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FS: Nikon WIDE Servo Zoom lens for 4K... parfocal, f1.7, 9x zoom
  • Nikon Servo Zoom lens for 4K... parfocal, f1.7, 9x zoom, covers DCI and UHD on GH4. With videos!

    This is a Nikon B4-mount ENG lens.

    While this may be an "SD" lens, I put it head to head against my Micro-4/3 (M43) still photography glass and this lens more than holds it's own.

    This is because the M43 lenses are corrected in camera.

    This Nikon is just purely great.

    You can shoot HD with this lens.

    I'm already shooting 4K with this lens on my Panasonic GH4 in full Digital Cinema mode and there's no vignetting.

    If you use the full M43 sensor (for HD) then you see a little vignetting in the corners. But the 4K modes use a slightly smaller crop area and this removes any vignetting. The same can be said for the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera's Super 16mm sized sensor area. You would have no vignetting there either.

    This lens is PARFOCAL- which means that, once you set the backfocus to your camera/sensor, you can zoom in, get your focus, and zoom out. It's always in focus.

    This lens is VERY WIDE. Most B4 lenses start around 8mm. This starts at 5.5mm. In M43 terms, it's like using a 7mm lens to shoot DCI 4K video.

    It goes down to an f1.7. And it's a flat 1.7 across the entire zoom range. Like any very low aperature lens, the image qualty steps up once you get to f2.8 or so, but when you need those extra stops, this lens has them.

    It has an internal "DOUBLER." But this one is not a full 2x, it's a 1.7x which means there's more light hitting the active image area of your sensor because the "doubler" doesn't spread it out as far as a full 2x doubler.

    It has a MOTORIZED SERVO ZOOM. This means you can provide the lens 12v power (adapters are readily available on e-bay) gently push the zoom rocker, and the lens will gently creep through the zoom range- without the lens adjusting the iris in the middle of your shot like it does with still lenses. The motor can be disengaged and the lens used completely manually too.

    This lens focuses down to 1-FOOT. You read that right. 1-foot. The other B4 lenses I see all have a minimum distance of several feet. But this lens you can zoom in to a very small item just 1 foot from the front of the lens and you can focus on it without even using the lens' macro.

    It has a MACRO. Which means you can pull the focus even closer. And unlike other B4 lenses I've used that lock the Macro out, the Macro on this Nikon lens can be used even with the doubler engaged.

    OMG! There has got to be SOMETHING wrong with it.

    Well, yes, there is. When it got shipped to me from Europe, the manual/servo rocker arm got banged. It's a bit more wobbly than it should be. It still engages and disengages the motor, but you may have to wiggle it a bit. The servo motor still works, but sometimes, if it's not engaged fully, the connection between the motor and the teeth on the lens can be intermittent. If you want to open up the lens and see if you can adjust this to make it better, it's just four screws away. You could also remove the servo grip entirely and the lens would work perfectly as a fully manual zoom with teeth ready for any follow focus system you'd like to add. Personally, I like the grip because it's in the middle of the lens and it balances very nicely in my hand, even with the big Panasonic GH4 on the back of it.

    I see there's actually another Nikon B4 lens for sale on e-bay right now and the grip surface around the lens is peeling away. That lens is banged up. That lens has clearly seen many years of service.

    THIS lens, on the other hand, looks and feels new (except for the manual/servo switch).

    It's VERY clean.

    The grip is in GREAT shape, though the leather part of the hand strap does show some wear, it's perfectly functional.

    The focus, zoom and iris are SMOOTH.

    The doubler pops in and out beautifully.

    The optics are CLEAN. Surprisingly clean.

    It has a rear lens cap.

    It has a front lens hood with protector glass integrated into it.

    There is no front cap.

    Look at the pictures.

    Watch the video.

    This thing is amazing and whomever wins this auction will be capturing stunning images with this lens for a long time to come.

  • 9 Replies sorted by
  • WOW !!!! What an amazing lens :-) can I hire you for some marketing LOL. Seriously, this has to be the most informative sales pitch on personal view to date. So if may ask if this lens is sooo good why are you selling it. HMMM ???

