Which lenses for your GH1/ GH2/ AF100/ AF101 etc…?

Sorry for the much delayed blog post follow up to my DSLR lens post but here it is finally, I waited until the AF101 was here.

This is for anyone who is shooting video, no stills, with micro four thirds cameras, chiefly the Panasonic GH1, GH2 and the new Panasonic AF series. Also all these recommendations are from 1st hand experience. I have used all of these lenses. There are SO many more I have not mentioned simply because I have never used them, like old Olympus lenses, Canon FD lenses etc…so if it’s no on here it’s not because it is not any good it’s most likely because I have never used it!

Micro four thirds is a different sized smaller sensor than APS-C , S35 and Full Frame. It may be smaller but it is still capable of controlled depth of field and of course that much loved (and loathed!) shallow depth of field. If you look at the sensor chart below you can see the difference between motion picture 35mm, full frame and the M43 standard…click on the image below to go to DVXuser post by The Reverend where this came from and where he lists more info about the differences. It’s also worth checking out my blog post on field of view of different cameras and what this means.

There are a number of people who will be looking at the GH2 or AF-101 and coming from different cameras and of course many who don’t own any format. Obviously if you are heavily invested in Canon EF lenses then the idea of switching to a new format is not particularly appealing! Likewise for Nikon users…but both are solvable (almost)…albeit at a cost and the Canon adaptor being more expensive. The reason is Canon EF lenses have no aperture dial, they are electronic and the aperture is controlled by the camera. Nikon lenses either have an aperture ring or they don’t (G series), if they are G series then you need a G series adaptor. The aperture is not electronic but controlled by a little lever inside the lens, the good G Series adaptors have the ability to change the iris from the adaptor. MTF services make great adaptors for all lenses, but they don’t make a Canon EF one that will you change your iris.

Canon EF users have three options. A basic adaptor without any frills which means you have to set the iris on your Canon camera, lock it down then take the lens off of the camera and put it on the M43 camera. A right pain. There is an adaptor which has a secondary iris which I did a blog on a few weeks back. It’s not bad. Not great, but a good middle ground.

Birger are making adaptors for the AF101 that can be remotely controlled iris and focus and ones that can be controlled by the camera. These aren’t out yet so I haven’t tried one yet. I believe we are looking at around $800 for the one that integrates with your camera.

So which lenses are essential? Which ones are worth getting if you can afford them? What are the budget options?

I have always been an advocate of just using one lens to shoot something with if you are starting. Many of my personal pieces are shot with one single lens! On a 5DmkII that is a 50mm lens, on a crop sensor that is more like a 30mm/ 35mm and on the AF101/ M43 then its a 25mm lens.

Tthe lenses designed for the micro four thirds standard and the four thirds stand themselves…some of them are optimised for video with their autofocus and some aren’t. To be honest I am not an autofocus guy so I haven’t tested any of these lenses out for autofcous I am afraid. I know this will disappoint some but I am sure with a letter bit of searching on forums you can find out how these lenses perform with autofocus.

The first Lumix lens I got came with my GH1 was the 14-140mm . It’s pretty slow and not a constant aperture, F4 to F5.8. So not ideal but it does have a good range and is often bundled with cameras.

The two best four thirds lenses out there, period are made by Olympus and are in their Zuiko range. They are four thirds so need the M43 to 43 adaptor. They are also expensive and hard to get hold of right now because of how good they are which means the price on ebay etc is inflated. The first one is the 14-35mm and the second is the 35mm to 100mm. Both are constant F2! They are incredibly sharp, there is no manual iris ring so it’s controlled within the camera which is not my favourite. They are also pretty bloody heavy, the big zoom is actually slightly heavier that what the the mount is rated as, so do be careful! They are in and out of stock on my Amazon.com store but also check B & H photo as they may come into stock there!

35-100mm F2
14-35mm F2

I used both of these lenses recently on my Turin Brakes music video shoot. The 14-35mm was the main lens used on this shoot.

Panasonic make some nice pancake lenses, the 20mm F1.7 and the 14mm F2.5. The 14mm in particular is very small and looks utterly ridiculous on the AF101 but who cares…it works! just not ideal if you want to stick a Mattebox and follow focus on it!!

None of the Lumix zooms are ideal as none of them are constant aperture (apart from one which I will talk about in a bit) They are good quality but for video you really need that iris fstop to be maintained throughout the zoom range, of course if you are on a budget you may well just have to put up with it!

My single favourite lens for the micro four thirds camera is the amazing Voigtlander 25mm F0.95mm. I have used it A LOT, I shot all of the little GH2 of my mum cooking with that one single lens. it also has an amazing minimum focus distance of just 15cm!

Home Cooking…avec le GH2! from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

This lens is in HUGE demand and bloody hard to source. If you can find one, buy it…you won’t regret it. Just don’t pay too much for it. I paid a $1000 for mine, about right. It really is a great standard lens and you can shoot a lot with just this!

If you are on a budget the 20mm Lumix F1.7 is good as mentioned before or if you need something more substantial look at an old Nikon 28mm F2 and use with an adaptor. The Canon 24mm 1.4L is also superb but has that aperture issue, the other one to look at is the Leica Panasonic branded 25mm F1.4. A REALLY great standard lens but is four thirds so needs the adaptor for M43. It’s around $1000 and is generally in stock. It costs around $1000 but you are getting a superb lens and good class simply costs money am afraid!

