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Archive 2012 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?
  
 
Wondershock
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p.1 #1 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Hey everyone,

Long time lurker and first time poster in a while (probably posted under another alias a while back).

I'm parting out an order for my company and I'm looking into the 7D with a Zacuto hood and some other equipment (possibly a chest/shoulder mount, maybe something with steadying capability). I'm confident that the 7D is the best choice for our price point and what we're doing (mostly nice quality talking heads, occasional field shoots, professional stuff but not completely heavy-duty yet, mostly indoors with a light kit available).

My question is, would you guys have a recommendation for an all-around L-series lens for DSLR video production that's wide enough to get interior interview shots in cramped quarters, but also has enough of a zoom to be reasonable for field shoots? A solid mid-range is a requirement (something that will shoot talking heads from a comfortable distance) but adaptability and a useful range is a great bonus.

I'm not talking about telephoto or necessarily long distance shooting, but enough of a range to be versatile. I also wouldn't turn down multiple recommendations in case a combination of a nice prime and a zoom would be a good situation.

In a nutshell, again: digital SLR videographers, if you had to choose 1-2 lenses to take with you to cover most situations, what would they be?

Apologies if this is in the wrong spot, but I'm kind of on a tight deadline for drumming up some ideas. We have a budget to work with!



Jan 26, 2012 at 04:15 PM
atroester
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p.1 #2 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


24-70 2.8 and the 50 1.8

For a little background, I've shot interview-style, "behind the scenes" and general promotional video for companies and freelance for more than 4 years using mostly Canon T-series rebels, 7Ds and 5D2s.

It's absurd how much video I've done with the 50 1.8 -- bokeh is great for interview-style shots and for $100 you can't beat it. The 24-70 will cover all your indoor needs -- unfortunately, you don't have a lot to chose from zoom-wise in the L series for indoor shots. I have the 24-105 and the IS is great but f4 is going to under-expose that video indoors, unless you have beautiful, sky-lit offices If it's well lit inside, you might be able to get away with it. Some videographers are ok pushing exposure in post more than I am, as well. I'd rather the wider aperture and expose it right at the time of filming, though.

Just my $0.02. Everyone approaches video differently.



Jan 26, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Wondershock
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p.1 #3 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


That is excellent to hear. I have the nifty-fifty on my 60D for home use, but I wasn't sure about its performance for video. I think I'll shoot for the stars and recommend the 1.4 USM and fall back to the 1.8 if they don't bite.

I was looking at the 24-70, but was completely in the dark as to whether there were any video issues with it. If you've used it for indoor shoots and are satisfied, I think I can be confident making a recommendation.

Thanks for the quick response man, and I'll use these for my further research!

Also, I hate pushing exposure in post, so we're in the same boat. I'm a video editor/animator by trade, so fixing fewer things in post is better for me. I have to answer for whatever bad choices I make, after all.



Jan 26, 2012 at 04:39 PM
saneproduction
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p.1 #4 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


L zoom ranges not made for aps-c sensors like the 7D (they work, but the range is not ideal). The 24-70 is not wide enough and lacks IS which is very helpful with video. What you want is the canon 17-55 2.8 IS or the tamron equivalent (17-50 2.8 VC). Remember the 7D has roughly the same sensor size as super 35 motion picture cameras. A typical zeiss PL mount prime set has 18, 25, 35, 50 and 85mm lenses so cover that range first. You can make a whole movie with that range.


Jan 26, 2012 at 05:03 PM
saneproduction
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p.1 #5 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


... And once you have 17-55 covered you can add the canon 85 1.8 for just a bit more!


Jan 26, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #6 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


I like the Canon 15-85 IS. It gives the equiv. of 24mm full frame on your crop camera. Great DOF too. 85mm is equiv. to 136mm. Couple this with a fast lens like manual focus Samyang 35/1.4 and you'll have a pretty capable set-up.


Jan 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #7 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


We shoot a LOT of video on both 5D2 and 7D with 24-70L. For really low light we drop back to the 24L and 35L and for longer shots the 70-200 f2.8L.

The 24-70L is by far our most used lens for video.



Jan 26, 2012 at 05:31 PM
atroester
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p.1 #8 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Wondershock wrote:
That is excellent to hear. I have the nifty-fifty on my 60D for home use, but I wasn't sure about its performance for video. I think I'll shoot for the stars and recommend the 1.4 USM and fall back to the 1.8 if they don't bite.

I was looking at the 24-70, but was completely in the dark as to whether there were any video issues with it. If you've used it for indoor shoots and are satisfied, I think I can be confident making a recommendation.

Thanks for the quick response man, and I'll use these for my further research!

Also, I
...Show more

Based on your thoughts about post-processing, I would definitely try for a zoom with a 2.8 aperture then for indoor shots. SaneProduction above has a good point with the Canon 17-55 2.8, and that's something you may consider. Remember the widest end on the 24-70 will be about a 38mm (24x1.6 crop magnification). But "wide" or "wide enough" or "not wide enough" are very subjective terms, especially in video. How close do you want to be to your subject? How much room to you have?

The problem I have with the 17-55 2.8 is that it's unusable with the 5Ds and the 1Ds. I've always preferred to simply take a step back with the 24-70 on a 7D and not blow $1000 on a lens that will only work on one of my bodies.




