Peter Forsgård: Panasonic 10-25mm F1.7 – [FASTEST Wide-Angle Zoom] – video – Commentary

Panasonic 10-25mm F1.7 is the fastest Wide-Angle Zoom for MFT bodies…. Panasonic 10-25mm f1.7 lens was introduced in Photokina 2018. It was not until May 2019 when it was officially launched. It [is] the fastest wide-angle zoom for MFT.

Correction: This unique lens is better described as the fastest wide-to-standard zoom lens.

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Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric wide to standard zoom lens. Image courtesy of Panasonic Australia.

The recent publication by 4/3 Rumors of Peter Forsgård’s intro video about the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric reminded me that I had yet to try one out myself or even simply clap eyes on one in our ever diminishing local camera stores.

Time, I thought, to look deeper into this intriguing lens to determine if I should place it on my documentary stills and video hardware wishlist, or forgo it in favour of that other uniquely fast zoom lens, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric wide to standard zoom lens. I would love to try out this combination in the field for documentary stills and video storytelling. Some say that the lens somehow works better with the G9 than with the GH5 or GH5S. Image courtesy of Panasonic Australia.
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The Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional prime and zoom lens collection as of late 2017, all with manual clutch focus, invaluable for fast, accurate and repeatable manual focusing as well as linear focus-by-wire and autofocus. Image courtesy of Olympus Australia.

Peter Forsgård has yet to produce a more in-depth video about the lens and his results with it, and there is the fact that he is using it on Olympus OM-D cameras rather the more videocentric Lumix GH5, GH5S  and G9 hybrid cameras from Panasonic for which the lens was clearly designed.

Its clickless aperture ring only works on Panasonic Lumix cameras but clickless is of more use for moviemaking than stills photography and Olympus seems to have fallen well behind Panasonic in the video half of the hybrid camera equation.

Australian/American Director of Photography and Olympus Visionary John Brawley is one of the few I have encountered who shoots serious video with that brand’s hybrid cameras but I can better understand his love of Olympus lenses, especially the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality collection with the lenses’ manual clutch focus via retractable ring and hard stops at each end of the focusing scale.

I spotted the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom lens at SMPTE’s Metexpo in July 2019 but could not borrow it for a quick tryout at the show. Pity, as I still have some unanswered questions about it.
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Will Panasonic’s DFD autofocus approach the speed of PDAF autofocus camera systems some day? Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR on Fujifilm X-Pro3. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric is Panasonic’s very first manual clutch focus lens and not before time.

Focus-by-wire only lenses can be problematic for moviemaking with some more unusable than others although they can work acceptably for stills photography especially when relying on back-button focus in manual focus aka MF mode.

I have not done much video using autofocus on any camera and lens combination, partly because I only had manual focus during the analog era and became comfortable with it, and more to the point because autofocus on video and hybrid cameras was unreliable up until recently.

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Has the S5 improved Panasonic’s DFD autofocus enough yet? Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 with Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. Image courtesy of Panasonic Australia.

I still set my cameras to manual focus by default when prepping for a project, and the unpredictability of documentary photography and moviemaking means I often need to snap into manual focus in an instant, easily done by rapidly retracting the focusing ring.

Hard stops in manual focusing mean I can train myself in approximating the right focus point fast without looking at the focusing scale, then refine focus through the viewfinder or monitor.

The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric, on the other hand, allows its focusing ring to travel beyond extreme left or right of the focusing scale, and I remain unsure as to the usefulness of this behaviour.

A question only firsthand experience can answer.

Gerald Undone: Panasonic 10-25mm f/1.7 Lens Review (vs Sigma 18-35 + Speed Booster)

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Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art EF-mount fast zoom lens can be adapted for a range of Super 35/APS-C cameras or for cameras with larger sensors that can be set to Super 35/APS-C. Image courtesy of Sigma Australia.

Mr Undone is currently the first and sometimes only YouTube reviewer I watch these days and his in-depth, fast-talking rundowns amply reward the effort.

The highly adaptable Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art EF-mount fast zoom lens is high up on my wishlist for use with several camera systems and sensor sizes, but the lure of one lens with a focal range from 10mm through 14mm, 17mm, 20mm and 25mm is strong.

In 35mm sensor terms that equates to 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and 50mm, only lacking my longer favourite focal lengths of 75mm and 105mm.

The lens’ image quality at each of those focal lengths is reportedly almost as good as that of pro-quality premium-priced lenses such as Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes, a feat only matched by Fujifilm’s shorter Red Badge zooms.

I will keep looking for reviews and videos about Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7, but I found Gerald Undone’s comparison with Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens the most useful so far.