Wide angles are always going to be the challenge with these camera as the smaller sensor means your field of view on what was wide on your old camera may not be that wide on the m43! The best super wide angle lens is the Lumix 7-14mm (35mm equivalent 14-28mm) F4. It’s constant aperture. A little bit slow but really wide. But be careful with movement on the 7mm end. There is barrel distortion of course at that end but you can get away with it if you don’t move the camera! It’s a pretty good price these days too. You should be able to get one for under $850 these days…

The best option for wide angle otherwise is the ever reliable Tokina 11-14mm F2.8, but make sure it is the Nikon fit so the iris can be controlled by the adaptor. It’s my number one wide angles lens for the Canon crops and a great lens for these cameras…of course not as wide as they would be be on the the cameras they are designed for but still pretty wide. It’s rare you will need something as wide as 7mm (14mm equivalent). If you look at my Turin Brakes video, even the big wides were just 14mm on the Zuiko lens.

Another great option is the Zeiss ZF lenses, they are the Nikon mount version so use the Nikon adaptor and you are all set. They have a manual iris ring unlike the Zeiss ZE lenses. That is why i bought ZFs over ZE for my Canons. Easier to use on other cameras.

So the top buys are the two Olympus lenses and the Voigtlander. This would cover all your bases but we are talking $5000 of glass here! Not that much in the grand scheme of things but more than the camera, but this is often the case!

Other options and one of the safest bets but more expensive ones, are the Zeiss CP.2 lenses. They have swappable mounts for EF, PL and M43. Pretty nice and the lenses are wonderful. They are just more expensive than all the others! But these are the Rolls Royce and most future proof of the lenses…I don’t own any..but I really need to start investing in them!!

Just make sure if you do invest in lots of M43 lenses that you intend to stick with the format for some time as you won’t be able to put these cameras like the F3, Canon DSLRs and Nikon DSLRs… Once again the safe bet is old Nikon lenses…they work on anything!

Turin Brakes: Ascension Day from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


  1. Thanks Philip, I’m tryin’ to find what are the best lenses for this!

    I was thinking ’bout 14mm Samyang and 28, 50, 85mm Zeiss Distagon…

    What you think? It’s a good deal (i think) if as me, you’re not a zoom fan!

    1. Why not get the Lumix f2.5 14mm m43 for the same price? It’s a great lens and a touch faster. If you’re on a DSLR, it makes it pocket sized. It will correct a lot of the barrel distortion, CA and other stuff, that the Samyang won’t. Focus by wire isn’t an issue for a wide, as focus pulls are very rare on such a wide.

      For AF100, sure it’s too small and looks silly.

    2. Phillip, i have recently bought an AG-AF101 and i am about to invest in some Carl Zeiss CP.2 but i have no clue whatsoever about the mm. of the lenses i should get. I want to film everything, from nature to people, underwater and im going to buy 7 of these lenses. Any suggestions of the millimeters? For example i thought of buying 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, but dont know what else 🙁 Pls help. Thank you

  2. I am purchasing the 20mm f1.7 pancake from panasonic ($339)
    the Nikon Adaptor with iris control from Novoflex ($300)
    the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 ($599)
    the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 ($629)
    and the pinwide cap you posted about from those guys on kickstarter ($39)

    I am going to be saving up for the zuiko lenses, but considering the fact that its only a 2 stop difference, and my wife is a photog with a D300 nikon, I figured this glass was the way to go for now.

    I am probably going to by the #12 handy film tools bundle double shoulder mount, as it was recently rated number 1 value and quality


    and will probably buy the focus control pro and indifocus zooom from

    for now until I can afford an arri or chorziel, at which time I will move these items to a GH2 2nd unit support stuff…

    I thoroughly have enjoyed reading your blog for the last 6 months Philip, and think you are immensely talented. I can’t wait till your canonfilmakerslive here in Miami, FL.

    You also worked with my friends over at budget video rentals when you were down here in key west.

    take care…

  3. Thank you, very nicely done. I am building a kit of adapters, PL, Nikon, Canon, 4/3rds….but I still love my Sigma 30mm 1.4 you used to love. It is so bright and sharp as a tack. As always, I appreciate your guidance.

  4. You failed to mention 2nd hand old OM lenses. Some terrific value Zuikos – hi quality glass – and with the quality olympus OM/ MF-2 adapter (£100 ish) work very well we’ve found.

    Quick test of all these here: –

    We recently paid this for perfect unblemished 2nd hand lenses;-
    Tamron SP 17mm 1:3.5 £50
    Olympus OM Zuiko Mc Auto Macro 1:3.5, f50mm £35
    Olympus OM G.Zuiko Auto-S 1:1.4, f50mm £30
    Olympus OM G.Zuiko Auto-S 1:1.8, f50mm £30

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:2.8 £70 (auto focus works!)

    Quality bargains!

    1. Note about what the adapter does: When the old OM Zuikos are mounted (alone or with extension tubes) on a digital body using an OM/EOS or OM/Four Thirds adapters, the adapter changes the automatic diaphragm to manual click stops.

