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85mm best lens to for film making?
  • Heh guys, just seeing what you guys think would be a good investment (i'm thinking about the future here) would be for a 85mm lens? I want something I can FF with and that will have a future with other cameras. My current lenses are the;

    Olympus 12mm, Volt 25mm and the Olympus 45mm.

    There's 3 lenses I have my eye on (within my budget);

    The Samyang 85mm 1.4 Nikon mount. Cheap, sharp but is it a good choice for FF?

    The Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZF Nikon Mount. Expensive but worth it with image quality and i heard its great for FF. But would the GH2 support its weight? I would love to build a nice set of Zeiss lenses to last me for years.

    Then there's the not yet released Olympus 75mm 1.8 lens, which i believe is coming soon. I own the 12mm and 45mm which are awesome bits of glass but i fear they are not up to a task of shoot a movie because you can't use a FF kit with them. Is that true? Will that be the same issue with the 75mm? And it i upgrade to a new camera system, i can't see any future of being able to use these bad boys expect for maybe on the BMC cam or a AF200.

    Should i stick with Olympus for the moment? Or should I slowing be upgrading to Zeiss and future proofing myself?

    Cheers Aaron

  • 77 Replies sorted by
  • The Samyang 85mm on the 5D is very sharp. CA is present if shooting against high contrast backgrounds from F/1.4, reduced @ 2.0 and mostly gone by 2.8. Again this becomes apparent depending on the nature of your shooting. I would say it is ideal for follow focus work as the focus ring is really dampened and smooth - hard to pull quickly. I haven't had the pleasure to own a zeiss yet but I'm sure it's optically better.

    Personally, I find traditional focal lengths on M4/3 sensor awkward, you have to work around the FoV to compose what you want. Generally it feels I need an extra 4-7mm's wider. Moving back is usually the solution but effects compression of BG.

  • I had the Zeiss 85/1.4 and Nikon 85/1.4 on my Kodak SLR/n and I like the Nikon. In my film days, I had the Zeiss 85/1.4 on Rollei 3003 and the Canon 85/1.2 on F1N. The Canon L has the lowest contrast.

  • I've found 85mm on mFT about as long as I would regularly like to go. 170mm equivalent is nice for tight portraiture, but it really needs to be on sticks. I personally use the Canon FDn 85/2, and my copy is good for FF. The rest of my FDn's are quite stiff and don't FF that well.

    I'm also investigating the Tokina 28-80/2.8 AT-X PRO (Nikon version) too. It focuses (and zooms) completely internally, which makes it a good choice for matte box usage. The focus ring looks really smooth too.

  • @itimjim do you have a 28-80 when you say 'investigating'?

    I have one and can say that its a fantastic lens! (Parfocal)

  • Just wanted to chime in that normally the manufacturers really went the extra mile on their 85 mm f/1.2 vs the 1.4 or 1.8 models.

    You probably are not going EF (aperture control and all) but if you do, keep in mind that the CA shooting wide open appears to be worse on revision II than revision I on that lens (though I think it is better stopped down than the earlier revision).

    You can see what I mean at

    I would make notes on other 85mm lenses if I weren`t seriously considering picking one up myself and worrying about losing eBay auctions. ;)

  • my lens for that range is the Leitz Canada 90mm f/2 Summicron-R. The Leica R mount can also be adapted to Canon EF. The only down side of this lens is that it has a Leica series 7 filter mount.

    I have also the Canon FD 85mm 1.2. It was more expensive then the Leitz and the Canon's IQ does not come close. The 1.2 is very "dreamy" (to be polite). The f2 of the Leitz is very usable.

    The Samyang 85mm did not exist when I made the purchase ...

    I would also checkout Pentax SMC 1.8 85mm and Olympus OM Zuiko 85mm f2.

