best lens for a canon 60d documentary? 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 July 7th, 2013, 08:31 PM   #1
Tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Middletown, CT
Posts: 3
best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Hi,

I'm about to make a documentary with my relatively new 60d. Right now I have a Canon 18-200mm 3.5, a Rokinon 8mm fisheye, and a Canon 50mm 1.8. I am looking for a new lens that can handle low-light situations (the 18-200 really can't) but that is wide enough to work for following around the documentary subject, a boxer (the 50mm is way too tight--I guess because the 60d has a cropped sensor). Price range: under $500. Suggestions?
Peter Cramer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 8th, 2013, 01:15 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Calgary
Posts: 27
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

The EFS 17-55mm F2.8 with IS is my favorite lens on the 60D. Has IS, decent low-light, constant aperture and parfocal. I took it to Nepal and never needed to take it off. I'd sell a lens to buy this one.
Chris Hsiung is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 8th, 2013, 06:47 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 691
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 is great for documentary shoots. You'll need a wide angel such as this that is not fish eye..unless that is the effect you're going for.
Terry Lee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 8th, 2013, 07:46 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

I'd get the Tokina.

The wider lens gives more dynamic action when it comes straight at you. It also allows you to literally follow your subject around, handheld, without needing to follow focus. By contrasting it with your fisheye, it won't feel all that wide. All the while, you'll have the 50mm lens for more intimate shots.

Here's a tip: when shooting in front or behind, use the wide zoom or fisheye. The space will move quickly and dynamically.

...and when you shoot from the side, for instance, riding in a car next to the boxer as he jogs, use the 50mm. Again, the background will move more quickly when you do this, keeping things dynamic.

The wider zoom will let you get into smaller locker rooms, cars, and tight spaces with your subject.

There is the concept of "avoid the middle", which means to shoot around 16mm or wider to capture space and action and to shoot around 50mm or tighter to capture character. Shots in the middle can be a compromise that captures some space and some character but is a compromise between the two statements. That said, a medium lens can be ideal when you want a very neutral, static feel.

I saw a great example of "avoid the middle" at a Canon event. The stills photographer shot a runner in the desert with an ultrawide immediately behind her shoe as she started to sprint. It was very dynamic, gave a feeling of motion, and gave a wide view of the beautiful desert at sunrise. The next photo was a closeup with a very long lens that showed the sweat on her face. Two great shots. One of action and space. The other of the personality.

BTW, check out Aronofsky's The Wrestler for inspriration.

The Wrestler (2008) - IMDb
casestudy - The Wrestler - An interview with cinematographer Maryse Alberti

That 12mm Ultra Prime is roughly equivalent to a 15mm lens on a 60D.

When in the ring for a match, I'd rent a second camera with a 70-200/2.8L IS. You can set up the wide zoom for a master shot and use the long zoom on a good tripod for tight shots. Shoot 720p60 with the long lens and you can slow those shots down, when desired. For sparring, you can get right in the ring, handheld, with the wide or fisheye - if you don't mind physical risk. :)
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 8th, 2013, 07:46 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Posts: 309
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Plus 1 for the canon fee 17-55 f2.8 IS
__________________
Strangeworx.com
http://vimeo.com/strangeworx
James Strange is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 8th, 2013, 09:14 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,706
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
That 12mm Ultra Prime is roughly equivalent to a 15mm lens on a 60D.
I think you mean a 24mm on the 60D.
Gary Huff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2013, 01:18 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

No doubt, the 17-55/2.8 IS is a great lens on a crop camera. If the plan is to really work the middle range, it would be at the top of my list.

BTW, another option for longer views (other than the 70-200/2.8L IS) is the 100/2.8L IS Macro. Probably not the right lens for this project, but the best value for long IS glass.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2013, 07:29 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 344
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
I'd get the Tokina.

The wider lens gives more dynamic action when it comes straight at you. It also allows you to literally follow your subject around, handheld, without needing to follow focus. By contrasting it with your fisheye, it won't feel all that wide. All the while, you'll have the 50mm lens for more intimate shots.

Here's a tip: when shooting in front or behind, use the wide zoom or fisheye. The space will move quickly and dynamically.

...and when you shoot from the side, for instance, riding in a car next to the boxer as he jogs, use the 50mm. Again, the background will move more quickly when you do this, keeping things dynamic.

The wider zoom will let you get into smaller locker rooms, cars, and tight spaces with your subject.

There is the concept of "avoid the middle", which means to shoot around 16mm or wider to capture space and action and to shoot around 50mm or tighter to capture character. Shots in the middle can be a compromise that captures some space and some character but is a compromise between the two statements. That said, a medium lens can be ideal when you want a very neutral, static feel.

I saw a great example of "avoid the middle" at a Canon event. The stills photographer shot a runner in the desert with an ultrawide immediately behind her shoe as she started to sprint. It was very dynamic, gave a feeling of motion, and gave a wide view of the beautiful desert at sunrise. The next photo was a closeup with a very long lens that showed the sweat on her face. Two great shots. One of action and space. The other of the personality.

BTW, check out Aronofsky's The Wrestler for inspriration.

