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GH4 Telephoto Lens
  • Micro 4/3 has a very limited amount of telephoto lenses, and the lenses that are native to Micro 4/3 aren't very good (Not very sharp on the long end). I need a relatively inexpensive lens under $450 that will provide at least 200mm reach and is very sharp at the long end. I've looked at some vintage tele lenses from Canon FD, Nikon F-mount(Nikkor), and other old lenses but there isn't enough information on the sharpness of the lenses compared to Micro 4/3 lenses for me to make a decision. Any suggestions for lenses and/or comparisons between modern and vintage lenses would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Panasonic 100-300 is very sharp until 250mm or so, and perfectly usable up to 300 (esp. stopped down to F/8). I know people complain about it, but I bet it will be sharper than most legacy 300mm lenses. Also, if you plan to use with a Panasonic body handheld, do not underestimate the value of the OIS which will probably save more shots/footage than a little additional sharpness. Olympus 50-200 2.8-3.5 4/3's lens is very sharp and can be used with extenders, but autofocuses poorly on M4/3 bodies and is without stabilization. Both can be found for <$450.

    Legacy lenses can be quite usable, especially for video, but don't expect the sharpness levels of modern, native lenses. Contrast tends to be lower and fringing sometimes needs to be corrected. Canon FD 300mm f4 L is supposed to be great, but may be out of your price range unless you are patient. If you are looking for cheap/quality, Minolta MD tends to be a consistently good bet- their 300mm f4.5 looks reasonable.

  • @jeanspillane. Thanks for confirmation that the 100-300 OIS works OK. I have the P35-100/2.8 and it is really bad with many jitters, excellent lens otherwise. I would love it if Panasonic would update their 100-300 to a constant f/4.

    Have you used the P45-175 zoom at all?

  • Never used the 45-175, but I have heard it is pretty good. Any of the MEGA OIS lenses won't have the jitter issues of POWER OIS on the newer lenses. It doesn't go past 200, but the Panasonic 14-140 4-5.8 is a great video lens, super versatile with excellent OIS (the new version is supposed to be optically superior but it has jitters...). I never tried the 45-175 or 45-150 because I already had the 14-140 and was happy with it (although it suffers past 100mm).

    I had a major project that gave me good reason to move over to the Olympus 40-150 2.8 + extender, which is amazing on a tripod or for photos but is basically impossible for handheld video because of the lack of OIS. It's a great lens but I wish it was a 50-200 like the old 4/3rd's lens.

    I would also love a Panasonic 100-300 f/4 that is weather-sealed. Or, even better, a 200-400 f/4 (in a perfect world, one that would work with the Olympus 1.4x, but that is probably asking too much).

  • From something good performing, affordable and manual I suggest Canon FD 80-200mm L zoom.

    Note that OIS is very useful on such lenses. As well as AF.

  • I've had pretty good luck with the Lumix 45-200mm. This was shot with the GH4 wide open at 200mm and processed in Lightroom -


    Larger Size -

  • Thank you all for your replies! I'm still a little skeptical on the P100-300mm because according to many reviews it doesn't seem that much better than the P45-200mm. OIS isn't a big deal either because I'm mostly going to be using a fluid head tripod. To me it basically just comes down to image quality. Pretty much Canon FD 80-200mm L vs Panny 100-300mm. The Panasonic will definitely have more modern lens coatings but the Canon was manufactured with much more precision and better quality glass+materials.

  • Pana 100-300 is much sharper and better in every way than pana 45-200mm. It has more colorful image and better contrast and bokeh is smoother and more pleasing. OIS is very good handheld. 100-300 has also quite flare free image. I dont have to use hood.

    I got 100-300mm when I had GH2 and I shooted fullhd 60i and videos improved from 45-200 a lot. Image was cleaner, sharper and more realistic even with 60i.

  • How about legacy telephoto lenses? any experience with these Shooting 4K video? Like takumars, zeiss jenas etc...are they any good for video? Longenst I use right nor is lumix 14-140 and on long end jitter makes it almost unusable for video:(