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Choosing a lens for DSLR video

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Kevin Ramser
Choosing a lens for DSLR video
on Jan 29, 2013 at 6:07:20 pm

Hey all. I just purchased a Canon 60D and am about to start a new web series with a friend of mine who has a 5D Mii. We'll be profiling DJ's and visual artists who come through a local gallery/club space, so we'll mostly be shooting in low light. I've been hunting for lenses that have all the criteria I've read and heard are important for shooting video with a DSLR. These criteria are (more or less in order of importance):

1. Image stabilization
2. Fixed aperture of 2.8 (any wider and I fear I'll have too much trouble keeping a moving subject in focus.)
3. Wide zoom between approx. 10-50mm. (This is to accommodate for the shift in the angle of view that occurs when switching lenses between APS-C and full frame sensor cameras.)
4. Mountable on both the 60D and 5D

As far as I can tell, such a lens doesn't exist. All the ones I've looked at have 3 criteria at most, but never all four. I know I'll have to make a compromise somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Can anybody with experience shooting video in similar situations with the 60D make some recommendations? Should I just give up on trying to find a lens that will work for both cameras and just get one that is ideal for the 60D? I've been looking at the Tamron 17-50mm, Tokina 11-16mm and 17-50mm, and Canon 17-50mm, among a few others. Thanks!

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Brent Dunn
Re: Choosing a lens for DSLR video
on Jan 29, 2013 at 8:18:31 pm

The cannon L-Series 24-70 2.8 will cover a lot of your needs. It's a great lens and covers a lot of variables. You'll also need to use some lighting with a 60D. You can get away with low light on a 5D MK III.

Of course a 1.4 lens does better, but as you mentioned, it's hard to keep in focus.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro
with Final Cut Studio Adobe CS6 Production

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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Choosing a lens for DSLR video
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:13:12 pm

Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L for both. On the 5D, 24-70mm f/2.8L. Even with the same equivalent, there is a slight difference in the aesthetic between the two sensors. - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.

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Mark Shepherd
Re: Choosing a lens for DSLR video
on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:57:29 pm

I would like to vote for the 16 to 35 2.8. You can use it on BOTH cameras and it is a PARAFOCAL lens to boot. Don't know what at PARAFACAL lens is? Well google it...

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Sabyasachi Patra
Re: Choosing a lens for DSLR video
on Feb 4, 2013 at 10:41:31 am

You can check my reviews of the 16-35 f2.8 L II USM lens here:

and the review of the 24-70 f2.8 L USM lens:

Since you are going to use the 1.6 crop factor camera, the 16-35 would be good. The 24-70 f2.8 L USM lens will appear heavier. Both are great lenses for stills as well as video. I use them with C300 as well as with 1D Mark IV for video.

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