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How to Emulate Super 35mm 4K Video with the Panasonic GH4

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The Panasonic GH4's ability to record both DCI 4K and UHD video internally, without line-skipping or pixel binning, sets a new standard for in-camera video recording with HDSLR and mirrorless cameras. However, a potential drawback of this method is that the GH4 can only use the center portion of the sensor. This results in about a 2.3x crop factor when compared to full-frame cameras, as opposed to the typical 2x crop for normal Micro Four Thirds cameras, which puts the GH4 into slightly weird territory when it comes to using lenses. It’s smaller than normal Micro Four Thirds and larger than super 16mm, making native lenses hard to find. Luckily, there is one combination that ends up working really well: using APS-C or DX-optimized lenses with a Metabones Micro Four Thirds Speedbooster.

Update: A chart has been added at the end that compares the effective focal length of these lenses with a Speedbooster, to their 35mm equivalent focal lengthtaking into account the 4K crop you get with the GH4, and the changes in specs introduced with use of a Speedbooster.

"One combination that ends up working really well: using APS-C or DX-optimized lenses with a Metabones Micro Four Thirds Speedbooster."

Normally, when you mount a lens designed for a larger sensor on a camera with a smaller sensor, all of the light that doesn’t hit the sensor is unused. However, the Metabones Speedbooster concentrates the light entering the lens into a smaller area, which virtually decreases the focal length and increases the aperture on the smaller sensor. The Nikon G to Micro Four Thirds Speedbooster reduces the focal length of the lens and the lens circle area by a factor of .71, which also increases the apparent aperture by one stop. For the typical Micro Four Thirds camera with a 2x crop factor, a .71x reduction reduces the image circle to a slightly smaller area then APS-C optimized lenses are designed for, effectively a 1.42x crop factor, while APS-C lenses are designed for a 1.5x crop factor. Some lenses may work, but others may present a little vignetting. However, when shooting 4K video on the GH4, it works out nearly perfectly. The field of view will be almost identical to having an APS-C camera, as the overall crop factor with the Speedbooster while shooting 4K with the GH4 is about a 1.6x, nearly identical to APS-C still or Super 35mm cinema cameras. At this time, there is only a Nikon to Micro Four Thirds version of the Speedbooster available, so this article will focus on lenses that are available for Nikon Cameras.


 

Below is a list of APS-C optimized lenses that will make a great option for shooting 4K video with the Panasonic GH4, when paired with the Metabones Speedbooster.

Wide-Angle Lenses

Shooting wide is one of the more difficult aspects of dealing with crop factors that lack native lenses. The widest-angle lens available natively for Micro Four Thirds is a 7-14mm f/4 lens from Panasonic. With a 2.3x crop factor, that lens works out to be 16.1mm-32mm, which is still respectively wide. However, if you go the route of adapting wide-angle, APS-C-optimized glass paired with a Speedbooster, you can go ever wider, or get a similarly wide angle of view at a much faster aperture.

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

When paired with the Speedbooster, a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 becomes an effective 7.8-11.4mm lens with a constant f/2 aperture. While not quite as wide as the native Panasonic 7-14mm, the extra two stops could definitely come in handy. The 35mm equivalent field of view of this lens when shooting 4K video on the GH4 would be approximately 18mm-26mm.

Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6

For those wanting to go as wide as possible on a rectangular lens, the Sigma 8-16mm will fill the bill. When paired with the Speedbooster, this lens becomes an effective 5.7-11.4mm, with approximately an f/3.2-4 aperture. The 35mm equivalent focal length, when shooting with a 2.3 crop factor for this lens, works out to 13.1mm-26mm, which should be wide enough to please any wide-angle enthusiast. This lens will almost certainly vignette slightly when used with the standard Micro Four Thirds 2x crop factor.

Samyang 10mm f/2.8

The new Samyang 10mm f/2.8 lens is a relatively fast manual focus prime lens optimized for APS-C cameras. It's resold under a few different brand names, including Rokinon and Samyang. Paired with the Speedbooster, this lens becomes an effective 7.1mm f/2 lens, a full 2 stops faster than the 7-14mm Panasonic, with just as wide of a field of view. The 35mm equivalent of this lens with the Speedbooster works out to approximately 16.3mm. While this lens is available with a Micro Four Thirds mount, using the Nikon mount version allows you an extra stop, and a wider angle of view, when you want it.

Fast 50mm

Another popular lens segment is the fast 50mm lens. Micro Four Thirds has a number of fast 50mm equivalent lenses, like the Voigtlander 25mm f/.95 and the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4. But going the route of a Speedbooster and adapted glass can give you similar results at a lower price. Here are a few APS-C prime lenses that could fill this gap.