    2. Philip,
      I am thankful for the knowledge but can not believe you do not ever test Auto Focus.
      I bet you used autofocus on many occasions in your life!

      I understand most DSLR people are trying to be an independent drama and docu filmmakers.
      As such they have more control over their environment.

      Me…. totally the opposite.
      I am a sound mixer but for the last 2 years I started producing corporate and convention videos.
      I roll in a location with my a double system every time.
      If I use a tripod I would use mix of lav and a boom.
      If I am hand held i use lavs only.
      I Never boom on camera.
      Doing sound mixing and shooting is already a big task.
      I can not find myself pulling focus as well
      That is way I value auto focus and would like to hear a little more about it.

      1. unless you are shooting documentary style you should never use autofocus, even a pan across a skyline sent my lens into a tailspin and there were some frames that i can see a correction going on.

    3. Nick, where you picking up these Olympus bargains? Are you opting to use these lenses based on budget or are they just better than anything Panasonic sell to work out of the box with the GH2? I am in the market for a GH2 or a Canon 7D to do events video shooting with a traditional camcorder but knowing what lens to purchase is proving difficult.

      Thanks Philip for writing about your experiences with thee Panasonic beauties!

      1. RED: Ive beeen picking up these old OM lenses from all over the place. This weekend I was up in Lincoln and visited the London Camera Exchange shop there which has a secondhand section. Bought a 50mm f/1.8 Zuiko and 28mm f/2.8 Zuiko for just £25 – the pair! Bargain. The 50mm was taken off an old Pentax OM1. Just make them an offer. They’ve centres all over the place. (There’s another 50mm 1.8 in there at the moment).
        My fav place is Clocktower Cameras in Brighton (http://www.clocktowercameras.co.uk/). I bought a few from those guys (ask for Paul and demand a bargain!) Otherwise just hit all the old usual car boots, Retro shops, 2nd hand joints and of course ebay.
        Some of the Zuikos are absolutely terrific for HD (low res in terms of camera pixels) I don’t believe in having to fork out hundreds of pounds for the very latest in lens technology when much of the best glass was made in the 70s/80s! Unless, of course, you’re a DOF fanatic like Philip 😉 and you need the fastest lenses money can buy! Get to know your camera and get the best out of these great old lenses – you won’t be dissappointed.

  5. I am loving the panasonic af102 (australia)
    i have set it up for minimal noise and great dynamic range(lots of experimenting). it is nothing short of fantastic, I am switching from my 5dmk2 almost completely now.
    although still love the look, especially using cineform intermediate codec
    (conversion to 10 bit 422 color space). In fact this increase in dynamic range
    means i would never edit dslr footage without first going through cineforms

    I purchased the novaflex micro4/3rds to nikon adapter and what a great decision, relatively cheap around $280 aust, fantastic German engineering, solid fit, no movement, even with an old tokina 100 to 300mm f4 with no support there is no slack, (although wouldn’t recommend no lens support for this weight of lens) brilliant. No problems with any lens so far with follow focus movement because of slackin adapter, eg fotodiox with 5dmk2 and nikon lenses, this combo is in a way different league..
    so moral of the story for me, most important purchase THE ADAPTER.
    Next for nikon mount because have many nikkor lenses.
    I also purchased the tamron 17 to 50 (34 to 100) excellent very sharp constant aperture no real chromatic aboration, way cheap and light
    On order is the Tamron 18 to 270 pzu ( 36 to540) no constant aperture and not real fast but , light, cheap and will be good for general purpose eng style
    filming during the day.
    I shot some beach stuff in australian sun, midday, 1080 50p, two girls playing in the surf, white water and shadows on girls and the detail is amazing, detail in white foam, detail in girls face, very happy with this camera, way different league to ex3 and cheaper, if smart about lens choices.
    Can still have an eng scenarion with Tamron super zoom
    plus still get a film look with faster and still cheap after market lenses
    Sort of a super performing ex3 cross 7d/gh2
    I tried the olympus lenses phill mention and are fantastic, especially with f2..
    but there are some way big buts.
    1. do you want to commit that much money to 4/3 format? at least with nikon adapter apsc lenses have more use, and still cover 4/3rds and cut off any edge problems because of slight crop factor.
    2. these lenses,(unless i am missing something) DO NOT HAVE definite stop
    for minimum focus and infinity, meaning they keep on rotating ( nightmare for follow focus).
    Anyway just a long way of saying to anyone contemplating purchasing a panasonic af102, you wont regret it.

  6. Hi Philip, I hope I’m not asking a common question. Will the Olympus Zuiko 14-35mm hold it’s focus after zooming fully in on a subjects eyes?. I film weddings and I would like move to the latest narrow depth of field cine style. I’ve never filmed with a DSLR camera, they getting quite common in the wedding video business. I’m thinking of buying a AF101, I was disappointed to find out this camera doesn’t have pixel zoom on the VF for a quick focus check. Is there any zoom lens I can buy for AF101 that will let me film events like weddings the same way I zoom and focus with my 2/3 inch video camera?

  7. Cheers Philip,

    Have you shot on any anamorphic lenses with the dslr cameras? I have shoot coming up in march and would love to shoot on a set of Hawk lenses or maybe a single large zoom.

    Any recommendations?

    Also think you could do an article on shooting anamorphic on dslr?

