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5D newbie advice on lenses

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matt shires
5D newbie advice on lenses
on Nov 10, 2009 at 9:04:09 am

Hello,

I've been lent a 5d Markii body for 3weeks,unfortunately I know as much about photography and filming as I do about pre-raphaelite art, so I reckon I can turn it on at a push.

So I was wondering what lenses I should rent being a novice, or if there's any good sites people could recommend for learning about this sort of thing?

Many Thanks, Matt


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Brent Dunn
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Nov 10, 2009 at 6:22:06 pm

2 lenses that will cover most shooting situations.

Canon 24-70 2.8 L Series Lens
Canon 70-200 2.8 L Series Lens

The L-Series is the best glass and look of the canon line if you have the budget. There are many other cheaper brands that you can choose from.

If you get the budget to buy a wide assortment of lenses then after you buy the two above, start collecting PRIME Lenses (non zoom lens)
Always buy lenses with a 2.8 or lower F Stop rating, such as a 50 mm 1.4., 70mm, 100mm, etc.

There are many rental places on line that will ship you a lens. Average price varies from $70 on up depending on the lens and amount of time you are going to use it. Good Luck! Just keep doing your research.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Video.com


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Danny Grizzle
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:50:42 pm

I like the advice to use Canons 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8, especially since I already own these two lenses.

I'm old school. Modern SLR systems are designed more for sports photographers than anyone else.

I dislike autofocus. It is not inherently evil, but motorized focus seems to dictate mechanical design of lenses. Short throw manual focus, where the lens goes from infinity to macro with only a few degrees of rotation, make a lens horrible for human control. Sloppy fly-by-wire focusing, where the focus ring is not mechanically coupled to focus but only controls the focus motor, is even worse.

I also don't like the fact that Canon chose to remove iris control from their EOS lenses. Depth of field scales are gone. Depth of field preview is awkward. There are lots of DOF apps for iPhone, but these are dorky workarounds. The fact remains that Canon is off track with lens design, as if they hired the same Japanese engineers who invented the $20,000 electronic toilet and robotic bidet with built-in Nintendo and karaoke. EOS lenses are a mixed bag, great for some specific things, but ultimately frustrating for master photographers and cinematographers who need absolute manual control.

I disagree with some who posted to this thread about 5D Mk II ISO performance rendering superspeed optics obsolete. Because deliberate and creative control of depth of field is actually the most exciting thing about this camera. That's also why the full frame sensor is important, because the corresponding longer focal length lenses are associated with shallow depth of field.

OK, so much for theory. My specific recommendations:

1) Zeiss ZE manual focus lenses. Before I buy, I will consider whether the Nikon mount variants allow manual control of iris because I've read some photographers prefer them with an adapter for use on Canon EOS. Manual aperture makes the lens more versatile, should you ever want to use it on a DOF adapter like Letus.

BTW - for cinematography use of the 5D Mk II, seriously consider optional focusing screens. The Canon website notes their availability, but Zeiss does a better job explaining focusing screens and why these are critical for your success.

2) Canon Tilt-Shift Lenses. Manual focus plus more creative control. And these are great lenses, even without consideration of lens movements. See Philip Bloom's videos - he uses tilt shift lenses extensively.

I already own two Canon tilt-shift lenses. I will probably buy the entire set, then fill in with Zeiss primes, duplicating focal lengths on the 50mm and 85mm because of their large aperture.

3) Singh-Ray Vari-ND filters because the Canon 5D Mk II is not a purpose built video camera. Singh-Ray Vari-ND may seem like an obscure photographic gadget, but they are essential to professional work with the 5D Mk II.

4) LensRentals.com is a great resource. Not just because you can rent exotic lenses, perhaps to try before you buy, but also because the LensRentals.com website contains succinct practical advice. These guys rent virtually every Canon lens that exists, so they have extensive hands-on practical experience. Read their article on the Canon 5D Mk II. In particular, their article This lens is soft and other myths should be read by every Canon 5D Mk II owner and user.

Unlike guys in L.A. or New York, I don't hang with other shooters, and I never see gear in use before I buy it. So I value scuttlebutt in places like LensRentals.com and CreativeCOW.

Final points on use:

1) Image Stabilization - use with care. Canon's EOS lens line was designed for still photographers. It works great for stills, but maybe not so good for cinematography. I'm concerned about damping as the gyros reach end of travel. I can see a visible bump with my IS lenses during motion required for framing.

2) Lenses are only as good as their support. I'm a believer in high quality tripods and fluid heads.

