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Longest lens to shoot handheld video with on GH2?
  • So I'm really excited about the new Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens, which seems to be very close to optically perfect. It'd make a lovely lens for stills, and i guess would be a pretty good lens for video on an olympus body where the stabilisation can help you out with a shutter speed of 1/50.

    I'm presuming the same logic applies as for stills, a sharp image is typically best got by having a lens less focal length than your shutter speed. So our 1/50th shutter speed for 180 shutter of 24fps means we really can't hope to get that good results from anything un-stabilised beyond a 50mm equivalent focal length. Which draws the line at say the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95.

    I've dabbled with longer lenses, but just wondered what you guys all used as a rule of thumb? Are you all using tripods, or other supports to get usable footage out of anything longer?

    With that, and the price tag I guess I'll have to pass on the Oly 75mm for now. Wish i could rent one for a wedding in a few months.

  • 24 Replies sorted by
  • @jimtreats AFAIK the shutter speed/focal length 'rule' traditionally applies to still photography and was based on the 35mm (equivalent still camera) format you refer to. However I think you are confusing movement within the scene itself (ie people moving about, trees blowing in the wind etc) versus camera shake which is exasperated by longer lenses.

  • I shoot handheld on a 50mm lens all the time, and I agree, I wouldn't expect much longer to be that stable.

    All moving shots on this video were handheld, shot at f1.4 or 1.8, so you can see how hard it is to keep focus (not that bad)

  • With an over the shoulder support and two front handles plus eye contact on the EVF you should have no problems shooting stable footage with a Canon FD 100mm f2.8 lens without any electronic stabilization. I use this lens a lot, there is no hand jittery, only gentle wavering which doesn't blur the footage shot at 1/50 or 1/60

    True hand held, just the camera 50mm max,

    EDITED > altered to shutter not FPS

  • 1/50 shutter speed is not a hard written rule. 1/60 works fine, too. I wouldn't go more tele than 35mm focal length with only handheld.

    Oly 75mm 1.8... you'd need a shoulder rig or a tripod. Or you could wait longer and get 35-100 f/2.8 Power OIS. I think the zoom would be more versatile. At 100mm f/2.8, you'd get DOF close to 50mm 1.8.

  • Thanks everyone. Nice to hear actual examples of what people are using. With my own footage, excluding the image stabilised 14-140mm that I've got I've definitely noticed my footage is best handheld at 50mm (FF equivalent). It's one of the reasons that eventually swayed me to get the 17.5mm lens as i realised it'd have to help sharpness and generally improve wobbliness relative to its 25mm brother.

    The other thing i realise is perhaps its technique or just individual stillness of some of us, ie. maybe i can be a little too jittery for my own good! @Rambo you must have epic technique to be able to hold a 100mm lens (200mm FF equivalent) steady, even with a rig.

    I do have a flycam nano steadicam which helps a little, but has limits. I also have one of those really cheap plastic pincer shoulder mounts which does seem to help a little... I've got a real urge to pickup a better shoulder support though, and the idea that it could let me hold a 100mm acceptably (and more comfortably) is rather appealing.

    I've wondered about basic pistol grips as well... they seem to help, but its not clear how much... I do like the EVF on the GH2, though i find it just a little too hard to sometimes nail focus with it alone... really hopeful that the GH3 improves on this.. be nice if it had a great screen, as well as an improved EVF.. choices choices then. It does seem that using a loupe as i did on my old 550D gives you more options for tight point of contacts and if the screen quality is good enough almost monitor-like abilities to read the focus... well we get to wait and see on that front i guess.

    Thanks again.. i guess i'll hold fast on the Oly for now. The 14-140mm has done good for me in the past, it just struggles so indoors. Still my wallet will be grateful for the break! :)

  • Jim, the trick with the over shoulder brace ( I use the cheap cowboy one) and two handles is not to hold it too hard, just let it rest and guide it, breathe In slow short inhales/exhales. Don't drink coffee before the shoot and stay warm.