The Wrestler (2008) - IMDb
casestudy - The Wrestler - An interview with cinematographer Maryse Alberti

That 12mm Ultra Prime is roughly equivalent to a 15mm lens on a 60D.

When in the ring for a match, I'd rent a second camera with a 70-200/2.8L IS. You can set up the wide zoom for a master shot and use the long zoom on a good tripod for tight shots. Shoot 720p60 with the long lens and you can slow those shots down, when desired. For sparring, you can get right in the ring, handheld, with the wide or fisheye - if you don't mind physical risk. :)
Great post John, very informative!
__________________
boxoutsidemedia.com
Mike Calla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2013, 09:48 AM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 34
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Whenever I see posts like this, everyone is quick to mention the Canon 17-55. I've used it and it's a great lens. However, no one ever mentions the Sigma 17-50 2.8. Its half the price of the Canon at around $569. It's the lens I ended getting and its the lens I leave on my camera the majority of the time. The build quality is solid and I have nothing but good things to say about it. If you are looking for a walk around zoom on a crop body, I would definitely recommend the Sigma.
Andy Young is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2013, 11:22 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 259
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Thanx Andy. I appreciate the info and I will check it out.

Alex
Alex Anderson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2013, 11:36 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crookston, MN
Posts: 1,353
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Jon's info is fantastic.

We're pretty new, and are making do with a Rokinon 14mm for the scenery shots. We just used ours in the park during wedding interviews, so the surroundings would be included, including the hustle and bustle of setting up the ceremony site.

If you're using a crop factor, grab a 35mm instead of your 50mm.
Robert Benda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2013, 05:47 PM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
If you're using a crop factor, grab a 35mm instead of your 50mm.
It depends...

The 50/1.8 makes the perfect interview lens. It's fast, so you can blur the background. It's tight enough for a comfortable "chest up" closeup at a reasonable distance. The focus ring on the 50/1.8 is poor, but with a seated subject and tripod, you can pretty much set-and-forget the focus.

A 35/2 (or better) costs more than the 50/1.8. And it gives you that "tweener view", which isn't wide enough to really push the action and space, but isn't tight enough to really push into the character. That said, a medium lens can give the most transparent look, which might be exactly what you want from your documentary. Of course, you can still push a 35mm close, pull it far away, or place it at odd angles to get creative with it. For me, I'd only go the 35mm route for a slow-paced, neutral feel - maybe even in black and white. Put a medium lens at a medium height and a medium distance on a tripod with minimal movement and you can really nail the neutral observer look.

One way that can be used really well is to go slow paced with a neutral look and quiet music or sound design. Then do a hard cut to very tight shots - either with a wide pushed close or with a longer lens - and amp the music/sound. The contrast between slow, quiet, and neutral to fast, loud, and dynamic makes the energy seem all the more intense. It can help show the complexity of the character - both relaxed and contemplative and hyper-kinetic and brutal.

The story and feel choose the lenses.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2013, 11:24 PM   #13
Tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Middletown, CT
Posts: 3
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Thanks everyone for the replies.

The Canon is way out of my price range, unless I sell a lens. I love my fisheye and the 50mm 1.8 is basically worthless (in terms of resale)... I could sell my 18-200mm 3.5 with IS, but I'd lose hundreds of dollars of value doing that. Besides, I use my 18-200 all the time, often all the way out at 200mm--I don't think it'd be worth losing that range just for a slightly faster lens.

As for the Sigma 17-50mm 2.8, while I'm sure it's a good lens, I don't really see why I would want it in addition to my 18-200mm 3.5... Again, I'd prefer not to sell anything because I'd lose value, and I don't want to buy the Sigma simply because it's slightly faster. Just doesn't seem like a good investment.

So I guess it's between the Rokinon 14mm and the Tokina 11-16mm (unless people have other options to add to the list). The Rokinon is half the price of the Tokina (a $300 difference is HUGE to a college student like me), but the fact that the Tokina maintains 2.8 throughout it's range is awesome for shooting video and obviously having variable range is useful...

I'm not going to pick up a 35mm. The 50mm is good enough on my budget. I can't afford to upgrade everything!

I'm not going to buy anything until August, so please, continue to post and discuss. Please remember that my budget is $500.

@Jon:
Thanks so much for all the tips. I really appreciate them.
Peter Cramer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2013, 10:53 AM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

A prime of good quality, like the Rokinon 14mm, will produce a higher quality image than an equivalent zoom. Of equivalent qualities, a prime will be less expensive than a zoom. The zoom has inherently more lens elements and groups, and some of them are there only to correct optical errors that occur with the moving zoom elements.

But, these higher qualities are most visible when shooting test subjects... until you have a scene with subjects in front of some repetitive geometric element, could be something as simple as the slats of venetian blinds.

When shooting more organic shapes, like people, the slight distortions that a quality zoom makes out at the edges are almost never visible.

