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Multiple lower-quality lenses, or one great lens?

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Chris Summers
Multiple lower-quality lenses, or one great lens?
on Jan 22, 2013 at 12:39:51 am

Hello,
I was wondering you guys' opinion on this.
I'm getting the BMCC (MFT), and it's notorious for it's 2+ crop factor. This means I have to get wider lenses.
My question is, if I should get 2 zoom lenses (Sigma 8-16mm, then Canon 17-55mm), or 1 Zeiss Distagon 21mm.
Most people would say better glass is a better route obviously, but I'm just wondering if only having one lens is a good idea given the crop factor.

Thanks :)


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Multiple lower-quality lenses, or one great lens?
on Jan 23, 2013 at 2:37:36 am

Not so obvious as you claim it to be...

In my opinion, I would recommend going with the zooms. Those are two good zoom lenses (though I prefer the Tokina 11-16 over the Sigma for it's constant 2.8 aperture and I prefer the optical performance). No they are not the best but they are solid performers. I think that you will find yourself crippled by only having a 21. Even a good 21 will not be wide enough for wide shots, or long enough for close ups. I think that you are better serving yourself having the range of focal lengths and being able to not worry about having to tailor every shot around only having a 21mm lens. You may even find yourself discouraged from shooting certain shots because you just don't have the right lens.

Besides, hopefully producing the work will get you some sort of an income that can finance higher quality glass in the future and in that way, the zooms are just a starting point.

Also, keep in mind that the crop factor is actually a 2.3 on the BMCC even though the mount is MFT. The sensor is not a MFT sensor. In the same way, the EF mount version has the same crop as the sensors are the same. The mount, the flange distance, and the type of lens, have no effect on crop factor. That is entirely the sensor. That being said, I find the Tokina at 11 to still be impressively wide.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


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Chris Summers
Re: Multiple lower-quality lenses, or one great lens?
on Jan 23, 2013 at 9:10:59 pm

Hi Matt, thank you for your reply.

I was tossing the idea back and forth in my head, and yes I definitely do feel that I could benefit from having a zoom lens, even though the Zeiss is higher-quality.

In this case, which two zoom lenses would you recommend, given a $2,000 budget for lenses alone?
It seems like you are very satisfied with the Tokina, but what about colors? Contrasts? etc. Not expecting amazing color/contrast and overall quality compared to Zeiss lenses, but what are the best 2 that work with this budget?

Thanks


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Multiple lower-quality lenses, or one great lens?
on Jan 29, 2013 at 4:34:48 am

Hi Chris,

So sorry it took me so long to respond on this.

Yes, I would definitely recommend the Tokina 11-16 for the reasons stated above. I find it to have an almost "special" quality to it which is something that eludes most other modern lenses. It just has character. I have the version 2 (Pro DX-II) for Canon mount.

And then I would think that you should have a medium wide to a medium telephoto. The Canon 17-55 2.8 is an excellent zoom and at $999 will keep you under your 2000 budget. The only other thing you might want is a macro but you would have no problem affording an extension tube if you wanted for the 17-55.

These two lenses would also be helpful as they would be a matched pair in terms of speed so you would not have to relight to grab a tighter or wider shot. Also, as the Canon picks up directly where the Tokina leaves off, you would have the 35mm equivalent on the BMCC of 25.3mm-126.5mm all at f2.8.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


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