Why I like the micro 4/3ds format on the Lumix GH-2

Minolta XD-11 SLR camera
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A nice feature of the Lumix GH-2 from Panasonic, as well as other micro four thirds cameras, is their ability to use a wide variety of lenses.

I had two old Minolta film cameras and had several old lenses that work great with the GH-2, using a Minolta to m43 adapter ring.

Here’s a photo of my collection (picture taken with a Canon SX-1):

The lenses are from left to right:

  • On the GH-2, the Panasonic Lumix 45-200mm zoom
  • Vivitar 135mm prime, f/2.8, Minolta mount, purchased for $20. Works as a 270mm f/2.8 on the GH-2. I really like this lens.
  • Sigma 28mm to 70mm zoom, f/2.8, Minolta mount, bought it back in the 1980s.Works as a 56 to 140mm f/2.8 equivalent zoom on the GH-2. In many ways, this is one of my favorite lenses.  It is fairly fast and is almost a normal lens (56mm equiv.) at the wide angle end, plus very sharp under pixel peeping conditions.
  • Sigma 24mm wide angle prime, Minolta mount, bought in the 1980s. This is my fake 50mm standard lens – really, a 48mm equivalent.
  • Minolta 50mm prime, f/1.4, came with my original Minolta SRT-101 film camera. Works like a 100mm f/1.4 lens – super for indoor and night shots.
  • Minolta 50mm prime, f/1.7, came with an original Minolta X700 film camera.
  • Tamron 4mm-12mm zoom, f/1.4, C-mount CCTV lens, purchased for $144. Used only in 1920×1080/24p video mode. Works equivalent to a 21mm lens on a 35mm film camera when used in the 1080/24p video mode. Also works as a super macro lens.
  • Not shown: Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5 zoom that came with the GH-2.

This was the first time I’d pulled everything out and this collection seemed impressive.  Okay, okay, may be I am easily impressed. I know, its not Canon L-series glass. But it doesn’t cost as much as a new car either!

In fact, except for the Lumix lens, there’s not much money in this at all. I had all the Minolta lenses stored for decades.

The micro 4/3ds format enables use of all those old and often very good lenses. Either ones you already have, or ones that you can buy cheaply on Craigslist, EBay, or some camera stores and pawn shops.

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The story behind the Windows XP background photo #photography

Energy Blue desktop, featuring the new Royale ...
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I always thought it looked like rolling hills in northern California. But I had heard otherwise – from people supposedly “in the know”. But they were wrong – the photographer who took the photo says he took it in Napa County area.

Windows XP desktop screen is a Napa image.


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Video editing on the iPad #videography #ipad

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
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I am apparently the last person on earth who does not yet have an iPad. Anyway, those that have them are using them for video editing, as described here: Quick-edit Videography with iMovie for iPad « Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

Me, I still use my MacBook for portable work. Why? I like having over 100 Gigabytes of disk storage available, plus an external disk drive as well. I store stills and video on board while traveling.

For event videography, I sometimes record direct to disk, routing the Canon XH A1’s firewire output direct to the Macbook. This copies the HDV equivalent files to the disk, for captureless editing. At 12 to 13 GB per hours, this uses up considerable disk space rather quickly!

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Unique Micro Four Thirds (m43) Lenses

Nikkor 50mm f /1.8 lens for the Nikon F-mount.
Image via Wikipedia

A neat opportunity with the micro 4/3ds cameras is the opportunity to readily use older lenses or, for DSLR-type cameras, non-standard lenses.

I recently bought a remarkable Vivitar f2.8 135mm prime lens for the Minolta mount for $20 on EBay. Wow. On the micro 4/3ds camera, there is a 2x multiplier so that this becomes an f2.8 270mm lens. For $20 🙂

With a Minolta to m43 adapter ring, this works like a champ. My first two photos with this wonderful lens are below – click on the photos for full size.

The first one illustrates the narrow depth of field, photographing my BBQ grill cover from the side. Photographed using the GH-2, Minolta to m43 adapter ring, and the Vivitar f2.8 135mm lens. Who says you can’t get narrow depth of field with a micro four thirds camera?

The second is the required flowers shot.

Again, click on the photos to see full size.

I also picked up a Tamron 4mm to 12mm C-mount surveillance camera zoom. For shooting video, this makes a fantastic wide angle lens, providing the equivalent of a 10.4mm lens in 1920×1080 video mode.  C-mount lenses were used on professional 16mm cameras and many professional video cameras of the past. They are also used on surveillance cameras today. If you get one, make sure it has “1/2 inch” coverage. There are tons of C-mount lens for sale on EBay.

When I have more time, I will have to shoot some demo videos and more photos to illustrate. If only we could get a nice, slow, motorized zoom on one of these cameras, I wouldn’t need my video cameras!

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