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Old November 25th, 2010, 09:45 PM   #1
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Lens reading material question

First off, I'm sorry if this isn't the proper place for this question.

I really have a very simple question, but am going to add a long winded paragraph, just to explain where my interest is. I will however pose the question first, that way the meat and potatoes are on the plate already. And for those who don't want to read through the book I'm about to write.

The question: Can anyone recommend some reading material on lenses? (i.e. books or websites) Something that might have very detailed explanations on what everything means, maybe a lenses for dummies type thing, but maybe not so elementary.

I'll give a brief why I am asking this. I have always had a great interest in film/video/photography, but aside from "point and shoot", no knowledge or experience. "Lens knowledge" has always been foreign to me, and since I don't know the basics, I'm looking for a good reference to start with.

I'm a strange guy, in that I don't watch tv. I don't have cable or satellite. I have an over the air antenna (which gets 4 HD stations, and other then setting it up, I haven't tuned in once to watch anything other then the local pro football team (Vince Young sucks, Jeff Fisher good). Any ways, I am a movie junkie. I pretty much come home, throw something in the player, and that's that. I always dreamed of working in the industry. I had a job, for many years, that paid very well, but it also made me lazy and complacent. I had all the same day dreams about what I'd love to do, but heck, the money was too good to move on to something else. Fast forward 15 years, economy sucks, business gets sold, blah blah blah, I'm unemployed, temporarily of course, but I'm now making half as much, working twice as long. I've always had a love of film, and have always day dreamed of doing something with that love. somewhere about 8 or 10 years ago, I used a cruddy Hi8 camera to do some live, and music video stuff, for some friends. It was all very simplistic, but I loved doing it. There are some older post of mine, with links to some of this video, but unfortunately the band never was (at least in that incarnation), and those links are dead. Ever since the career shift, I've decided to make filming a hobby. So I've been lurking in the shadows of DVinfo, and other sites, for the last few weeks reading. Trying to decided where to start, and what I needed to get the visions in my head out, and on screen. (talking cameras here). For what I wanted, the prices were shooting past the 10k mark. I don't have a problem with spending that much, eventually, but I'm wanting to get up and running now, that way I can learn, and improve, while saving for the higher end toys. This is where I came across DSLR, and all the info. I've decided this is my starting point. Quality is great for the price. Equipment I pick up along the way, will move over to higher end gear as well. I think I've decided on the 5D, for the full frame sensor. While, because I will now have a very good "stills" camera as well, it has also peaked my interest in still work (a plus, I think).

I'm not asking for "lens" recommendations, there are a ton of threads on those, and I've read through them all. Plus Phillip Blooms blogs about the subject, and anything else I could stumble upon. Frankly, I think I've picked up quite a bit already, but never having used any of these before, its still very hard to get my mind totally around it all. I know nothing will ever beat getting out there, and "doing". I'm just hoping to find the most comprehensive guide/site, I can. that may have video/still pictures, as examples to go along with the explanations. Only because I don't have the resources to go out and buy/rent/borrow different ones.

I'm hoping within the next 45 days to have enough for the 5D body, but might only have enough above that for a single lens. From my reading, I've taken that I should stay away from a "kit lens". Over the course of the next 6 months (after getting camera), I hope to pick up more. I just want that reading material to help me make those choices, for the applications I'm interested in using them in. I only imagine to the trained pro, they see a scene, and can visualize the way it was setup (as far as lenses, and lighting goes) I see those same things, and wish I had the knowledge base, so that I can visualize that. I have a few good books on lighting theory, and cinematography. Just looking to add lenses knowledge.

I eventually hope to put together a cinema style setup, but also the flexibility to run and gun if the scenario presents itself. I've done a lot of research on a lot of different things, from tripods, to cranes, and rails. Things I hope to afford someday. I love toys, now their just so much more expensive.

I really love the "computer side of things", editing and such. I've played around around with some basic consumer editing programs in the past. I own a copy of Vegas 5 (possibly looking to upgrade to 10). Been reading and watching a lot of stuff on FCP, and hopefully in the not to distant future will get a Mac, plus about 10k worth of software I'd like to get my hands on.

I'm sorry for the long winded write up, and would love any advice, on any subject, that any one is willing to offer. I can't say my dream is to break into the film/movie/tv industry and become the next Kevin Smith, but it is my goal to direct, film, edit, my own film. If along the way, I learn a good skill set that someone finds worth while, and it takes me someplace, then great, but this is all really just for me.

Thanks again,
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Old November 26th, 2010, 02:59 AM   #2
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There numerous source when you google them..which gives indepth technical details.. one of them is
Understanding Camera Lenses
try find some DIY camera lens material ,its more useful in understanding
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Old November 26th, 2010, 08:15 AM   #3
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For Canon info this is a great site, spend some time exploring it:

Canon & Nikon Digital SLR Camera and Lens Reviews at The-Digital-Picture.com
Olof Ekbergh olof@WestsideAV.com
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Old November 26th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #4
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My 2 Cents

Both of the previous responses give some great references.
In regards to kit lenses......while they are typically not worth having....in the case of the 5D,the kit lens I have seen with it is the 24 - 105 L series zoom. I think most would agree that this is a very good lens for doing video with this camera.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 01:20 AM   #5
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If you read all the way through "Understanding Camera Lenses", there's really not much more to know that experience won't teach you. Which is to say that you could read a book and learn the things that experience would teach you, but it would mean nothing to you until you'd experienced it.

This doesn't really pertain to your question, but to your overall mission - now is the wrong time to sink $10k into a 5D package. At best, you should buy a T2i and a walkaround lens and LEARN, but what you SHOULD do is get your head on any set you can, be it local news or wedding videographers or skateboard shoots, and shoot and edit and produce and direct anything you can. Then, in a year or so (I know, you'd rather do this all in 30 days) sink a few bucks into a camera.
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