FORUMS: list search recent posts

Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?

COW Forums : DSLR Video

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Jake Huddleston
Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?
on Feb 5, 2012 at 9:24:20 am

Hi there. I am getting ready to buy a new lens for my Canon 550D/T2i. All I have now are two cheapie kit lenses that came with it, and I'm looking to upgrade my optical quality for both video and photography work. What I'm trying to do is determine my long-term plans for buying lenses. I have enough money at this point to buy an expensive L-Series zoom lens from Canon. The zoom is great for photography as well as video, and the optics are great.

The problem, however, comes from the fact that I will probably not be able to afford another L-Series lens again for a long time. In the meantime, I thought maybe I would supplement the wider and longer ends of the focal spectrum with cheaper lenses like Sigmas or non-L series primes. Still great quality lenses, but not as expensive and not quite the optics of an L-series.

My question is, could both cheap and expensive lenses be used on the same video project without being noticed? My friend mentioned that if I buy an L-series lens, then I couldn't shoot with another cheaper lens on the same project because the optics would not be as great, and would therefore be noticeable. I am wondering how much truth there is to this? If I shoot the majority of my footage on my L-series zoom, would it really be that noticeable if I shot my wides on a cheaper lens like the Tokina 11-16mm? If I am shooting with an L-series lens, would all lenses in the same video project have to be L-series or higher in order to not have a noticeable difference? I would appreciate any and all input on this issue. This will determine whether I will go the L-series route, or buy several non-L series primes so that the optics all match up quality-wise.

Jake Huddleston

Return to posts index

Errol Lazare
Re: Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?
on Feb 5, 2012 at 8:08:41 pm

It isn't necessarily the cost that classifies the lens as good or not. For example, if you bought an L-Series 24-105 F4 for $1200.00 and then bought an ultra sonic EF-S 50mm 1.4 for $400.00 you may tend to enjoy using the 50mm more often for that artistic look because of its shallower depth of field and better low light capabilities. The 24-105 is an L series lens but look at the Fstop. You need to look at a lenses F-stop and focal length and determine what is best for you. Also consider that L series lenses have a strong built quality and incorporate better weather resistance but it doesn't mean that the cheaper EF-S lenses are lower quality in the image department: they still look fantastic. Focus on getting great footage with good lighting, camera movement and composition and you will have an amazing video.

Errol X. Lazare
EXL Films

Return to posts index

John Young
Re: Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?
on Feb 6, 2012 at 8:32:35 pm

Don't think you have to spend $1000 to get good quality glass. They have been making high quality photography lenses for a long time, which means their are a lot of them out there, which means that they are fairly inexpensive. I have two Nikon manual focus primes that cost me $100 and $300 respectively that look better than my $1,000 EF-S zoom lens.
Might be something to look into.


Return to posts index

Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?
on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:27:35 am

Right on the money John. I'm using my old Nikon primes from my F2 Photomic days on my T2i, and they are beautiful lenses. I picked up a few Nikon to Canon adapters, one for each lens, so I don't have to keep swapping out the adapter and wearing it out, and a bunch of Canon rear caps for my now Canonized Nikon lenses, and the results are very nice.

And you can pick up these Nikon primes for a fraction of the price of a new Canon fast autofocus lens. Of course you have to be comfortable manually focusing and setting your stops, but with the addition of Magic Lantern software, the chore becomes a lot easier.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

Return to posts index

Phil Balsdon
Re: Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?
on Feb 7, 2012 at 1:04:03 pm

There's a fair amount of line shedding going on when DSLRs are shooting video which causes some loss of the image resolution. For a while I was using a mix of Canon L series, Sigma EOS mount and old Pentax and Mamiya 645 lenses. In video mode the difference was negligible, in stills mode the cheaper quality lenses don't quite make the grade against the Canon L series (or the Mamiyas).

You also need to watch more carefully for "moire" patterning on detail when shooting video with sharper higher quality lenses.

Buying good quality used lenses is a really good way to get started economically, but at the end of the day your lenses will be a long term investment if you buy quality and they will out last a few generations of camera technology if you look after them.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.

Return to posts index

Noah Kadner
Re: Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?
on Feb 7, 2012 at 5:02:26 pm

Personally I think you can really see the difference when kit lenses and good lenses are cut next to each other in a project. Any DP worth their salt would go out of their way to assure consistent optical quality from shot-to-shot. That said, you don't necessarily need to buy lenses for every project. I've had great success on a project basis with this service for example-


Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.

Return to posts index

Brent Dunn
Re: Mixing Cheap and Expensive Lenses on Same Project?
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:38:47 pm

NO, simple answer.

If you are doing this for a living, you need to invest in quality equipment. L-Series lenses have a great look. There are other quality lenses for less, but it will look different. Also, time to upgrade your camera to at least a 60 D.

Better quality means better business.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

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

Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2019 All Rights Reserved