Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Panasonic GH4 7-14mm f/4 vs Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 + Metabones Speedbooster,

I love my wide angles, and getting the Panasonic GH4 I opted to get myself the Widest lens it has straight away as my first lens, the Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 (which is supposedly the equivalent of 14-24mm on a full frame sensor in terms of Field of View)

This is an ultra wide angle lens and possibly the widest i have ever used, and with no distortion that can be seen on the panasonic raw files.  However it has 2 big problems.

its an f/4
it has a bulbous end.

A professional lens is usually considered to be an f2.8 or brighter.
Full Frame Nikons have a 14-24mm f/2.8,
 full frame Canons have a 16-35mm f/2.8
Cropped camera have the awesome Tokina 11-16mm f2.8

the difference between an f4 and an f/2.8 is "1 Stop"  A single stop means it requires TWICE as long to capture the same exposure. (or twice the iso)

Meaning a Nikon shooting at 14mm at iso-800 at f/2.8 taking a photo at a 1/25th of a second would require the Panasonic to extend its shutter opening time to 1/12th of a second.... which if doing video is not possible so would require to boost the iso up to iso-1600... which really degrades image quality and brings in digital noise.

I can get an adapter for my Tokina 11-16mm and put it onto the Panasonic.  The fotodiox adapter costs £25 and is just a simple thing but has an aperture control which is handy.  But of course with this you lose any autofocus or VR control you have with any lens. Then due to the 2x crop of the sensor means that the 11-16mm has equivalent FOV is that of an 22-32mm.

However. If I spend a painful amount of money and get myself a Metabones Speedbooster, I can get the FOV back to close to what it was on a normal 1.5crop sensor camera (i.e. nikon d3300, 5200, 7100 etc)  Metabones gives the calculation of x0.71  so my lens being 11mm goes to 22mm then is x0.71= 15.6mm
So still brighter and wider than my Canon 16-35mm

But not only that!
The Metabones Speedbooster also brings in more light via clever optics also known as witchcraft. and it increases the exposure value by 1-stop.
So now it is "15.6mm f/2 " brighter and wider than my Canon 16-35mm! and making it a whole 2 STOPS (4 Times) faster than the Panasonic)
However I am still restricted to manual focus but if doing filming that is what you want anyway.

so here are screen grabs from the tests,
Camera set in the same position, set at maximum aperture size) 1/25th of a second iso 400

First shot Panasonic 7-14mm @ 7mm (14mm equiv) f/4

@11mm (22mm equiv) f/2.8

@11mm (15.6mm equiv) f/2

The third and final bonus is that the Tokina has a flat end, meaning in can put circular polarisers and ND filter grads on the front. BOOM WIN!

Doing the maths.
Tokina 11-16mm + Speedbooster = Manual focus, 15.6mm f/2 @ Around £800
Panasonic 7-14mm = Autofocus, 14-24mm f/4 (Around £800)


Fotodiox adapaters http://amzn.to/1Bl6k65  

Tokina 11-16 (nikon mount) http://amzn.to/173LBuw  around £490
Canon mount http://amzn.to/173LGyg (around £580)

Nikon 14-24mm http://amzn.to/1y4cTw2 (£1200)
Canon 16-35m http://amzn.to/1rxBDKM (£1100)

Panasonic GH4 http://amzn.to/1y4d6zx

panasonic 7-14mm f4 http://amzn.to/173McfN (£800)


  1. nice! thanks!

  2. Hi Dom, I am William, a videographer/indie filmmaker from Taiwan. May I ask if you ever experienced the minimum focus change when you use the non-speedboosting adapter? I am using a Kiwi Nikon G to m43 adapter on my GH4 with a borrowed Tokina 11-16 and found I can't focus on things closer than 90cm or 1 meter.

  3. Nice post. Curious if you've run into an issue I'm having with my GH4, Metabones Speedbooster and the Tokina 11-16mm. I've noticed on occasion that in AF mode the focusing gets very confused at long distances. (Infinity) and even though it searches to find focus, the shutter button won't take the picture. It's just dead. It doesn't have this problem in manual focus mode.

    Any issues similar to this? I'm wondering if the Tokina just doesn't talk nicely with the Metabones Adaptor or the GH4. My sigma 18-35mm works perfectly. Even my Canon 85mm works smoothly with no issues. But this Tokina... moody. Any thoughts?

    1. I have the same exact issue with AF, so my guess is it's the Tokina not talking nicely.