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General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?

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Matt Campbell
General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?
on Jul 12, 2013 at 3:03:56 pm

We have a 7D with both the kit lens 18-135mm and a 50mm f1.4 prime. I use them both but am looking to step up our video work. As I'm just getting familiar with DSLRs what is a good general purpose lens that can provide a large enough focal plane as well as create some shallow depth of field? I've read that people talking about the Canon 24-70 f2.8 L USM lens as well as the whole Canon 17-55mm f2.8 vs. the Sigma 17-50mm vs. the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. Which of these is better for producing good looking video? And with these all being a fixed aperture, I assume this will give me decent low light capabilities at f2.8 as well as a large enough focal plane where I don't have to follow focus too much, like with the 50mm f1.4. Is this a lens that will give me a focal plane of 10-20ft. before I start loosing focus either too close or too far from camera?

I use our 50mm f1.4 for interviews, which is great, but when shooting handheld stuff, its very difficult to keep in focus. And the kit lens 18-135mm at f4 is just ok. I'm looking for something I can use for wedding video, shooting mountain bike videos, as well as ENG style shooting handhelds.

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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?
on Jul 13, 2013 at 10:36:11 am

I prefer the 17-55mm - my detailed reasons are here: http://wolfcrow.com/blog/what-lens-to-get-part-one-subjects-and-spaces/

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to Reds to the Arri Alexa.


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Corbin Gross
Re: General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?
on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:02:48 pm

IMHO, the 24-70 would be my next purchase. That will give you wider and longer options when not using the 50.

Longer focal lengths will give better DOF options, but they will be harder for keping focus and hand held shots.

Wider focal lengths will be easier to hand hold since everything is effectively further away, and focus will be easier since DOF will always be deeper, even wide open, but, you'll never get the super-bokeh DOF effects of a longer shot.

If you plan to mostly hand hold shots, get a wider lens. If you want mega soft backgrounds get a longer lens.

Corbin Gross | SANMAR
Photographer/Videographer | Marketing
22833 SE Black Nugget Road | Issaquah, WA 98029
206.727.5501 x5237
http://www.sanmar.com


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Matt Campbell
Re: General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?
on Jul 25, 2013 at 1:28:19 pm

Thanks Corbin. Is the 24-70 ok for crop sensor cameras? We use the 7D. And due to cost, I think I'm leaning towards the Sigma or Tamron. But I read somewhere that one of these lens's was harder to focus manually due to the shorter traveling focus ring. And the other one, the ring travels further and is then easier to keep in focus. I'm not sure which one that was, nor do I know which is better as I'm still pretty new to DSLR video. I would think more travel would be easier to use, more fine tuning than a shorter travel ring. With 1 small tweak you could be out of focus. Does this sound about right? I want to say I read that about the Tamron. So might be leaning towards the Sigma then.

OSX 10.7.5 with a 3.39 Ghz Intel Core i7 on a built up Hackintosh
16 GB of RAM with OSX on SSD, (2) internal HDDs RAID'd 1 for project files and External RAID 5 for all project assets (media, GFX, stills, etc.)


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Corbin Gross
Re: General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?
on Jul 25, 2013 at 4:01:38 pm

Oh, yeah. I forgot about the smaller sensor.

Basically you want to 1.5s the focal length. So a 24-70 would essentially be a 36-105. I'd say you need to go with the focal length that will give you the ability to compose the shots you want. Then learn to use whichever lens that is. Focusability would be a second priority.

And really, to focus properly, you'll need a follow focus attachment. They can be kind of expensive, but still lenses are designed totally different than cine lenses. You'll need the slower-adjusting gear down to make the finer, more controlled adjustments.

That being said, I don't have a follow focus. I just shoot "around" that limitation. So I use a narrower aperture for a deeper DOF, or keep my subject-to-camera distance consistent.

Corbin Gross | SANMAR
Photographer/Videographer | Marketing
22833 SE Black Nugget Road | Issaquah, WA 98029
206.727.5501 x5237
http://www.sanmar.com


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Gerrit Van Dyke
Re: General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?
on Jul 26, 2013 at 4:31:04 pm

I'm hardly an expert, but having used both, I'd say that the 17-55mm is a better length for a crop sensor. Essentially, it's the same as a 24-70 on a full frame. Gives you a nice wide lens and portrait.
I'd imagine that having IS would be of great benefit as well, which in spite of its high price, the 24-70L doesn't have.

That being said, if you're planning on upgrading to a full-frame sensor, the 24-70 would be great for both cameras.


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Corbin Gross
Re: General all-purpose video lens debate. 24-70mm vs 17-55mm?
on Jul 26, 2013 at 4:58:45 pm

That's good advice. I admit, I was too lazy to look up those specific lenses, so the additional info on the stabilization is excellent.

I shoot all corporate video on sticks, so a wider lens and stabilization isn't something I'd use much. But thinking about photographing events, which I do quite often, I definitely tend to stick to the wider range, and stabilization is invaluable.

The only other consideration is now much noise the lens makes while focusing and stabilizing. But you're not recording audio to the camera, right? We all know better than that, right?

Corbin Gross | SANMAR
Photographer/Videographer | Marketing
22833 SE Black Nugget Road | Issaquah, WA 98029
206.727.5501 x5237
http://www.sanmar.com


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