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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 28th, 2011, 06:41 PM   #1
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Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

I'm going to put a budget together for a feature I'm going to shoot with some friends. It's going to essentially be an out-of-pocket feature, so I can't be ridiculous, but I've rented a few lenses before for short films and noticed a significant difference in quality between them and the kit lens-- enough that I think I'd be willing to throw a couple paychecks towards getting lenses.

Where do you think I should start looking? I want quality to be consistent, I'm going to be shooting in both low light and daylight, plus some indoor scenes (lit with a lowel dv creator kit).

I'm thinking a budget of two or three grand (this budget is just theoretical so I know what costs I'm looking at... so if there's a significant quality jump by spending a little more, I can be flexible).

Prime lenses are okay, maybe even preferable but that would mean I'd need at least two lenses, would I be better off just getting one zoom lens? Or do you guys think I'd be okay getting one prime lens for the "beauty" shots and intermixing with the zoom lens?
If I don't intermix, Image Stabilization is probably going to be necessary as I plan on doing a lot of handheld. If I do intermix, I can spend the time and planning on setting up the important shots with a tripod.

Is what I'm asking for going to just be too far out of my price range?

Thanks.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 06:59 PM   #2
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

50mm 1.4 should be very high on your list. Not terribly expensive but fantastic in low light and awesome bokeh.
As for a zoom, 70-200 would cover a large range. The f2.8 IS is expensive. There's an f4 with IS just lose a bit of low light capability.

I use the 24-70 f2.8 as well and looks fantastic.

Lastly, the tokina 11-16 f2.8 is awesome for wide angle.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:36 PM   #3
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

If I had to choose three, I'd do a 50mm 1.4, 17-40mm f/4L, 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS. More primes and macros if I can.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #4
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

If I were to shoot with one prime for a feature, it would be a 24mm on the 7D. There are a number of f/2.8 lenses out there. I got a Pentax (Nikon mount) for $35 a couple years ago. At the other end of the price spectrum is an EF 24/1.4L. A Zeiss ZE 28/2 isn't much cheaper.

I'm considering selling my EF 28/1.8 to help fund a 16-35L (for my 5D2.) The 28/1.8 is quite good for video with excellent center sharpness and minimal breathing. The focus throw is limited, but that's not a huge issue with wide lenses. Photographers don't value this lens highly due to limited corner sharpness. That's an issue when shooting landscape photos, but is less of an issue for video - especially when there is an object of interest near the center of the frame. And with a crop cam, you never see the corners anyway. If interested, PM me.

The 24 or 28mm lens is for capturing action and establishing shots.

My second lens would be a 50mm. An EF 50/1.8 would be cheap and match the speed of a 28/1.8. The 50/1.4 is nicer mechanically. A Zeiss ZE 50/1.4 isn't terribly expensive. Then there are options from Nikon and others. Many choices here. This captures two shots and medium closeups.

For a third lens, I'd either go wide or for a macro, but it depends on what you will shoot. An ultra-wide zoom lets you shoot in a car or telephone booth and can act as an effects lens to show disorientation. A 100mm lens lets you do closeups as well as super closeups of clues, fingers, photos, newspapers, and other small items. Get the ultrawide for a drug flick. Get the macro for a crime drama.

The EF 100/2.8 (non IS) is very sharp and straight. The IS version lets you use it handheld and gets rid of micro-vibrations. The Zeiss ZE 100/2 is a true reference lens, but is a budget buster.

Personally, I'd skip the 70-200 on the 7D, unless you shoot wildlife, sports, or events. I have a 200/2.8L and have only used it on one shot in a narrative film and a 100mm would have done that shot fine - and that's on the 5D. On the other hand, there are many shots that we couldn't have gotten without a macro.

The other approach is to get the 17-55/2.8 IS and a macro. You'd get a wider range and could get IS on everything.

Best of luck with your project!
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Old May 29th, 2011, 06:07 PM   #5
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

I just got a Samyang 14 that I used on a merlin for the first time today (both first time)

I gotta say, I am super happy with that Samyang..so sharp, distortion doesn't go crazy really cool focusing on foreground objects and throwing out the background with the 2.8 aperture, the focus ring is smoooooth and best of all it's dirt cheap.

I wouldn't recommend it if as your only lens, but it's a solid bonus for your quiver if you rock out on primes

forgot to mention that it worked as a super crazy psycho wide on the 5d as well, only slightly dark in the corners, but not wacky
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Old May 30th, 2011, 05:04 PM   #6
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

I don't know the "nature" of your project but please allow me to recommend 3 lenses:

Tokina 11-16 f2.8 (will be great for your handheld sequences).
Canon 17-55 f2.8 (This lens is stabilized, modestly priced and relatively fast).
Canon 70-200 f2.8 (or the f.4 if you are on the budget). Make sure either way it is a stabilized one.

With those 3 lenses I guaranty you will be able to work in an efficient way and get great results while staying in your budget frame requirement.

Thanks.

Johnnie
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Old May 31st, 2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

16-35, 70-200 2.8 IS and 50 1.2 that would be my choice,
you don't mean holding the camera in your hands when you say handheld?
I would use any shoulder rig, even the cheapest one (Bloom's el cheapo :) will give you better results than just holding the camera, non IS lenses are not for handheld video,
but that's me
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Old May 31st, 2011, 09:47 AM   #8
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

I'm wondering why the need for a 70-200 in narrative films? Especially on a crop sensor cam. I find that an 85mm or 100mm macro is as tight as I need - and that's on a 5D2.

I think that the 100/2.8 IS on a crop camera would easily cover the tightest shots that one needs for narrative shooting - unless there is a wildlife, sports, or spy camera surveillance scene.

Action scenes are generally normal to wide in order to get the action in the frame. Drama and comedy are generally shot on a "human scale." Comedy typically stays normal to wide - especially physical comedy. Dramas have the most closeups, but 100mm (160mm equivalent) should do the trick. A fast 85mm might be best for a romantic or touching piece where you want super shallow DOF.

I'm curious to know where people are using the long end of a 70-200 in narrative films?
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Old May 31st, 2011, 10:47 AM   #9
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

For a 7D, 11-16 is a good choice for your WA. The sigma 30 1.4 for low light or the 50 1.4 depending on what focal length you like. Once you get into telephotos your choices vary.

Post up what your going to be shooting and recommendations are going to be easier.
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Old May 31st, 2011, 02:50 PM   #10
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Re: Making a shoestring budget feature- lens recommendations?

Alex: It is hard to make specific recommendations without knowing a little bit more about the project. For instance, is there going to be a lot of "run and gun" hand held camera work, or are you mostly going to shoot from sticks? Will you be shooing on sets with controlled lighting, or on locations with minimal practical / natural lighting? Will you have an AC who can pull focus?

If you are shooting in a relatively controlled environment, on sticks, and will have an AC to pull focus I would recommend buying 3 or 4 old manual focus primes (Pentax Takumar SMC, or Nikon). Something like a 15mm or 16mm (wide angle), a 35mm (standard), and a 105mm (telephoto.) These lenses can be found in great abundance on eBay for very reasonable prices.

However, if you are doing a lot of hand-held work I would recommend modern Canon zoom lenses. The 16-35mm f2.8 is ideal for narrative work. Throw in the 70-200mm f2.8 and you've got all your bases covered. If you don't have the budget to purchase these lenses, they can be rented very economically.

Good luck!
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