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Mid range MF zoom for video

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by RetroBoy, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. RetroBoy

    RetroBoy Mu-43 Regular

    I've got a few MF primes which I'm loving using on the E-pl1, now would like to get a zoom which I can use for video mainly.
    Looking for something around the 28-80 (old school) range.

    Doesn't have to be fast, but I would like it to be:
    Small and light.
    Not varifocal - would like to pre-focus zoomed in and be able to zoom out keeping focus.
    Easy to turn focus ring - small throw so I don't keep rocking the camera.
    Maybe push/pull zoom for same reason - might be smoother to use.

    I have the m14-42, 40-150, 14-54 Mark1 and 70-300 digital lenses, these are all pretty good as far as I can tell but just looking for something manual to try.

    BTW, I have Konica AR and M42 adapters ATM.

    Anyone using Manual zooms for video?
    What are your thoughts compared to digital lenses?

    Any recommendations of what to try and what to avoid??
  2. PeteMarshall

    PeteMarshall Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2010
    Not sure what you mean by digital lens...do you mean auto focus lenses or lenses designed with coatings specifically to work better (supposedly) with digital sensors?

    However, whatever you mean, I use two quality manual lens for video work. The Minolta MD 35mm - 70 mm f3.5 and the Minolta MD 50mm -135mm f3.5. Both good quality, well built lenses, with a smooth zoom action. The long lens is push, pull for zoom as well, making zooming very smooth. The standard zoom focuses very closely indeed .
    Not as fast as the primes, but sharp enough for FHD fully open and pretty good for still images , but best stopped down a stop. Use with some nice fast primes (the Minolta 50mm f1.4 are great lenses) makes a good set up. And can be brought on e bay for very little money.
  3. RetroBoy

    RetroBoy Mu-43 Regular

    Yep, by digital I meant the ZD Zuiko Digital lenses I listed for auto focus with 4/3 and m4/3.

    I am considering the Minolta 35-70, (or also a Hexanon 35-70 3.5/4.5).
    Do you prefer using the MF zooms for video?

    I had a try with on old Tokina which is pretty soft but I liked using it - apart from twisting the barrel for focus and zooming.

    I guess I might have to resign myself to using a tripod but I really don't want to.
    Seems a bit of overkill compared to my P&S which I can shoot image stabilised video with smooth panning with my arms above my head.

    The IS doesn't work as well for video on the PL1 , and possibly even worse with Manual focus lenses?
  4. PeteMarshall

    PeteMarshall Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2010
    MF is best for film making, always has been. AF on moving images can be a big distraction. Obviously with small DoF you need to plan the shots well as refocusing on moving images is an art form in itself and although the finders and scenes on m 4:3 are great for still focusing they are difficult to view for refocusing during a shot. However the same problem occurs what ever system you use. Contast focusing is just not fast enough for AF to be the main way of focusing video, although it is improving, MF will always have a major place.

    Zooming is best done with motors if available, however small digi cams are rubbish at this and manual zooming can be just as sooth as even top end camera with practise.
    IS on camera bodies is useless for serious video work (at present, I am sure it will improve, but lens based IS is superior at the moment). You need a tripod and for moving shots a steady cam. Lens based IS on Canon dSLR's can work well for some types of video (and is great for wildlife stuff as it is with still photography). I have no experience of lens based IS on my Lumix as the only native lens I have is the 20mm f 1.7 which doesn't have it.

    The tiny sensors, giving apparent massive DoF on P&S digi cams cover a multitude of sins in comparison to the larger sensors on m 4:3 on dSLR's. You need to approach shooting on these cameras seriously, every camera movement will show and out of focus stuff will also show. You have to learn to operate the cameras manually to get the best from them.

    I use Zooms only when I intend to zoom....otherwise I use primes.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Olympus 35-70

    The Olympus 35-70/3.5-4.5 is nice. It's got a great close focus and is quite sharp.
  6. RetroBoy

    RetroBoy Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks for your detailed reply Pete.
    I guess as I learn to shoot video with the Pen I'm going to have to re-think my setup and techniques.
    I'm getting a VF2 shortly which will help to stabilise the cam and hopefully help out with following a subject and re-focusing.
    Maybe a monopod would be a good compromise too.

    Perhaps I'll only switch to video for short captures without much zooming or moving involved.
    But this is the reason for my post - some lenses will be relatively easy to use and adjust, whereas some will be more difficult.
    I'd like to know if anyone has any more recommendations for zooms they like using for video.
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