Jan 26, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Wondershock
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p.1 #9 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Nice. I'm leaning towards the 24/70L. IS isn't as important to us because we're all motion/editors on the back end and we're using tripods, so I think most shake will either be handled or fixed in post. I like the idea of the f/2.8 fixed aperture for zooms if need be.

Also, the f/1.4 50mm would give us room to be creative with b-roll rack focus low DOF shots and slow motion portraiture at 60p on the 7D. Exciting stuff.

@atroester: I'm afraid I can't provide specifics: I'm just looking for a nice, usable range (I know that can be aggravating to be vague, but this is for a general use kit and not anything definite quite yet). We don't have any kind of exact specs we're shooting for, just an all-around lens that's going to be comfortable and versatile. I think the cropped 24mm for wide will get us far back enough from the subject that it will be useful for composition. We're not looking to film anything in an airplane bathroom, that's for sure.

Edited on Jan 26, 2012 at 05:37 PM · View previous versions



Jan 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Papathanassiou
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p.1 #10 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/02/photo-lenses-for-video/4

Canon: 17-40 f/4 , 16-35 f/2.8 , 70-200 f/2.8 Non-IS

Papa.



Jan 26, 2012 at 05:36 PM
 

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atroester
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p.1 #11 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


You definitely be pleased with the 24-70. It's been the 'hit it and quit it' lens for 99% of my video work. Plus, you'll have a great lens for when you upgrade to the 5D2, etc.

One quick note about the 50 1.4 -- I had it for one month and liked the quality of the stills, but it's notorious for having a 'gritty' focus ring. It just felt...weird and not smooth for video manual focusing. I traded it right away for the 85 1.8. Just an FYI -- the focus ring made it hard for me to get smooth rack focuses -- but not impossible. Just 'gritty'. http://www.flickr.com/groups/canon_50mm_f14_usm/discuss/72157623833051190/

Mine was brand new, btw. So it wasn't usage that made it gritty. It's one of the older primes and the build quality is lower than the 28 1.8 and the 85 1.8 (I have both). Just so you are aware.



Jan 26, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #12 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


I assist my partner in the video side for video at weddings.

zoom: 16-35mm f2.8 as your normal lens (35mm on crop is close to 50mm - interview)
prime: either 14L or 24L

while the 24-70mm is a fine choice .... if you do any walkling - it becomes heavy. tripod/monopod it is okay.

(i love my 'brick' for wedding work - still shooter here)

when you get into walking - especially with a monopod (look at manfroto with fluid head),
you will be concerned with hyper focal distance and wide is great.
plus low light f1.4, personally prefer, on 24L.



Jan 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Wondershock
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p.1 #13 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


We're looking at a Zacuto Striker/Fast Draw to help us with stabilization and walking shots, as well as a Z-finder for that purpose.

We may rent a 5DMkII to do 2nd camera work if need be, so having an EF mount lens is important for interchangeability and whatnot.

@Ziffl3: we have a Manfrotto with a fluid head here for the heavier duty panning/tilting shots, and another lighter one for simple stills, so I think we have static covered. The Zacuto shoulder mount (whichever they'll let us get, hopefully the Fast Draw) will hopefully cover anything else in the meantime.

@atroester: the gritty ring sounds like a per-lens problem, the 1.4 I used back in the day was so smooth I started to hate my nifty-fifty. But I'll pay attention to that: I'll run rack focus tests immediately and hop on another lens if the grit problem is true across the line (and my memory isn't serving me correctly).



Jan 26, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Wondershock
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p.1 #14 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Oh yeah, thank you everyone for the fast replies and the great advice! I think we have a great kit coming together that should run just over $6k.


Jan 26, 2012 at 07:48 PM
atroester
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p.1 #15 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Wondershock wrote:
@atroester: the gritty ring sounds like a per-lens problem, the 1.4 I used back in the day was so smooth I started to hate my nifty-fifty. But I'll pay attention to that: I'll run rack focus tests immediately and hop on another lens if the grit problem is true across the line (and my memory isn't serving me correctly).


If you can, try the lens before you buy it. I worked with mine (brand new) and a friend's (brand new) and both were "gritty". I bought one 2 months ago and it was bad out of the box -- so they are still being sold fresh like that. I'm not surprised that yours was smooth though -- I have to roll my eyes at Canon's Quality Control at least once a week.

Sounds like you're set up! Glad to help.



Jan 26, 2012 at 08:48 PM
DLP
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p.1 #16 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


24-70 would fit the bill and be my first choice but the lens I saw in use for video on the 7D more than any other at different events last year was the 50 1.4.

Dave



Jan 26, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Wondershock
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p.1 #17 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Sounds like getting both will be a sure bet, then. Can't wait to get all this gear moving!


Jan 26, 2012 at 09:47 PM
atroester
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p.1 #18 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


If you do get the Zacuto Striker, you should do a post about it. I'd love to hear from a videographer how comfortable it is, etc. I'm on the fence between that product and a Red Rock eyeSpy Balance: http://store.redrockmicro.com/Catalog/DSLRShoulderMountedRigs/eyeSpy-Balance-DSLR-2-0-Rig. They are close in price.


Jan 26, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Wondershock
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p.1 #19 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Sure enough. I'm going for the Fast Draw, but if we end up with the Striker, I think a little write-up would be a good thank you for the advice from this thread.


Jan 26, 2012 at 09:59 PM
atroester
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p.1 #20 · Great L-series lens[es] for videography?


Gotcha. I'd appreciate it.


Jan 26, 2012 at 10:02 PM
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