Nikon 35mm f/1.8

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 is a relatively affordable lens that's designed for its DX (APS-C) series DSLR cameras. Paired with a Speedbooster, it becomes approximately a 25mm f/1.2 lens that will give you around a 57mm (35mm equivalent field of view) when shooting 4K video with the GH4.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a little wider and a little faster than the Nikon 35mm 1.8. With the Speedbooster, this lens becomes an effective 21mm f/1.0 lens for Micro Four Thirds. The 35mm equivalent field of view is 49mm. This lens is a great option for those looking for the closest to a 50mm field of view when shooting with the 2.3x crop mode on the GH4, as even the native 25mm lenses will offer a field of view closer to 60mm.

Constant Aperture Zoom Lenses

When shooting video with a zoom lens, it's important to have a constant aperture to avoid the abrupt exposure changes that are common with variable aperture still lenses. Luckily, there are a number of high-performing APS-C constant aperture zoom lenses available from a number of manufacturers, for a lot less expense than the few constant aperture zoom lenses available for Micro Four Thirds.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8

The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 is a pretty groundbreaking lens for APS-C cameras. Offering an aperture typically reserved only for prime lenses on a constant aperture zoom, predictably, turned a few heads. When paired with the Speedbooster, this lens becomes an impressive 12.8-25mm f/1.2 effective lens, which is faster than most primes available for Micro Four Thirds, with the convenience of a zoom lens.

Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8

For those needing a little more zoom range than the Sigma 18-35mm offers, who aren't hampered by a mere f/2 effective aperture, the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 is a great option. Paired with the Speedbooster, it's like a using a 12-36mm f/2 on the GH4 when shooting 4K video. Its flexible range is great for handheld shooting.

Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 OS

The Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 is an APS-C replacement for full frame 70-200mm lenses. Paired with a Speedbooster, it becomes an effective 36-107mm f/2 constant aperture lens. This is a great medium-telephoto zoom lens option for the GH4. The current version of the lens also offers Optical Image Stabilization; however, since the Metabones Speedbooster does not provide power to the lens, users will not benefit from it. It might be worth looking for the older, non-OS version of this lens, which can be found for at a more affordable price in the used market.

These are just few of the many great lens options for the GH4, as the Micro Four Thirds lens mount is extremely adaptable. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will get you get started if you decide to use a Speedbooster.

  Effective Focal Length with Speedbooster 35mm Equivalent Focal Length with the 4K Crop & Speedbooster
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 7.8-11.4mm f/2  18mm-26mm 
Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6  5.7mm-11.4mm f/3.2-4 13.1mm-26mm 
Samyang 10mm f/2.8  7.1mm f/2  16.3mm 
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 25mm f/1.2  57mm
Sigma 30mm f/1.4  21mm f/1.0  49mm
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 12.8-25mm f/1.2  29-57mm 
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8  12-36mm f/2  28mm-82mm 
Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 OS  36-107mm f/2  82-245mm 

152 Comments

Can you update your chart with GH5+ xl speed booster information? Thanks in advance 

Would the autofocus for still pictures work fast enough with GH4 + Metabones Speedbooster + Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 G2?

Thanks,,,

i have the tamron aspherical LD XR Di II SP 17-50 with ef-s mount will it work on the gh5 with wat kind of metabones or adapter, thank you :)

Hi Vicente - 

The T Smart Adapter for Canon EF or Canon EF-S Mount Lens to Select Micro Four Thirds-Mount Cameras from Metabones allows a Canon EF or EF-S mount lens to be mounted onto a Micro Four Thirds-mount camera. While doing so, the adapter is designed to support electronic communication between an attached camera and lens. If the lens includes autofocus, image stabilization, as well as camera-controlled aperture functions, this adapter is intended to allow those features to be used. If an attached lens is also capable of generating EXIF metadata when used with a directly compatible camera, the T Smart Adapter is designed to allow that information to be saved along with image files generated with a combination of the lens, a Micro Four Thirds-mount camera, and the adapter.

Hi folks. As far as I can tell, there isn't a Sigma 15-150mm 2.8 lens. All online searches just yield the Prime Sigma 150mm lenses. 

Also when someone mentioned the Lumix 35-200mm 2.8 I was stoked because it was news to me. Immediately went to see how expensive it was, but it appears that's a typo and they mean the say the tradition 35-100mm 2.8? 

Am I incorrect on either of these?