  • Hi @alcomposer yes, it's arriving this week. I'm now looking at the 11-16 and 20-35 too :-)

  • @azza_act

    The 12mm oly works fine with the right follow focus. Here is my setup:

  • I have 85mm Jupiter 9, it's f2 .. it has character .. mine is m42

  • Since the GH2s video mode doesn't need top resolution I would be most concerned with sharpness and CAs at large apertures. I have filmed both with a Minolta MD 2.0/85 and a Leitz Summilux-R 1.4/80. The Minolta only shows very slight softness as f2, but now CAs. The Leica beats the Minolta at f2 where it is tack sharp. Opened another half stop it gets softer and at 1.4 it is noticeably soft and shows CAs, but much better than the Voigtlaender Nokton 25 fully opened. The Leica R lenses are supposed to be declickable, on the Minoltas it might depend on the lens. Personally I would test the Samyang, if I was going with a Nikon mount lens set. I saw one photo comparison on the net where it looked as good as the Leica. Personally I don't because I also use m43 lenses and I get confused when the focus ring does not rotate the same way on all my lenses. I am planning a shoot out of all my m43, Leitz and Minolta lenses soon, I will post the results.

  • There's a lot to be said for shooting with the same make of lens - it's less about resolution and more about matching contrast and colour rendition, to my mind. I've got 28mm, 50mm and 85mm contax zeiss glass, which work beautifully on a gh2. You seem to have a lot of Olympus glass, so I'd look at something by them if you want an 85mm. My 02.

  • Just got a Canon FD 85mm 1.8, my first bit of "old" glass and its great. Sharp and really shallow DOF. Saw a review comparing the new Samyang to this lens and the Samyang was better, but for a 25 year old lens thats a low price and has great quality I'm really happy with it. It's also built like a tank !

  • Samyang 85.4. It's a modern MF lens with good coating for less CA and haze.

  • @stonebat

    Recently picked up two Angenieux lenses, 35-70mm, and the 45-90mm. Am in the lens hoarding mood again, but this time of a decidedly more vintage year. Anyway, took a detour and tried something different today - I picked up the Samyang 85mm Nikon mount, and wow, was blown away by the optic similarity between Korean technology, and French flare. Like the Angenieuxs, the Samyang 85mm renders images that are detailed, sharp, yet not as contrasty as Zeiss. Makes me want to go chk out the 35mm f1.4 as well!!!!

  • I tested the 35, 85 samyangs and a zeiss 18 against a number of the best Nikkors, on a d800e and all 3 beat the Nikkors by a very small amount in resolution. Corners were especially impressive but that is not a concern on an m43 camera.

  • Makes me want to grab the entire Samyang collection. Carl Zeiss, eat yr heart out!

  • The only one I would worry about is the 14mm, if you are at all concerned about distortion.

  • Skip the Samyang, get a Nikkor f2 85 or Zeiss 85/1.4

  • Skip the Samyang, get a Nikkor f2 85 or Zeiss 85/1.4

    Can you, please write any reason?

  • I can upload files from Nikkor 85 1.4 Af D, this is a very high quality lens (optical) , but I did not like the build quality, Zeiss will be better. But what a Zeiss optical quality is not clear, if someone can do tests a Zeiss 85 ?

  • Samyang 85 will be best on a follow focus due to its construction size. Breaths a little though, but still probably the best 85 with cine credentials.

  • I kind of like the Voigtlander's for DSLR 20/2.5, 40/2, 58/1.4 - there supposed to be a 75/1.8 FF lens(I know it's not 85 but close) for Canon/Nikon/Pentax but was announced over a year ago and still not available.

  • If you are going to spend anything over $400 then wait for the Olympus. I personally like my ancient Nikkor 85/2, but I'm pretty sure the Samyang/Vivitar whatever is just as sharp and has an F 1.4 stop. One thing to consider is the size and weight. Both the Nikkor and Rokkors are small and compact. If I didn't have the Nikkor/Rokkor I would get the Samyang, and since I can wait, I will wait for the Olympus. There is of course the Leica 75/1,4, but it is overpriced. 75mm is a nice size.