    If you have to move, don't try and walk like you are holding a camera while walking, walk like you are strolling down the promenade with your wife/girlfriend; i.e, walk normal, your body has developed this style all your life and had plenty of practice at it.

    As for shooting from a moving platform like a boat, Jetski, you have to become a human gymbal and learn to keep your arms still and move your body independently, just like those break dancers do.

    I'm getting old now so the 14-140 OIS sure helps...haha


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  • Awesome photos @rambo. I have pretty much the exact same over the shoulder clamping kit, its cheap, plasticky but also means its lightweight.. I've none of the other extra bits though, and often struggle getting a good position with the limited blocks it came with to offset and mount the camera.

    Nice work though! Epic action shot in the surf!!! :)

  • Jim, the rail system is the cheap setup Vitaliy has in the Deals threads. If you look closely you can see how i've used the accessories that came with the Cowboy to offset the top rail-rig and camera. The whole setup in the photo is less than $300 excluding the camera and mic.

    The other monopod thing is just a poor mans steady cam, no gymbal, just hold it lightly just above at the balance point and let you arms float.

  • truly handheld.. (with no coffee that morning) non IS lenses, maybe 28mm for good footage.. I shoot "handheld" footage with a shoulder mount.. when a client asks for handheld footage they don't really know how its shot, just know they want that handheld look.. AKA "shakey cam"... I do up to 50mm non IS lenses with a shoulder support.. after that its to touchy for me .. Can't imagine doing 100mm on a micro4/3 camera unless it is a totally static shot just standing and shooting AKA not following action ect.

  • I certainly don't recommend doing a 200mm equiv. shot on a shoulder rig, but in my game you have to be ready for anything. Yes only doable as a static or slow pan, with your body braced against a wall etc. and only for short duration.

    I shot this with a GH1 canon FD 50mm f1.4 as motion jpeg 1/30 shutter handheld. Yeah focus was hard at low f numbers.

    Sorry no HD only 640 x 360 export.

  • Rambo said "As for shooting from a moving platform like a boat, Jetski, you have to become a human gymbal and learn to keep your arms still and move your body independently, just like those break dancers do."

    ... or chicken! :)

  • Or chicken ..haha yep I've seen that video too.

  • @Rambo I have that same shoulder rig. I just shot some stuff on a 200mm with it. Not the steadiest footage in the world, but not jittery by any means.

  • @shian, yep, I don't know of anything else that allows steady footy close to that rig other than a SteadyCam. The lack of jitter makes it presentable in most situations where 100-200 equiv. is used.

  • @stonebat You said "Or you could wait longer and get 35-100 f/2.8 Power OIS."

    Do you have any more details on if a lens like this is available yet for M43?

  • My longest handheld non-stop shoot with Ownuser grip was at 50p - 2hours 5min full 64GB Sandisk 45MB SDXC. It was wedding party, and second camcorder Panasonic 370 was on crane jib. The client asked me don't make cuts for easy multicam editing.

  • @Rambo "If you have to move, don't try and walk like you are holding a camera while walking, walk like you are strolling down the promenade with your wife/girlfriend" br You mean the new or the old ? lol

  • Both if your lucky enough :-) but if your balls end upon the mantel piece .. Don't blame me.

  • @Rambo, you are a legend.

  • Handheld at 300mm on the 100-300 Panny. It's all over the show, as it's easy to lose track and stay in track. Still, for the distance, I'm astounded how well the combination copes. Definitely usable in shorter captures.

  • +1 for the 100-300 v good OIS even on the long end

  • Sigma ZOOM - α III 135mm 3.5-4.5 its a tele very very lightweight and short.

    I think the Nikkor-Q 135mm 2.8 also. Although I have not tried because I havent the adapter, it is not as light as the Sigma and is bigger, but weighs less than it looks and I think can be shoot handheld easy with GH2.

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  • Another tele light and is a beast, a great unknown is the UNDERGROUND MC Auto 135mm 2.8, beautiful look, it seems hard to get, although it seems to be made for various mounts, mine is for Pentax and have UNDERGROUND in red, MC green and the rest of text in white.

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