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Old April 2nd, 2010, 09:19 PM   #1
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EF/L Zoom lense for Current Affairs Show

Hi,

I am studying using D5s to shoot a current affairs TV show. Because of the work pace, I would favor the use of zoom lenses instead of prime focal lenses. I am looking at 3 EF/L Canon lenses that would pretty much cover all our needs. These are, EF 17-40L f4.0 (or EF 16-35L f2.8), EF 24-105 f4.0 and EF 70-200L f2.8. Any thoughs on those? My biggest concern being the manual focusing ability. Is the focusing ring on those lenses nice and smooth? Any other alternatives?

Also, there is a version of the EF 70-200 that has IS but I assume this is not really usable in video mode. Correct?

Thanks.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 10:48 PM   #2
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For what you're planning, I would use a video camera like an EX-1 or EX-3. You will have all the proper input/output/monitoring connections plus zoom lens. Why make your life tough?
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 02:15 AM   #3
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I definitely definitely second that opinion. I have both the 5D and the EX1. A dedicated video camera with good audio inputs does what it is supposed to do right out-of-the-box, and will do the job quickly and efficiently. Although the 5D can shoot gorgeous video, it is basically a still camera. Focusing, narrow depth of field and audio are major concerns with the 5D. You really need to know what you're doing and you have to factor-in a learning curve and a bit of extra gear (audio, external monitor). I look at the 5D in "video mode" as a cinematographer's camera. I use it for wildlife and narrative-type (tv commercials) filming.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 10:28 AM   #4
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Well, we have been doing the "quick and efficient" thing for years by shooting the show with a combination of XDCAM 422 (PDW-F800) and XDCAM EX formats. That said, the EP wants to move the show to the next step with stunning and special visuals. They have been testing the D5 in the past two weeks and despite the limitations and necessary workarounds, I have been asked to be prepared to film the majority if not the entire show on the D5. I have a backround in still photography and worked for a photo agency many years ago, so I am not that much of a rookie. But, I have not used photo gear for years and felt the 3 EF/L zooms lenses I listed in my original post maybe a good choice and any thoughts on these would be much appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 10:43 AM   #5
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24-105l

On the 5D, I think the Canon 24-105 f4L will be your best choice, for a few reasons. First, it has a good focal range for run-and-gun shooting. I've used it on shoots and rarely needed to change lenses. Second, the IS (image stabilization) is very nice on this lens, and will help "smooth out" handheld shots and reduce the jello effect. Finally, at f4, it's not the fastest lens, but it's perfectly fine for anything but low-light shooting, for which you'll need a faster prime lens. For what you're doing, you don't really want super-shallow DOF anyway, and shooting at f4 should work well.

I've used the 70-200 f2.8IS lens for video, and it is perfectly fine for that. Again, the IS makes handheld shots usable that otherwise would be jello-filled, just don't expect the same quality of image stabilization you'd get from an EX1 (or similar video camera).
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 11:53 AM   #6
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Thanks Stephen, that is the kind of feedback I needed. I agree with you on Going with f4 and smaller for run and gun type of situations. I am actually hoping that we can shoot most of these scene in a f4 to f8 range to keep the shallow DOF manageable. Not sure how fast is the 5D when comparing to a PDW-F800 or EX1. Any thoughts on this? I guess it also depends on how high you push the camera's ASA setting. Also, is the focus ring on those EF zooms pretty smooth and precise?
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Old April 7th, 2010, 08:32 AM   #7
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Hi Thierry
I use the 24-70 2.8L and the 70-200 2.8L IS and they're both brilliant lenses.
I have used - and if you have the budget - I would add the 16-35 2.8L what a great combo that would be.

But of course, the 24-105 would be good especially if you plan to shoot everything between F4 and F5.6 and cost a fraction of the price of the three lenses mentioned above.

The IS is available in video mode and has two settings on the 70-200 L IS, one which is good for X-Y axis for hand held and one which is good for pans on a tripod.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 12:40 PM   #8
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Great, thanks for your good feedback!
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Old April 9th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #9
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24-105 works great if lighting isn't an issue.
If I need to travel light, this is one I take.
70-200 is pretty heavy and I would use it only if I need the additional zoom. Definitely need a stablizer for this.
The focus ring on both are are made of rubber and are pretty smooth.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 05:20 AM   #10
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24-105 is simply great. Its not the best choice to use much faster lenses by filming on 5D, becouse the depth of field ist too shalow. If i take 85mm with f 1,4 for a portrait - the nose a a model is sharp but the eyes are out of focus!
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Old April 12th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #11
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Thierry:

What type of TV show are you shooting? Is it the kind of program where you have a full crew, time to setup and breakdown and can light most of the scenes or is it minimal crew run and gun? Subject matter?

FWIW, I own the 5D MKII and I own the 17-40L F4. It is a good lens but possibly too wide for most setups, it does distort people in the edges of the frame and is freakish for closeups of people. Great for architecture and environments though.

The 70-200 is a classic, amazing lens. But I suspect too long for many setups unless you are able to be very far from your subjects. Then again, depends on what you are mostly shooting and the style you are shooting them in.

The 24-105 is a decent lens, I like the focal length and the IS is good, although it is noisy so forget using a mic near the camera when using any IS lens. I have the 70-300 4.5-5.6 IS and it is REALLY noisy as is the 70-200 IS, both the 2.8 and 4.

I hope you have a good sound mixer with an outboard recorder and mixer.

Dan
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Old April 13th, 2010, 08:58 PM   #12
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Dan,

We are working one-man band on that show with some help from the producers. So far, it has been a mix of run and gun action combine to nicely lit sitdown interviews and time to shoot b-roll properly. The execs are well aware of the DSLR limitations and promised us forgiveness and a slower pace of work. We shall see...

Thanks.

Thierry.
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