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Thread: G1/GH1 Prime lens advice

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    G1/GH1 Prime lens advice

    I have both G1 and GH1 and I'm starting to want to shoot more and more with primes. Right now I have both Nikon and Leica M adapters for the G1. I'm curious about the use of F Vs M lenses for the wider angle glass. For example, from what I've seen here, at least some seem to shy away from the M rangefinder glass (Leica/Voigtlander) for focal lengths less than 35mm due to smearing at the lens edges.

    So, my question is would a better choice for focal lengths below 35mm be to go with Nikon F mount lenses for 28mm, 21mm, 18mm etc? Right now, I'm using my Nikon 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.4 and 300mm f4 lenses and I'm looking at picking up 21mm, 28mm and 35mm f2 Zeiss F lenses.

    I also (obviously) have a Nikon setup (D300s), so the ZF lenses would be for both systems.

    The other road open to me is to get the CV 35mm f1.2 and 50mm 1.5 lenses for M mount.

    Any feedback would be useful, especially some good examples of CV lenses like the 28mm f2 or the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZM lens.

    Much of this desire for primes is to be able to use them on the GH1 for video work. Please also note that Leica glass (even used) is simply out of my price range. I've used the CV glass before and loved it, but not yet used the Zeiss glass.

    Cheers,

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    Re: G1/GH1 Prime lens advice

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    I have both G1 and GH1 and I'm starting to want to shoot more and more with primes. Right now I have both Nikon and Leica M adapters for the G1. I'm curious about the use of F Vs M lenses for the wider angle glass. ...
    I've used Pentax 17FE and 50/1.4, Nikkor 20/3.5, 24/2.8, 28/2, 105/2.5 and 180/2.8, Olympus OM 24/2.8 and 28/2.8, Olympus Pen F 40/1.4 and 70/2, and Konica 40/1.8 lenses on the G1. Also a Cosmicar 12.5mm f/1.4 TV camera lens. All work reasonably well, subject to their individual characteristics ...

    A rough generalization is that SLR lenses tend to have more appropriate light path designs for a digital sensor compared to RF camera lenses, which is more evident at shorter focal lengths, but I know some folks using the CV 15 and 21 mm lenses who seem quite happy with the results. The Cosmicar 12.5mm above doesn't cover the FourThirds format fully, but since it was designed for a TV camera's sensor it produces very crisp rendering right to the edge of its image circle.

    It's hard to make broad generalizations that will hold in all cases. There are a lot of lenses that can be used with these cameras ... few people have tested more than a few lenses out of what's available to work with. What I tested just happened to be what's in my lens cabinet that I had adapters to work with ... It's far from a dedicated, expert sampling.

    So my recommendation is to get a couple of adapters and borrow/test/sample what looks interesting. Pick and choose from that as to what you find useful.

    In my case, for still work, I find myself using the Cosmicar 12.5/1.4, Olympus ZD 25/2.8, Panasonic/Leica 25/1.4 ASPH, G.Olympus 40/1.4 and G.Olympux 70/2 lenses most of the time. And of those the 12.5/1.4, 25/2.8 and 40/1.4 most again.

    It's good to have choices.. ;-)

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: G1/GH1 Prime lens advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    ...I know some folks using the CV 15 and 21 mm lenses who seem quite happy with the results.
    Godfrey,

    I have the CV 21mm f4 M lens myself, but I don't really see the point when the kit lens is virtually the same aperture. I'm really looking for faster lenses where I can.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Cheers,

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    Re: G1/GH1 Prime lens advice

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    I have the CV 21mm f4 M lens myself, but I don't really see the point when the kit lens is virtually the same aperture. I'm really looking for faster lenses where I can.
    There's the rub: there aren't many legacy lenses from 35mm that are substantially faster than f/2.8 to f/4 in the 12 to 24mm range. At least, not without being quite pricey indeed.

    The Olympus M.Zuiko 17/2.8 seems at least a good performer from what I've seen of it, and it works very nicely on the G1. Panasonic should ship their 20mm f/1.7 sometime soon. Those are both micro-FourThirds lenses so full compatibility.

    The Nikkor 28/2AI is a fine performing lens, edged out slightly by the Panasonic/Leica Summilux-D 25/1.4 ASPH. The latter provides AF support too. The Olympus ZD 25mm f/2.8 is right in this ballpark too, although not quite as good on performance until you get to f/4.5 or so.

    The Canon FD series 24/2 is, according to some, another very fine performer in this range and superior to the Olympus ZD 25, but I've not worked with it.

    There's a Pentax-A 16mm f/2.8 that is another very fine performer, competitive with similar Zeiss lenses, but it's rather large and expensive. I haven't used one: my friend has it and loves it on his Canon 1D II.

    Fast C-mount lenses for the television world work very well but most don't cover full FourThirds format, though some might cover in 16:9 format capture. (If I set the G1 to 16:9 format and crop the image inside the Cosmicar 12.5/1.4 image circle, I get an image size of 3335 x 2248 pixels, about 7.5 Mpixels and 3:2 image proportions rather than 16:9 proportion ... equivalent to about a 30mm lens on 35mm film cameras. Good enough for a lot of things.)

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: G1/GH1 Prime lens advice

    Thanks Godfrey, lots to ponder.

    Ciao,

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