Using old lens with the Panasonic GH4
Give a new lease of life to those old lenses sitting on the shelf.
Whether you have old FD, Nikon or Olympus lens in your attic, they can all be adapter to fit on the M 4/3 sensor at a relatively low cost. To achieve this, you need to buy one of the many adapters available on the market today. If you are looking to adapt your old lens to use on the GH4 or Black Magic Pocket camera, then this is a great site to give you the background: http://suggestionofmotion.com/blog/panasonic-gh4-lens-options-adapted/
Over the last year, I decided to research the best selection of prime lens that could be adapted to EF mount and declickered (removing the stops from the aperture ring) relatively easily. I have the following adapters but there are lots available:
The Kiwifotos M4/3 adapter to EF
This adapter has no glass in it and so still results in 2.1x crop factor when shooting in 4K on the GH4. However it is cheap and does have a snug fit on EF lens, which is sometimes difficult to find. Build quality is good for the price.
The Metabones Speedbooster with active EF (S version)
This is the adapter that is at the other end of the scale in everything, it costs almost half the cost of the GH4, but does offer some great features. It will give you aperture control on all your Canon EF lens, reduces your crop factor to make it more like 1.6 x in 4K (APS-C crop), and gives you one stop more light to play with on top of the lens widest aperture. Note: that some cameras will need the non-s version of this adapter.
You can also buy generic speed boosters that are much cheaper than metabones that will give you reduced focal length. When I used one that I bought from Amazon it did result in considerable ghosting around highlight areas of the image. If you want more info on the GH4 or adapters, Philip Bloom does a good job at explaining the options: http://philipbloom.net/2014/06/30/gh4/
So onto the lens – I wanted to find a set of lens’ that would produce a natural feeling bokeh, but still produce crystal sharp images and enough contract to bring out the colours in the edit. I looked at three options – FD, Nikon and Zuiko OM Glass.
Canon FD Glass:
Some of the Canon FD top primes that I found on ebay in good condition, were relatively cheap (about £100-£400), and this meant that I could start collecting quite soon. However after reading about the conversion process, from FD to EF mounts, I thought id have a look at the other options first.
If you like the sound of getting FD Canon Primes – this was the best site I came across comparing them: http://www.canonclassics.com/
I knew that some Nikon manual lens were good all round and I met a few cameraman who used them for Time-lapse and stills. I also knew that they could be converted to EF lens pretty simply. However after looking extensively on ebay and gumtree found it increasingly hard to find any good condition examples.
Olympus Zuiko ED Lenses:
After looking around I found www.mir.com, that gave a good history and description of all the OM Zuiko lens ever made. I found that the best most prized lens in this range are the 50mm f1.2, 16mm f3.5, 90mm f2 and the 100mm f2. With a little search on eaby I found a few good examples and slowly started buying a collection. This article describes some of the best old 100mm stills lens and OM Zuiko is the champion – http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1147377/0
These last two lens are made from ED glass, meaning that they are specifically designed to compensate for chromatic aberration and colour fringing.
To convert OM to EF mount you can buy rock solid mounts that actually screw over the original ones – http://www.leitax.com/Zuiko-lens-for-Canon-cameras.html. With a small amount of modification these adapters will work with the speed booster.
To declicker your lenses see this tutorial – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj0S55-aXjQ
Sharpness tests results to come…Watch this space.