Thursday, April 21, 2016


According to Wikipedia... In film and photography, a prime lens is either a photographic lens whose focal length is fixed, as opposed to a zoom lens, or it is the primary lens in a combination lens system.

My manual focus PRIME LENSES hibernating in the cloth closet 
Like most photographers living through the FILM ERA, we accumulated a few manual focussing prime lenses from our SLRs.

You can see from the above picture that I have a few Nikon (Nikkor) and Leica-M prime lenses. Most of the time, these once highly sought after lenses are hibernating in my cloths closet!

I have used my selections of old Nikon and Leica M optics on my Olympus E-P2 and OM-D before, the experiences were not intuitive mainly because it is so bloody hard to get an accurate manual focussing on these digital cameras! Not until I try out my 25 year old 50/2 Leica Summicron-M lens on the GM1!

If you read that review, you will realise I LOVE IT!

Now with the Lumix GX85, it should be even better, right?

Let's see...

Pictures above show my 30+ year old Leica Elmarit M 28/2.8 true range-finder lens on the Lumix G85. The combination LOOK GREAT :) 

But please remember that to mount a X brand lens to the M43 lens mount, you will need an adapter.

For me, I bought TWO adapters for this purpose, one for the Leica M lenses and the other for mounting Nikon primes on M43 cameras.

A word of advice, when it come to these adapters, go for the best. It might only look like "a piece of metal" to you, but a badly made adapter can really damage your camera lens mount, or jammed/stuck, resulting in a UNREMOVABLE prime lens on your M43 camera body!

You have been warned :)

For a M43 camera to use a manual focussing prime lens effectively, it must have good FOCUS PEAKING, most modern digital cameras with an electronic viewfinder will have focus peaking built in.

But what is FOCUS PEAKING?

Look at the picture above... Notice the RED HIGHLIGHT on the GX85 screen?  That is GX85's focus peaking aid to show you the IN FOCUS area, now you can focus your manual prime lens with confidence and accurately!

By the way, since most MF primes were made for FULL FRAME film SLR, your 28mm lens will "behave" like a 56mm lens (28x2).. 

Before I am blasted by readers, I meant the 28mm will have a FIELD OF VIEW of 56mm lens ;)

The Leica Elmarit M 28/2.8...
This was taken with the Lumix GX85 with the Leica M 28/2.8 at FULL aperture of 2.8, looks really good!  Lets crop in...
This is the 100% crop, now you know why the Elmarit was one of my favourite  film lens! 

As I swapped to another Leica M lens, the GX85 is smart enough to ask me if I want to change the focal length setting, this is to optimise the in built IS (Image Stabilisation) to your third party lens!  Wow!!

The Leica Summicron 90/2...
The Lumix GX85 with the Leica Summicron M 90/2
Leica 90/2 on Lumix GX85 @ F2

100% crop of a 90/2 shot at F4 setting
What about Nikon prime lens?  I only have time to do some quick tests, the NIKON 80-200 F4 ZOOM at 200mm (400 equivalent) and the EVERGREEN Nikon 50/1.4 "normal" lens.

The Nikon 80-200 F4 Zoom...

The Nikon 80-200 F4 zoom at 200mm F4, notice the presence of heavy chromatic aberration, NOT ideal at full aperture!
By stopping down to F8, image quality and CA has improved!
The Nikon 50mm F1.4...

Famous Last Words...

The LUMIX GX85 works great with some MF Prime Lenses, I am impress with the IS working well even though it is not wearing a M43 lens!

Due to the "doubling focal length effect", however, I would stick to shorter prime focal length.

One of the best MF lens I like is the Nikon 50mm F1.4 "normal" lens! On the GX85 it "became" a 100mm F1.4 super short tele with beautiful bokeh!

GRAB them while you can!


Lumix TZ110, Ideal Travel Camera?


Marcio K said...

Thanks for the test, it is something that I wonder if the GX85 could do. If you could please do a little test (that I've not found anywhere else too): the IS works with legacy prime lenses in video mode too (both in 1080p and 4K)? A LOT of people in video community is waiting for this test.

Thanks and regards

cy.leow said...

Hi Marcio K.. Sorry but the GX85 has been returned to Panasonic NZ. I did email them after you post your question and this is their answer. "Yes body IS does work during 4k with non-stabilised lenses." If I do get the GX85 again, I will do that test for you. Regards - CY

Pete said...

GX85 5 axis body IS works just as well in video mode as it does in still. The only catch is that it won't adjust the IS settings if you can the zoom setting on a zoom lens. So if I'm shooting with my 100-300mm zoom lens and select 300mm when I power up, the IS works great, as long as I stay at 300mm. But it's not as good as I zoom out. If I select 200mm, it's compromised at both ends. Maybe there's a way to set one of the thumbwheels to change the zoom setting on the fly...
I've had my GX85 about a month and I'm super-impressed with it.

cy.leow said...

Hi Pete

I spoke to Panasonic New Zealand and this is their response...

"Hi CY

I need more information to answer fully but making assumptions I assuming it is via a mount adapter as if they were using the Lumix 100-300mm the lens IS is the best system to use.
If they are using another brand via a mount adapter then there would be no communication to the body telling it the focal length had changed. To change this setting there are several ways
1- It give you the option when the camera is powered on when using a mount adapter (i.e. not a mFT lens)

2- In the camera rec settings on page 8 (conveniently the last page so the up arrow from page one takes you to page 8 without scrolling through) the Stabiliser setting option is located and can be changed there.

3- The stabiliser settings menu can be assigned to a fn key for direct access. The assignment of function buttons is on page 7 of the custom setting menu."

Hope that answer your question.