Unfortunately, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 was discontinued and is no longer available. Though, it had yet to be discontinued at the time this was first posted. As for a Panasonic 35-200mm f/2.8, I’m not aware of such a lens on the market. If it was mentioned, it must have been a typo. Panasonic does have a couple 35-100mm f/2.8 options or a 45-200mm f/4-5.6 II POWER O.I.S. Lens.

On the GH5 when shooting 4k and metabones 0.71x speedbooster - what will Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 lens actually be - i.e. mm and fstop?

The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 will have an equivalent focal length of roughly 50mm with an apparent aperture of f/1 when shooting 4K with the GH5 using the Metabones 0.71X Speed Booster.

Christina S wrote:

The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 will have an equivalent focal length of roughly 50mm with an apparent aperture of f/1 when shooting 4K with the GH5 using the Metabones 0.71X Speed Booster.

I can`t understand something. Are there any difference if I use Sigma 35 with Arri Alexa and Sigma 18-35 (super35) at 35 with Alexa related to coverage? I mean camera is the same but lenses are different. The coverage should be identical at 35mm. Am I wrong? 

Any more suggestions on telephoto zooms? If I have the Tokina 11-16mm and the Sigma 18-35mm, that covers the wide to medium range nicely, but I'd still look for something a bit longer to have a bit of a "set" covering most focal lengths I'm likely to use. You suggested the Sigma 50-150mm but do you have any others? Cheers.

Hi,

Does it mean that metabones speedbooster XL 0.64x adapter for Nikon F mount lens to micro 4/3 cameras can fit a micro 4/3 mount lens too?

For example, can I put this speedbooster on my gh4 and a lumix 20mm lens on top of it?

Thank you un  advance -  Markuss.

I guess my real question is where can I find out which speedbooster is the most compatible for me? Where do I find what lens mounts can be adapted on the speedbooster?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a Speed Booster that would be compatible with micro four thirds lenses.  The Speed Boosters for micro four thirds cameras would be available for several different SLR/DSLR mounts including Canon EOS, Canon FD, Contax/Yashica, Leica R, Minolta MD, Nikon, and Olympus OM.

Hi,

I have a Canon 50D with a Canon 10-18mm lens. I only shoot video and love the width of view this lense gives me. The GH4 has the lovely 4K video that I've been looking for and would obvioulsy be a significant upgrade for me. I cannot for the life of me calculate with any certainty what lense I need to buy to give me the same angle of view. It needs t be quiet as I only record vodeo, and a shallower depth of field than I am used to would be great. Thank you - Tim 

With wide angle lenses you aren’t going to achieve an overly shallow depth of field.  Also, with the smaller sensor of the GH4, it won’t be able to achieve as shallow a depth of field as you Canon 50D.  That being said, you could look at the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH. Lens or the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 Lens.  Both of these would be super wide zooms on the GH4, with a similar angle of view to the 10-18mm lens used on your 50D.

I wonder if i can controll my F-stopp with the Nikon G - M43 speedbooster, and the sigma 18-35 (Nikon f mount), with my gh4?

What's about the autofocus of lens that compatible with the gh4? What is your recomended zoom all purpose lens , with great autofocus, for gh4?

If autofocus is a feature that is particularly important, I would suggest using a lens that natively has the Micro Four Thirds mount rather than using a lens with an adapter.  For an all-in-one zoom lens, you could look at the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens.  It has Panasonic’s Stepping motor, which provides smooth and near-silent autofocus that pairs with an inner focusing design for quick performance.

Good morning

Can it please be clarified that one can use Canon full frame EF lenses with the speed booster 0.64 on a GH4 (such as the 70-200mm f2.8 II or 50mm 1.4). The article states and exemplifies primarily APS-C lenses.

Many thanks in advance

You can use full frame Canon lenses with the Metabones Canon to micro four thirds 0.64 Speed Booster on the GH4, yes.  The speed boosters are most definitely compatible with full frame lenses. 

Can anyone confirm that the Sigma 50-150 2.8 OS lens can't use the OS on a GH4 with a Metabones XL x0.64 Speedbooster?

The Metabones XL x0.64 Speedbooster does not provide power to the lens, the Optical Stabilization built into the lens will not function.

Hi, I am looking to buy a multi purpose wide lens for the gh4 to attach to my M43 to Canon MFt speedbooster, I shoot a lot of sport stuff and need a good lens for when im shooting surfers in the water

If you are specifically looking for an EF mount lens to use with your Speed Booster, you might look at the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for Canon.  It would be compatible with the EF to MFT Speed Booster, and is a lovely lens.