Higher quality, less money... why not shoot primes always? Convenience and time in your typical shooting styles. Moving the tripod and/or changing lenses takes time, and/or may put the cam in an inconvenient or difficult position. If you're shooting all handheld, moving the cam is pretty quick & easy, but I won't watch your docs, FWIW ;-)

If you want to talk how to get the best images for your money, rent Zeiss CP lenses! Or buy a bunch of old Nikon glass and run manual focus & aperature with adapters. Inconvenient, but works fine for some shooting styles. Certainly inexpensive.

OTOH, I'm very happy with my lensing, Tokina 11-16 2.8, Canon 17-55 2.8, and Sigma 50-150 2.8. I am not the type of person to spend more time tinkering with primes on most projects, these are all good zooms. If I need to get in tighter I will move the cam in... If I can use a prime I'll rent. (the 14mm Canon, $30/day... yes!)

As I see it, the real issue is not whether you need 200mm to get the shot, "I use my 18-200mm all the time, often all the way out at 200...", but where the cam is; how convenient is it to work a little closer to the subject?

How much are you in control of the pace of your shooting? How much must you be responsive to the pace of your subjects? IMO these are the factors that lead to choosing primes or zooms, leaving aside cost.

Were it me, I'd be concerned about so much dependence on the 18-200. Is it an f3.5 constant aperture, or is it actually an f3.5-5.6? The Sigma 17-50 (or Canon 17-55) will get you wide enough for most interiors to a moderate telephoto with good working distances for interviews with constant aperture at max 2.8.

Then I'd consider whether 17 is actually wide enough for my work. The immediate problem with wider glass is unacceptable distortion, there are few affordable wide lenses. 8mm is an effects lens. The Tokina 11-16 2.8 is great, there are a few choices at 14mm, the Canon 10-22 is popular but slower. The Canon 16-35 is wonderful on a full-frame camera...

How much must you shoot in natural light?

There are some great recommendations in this thread, but you'd be making a serious mistake to base your buying on questions of "what is a good lens?" The real question is "what is a good lens for what I'm shooting?" Must it be flexible, fast, constant aperture, deep DoF, shallow, distortion free, inexpensive? You can get several of these characteristics, but not all of them in a single lens.
__________________
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: best lens for a canon 60d documentary?

Unless you're really skilled with a wide lens, I would avoid the 14mm Rokinon. Not that it's a bad lens. (For all I know, it's fantastic.) It's because of the 14mm view. Here's a rundown of wide views...

* 22mm (35mm equivalent) - This is my favorite view in the "normal" range. I often just bring a 35mm prime (on the 5D2). Compared to a 35mm (50 eq), it is just slightly more dynamic. Some call it a wide. I see it as a normal with attitude.

* 18mm (28mm eq.) - This is the easiest true wide to use. The edge distortion is small. It's hard to make this view look bad.

* 15mm (24mm eq.) - We're just starting to get some edge distortion. In narrative film, this can be a problem as it can make the lens noticeable. For documentary, however, it tends to work well. We want to see reality and the camera is part of the reality. The 16mm view of the Tokina or 17mm view of the mid-range Canon puts you right in this sweet spot for the normal wide view.

* 14mm (22mm eq.) - I have a 21mm Zeiss at work and it's the most difficult lens I've ever used. The edge distortion can be very noticeable when people walk into the edge of the frame. You need to stop it down as you can see the ground near your feet and it can be blurry when focusing, say, 10 feet or more away. Then again, push the lens close or set it at an interesting angle and it can be gorgeous. The problem is that at one moment, it can look like a normal wide and with a simple pan, it gives itself away as an ultrawide effects lens. To use this lens well, you need to keep it in one zone or the other throughout the shot. Otherwise, it gives the audience an inconsistent message and really draws attention to the lens in a negative way.

* 10-12mm (16 - 20 eq.) - This pushes you clearly into an effects (or problem solving) range. The audience clearly sees that you are going for an ultrawide look. Or you might be in a car or telephone booth and the zoom allows you to get the framing you want. That's one reason an ultrawide zoom is more valuable than an ultrawide prime - you can frame just the way you want with your back against the wall.

So the way you would use the Tokina would be to shoot at 16mm most of the time, which allows you to be at a normal level and angle and pan around without too much edge distortion. It's wide, so you can push it tight and get some real attitude - or pull it back and take in the space - but the look will be reasonably natural. When needed, go full wide and pull it back slightly as needed and shoot your wide effects shots - or solve the problem of tight spaces. It's more useful than a fisheye as you don't want to overuse that view. Keep the fisheye lens for a handful of special shots.

Similar to "avoiding the middle" view so you don't compromise space/action and character, you want to avoid the middle between normal wide and effects/ultra wide. Either you are just taking in the world with breadth and attitude or you are making a statement with perspective distortion.

Interestingly, you can push an 18mm super close at an odd angle to make an effects shot or you can shoot 10mm off the edge of the Grand Canyon to simply take in the world. (Just don't pan that Grand Canyon shot or you'll move into effects territory.) So the normal vs effects thing can be as much about usage as it is about the lens. But you really have to push an 18mm lens to make an effect and you have to really restrict things to make a 10mm view seem normal.

Hopefully, this helps demonstrate the value of the wide zoom over the prime. It might also convince you that you'd really prefer a normal zoom, depending on the look and feel you want.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst 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 12:39 AM.


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