The Panasonic G100 is now shipping and by a complete coincidence, SIRUI the company that introduced us to the world of budget anamorphic lenses has just started to run their Indiegogo campaign featuring their new 35mm anamorphic lens.
Please allow me to start with a short personal note. This article is my first review under our new branded name and relaunched site, CineD. A small reason for celebration!
It is summertime in Japan and there is no better timing other than visiting the “Japanese Alps”… Yes, of course, there is no snow, but for someone like me who prefers “green” over “white”, going to film in such location makes much sense. With the help of a friend (thank you Or Lee-Tal), I met Yamada-san and his girlfriend Remi. Both are running a hostel and shared working space in Hakuba (Nagano prefecture), three and a half hours by train from Tokyo. And for the sake of this review, I was their guest for a night.
Panasonic DC-G100 – Overview
The Panasonic G100 was announced about a month ago and it’s now finally shipping. Panasonic eliminated the guesswork by clearly stating that this tool is aimed for vloggers. We at CineD did not test that camera in this configuration, but early reports were not so favorable. No IBIS (Internal Body Image Stabilisation), strong crop when filming in 4K and deploying the EIS (Electronic Image Stabilisation), slow autofocus… These shortcomings are just to name a few.
Panasonic G100 – The Advantages
I love challenging myself with filming mini documentaries with tools that might have been not 100 percent tailored for the task, and the G100 is no different. BUT, instead of dismissing this little handsome camera altogether, I’ve decided to seize the opportunity and ride on the back of SIRUI’s 35mm Anamorphic lens Indiegogo launch. After all, the camera and lens are both supporting natively the Micro Four Third mount. Lookaside, it is always easy to work with small tools in “incognito mode”. Even the monkeys at the “snow park” couldn’t have cared less (the tripod legs were much more appealing to them…).
So, if you ask yourself “why to bother”, the answer is very straight forward: there is 4K up to 30p, V-Log L, some other pro features like zebra/histogram/peaking, and, (as I wrote before), an interchangeable lens option. One additional advantage of the camera is its lowlight capability. If you align expectations and put it in the right perspective, in up to ISO 6400 one can work comfortably without any alarming video noise. Not bad for such a sensor size.
Panasonic G100 – What Could be Greatly Improved
Unfortunately, the EIS is disabled when attaching a third party lens. This prevented me to try and work with the camera handheld. On top, rolling shutter is extremely noticeable. This is the main reason why I chose to compose and lock my shots on a tripod. In 4K, there is also a 10 min recording limit. Not a big deal unless you are into long interview. On the audio department, bear in mind that the camera has no headphones jack, only external mic input. Thankfully there is a way to judge levels visually. Of course far from being perfect, yet better than nothing.
On “my” specific camera, the image will dim out at the EVF after looking at it for a few seconds, so with no exaggeration, much of this mini doc was shot while I’m seeing like a half-blind person. If it is a bug and not a feature, I hope that Panasonic will consider fixing it soon.
SIRUI 35mm Anamorphic lens – Introduction
The new SIRUI 35mm 1.33x anamorphic lens is currently being offered at Indiegogo and before diving it to the lens itself, I have to salute SIRUI for continuing what they have already started successfully, producing and delivering truly “on the budget” quality anamorphic lenses. One can, of course, argue that those modesty priced lenses do not have that special “anamorphic look”, but I’m sure you will agree with me that filming that way, using the entire sensor information is better than adding black bars on top and bottom of the edited video, any video… We have extensively covered SIRUI’s 50mm anamorphic lens (announced during 2019). You can find some sample footage we took with it here (Sony) and here (FUJIFILM). Speaking of FUJIFILM, the new 35mm anamorphic lens is NOT being offered with FUJIFILM’s X mount. Watch this space for further future developments when it comes to fruition.
SIRUI 35mm Anamorphic lens – Quality Product
When it comes to built quality, the lens feels extremely robust and from the operational side, the inner focus gears are very smooth. Focus breathing is well maintained although it is absolutely present. When it comes to sharpness and picture quality, I did not have a chance to confront the lens with a resolution chart, but the images coming out of it are truly lovely. One of my concerns with the older 50mm anamorphic lens was its sharpness. At times, the lens felt “too sharp”, resulting in somehow lack of identity. Looking at my computer screen, it feels as if the new 35mm anamorphic lens is a bit less sharp, but it is a good thing. In a way, it makes the lens optically “less perfect” with the bonus of having a greater “organic look”. The maximum open aperture is f1.8 (Great for lowlight filming). Overall “feeling” when working with the lens is very positive and although I was not trying to “hunt for bokeh”, whenever I had some light in the background, it had a pleasant touch.
SIRUI 35mm Anamorphic lens – What could be improved
Flares are always a topic when it comes to anamorphic lenses and with this particular one, you get A LOT of it… It can be a matter of taste, but for me personally, it is a bit too much. (I can only assume that this is what users asked SIRUI to bring to the market). One more thing that was on my mind when working with the lens. For infinity, one needs to “go back a bit” with the focus ring. Lens are usually constructed to do so if the intention is to use it with a wide angle adapter. I’m not so sure as to why SIRUI chose to do it here, but personally I would have loved having the end of the focus ring as “infinity”. Much easier operation.
SIRUI 35mm Lens – Summary
The lens has an interchangeable mount. It comes with an M4/3 one but can be changed and fit into Sony E, Nikon Z, and Canon EF-M mounts. (Mount rings are optional and don’t forget to switch your camera to APS-C mode). Talking about exchanging mounts, one issue we had was when trying to use a Sony E mount camera. The lens simply won’t fit. SIRUI was given the information and I’m sure that by the time the lens is out and about, this issue will become a thing of the past.
I can summarise by saying that this M4/3 frame lens is really a joy to work with. It is compact, lightweight (certainly for anamorphic lenses), built well, and very affordable. The picture quality is very nice for the price and general operation is very easy. I really appreciate the wider field of view with this lens when compared to the 50mm especially when working with a Micro Four Third camera. Hopefully, we can see something EVEN wider soon…
The Panasonic DC-G100 and the SIRUI 35mm anamorphic lens are a perfect duo for exploring anamorphic workflow. If I’m not mistaken, it is one of the most modestly priced options out there (around $1250). True, it is not always very easy to use (mostly because of the camera), but if you are into learning more and not “afraid” to “spit a bit of blood”, your “first LUMIX” and SIRUI lens can become an insetting option to explore. The above video was filmed with the Panasonic DC-G100 at 4K/24p. Lens: SIRUI 35mm anamorphic lens. (Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign). Graded with Panasonic LUTs. Music: epidemicsound.
Many thanks to Yamada-san and his girlfriend Remi. Please visit them at “Hakuba share” by clicking here.
What do you think about this duo for on the budget anamorphic work? Would you give it a chance? Please share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.