One of the most often asked questions is about the types of electronic lenses that work best with the m4/3 sensor. People are typically are worried about the crop and getting wide-angle lenses. Adapting non-electronic lenses to the GH1 or GH2 is simple, since these cameras have a very shallow flange depth and no mirror, there are adapters to almost every lens in existence.
Crop – In terms of sensor size, the GH1 and GH2 in 16×9 video mode is equivalent to a 1.85x crop compared to a similar lens mounted on a 5D. A Canon 7D/60D/T3i are all a little over 1.6x crop. This crop factor only makes sense if you either come from a 35mm still photography background, as the sensor in the GH1/2 is close to a 35mm cinema camera frame size. Nonetheless, it does help factor in the difference in FOV when using the lenses on each camera.
1. 14-42 MegaOIS 3.5-5.6 – Daylight walkaround lens $199
For people new to DSLRs, or not converting their old lenses to m4/3, this may be one of your first lenses. The 14-42 is cheap, has excellent stabilization, and will work fine in most daylight situations. If you need a zoom that covers the typical kit range at the typical kit-lens speed, this is your choice.
2. Convert your old FD/Nikon lenses – Adapters range from $25-$300 on amazon and eBay but be cautious as some of the cheaper adapters have fitment issues with lenses being too lose or so tight you can’t even remove the lens!
3. Panasonic 20mm f1.7 prime – $399
This lens is optically fantastic from 1.7 to f16. For those that like to keep an electronically controlled prime on their cameras, you really can’t do any better than this little lens. One minor drawback for serious film work is the electronic focus. Other than that, this is a fantastic lens.
1. Panasonic 14-140 Mega OIS f4-f5.8 $849
If you are looking for the overall best midrange superzoom for your AF100, GH1 or GH2, this is your best option. The Mega OIS implementation is one of the best video IS modes I’ve ever seen in a still lens. For others looking for instant quiet video-style autofocus, this lens is your only option. It is not the fastest lens in the world, but for its range and speed it is a truly excellent lens that should be in all m4/3 owners camera bags
2. Olympus 14-54 f/2.8-3.5 $599 – m4/3 adapter $169
A step above the 14-42, this is a regular 4/3 lens which means in order to adapt to a m4/3 mount camera you need an adapter like the Panasonic DMW-MA1 which usually sells for around $169. The nicest feature of this lens is that it is the closest to a constant prime you will find in these focal lengths. The only feature its missing is image stabilization.
3. Leica 14-50 f2.8-3.5 $899 – m4/3 adapter $169
A fantastic zoom lens with a manual aperture ring. One of Panasonic’s best optical quality zooms, with the equally fantastic Mega OIS, the Leica is a great walkaround lens you should also consider when getting a m4/3 camera. The one pitfall is some reported focus breathing from a few customers who have purchased this lens.
4. Panasonic 7-14 f4 ultra wide aspherical lens $974
This is one of the widest aspherical zoom lenses that money can buy. It is significantly wider than offerings than the fantastic Tokina 11-16 lens, albeit you do give up a stop for this performance. If you need a wide angle zoom, look no further.
This is a very small list out of a huge range of lenses that are compatible with these cameras. If you love prime lenses, there are incredible amounts of options for you. There are also higher range zoom lenses as well that have been covered previously, but we may cover them again soon.