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How important is glass quality when shooting video?

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Brad Ballew
How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:36:17 pm

I heard someone once say that when it comes to dslr video, that quality of glass isn't as important as getting a fast lens. That higher quality glass doesn't give you all that much more if your just shooting video.

Is this even remotely true? For instance if there were two shots back to back from a 7d on a big screen, and one was shot with a sigma ex lens and the other with a canon L lens.. Would a general audience be able to tell the difference? Or would it just the cinephile pixel peepers who would be able to notice any real quality difference. I just want to hear some peoples opinions.


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Noah Kadner
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:42:32 pm

Not sure what you mean. 'Fast' lenses are generally better and more expensive lenses. Does good glass make you a better DP? Of course not. But it sure doesn't hurt, esp if you already know what you're doing...

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Canon 7D.


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Brent Dunn
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:59:03 pm

EVERYTHING! To sum it up in one word.

The L Series Canon lens have great color. Fast lens don't necessarily give you better looking images, they help in low light.

I have a 50 mm 1.4 canon that only cost $350 from B & H. It does look really good. But, when I look at the images from my L-Series, the colors are more vibrant.

Nikon also has some great lenses. I just don't have any experience with them.

So, yes, you can have the best camera, but put on a cheap lens and you defeat the purpose.

Prime Lenses will give you fast glass and good color in the L-Series.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Rafael Amador
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 12, 2011 at 7:32:29 pm

[Brad Ballew] "I heard someone once say that when it comes to dslr video, that quality of glass isn't as important as getting a fast lens. That higher quality glass doesn't give you all that much more if your just shooting video"
If that was so, why people would spend fortunes in lenses? (often more expensive than the very camera)

That statement can only be told for somebody that have no idea about this business. All this (photo, film, video) is about capturing light and projecting light.
The lens is the first element in this chain and his quality determines the quality of your final product.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 12, 2011 at 8:07:10 pm

Well I didn't want to put that fine a point on it but yeah, what Rafael said. This is the place to learn though...

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Canon 7D.


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Mike Thomas
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 12, 2011 at 11:22:50 pm

Get the best you can afford for sure BUT I promise you that no one is ever gonna say, "Yeah, that's a nice video you made but too bad you didn't use the Quadra-coated Z series F1.0 lens with glass made from the sands of the Sudan". My point is the average viewer won't know or care about such details.

BTW, I'm looking for the previously described lens so if you know where I can get one...;)


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John Young
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 13, 2011 at 5:14:04 pm

[Mike Thomas] ""Yeah, that's a nice video you made but too bad you didn't use the Quadra-coated Z series F1.0 lens with glass made from the sands of the Sudan". My point is the average viewer won't know or care about such details. "

You are right. An audience will never say a quote like this. And when you shoot your movie on a your mom's handycam, they also won't say "Well, the compression rate is just too high and there was so little color latitude that I just couldn't get into the characters."

But, they WILL say, "It was terrible. It looked amateur. The story? The character? I don't even know. It was like watching one of mom's home movies." A common audience will not know that the pace of the editing, but they will be more engaged in a well paced scene.

My point is, you are right, people don't notice "such details". But they most definitely notice the whole, which is comprised of many many many of "such details". I think quality glass is a very important detail that comprises what we do.

http://www.johnathanyoung.com


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David Decker
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 13, 2011 at 4:18:40 pm

Interesting thread - and in the spirit of learning...

I am shooting a 7D and am using "old" Nikon manual focus lenses. I have found a great camera shop selling used gear, and the owner has told me that the production of lenses (specifically the glass used) has changed over the last 30 years, with the quality of the older glass being higher than what is being generally used today. I have opted to purchase and use a number of these Nikon manual focus lenses (24mm 2.8, 50mm 1.8, and a 35-70mm 3.5) and have been happy with the results. I am curious if other people have seen a difference between these types of lenses, and say the L-series.