  8. Hi Philip,
    Do your Olympus Zooms change aperture during zoom?
    I find around f2.0 when tight it will change exposure when zoom out.
    Do You have the same problem?


    p.s. Will Birger work with TOKINA Canon?

  9. Thank you Phillip, great info. Very thorough as usual.
    I took the plunge today and bought the Ziess 25mm 2.8 Distagon. I found out that it’s the same exact glass that is being used for the CP2 line. CP2’s are built more robust for the film world. This was told to me by a few top guys in the field here in LA. I also ended up getting the Tokina 16-50 2.8, I’m very curious about this lens. It was fairly cheap so we’ll see. Another interesting bit of info regarding the Tokina 11-16 is that Doclus Lenses has taken this lens and built a more robust housing and did slight mods to the mechanics. The glass is taken out of the Tokina and they are charging $3,500.00 US for this $500.00 + Tokina lens. Apparently the film world loves the lens out here.
    Thanks again for your great work here. Much appreciated

  10. hi phillip

    thanks for the review. i have the 16-35mm f/2.8L for my 5d and wonder if it’s really necessary to get the olly 14-35mm for that’s slightly wider and faster and i guess all the functions working. i guess one question is will this lens work on an s35 sensor in the future. i assume not but worth an ask.

    i loved the quality of the lens when i tested in the store and that extra stop actually made a pretty big difference. but future proofing is important to me and over $2000 it’s not cheap.

  11. Hi Philip,

    Thank you for your article. So you have not yet had much of a chance to use any of your Canon glass on the AF101? Because, I too want to be a bit more future proof so was looking at the route of buying Canon L glass, or compatible lenses…with the plan of getting the Birger mount.

    Thanks again!


  12. Philip, a fast question.
    i have the nikon 50mm 1.2 and i love it.( i’ve read that you have the same lens)

    do you think the noktor 50 f/0.95 is a must, despite i have the f/1.2 nikon?or i can stick to the old nikkor and use 900 euro un omething else : )

    thanks in advance!


    1. Nobody wants to talk about Auto Focus.
      Tell me how you would film car scenes without auto focus?
      Are you going to follow focus the moving cars?
      Do not think so.
      So a good AF test especially on moving objects is very important even for indy docu dramas!

      1. Surely AF is not only useful but crucial under many circumstances – doing documentary work as a one-man-band. Apparently the Panasonic 14-140 is the only zoom lens with proper (fast) AF on the market for the AF 100 right now. It would be nice to have alternatives – and tests…

        Another thing, can anyone explain how the M43 sensor suddenly grows from 17.3 to 19 mm when going from 4:3 to 16:9 in the above Panasonic presentation about sensor size?

          1. You are not monitoring sound as well on double system. It is a lot more important to me to get good sound plus picture. Creativity is not my main concern especially for convention videos and corporate “time limited gigs”.
            However everything I have seen about AF on gh2 is very satisfying.

            1. Corporate clients notice bad audio a lot more then bad video.
              The main idea is what they are saying not how they look.
              I just had a shoot for canturi jewelry where a very important applause was out of focus.
              5dII with 24-105L.
              The designer pulled the drape covering $150,000 purse and by the time I paned “hand held” and focused I missed most of the fasination.

        1. The whole point of these larger sensor cameras is to allow for creative control of focus. Auto focus defeats the purpose of having this control and these cameras.

          I can understand why people in the consumer world may want it but in the professional world you just cant rely on auto focus. Further to this focus is one of greatest tools you have as a film maker to convey ideas to the viewer and should be used serve narrative.

          Besides once you get good at it you will become better at pulling focus that any af on the market.

          I thought it interesting Phil, that you didn’t mention the endlessly spinning focus rings featured on some of the lenses above, which are in my opinion a pain in the ass for film work.


  13. Philip –

    TheReverend here from DVXUser! So surprised to see my post linked here on your blog! I love giving people information and helping make complex things simple and understandable. Sharing what we know is a big part of community and I respect and appreciate all that you do. Love your blog, video, reviews, posts and tweets! We’ll be in touch!

  14. i shoot gh2 on all my ancient nikon mounts connecting them with the novoflex adaptor. the adaptor is lovely which some prices mentioned here are not. i paid € 149 so check where you spend your dosh pls.

  15. “I am purchasing the 20mm f1.7 pancake from panasonic ($339)
the Nikon Adaptor with iris control from Novoflex ($300)
the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 ($599)
the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 ($629)”
    I agree with you, Scott. Quality and a lot of versatility in a bargain. And when Nikon decides to make a DECENT HDSLR, you’ll have the lenses.

    Phillip, I always love the LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT
    14-50 mm f/2.8-3.5 ASPH (originally sold in a kit with the Leica Digilux 3). First class LEICA optics with O.I.S and iris ring. With the 1:1 crop factor of the GH2 it’s the ONLY lens I’d need (in a budget) for my shorts films and documentaries.

  16. Yes, obviously the Voigtländer 25 mm 0.95 and the Noktor(.com) 50 mm 0.95 are both rebranded Goyo lenses with M43 mounts. Where can one buy the Goyo lenses at bagain price? And which kind of mount do they have?