Hi Team, I have seen some footage of the GH4/Speedboster/Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 combination. I havent seen any comments on whether the Sigma they are using is Canon or Nikon mounts. When I go to the Metabones website under Micro 4/3 systems (http://www.metabones.com/products/?c=micro-43-system-2) it only lists Canon as supported. Would appreciate comments on the support/compatability of the Nikon Speedbooster - and what advantages/disadvantages of going either route? I see the Nikon has a manual aperture adjustment ring (albeit on scale to 10). Thanks! Marty

There are Speed Booster options for both the Nikon and Canon mount Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8.  Though, if you want to retain any auto functions (such as autofocus), you would need to go with the Canon mount of the lens and one of the Canon EF to E mount Speed Boosters.

 dear BHP team, first of all thanks for your support. it is crazy how much effort you put in answering customers questions!

mine is: I have been investing in some pretty serious nikon equipment over the past years including a D800 with 24-70mm, 16-35mm, 85mm and 50mm FX G primes among others. lately I have been shooting video more and more and now I consider buying a GH4. but I am still struggling to make the right decision concerning my existing lenses. would you recommend me to keep them and make them work with the GH4 using a speedbooster? or would you recommend to get rid of it an invest in native lenses and/or sigma 18-35mm / rokinon primes for example?

I don’t know how much more you would benefit from selling your Nikon lenses and adapting a Sigma 18-35mm to the GH4 as compared to simply adapting your Nikon lenses.  If you were to get rid of your Nikon lenses, I would likely recommend purchasing lenses that already had the micro four thirds mount, rather than purchasing more lenses that need to be adapted.  I suppose one question would be how much you want to retain autofocus?  If auto functions aren’t a primary concern for you, then adapting your Nikon lenses might make sense.  You have some lovely optics in that list.  Another thing to think about is whether or not you might pick up another Nikon camera in the future, even if just for photo.  If you think there is a possibility that you would use cameras from both systems, then I would definitely hold onto your lenses.  Otherwise, if you think this switch to the micro four thirds system is permanent and total, and you want autofocus (and auto exposure modes), then I would suggest selling your lenses and investing in some of the higher end Panasonic and Olympus micro four thirds lenses.   

Hi Nicholas,

Personally, I would hang on to those lenses, as they are quality peices of glass and would benefit you just as much on a GH4 body (using a speedbooster) as native lenses would. One thing to keep in mind of course, is the lack of autofocus/auto aperature control when using the Nikon/MFT speedbooster, so if you think you absolutely need these features then maybe getting your hands on some native glass might suit you better.

As an added bonus, Nikon lenses are generally very widely adaptable to other mounts due to the flange distance of the nikon mount, so they could continue to serve you well even if you decide to move on to different systems later on down the road. MFT lenses on the other hand will be pretty much limited to the Lumix GH- line of cameras or anything using the relatively small Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Personally, I'm using the GH4 as a sort of hybrid (stills and video work), so I have a collection of faster primes used on the Nikon speedbooster as my main video lenses and occasionally stills, and then two native lenses (Lumix 12-35 f/2.8 and Lumix 35-200 f/2.8) for run-and-gun shooting and stills, where autofocus is much more needed or helpful. Your usecase could (and probably does) vary quite a bit from this, although for me it works very well. 

The last thing I'll say is regarding your current camera; if you intend on keeping the lovely D800 and continue to shoot stills on that, then sticking with your nikon lenses would almost certainly be the way to go. It would just allow you to be that much more versatile with your choices, cost you a LOT less than replacing them all, and would save you having to carry around 2 sets of lenses when you want both cameras handy.

I hope this helps, I'm by no means in a position to tell you what to do but I hope this advice comes in handy. 

Cheers,

Gabe

Does anyone know if there is a way to emulate Super 35mm with the Lumix GX8, rather than the GH4? Any info or a point in the right direction would be greatly appreciated!

The GX8 and GH4 have the same mount, so the Speed Boosters mentioned in this article would be compatible with the GX8 as well.  The GX8 has slightly less crop in 4K than the GH4 (Panasonic doesn’t state what the factor would be).  So, the figures in this article would be slightly different for the GX8 (there wouldn’t be as much of a crop factor in 4K starting out with the GX8 as there is with GH4).   Though, again, the Speed Boosters could still be mounted and used on the GX8, bringing the angle of view from a lens closer to that achieved from a Super 35mm camera.

Hey All, awesome post! I was wondering if anyone came across a similar setup for achieving this with the Panasonic GX8, rather than the GH4. Or would this not be possible with the GX8? Thanks! 