3) Aftermarket accessories. Zacuto and Redrock Micro make gorgeous shooting rigs with viewfinders, rail systems, shoulder mounts, matte boxes, etc. for the 5D Mk II. But the money can become a multiple of what the 5D Mk II costs, which offends me. When I put together my wish list, I think maybe I should consider a RED system instead. After reading glowing comments about Cavision on the LensRentals.com website, I am considering going with this much less expensive alternative.






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Todd Terry
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:34:44 pm

[Danny Grizzle] "Zacuto and Redrock Micro make gorgeous shooting rigs...but the money can become a multiple of what the 5D Mk II costs, which offends me."

Well, that's understandable... but I'd suggest that stand might be a little bit myopic.

To blow things out of porportion, one probably wouldn't think twice if you needed a $20,000 lens on a $50,000 camera... but if you need the same lens on a $5,000 camera it suddenly seems unreasonable. It's sort of an economic phenominon of the relativity of economics.

I'd contend that those prices aren't out of line, if that's what it takes to do the job and do it really well. I know in my own daily shooting rig (which starts with a Canon XLH1), the camera body is actually one of the cheaper parts of the setup. The lens converter that I use was a lot more expensive than the camera itself, and the lenses themselves set be back a lot more than the camera, converter, and everything else combined. At first, yes, I had the knee-jerk reaction "What the heck? These dang lenses are costing five times as much as the darn camera." But... it doesn't matter, because they are worth it. That's what it takes to do the job and do it the way I want. Not all pieces of the puzzle are going to cost the same, and some are more than others.

I think it's easy to become jaded at the relative costs of things because the 5D and 7D bodies are so darn cheap. They really are. Yes, they are expensiveish for still cameras, but compare that to what we've all been spending for "real" video cameras for years. In sheer cost comparison, the Canon SLRs have almost throwaway price tags.

Ergo... accessories may indeed end up being a lot more costly than the camera. If you want a really good follow focus unit (like an Arri, or Chroisel), it's going to cost as much as the camera. You can easily buy a small LCD monitor as a viewfinder that costs twice as much as the camera or more, if you get a legit full-display HD screen.

The thing to remember is that many of the toys that we all use every day are pretty darn expensive, and aways have been. Now it's suddenly possible to do very high end work using a camera body that cost a fraction of what the same job would take in the past. But, unfortunately, the prices didn't drop on all those other bits and pieces that it takes to complete the rig.

But, yes... you can take the camera right out of the box and get to shooting without spending another dime. But, to do it the way we've all been used to... it still takes some of those other expensive gadgets.




T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Danny Grizzle
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:21:14 pm

I know what you are saying, and agree. It is about balance and proportion. The 5D Mk II is not the end-all of HD production; actually it's simply the entry. I think it shook up RED, and opened Canon's eyes to a potential market. It will be interesting to see what happens if Canon sets their mind to a purpose built single imager video camera designed to use their EOS lenses (which I love/hate).

In the mean time, I don't want to be the kid who spends more on his car stereo than the value of the automobile. Note I'm not badmouthing Zacuto or Redrock, only saying the Cavision stuff looks interesting for a lot less money. It would be nice to see and work with all this stuff, and maybe I should do some rentals before purchase. What I read on the LensRentals.com website was specific to the Cavision Video SLR Viewfinder, $170 at B&H. Read it for yourself and tell me if you think the Zacuto is worth more than twice as much ($375). And the reviewer seems to think the Cavision is a super design, as well.

No disrespect to Zacuto. I love beautiful, high quality gear. But at the same time, in the early 1970's, I bought into the Canon F1 35mm system at a time when Nikon was the definitive choice of professionals. I've never regretted that decision.



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Todd Terry
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:41:12 pm

[Danny Grizzle] "I don't want to be the kid who spends more on his car stereo than the value of the automobile."

Haha... I hear what you are saying. I guess personally I'm just one of those kids who doesn't mind spending more on the stereo, if wanting great sounding music is the goal. Come to think of it, I've got at least one motorcycle where the accessories are worth far more than the actual bike itself.... hmmmm.

[Danny Grizzle] "Cavision stuff looks interesting for a lot less money."

Yes, just don't go in with overblown expectations. I've had some Cavision products in the past (in fact, I still probably have a couple of matte boxes laying around). It is inexpensive. And you get exactly what you pay for with Cavision, no more. For some things, that's ok... for others, not so much. I'd say it's functional, but most of their stuff is quite cheaply made and really looks/feels it (and lasts like it).

