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Micro 4/3 Lenses that add Cinematic Imagery to your GH4 – Part 2

  • February 11, 2015
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Micro 4/3 Lenses that add Cinematic Imagery to your GH4 – Part 2

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Part 2: Voigtlander paired with the Panasonic sensor

We had such great response on Part 1 of this series so here goes Part 2. I really wanted to find a set of lenses that I felt would deliver a cinematic look with this very sharp sensor that is known as the GH 4. The lens that really grabbed me was the Voigtlander.

Shane sets the light for testing the Voigtlander lenses
Shane sets the light for testing the Voigtlander lenses

In Part 1, I went into the whole theory of finding that right set of glass to tell your story and that many times it is pushing that glass to its breaking point to where it will reveal its magic.

Lens Test Rules of Engagement

We will be on the GH4 camera the whole time. We will shoot three different focal lengths on all three lens types as well as at four different f-stops. We will color grade at f5.6 and let the color, contrast and sharpness change as the f-stop drops. Remember we are looking for the breaking point.

Cross Comparisons
I will also show you the Panasonic Leica lenses side by side with the Voigtlanders. Each test will build like this so in Part 3, you will see all of them side by side so that you can make a more educated decision about what glass revs your engine.

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You have the rules. Now let’s test these babies.

1. GH4 with Voigtlanders

Part 1 went into using the Panasonic glass that was paired with the camera’s sensor. Now we will go in a different direction with the Voigtlanders. The characteristics of this lens set is creamy, softer in tone and contrast alone with football shaped bokeh. The detail in the skin is minimized and this creamy quality that I talk about is prevalent.

Here are the focal lengths for the Voigtlanders: 17mm, 25mm, 42.5mm.

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Wide Focal Length: 17.5mm

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Right off the bat this lens looks cinematic even at a f5.6 where that depth of field would not be so nice. The Panasonic Leica looks very sharp in a video way on this sensor, but the Voightlander really turns this camera into something I would shoot. Obviously on a lower ISO than 800, this camera seems to function the best at 200 with noise that would be acceptable. Bokeh looks round and nice.

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This is an amazing f-stop on this lens. The lowering of the contrast with the change in the f-stop really makes it work. I feel this makes it more cinematic in nature. Love these lenses across the board on this camera system. Bokeh nice and round.

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Here is where the lens falls apart, not in a good way. Not sure what to focus on. Distracting in nature.

Here is a little shot of our lighting setup for the shoot.
Here is a little shot of our lighting setup for the shoot.

“It is not always the best to shoot wide open on a lens just because you can.”

Medium Focal Length: 25mm

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The f5.6 looks really great and wonderful color. This is not as sharp as the Panasonic, which is a good thing.

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F2.5 on this 25mm is amazing. This looks stunning. If I were to do a movie with this camera, I would be shooting on this glass.

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Again wide open is not the way to go with this glass just like the Panasonic Leica glass. Still retains good color and contrast but loses its sharpness; nothing is in focus. The Panasonic loses so much color and contrast. Notice the football shaped bokeh in the background. At a f2.5 the bokeh remains round.

Tight Focal Length: 42.5mm

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At a f5.6 this lens looks very good. Great color and contrast and I love the amount of sharpness in this glass.

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This is a very sweet spot a f2.5. Good color, great contrast. Sharpness is wonderful.

The long 42.5mm on the Voightlander holds up beautifully at a .95 where the 17.5 or 25mm didn’t. Eyes are still sharp, great effect on this lens for close ups. Check out the stunning football bokeh.

Next, we will move onto Part 3 with Olympus Glass and how these lenses have a very bizarre feel to them.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Camera
16×9
Shot in 4K UHD, Mastered in 1080p HD
Picture Profile: Cinema-D
Sharpness turned all the way down and contrast lowered -2
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Voigtlander 17.5mm
Voigtlander 25mm
Voigtlander 42.5mm

Lights
(2) KinoFlo Celeb 200s
(2) KinoFlo Celeb 400s
(2) KinoFlo Divas
DIY Lights: String of bulbs and clamp lights
(4) 4×4 Light Grid Cloth
(2) 4×4 Floppies
4×8 Beadboard for Fill

Shooting Location: Revolution Cinema Rentals

  • Depth of field
  • F-number
  • Focal length
  • GH4
  • Leica Camera
  • lens test
  • Lenses
  • lighting
  • Micro 4/3 Lenses
  • Micro Four Thirds Lenses
  • Olympus
  • Panasonic
  • Panasonic Leica
  • Photographic lens
  • Photography
  • Science of photography
  • Telephoto lens

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