Canon EF 70-300mm IS f/4-5.6 for VIDEO? at DVinfo.net

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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:50 AM   #1
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Canon EF 70-300mm IS f/4-5.6 for VIDEO?

How does the 70-300mm work for video? Is the IS "usable" when zoomed in at 300 mm? I have heard that the lens is reasonable sharp but a little "soft" (compared to "L" lenses) for photos. At video resolution, does the "softness" go away. How hard is it to manual focus? Are there any specific things that I need to know about using this lens for video?

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Old March 6th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #2
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I hope someone with experience responds. I'm considering this lens because I don't want to buy a 24-105 f4 since I already have a 24-70 f2.8. I want an IS lens in my possession for non tripod work.

Some photogs consider this an unofficial L lens since some of the glass does well against CA.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #3
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Canon EF 70-300mm IS for Video

I do not have that particular lens, but I do have the 70-200 and have shot some video with it. The results are typical of those shot with the Canon lenses in that you will have issues with the automatic control of the aperture.

I have also shot video with the 24-105mm f4EL and it too is OK. If I had it all to do over again, I would not purchase the 24-105 lens. I would much prefer the 24-70 2.8 over the 24-105 f4 even though it has IS. I have a love-hate relationship with that lens, the love having to do with the focal length range at a constant aperture; the hate is that it is f4.

However, I have obtained the best results with using Nikon AI Primes which have manual aperture control. I currently own: Nikon 50mm f1.4, 24mm f2.8, and 105mm f2.5. Obviously, none of these will provide the results that I think you are wanting to achieve. I did shoot my first film completely with the 24-105. I will not be using that lens exclusively again.

I will be shooting a short film over the weekend and will shoot a couple scenes with the 70-200 as we need to compress the distance in those shots. I will post it for you to view when I can. The shots for the film this weekend will probably be done mostly with my 16-35 f2.8, Nikon 50mm f1.4, and Nikon 105mm f2.5 in addition to a few shots with the 70-200mm f2.8.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #4
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I've got the lens, and have used it for video. We untwist the lens for better aperture control. (I need to make a mylar insulator.)

Because we untwist, we're not using IS. It's tripod only.

The biggest problem with the 5.6 aperture is the light falloff in the corners when wide open. You need to stop down to about f/8 to get a flat image at 300mm. That's okay in daylight, but not indoors. We got a Nikon 200mm f/4 (dirt cheap) that we now use for telephoto video.

I really got the 70-300 IS for photos - my wife likes closeups. The idea is that she can put the camera in auto mode with IS, frame and shoot. I made a 24" print at Kinkos, and, yeah, it's not as sharp as it could be at that size. Then again, I got it used in LN+ condition for $400.

If Canon gave aperture control, I might go back to the lens for video with IS. Without aperture control, you can shine a light and get 5.6, but you'll have vignetting.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 04:55 PM   #5
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #6
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Ryan!

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Old March 7th, 2009, 08:03 PM   #7
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I just bought this lens a few days ago. I agonized over whether to get the 70-300 IS F4 or the 70-200 F4 L-series. Price and versatility won the day, and I got the 70-300.

I've used this lens for both still and video. I was quite surprised at the color and contrast and general IQ of the 70-300. Really good quality for the price, IMHO. Maybe it's not L-series image quality, but I can see why people call it a "near-L" or "L-in-disguise".

The only concern I've noticed during video with the 70-300 is this:

There's that nasty frame judder when panning horizontally, but this is not unique to this lens -- it seems many lenses do this. I'm hoping that with more experience with the 5DmkII I will learn how to avoid it.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 09:00 PM   #8
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Thanks everybody for the feedback...

Jon, I didn't know about the light fall-off in the corners. Most of my shots will be "static" with the 70-300, so I'm really hoping that this will not be a problem. I can't believe that you got this lens for $400! That was a GREAT find!

Robert, I faced the same dilemma. I also thought about the 70-200 f/4 NON-IS. But in the end, I just placed my order for the 70-300 yesterday... If money were no object, I would get the 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens... Of course, I probably would have to work out to get stronger biceps then...

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Old March 7th, 2009, 09:15 PM   #9
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David -- I think you made a good choice. The 70-300 IS F4 is a good lens for the money. The image quality is a touch soft at 300 but that's an OK compromise, considering you get:

#1. IS, which will definitely be a big asset for stills.

#2. The extra reach of 200 to 300mm, if you need it, compared to the 70-200 F4 L-series.

#3. This lens is surprisingly small and lightweight compared to other zooms, especially the L-series products. The 70-200 L is a bit bigger and heavier. The 100-400 L is the same form factor as an artillery shell. :)

Anyways, I think you'll enjoy the lens.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #10
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Just spent the weekend shooting with the 70-200 f2.8 IS and was really happy with it... wish it was mine! We shot a few things with the 70-300 IS as well as a lot with the 24-105, everything was indoors and fairly low light. Picture quality looked fine across the board, but both the 24-105 and 70-300 resulted in less useable footage simply because they tended to push the gain higher... to really take advantage of this camera's low light capabilities you really need something faster than f.4.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Donn View Post
to really take advantage of this camera's low light capabilities you really need something faster than f.4.
Agreed. I'm borrowing a friend's lenses with an option to buy. These include a 24mm f/2.8, an 85mm f/1.8 and a 105mm f/2.8 macro. All are Nikon AF lenses with aperture rings. I did a natural lighting shoot at the independent music store where my daughter works this past weekend. The f/1.8 was sweet. The f/2.8s were okay. The 70-300m stayed in the camera bag.

Then again, the 24mm and the macro lens were both great at letting me push the perspectives. I'd rather have an interesting shot with a bit more noise than a dull shot that's clean in a lot of cases.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 03:44 PM   #12
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I did some low light testing in the venue that I am recording...

I DEFINITELY need better than f4...

I'm thinking about getting the Sigma 70-200 f2.8...

I canceled the order for the 70-300...

Thanks for everybody's input!

dave
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