Zoom lens for video?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by SVQuant, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Recently, my wife (mostly) and I have been shooting some basic event videos (single camera location, some zoom/pan across the stage, etc) on my E-M10 + O14-42IIR. The quality is generally good enough for the purpose they are being used for, but zooming smoothly with the 14-42 has proved to be somewhat of a challenge. And I have concluded that the thin zoom ring may be one of reasons for the jerky zooming (tried the 14-150 and it looks better). As the next one of these events comes up in about a month, I thought I would canvas some thoughts on a better zoom option. Ideally, starting at 12mm would be a good thing given some of the locations.

    As I see it, my choices are:
    • Olympus 12-50: cheap, has a power zoom, people seem to think that its IQ is a little meh, but the images in the Showcase look pretty good to me. Can be had used for around $100 or a little more.
    • Panasonic 12-60/3.5-5.6: Can be found around $200. May make sense if I get more into video and decide to get a Panasonic body with 4k. Is there any meaningful IQ improvement over the 12-50 here?
    • Bite the bullet, spend $400-500 and pick up a 12-35/12-40PRO. Does the improvement in IQ matter for video?
    Would appreciate input from people on the choices above? Also, am I right in blaming the zoom ring? Are there any techniques which might help with smooth zooming for video? FWIW, I am cheap and would prefer not to spend anything more than necessary.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For smooth zooming, the only answer is a power zoom. So I think your options are probably the little Panasonic pancake 14-42 PZ or the 12-50.

    If you need a longer lens, the Panasonic 45-175mm is excellent.

    Since your complaint is not about sharpness, but rather about jerky zoom movements, the 12-60, 12-35 and 12-40 seem like a more expensive step in the wrong direction.
     
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  3. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Thanks for reminding me about the Panasonic power zoom. I had forgotten it existed.
     
  4. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    A parfocal lens does what most people think a zoom for video should do but they don't exist for m4/3's and if they did they would be very expensive. Fuji just released one for their system that behaves like a parfocal lens and it is $4,000.00. REVIEW: Fujifilm MK 18-55 Zoom Lens Other than that I would look at constant aperture zooms like the O12-40, which I use. Unfortunately, you are not going to get film quality transitions when zooming, which is why sliders are so necessary. For home videos I would just zoom and plan on cutting out the jerky parts in post.
     
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  5. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I disagree with the power zoom suggestion.
     
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    We are all entitled to our opinions, but the primary reason power zoom lenses exist is for video.
     
  7. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Since these are videos of performances, I don't think we have the luxury of cutting out the jerky zooming. So we have to fix it as much as we can, either by using a different lens or better technique.

    Can you explain why? Thanks.
     
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I also disagree with the power zoom. If video was the primary use then why doesn't Panasonic (who is the video king of m4/3) only have a couple of them and the ones they do have are far from pro quality?

    Personally I would look at a constant aperture zoom and just work on my technique.
     
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  9. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
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  10. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Or, zoom with sliders. :coffee-30:
     
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  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I didn't say video REQUIRES a power zoom. Typically for high end video you don't zoom at all. Or you use a cinema zoom with hardware stops and gearing on it to allow for precise and controlled actions.

    But for what the OP describes, using your m4/3 like a consumer camcorder, that's exactly what a power zoom is for. And that's why it's on the consumer grade lenses, because it's not how a cinematographer would use their camera.

    You will never get even remotely smooth zooming with a regular manual zoom lens. The camera always jerks and the zoom happens in irregular jumps.

    Any other manual zoom is going to get the exact same results that they already get with the 14-42R II, only maybe less noise due to faster aperture. (Although fast aperture also presents new issues with DOF and focus hunting).
     
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  12. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    Exactly.
     
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I can just picture the OP telling his wife, "Sorry, the guys on the internet say you have set up a dolly track at the school recital. Either that, or edit out all the parts where you zoom."

    :rofl:
     
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  14. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    The reality is that the m4/3 system make a poor substitute for an equally priced camcorder, or even, an iPhone, for family & home videos. Just use your phone like most of the planet does.
     
  15. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
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  16. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    She is gonna like that :) The last one she did, she had just about enough space to set up a tripod and get herself in between it and the wall.

    Actually she has a steadier hand than me (Ph.D. in optics and semiconductors and all that) and a good eye for when to zoom and pan. But she is not a gearhead in any way and just wants to get the job done. So getting the right gear is very important.

    It sounds like the cheapest and simplest next step is the 12-50.

    Actually, these are meant to be "better than phone" videos. At several of these performances, phones are actually not allowed and we are recording in a semi-official capacity on behalf of the performers. A zoom on a m43 camera allows the camera to be setup on a tripod behind the audience or in the center aisle. The choice to use an m43 camera is obvious for me. I own the gear for my still shooting, so my delta cost for video is zero. And the quality of the output is good for the people who need so it.

    BTW, I really appreciate your input but I find that last statement a little unnecessary on this site in particular. Why not tell everyone here to use a camera phone for stills like all the planet does?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  17. harryz

    harryz Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    82
    Aug 3, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Igor
    bad try of trolling.
     
  18. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Point taken. However, we have seen a fair amount of threads about how to take how to take home videos like you would as a camcorder with m4/3 gear on this forum. FWIW - I have seen a lot of very good video shot on an iPhone.
     
  19. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Trolling with nearly 3,000 posts?
     
  20. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Phil
    Especially the current model phones.
    No one has suggested setting up a second camera even a phone taking a wide shot and when needing to edit out any bad zooms or pans you could just cut to the wide shot from the phone then cut back to the main video.

    To the OP. The 12-50 is an under appreciated lens
     
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