  17. thanks for this post!
    i just went through the frustrations of figuring out which lens format to go with my GH2, im a dp that comes from shooting 35mm film, RED, SonyF35, etc…
    i always had my nikons from camera to camera, bolex to eyemo, but when i was seeing your footage with the Voigtlander i was really considering buying it. then two things happened, my AC said to me, just be careful because that lens still isnt great for someone else to be pulling focus for you and besides that cameras change, good glass can be forever.
    the second thing that happened was; stumbling across a recommend for another item on ebay, it was a zeiss planar mk2 cine lens, one i used throughout my career, only 2400! which was a deal, i now know they go for about 3500…bought it and in my search found an 85mm MK1 planar, only 1600!
    so i decided to invest in glass that will last forever, even if my investment will take years to pull off owning a whole set, but these are very rentable for every production and can go from camera to camera to camera…thanks for mentioning the CP2’s…they would be my next buy, but they are also just rehoused contax still lenses, the 18mm is a horrible f3.6 or something…but atleast an assistant can pull proper focus with them, i would choose them over any canon or still lens out there, but i dont think any glass will ever be as nice as the zeiss lenses made for cinema.
    so here i go, a set of real primes, to shoot with and as well get to use them on real jobs! oh i almost forgot, they are small and pretty light!

    1. wow, that was posted by birns and sawyer, coincidently im going to be there picking up a lens being re-greased, im going to check out those lenses and report.
      it makes sense they would breathe less since there were made for cine work and the cp2s are rehoused still contax lenses, plus the cp2s are very slow on the wide end, an 18mm f3.6 would not be a very versatile lens, i would never own that. seems that the xenars 18mm is a 1.9, nice! i have tested them against the older MK1 and MK2 standard primes and the older zeiss was far better but sometimes you can find a deal on them and sometimes you cant, believe me everyone is going to start realizing that these are the best options for dslrs and professional shooting, they are small, light and the best quality, besides going up to a 20k ultra prime, which is way too big for the camera anyway…and almost too clean, i have a hard time getting nice looking flares from them. i wonder how much the xenars cost??

    2. i tried to new schneider primes today on my GH2, they were amazing, i have never seen that quality from any DSLR set up, but i have to say that they were huge! bigger then ultra primes, i wouldnt own them, but i would rent them on a real job where i have huge camera support… i wish i could post pictures of the camera with the lens on it…maybe ill change my profile picture to it! ill try to post some video i shot with it but i handheld, by handheld i mean i had to hold it by the lens, so a bit wonky footage… so with my experience and in this order…
      ultra primes/cooke s4s and the schnieders have the best quality obviously.
      second i rate the zeiss MK111, MK11 primes
      third, the compact primes
      forth MK1 zeiss primes
      fifth Zeiss Z primes
      sixth Voigtlander and Lieca
      seventh Panasonic (man these dont even compare to the others, its a huge difference having real professional glass…

      1. PANASONIC AF101 which one lens would cover the ceremony…

        I’m still a bit lost &would appreciate some help.
        I’m wanting to use to get this camera to shoot weddings.

        During the ceremony will not have time to change lenses.
        Thus my question is… which would be an ideal lens to work with throughout the ceremony in this scenario.
        I would obviously need to be able to ‘zoom in’ for ‘cut aways and detail plus still need to be able to get those wide chapel shots.

        The Lumix 14-140mm seems slow although it would communicate with camera well.

        Any advise Phil….?

  18. Thanks for this! It’s a lot of help! And sorry to hear about the loss of your GH2! 🙁

    Anyway, not to rub it in, but I have the GH2 with the 14-140mm kit lens and it is very nice, but yes, so slow!

    I’m at a loss to know which fast telephoto lens to get. I’m concerned about the image stabilization and don’t think I really understand it with regards to the GH2 and the legacy lenses out there. (I think I’ve been reading too many forums and blogs and now, I’m just totally confused…)

    Could you please recommend a fast telephoto lens with stabilization (or one that ends up being one on the GH2) on the less expensive side of the spectrum?

    Thanks again.

  19. A lot of good info here about lenes for the AG-AF100. I’m still waiting/searching for the ideal lens for the AG-AF100. What is really needed is an ongoing lens compatibility database outlining what electronic functions work/don’t work with various lenses. There’s a compatibility chart on Panasonic’s Pro web site but it only has the Lumix lenses and one Olympus Zuiko lens (the nice $2,300 one).

  20. There’s quite a loud mechanical click when adjusting the aperture on the Olympus 14-35 which will pick up on a top mic. Is this inevitable because it’s a stills lens?

    I’ve got the lens mounted on the Panasonic AF101 with the Panasonic adaptor. Could it make any difference if I used the Olympus branded one?

  21. Dear Philip,

    Cheers for the excellent article. I wanted to ask how much is reasonable to spend on the Nikon 28mm F2. I find it so helpful when you offer price guides or mention how much you bought a lens for. With little knowledge of pricing it’s so easy to get ripped off.


  22. Hi Philip,

    I was wondering if you could recommend a decent adaptor for the Nikon 28mm F2 to GH2?

    Thanks again for all the excellent reading. Your blog is brilliant.



  23. This isn’t necessarily directed at Mr. Bloom, just anyone that might be able to help. I am having a hard time finding the answer to one of my biggest concerns with third-party lenses …

    I am brand new to video (short of point-n-shoot cheapo camcorders). I am considering the GH2 (or GH3 by the time I have the $, lol) and one or two Nikon lenses to start off with.

