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Reducing the GH2's sharpness on the 14-140mm kit lens
  • Hi,

    I own the GH2 with the 14-140mm Lumix lens, and I just started making films. I really like the 14-140mm, it has a very fast autofocus (for filming skateboard or whatever...), and when zoomed in it has a very nice DOF. But the problem is, it is way too sharp (even with sharpness at -2 and the Apocalypse Now DrewNet 'Soft' hack 444 matrix). I bought the GH2 thinking that it would have the same "Smooth" effect as the Canon T2i, 7D, 5D but with more resolution... because the GH2 IS a DLSR (or should I say DSLM). I know I could have this effect if I use non-panasonic or vintage lenses, but right know I own only the Lumix 14-140, and I'm not buying new lenses right now (or anamorphic adapters). The videos with those kit lens looks too much like a cheep Hi-rez camcorder and not like a DSLR or Cinematic or RED video... I know, I know, I should use a short DOF, reduce everything to -2... bla bla bla... But the 14-140 is still too sharp. It maybe even look a tad better on the GH1...

    Now is there any type of HACK made especially for that type of lens, or any HACK that really softens the image down (canon-like) without a big loss of quality ?

    I've already tried "soft" hacks (apocalypse now...etc), but it doesn't change anything, the edges are still too rough and sharp.

    • I would like that kind of soft light and professional effect from Canon cameras (but with better quality) :

    • And not this too sharp/camcorder look effect (even though it's a cool video) :

    • But the best would be this effect (those are NOT Lumix lenses) :

    (And yes, I like parkour)

    I know that there are already some posts that are about the same, but none of them really helps me.

    Please help me !


  • 29 Replies sorted by
  • I doubt any of the GH2 patches influents the sharpness. In the first part of first video up there the subjects are very sharp, while reduced DOF makes the rest look smoother- that part is simply out of focus.

    The problem of using 14-140 lens is its big DOF, by f/4 it is equivalent to what f/8 looks like on the FF sensor (or 36x24mm film) and practically it is often used at f/5.6 which is on the micro four thirds sensor equivalent to f/11.

    Setting sharpness to -2 is best you can do. Most of people set all to -2, but the contrast and NR should sometimes not be set beyond -1 (IMHO) depending on the situation. The saturation value is purely matter of taste (or needs)

  • Please let me know when you find a solution if there is one.

  • @TruHype

    What shutter speed and frame rate do you shoot at?

  • Diffusion filter?

  • I shoot at 24p and 1/50, and I don't use any filter. But for fast action : 30p at 1/125 And for slow motion : 60p at 1/500 or 1/1000

  • The problem with the 14-140mm is it actually steps up a level in bitrate as soon as you go beyond 50mm. Instability begins at 70mm all the way to 140mm (especially handheld) almost as if there is something wrong with the lens firmware. Its a real battle to tame in 1080i and 720p modes and hence why it has become the defacto testing lens.

  • I think I've found what I'm looking for :

    I came accross this topic on DVXuser :

    Which showed what happened with the 14-140 lens at 720p and a bit of color correction :

    And I've found someone on youtube which his videos are exactly what I was looking for :

    Apparently, the best thing I have to do for what I want is this :

    • Really low shutter speed (1/25 to 1/50)
    • Right color corection
    • "Smooth" or "Nostalgic" profiles with everything (or nearly everything) at -2 (For the the best dynamic range)
    • ND filter (very important)
    • ISO never above 1600
    • Maybe (not sure yet) Soft, diffusion filters, like a Schneider Classic Soft
    • A hack among those ones : - Flowmotion (latest) - Sanity (latest) - Quantum 9vb
      - Orion V4 - Driftwood Mysteron

    Flowmotion and Quantum 9vb look like the best to me.

    But the best option would be fast lens and that are NOT panasonic, and the best I've found are (cheapest) :

    • Sigma 30mm f1.4
    • Rokkor 28mm f2.8
    • Helios 44M-2
    • Minolta 50mm f1.7
    • Canon 35-105mm f3.5 (parfocal)
    • Fujian 35mm f1.7

    FlowMotion with Sigma 30mm :

    Quantum 9vb with Sigma 30mm :

    Panasonic lenses :

    • Panasonic 20mm f1.7
    • Panasonic 14mm f2.5 (different accessories : wide angle conversion, fisheye conversion, macro conversion)

    And about the 14-140, a LA7200 Anamorphic adapter looks incredible, but the price too is incredibly high.

    Any anamorphic adapter with the 14-140 looks oustandingly amazing ! (See by yourself by looking for videos of them on youtube or vimeo) But it's definitley out of price range, otherwise, I would have taken it for sure !

