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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old May 25th, 2010, 01:53 AM   #1
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$4000 for all-around filmmaking only purposes

Hi, I'm looking to get a T2i with a $4000CDN budget, and am having a rather hard time with breaking it down.

This is what I'm pretty set on:

Rebel T2i: $900
Zoom H4N: $350
Sennheiser ME66 Shotgun Mic: $450

Which leaves me ~$2300 for lenses. I understand that sharpness isn't a huge deal because I'm only using the thing at a maximum resolution of 1080p, however, I want very fast and otherwise good lenses. I certainly will be filming in dark locations, such as in a city late at night, so I really don't want to do anything over an f-stop of 2.8 if it's within my price range.

I'm really leaning towards the L-series lenses, but it's hard finding a good combination that's not pricey. For instance...

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM: $1250
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens: $1300

would really hit my maximum, but it doesn't provide very wide angles which I'm sure I'll want.

I've looked at the "only 3 lenses" thread and the recommendations were really all over the place, so I wasn't really sure what to decide on. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 02:35 AM   #2
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My 2 cents...

I've produced 4 full length features, and run the longest established indie film company in Michigan. Not rich or famous, but we've been able to carve out a place.

That said, if 4 grand is you're total budget, here's my advice:

1 - $900 means you bought the kit lens. Great - it's quite a deal for hundred bucks it costs. Now buy ONE fairly fast prime and you're done buying lenses. You can buy the 50mm/1.8 Canon lens for around $100 new - a great deal. Spend no more than $500 (and it better be wide and fast for that amount). Make it work - German glass is out of your budget, sad as that may be.

2 - Buy the $30 HTDZ mic - it's a battery powered 1/4" jack mic that works well for the T2. Remember, unless you're a freak like Nolan or Tarintino, 70% of all spoken lines are ADRed. The HTDZ is a big, pseudo-professional mic that comes with a sweet case and a mic shoe that fits the T2 perfectly. It will impress actors and boom operators (the only people that matter in this). Remember that phantom powered mics WILL NOT WORK for this cam, no matter what adapter you might have (believe me I've tried).

3 - Better budget for at least 2 (if not 4) 16 gig memory cards ($60-120), a memory reader (about $10), and an extra battery (any where from $10 to $60 if you buy the Canon battery - which I did).

4 - Boom pole - might want to go semi-pro for this buy - painter's sticks tend to rattle (although you can fill them up with expando foam). No more then $200.

5 - Lights. Not sure what sort of movie you're planning on, but buy one set of twin 450 watt work lights, 3 scoop lights with bright non-flouresant bulbs (so you can put them on your 10 dollar DIY dimmer), and three powerful mag flashlights (plus 3 3' X 5' white form boards bought at a dollar store), and you should be able to shoot anything. So, maybe a hundred bucks. Oh yeah, buy a dollar pack of wood (plastic will melt) cloths pins to pin your DIY tin foil gobos or gels on with.

6 - Camera movement/stabilizer - buy something small but solid for your tripod if you don't have one. You can build everything else DIY, from a nice stedi-cam to a million different PVC dollys. Hell, go crazy and get the $100 indie slider and a $200 tripod and you're still...

...Only at $1,600. Spend the rest on pizza, gels, beer, and condoms - remember, people make movies, not cameras. Listen to Robert Rodriguez - don't spend any money you don't absolutely have to. Keep it to the min and spend that extra dough when you REALLY need to. Like when your lead actor is in jail - or you run out of beer.

Good luck my friend!

john
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Old May 25th, 2010, 02:48 AM   #3
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John, thanks for your post.

$900 is for the body only, I'm just playing it safe. However, I DO have a Rebel T1i with the kit lens and an EFS 18-200mm. I didn't mention it before because I just don't think it's fast nor good enough, particularly in low light. So the T1i and two lenses is my obsolete photography kit. I have a couple memory cards lying around as well, so that's not a problem either. I also have a tripod.

I've heard lots of things on the http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8-Camera-Lens/dp/B00007E7JU/ref=pd_cp_p_1 (the 1.4 is $200 more), so I'll probably pick that up as per your recommendation, but I'm not comfortable with my current lenses, like I mentioned.

As for lighting I'm thinking of renting, but am not sure. I'll look into your recommendation (the budget sounds great), however I'm a pretty big fan of Kino-Flo kits.

