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entry level camera and lens?

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Matt Campbell
entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 3:11:13 pm

I'm wanting to get into the DSLRs just like loads of other people. I looking to spend under $1000. I'm really interested in the Canon T3i and Nikon D5100. This is most for personal use, but will be shooting tons of still and some fun action style outdoor shorts, like the this link:







but without a budget. Mostly for fun and to practice my craft. Maybe hoping to get into more work like this or even wedding videos.

Anyway, I'm leaning towards the canon and have been doing my research. I'm hoping to get by for now with the kit lens until I really get a feel for the camera. And coming from the video world, that may take some time. If I were to purchase just 1 multi-purpose lens, what would that be? Some people talk about prime lens, but I want the ability to zoom in. So I followed Steve Crows link at of the bottom of this post:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/280/6093#6093, and found this blog:

http://crowdigitalmedia.com/shooting-hd-video-with-the-canon-t2i-dslr.

And in the comments section, Paul mentions this lens, EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS. Is something like this a faster and better lens for video work than the kit lens? I want the ability to get a nice DOF look, but still have the multi-purpose use.

Looking for recommendations on a good multi-purpose lens, without breaking the bank.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Micah McDowell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 4:20:31 pm

The Nikon is no doubt an excellent stills camera, but for video, you WANT the T3i. It's got 720p60, unlike the Nikon, which could be handy for action footage like what you're wanting to do and even slow-mo. The Nikon also has issues with manual exposure control in video mode that you don't want to mess with.

As for lenses, I'd get it with the kit lens. Use that for a while, and get a feel for what focal lengths you prefer and how you use it. The kit lens is sharp, just not fast and it's variable aperture so useless for zooming during a shot.

Also, just go ahead and pick up a Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime... they're too cheap and good not to. Use it when you need low-light performance or narrow depth of field that the kit lens can't provide. Later, you may consider that EF-S 17-55. That's probably the best multi-purpose fast zoom that you could put on your camera. If you think you may upgrade to a full-frame camera someday, a 24-70 f/2.8L would be a good similar choice.


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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 4:38:01 pm

Awesome info. That's exactly the detailed response I was hoping for. I see those 50mm lens's are around $130. Is that lens made for the crop sensor of the t3i?

yeah, I've read reviews about the Nikon is great with still but so so with video. That's the main reason I've turned away from my original plan of getting the D3100. No manual focus for video.

Thanks again Micah.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Peter Burger
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 5:13:01 pm

[Matt Campbell] " Is that lens made for the crop sensor of the t3i?"

With the crop that lens is like an 80mm on a full frame sensor, it has no stabilizer and and a very poor focus-ring.

Nevertheless - for that price: a must-have.
Extremely fast (1.8) and the picture quality is awesome. Don't think you can go wrong with it, if you don't want to spend 450 dollars for the 50mm 1.4.


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Brent Dunn
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 5:23:34 pm

The canon 60D is even better, but a little more hit on the budget.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
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DunnRight Video.com
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Roger Martin
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 6:06:07 pm

I've had both, and much prefer the D5100 for Video.
If you set it up right, you can manual focus.
But why bother when the AF is so much better than Canon.


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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 6:12:12 pm

Thanks Roger. Now that's not continuous AF is it? Or is it AF once, before you hit record, then let it rip?

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Roger Martin
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 26, 2011 at 1:26:19 am

I have my D5100 set up for continuous focus.
I only push the AF-On (converted AE-L/AF-L) button before I start the video and when changing scenes.
More often I will move the single focus spot. Especially when my subject move to the side of something I want to include.


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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 7:01:06 pm

what type of lens do you think was used for this? This is similar to what I might use it for. With mountain biking videos, fly by's and pans are used, but I'm worried about keeping focus. Would something like that 50mm be best. Wider depth of the field rather than shallow right?

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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 6:58:24 pm

forgot the link to the above:



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Noah Kadner
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 8:43:44 pm

If you can live without the articulating screen- which IMHO is absolutely critical- the t2i is compatible with the Magic Lantern firmware which greatly enhances its video-taking capabilities. The T3i is a better experience hardware wise but until it catches up with ML firmware is not quite as powerful. Definitely avoid the Nikon- it's really bunk from an ergonomics perspective. Sadly Nikon is way behind Canon in making DSLR's that work well for video shooting.

