom says:

      I use the Canon hot shoe mic and a zacuto grip with a canon wide angle lens

  29. Jesse Paul says:

    Hi Phil, I need some advice if you will. I’m looking for a low budget camera setup like the one show 10 sec into your “Behind the Scenes on Philips new GH1 Short” I would like to spend less than $1000 used is fine. I heard the Canon HV20,30,40 are great for low bdgt but your HF-s10 setup looks cool, how much for that setup and what do you recommend? Many thanks, Jesse

    1. pbloom says:

      the hf20 is very good and cheap, get a long life battery and wide angle to go with it.

      1. Jesse Paul says:

        Thanks phil. Ebay offers a lot of knock-off lenses and accessories, can you recommend another site to get quality gear?

        1. pbloom says:

          what sort of stuff you after?

  30. Jesse Paul says:

    To be more specific, I’m trying to make a low budget film (Movie) and need a cam with 24fps. What kind of gear do you recommend to give it that Cinema look. A DOF adapter etc..Thanks Phil

    1. pbloom says:

      a 7D would work wel

      1. Jesse Paul says:

        My budget is $1000 or less. I’m torn between a new HF20 with wide angle lens & Rode Mic or a HV20/30 with a 35mm Static DOF. What do you think is better for shooting a movie?
        Best regards, JP

  31. […] met Illya Friedman from last year when I went to Joshua Tree with a pre-production GH1. He had a PL lens adaptor for the GH1 and brought some very nice Glass with […]

  32. Hi Philip,

    I have been asked to shoot some video footage on a low budget (I am a stills photographer by trade) so have dipped my toe in the water and bought the Panasonic GH1. I really love the tiltable screen which is what swung me away from the Canon 5D Mark 2 and 7D. The still results with the 14-140 are very diasappointing when shooting wide open and wondered if any of the PL mount ultra primes (be they hugely expensive) would improve things. I have a range of Nikon lenses and read that you were waiting for a Nikon adapter for the GH1 – have you tried it out yet? Thanks in advance for all the shared info. all the best, Terry

    1. pbloom says:

      i have had a nikon adaptor for ages. works fine!

      1. Hi Philip – brilliant. Do you have the details of the supplier of the Nikon adapter? Also who (when I can afford it) is the supplier of the prime lenses and the PL mount? Again, thanks for the shared info. Much appreciated. All the best, Terry

        1. pbloom says:

          mine was from ebay and the adaptor for PL is

          1. Good man. Thankyou.

  33. bmirman says:


    I’ve been looking all over for the Genus matte box you used on your shoot. All the ones I see seem to have a very shallow box, not like the one you were using.

    Also, how would that work with a Tokina 11-16? The mattebox I have now crops my image. I hav e to zoom in to 14mm before it is out of frame