[Danny Grizzle] "Note I'm not badmouthing Zacuto or Redrock,"

Actually, Zacuto makes really good stuff. Stuff, that is (in my opinion) wildly overpriced. I think the quality and pricing with Redrock is a lot more in line. Frankly, I wasn't a fan at first of RedrockMicro. They first came about of course with budget-priced DoF converters... and I'm an old-time P+S Technik user and fan, and probably had a snobby attitude about them. However, when Redrock sent me one of their followfocus units to test drive when I was writing an article for the COW Magazine, I was super impressed. It is a great piece of equipment, I'd say on par with an Arri or Chroisel but less than $1000. It blows all of those other sub-$1K "Fisher Price" FF units out of the wather (those that are all over eBay in the $300-$600 range). I've been equally impressed with their other accessories. I still don't have their uber-cool (and cheap) swingaway matte box, but want to get one soon.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Danny Grizzle
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Jan 2, 2010 at 5:44:09 am

After spending the day on CreativeCOW, I am rethinking my infatuation with the 5D MkII.

Peter DeCrescenzo posted this link on a prior thread on this board:

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/article.php/20

The bottom line is the stock 5D MkII looks gorgeous with fast primes, but only fast primes shot wide open with lots of out of focus background. Of course, this makes guys like me salivate until somebody shakes me awake with the realization that the camera won't reliably do small aperture, deep focus shots without huge risk of really crappy results.

The article is an education about aliasing and the optical low pass filters which digital cameras use to address the issue. But Canon cannot put such a filter on the 5D MkII because it would destroy the camera's 21 megapixel performance as a still camera.

My conclusion is Canon needs to do a version of the 5D MkII optimized for video. And they probably will. They may even take it further and and redesign the entire camera body, viewfinder, and memory card system. P2 or SxS, maybe. With more powerful graphics processing and a faster storage system, I don't see why a video version of this still camera could not do 2K or better, essentially the same market as the RED ONE.

In the mean time, the Optical Low Pass Filter issue makes me take note of the LensRentals.com specially modified IR version of the 5D MkII. I mean, if these guys can have a 5D MkII modified to remove the factory low pass filter and replace it with a 715nm infrared filter, what's to keep someone from doing a mod to the 5D MkII to address the aliasing issue with a low pass filter that is optimized for HD video production?

As for this Cavision vs. Zacuto vs. Redrock stuff, I've never seen any of it. I will say, I always elect to pay for better quality if it is warranted. I believe people who do good work should be rewarded. Before reading the Cavision review on LensRentals.com, Cavision was not really on my radar. At the same time, I have bought Chrosziel matte boxes. Fine and good, but grossly overpriced -- nice gear, but I would buy a less expensive quality alternative in a heartbeat.

BTW - I see Chrosziel finally got a website. Maybe it has been up for years -- I have not built a new camera package in a long time. And what is the first featured item on the Chrosziel website? Why, a full matte box / follow focus package for the 5D MkII, of course. Once I check the price, maybe my relativist thinking will make Zacuto seem like the middle ground.


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Bob Dix
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Nov 11, 2009 at 6:53:34 am

Depends what you are going to use it for

1. Stills : We use a Canon EF 2.8L 24-70 mm for the best results.

2. Video : High definition 1920 x 1080 use only a IS image stabilized Lens if hand held like a Canon EF F 3.5 28-135mm IS Lens, the stills are magic but, move the camera in a pann horizontally and you may get some pixel movement if not done smoothly

3. Canon recommend to use the L series 70-200mm F 4.0 IS Lens as the stabilizer works differently to reduce "pixel movement" in panning, so they tell me.

4. Used correctly this camera is magic, the results in High Definition on a Sony Bravia 46" Full HD are stunning.


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matt shires
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Nov 11, 2009 at 10:00:48 am

Thanks for the info, I am planning on shooting footage with the camera. I saw philip bloom use the Nikon mount Zeiss ZF 50mm f1.4 on sofia's people, obviously his a very talented gent, and I'm a cack handed novice but would his lense be any good?

Thanks again


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Bob Dix
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Nov 11, 2009 at 10:02:52 pm

Ziess is very good, but, if it is not Stabilised in lens or body forget it.

No zoom advantage in fixed 50mm , I would find it useless.

We use a Canon F1.2 L Pro series 55mm in low light, but, the ISO setting of Automatic in the Canon 5D to say 6400 makes these lens obsolete. Trust me we have used them ( the 55mm fixed lens) for 25 years, great images, no versatality.


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Daniel Dunn
Re: 5D newbie advice on lenses
on Nov 21, 2009 at 3:02:51 am

I use this lens a LOT, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens, and I love it. It's a fraction of the price of the 1.2 50, and it takes an amazing image. Great in low light, although focusing is pretty tricky with it wide open, but hey, we're cinematographers, right.
I like using primes (non-zooming) lenses, but it takes some practice.

Daniel
http://www.ddunnproductions.com


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