There are pros and cons to both lenses and the choice depends on these currently unanswered questions about the 10-25mm:

  • Exactly how much curvature is there at its wide end of lens? I find too much curvature irritating especially when the frame contains horizontal parallels and I am following a figure walking through it.
  • How much vignetting is there at all focal lengths but most especially at the wide end?
  • How well is skin rendered by it given not all lenses are equal in doing this?
  • Does the lens have that classic warm and three-dimensional Leica lens micro-contrast and resolution?
  • I love the idea of an emotive wide-angle closeup on a face and upper body using a wide aperture to throw figure and background into stark contrast, but how well does the lens render this look?
  • Why did we not have a choice between clicked and clickless aperture ring given de-clicked works best for video while clicked is best for stills?
  • Is Panasonic working on the perfect companion for the 10-25mm, a similarly-designed 25-50+mm f/1.7 zoom lens?
  • I am accustomed to hard stops at each end of the focusing scale on manual clutch focus lenses, but how useful or not are the 10-25mm’s software stops?
  • Although I still rely heavily on manual focus for video and back-button focus for stills, great autofocus in both modes certainly has its uses. Will Panasonic’s reliance on DFD aka depth-from-defocus instead of PDAF aka phase-detection autofocus continue to be its Achilles’ Heel?

Questions remain about the viability of the Micro Four Thirds system given Olympus’ recent sale of its camera and lens division to JIP and Panasonic’s big investment in 35mm SLR-style cameras.

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The Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 Aspheric prime lens is well-balanced on the GX8. Image courtesy of Panasonic Australia.

Panasonic staffers say that work continues on the company’s M43 cameras and lenses, but where is the much-requested pro-quality successor to the GX8 rangefinder-style hybrid workhorse, and when can we expect the GH6?

With the Lumix DC-S5, Panasonic has demonstrated it can make 35mm sensor cameras smaller than its M43 cameras.

If Panasonic follows the same path with the successors to its other two first generation S-Series cameras, the S1R and the S1H, will there be less incentive to stick with M43?

Right now I love the choice between the GH-series and G-series M43 cameras’ Super 16 and 35mm film handling and aesthetics, and those of the S-Series cameras’ Super 35 and 120 roll-film look and feel.

But DxO’s PhotoLab raw editing software and Topaz Labs’ Gigapixel AI image enlargement application radically reduce the need for larger sensors to produce better image quality.

Likewise, I wonder how much difference is really noticeable onscreen between Super 16 4K and Super 35 4K.

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Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art APS-C zoom lens.

Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 may be an amazing M43-only lens with an incredibly useful focal range for documentary stills and video, but Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens is adaptable to a range of Super 35/APS-C and Super 16/M43 cameras, helping future-proof one’s investment in lens and adapters.

Furthermore, the 18-35mm already has a longer companion lens in the form of Sigma’s 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom, though there is no obvious companion lens on the wide end though there is that gap between 35mm and 50mm.

Links

Viltrox To Release More X-Mount Lenses After Its Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM Telephoto Prime

Chinese lens, lights and accessories maker Viltrox appears to have successfully reverse-engineered Fujifilm’s lens-to-camera communications protocol and recently released its first X-Mount autofocus prime lens for Fujifilm X cameras, the Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM telephoto. 

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Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM prime lens for Fujifilm X-Mount cameras.
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Leica worked out the best prime lens focal length line-up for documentary photography and photojournalism in 35mm years ago and it remains the benchmark and role model for other lens makers to this very day. The only focal length missing from this lens collection is 40mm, which Leica made for the Leica CL rangefinder camera which was later taken over by Minolta as the Minolta CLE with 40mm standard lens as well as a 28mm and 90mm lens. Too many contemporary lens makers leave out 28mm and 75mm lenses and their equivalents for other sensor formats. Why? Both these focal lengths are the most essential for documentary photography and photojournalism.

According to reports from Fuji Rumors, the next three Viltrox X-mount cabs off the rank, as it were, will be 23mm f/1.4, 33mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.4 autofocus prime lenses and I am hoping for more after that.

I am also hoping that Viltrox will come up with other focal lengths useful in documentary cinematography and photography, such as those equivalent to 21mm, 28mm, 75mm and 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

Fujifilm does not appear to be in any hurry to update its ageing and quirky Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 prime lens, equivalent to the documentary-essential 28mm focal length, and there is no sign on the Fujifilm X-mount lens roadmap of the documentary and portrait-essential focal length of 70mm, that is, 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

Early reviews of the Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM prime lens note that it may not be as sharp or have as much micro-contrast and resolution as Fujifilm’s own X-mount lenses, but given Viltrox’s much lower prices and the fact that many cinematographers do not need nor want maximum sharpness in their lenses, a matched set of Viltrox prime lenses may be very attractive for some.

