What's the widest lens you can put on a Micro Four Thirds camera?

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2015/05/05/did-i-find-the-widest-lens-for.html

Going ultra-wide on my Blackmagic Cinema Camera is tricky, but I’ve found a 6mm lens that covers the sensor.

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shouldn’t you have posted that here–> Did you ever want to play questions? ?


Opening your images full size show that there is some pretty huge focus issues in the corners. It’s soft in a large area at the bottom of the frame. Not as much of a problem at the top, which is usually sky. But the grass gets mighty fuzzy there in the corners. What f stop were you shooting at? Perhaps it gets better closer to 5.6.

This is great to know about, thanks. There is a universe of lenses out there for machine vision, but there is really no easy way to find them. I appreciate you sharing this little gem. Certainly not good for every application, but it has its place, and it is also quite small.

My question: will it work on the new Black Magic Micro Cinema (or Micro Studio) camera? I guess “yes” because those are MFT mount also.

How about an Olympus 9mm f8 bodycap lens - http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Fisheye-BCL-0980-Micro-Cameras/dp/B00I19TVU2
Or a Samyang/Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 lens - http://www.amazon.com/Samyang-SY75MFT-B-7-5mm-Micro-Thirds/dp/B006MI1V8E/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1430901712&sr=1-7&keywords=samyang
Or the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 lens or the Panasonic 12-32 f3.5-5.6 lens

As open as I could get. I think the problem might be the BMCC’s tiny display. I might redo these with a higher aperture setting and an EVF.

I think 6mm is indeed right around the widest you can find that covers the sensor, but there are a bunch of 8mm options that are most likely optically better.

Of course, the charm of those tiny, cheapo, oddball s16 or machine vision lenses lies precisely in imperfections like crazy flares from weak coatings, vignetting, blurred corners, chromatic aberrations, swirly bokeh and the like.

Gives them character. Usually a vintage-feeling one, as “good” modern lenses are designed to not have any of that. Same goes for old soviet Zeiss and Leica clones and other eBay gems.

Good news, everyone! Since those have smaller sensors (the Pocket does at least, around S16-sized), even more lenses will be compatible without extreme vignetting. Here’s a few vintage ones on the Pocket.

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Oh, and that 7-14mm Panasonic mentioned in the article (a great lens beside the slow aperture, from what I hear) will work on the Pocket but not on the Cinema Camera, because it needs the ‘active’ micro four thirds mount with electrical contacts.


Maybe you could use a speedbooster


expensive, but it might just let you start using ultrawides as they were intended to be used.

here’s a lensrental writeup

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Well remembered. I have the BMCC-specific one with the Nikon mount and it does work beautifully with compatible lenses. But it won’t work with the smaller c-mount or native mft lenses, because both the flange distance and the image circle will be too small.

The best bet for going wide that way would, I believe, be the BMCC Speed Booster plus a Nikon mount Samyang/Rokinon 8mm (fisheye) or Sigma 8-16mm (non-fisheye). Probably both will result in a sharper image than the c-mount option, but the whole thing will be larger, heavier and more expensive.

Ugh, are you sure you want to go with a Nikon adapter just to use third party F mount lenses?

I use Nikon because I’m invested in (vintage and new) manual focus Nikon and Nikon-mount lenses, which are generally good quality, usually affordable used and because of the flange distance can be easily adapted to pretty much any past and future camera system with simple non-electronic adapters (particularly the lenses with built-in aperture rings). You know, digital cameras being obsolete quickly and lenses being a longer term investment. So far they’ve served me well for both photography and video in Nikon, Panasonic and Blackmagic Design systems.

What third party mount speed booster would you recommend? EF?

I use a D7000. Given the Flange Distance, I’m stuck with F-mount.

I don’t do video, and my lens collection is lacking on the wide end.

Nikon’s AI lenses communicate aperture information to the meter by physically pushing a tab around the lens mount. nikon’s AF lenses are focused by presenting a screw head to the focusing motor in the camera. The Aperture stop down mechanism uses a spring loaded lever, which makes it impossible to change aperture during video mode. The lenses are mechanicalky linked to the camera, which is not how most manufacturers would design a lens these days. Nikons cheaper cameras lack a lot of these mechanical linkages,so they can only use newer lenses that add an closed source electronic interface that handles focusing.

Does Nikon produce good optics? Sure. Do they produce good cameras?

If you wanted to use a Non nikon lens with a non nikon camera, would going through the F mount be a good idea? Um… that would be a No.

I like my Nikon Cameras but they are a bit kludgy.

I don’t disagree with your points regarding the Nikon photo camera systems, in general. It’s frankly ridiculous that I can autofocus some lenses with my 2005 (!!!) D200 but not the 2013 D5200.

I do disagree with this, in the context of the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera being discussed. You might not do video, but that’s all this camera is about. There’s not even a still picture option. It also has a ‘passive’ mount in the micro four thirds version, which means there is no electronic communication with lenses at all. The speed boosters for this camera, accordingly, have no electronic connections.

So forget autofocus, auto exposure, vibration reduction or anything of the sort. It’s all manual, all the time, which is fine for the target audience because that’s how most Directors of Photography are used to working anyway. Some documentary filmmakers can make good use of cameras with automatic features, but that’s not the right camera for them anyway.

So we’re talking purely optical/mechanical lenses mounted with adapters anyway. Best choice would be dedicated Cine lenses like the big boys use if you have the money. Second best choice would be photo lenses with decent manual focus and aperture controls (not so easy to find in modern designed-for-automatic use models). Some of the most popular choices for ‘budget’ independent fillmmakers with Blackmagic cameras like myself are Zeiss ZFs, the excellent new Sigma ‘art’ lenses, Samyang/Rokinon ‘cinevized’ lenses, and manual-focus-era Nikon lenses. All F mount, imagine that. It’s a future-proof choice for the compatibility reasons I stated earlier.

If one is invested in Sony or Canon video camera systems (or some newer Blackmagic cameras with EF mounts), of course, then the proper Sony or Canon lenses make more sense because you need those for autofocus, auto exposure and vibration reduction. But if you switch systems you have to switch your lens collection with it, while the manual-everything Nikon-mount choices will happily work with everything.

Yeah, ok. I have no experience with blackmagic-- didn’t realze the mft version is manual, and there’s a separate canon ef version. Ah Well.Live and Learn


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It changes everything, doesn’t it? The speed booster you mentioned to start with doesn’t work with the EF version because (again) of flange distance considerations. It’s a fiddly business.

The problem with these very short focus lenses is that diffraction sets in at quite wide apertures. It’s already an issue at f/8 with a 17mm lens, so it would be expected to be noticeable at f/4 with a 6mm.

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I’m a huge fan of the 7-14mm zoom. It’s interesting how glass like that doesn’t come down in price. I got mine for $700 from a discount web store in Japan right after they came out.

Thank you, I’ll update the article to make that clear.

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