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Most recommended zoom lenses for m43, including not native
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  • Guys, there is also another optically excellent zoom lens mentioned by Vitaliy several times:
    Vivitar 28-200mm macro f/3.5-5.6
    Especially for those who are on tight budget: lots of lens joy for just a little money.

    I've got mine on eBay for 8€ in mint condition, FD mount. In terms of optical quality this lens meets many good primes. It is a FF lens, so it might have a great future once optical adapter / speed booster will be available.

  • It is F3.5-5.3, proper one

  • So I'm finally purchasing a lens this weekend! My budget goes up to £3,000.

    Any other suggestions for manual zoom lenses - I'd like to be able to have the aperture ring on the lens. Looking at F/2.8 and faster lenses.

    OR ALTERNATIVELY - 3 fast prime lenses, manual.

  • Hi. Sorry to bump this old thing again, But I need some help. Recently, without the proper knoledge, I've bought three nikon lenses for video events shooting:

    Sigma 50-150mm 1:2.8 APO DC HSM, Sigma 28-70mmD Aspherical, Sigma 28-70mm D.

    All of them are attached to an adapter (RJ Nikon F/G to m43, the one sold on this very forum).

    The cameras I use are two Lumix GH2 & 1 Lumix G6.

    So, every time I use this set-up and use the zoom ring (zoom in & out) the image is always blury (see a video exemple here:


    According to Vitaly: in order to avoid this effect, I need parfocal lenses.

    So my question is, which fast (f2.8) parfocal lenses would you recommand me for low budget video shooting (mostly events in low light like weddings) and is there a list of all parfocal lenses (used or new) ? All I could find was this (, but now it's quite old and no longer up to date.

    Also, are the lenses mentioned earlyer (Sigma 50-150mm 1:2.8 APO DC HSM, Sigma 28-70mmD Aspherical, Sigma 28-70mm D.) parfocal or not ? I couldn't find any conclusive informations at all on them, sadly. That's why I'm assuming that they're probably not, but maybe someone here knows for sure.

    Thanks to answer.

  • Zoom lenses are parfocal, by definition. If it's not parfocal, it's called a varifocal lens. "Varifocal zoom lens" is an oxymoron, and only a few bad lenses call themselves that.

    But a zoom lens is only parfocal if its back focus is adjusted correctly. Back focus is the distance between the lens and the sensor. Inexpensive lens adapters are almost all shorter than they should be. This shifts the focus range and guarantees that you can focus to infinity (and a bit beyond), but makes zoom lenses not parfocal anymore.

    More expensive adapters like the ones from Metabones and Novoflex claim to have the proper flange focal distance, but I haven't tested this myself.

    I don't know of any f/2.8 zoom lenses for full frame that actually look good at f/2.8. f/3.5 is a best case scenario, and more likely f/4.0 or f/5.6. Full frame lenses are mismatched on m43 anyway, being less wide and effectively wasting the light that they collect.

    The Panasonic 12-35 and 35-105 f/2.8 lenses are electronically parfocal (all Panasonic m43 zooms, actually). You lose focus while zooming, but when you stop zooming the focus motor will shift the focus back to the distance you set. So they're not great if you want to film while zooming, but they're fine if you only zoom between shots.

    A C-mount lens for the 2/3" format is a pretty good match for the GH2/3/4 in 1080 ETC mode. It won't be quite as wide as on a 2/3" camera, but wider than most full frame zooms on m43. A 12.5-75 mm f/1.8 C-mount lens will be easy to find and adapt to m43 and will look good at f/2.8. Of course ETC mode comes with a noise penalty, so you'll want to keep the ISO setting as low as you can. There aren't really great options for zoom lenses and low light on the GH2. The GH4 or the a7S afford much better options. (or even a camcorder or a video-oriented superzoom like the Panasonic FZ200)

  • @balazer

    Do you have any experience with the Schneider Variogon 18-90mm f/2 c-mount lens? I plan to use this only on the GH4 in 4K mode.

  • I haven't used it. I believe it's a 1" lens.

  • "Zoom lenses are parfocal, by definition"

    This is not true... at least not for photo lenses. Parfocal lenses stay in focus as the focal length of the zoom changes. Ideally they would be parfocal, but varifocal gives more flexibility in lens design and photographers being that they typically aren't zooming constantly while shooting, it's not a big selling point for photo lenses.

    ENG and Cinema lenses however it's a big selling point to have parafocal zooms. The DSLR revolution has changed that slightly... its more of an added benefit to most people shooting on DSLR and Mirrorless, but its definitely a great feature to have.

  • I have tons of photographic zoom lenses, and they're all parfocal. If the focus scale index lines meet the focus scale at the same place for all focal lengths, the lens is supposed to be parfocal. If the lens is even close to being parfocal, it's supposed to be parfocal. Zoom lenses are not parfocal by accident. They have an extra focus compensator group that moves with the zoom control. Varifocal lenses don't have that, and they're not even close to being parfocal - the focus shifts a lot even for small changes in the focal length. If a lens is supposed to be parfocal, it will be parfocal when the back focus is set correctly.

    Here's an example of a varifocal photo lenses, the Makinon 28-80 f/3.5. Note how the focus index lines curve to match different places on the focus scale for every focal length:

  • @Azo The Schneider Variogon 18-90mm is a great lens, I use it for my BMPCC, but it won't fully cover the GH4 at the wide end. Plus, you'll need a really good adapter to make it parfocal, I use the Metabones (simple adapter, no SB).

    @all Most of my photographic zooms are parfocal, but flange distance is so critical that you'll need a very precise adapter, the cheap ones won't help. I like the Canon FD 35 to 105mm (the one with constant f3,5), the Tokina AT-X 28 85mm 3.5-4.5 aint't bad either. You won't find anything much wider or faster in vintage photographic zooms.

  • @nomad

    Thanks for the feedback on the Schneider Variogon... I have a Mint Condition Tokina 28-70 Pro1 with the screw on hood that is based on the Angeniux design. The lens is actually really sharp wide open even on my full frame Nikon DSLR. However it is not parfocal, hence my interest in the Schneider Variogon. So just to confirm the Schneider will not cover the GH4 sensor in 4K mode with the extra crop? There is a guy selling a lens on Ebay and he stated in the ad that is covers the sensor in 4K mode on the GH4.

    What about the Angeniux 17.5-70 do you think this would cover the GH4 in 4K mode and what are your thoughts on this lens? I would like to have at least one Parfocal lens in my quiver.

  • @balazer "The Panasonic 12-35 and 35-105 f/2.8 lenses are electronically parfocal (all Panasonic m43 zooms, actually). You lose focus while zooming, but when you stop zooming the focus motor will shift the focus back to the distance you set. "

    That is interesting, How parfocal refers to this lenses? if camera is set to AF it will corrected anyway. How this works on which setting camera has to be to avoid hunting and be able to reframe during interview for example. if it works on MF that would be parfocal and would be good news form me?

  • I'm not 100% sure about vignetting with the Variogon, since I don't own a GH4. But I'm sure the corners will be very soft.

  • @nomad

    I am a stickler for having sharp lenses too so I don't think I would be satisfied with soft corners. I already experienced that (soft corners) with Canon B4 lenses. I guess I will stick to my current set of full frame photography lenses. Thanks again for the feedback...

  • The Lumix 12-35 f/2.8 lives on my camera. I have tried many others including FullFrame with a SpeedBooster and by the end of day the 12-35 is back on. It is worth a lot more than your Camera and is a much better investment too.

  • @balazer. Do you have a list of actual zoom lenses that are parfocal that you can recommand ? That might help greatly.

    Thanks to answer