The mic looks GREAT for its price, but audio is important to me. The ME66 has always been a sure fire shotgun for me. Remember, with the Zoom H4N I won't be plugging the audio directly into the camera.

I'd like a great stabilizer as well, this is something that's up in the air for me. As much as I love a good RedRock kit, it's pricey.

Oh, and I completely forgot about the viewfinder... Z-Finder or that other one is a must-get for me.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 03:09 AM   #4
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I have a great DIY solution for the Zacuto/Redrock gear if'n you're into it...I'll soon be posting my whole set up, all of which is under $100 and looks great... I swear I'll have it up this weekend!

Remember, all viewfinders are essentially small plastic boxes (like Magic: The Gathering or other game card boxes) with a 3x magnifying glass that are held on either by rubber bands or velcro. All are cheap. None of it is hard to make.

The 1.8 is one of the real bargains out there. If you don't have the kit lens, I bet you could pick one up never used for $35 - a super steal.

What kind of movies are you making BTW?

john
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Old May 25th, 2010, 03:19 AM   #5
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I'll probably go with an LCDVF viewfinder at about $180. Not too bad for the competition.

Quote:
If you don't have the kit lens, I bet you could pick one up never used for $35 - a super steal.
I mentioned that I do have the kits lens and an EFS 18-200mm with my T1i, but like I said, 3.5-5.6 is just not fast or good enough for either one of them.

I'll be filming narrative short and feature-length films, as well as a series of television-style online videos. The lenses must be good for any and all locations.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 03:26 AM   #6
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Why is the EFS 18-200mm not fast enough? I'd think a 3.5 is fast enough for out-doors or a studio setting...

John
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Old May 25th, 2010, 03:30 AM   #7
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It certainly is fast enough for outdoors or studio settings, however not fast enough for other indoor setups or outside in nighttime city environments. I'd rather have a lens that can do all of these lighting conditions.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 03:33 AM   #8
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John, I'm gonna agree with you on a few things but disagree on a few others.

Don't spend too big on lenses if you're on a budget. Those 2 L-series f/2.8 lenses still won't let you shoot in the dark. I'd suggest a set of old Nikon primes, maybe a 28mm f/2.8, definitely a 50mm f/1.8 and maybe an 85mm f/1.8. You should be able to get this whole set for well under $500 on ebay. If you want a really wide lens then the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 seems to be one of the most popular.

Phantom powered mics WILL work, as long as you get an XLR adaptor which provides it, such as the beachtek DXA-SLR which also disables the auto gain. However, you'll get better quality (at the expense of syncing later on) with the Zoom H4n. A Rode NTG-2 offers comparable sound to the Sennheiser but is a bit cheaper. Add in a boom and for under $1000 you've got a fairly solid kit that will work with just about any camera you buy in the future - a sound investment (pun intended).

I've never made or worked on a full length feature but 70% ADR for spoken lines seems a bit dubious. With the per-day rate of big stars, I hardly think they're gonna pay to do every scene twice - (once on set for images and once in a recording booth). If they are not recording critical sound on set then why do they need sound-stages?
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Old May 25th, 2010, 03:39 AM   #9
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John #2, thanks for your very helpful post.

The more I look into this, the more I see that prime lenses may very well be the best way to go, however, I'm a composition nut. When I film, the framing is always very precise. This essentially means I need a wide selection of lengths to choose from. The three lenses you mentioned would go for about $500, so that pretty much means I have about another grand for more primes.

If I'm doing primes, I'd want at least four to five of them that are suitable for very low lighting conditions.

Let's count that Canon 50mm f/1.8 as one of them. What should the rest be? On a somewhat related note, when it comes to video, what's really the difference -- in purely video terms -- between a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and say L glass with the same specs that cost $1000 more? Is color accuracy, black levels or something that much more notable?

That DXA-SLR is very tempting to replace the Zoom H4N with. I despise syncing.

Rode NTG-2 seems like an interesting choice. I'll look into it.

I agree with you on ADRing. I've very rarely needed to do it.

:edit: It appears that the Zoom can be mounted with the camera. And it's cheaper. So I'll stick with the Zoom.

