Return Panny 7-14mm and get Olympus 9-18mm for variable ND filter use?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by anchoricex, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. anchoricex

    anchoricex New to Mu-43

    Aug 2, 2013
    Hi all,

    Just got my GH3 and Panasonic 7-14mm f4 today. Wanted an ultra wide for glidecam usage, wanted a GH3 for 60fps slow-mo.

    I do video work only and in an effort to emulate film in all my work, I've come across the 180 degree rule (if shooting 60fps, use shutter speed 1/125 so you can get smooth results when you interpret to 24fps in post).

    As its commonly known, the Panny 7-14mm doesn't accept filters without a rig. I don't think I'd miss the extra 2mm very much if I ditched the 7-14mm and went to the Oly 9-18mm. Because of having to keep the shutter at 1/120-1/125 when shooting 60fps, if I do a lot of outdoor shooting should I return the 7-14mm so I can get the Oly 9-18mm which could accept a variable ND filter? Does this lens fare well on the GH3?

    Also I've read here and there that the Olympus 9-18mm needs ultra thin filters. There's no such thing as a variable 9-18mm that is as thin as a thin filter, so would this idea be pointless ?

    Lastly, anyone recommend decent variable ND filters if this is a good route to take? Can't seem to find any decent ones on Amazon

    Any info is greatly appreciated


    I've read that UWA lenses and variable ND filters are the suck. Would it still be feasible to go towards the Oly 9-18mm and get a dedicated (is that the right word?) ND filter ?
  2. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
  3. anchoricex

    anchoricex New to Mu-43

    Aug 2, 2013
    Dang that looks pretty goofy.

    Should I still go for an Oly and utilize some stacked ND filters ?

    Also I did some tests to see how off not using the 180 degree rule to emulate film would be. With shutter speeds at 1/400 and 1/800 I hardly noticed any difference after clips were slowed down compared to the 180-degree-rule-abiding 1/125 clip
  4. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    If you're ambitious, the 7-14 can be modified to take gelatin rear filters on the rear lens element.
  5. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    For video work, the absolute best option for filters would be the Lee Seven5 filter holder system:

    Then get a pack of different darkness ND filters which just slot in and out. So much easier than screwing and unscrewing from the filter threads. Much quicker to get the stack you want.

    Not cheap though! And of course, would require swapping from the 7-14 to the 9-18.
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I fitted a rear filter holder to my 7-14. It's actually meant for the 8mm fisheye but fits the 7-14 fine. The only difficult part is getting the holder (unless you're in the US). Fitting is very easy - 2 min job.

    However, the cutting and fitting of gel filters is not so easy since it's easy to scratch the gel - the material is fairly soft. Once scratched, it degrades IQ. Personally, I gave up with the idea and built a home-made front mount using a cheap Chinese square filter holder and some cardboard and glue! I think similar things are possible with the Lee system.

    There are also universal lens adapters available which use vernier screws and spikes to fit onto the outside of the barrel. I'm sure these wrk, but I'd think they'd scratch the surface.
  7. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    The tests I linked to were independent of the actual lens - they were actually shot with the Panny 12-35 on an E-M5. It's the focal length, or more accurately, the field of view, that matters, combined with how far you darken the VND. Assuming that you need the wide angle, your choices are stacked ND filters, or a single ND stacked with the VND. The latter would allow you to keep the VND in the mid-range or less of darkening and avoid the problem.

    The problem with the VND is caused by the mechanism they use: two CPs which rotate against each other. So you're getting the "CP on a wide angle" effect, doubled and interfered with each other.
  8. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    That's what I have read too. With an ultra wide like the Panny 7-14 or Oly 9-18, at their widest settings a Variable ND filter would give you different light levels across the frame where a regular ND filter is consistently dark across the frame.
  9. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    I use ND filters on my 9-18 and have found a little bit of vingetting at 9mm on variable ones so I do recommend fixed if you use 52mm.

    However an easy fix is get a step up ring and get a larger variable ND filter - that resolved the issue for me. I also have a set of gel filters I have used on my 9-18 but confess I like screw in ones better.
  10. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Using a ND on a wide angle can cause issues with Banding in the dark side of the grad and can also lead to blue shifts in color. Just beware and make sure you can return the ND filter if you have issues with it or don't like the rendering. One of the photomags just did a big review on like 20+ of them from like 5 manufacturers of varing strengths. I believe Tiffen came out on top from the 5 they tested.
  11. kenez

    kenez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    I have been pretty pleased with my Lightcraft Workshop variable neutral density filter. Apparently it is used by a lot of film makers and isn't extremely expensive. Here's is a link with more info:

    Fader ND MK II
  12. anchoricex

    anchoricex New to Mu-43

    Aug 2, 2013
    The step up ring + a variable ND sounds like a pretty nifty workaround. Out of curiousity what variable ND are you using ? I'm assuming you're stepping up from 52 to 58mm?

    By any chance do you know what photo mag this was? Very interested in reading this shootout
  13. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    With these UWA lenses, forget about using a Variable ND filter. As mentioned already, they are 2 Polarizers stacked, and so the same caveats about using UWA with Polarizers apply.

    You will need a selection of neutral density filters (not ND Grad, just plain "stoppers") at different strengths and then stack them. With screw on filters, this could become a pain. Hence I suggested a filter holder with slot in filters. There are 3 out there, Cokin, Hitech and Lee, priced in that order, and you'll not be surprised to find that Lee are the best (they give little or no colour cast).