    1. I am not worried about focus as I plan to learn to pull focus manually … even if it drives me to the nut-house. I am, however, concerned about excessive camera shake when hand-held. Does IS/VR still work on lenses when used with an adapter ring or will I need to stick with Panny m43 lenses with OIS?
    ie. Nikon lens with VR > adapter > GH2

    2. If the non-m43 lenses I buy have an aperture ring on the lens, will I need an adapter with iris control (like the Novoflex)?

    3. I know I probably want a 50mm equivalent (25mm for the GH2) to start with. What would be a good complimentary general-purpose focal length?

  24. Hello everyone,

    This is a great post, it’s amazing what you can learn just by reading posts.
    Some questions for Philip, or anyone…

    I have a gh1 (an almost total newbie and in low budget right now), just got the 14-42 kit lens.

    I’ve been reading about this chinese cctv 35mm f1.7 lens. Has anyone tried it? (around $40 incl. adapter)

    Looking for a faster lens, would you recommend the Canon FD 50mm or Nikon 50mm f1.8? (around $30 vs. $70-$90)

    There are a lot of FD’s on ebay, much cheaper than the Nikon’s. For what I’ve read, sticking to Canon FD’s on the GH1 would be a cheaper option but I’m not sure if it would be the most “cost-effective” alternative.


  25. Was just wondering if anybody here has experience shooting the AF100 with Cooke 5/i lenses, especially the 32mm? I am wondering whether the sensor and data pipeline on the AF100 is such that the optical difference shooting with a $20k lens would be noticeable.

  26. Well, I looked around the web, and can’t find a solid answer to my questions.

    I believe both the Olympus 14-35mm and the 35mm to 100mm lenses you mentioned would fit the AF100 with Panasonic’s adapter, which mentions that it would keep the lenses talking to the camera via the built in contacts. My question is is how do you control the iris? In camera? Both lenses have built in electronic iris control, not a manual ring…

    Thanks Philip, would like to meet you sometime at any of your meetups!

      1. Thanks Philip, Have a sort of related question regarding nd faders. The heliopan sounds great, but the drawback would be to have to set up both my cams with them for two camera shoots…..which would be basically three lenses for a total of $950++.

        Option two is the 4×4 fader which would be 1000+ for both cams……sooooooo if the cash is there then great, but if i had to go with one 4×4 nd per kit or maybe 3 circular nd’s…..what would be a good one to start with (0.3, 0.6, 0.9, etc)?

        By the way. loved the gh2 film with your mom, gorgeous image, great looking food (made my fiance lick her lips, lol).

        We also loved how you have managed to work in yer kitty to your video’s as well, ha, ha.

          1. lol, i guess what i am saying is that i use 3 lenses on two cameras…….so if i opted for the helipan (circular fader) then i’d need 3 of them. The 4×4 faders i’d need two, one for each rig……either way thats 1000 bucks……..if i can’t afford that then i was think a cheaper route would be to use a non-fader nd filter……just wondering which is best of general use……0.6, 0.9, etc.

            like this one:


            sorry for the confusion.

  27. can anyone confirm distortion on the tokina 11-16…..and what the nature of it is….perspective, barrel? assuming it happens at full wide, at what focal length does it improve.

    Also i’ve heard it is considered a lil soft…..i’ve seen some pretty crisp video with it though……is it more noticable at 11mm and 2.8?

  28. Hi Philip, I keep coming back to this article as we stock up on lenses. Question though. I have been right at the edge of pulling the trigger on the Zuiko zooms but something keeps nagging at me. I really don’t like the idea of in camera aperture controls. In addition I would much rather have a parfocal zoom, which the Zuikos are not I believe.

    I have been looking at the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX, which I understand is the basis for the $4,000 Red Pro CF and the similarly price DigiOptical (though that was based on the older and now discontinued 18-50). The lens is parfocal, ap ctrl is external and it’s well under $1,000. It’s only a 2.8, but you have to make a trade off somewhere I guess.

    Have you had any experience with this lens? Any other similar lenses you might consider? Is having a parfocal not as big of a deal as I am making it? Just so used to using it on our others video cameras.

  29. Hi Philip and everyone else,

    I was just about to go for the Voigtlander 0,95 when i stumbled across the new Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4. which is about half the price. Minimum focal distance is not a small as the Noktor, but is is AF (for those who need it).

    Did anyone take a closer look at that already and has an opinion to share?

  30. Hi Philip, I keep coming back to this article as we stock up on lenses. Question though. I have been on the edge of pulling the trigger on the Zuiko zooms but something keeps nagging at me. I really don’t like the idea of the in-camera aperture controls. In addition I would much rather have a parfocal zoom, which I do not believe the the Zuikos are.

    I have been looking at the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX, which I heard (through a very unreliable source) is the basis for the $4,000 Red Pro CF and the similarly price DigiOptical (though that was based on the older and now discontinued 18-50). The lens is parfocal, ap ctrl is external and it’s well under $1,000. It’s only a 2.8, but you have to make a trade off somewhere I guess.

