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Old June 3rd, 2010, 09:15 AM   #1
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Advice: Looking to purchase 7D for client video testimonials- lens recommendations?

Hi! I've been researching the 7D for a few weeks now and am looking at different lenses to go w/ the camera. I will be using this for mainly filming patient testimonials for dentists who want to use the videos for their website, social media, and in office marketing (waiting rooms).

Initially, I bought a Canon Vixia HF 200 and quickly learned that the quality is not up to my standards. Then I rented a Canon XH A1 and vowed to never use tape again! DSLRs seem to really be a great option for what I'm doing.

I've looked at the lens kits from B&H and someone recommended I get an L lens like a 24-70.

Right now, that's a too rich for my blood. I currently have a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS I use w/ my XTi (as well as a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6).

Question- what lens would you recommend w/ the 7D for the type of work I am doing?

Thanks!
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:21 AM   #2
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I think your current Canon lens might be fine for what you want to do. Often the more expensive lenses are partially so due to their speed - but for things like testimonials and similar interviews you'll probably want to shoot in the f/4-5.6 range. I'm using a 5D, so your DOF will probably be a little deeper, but at f/2.8 or larger and typical interview distances the DOF can be so thin that if your subject shifts in their seat their face or eyes may go out of focus. At f/5.6 if you focus so that their ears just start to come into focus you'll get enough room that their entire face should stay sharp if they move around a little.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:45 AM   #3
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Thanks Evan! That's good to hear that I could use my current lens. I plan on renting a 7D again next week. I will compare the lenses and see if I can tell a difference.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:48 AM   #4
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Look into some of the non L series prime lenses. 85 1.8 is a fantastic portrait lens. 50 1.4 also gets very good ratings. These will be essential in low light and give you more creative freedoms then your 3.5-5.6 zoom. Also range around $300.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 12:08 PM   #5
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I have the 7D with the Canon 50mm f1.4 and am very happy with it, I didn't buy the kit lens as I have experience with kit lenses and they are really a compromise.

This is a clip I did with the 50mm f1.4 Stock Video Footage: Female Doctor
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 12:17 PM   #6
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I think your main concern for shooting testimonies should not be which lens to use but how to record the sound! There is a lot of effective ways to achieve it but this will be your principal workflow change going from a true video camera to the 7D.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 12:21 PM   #7
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I'd think a Canon 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 would do nicely!

Add a Zoom H4n for second system sound, and off ya go!
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 12:48 PM   #8
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Go with a prime lens. Canon 50mm 1.4 is nice and can't go wrong with L series glass. Also check out the new Zeiss stuff. They are built like tanks and have hard focus stops. I tried a 28mm f2 and it looked great.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 03:58 PM   #9
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You really need a zoom lens for shooting interviews, unless you can always mount the camera on a dolly and have a clean move into or away from the subject. It's common to change focal lengths numerous times during most interviews, and you can't do that with a prime lens (unless you have plenty of time between questions, which is when I always do my focal length changes).

The problem with your 28-135 is that you always will have to shoot at a 5.6, otherwise when you zoom in you'll need more light. Also, I shoot most of my interviews at around a 2.8 because generally I want a shallow depth of field. In many cases there are things in the background I want to blur into non-recognition, or people will be walking by and invariable somebody will look at the camera, but if he's just a fuzzy shape going by in the background you can't tell what he's doing. You do have to watch your focus when shooting at 2.8, as mentioned above. If a person is, say, sitting at a table and leans forward, you're going to have to shift focus with him. If you want a deeper depth of field for your interviews and have enough lighting power to bring things up to a 5.6 without cooking the subject, or don't mind elevating your ISO, then that lens is good.

The 24-70 L is a great interview lens because it's wide enough so you can be in fairly close to the subject but long enough so you can zoom in to the ECU when necessary.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 09:05 PM   #10
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Bill took the words right out of my mouth. For what you are doing I IMHO, would definitely go with a tapeless camcorder. If, you insist on going the DSLR Route and purchasing a 7d, I would also advise you to purchase a T2i w a 50mm 1.4. That will give you multiple angles and low light. Believe it or not I have been very satisfied with the sound from my camera by hooking the lavalier recieved directly to the T2i.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 09:05 PM   #11
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GREAT INFO guys!!!!

Thanks for your help.


Chris
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