Advantages of better glass? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD

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.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 19th, 2011, 12:25 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: new york
Posts: 94
Advantages of better glass?

So I'm trying to decide exactly how much to spend and how worth it it will be to funnel parts of my budget into getting some new glass for my 7D. Can you guys help me out with what the actual advantages are of better lenses, and how better those advantages become at different price levels?

As far as I know, there's the obvious advantages that increase price, such as having IS, being faster, better zoom, fixed aperture.
But beyond that, how much better actual picture quality are we talking? If I'm planning on shooting in very controlled environments, I can't see any of those features really being worth the money right now.

I've seen a few lens tests that show things like slight chromatic aberration on weaker lenses, or softer edges or whatnot. Are these common and do you think they really take away from picture quality significantly? How much $ is going to be needed to make significant differences in that area?

p.s. autofocus is a non-issue for me. I never use it.
Alex Payne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 01:23 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Advantages of better glass?

What do you have now?

Good full frame lenses can help. They can be soft or have falloff in the corners, but a crop sensor never sees those corners. You only see the strong part of the glass.

Also, what do you shoot? You mention controlled environments. That could include shooting miniatures where a Tilt-Shift lens is helpful. Lens choice always depends on the application.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,063
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Right now, I'm investing in a set of Samyang (ie - Rokinon, Falcon, etc) for Canon for a few reasons:

1. Performance - by any reviewer I've read, they more then hold their own with glass costing 4x as much.

2. Speed - I crave speed, and you'll only get that in better glass.

3. Sharpness - again, I want I sharp as possible, something only usually found in good glass

4. Bokeh - more subjective then other things, the quality of the "out of focus" areas is usually "creamier" in more expensive glass

The Samyangs tend to score very well in all the above. I also wanted full manual, so if I ever need to use them on other camera systems, all I'll need is a cheap adapter. Again, full manual tends to be a higher end cinema quality.

And even though they're cheaper, the 35mm still costs $500, so even on "bargain" good glass, you're going to have to pay (unless you find a bargain on ebay or at a garage sale).

As several high end shooters (like Mr. Bloom, Ken Rockwell) says, whatever camera you're using is likely only good for 2-3 years, while good glass lasts a lifetime (potentially). Most good glass at the very least maintains value, if not raises. Even "obsolete" glass like the Canon FDs have come back into vogue thanks to the Sony E mount...
John Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 02:45 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: new york
Posts: 94
Re: Advantages of better glass?

right now i've got the canon 28-135mm 3.5/5.6 kit lens and a canon 18-35mm 3.5/5.6. I also just got the canon 50mm 1.8 but haven't shot anything with it yet.

I'd love to give you guys a budget, but I don't have one yet. I'm not going to go out and buy lenses tomorrow, it's more of "My lens situation isn't working for me... what should I be working towards?" I'd love to pick up a new lens for around $300 that'll get me by for a while, then another down the line for $500 or so... but if that's not going to give me any significant increase in quality, I'll save and spend a little more.

As per controlled environments... mostly, like I said, I'm shooting narrative shorts (with an eye towards a feature later on... but I'll probably rent for that, unless I end up very happy with my lens collection by then) and don't mind taking the extra prep to do what's necessary. Essentially no documentary stuff, no sports, no interviews... I pick the wardrobe, I pick the set design, I pick the lighting set-up (within reason).

edit: and john, i'll certainly look into those, thanks.
Alex Payne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 03:14 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,063
Re: Advantages of better glass?

I shoot narratives as well - meaning, we can get away with using primes. Primes in the "classic" focal lengths (14mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm) are going to be of a better quality then zooms in the same price range.

If you just get a 24, 50, and 85, you can get some very nice glass (glass will keep it's value) for not crazy money. I can't stand the idea of renting - somehow, I just know that'll be the day I get butter-fingers.
John Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 03:22 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: new york
Posts: 94
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Anything in particular you'd care to suggest? I've heard a lot of people talk about that canon 50mm 1.8... is that something that's going to stick with me and be worthwhile, or something I'll probably outgrow?
Alex Payne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 04:19 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Advantages of better glass?

The 50/1.8 is worth keeping. It's very sharp and reasonably fast. That's your portrait, medium closeup, two-shot (two people in the shot) lens. The weak spot is the construction and the focus ring quality. Still, I'd stick with it and come back to the 50mm length later.

The 17-55/2.8 IS is worth consideration. It gives you a true wide view at f/2.8. It gives you a constant aperture across the range. It's got L quality glass in a non-L body. It's got IS for longer, handheld work.

If you shoot tight stuff, like clues, consider the 100/2.8 macro. There is an IS version to consider.

Given that you will be shooting controlled stuff, it's not hard to light to f/2.8. Fast primes are nice on the 5D2 as you can get f/1.4 or f/2 from wide to tele. You simply can't get a true fast wide for a crop camera, unless you get spend a ton of money on the PL lenses and a custom mount.

If you wanted a fast lens for night, location shoots, the 24/1.4L II is hard to beat, but it's expensive.