    Have you had any experience with this lens? Any other similar lenses you might consider? Is having a parfocal not as big of a deal as I am making it? Just so used to using it on our others video cameras.

  31. Hi everyone,

    Two quick questions for you all…

    First, of these two lenses, does anyone have an opinion as to which one is the highest quality?

    >>>Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 ED

    >>>Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6 G Vario Aspherical MEGA OIS

    Second, any thoughts about going strictly with used Olympus Zuiko
    manual focus lenses? I’m not too concerned about autofocus, although I
    may also buy a dedicated micro 4/3 lens for that feature too.


  32. Hiya Philip
    I just bought the AF100 recently and am really happy with it. I just have one little / big problem with the Zuiko 35-100 lens I got which you mention above.. it’s really noisy when focusing manually.. is this normal? I haven’t seen any comments mentioning this..
    I basically self-shoot most of the time and now have a real problem with my top mic picking up this trrrtttrrr noise, it’s really annoying and really screws up my ambient sound. And I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do about this..it’s a beautiful lens and don’t want to have to sell it. Ahhhhhhh!

      1. Yes, it would be the only lens. I need something that is a good all around lens for good while. Now I’m leaning towards the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 DG Summilux (not on my list above). I found it for as low as $510 at UniquePhoto.com. Is this a better option?

  33. how noisy is it… well the zoom is silent but then the focus it’s noisy enough to pick up with a mic on a stand next to the camera. And in a silent small room I can hear it even without a mic.
    I mean is your 35-100 silent when manually focusing? I’m thinking that at this price range it should really be silent except when in auto………

  34. If I’ve yet to buy a DSLR or Micro 4/3 camera, and want to mainly shoot interviews, documentaries, but give it a film look, is it worth waiting to pony up money for the Canon DSLRs? I’ve read all of your stuff on lenses, I’ve seen the one or two movies you shot on GH2, but I’d love it if you did more GH2 videos, time lapses, etc… I’d like to know whether I should just slap down $999.00 now and buy the gear. Or will I be happier with the 7d or 5d in the long run. I think somewhere on here you posted that if you buy a lower sensor camera you’ll spend more for lenses. Whereas if you buy a high sensor full frame camera like the 5d, you don’t have to spend as much to achieve the same film look. Is this true.

    Would the Lucas shoot have been completely different if you had shot it with the GH2 to the naked eye? I mean we shooters know the differences, but if most people can’t tell, then isn’t the GH2 a better buy for a first camera?

  35. Hey Philip,

    Been doing a lot of research into certain primes (canon L, nikon ais, zeiss zf, etc). Concerning the GH2 (or other dslrs for that matter), What would your take be on what holds up the best on the “Big Screen”?

    Afraid the ais is too soft and the zeiss doesn’t get wide enough for the gh2 (18mm 3.6 or 21mm 2.8)…which always brings me back to the Olympus zooms. Where would you place the Olympus with these other lens options – regarding Big Screen Projection?

    Thanks, Btw on a side note, really enjoyed your scarlet test shots on vimeo.


  36. Hi Phillip,
    Thanks for being such a great resource and source of inspiration. I own the AG-AF100 and I am interested in purchasing the Canon EF 70 to 200mm F/2.8L IS USM lens. Is the MTF Services Ltd CANON EF to MICRO 4/3 adapter your favorite recommendation at this time?

  37. Hey Phillip,
    First and foremost thanks for the great review. highly educational and am now drooling all over the Voigtlander lens.
    I own an AF 101 and was wondering about a good lens for some money on the side , filming weddings and such, as i am a student at the moment.

    i’d like to join the question asked a couple of months earlier “What about using the Fujinon 14x 8.5-119mm f/1.7 B4 with an adapter to micro 4/3 onThe Panasonic AF100” .

    using prime lenses for my more artistic projects and films however , i need something with a nice zoom range and good enough iris.
    i’v seen a review of this lens online, however it involved some rigging.
    what are your thought regarding this ?
    cheers ,

    1. Another short Q,
      can’t make up my mind between the tokina 11-16 f/2.8 or the panasonic 7-14 f/4.0

      im worry the 11-16 ( 22-32 ) isn’t quite as wide as we would like it to be with the crop factor. however the panasonic one is quite slow, how well can it preform under lowlight ? or night shooting ?
      thanks in edvance,
      keep up the great work , love this site.

  38. Philip, this article has been a great help so thanks for creating it.

    I’m interested in the Lumix 7-14, but read somewhere that it doesn’t accept filters (!!), which would be a deal-breaker. Is there some other way to attach a polarizing or ND filter without having to use a bulky matte box?

  39. I have rented the AF100 with lumix lenses before and was considering using the Olympus ones you recommend, but the rental company specifically recommends against using them for Panasonic MFT video. Have you heard of any problems?

  40. As a complete beginner, can you explain please the relevance of M43 re the Panasonic AF 102?
    Any good books on lenses?
    I want to shoot feature films.

  41. Hi Philip,

    You gave me some advice a year ago regarding purchasing cameras for a film program I run in Montreal and based on it, and my own research, we bought three AG AF100s. They have been great- very robust with good image quality. Thanks for the advice! Aside from the cameras, we have run into a problem regarding the Lumix Vario 14-140mm lenses we got with the cameras and I was hoping you could take a minute to help me out with it. As it turns out, the lenses use a digital pulse focusing system that has proven very unreliable when used with our follow-focus rig from RedRock Micro. Focus starts to drift when you repeat focus pulls over several takes. The Panasonic rep here in Montreal knew what we planned to do with their gear and was unaware their lenses couldn’t do it, so they’ve been trying to find us an alternative… for the past six months.