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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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 8:42:59 pm

What does the magic lantern firmware give you the the t3i doesn't have.

Or can you at least point me the right direction with a link or something.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Noah Kadner
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 10:57:37 pm

This is the rundown- it's pretty amazing:

http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/550D

Caveat- you could potentially harm your camera as it's unofficial software- though no one reportedly ever has...

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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Sohrab Sandhu
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 25, 2011 at 11:57:13 pm

I agree that Magic lantern is a great addition to T2i. But what really pisses me off is that every time you format the card you have to put ML files on it again, and to top it all making the card bootable on a mac is another pain in the neck.

Or is their another way of doing it?

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FCS 3, AJA Kona Lhi



"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen." -- Carl Ally


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Noah Kadner
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 26, 2011 at 3:22:46 am

Yeah well it's not perfect...

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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Sohrab Sandhu
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 26, 2011 at 5:14:13 am

I recently bought t3i having used t2i for quite some time now. Here is the list of differences that i found out.

Firstly, you have the articulating screen which makes lifes so much easier in different shooting situations.

Secondly, you get better audio control with t3i.

Also T3i feels a little more rugged than t2i though 60D is more heavy duty than both these cameras.

Overall, i am pretty happy with t3i as a crop sensor camera. Buy a 17-55 2.8 and you should be set for pretty much anything. Though lenses wish list is never ending for a camera guy.

2.66 GHz 8-core, ATI Radeon HD 4870,
FCS 3, AJA Kona Lhi



"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen." -- Carl Ally


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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 26, 2011 at 1:35:42 pm

Noah and Sohrab, thanks for both of those things. Seeing as I just wanting to step into this, I think I'll leave the ML stuff for the pro's. I'm sure i'll ef something up. I'm really digging the t3i's specs and for what I want, I think this will meet those goals. However, I'll prob need to hold the 17-55mm for a while as thats more expensive than the camera. But the cheaper 55mm prime seems to be worth it.

thx too all for your assistance.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Noah Kadner
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 26, 2011 at 8:43:34 pm

As an aside- I have the T3i for video and it rocks. It will rock even more I'd guess if/when the ML firmware gets released for it. But as an out of the box solution for video shooting, very sweet on its own. And the articulating screen, as I already noted above is really critical, which is why I didn't go for the the T2i.

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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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 31, 2011 at 5:27:24 pm

Micah, with all the other things that popped up in this thread I forgot about one thing. Will the 50mm lens give the ability to keep focus with scenes like a subject riding a bike through the frame starting about 20-30 ft. away and come across screen, getting closer to the camera, say 5-10 ft.? I'm looking for a lens that would be able to keep focus like this, if its possible, without having to follow focus.

I see situations like this all the time, but am not sure how the operators keep focus. Is it the lens or skill with follow focus? DOF after about 40 ft. get blurry, which is nice. But from that 10-30ft range away from the lens, things look, for the most part, crisp.

Any thoughts?

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Micah McDowell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 31, 2011 at 6:51:26 pm

With pretty much any lens on a large-sensor camera, you'll have to practice your follow focus skills

Of course, the more you stop down the iris, the wider your field of focus, regardless of which lens you use. Depth of field is more a function of aperture size and focal length than particular lens design. The 50mm prime with the aperture set to f/5.6 will give the same focus characteristics as the 18-55mm zoom set at the 50mm position at f/5.6. That's if my math and understanding is correct, of course... hopefully that all makes sense.


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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 31, 2011 at 7:01:36 pm

I think I got it. so with the 50mm 1.8, if I stop down the f stop, I gain a wider focal plane. cool. Was just curious how they get those nice wide shots where the subject is clean and backgrounds are nicely blurred. I'll play around with it. Thanks.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Matt Campbell
Re: entry level camera and lens?
on May 31, 2011 at 7:07:42 pm

Or I guess they could use a wide angle lens too. But then everything we pretty much be in focus.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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