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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 July 7th, 2010, 10:23 AM   #1
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Canon 50mm 1.4 as a stay-on lens all the time?

After having lugged Nikon DSLR and Canon HV20 for several years I am ready to jump into this DSLR video. The features I like the most are carring single cam for all purposes, film look and indoor shooting. Here are my questions for you experts here:
1. If I have done video on an HV20 at 50mm (8x) with IS handheld, will I get the comparable results with a 50mm 1.4 prime lens (2x on T2i) in terms of shakiness and watchability?
2. Do you use auto focus when filming on T2i and 50mm 1.4f? or is it once you start you can only adjust focus manually? That would mean that Canon 50mm 1.8f would be a pain to use, wouldn't it?
3. Do you recommend 50mm f1.8 over 1.4, is the lowlight difference and others worth the extra price of $250?
4. For most home photo and video needs, do you see this lens stay on as an all purpose lens?
Thanks much for sharing your thoughts.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #2
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1. You'll need a support rig of some kind. Handholding a bare T2i with a 50mm lens will result in shaky, useless video.

2. Autofocus is possible, but not how you would expect. Manual focus is the only viable way with all lenses.

3. The 1.4 has a better, wider focus ring, and you do get an extra 2/3 stops of light. You can search for vintage glass, notably the Pentax Takumars, that give 1.4 but won't break the bank.

4. No. 50mm (80mm in 35mm) is just too narrow as a general purpose lens. I would stick with the kit lens as your main, general purpose lens, and maybe buy a Sigma 30mm 1.4 as your low-light, indoor lens.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 11:14 AM   #3
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I've had my T2i for several months now, and the 1st lens I bought was the 50mm 1.4. I absolutely love it. It's sharp and clear, but does take some effort to focus without a viewfinder. My LCDVF arrived last week, and my stills are much sharper, and my video has improved as well.

I'm no expert, but the lens is harder to focus because of the shallow DOF (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), so it can make it a difficult walk around lens without a viewfinder. It's my go to for video, as I'm into primes and not zoom lenses. I would recommend it over the 50mm 1.8.

Check my test video of the lens here:

I shot a PSA for work with it: Wetland Buffer PSA/Edina16 Local Tv Hero

I've not used the HV20, so I can't compare it, but my Canon HF10 hardly gets used anymore, unless I need 2 camera coverage.

Hope this helps
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Old July 7th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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I own the 1.4 and find it a very solid lens for the T2i, but I can confirm that it generally should not be used hand held for video as it has no IS.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Holb View Post
4. No. 50mm (80mm in 35mm) is just too narrow as a general purpose lens.
I definitely agree, I found myself walking a long way back from my subjects to get them in frame. Unfortunately sometimes a wall or river or something stopped me.

I would get an EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Canon lens if I had to choose only one lens.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 09:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Ying View Post
After having lugged Nikon DSLR and Canon HV20 for several years I am ready to jump into this DSLR video. The features I like the most are carring single cam for all purposes, film look and indoor shooting. Here are my questions for you experts here:
1. If I have done video on an HV20 at 50mm (8x) with IS handheld, will I get the comparable results with a 50mm 1.4 prime lens (2x on T2i) in terms of shakiness and watchability?
2. Do you use auto focus when filming on T2i and 50mm 1.4f? or is it once you start you can only adjust focus manually? That would mean that Canon 50mm 1.8f would be a pain to use, wouldn't it?
3. Do you recommend 50mm f1.8 over 1.4, is the lowlight difference and others worth the extra price of $250?
4. For most home photo and video needs, do you see this lens stay on as an all purpose lens?
Thanks much for sharing your thoughts.
I think you should consider the Tamron 17-50 2.8 VC for a walk around lens and get a 50mm prime for when you want something more sensitive in low light. This should cover a very usable focal range when you're doing casual shooting. 50 is just too telephoto.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Janus View Post
I would get an EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Canon lens if I had to choose only one lens.
I second this advice. I already had one of the older EF 50mm f1.8 lenses with the focus ring on the barrel rather than the front, so my first prime for video work with the 7D (and now the T2i as well) was the EF 24mm f2.8.

The rationale is that this is kind of between the old 35mm and the 50mm lengths we used to use with film (full frame) and I used the 35mm a lot in PJ close in work, and that is kind of the way I like to work with some video.