  • Just use a soft filter. They come in all grades from barely noticeable to ermine. If you want to get really fancy, use a piece of rock glass which will also remove any aliasing at the same time. Aliasing is a problem in skateboard vids when you have angled concrete surfaces, for example.

  • Excuse me, but what is exactly rock glass and where can I find some ?

  • I have used both Helios 44-2 and Minolta 1.7 and love the lenses. As far as 14-140 - I try to use it outside in decent light with 1/50 shutter speed at 160 ISO. I will gladly contribute to tests if I know what to look for exactly ?

  • Thank you uninexus, the effect that's looked for is the smooth Canon video effect but with the 14-140mm lens on the GH2 (in 24p), that "romanlegionfilms" achieved on his GH2

    Instead of the "cheap camcorder-like effect" you get when using the Lumix 14-140mm lens.

  • Here is one source for the AA filters, they work really well, and they of course also take the edge off ever so slightly, but to get exactly the look you want you would need to try them out. However, I would just try a basic Tiffen Soft FX or whatever is the lightest filter you can find.

    You should read Barry's recommendations if you want to try the Caprocks, I would still try the Tiffen's first since they are a cheap eBay item.

  • A 1/2 or 1 Tiffen Black Diffusion filter will take the edge off the sharpening, without introducing a lot of other artifacts. Some people recommend a 2 or a 3, but that's far too much softening to my eye.

    The footage still won't look like film, if that's what you're after. But it's much less likely to be objectionably sharp.

  • Be aware though that softening filters will reduce your recording bitrate.

  • So you want a camera that shoots soft. You bought the wrong camera.

  • Using Driftwood's Sedna AQ20 C settings (these use Orion as a starting point but with softer matrix detail) takes the edge off the Panasonic lenses IMO. Whilst the choice of glass is very important for the look, the filmconvert plugin for after effects is certainly worth a try (there is a free demo with watermark) the way that the grain is applied, produces a nice look to even the sharpest of lenses to my eye.
    Good luck, I prefer a softer look and have explored a little, so I am interested to see your findings, so please do report back, thanks :)


  • @vicharris I like your point. Really the 14-140mm gives a very videoy image in my opinion no matter what you do to it. It's a very good modern lens for shooting stills with, not so much for video. It's also very slow and this is what gives is a sharp feel because you are already at f4.0 before you even start. I prefer to use my Canon FD's as they just look nicer to my eye. I also have the .95 25mm Voigtlander which is just beautiful and really gives a very filmic look.

    I'd also say that autofocus is certainly not "filmic". All these factors contribute to the look and so you need to minimise all auto when trying to create a film like image.

  • Romanlegionfilms - uses Filmconvert as part of his grading chain, I believe, so you should try the demo out :)

    It certainly goes a long way to adding some character and grit, based on my tests with the demo. Removes that squeaky clean digital look

  • Don`t forget, that gh2 makes software optical correction and sharpening for Lumix G Vario lenses

  • I disagree, 14-140 is a fantastic lens, especially for video. Well, in some cases anyway :) To be honest, probably because it's a 10x zoom, imho it lacks sharpness for photos but it's great for filming when there's plenty of light! Combine it with the soft apocalypse patch and there you go! Regarding the film look in the romanfilms example: guys, it all about lighting and environment! He filmed it in beautiful golden hour lighting, very low contrast environment, there's tons of flaring going on and lots of slightly out of focus shots! Granted sigma 30mm is a great lens, but I'm sure that if he used 14-140 back then, he'd got pretty similiar results. Avoid harsh, high contrast lighting and environments with lots of diagonal fine lines that amplify aliasing issues. Also, you may want to shoot it in 720p and uprez to 1080p. Sharpness problem solved! ;)

  • Be aware though that softening filters will reduce your recording bitrate.

    Which is exactly what you want, when the bitrate is recording details, including aliasing, you don't want to see. Black Diffusion filters, in particular, are quite mild -- at the low end, from 1/8th to 1, you'll need to look hard to see the effect of any unintended softening. These are not "glimmerglow" type filters.

  • Sorry, but I'm totally ignorant about filters, and I know nothing of them. Could someone please explain me what different types of filters exist and which one to choose for which scene, as well as explaining me what is the unity used : 1/8, 1/2... and what do there correspond to ? Thank you

  • I also recommend trying a different lens. The 14-140 is a solid outdoor lens, but it would not be my first choice for video unless you are shooting outdoors and you want sharp telephoto stopped down. Indoors, it just is a tad slow and for some reason likes to be outside better. For the price of a filter, you can pick up a nice legacy prime.

  • +1. You can pick up a canon fd 50mm f1.4 and a ciceo7 fd to m4/3 adapter for buttons,relatively speaking.