GX8 and Veydra 12mm Mini Prime Review and Samples. 4k, 30p, 24p, action and low light.

Veydra offers “affordable” cine lenses with native micro 4/3 mounts.

I bought the Panasonic GX8 to be used as a quick and portable stills camera. However, it also shoots 4k video. Until now, I’ve been ignoring that feature because I have a fairly nice dedicated HD video camera. Even still, the 4k is there, so I thought I would experiment with it. After a few tests, I realized that this is a feature I most certainly need to utilize.

The widest lens I had up until today was the Panasonic / Leica 15mm f/1.7 lens. It’s a stellar lens, but when shot in 4k mode, it’s cropped tighter than I would like. Moreover, it’s very tiny and focusing manually is a challenge.

I’ve looked at cinema lenses online before and their cost has always been too much for me. Recently though, I saw a video on YouTube from The Camera Store showing new lenses from a company called Veydra. There’s not a lot of information online about Veydra, nor are their a lot of third party reviews. There was just enough information to get me interested though.

Fortunately, Glazer’s Camera in Seattle is about an hour drive from our home. They have a really nice selection of products and even had the Veydra 12mm in stock. Compared to the Panasonic / Leica 15mm lens, the Veydra is much heavier and larger. It’s manual focus only, and it’s designed specifically for video. The focus throw is the longest of any lens that I have ever used and the clickless iris control is very smooth. Optically, while not as sharp or contrasty like the Panasonic / Leica lenses, it’s very nice for stills and videos.

I will be focusing the lens by hand without any sort of rig or follow focus. Also, I plan on handholding the camera the majority of the time. One of the benefits of such a wide angle of lens is that it makes the movement of the camera less noticeable than when using a telephoto lens.

Here is some mixed sample footage from today:


Even though the Veydra 12mm Mini Prime isn’t designed for still photos, it’s still a nice lens to use for wide angle shots. These are all straight out of the GX8 in Vivid mode:

If you’re going to be shooting 4k with your camera and plan on manual focusing, you should definitely have a serious look at Veydra’s lenses.

Update — Day 2

(finicky sound issues with the GX8)

For whatever reason, Panasonic decided that the audio jack for the GX8 should be a 2.5mm jack as opposed to a standard 3.5mm jack. This has caused multiple problems:

  1. You need to use a 3.5mm to 2.5mm audio adapter which adds bulk to the unit. I have had it intermittently drop the audio entirely or just one channel due to this being a bulky and unstable solution.
  2. The audio jack is in the way of the flip-out / tilting LCD, so you are forced to leave the LCD flush with the body. Thereby negating the main reason to have a flip-out LCD.

I plan on using an external recorder an bypassing the audio of the GX8 entirely. Shure makes a shotgun microphone with a built in audio recorder. That way I’ll shoot with the onboard microphone and the shotgun — synching the audio in post. This will also give me a backup audio solution. More to come on this. It’s just an idea I thought of tonight and have to do more research to see if this is a viable option.

Here’s two more video tests from today. These were shot in 24p and using the Cine V preset. Warning, the first one is a cat video.

Really low light test:

Running and gunning — You can hear the audio mess up on this as I must have pulled part of the microphone out of the socket. Basically, I lost the right channel of audio completely halfway through, so I converted the sound to mono:

More to come…

Opinions? Comments? Please reply!

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