Part 3: Olympus paired with the Panasonic sensor
We had such great response to Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, so here goes Part 3. I really wanted to find a set of lenses that I felt would deliver a cinematic look with this very sharp sensor that is known as the GH 4. The lens that really grabbed me was the Voigtlanders.
In Part 1, I went into the whole theory of finding that right set of glass to tell your story and that many times it is pushing that glass to its breaking point to where it will reveal its magic. In Part 2 I showed how the Voigtlander lenses deliver an incredible soft and creamy look which held up all the way down to a f0.95, along with cross comparisons with the Panasonic Leica lenses paired with the GH4 sensor.
Part 3 will show you the look and feel of the Olympus series of micro four third lenses.
Lens Test Rules of Engagement
We will be on the GH4 camera the whole time. We will shoot three different focal lengths on all three lens types as well at three different f-stops. We will color grade at f5.6 and let the color, contrast and sharpness change as the f-stop drops. Remember we are looking for the breaking point.
I will also show you the Voigtlanders and the Panasonic Leica lenses side by side with the Olympus. This test is really the “greatest hits” album with all of them playing together in the sand box.
You have the rules. Now let’s test these babies.
GH4 with Olympus lens set
Part 1 went into using the Panasonic glass that was paired with the camera’s sensor. Now we will go in a different direction with the Olympus set of three. The characteristics of this lens set is sharp, but with a very low contrast feel in the center of the lens, beautiful round shaped bokeh and held its sharpness all the way down to wide open at a f1.8. The detail in the skin is minimized and this creamy quality that I talk about is prevalent.
17mm Focal Length
I am not sure about the Olympus lenses in general. There is a plastic look and feel to them. They feel very one dimensional. The color is very punchy and a little blocked up at a f5.6.
Right off the bat, I see a huge contrast shift with this lens at a f2.5, which is not a bad thing but the lens still feels plastic. Her skin feels painted on. It feels that the lens is not resolving well. It is sharp but does not resolve the color, skin, etc. The bokeh is nice and round.
Where all the other lenses fell apart with sharpness, the Olympus holds focus even at wide open, which is nice but still not a very pleasing image in general.
25mm Focal Length
It’s funny because when we had this up on the monitor, the Olympus lenses looked really nice to my eye. But once we got them in color correction and saw their resolving power I was really disappointed. The image does not snap and she doesn’t separate from the background effectively. The Voigtlanders look very three dimensional and the Panasonics are somewhere in the middle.
This is where all the other lenses felt like they were hitting their sweet spot, but not feeling really any sweet spot with these lenses. They are mushy in contrast, color and resolving information.
Where all the other lenses failed wide open, the Olympus seems to shine by holding better focus, but we are at a 1.8, which is wide open for these lenses.
45mm Focal Length
Again a weird plastic feel. Not loving these lenses on any f-stop.
Lower contrast helps with the pasted skin feel, but the lenses still does not lose its one dimensional characteristics. This is why you test glass. I have found if your glass has a very small front element, then two things will happen. You will have a very one dimensional image and you will not have good resolving power.
On the close up, the Olympus holds a sharpness that both the Voigtlander and the Leica did not. I have to say that this lens at f1.8 finally looked the best for me. It had a cinematic feel that all the other Olympus lenses did not.
Many of you have asked about the Veydra Micro Four Thirds prime lenses and my team is investigating them now for me while I am away on my new project. We are planning on having a full extensive test in the future on those lenses as well, as there are more focal lengths coming out for the line. By first glance in the shop at Revolution Cinema Rentals when we got the first three lenses in, they have a solid build and a smooth iris ring and solid focus. They all have a T2.2 across the board, same physical size and shape, making it simpler for your camera aks (the way it should be!). We’ll slap those babies on a camera and get them all tested out. Stay tuned!
We want to give a special thanks to Lens Pro To Go for providing the camera equipment for this project. Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to make this possible.
Shot in 4K UHD, Mastered in 1080p HD
Picture Profile: Cinema-D
Sharpness turned all the way down and contrast lowered -2
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Olympus M.ZUIKO 17mm
Olympus M.ZUIKO 25mm
Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm
Shooting Location: Revolution Cinema Rentals