What Lens Do I Need for Good Bokeh?

PaulP

New member
Hello!

My name is Paul, and this is my first time posting here. So, I hope this is in the right place.

I'm brand new to filmmaking and trying to figure out what lenses to get. I have a Panasonic GH4, and I want to get bokeh like the attached pictures. Does anyone know what lenses I should be using?

I'm going to be filming people as I talk with them on the street, so I'll only be a few feet from them typically. I'll also probably have some shots like the third one where I could plant a tripod a small distance away.

I was looking at these:
Lumix f/1.7 15mm
Lumix f/1.7 20mm
Lumix f/1.7 25mm
Lumix f/1.7 10-25mm

Are these large enough aperture? Do I need to go 1.4?

Would any of these be the right focal length? I'd like to get a cheap lens for now to at least get started.

Thanks so much!
Paul
 

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Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
I want to ask a question that might not have a lot to do with answering your question. The question is that with the new 4K and even 8K TVs is the effect of bokeh changing?
 

Maura N.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
Hey Paul! Welcome to our community! I am happy to see your first post!
What camera do you have? What quality do you wish to shoot? What is your budget?
Where do you wish to post your work on? YouTube? Social Media? Television? :)
 

PaulP

New member
Hello, Maura!

Thank you for the warm welcome :) I appreciate your reply.

I have a Panasonic GH4. I’m shooting in 4k. And I’m looking in the $300 (used) range (I’ve been getting stuff on eBay).

I plan to put it on social media, probably YouTube and/or Bitchute.

Does that help?

Thanks!
Paul
 

Maura N.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
It sure helps! But I have an additional question: what device will your viewers be using?
In 2021, most people view online content on those platforms from their mobile phones. For this purpose, shooting 4k for smartphone viewers is not worth it and you can go for a really good Full HD quality :) And you can get a really good gear for this in that budget :)
If you really wish to go for the 4K, and your camera seems fit for this task, Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH. Lens could do the trick if you also use a good ringlight :)
 

PaulP

New member
Hmmm...okay. Would I get a different lens if I went HD vs 4K?

I just figured people can watch it on whatever, and YouTube will change the quality accordingly. Won't it downsize automatically for phones? Wouldn't I want to shoot it in 4K so that people with larger TV's can enjoy the better quality?
 

Maura N.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
Yes, youtube downscales it automatically. But are you sure many people will watch it in 4k on their TVs? If you are confident about this, then go for 4K. :) It's best to begin with knowing your audience.
A keylight like the one of Elgato is useful when having an online show or a vlog. In other cases, like outdoor or indoor shooting in another location, a ringlight is better. Its circular shape allows even distribution of light, so there are no tricky shadows
 

PaulP

New member
Yes, youtube downscales it automatically. But are you sure many people will watch it in 4k on their TVs? If you are confident about this, then go for 4K. :) It's best to begin with knowing your audience.
A keylight like the one of Elgato is useful when having an online show or a vlog. In other cases, like outdoor or indoor shooting in another location, a ringlight is better. Its circular shape allows even distribution of light, so there are no tricky shadows
One more quick question, Maura!

For some of what I’ll be doing, I’m filming people while I’m talking and praying for them (I'm holding the camera too), so I’m only a few feet away from them. Will the 15mm 1.7 lens work just as well as the 25mm? I've seen a short gif on how the focal lengths affect the image but I don't really understand the differences well – other than that it effects how zoomed in you are. However, I'm so close to people that I think I'll need something that wide. So far I've been using a f3.5-5.6 14-42mm lens with it at the 14mm position, and that seems to give me the framing I'm looking for.

I'm thinking eventually I'll get a 2.8 constant aperture zoom lens and sell the 3.5, but for now I'm looking for something with creamy bokeh!
 

Maura N.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
You can put your camera on a tripod. You can also use a wireless lavalier microphone to record the sound. And I recommend a 25mm, because the quality is better. The other one is for wide angles such as buildings...not for portraits angles :) You can also try using a variable lens
 

Robert Miller

Active member
It's difficult to find the best gear on a fair budget these days, when all prices have gone higher than they were two years ago for the same pieces of equipment. Regardless, a variable lens could do the trick and have more in one.
As Maura suggested, you should do a plot (maybe rent some equipment) and then see in the analytics who exactly is watching and from what device so you will know how much to spend for the gear.
 

PaulP

New member
Ok, thank you both so much! I really appreciate your help :)

As a complete beginner, it’s a lot to navigate through. So, thank you :)
 
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