Otherwise I would definitely go for the EF 28mm f1.8 USM. That could be one heckuva "workhorse" lens for our 7Ds and 550Ds.

Terry: Nice video!
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Old July 8th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #8
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If I could only have one prime on the 7D, I might choose the Zeiss ZE 28/2. If that's out of the budget, I'd go for the EF 28/1.8.

The 28/1.8 has a poor reputation with photographers for its soft corners wide open on a full frame camera. But 2MP video doesn't require the sharpness of a 21MP photo. And on the 7D, you're cropping the weakest part of the lens.

Of my canon lenses, the 28/1.8 breathes the least. It's biggest weakness for video is the USM AF focus ring.

Still, this is a 45mm equivalent, which might be a bit tight for a single lens. A 24mm lens is a 38.4mm equivalent which is closer to my 35mm target when shooting a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Given that, the EF 24/1.4L II would be sweet.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #9
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I have, amongst other cameras, an HV20 and a 500D/T2i

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Ying View Post
1. If I have done video on an HV20 at 50mm (8x) with IS handheld, will I get the comparable results with a 50mm 1.4 prime lens (2x on T2i) in terms of shakiness and watchability?
No. There's two types of shake - gross movements, which can be reduced with experience, and micromovements - when I tested this out, I could see my 'pulse' hand-holding a 55mm shot. DSLR IS will damp out the micromovements somewhat, but not like your HV20. You're not going to get that level of IS on a DSLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Ying View Post
2. Do you use auto focus when filming on T2i and 50mm 1.4f? or is it once you start you can only adjust focus manually? That would mean that Canon 50mm 1.8f would be a pain to use, wouldn't it?
No - autofocus is fidgety, noisy and takes over the aperture whilst doing its thing. The 50mm 1.4 has a particularly GOOD manual focus action with plenty of movement. AF lenses in general tend to have very short movement making manual focus and 'pulling focus' very demanding and difficult to do again and again.

When trying an AF lens for video, using the kit lens with my 6yo son, he asked why the camera was 'laughing' at him. The noisy AF mechanism did sound like it was 'chuckling'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Ying View Post
3. Do you recommend 50mm f1.8 over 1.4, is the lowlight difference and others worth the extra price of $250?
If you get paid to shoot, get the 1.4. The lens is far easier to work with and makes for impressive 'portrait' interview shots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Ying View Post
4. For most home photo and video needs, do you see this lens stay on as an all purpose lens?
Thanks much for sharing your thoughts.
Not at all. The 50mm 1.4 is a specialist lens. For me it's the interview and the detail/cutaways lens. The lens I tend to leave on most of the time is the Tokina 11-17 - with the added advantage that you can just about hand-hold steady shots with it. The next choice would be a 17-55 or thereabouts, at 2.8. Not cheap, not light, but flexible.

Quite frankly, I've tried using the kit 17-55 lens as a home photo and video lens, and as such, it's fine. Easier than working with a 50 1.4. It has reasonable IS. It is not exciting, but it does the job.

But I don't see the 550D as a replacement for the HV20. The HV20 has a great fold out screen, a wide zoom range, good IS and AF, records 1080p, has nice tonality, exernal audio, and is great as an all rounder outdoors and in good light. The DSLR has to deal with bigger imagers, so the lenses need to be bigger and better, is designed for stills first and video second, has audio issues, has a fixed LCD screen, can overheat, and so on.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 02:39 PM   #10
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what kind lens for 550

Hi all!

i tryed out canon 50mm 1.4/ sigma 30mm F1.4 and my final desition was Sigma 24mm F1.8.EX DG macro
50mm was too much for handheld,and sigmas 30mm's focus ring isn't so good in my opinion.
another point,sigma 30mm F1.4 fits only cropped sensor cam.If you decide to go wiht full frame then it useless.

sigmas F1.8 model have either 20mm vers,24 mm and 28 ..with little price difference.Really reccomend to
look at these.I'm very happy with mine ;)

regards

Raul
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Old July 13th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #11
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Thanks a lot guys for sharing your thought. I got the T2i and Canon 50mm 1.4 for now and I am having so MUCH fun with them. No longer do I worry about low light and not getting shallow DOF. The combo simply offers every possibility for all light situations. Obviously, getting steady shot and spot on focus could be challanges, but those are solvable problems, not the physical limitation of the system that I used to encounter with small sensor cams. Can't be happier with my new video cam.
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