March 2nd, 2010


Quick bit of photo geekery -- which I'm posting because some people are probably interested in c-mount lenses on the Panasonic Lumix GF-1.... (If you're not interested in c-mount lenses on micro 4:3 cameras, just look at the cute photo of Tatty and move along with your friends list, you will miss nothing.)

If you've been paying attention you know that I recently got a Panasonic GF-1 digital camera (me and my GF-1, so happy together) I made a post about it here with some sample images. And I took this self portrait with it and we've been having a blast. It's really small, which is awesome, very Leicalike in a lot of ways, including and especially because it has interchangeable lenses -- which had always been the Big Thing missing in any camera smaller than a DSLR.

Because it's mirrorless the focal distance (the distance between the rear element of the lens and what we still call "the film plane" is shorter which means you can put nearly any lens on it, including old c-mount movie camera lenses. This weekend my friend Jim, who's an avid collector of mostly useless but nonetheless interesting camera gear gave me three c-mount lenses for the GF-1. How exciting!

A 17mm f 2.5, a 25mm f 1.5 and a 75mm f 2.5, all Wollensak's.

These lenses were carefully inspected by Tatty:

The 25mm is a bit too close in specs to the 20mm that came with the camera to be terribly useful. Additionally, it lacks auto focus, vignettes at the corners, and shows significant edge distortion. . Here's an uninteresting image taken with the 25mm.

The 17mm vignettes like crazy:

But the 75mm works fine, doesn't vignette and works in aperture priority mode. Here's an uninteresting photo taken with the 75mm. The GF-1 has a focus assist mode which is very helpful for manual focus lenses like this. Pressing in on the shutter speed dial will enlarge the image on the viewfinder to 100% (super magnified), you can focus precisely, and as soon as you touch the shutter release, it goes back to the normal viewing mode.

Bottom line is: if you're thinking of buying c-mount lenses for your GF-1 be sure that they'll cover the sensor before you buy them -- prices on Ebay have gotten outrageous and lots of them have descriptions like "c-mount lens for Lumix GF-1?" with the "?" supposed to exonerate the seller if the lens you're getting creates an image like a porthole in a black wall.

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