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Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3

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Scott Bruffey
Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 1:17:08 am

Being largely self-taught and woefully ignorant about lenses, I was hoping some folks could give me some lens suggestions.

I often have to shoot corporate interviews (fairly tight, typically the subject is framed from just below the shoulders to just above their head) in boardrooms, classrooms, etc. I often use the "move back as far as you can, then zoom in a bit and pull focus" technique to blur the BG, but more often than I'd like, I don't have the room to be more than a few feet away from the subject with the BG around ten feet or so away from them.

I have an EF lens adapter for the EX3 I can throw any EF lens on there I want but I'm not sure what I should be looking for that will give that VERY narrow DOF. I'm also limited to how much light I can throw on the subject before they begin squinting and making faces.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


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Don Greening
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:34:18 am
Last Edited By Don Greening on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:36:43 am

Using a different lens won't make much difference to the DOF on an EX3 because it's the camera and not the lens that's the limiting factor. Image sensor size plays a huge part in narrowing the DOF along with iris position and the amount of zoom used. The larger the imager the more narrow the depth of field can be dialled in. Also, the wider the iris opening the better (lower F stop number). And as you've pointed out the farther away from the background the talent is the better.

The EX3's 1/2" sensors are going to need some help from you setting up the camera to get the most out of the desired shallow DOF.

  • Open the iris to F1.8 and then adjust the lighting to get proper exposure i.e. using less light.
  • If shooting in daylight then use the camera's ND filters to cut down the amount of light entering the lens.
  • Increasing shutter speed also cuts the light amount because there's less time for the it to hit the sensors.


Move back as far as you can from the talent and then zoom in to frame the head/shoulders shot. Iris as wide as possible then do a manual focus. See how that works. It's tough getting a shallow DOF with 1/2" imagers, especially when space between talent and camera is limited.

- Don

Don Greening
A Vancouver Video Production Company
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Scott Bruffey
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 11:18:16 am

Thanks, Don for the great suggestions. I didn't realize the sensor would play that much in the DOF (I TOLD you guys I was still learning *grin*), and this extra info is much appreciated. It sounds like I've been following the best technique for what I want to see and what I have to work with. Always good to know!


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jim masi
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 3:36:14 pm

I'm going to respectfully disagree a little bit, just as a result of my own experience. The sensor size absolutely makes a difference if you're comparing your image with a larger sensor camera, there's no doubt about it, but you can greatly improve the look of your EX3 with a fast (EF in your case) still camera lens. I've had good luck with a Letus adapter and Nikon lenses on my EX3. What adapter are you using?

The images below are of the same scene shot with the EX3, one using the stock lens wide open and one with the adapter and Nikon 50mm f1.4. The background is about 8ft. away. In your case you might consider still backing the camera up but also moving the subject closer to the camera, as maximizing the distance to the background would have better effect than the video zoom lens offered.







The low light you describe in your typical setup as desirable for your subjects works to your advantage, as to get the shortest DOF you want the lens to be as wide open as possible, assuming the background can be similarly exposed. Prime lenses will maximize the soft background, a 50mm in a Canon is not an expensive lens and if your adapter has a magnifying effect as mine does a 50mm isn't a bad interview lens.

This might be obvious, but be careful as the short DOF makes focus more of an adventure than with a video lens. Use the peaking on your viewfinder at the least, and a good field mon. with focus assist is even better. You'll have to adjust for virtually all movement of your subject, you'll have very little margine for error, that's the beauty and the curse of the short DOF, and why many shooters will use a follow focus like this:



Good luck, post again if you need more advice.

Jim Masi
BearHand Production
http://www.bearhand.com


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Scott Bruffey
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:25:38 pm

Thanks, Jim, for more ideas. The images you shared look great and the bottom look is exactly what I'd like to see. I'm currently not using any adapters, just the stock lens, but I think I'll rent a Letus and do some playing. While all my clients have been very happy with the interviews I've provided, I like knowing that I can have as much control over the composition in the frame as I can and it seems like the Letus will get me there.


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jim masi
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:48:10 pm

I'm sorry Scott, I thought you already had an adapter to use EF lenses on your camera and were just looking for some lens guidance, maybe I misread your OP. I will advise you that the DOF adapter/EX3 setup is a bit clunky compared to the newer cameras with EF or PL mounts built in, but it is a way to utilize the camera you already own to get a different (more desirable?) look.

Jim Masi
BearHand Production
http://www.bearhand.com


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Scott Bruffey
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 5:39:50 pm

No worries, Jim. I DO have an Adaptimax ring adapter that lets me slap EF lenses on the EX3 but the lenses I have access to (a 20-35 and an 18-55) didn't seem to do anything dramatically different than the stock EX3 lens, they just did it within a narrower range. I'd love to find a lens that I can pop onto the Adptimax that will give me the same look as the second picture in your examples but it sounds like that won't happen because of the sensor on the camera.


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Don Greening
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Jul 18, 2014 at 11:07:23 pm

[Scott Bruffey] " I didn't realize the sensor would play that much in the DOF"

This is why it's relatively easy to achieve a shallow DOF with something like a Canon 5D Mk 3 because the sensor is so big.

- Don

Don Greening
A Vancouver Video Production Company
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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anthony Faulkner
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Aug 6, 2014 at 7:19:23 am
Last Edited By anthony Faulkner on Aug 6, 2014 at 7:26:08 am

I set the camera at F1.9 and use the ND filter with 2x 500W lights somewhere nearby so I can stay in the F1.9. Keep the film speed low. and try and move my subject far from their background to cut the shadows and make the effect more pronounced. It is worth carting around a 150/300W globe as well to brighten up the back as needed.

I have got some semi decent results, nothing like the SLRs with a prime lens on however but certainly not offensive.

If I was going to be just doing interviews and that was going to be a lot of DOF work I would be seriously considering something like a Canon 70D as a back up for that kind of thing. Cheap and for me has been very effective for the intimate stuff.


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Dave Morrison
Re: Another "Shallow DOF Lens" Question For The EX3
on Oct 14, 2014 at 4:36:05 am

The only things that affect depth of field are:
1. f-stop
2. camera to subject distance
3. sensor/film size
That's pretty much it.


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