    IMO there is no free lunches when it comes to lenses. I have tried two of the B4 lenses that cost about $1500.00 each let me just say that I was not impressed. The regular Nikon photography lenses were way better in terms of image quality.

    Yes the lenses that I used were parfocal, had smooth as butter focusing/aperture ring and also had a constant aperture but the IQ left a lot to be desired.

  • I'm selling this because I want a wider one a friend of mine has.

    I agree there is no free lunch, but I tested this lens against the 14-140mm M43 zoom. THat lens is corrected and sharpened in camera, and the video the Nikon produced was well on par with it. No, it's not a prime lens. But that's the point- it's a fixed aperture, servo zoo, parfocal, piece of Nikon glass.

    On the auction, I include HD video of the three lens test, including side by side shots, and I also include 4K straight from the camera file for your viewing pleasure.

    If you're expecting edge to edge sharpness equal to a prime Lumix M43 lens, you will be disappointed. If you're expecting a good lens that resolves on par with a Lumix M43 zoom lens, and enables you to zoom without the iris "stepping" the iris to compensate, then you will be pleased.

  • FYI this auction has been removed. Apparently 22 people had bid on it and then it was removed. It doesn't say why.

  • You mention that this is comparable against the M4/3 zooms, have you compared the Panny 12-35 F/2.8 or 35-100 F/2.8 or the Nikon 24-70,28-70 F/2.8 or 70-200,80-200 F/2.8 zooms? Considering the price that this is selling for I think it would be fair to compare it against zooms that are in the same ballpark in terms of price.

  • I think Vitaliy doesn't allow sales posts linking to eBay listings.

    These old B4 ENG zooms are a lot better than you might think by trying them on m43. The problem is they're designed for 3-CCD cameras with a beam splitting prism, and m43 cameras don't have that chunk of glass in them. So you need to stop down to f/5.6 or f/8 before they actually look good. Take the same lens in C-mount and now they perform great up to f/2.8. But most of the best C-mount zooms require modification to mount to m43.

    @IEBA1, you have funny math about calculating the effective angle of view. 5.5 mm with the 1.7x extender engaged is 9.35 mm. That's like 9.35 mm on Micro Four Thirds, because it is. You get exactly the same angle of view as if you put a 9.35 mm Micro Four Thirds lens on the camera, for those video & still modes that the image circle covers. It's widest in its native 2/3" format: 5.5mm focal length / 11 mm 2/3" image circle diameter * 22 mm m43 image circle diameter = equivalent AOV of 11 mm on full sensor Micro Four Thirds. The difference is that the 2/3" 11 mm image circle * 1.7x = 18.7 mm, which doesn't cover Micro Four Thirds, but it more than covers 4k and UHD on the GH4. (if you believe a 1.7x extender produces an image 1.7x as wide that still looks good into the corners. Not sure I do.)

    Oh man, I could make a small fortune selling my lenses.

  • You are not allowed to post a FS without a price for forum members.

  • @azo, I was comparing it in terms of zoom range. The 9x Nikon compared to the 10x Lumix. None of the other M43 zooms you mention cover the same range, or length.

    @Balazer, thanks for the info. I've been writing about putting B4 lenses on M43 cameras for several years now, and tested them at Panavision. You do not have to stop down to F5.6 or F8 to get a usable image, at all. If you followed the YouTube links I posted in the e-bay listing, you'd have found other B4 lens tests, including this canon SD B4 lens tested in UHD, from wide open and closing it several stops. You'll see that the difference opening it up past f5.6 is not as you describe. It is quite usable.

    I do not have "funny math", as I said, I was trying to estimate the DCI crop as well, not the full M43 sensor. And even M43 sensor crop varies between GH cameras, so it's not as simple as doing a little math.

    But I fully agree with you that it's not as good in the corners and I point that out in the video.

  • @nomad, my apologies. The E-bay listing didn't sell, so a direct price would be $950 for the lens. + ship. When I look at the comparable wide angle completed listings, I see a wide range, from lucky deals below $1000, to over $2000. So the $950 is fair when the image quality is proven.

  • @aae991, the auction was not removed, it ended. The link still works and there's an "Ended" banner across the image. It did not meet the reserve.

    All of the video links are still in the auction listing.