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You either love it or hate it. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L USM zoom lens, prone to the all-too-common aperture control ribbon cable failure that can apparently cost a fortune to have fixed in Australia. Otherwise a remarkably popular lens with videographers using it natively and adapted on a wide range of cameras and sensor sizes.

Why else would Canon’s also optically-quirky and poorly-manufactured Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit zoom lens have proven to be popular amongst cinematographers whether adapted or not, despite better-designed and better-made alternatives such as Sigma’s 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art lens for Canon EF or two other Canon alternatives such as the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM kit zoom?

I happily used the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit zoom that came with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II for some applications in cinematography and photography until it fell apart just after its warranty expired, and hope to be using this lens again soon, when it is finally repaired, this time mated to my Fujifilm cameras via an EF-to-X adapter.

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Gobe is an Australian Lens Adapter and Filter Company That Plants Five Trees for Every Purchase Made

Cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro dropped by yesterday and very kindly gave us two vintage M42-mount manual-focus prime lenses, a Panagor MC 28mm f/2.8 and a Pentacon 50mm f/1.8. 

Both lenses are in excellent condition and are a reminder of how useful such lenses are for shooting video with recent and current generations of hybrid cameras equipped with focus peaking. 

This morning I googled adapters for these lenses and an Australian camera accessories company came up in the search results – Gobe Corp Pty Ltd, headquartered in Byron Bay. 

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Gobe M42 to Fujifilm X-mount lens adapter.

I don’t know anything about Gobe’s products other than what is published in their website so cannot make any recommendations right now, but am pleased to note that they state that they plant five trees for every purchase made of their their products.

I will now be looking for hands-on reviews of Gobe products, especially of their fixed and variable neutral density filters, UV filters and lens adapters.

Links

  • Camera-wiki.org – Panagor– “[Jaca Corporation] are most famous for their Elicar and Panagor brand lenses, made by a variety of Japanese lens manufacturers which included Komine and Kino Precision.”
  • Gobe – website
  • Leeming LUT Pro – “Leeming LUT Pro™ is the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table ( LUT ) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading. Multi-camera shoots are now much easier, because you are starting with a common, colour-matched baseline, meaning much less time trying to match cameras in post before starting your creative grading.
  • WikipediaPentacon – “The name Pentacon is derived from the brand Contax of Zeiss Ikon Kamerawerke in Dresden and Pentagon, as a Pentaprism for Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras was for the first time developed in Dresden. The cross section of this prism has a pentagonal shape. Pentacon is best known for producing the SLR cameras of the Praktica-series as well as the medium formatcamera Pentacon Six, the Pentacon Super and various cameras of the Exa series.”

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Fringer: Fringer EF-FX Pro II is released

https://www.fringeradapter.com/blog/fringer-ef-fx-pro-ii-is-released

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Fringer EF-FX Pro II adapter for mounting Canon EF-Mount lenses on Fujifilm X-Mount cameras.

Main improvements of the 2nd generation of EF-FX Pro include

– Redesigned aperture ring for more convenient operation

– New MCU (more powerful, more resources for firmware update)

– Better light absorbing design

The functions and performance of gen1 and gen2 are the same….

Fringer EF-FX Pro II lens adapter for mounting Canon EF-mount lenses on Fujifilm X-mount cameras

Commentary

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Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens for APS-C sensors and for adapting to M43 with Metabones SpeedBoosters, lens available in Canon EF or Nikon mounts.

Gaps still remain in Fujifilm’s native X-mount lens collection for the company’s APS-C sensor format cameras such as the X-T3, X-H1, X-T30, X-Pro2 and the rest so some cinematographers, wishing to take advantage of Fujifilm’s recently upgraded video capabilities, have been exploring adapting third party lenses like Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens.

With Smart Adapter and Speed Booster stalwart Metabones missing in action when it comes to adapting Canon EF-mount lenses popular with moviemakers, space was created for formerly unknown adapter makers like Fringer to enter the fray with its Fringer EF-FX and Fringer EF-FX Pro smart adapters.

If I were contemplating doing the same as several cinematographers of my acquaintance, I would choose the Pro version given its built-in aperture ring and better yet, Fringer’s EF-FX Pro II with its much-needed hardware and firmware improvements.

I have just one Canon EF-mount lens remaining in my collection, a Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit zoom lens suffering from the far-too-common detached internal ribbon connector problem that renders it completely unusable so have been treading water on an EF-to-X-mount adapter until I can afford Canon’s over-priced repair bill for this problematic though popular lens.

