Panasonic Lumix G lens MFT

Lenses for Panasonic GH 4 4K camera

It sounds like there is a lot of excitement about Panasonic’s new 4K camera – the Lumix GH4 – because I have received plenty of questions about it. Probably the most frequent question is what lenses should you get. So, I will make my recommendations here.

Before I do that, though, I want to make a few points about the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lenses that this camera uses.

The MFT standard is designed for mirrorless cameras that have an image sensor with the crop factor of 2.0. This means that to get a lens with the same angle of view (or field of view) as a 50mm lens for 35mm (full frame) cameras, you actually need a 25mm MFT lens. So, keep that in mind. Multiply or divide by two to convert between the two standards.

If you are more familiar with APS-C sensor cameras like Canon 7D, Sony NEX series, the conversion number would be 1.25 for Canon APS-C cameras (crop factor of 1.6) and 1.33 for other brands (crop factor of 1.5). Again, you will need a shorter MFT lenses to get the equivalent field of view.

Now, due to the fact that you are going to be using lenses with shorter focal lengths, your depth of field will be greater/deeper. This sometimes will be to your benefit, but many times, it will work against you. In the situations when you want a narrow depth of field, you will have to open the aperture more than you would on cameras with smaller crop factors. Therefore, look for lenses with a low f/stop number.

Of course, lenses with low f/stop numbers are also fast – they let you shoot with less light. Therefore, it is nice to have such lenses anyway. The nice thing about the MFT is that fast lenses cost less than for other standards.

If you want to know how much more you will need to open the aperture to get the same depth of field as on other cameras, here are the exact numbers:

MFT -> 35mm/full-frame (crop factor 1.0): 2 stops
MFT -> APS-C Canon (crop factor 1.6): 0.64 stops
MFT -> APS-C other brands (crop factor 1.5): 0.82 stops

So, compared to cameras like Canon 7D or Sony NEX, you will need an extra 2/3 of an f/stop.

If you want to find out more about the depth of field for MFT cameras, check this post at luminous-landscape.com

Having said all that, I recommend you get the following lenses.

If your budget is under $700, then you should just get this one lens.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom at B&H Photo Video and

This lens is very versatile. You will loose out on speed and it will be more difficult to decrease the depth of field that is already deep on MFT lenses, but still, the lens provides a great value.

Now, if you can invest more money, go for prime lenses. You don’t need to buy them all at once. First get a medium, then a wide-angle, then a telephoto. And if you need to cut corners after spending serious money on primes, consider getting the cheap but versatile telephoto zoom lens that I list at the end.

Medium focal length prime lens


Panasonic Leica DG 25mm f/1.4 at B&H Photo Video and
Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 at B&H Photo Video and

Wide-angle prime lens


Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 at B&H Photo Video and

Telephoto prime or zoom lens


Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN at B&H Photo Video and
Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75mm f/1.8 at B&H Photo Video and

The telephoto zoom lenses are generally slower, but give you greater flexibility, as compared to telephoto primes. You decide what is more important to you (and your wallet).


Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Zoom Lens at B&H Photo Video and

6 thoughts on “Lenses for Panasonic GH 4 4K camera”

  1. This confused me when I first read it. Here were the points that confused me and I eventually figured out.

    A 1.5x crop factor APS-C camera has a slightly LARGER sensor than a 1.6x crop factor sensor camera (Canon). The 1.5 crop factor sensors are closer in size to full frame (FF, 35mm digital) sensors. The larger the crop factor, the smaller the sensor. Because the Canon sensor is closer in size to the micro four-thirds (M43) sensor than a 1.5x sensor (i.e. Sensor size: M43 (2x)<Canon (1.6x)<Other (1.5x)<FF (1x)), the multiplier for field of view (FOV) and the f-stop/DOF conversion gets larger.

    This explains why when you list them from smallest sensor size (M43) to largest (1.5x crop APS-C), the FOV and f-stop/DOF conversion factor gets smaller.

    In other words, the conversion between M43 and 1.6x crop lenses is 1.25x (APS-C, Canon) and 0.64 f-stops. The conversion between M43 and 1.5x crop lenses is 1.33x (APS-C, other) and 0.82 f-stops.

    Anyway, I hope this helps anyone else who was also confused.

  2. Hi Tom,
    I’m just getting into videography and you’re awesome review convinced me to invest in a GH4 instead of a Nikon D750 (my initial plan).
    I want to shoot an indoor interview in a small office and create an “ambient living room atmosphere”. I can move 4m away from my subject to put up my camera while my subject is approx. 1m away from the wall.
    The question I have is:
    What would be the best lens to get a nice upper body shot while blurring the background as much as possible (start from chest till end of head).
    P.S.: My lightings would be 3 cheaper LED panels on light stands for a standard 3point lighting.
    Thank you very much for all the infos you provide for the community !!!

    1. I would get this lens then http://amzn.to/1KGw6bs
      It’s the 25mm f/1.4 Leica Aspherical Lens. It will create a nice shallow DOF when wide open and it’s the perfect focal length for interviews. You can just move the camera closer or further to get extreme closeups without distorting the faces or medium shots and even wide mediums.

      1. Thank you so much for your fast response Tom.
        I really appreciate getting advice from an accomplished film maker like yourself. So thanks a lot for taking the time.

        I researched the lens you mentioned and after all I read online it looks like the perfect fit for the job. However some people told me that the Voigtlander 25mm / 0.95 would produce even more bokeh. It’s also more expensive than the Leica. I have a sample video as reference for the voigtlander in case your interested:
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/ej2egxb012pwufs/GX7-clip.mts?dl=0
        The Leica is already twice the price of the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 but I trust in your expertise it’s worth the extra money so I put the Leica on top of my shopping list. Also the Voigtlander has no autofocus (in case I ever need this for stills in the future).

        Then some other videographers recommended investing in a metabones speed booster instead and get regular DSLR glass. That sounds tempting if I had any DSLR glass already but I don’t and the metaboned alone is around the price of the Leica. So I’m wondering as a total beginner if this would be a smart investment in the long run. It’s for sure expensive to start a new DSLR collection based on the metabones.
        So far your recommendation looks like the best option to achieve pro results with a limited budget. Would you agree or do you think the metabones is a valid alternative route to think about?

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