I am quite confident that the Zeiss primes etc are beautiful and fast - just curious about the more general production lenses for day-to-day work.

Thanks

David Decker


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Bill Davis
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 14, 2011 at 10:48:39 pm

Maybe this will help.

Nobody would say that what makes the difference between a great artist and a lousy one is a matter of what kind of brushes he or she buys or uses. Clearly TALENT is the ultimate differentiator.

BUT....

That being said. If I told you that a particular fine artist, who does portrait painting and gets BIG BUCKS to do so - like a particular brand of exotic sable brush that allows him to get precisely the effect he's after in painting fine details like eyelashes or skin textures- then you'd likely NOD and say, yeah, that makes sense.

In the hands of someone who understands how to use a particular tool - the tool ITSELF can make a difference in the final work.

Lenses are a LOT like that.

If you can't paint - it doesn't matter at ALL which brush you use.

And if you're a relatively inexperienced painter, the tools are FAR less important than concentrating on learning the basic techniques of your art.

But at some point, when your experience starts to match your vision - the TOOLS you use to craft that vision become ever more precise and important.

Make sense?

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Brent Dunn
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:17:07 pm

Everyone is right.

First hone your craft. Then improve your gear. Unless you have the cash to buy the best, then do it.

I have a well known friend in the wedding business. To prove this point, he shot a wedding on a cell phone. (before the iPhone) It won international awards for his work. Why, not because of a lot of gear, because he is a film maker and story teller. He was still able to create the emotion and story that comes with being talented at what he does.

I also used to be a musician and songwriter. When the technology started changing and people could write and record and entire album in their house, you started hearing a lot more diverse material. But, it didn't make the musicians or the songs better, just the recording quality.

Another gentleman who had a lot of cash, paid $20,000 to Kenny Rodgers to produce a song he wrote. As the saying goes...crap in...crap out... They also used to say, fix it in the mix...or the editing room. Well there are limits. He had this very nicely produced....crappy song!

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Chip Thome
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 18, 2011 at 1:51:04 am

I tend to agree with everyone here that given you have:

Optimum Environment
Optimum Lighting
Optimum Camera Settings
Optimum Camera Operator
Optimum Focus Puller
Optimum Delivery Method to the Audience

Then the lens is going to make a difference.

Now for the reality check. 90+% of what I have done has had NONE of the above. So is the lens going to make the footage I shot any better/different ??? Hardly. So I can see the statement you reference being made. It just seems there was a caveat missing. :-)


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Rafael Amador
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 19, 2011 at 4:24:31 pm

If you shoot the same stuff with two different lenses, the difference is there,even if you don't want to see it.
From the early 80's to the middled 90's, all around the World we have been watching Betacam, Betacam and Betacam, but you could see a huge variety of picture qualities, from dirty ENG to gorgeous documentaries and every kind of programs.
You know what mostly made the difference?
The optic you put in front of your Betacam.
rafael
PS: Affordable Color grading came years later.

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Justin McAleece
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 19, 2011 at 3:29:25 am

Like others have said it is a game of small increments at a certain point and better lenses will help at certain times a lot (mainly because they're faster or have better IS) and certain times not at all.

One thing though is that confidence and contentment sometimes come with a craftsman having the perfect tools at his disposal. Like many things in life the feeling that comes with having "the best there is" in front of a client that may know a thing or two and is a little envious can be a great thing. Even if my lenses/camera/tripod/lights aren't always as good as their pricetag I know I sometimes second guess myself less because I feel good about what I'm doing and what I'm doing it with.

Justin McAleece
Production Manager

Video Production





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david sullivan
Re: How important is glass quality when shooting video?
on Apr 19, 2011 at 2:20:28 pm

A good way to find out which lens is best without dropping a lot of money. Try investing into renting some lenses so you can compare for yourself. http://www.borrowlenses.com or http://www.lensgiant.com I've done this myself and it made my decision much easier to make.


Canon 5DMK II, 7D

Nazarite Media


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