I have been considering investing in a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 zoom lens but was not quite convinced by Fringer’s EF-FX Pro version 1 adapter.

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Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L USM zoom lens, prone to the all-too-common aperture control ribbon cable failure that can apparently cost a small fortune to have fixed in Australia. Bundled as a kit zoom lens with some Canon DSLRs and popular amongst videographers despite not having the most amazing optical or mechanical qualities.

The imminent release of the Fringer EF-FX Pro II may well tip the balance.

A Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 with smart adapter would give me access to one of the documentary photographer’s and photojournalist’s most-needed focal lengths, 18mm in APS-C which is equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format, as well as one of the most useful focal length ranges for documentary moviemaking.

On the other hand, Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS has its uses for stills and video and adds optical image stabilization to both, a benefit I do not have on any of my current Fujifilm lenses.

And then there is the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom lens, to be released sometime late this year according to rumours, with its highly useful additions to the wide and long ends of the scale.

Time to do some number crunching and crystal ball gazing, methinks, and hope for the best.

Native glass often proves to be the best solution given third-party adapters can have their downsides.

The upside of EF-mount lenses adapted for use on APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras such as those made by Fujifilm, Panasonic and Blackmagic Design is that they can be pressed into maximum service and prove their value in a wide range of applications.

Imagine a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art, or a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens for that matter, really proving its value for shooting Blackmagic Raw cinematic video on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, Super 16 HLG video on Panasonic’s MFT cameras, Super 35 HLG video on the Fujifilm X-T3, and documentary stills and portrait photography in a number of different sensor formats.

As a self-funded independent documentary photographer and video-maker, obtaining maximum value from minimum expenditure is a constant battle especially in this economic climate when the Australian banks are all-too-ready to screw-over regular folks like us, wrecking our plans and financially throwing us to the wolves, hence all this rumination over how to get the most out of my gear while spending as little as possible to add extra functionality.

Focal lengths longer than 85mm in equivalence would come in handy right now for portraiture on my Fujifilm APS-C cameras, as would a stabilized zoom lens with equivalent focal lengths from 36mm through to 157.5mm for handheld Super 35 video.

I could do with something similar for my M43 cameras, providing equivalent focal lengths of 48mm through to 210mm for portraiture and video as well as macro product photography.

Add a Metabones Speed Booster to my current Metabones Smart Adapter and even more focal lengths would become available on those cameras as well as a Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, the cheapest option now available for cinematic raw video.

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Meyer Optic USA: Bring back the Fabulous Wonder Bokeh Lens: P 58 f1.9 – Updates: Sad news

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meyeroptik/bring-back-the-fabulous-wonder-bokeh-lens-primopla/posts/2256824

“A few weeks ago, our founder, CEO and main investor Stefan Immes had a serious traffic accident, which he barely survived. Although we have been able to talk to him and although, for a very short time of the day he has become the astute, humorous and positive entrepreneur we know, it is now clear that due to the severity of the injuries he will not be able to continue running the company in the foreseeable future.

For a company of 15 employees only, this entails a large number of changes. Currently, we are in the process of reorganization and are trying to establish a working system as no successor regulation can yet be found for the Net SE Group. For this reason, we are currently undergoing a restructuring process with an as yet unknown outcome for the individual divisions….”

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Meyer Optik Görlitz Primoplan P58 58mm f/1.9 Art prime lens for Canon EF mount, M42 mount, Nikon F mount and Pentax K mount.

Other Meyer Optik Görlitz lenses as of August 2018

Commentary

Sad news indeed about Meyer Optik Görlitz CEO Stefan Immes and I hope that the company can successfully reorganize and get back into full production of its innovative and revived art lenses.

I wish to see more, not fewer, makers of these characterful lens types in the world and would hate to see the end of the Meyer Optik Görlitz initiative especially given their aims as stated in their latest Kickstarter campaign:

We restored the Meyer-Optik brand to build lenses that are distinguished in their uniqueness. Today, our lenses are made for those who want more than standard shots for their everyday photography. These lenses are special hand-made optics designed for the artistic photographer who craves a special unique look.

Although I appreciate the precision of most contemporary lens designs, I have had practical firsthand experience of antique and revived historical lenses aka “fine art” or “art” lenses and know there is a place for them in almost every photographer’s and moviemaker’s gear kit.

I wish the Meyer Optik Görlitz company the very best in their reorganization, and look forward to them reviving and updating many more famous and historical lenses in future.

Meanwhile I am glad to know that other companies such as Lomography are also on the classic lens revival trail and look forward to one day being able to try out a cross section of such lenses.

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Novoflex Nikon F to Fujifilm G lens adapter on Fujifilm GFX 50S camera.

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