The Switch to Micro 4/3 (and Super35 Equivalent FOV)

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 in Blog | 4 Comments

My camera and lenses were stolen in November 2011. I’ve been saving up some dough to buy a new one. I’m not trying to break the bank, so the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is out of the question. After reading many articles and watching lots of video comparisons, I’m most interested in the Panasonic GH2. When it’s hacked it produces images nicer than any of the Canon DSLRs (yes, even the 5d Mark 3 — though that camera is still the low light king). The reduction in shallow depth of field is fine with me; I’d much rather have deeper focus anyways. However, one thing that was holding me back was the issue of lenses.

Put together by member Barry.

Most articles online say that the micro 4/3 lens of the Panasonic GH2 (and AF-100) have a crop factor of 2. That means a 50mm lens on a micro 4/3 sensor will yield a FOV of 100mm. However, that is in comparison to 35mm stills camera. What we really need to be comparing this to is its Super 35mm equivalent — especially if we want to recreate a FOV similar to movies (or APS-C sensors like on the 7D and 60D, which is nearly the same size as Super 35). Using Abelcine FOV calculator, I’ve calculated the Super 35 equivalent FOV of lenses on a micro 4/3 sensor. Here are my findings…

FOV in terms Super 35/micro 4/3 sensors:

  • 18mm acts like 25.5mm on micro 4/3. Need 12.7 mm to be equivalent to 18mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 24mm acts like 34mm on micro 4/3. Need 16.9 mm to be equivalent to 24mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 28mm acts like 39.7mm on micro 4/3. Need 19.7 mm to be equivalent to 28mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 35mm acts like 49.6mm on micro 4/3. Need 24.7 mm to be equivalent to 35mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 40mm acts like 56.7mm on micro 4/3. Need 28.2 mm to be equivalent to 40mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 50 mm acts like 25.5mm on micro 4/3. Need 35.3mm to be equivalent to 50mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 85mm acts like 120.5mm on micro 4/3. Need 59.9mm to be equivalent to 85mm on Super 35 sensor.

In terms of Panasonic micro 4/3 zoom lenses (two of which aren’t out yet) and Super 35 equivalents:

  • 7-14mm micro 4/3 zoom acts like 19-20mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 12-35mm micro 4/3 zoom acts like 17-50mm on Super 35 sensor.
  • 35-100 micro 4/3 zoom acts like 50-140mm on Super35 sensor.

CONCLUSIONS (most common film focal lengths are underlined):

  • To achieve 18mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 12mm lens
  • To achieve 24mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 17mm lens
  • To achieve 28mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 20mm lens
  • To achieve 35mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 25mm lens
  • To achieve 40mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 28mm lens
  • To achieve 50mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 35mm lens
  • To achieve 70mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 50mm lens
  • To achieve 85mm FOV on micro 4/3 sensor, buy 60mm lens
Achieving the look of the 5D might be difficult and costly (particularly with the wider angles), but to achieve the look of Super 35mm film isn’t as bad as one might think! Here’s a list of some lenses to consider (prices from B&H, Amazon, and eBay):

12mm (18mm):

  • SLR Magic HyperPrime Cine 12mm f/1.6 ($550)
  • Olympus M. Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 ($680)

17mm (24mm):

  • Olympus M.Zuiko Pancake 17mm f/2.8 ($300)
  • Voigtlander Nokton 17mm f/0.95 ($1250)

20mm (28mm):

  • Panasonic Pancake 20mm f/1.7 ($370)
  • Canon 20mm f/2.8 ($500)
  • Nikon 20mm f/2.8 ($570)

25mm (35mm):

  • Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ($540)
  • Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2.8 ($1000)
  • Zeiss Biogon 25mm f/2.8 ($1120)
  • Voightlander Nokton 12mm f/0.95 ($1200)
  • Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2.0 ($1700)

28mm (40mm):

  • Zeiss Distagon 28mm f/2.0 ($1280)
  • Zeiss Biogon 28mm f/2.8 ($1005)
  • Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f/2.0 ($630)
  • Nikon 28mm f/2.8 ($540)
  • Nikon 28mm f/1.8 ($700)
  • Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 ($510)
  • Canon EF IS 18mm f/2.8 ($800)

35mm (50mm):

  • Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.0 ($1000)
  • Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 ($1100)
  • Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/2.0 ($1120)
  • Voightlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ($1400)
  • Canon L 35mm f/1.4 ($1500)
  • Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1.4 ($1840)

50mm (70mm):

  • Anyone of the countless 50mm lenses out there!

60mm (85mm):

  • Nikon Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 ($460)
  • Canon Macro 60mm f/2.8 ($470)
  • Zeiss Contax Planar Macro 60mm f/2.8 ($700)

Hope this was helpful!


  1. amalotove
    May 17, 2012

    have you checked out the panasonic GX1 -came after the gh2. amazon already has some good deals without the 20mm pancake lens.

    • amalotove
      May 17, 2012

      whoops sorry predecessor to GF2 not the GH2 . my bad. still great though.

  2. Stephane
    May 24, 2012

    Thanks for this great piece of information!

  3. michellehersew
    June 8, 2012

    That’s a good post.


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