A Tokina 11-16 would be more helpful, if you are into ultra-wide lenses. But frankly, ultra-wides are challenging to use and you need more light and broader backgrounds to make the best of them. They work best at odd angles and pushed up against things in order to accentuate perspectives. Unless this is a core part of your shooting style, don't worry about this range. 17mm is plenty wide enough for most narrative work.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,063
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Payne View Post
Anything in particular you'd care to suggest? I've heard a lot of people talk about that canon 50mm 1.8... is that something that's going to stick with me and be worthwhile, or something I'll probably outgrow?
Well, it's a great lens for stills - Ken Rockwell says it's as good as the "L" glass.

Problem is, it sucks for film making. The focus is maybe 1/4" wide, meaning most follow focus units won't work on the lens. I've made a DIY solution, essentially a large rubber plumbing gasket that I've squeezed onto the focus ring. It works, but I'm looking at getting another 50mm.

I just ordered the Samyang glass, so I can't comment on it directly. One other comment, the Samyang glass will work on FF cameras, where the EF-S glass won't.

Suffice it to say that for Philip Bloom's latest film, a short for Sony using the FS100, he used Zeiss lenses... and the Samyang 35mm:

"Gear wise, obviously the FS100 and Zeiss ZF macro lenses 50mm and 100mm. The Zeiss ZF 50mm and 85mm F1.4 too. I widest lens I used was the Samyang 35mm F1.4."

“Sugared Art”, a new short film on the Sony FS100 | Philip Bloom
John Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 04:36 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 706
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Another disadvantage of the 50 1.8 is that OOF highlights take an odd shape. But for $80 or so used it's a bargain.
One aspect that can be tested in the less expensive zooms is to compare sharpness shooting wide open and then at f8. If you're satisfied with the zooms wide open then they are good enough.

More expensive zooms will be sharper wide open. For narrative work one of the Canon L normal zooms (24-70 or 24-105) would be a logical first upgrade. I like my Contax/Zeiss zooms better than my Canon L zooms, but these are no longer inexpensive. Used older 'alt' lenses tend to be nicer for manual focus on Canon.
Don Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 04:46 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Byron Bay, Australia
Posts: 1,142
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Higher quality/more expensive lenses offer more than just sharpness. They offer big improvements to all areas of image quality such as contrast, colour, CA, flare, vignetting, etc. For video in particular, these things are all more important than sharpness, seeing as the HD video is only 2mp.

Also not to be underestimated is the handling and build of the lenes. There's obvious things, like weather sealing, which will increase the durability (and ultimately, the resale value), but other subtler things such as quality focus rings, longer focus throw, full time manual focusing, matching filter diameters (many L-lenses have the same 77mm filter threads so all your filters/accessories match), etc can all have a huge impact on your real-life experience with a lens.

That said, price and quality do not always go hand in hand. As others have said, the Samyang primes offer excellent performance and have that solid, manual-only construction of decades past. Vintage lenses too can give you nicer handling (compare an old Nikon, Pentax or Canon FD 50mm lens to the modern 50mm f/1.8 II as an example) without breaking the bank.

Ultimately, you can only buy what you can afford. I would love to have L-quality glass across the board, but I got my entire current collection (Simga 10-20 f/3.5, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Canon 50 f/1.4) for about the average price of one common L-lens. I am using them for paid work and getting great images, but I can name many things wrong with them that would be improved with better lenses.
John Wiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2011, 06:20 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,063
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Great point - you can't buy something if you don't have the dough.

Far as other glass, I have the Tamron 17-50mm and it's a fine lens for the money (around $550). It's not as sharp as I'd like, but it's a solid workhorse, and it's nice and wide.

I've heard nothing but good about the tokina 11-16, but from here on out all my Canon mount glass has to be full frame capable (the tokina isn't, at least on the wide end) and manual - too many manufacturers have whiffed on the whole electronic capable adapter promise.

SO that pretty much leave older Canon glass, or something like Zeiss & Samyang.
John Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2011, 12:50 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 385
Re: Advantages of better glass?

WIth a budget of $300-500, I would suggest a Sigma 30/1.4 or Samyang 35/1.4.

The sharpness and contrast is going to be a nice jump up from your current glass, and you'll gain 2-3 stops of low-light performance and some really nice "pop" to the footage.

For video, I'd recommend just about any manual focus 50/1.4 over the EF 50/1.8. A proper focus ring alone is worth it.
Kin Lau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 24th, 2011, 04:58 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Knokke-Heist, Belgium
Posts: 963
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Try to find this very interesting book published by Canon: "The Lens Works". It describes in detail what 'lens quality' really means, and every Canon lens is listed in a table with the MTF-data. There you'll also see that some of the non-IS lenses are better for sharpness than their IS-counterparts.
Luc De Wandel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 24th, 2011, 10:17 PM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Re: Advantages of better glass?

Don't get the Canon 50. Waste of money. Get the Sigma 50 1.4. More expensive but the best bokeh in it's class and frankly, bokeh is the whole point. photozone.de pretty much lays it out how bad the Canon bokeh is. I have the Sigma for my 5DM2. It's my go to lens. I'll use it over the Canon L 24-70 f2.8 nine times out of ten.

Last edited by Les Wilson; December 25th, 2011 at 04:22 AM. Reason: corrected spelling of Bokeh
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 25th, 2011, 03:04 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Knokke-Heist, Belgium
Posts: 963
Re: Advantages of better glass?

I don't know what 'boket' is, but the term used to describe the quality of unsharpness in a photographic image is 'bokeh'. Just to make sure that we use the right terminology that everybody understands...
Luc De Wandel is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:27 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network