    They have sent me at least four other lenses, all of which suffer from the same problem or have focus rings whose travel distance is too short for a follow-focus, or have apertures that cannot be set using the camera (or a ring with F-Stops marked on it) which are things we need in order to teach camera and cinematography. The whole thing has become rather comical, actually, since no one there seems to really know which lens will work properly with a follow-focus aside from the expensive ones, so I keep getting lenses that don’t work. Can you recommend any 35-70mm-ish zoom lenses for our AG AF100s that will work with a follow-focus, and have an aperture that students can set and clearly see the f-stop on using the camera or a aperture ring? Oh, and our budget is, well, tight. Between $1000-$2000 CAN (770-1500 EUR). I’d even be open to getting used lenses if they can do what we need them to do.



  42. Hi peeps

    I REALLY need some help!

    Ive just purchased a AF100 and also a Voightlander f/.095. Ive used it on two shoots and its breathtakingly good.

    The problem is a I NEED a zoom lens. I have purchased the Zukio 12-60mm 2.8-4 lens for my zoom purposes and its just not what I expected. when I zoom with it it makes an holy clicking racket and also seem to f stop down between stops when zooming. ie when zooming out rather than just getting lighter it seems to get darker that it should be for the current zoom position and then lighter on the next.
    Coupled with the clicking this is just not fit for purpose.
    So I have £700 to buy a fairly decent zoom, I currently have a Lumix 4/3 to micro 4/3 adapter which i bought for use with the zukio.

    I really need some urgent help here chaps as I have a shed load of shoots coming up!


    1. i like the tamron 17-50 f/2.8 ( nikon mount )
      it’s a nice affordable lens. very pleased with the resaults im getting on it.

      also make sure not to bug a lens that doesn’t have a permenant aperture, not very good for video if you intend on zooming in…

  43. The Olympus Zuiko 35-100mm F2 and 14-35mm F2 are native M4T but have no IS, however, in a M4T camera like the AF100 will that function (image stabilization) of the camera itself work with the lenses, making them a good option to handheld shoots? By the way, they are not parfocal, right?

    I really hope the new Panasonic Lumix G X Vario series can meet the film expectations. It would be amazing If they kept the 35-100mm F2 and 14-35mm image quality and all its goods along with IS (confirmed. It does have it) and parfocal characteristic (nothing said about that yet). If so, they will be great lenses, just a shame they will be f/2.8 and not f/2… I would happily spend a few more dollars for that, because let’s be honest, right now only the Duclos Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and the RED Pro Zoom 17-50mm T2.9 are good length range parfocal lens out there under $7k for M4T (even for S35 and 35 there’s not much of a choice).

    Shooting video with a lens without image stabilization and not capable of holding focus while zooming is simply a bad decision that will make our work much (much, much) more difficult.

  44. Hi Philip. I just bought a Panasonic Af-100 and want to buy a few lenses.
    I don’t want to buy 4/3 only lenses but lenses that can be used in the future on
    other types of cameras. Is there a mount that I can buy for the AF-100 that will
    connect the camera to lenses that will work of the Canon C300, Red, Sony F3, etc?

  45. Thanks for the suggestions Philip!
    I have a quick question.

    Is the manual focus for the Olympus 14-35mm completely manual or is it focus by wire like the panasonic lenses?

    Would love to put a follow focus on this lens but if it’s focus by wire it probably wont work too well.

  46. Hey Philip, thanks for rockin’ the video industry, at least in my own opinion. I’ve been following your website for 4 or so years now, and you have solely kept me personally up to date on this video DSLR awesomeness that’s been happening.

    I’ll cut to the chase. If I were to get a 2/3″ broadcast lens with the B4 mount (Canon 14x 8.5-119mm f/1.7 B4 mount specifically), and get a adapter to the M4/3 mount, and then enable the crop mode on the GH2, will this work? Would YOU do this? I mean, this sounds to me to be honestly THE perfect setup for the GH2!

    Any Google’ing that I’ve done have, as always, got polarized opinions on doing this. Some people say it’s great. A f1.8 lens with that kind of zoom range is insane. Some people say it’s not worth it, because of chromatic aberrations and what not.

    What would your opinion be?

  47. Hi Philip,

    A couple of months ago I started using the 14-35mm and 35-100mm Olympus Zuiko lens with my AF101. Generally speaking I’m very pleased with the results and their low light performance is very good.
    However I have an issue with the 35-100mm lens. When I pull focus there is a horrible juddering noise which any mic nearby picks up. The same occurs when the camera is in automatic focus (not that I ever use that option). The lens adaptor I am using is an Olympus MMF3.
    I was wondering if you or any of your readers have experienced this problem.

  48. Hi,
    according to your recommendation I bought the Voigtlaender Nokton 25mm/F0.95 MFT lens for my Panasonic AF101. But there is no image after mounting the lens, although the focus is set on Manual function. It’s all black! Please help. Thanks, Silke

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