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Steve Lovelace
AF100 lenses search!
on Jun 7, 2011 at 3:43:00 am

Hello, all-

We're in the process of putting together a new camera package centered around the AF100. The primary dilemma is the lens selection... i.e., which ones to acquire.

I've found a litany of info, with numerous posts on the 'Net - and here - but I want to summarize a few questions I'm looking for definitive answer to... and I admit some of this might sound naive to the more seasoned shooters out there. (My disclaimer: I'm not a shooter.) I welcome your thoughts!

1. In the video world, most of us are accustomed to parfocal zooms that hold focus - like the Fujinon ENG lenses. There are apparently very few parfocal zoom lenses available. Check this link: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/02/photo-lenses-for-video/4

Of this list, several users rate the 3 Nikon zooms highly. That said:

2. Since the camera is 4/3, and a lens adaptor is necessary when using 35mm lenses, what is the effective focal length conversion of any given lens? In other words, for example, what is the effective range of, say, a 28-70mm zoom from a 35mm SLR... and NOT JUST DUE to the difference in sensor size, but because of the 35mm-to-4/3 adaptor?

3. What is the resulting light loss f/stop difference when using an adaptor in above situation?

4. Aside from the Nikon lenses, others have used 4/3 Olympus lenses, but the iris bump and non-parfocal aspect scares me. Other than that, the super-wide Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm 4/3 lens is popular, albeit a bit slow. But in the real world, how slow is "slow"? Would it be much different from the results of using 35mm lenses hooked up via adaptors?

It's also been said that the AF100 is not a great "run and gun" camera, that one would be better served by buying an HVX200 (fixed lens limitations) or EX-3 (1/3 sensors) or the like. And while that may be true from an ease-of-use standpoint, we don't want to make an investment in something that has already been out a while and being surpassed by newer, more flexible technology. Indeed, the AF100 is pretty slick.

But that said, fully half our work involves well-lit, single subject interviews. I have read many opinions as to which lens is "best" for interviewing, and we know this is a loaded question, but what is truly practical for size - in most of your experience? Keep in mind considering using f/2.8 lenses from the 35mm world with 4/3 adaptors.

I have a feeling we'll be looking at at least 2-3 lenses to cover all our bases, and the Nikon/Nikkor parfocals look like best choice, but just need to understand more about any resulting focal length and f/stop conversion on these when used in the 4/3 world.

Thanks for the guidance,

-Steve


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Noah Kadner
Re: AF100 lenses search!
on Jun 7, 2011 at 5:15:01 am

There's not really a correct lens. Factors include- whether you prefer zooms vs primes, your budget and whether you want to work with adapters. In general the M43 lens choices are very limited so going with a Nikon or Canon adapter is pretty much essential. The FOV crop factor is 2 so a 50mm Nikon/Canon lens gives the field of view as a 100mm lens would on a 35mm camera and so forth.

There is no light loss because the adapters merely provide the mechanical mount coupling and needed flange distance to the sensor, they have no optical pathway so the lens is identical in terms of aperture performance on a M43 camera as it would have been on a Nikon/Canon body. this is of course completely different from the optical lens adapters you would use on a fixed lens camera where you cannot mount directly over the sensor.

Definitely *not* a run and gun camera- if you need that you want an HVX200 or an EX1/EX3. And they are definitely not outclassed by the AF100. The AF100 is specifically better at one thing- lens flexibility. That translates into depth of field porn. If you want super shallow depth of field- this is the camera for you. If you want everything else you get on any current high definition camcorder- you'll do fine with a fixed lens HD camera.

I shoot most of my interview stuff with a 20mm M43 Panasonic Pancake lens and a Canon 50mm 1.4 and a 24-200 (or something like that) zoom. Cheap and effective.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Canon 7D.


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Uli Plank
Re: AF100 lenses search!
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:46:10 am

Similar here: Pancake 20mm f1.7, 35mm Rokkor f1.8, 50mm f1.4 Rokkor, kit zoom 14-42mm and sometimes a 7-14mm Panasonic.

According to our tests the EX-1/3 has better resolution (it's a video sensor, not scaled photographic) and less noise. Definitely the better run-n-gun camera, plus it has 10 bit via SDI with external recording giving you more correction headroom in post.

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: AF100 lenses search!
on Jun 7, 2011 at 4:00:40 pm

[Steve Lovelace] "1. In the video world, most of us are accustomed to parfocal zooms that hold focus - like the Fujinon ENG lenses.

If you want parfocal zooms, then buy a PL Mount adapter like the HotRod AF-100 Tuner Kit, and then either buy or rent Cine PL lenses.

[Steve Lovelace] "2. Since the camera is 4/3, and a lens adaptor is necessary when using 35mm lenses, what is the effective focal length conversion of any given lens?

The AF-100 sensor size is very similar to the 3-Perf 35mm Cinematography format, so if you are used to working with Cine cameras the lenses work pretty much the same way. ( Forget comparing ANYTHING to the 35mm Full Frame Still Photo format, which has no real meaning in the Cine world )

A "normal" lens for the AF-100 is in the 20mm - 25mm range. ( I use the 25mm f/0.95 Voightlander lens )

A "wide" lens for the AF-100 is in the 12mm - 17mm range. ( The only fast lenses at this focal length are Cine lenses )

A "telephoto" lens for the AF-100 is in the 35mm - 100mm range ( yes you can go much longer, but for practical shooting this is a very useful range )

[Steve Lovelace] "3. What is the resulting light loss f/stop difference when using an adaptor in above situation?"

NO LIGHT LOSS AT ALL. A 25mm f/0.95 "normal" lens, is ALWAYS f/0.95. A Nikon 50mm f/1.2 is ALWAYS a f/1.2 lens.

[Steve Lovelace] "4. Aside from the Nikon lenses, others have used 4/3 Olympus lenses, but the iris bump and non-parfocal aspect scares me.

Very few 35mm Still Photo Zoom lenses of any brand are parfocal, so I would not worry about this. If using a parfocal zoom is important to you buy a PL adapter and use Cine lenses.

Most film-makers consider 35mm Still Photo Zooms as "variable-prime" lenses, because most do not hold focus over the zoom range.

[Steve Lovelace] the super-wide Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm 4/3 lens is popular, albeit a bit slow. But in the real world, how slow is "slow"? Would it be much different from the results of using 35mm lenses hooked up via adaptors?"

This f/4.0 lens is equivalent to a 14mm - 28mm in the Full Frame 35mm Still Photo world, and the equivalent lens from Nikon or Canon is only 1 F-Stop faster / Has more distortion / Costs two times more than the Panasonic lens. I don't see any problem here.


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: AF100 lenses search!
on Jun 7, 2011 at 4:37:22 pm

[Steve Lovelace] " I have read many opinions as to which lens is "best" for interviewing, and we know this is a loaded question, but what is truly practical for size - in most of your experience? Keep in mind considering using f/2.8 lenses from the 35mm world with 4/3 adaptors."

For most interviews something in the 35mm - 100mm range would do. I use a Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZF2 lens with a Voightlander Nikon F to Micro 4/3 adapter. A Nikon AI-S 50mm f/1.4 Manual-Focus lens would be a great choice too.


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Rick Godin
Re: AF100 lenses search!
on Jun 16, 2011 at 11:48:31 pm

I started shooting stills with Nikons in 1970, so I have a great collection of glass (almost sold it on Ebay a year ago) that works perfect on my AF100. See 300mm Nikkor f4, and with a 55mm Micro Nikkor that I thought I'd never use again. Things always come back in style. Maybe the bellbottoms in my closet might fit! rg

You never get hurt in the air!


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