You could use the Speed Boosters for the micro four thirds cameras on the GX8 as well as the GH4. 

Thanks for the link Christina, I'll be sure to check it out. Cheers!

Hi there

I'm fairly new to filming and don't know what lens to buy for my GH4. I have the standard kit lens but I'm looking for a lens to create shallow depth of field for interview videos. I want as much bokeh in the background as possible. I think it would be best to stick to a panasonic lens as then I wont need an adapter. I have done some research on the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 OIS lens and the Panasonic 25mm F1.4. Which of these are best or is there a better option

Kind regards.

Hi Sheldeen -

I would go with this:

A standard portrait-length prime, the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. is an 85mm-equivalent lens designed for the Micro Four Thirds system of mirrorless digital cameras. One aspherical element is incorporated within the optical design, which helps to control chromatic aberrations and distortions for enhanced clarity and accurate colors. The f/1.7 maximum aperture is particularly beneficial for selective focus imagery, and also aids shooting in low-light conditions. Further cementing its place as a versatile tool for portraiture, the rounded 7-blade diaphragm produces a smooth out-of-focus quality when making shallow depth of field photos and movies.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I need a general purpose zoom lens for basic video work with the GH4. I shoot a lot of interviews where the subject is reading off a prompter and therefor needs to be relatively close to the camera. What lens and/or speedbooster would you recommend that would allow me to get a shallow depth of field where the background is out of focus during interviews?

Hi Greg -

The Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 Lumix G Vario Zoom Lens for the Micro 4/3 format features a 35mm equivalent focal length of approximately 70-200mm. It will cover the medium telephoto range. The minimum focus distance is 2.8 feet, and its fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 remains constant throughout the zoom range. POWER O.I.S. image stabilization enables nearly silent operation when shooting video, and Nano Surface Coatings dramatically reduce ghosting and flare.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

When paired with the Speedbooster, a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (AT-X 116 PRO DX-II for Canon) recording at 1920x1080 in GH4 there is any vignetting ? Do I have to shoot in 4k if I don't want get vignetting ?

There might be slight vignetting at 11mm, but you shouldn’t experience vignetting past that.

When using the electriconic Nikkor lenses over the older manual ones, how do you adjust aperture on the GH4 since there's no electronic connection between the Nikon Speed Booster and the camera?

If you are referring to the newer Nikon ‘E’ lenses with the electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism (200-500mm f/5.6E, 24-70mm f/2.8E, 300mm f/4E, etc), the aperture could not be adjusted when used with the Speed Boosters.  You would only be able to shoot wide open.  Though, there are only a few ‘E’ lenses on the market at this time. 

For the ‘G’ lenses, they still have a mechanical diaphragm.  So, the aperture could be adjusted by rotating the built-in aperture control ring on the Speed Booster itself. 

Hi There, Just wanted to know by any chance can I use Pentax lenses on gh4?

There are adapters that would enable one to mount Pentax K-mount lenses on a micro four thirds camera such as the GH4.  None would be auto adapters, and there isn’t a Speed Booster option at this time.  http://bhpho.to/1S7Vfgh

I have a Tamron 18-270mm zoom with a Canon EF mount. Can this lens be used on the Lumix GH4 with Metabones adaptor?
 

I also have a Canon 17-40mm L lens.

You could use the Tamron 18-270mm and Canon EF 17-40mm lens with the Metabones Speed Booster on a GH4, yes.

You could use the Tamron 18-270mm and Canon EF 17-40mm lens with the Metabones Speed Booster on a GH4, yes.

I am a bit confused about lenses. I just bought the GH4 and I really like the Olymus MFT lens 25mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8, 75mm f1.8 & 7-14mm f2.8.

But I have Canon 50mm f1.4, 100mm f2, Sigma 30mm f1.4, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8.

I will be mainly shooting in 4K Cinema 24p mode, so my question is:

1. Will I get better image quality using Metabones Speedbooster with Canon Primes, Sigma Prime & Tokina 11-16 lens?

Or

2. Will I get better image quality using Olympus MFT prime lenses?

If you want to use autofocus at all, I would likely go with MFT lenses rather than adapting your EF mount lenses.  With an adapter, you will gain light.  Though, I think you would likely get better results with Olympus prime lenses on the GH4 rather than adapting lenses. 

i thought with the new firmware you can get autofocus? maybe not

The Metabones Speed Boosters for EF to M43 will provide autofocus with certain Canon lenses.  Autofocus would not be guaranteed with third party lenses, and wouldn’t be as fast/accurate as using a lens that natively has the micro four thirds mount.

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