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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 3rd, 2011, 07:06 PM   #1
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Choosing lens for narrative work.

Dear DVinfo members,

I could need some guidance on picking a lens. Let me quickly explain my situation.

Reason for purchase:
Practice. I'm going to upgrade to the MKIII as soon it hits the market. I'm personally guessing to see it in about 12 months from now (One can hope...). The reason I bought the 7D rather than the 5D is for the FPS, I might need a good sport camera for some future ideas. I felt it gave me more options to have a 7D combined with a MKIII rather than 5DmkII and mkIII.

Current need:
I'm mainly going to use the 7D for video, I would love to be able to use it for stills as well, but the majority will be video work. It would be great with a all-around lens that will also work on the future MKIII, so I was looking at the Canon 24-105mm, what is your take on this lens? A good option?

If not, then obviously the Canon 17-55 looks hot. It will not work for me in the future though, which is a bit of a shame. I'm mainly doing narrative work, but also a bit of experimental. I work in all kind of settings, both light and dark. So I might be looking at buying two lenses, especially seeing that I would like to do some stills as well.

Any tips or experiences would be lovely.
Thank you for your time.
Luca Bogo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 3rd, 2011, 08:24 PM   #2
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Re: Choosing lens for narrative work.

Some might argue against an EF-S lens if you will be buying a full-frame body in the future. They make various "future proof" arguments.

I suggest getting the 17-55 now.

If you go to all full-frame in the future, you can always sell it. In the meantime it offers some compelling advantages now, including constant f stop, a 77mm filter size, IS, a useful focal length range on a crop body, and high image quality and color fidelity.

If you keep the 7D after you buy the the 5D Mark III (or whatever it is called), the 17-55 can remain "bolted" to the 7D.

I owned and sold the 17-40 f/4.0L and the 24-70 f/2.8L. The latter was large and heavy, and had a lens shade that could be used for a living room lamp shade.

The 24-105 makes more sense on a full-frame body, and has a ( relatively) small aperature for video work.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 08:25 PM   #3
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Re: Choosing lens for narrative work.

If you are not doing sports, (where a zoom lens is very much needed) then get a set of primes. For narrative work like shorts, a good prime set is what you want. A prime lens will always look better than a zoom lens. A good array of lenses is a 16, a 25, and a 50 (after crop factor, of course.) I have never found much of a use for anything wider than a 12. Maybe keep one zoom on hand, maybe the 24-105 in case you need more reach or need to run-and-gun.

My experience comes from working with film cameras, not DSLRs, so I can't recommend specific Canon lenses, but the focal lengths I mentioned are worth looking at.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 05:30 PM   #4
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Re: Choosing lens for narrative work.

I wouldn't make plans based on a camera that does not even exist yet. There's no point getting full-frame lenses now when you don't even know if the 5dmkIII is going to be any good for video.

For narrative work I would suggest a set of prime lenses and one zoom lens for those times you want a bit more convenience. A 24, 35, 50 & 85 are a pretty standard set. Going with Canon L-series lenses this set will set you back as much as a new car, but if you go for other alternatives - like vintage Pentax glass - you can save plenty of money.

For a zoom, the 17-55 IS is awesome, but if it doesn't fit your budget you can always go for the much cheaper Tamron 17-50 which is an superb lens for the price. That way if you do upgrade to the 5d, the 17-55 won't become a $1500 paper-weight!
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Old July 4th, 2011, 06:43 PM   #5
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Re: Choosing lens for narrative work.

Of course, no lens becomes a paperweight. There is a strong second hand market, whether you sell the lens locally on craigslist, to the large market on ebay, to photographers on a site like Fred Miranda, to a nation-wide camera store like KEH, or to your local camera store. And don't forget that you can list your gear right here at DV Info.

I really like primes on the 5D2, but truly wide primes are hard to come by for crop cams. You could get a 28 and a 50 for the 7D to give you normal and 2-shot views. Add a 100mm macro for close-in details. Then get an 11-17 zoom for your wide shots. Sell the 11-17 when you get the 5D. You could apply that money to a fast 85mm lens if the 100/2.8 isn't fast enough for you - of to a 16-35mm zoom if you miss the super-wide stuff.

In any case, a 28, 50, and 100 macro are valuable on both cams.

Then again, given that selling lenses is easy, you might just get the 17-55/2.8 IS and the macro to cover your narrative range on the 7D. If you shoot handheld, that would be the way to go. If you shoot on sticks and stabilizers, then primes are appropriate.
Jon Fairhurst
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