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Which lens would you buy?

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Zevie Tannenbaum
Which lens would you buy?
on May 1, 2011 at 8:34:01 pm

I have a job in the summer filming campers throughout the week and editing it into a 5 minute video. I'll be using Final Cut Pro for the cutting... For video I'll be using a Canon VIXIA HF S20 Camcorder, (it was recommended to me). I'll also be using a Canon T2i (body only ) that I recently bought for personal use, but I'll brining it along. I really want to get that 'movie look' when I'm making the video in camp.

As of now I'm borrowing my friend's lenses and I think I'm going to order the Canon Lens 18-55 standard. My question is, which lens would you recommend I buy for to camp? I called B&H and they recommended the Canon Lens 50mm 1.4, but it seems to have a set zoom and I want to be able to zoom in, when I film... I have around a $400 to spend....

If I do buy the standard Canon Lens 18-55,( does it have zoom?) what other lens would you recommend for filming campers through out the day; sport, swimming, night activities ect.? I would have to work here and there with low lighting...

Which tripod would you recommend for the T2i and the Canon VIXIA HF S20? And does anyone know of any sort of cheap steady cams for the T2i before I try DYIs?

As for memory cards, I have on my T2i now the Transcend, 8GB, Class 10 but it sometimes gives me an error and stops recording video, so the guy at B&H recommended the Sandisk Extreme III 30 MB/s

* Just to make things clear, I would like to buy for myself a cheap lens, and I'm thinking of the Canon Lens 18-55. In addition the camp just wants a list of equipment, so I would like to buy another lens...

I appreciate all the help, as I am new to the DSLR world ;)

Thanks,
Zevie


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 1, 2011 at 11:12:41 pm

The Canon 50mm f1.4 is going to allow you to shoot in extremely low light and achieve the low depth of field necessary for a film look. This lens is always in my kit.

The 18-55 will not allow you to zoom whilst shooting, the exposure will vary, it's not a constant f stop lens. It's also a slow lens so won't give you the "film look" that's achieved with low depth of field. You'll also need ND filters or a variable ND if you want this look outdoors with the T2i. In bright light at 1/50 sec, 160ASA you may even find you can't stop down enough at all without filtering.

Sandisk Extreme cards are 60Mbs UDMA and perfectly suitable for video (or 400x on other reputable brands) anything slower is not suitable. An 8Gb card is going to give you about 24 mins total content, is this enough?

If you don't have time to learn and practice steadicam don't spend your money, its not something you buy and works out of the box, its a skill that requires a lot of practice.

Spend as much of your budget as you can afford on decent tripod and it will last much longer than any camera technology. Better to choose a little heavier for stability with such lightweight cameras.

Using HDSLRs for video is a big learning curve, before using them on a pro job spend a lot of time doing practice shoots and edit them. You will encounter many "differences" that basically make shooting much more complex, practice will make you familiar with these issues and how to deal with them.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Noah Kadner
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 2, 2011 at 1:31:56 am

Yeah I'd say save up for both- both are very handy. Along with a whole bucket of other lenses...

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: Which lens would you buy?
on May 2, 2011 at 2:46:16 pm

The $400 question. B & H gave you the best lens for the money and choice. If you are filming some night shots by the camp fire, it will be awesome. If you only shoot in the daytime, then go with the other lens. Otherwise, your cheaper zoom lenses will not give you very good images shooting at night.


If you had the budget, I'd recommend the 24 - 70 F2.8 L Series lenses. But they'll set you back around $1,400. You get what you pay for.

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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Zevie Tannenbaum
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 2, 2011 at 2:58:09 pm

I was told the camp is well light at night and most of my filming will be done throughout the day....

Thanks for all the answers so far, I just want to make sure, if I get the $400 lens, I have more of a 'film look' but I can't zoom in. If I get the standard lens for $150, I won't have as much of a film look, but I will be able to zoom in?

Thanks,
Zevie


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 2, 2011 at 4:52:38 pm

Zoom with your feet, not with your lens.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Rick Diamond
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 2, 2011 at 10:16:56 pm

Zevie, after reading your post very carefully, I think the best answer for you is to use the Canon Vixia for all of your shooting. It will give you a consistent look and using one camera will be much easier for you. I would go with the 30P setting. That will give you a good compromise between the "cinema" look and a smoother moving image. The shallow depth of field of a larger sensor is eliminated but I believe your audience will be very happy with the quality of the image nevertheless.

Good luck

Rick


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 3, 2011 at 4:07:59 am

"I was told the camp is well light "

A person that needs to find his way home at night and a cinematographer would have very different definitions of "well lit" (or well illuminated).

You will not be able to do live zooms with the standard zoom lens because your exposure will change as you do so. This lens will also probably be only about a 3:1 zoom ratio and its telephoto end not much tighter than the 50mm lens. A few shots with low depth of field in your video really isn't going to add much of a film look overall, go for the edgy live action television look, after all it's a camp with lots of activity.

I'd now tend to favour Rick's advice here stick with the VIXIA. Invest your money in a good tripod or other piece of useful equipment that will be usable when you have the budget to invest in a fully functional HDSLR, or some of the new large CMOS sensor cameras now coming onto the market the achieve the same look without all the complexity and compromise of shooting video with what is essentially a still camera.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Zevie Tannenbaum
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 3, 2011 at 5:17:51 am

Okay, I'm going to buy the XIXIA, but since I'm bringing my T2i anyway I wanted to know which lens to buy... If you watch this video, http://vimeo.com/14789302?ab you can get a sense of what 'look' I'm aiming for...


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 3, 2011 at 5:45:40 am

There's variety of lenses used in that video, from extreme wide angle to telephoto and using wide f stops for the low depth of field. There are also short snappy zooms. One single lens will not do all this for you. Your 18-55 will not do those zooms without exposure problems because it does not have a constant aperture, nor does it have a wide enough f stop to achieve those depth of field properties and the soft backgrounds. The 50mm f1.4 will give you the low depth of field and will allow you to shoot in much lower light than the XIXIA but you will need ND filters or a variable ND to achieve the bokeh in daylight. You will not get the dramatic wide angle shots with the 50mm though. If you are anticipating using vox pop sound grabs on the T2i you will encounter a whole lot more issues.

There is some time lapse in the video, this will be best achieved on the T2i with an intervalometer or by plugging your camera into a laptop computer and using the Canon Utilities program.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Zevie Tannenbaum
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 3, 2011 at 6:33:37 am

Thanks! Which ND filter would you recommend for the T2i, should I get the Light Craft Workshop Light Craft Workshop Fade? Also, I'm looking into getting either a indiSLIDERmini w/Legs or something similar such as the Hague Mini Motion Camera Stabilizer? Is there one that you would recommend? Thanks again for the all the help!


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Which lens would you buy?
on May 3, 2011 at 7:04:23 am

I use a Lightcraft ND, tip buy a 77mm or 82mm and step rings to size it to your lens. One day you will have a larger a diameter lens and this will save the expense of buying a second filter.

Buy a slider before a stabilizer. No comment or recommendation on brands though as I built my own using skate board wheels, a ladder and a second tripod. Had it for years but it takes bigger cameras.

I also own a Steadicam Flyer, I think you'll get more out of good slider than a cheap stabilizer to start with especially for a film look.

General advice is buy good quality items like lenses and grip gear, look after it and it will last for years.
Some of my lenses are 30 years old and one of my tripods over 20 years. Camera technology will become obsolete what ever you buy very quickly.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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