:edit #2: So I've done some looking around. Let me know what you all think of this:

1. Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM: $300
2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM: $350
3. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM: $375
4. Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM $615

Totals $1640, with the T2i, Zoom H4n, ME66 (so sans lighting, viewfinder, boom, stabilization) = $3340.

Last edited by Peter Malcolm; May 25th, 2010 at 04:26 AM.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 04:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent View Post
I have a great DIY solution for the Zacuto/Redrock gear if'n you're into it...I'll soon be posting my whole set up, all of which is under $100 and looks great... I swear I'll have it up this weekend!

john
I am really looking forward to seeing this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm View Post
John #2, thanks for your very helpful post.

:edit #2: So I've done some looking around. Let me know what you all think of this:

1. Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM: $300
2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM: $350
3. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM: $375
4. Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM $615

Totals $1640, with the T2i, Zoom H4n, ME66 (so sans lighting, viewfinder, boom, stabilization) = $3340.
Great lenses, but if you're buying just for film making, you're paying for auto focus mechanisms you won't use.

If it was me, I would be buying second hand manual focus lenses, which will give you equivalent results IMHO. You can spend the savings on some of the extras you mention.

I have bought 15+ such lenses from Ebay, never received a bad one, and each one has appreciated in value since I purchased it.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 04:52 AM   #11
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If it was me, I would be buying second hand manual focus lenses, which will give you equivalent results IMHO. You can spend the savings on some of the extras you mention.

I have bought 15+ such lenses from Ebay, never received a bad one, and each one has appreciated in value since I purchased it.
Right, I won't be using the AF on these lenses. Can you point me to these AF-less equivalents? I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for...

I'm thinking about taking out the 85mm and 200mm for a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM at $1200...

I'm somewhat apprehensive since none of the lenses (including that zoom one) have IS on them. Which requires more stability on the rigging front... should I be apprehensive?
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Old May 25th, 2010, 05:53 AM   #12
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Having just actually done a shoot with the camera as a B cam (my curiosity got the better of me)

I would say look very carefully at the longer lenses. If hand holding then you're going to get jello at 85mm or greater. 50mm seems manageable. Unless you're locked down on a 200mm you're going to struggle. (not that anyone would hand hold 200mm anyway).

But i see a lot of people recommending 85mm and for me that seems a bit too jello'y. And what i mean by that is the wobble all over the image because of your hands and the focal length - not side to side slanting.

I'm very surprised this hasn't popped up more.

I've written more in the thread i'd started about lens choices.

cheers
paul
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Old May 25th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #13
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Hey Paul,

Thanks for your response. You have an interesting thread going on there. It's made me consider the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 over the Canon one. It's a lot cheaper, and the focusing issues don't seem to be as much of a problem for video purposes.

I obviously intend to be locked down for most of my shots. It's also how I direct; I'm not big on handheld.

So far:

Rebel T2i: $900
Zoom H4N: $350
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM: $450
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM: $350
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8: $750
Rode NTG-2: $300
Rode Boom Pole: $150
LCDVF: $170
JAG 35 monitor: $260
JAG 35 DSLR Cage v2 full: $450

Total: $4130 without lighting.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 06:37 AM   #14
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Peter,

I've not used either of those lenses, although for video work i'm sure both would be fine from an image quality perspective.

However, as mentioned above, if you're ever going to hand hold it i really think you'd need IS for those sort of focal lengths and i don't believe the tamron has that, whereas the canon 70-200 f2.8 does.

Also what sort of travel is there on the focus side? I can't say for sure but ability to manual focus easily is going to be a factor, the more travel the better.

Perhaps someone with more direct experience can chime in here?

cheers
paul
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Old May 25th, 2010, 07:30 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by John Vincent View Post
Why is the EFS 18-200mm not fast enough? I'd think a 3.5 is fast enough for out-doors or a studio setting...
Hi John, that lens doesn't have a constant aperture. It's f/3.5 only at the wide end. At longer focal lengths it stops down (f/5.6 at full telephoto). Should be useful at the wide end, though.

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Originally Posted by Paul Curtis View Post
if you're ever going to hand hold it i really think you'd need IS for those sort of focal lengths
The primary discipline of shooting video with these cameras should be to always shoot from a tripod and avoid handheld whenever possible. Follow that practice and IS isn't necessary.
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