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Old April 14th, 2011, 03:27 PM   #16
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

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OT, but what was up with every Tom, Dick and Harry with a DSLR and a shoulder rig at NAB this year?
I think there were more DSLR shooters last year. This year they said, "what the heck was I thinking?" ;) I had a specific project in mind, so this is a one-off thing for me too. It was definitely a lot of work. On the other hand, I was able to refuse all literature, taking only business cards. I wore a lav so I could add commentary, rather than taking notes. (I had planned on doing some quickie interviews with it, but soon decided it was too much.)

The rig was definitely a conversation starter. Each day I set up and tore down at some sofas and tables near the Tiffen booth. I could feel everyone's eyes on me as I'd put each component quickly and specifically in it's place. I only got called a geek a few times (mostly by people I knew) though one woman on the Strip told me to get a life...

Back on topic, I agree that the 50mm on a full frame body is a "being there" lens. The 35mm is a "being there with a touch of attitude" lens. :)
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Old April 15th, 2011, 07:52 AM   #17
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

I use the 35 as a being there lens as well, to me the 50 FOV is too narrow for the natural perspective, the 35 just has a more lifelike feel. I've decided I'm going to part with my 50 and 85 to fund a 100mm Makro.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #18
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

I find that the 180mm or 200mm macro lenses are far more useful than the 50mm or 100mm macro for a wide range of subjects.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 05:09 PM   #19
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

The nice thing about the ZE 100/2 Makro is that it's fast enough to replace an 85, it's sharp as can be, and has negligible distortion. It doesn't do 1:1 or greater magnification (it's a 1:2), so it won't deliver extreme macro shots.

The advantage that I see is the range between 15% and 50% magnification. Most 85mm lenses won't focus closer than a meter or so. You might set up a shot and then find that you can't quite rack all the way to the closest object in your view. With the 100/2, you'll never run into that limitation in real-world shooting.

For true macro shooting, a longer lens would be nice so you don't have to get so dang close. But the EF 180/3.5L loses nearly two stops to the 100/2. That's no problem for macro photos, where we often stop way down to get a reasonably deep focus. It's right on the edge for video though.

Both the ZE 100/2 and EF 180/3.5L are beautifully sharp to the corners. The 100/2 has less vignetting than the 180/3.5L at the same aperture, though the 180L isn't bad.

To me, the 100 is the more practical lens. I brought my 200/2.8L to NAB & the Strip, and never put it on the camera. The 85/1.4 was as long as I needed, and I never really needed to go beyond f/2. (Though I did for the shallowest focus effects.) That said, I did some rack focus pulls across mixer and switcher consoles, and the close focus of the 100/2 would have been sweet - and the DOF up close with the 100/2 would have been shallower than the 85/1.4 backed up and wide open.

For macro photography though, the 180/3.5L would be a dream, though the 100L IS might be more fun when you can get the shots quickly without the need for a tripod.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 06:27 PM   #20
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

That's a great summary John. The focus ring on the Zeiss is so sweet, my only Canon lenses - for now anyway - are zooms. For video I just love the feel and the throw my Zeiss lenses have, so for me the 100 Makro is the only choice. I've already seen what the 100mp can do with from looking at Flickr and Fred Miranda, one day I hope to use it to its potential.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 04:50 AM   #21
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

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...For true macro shooting, a longer lens would be nice so you don't have to get so dang close. But the EF 180/3.5L loses nearly two stops to the 100/2. That's no problem for macro photos, where we often stop way down to get a reasonably deep focus. It's right on the edge for video though...
Both the Canon EF and Sigma 180mm have f/3.5 widest aperture, but I much prefer the Sigma 180mm f/2.8 Macro APO, which is sharp wide open and at most f/stops (although like the ZE 100mm it only reaches 1:2 Macro). The 180mm f/2.8 came in AF and MF versions. The MF version has a nice wide and smooth focus ring and the whole lens is very robustly built with metal barrel and metal hood.

I'm not sure if I agree with the term '...It's right on the edge of video..'. I use every aperture on my lenses for video, from wide open to completely stopped down, depending on subject and requirement or affect, and use every type of lens from extreme wide angle to extreme telephoto.
Yes, I will of course use a lens wide-open when needed, but despite the vogue for many DLSR videographers to shoot constantly at widest f-stop, I tend to use the f/4-f/8 range far more often.

I'm still amazed at the number of people who seem to think that just because they've got a 50mm f/1.2 lens bayoneted on to their camera that they must shoot almost everything at the widest possible aperture. A narrow DOF is great for certain subjects...but I see it used far too much over recent years, and becomes tedious when it becomes the sole factor of the video.

Making the subject stand out from a busy background can be controlled with lens aperture, but more often a telephoto lens improves that affect.

Even at f/4 with a 45mm lens, the subject can be made to stand out in sharp relief from the background by simply moving in closer to the subject so that it forms part of the frame.

Yes, use that f/1.4 aperture to focus the viewers brief attention on the eye of a model, or maybe as an effort to maintain clean ISO during low light levels, but not just for the sake of it on almost every scene in the movie.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 02:41 PM   #22
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

I agree with you about aperture. By "right on the edge", I mean that f/4 is often as slow as I can go indoors even with a small light kit to keep the gain (ISO) at a reasonable level. At NAB, f/4 was pretty comfortable on the open floor, but not fast enough to shoot the equipment in the darker booths.

On one of our first narrative shoots (back in the auto-only days of the 5D2), we only had a 24/2.8, 50/1.8, and 200/4. We'd set up an f/2.8 shot for the wider lenses, decide to go to the tighter lens and have to move lights. The good news is that you can move the lights closer with a tight lens. The bad news is that you have to pull them back if you return to a wide shot. Of course, with enough watts, this isn't a problem. And shooting at f/4 or slower is a good approach for telling a Hollywood story where you want to nail focus 100% of the time.

So f/3.5 isn't over the edge. It just doesn't give you much margin. A matched f/2 kit doesn't let you shoot in the lowest light or get to the slimmest possible DOF, but it ensures that once you set up a scene, you've got some margin if it's a bit dark and that you can go to any lens at will - especially when the lenses can cover close focusing.

The Sigma 180/2.8 Macro APO would be a real option for replacing my Canon EF 200/2.8L. Like the 70-200L zoom, the images are stunning, but the MFD is about five feet. And unlike the Canon zoom, the prime doesn't have IS. I really love the 200L for photos and have a 2x extender, but I find the 200mm view to be too tight for my style of video. In practice, I only use it outdoors and only very rarely for video. Adding macro capability would certainly increase its value in my kit.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 03:18 PM   #23
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

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... I much prefer the Sigma 180mm f/2.8 Macro APO...
Looking at the Sigma website, isn't this a 150mm lens, rather than 180? I see that they have a version with optical stabilization too, but it's pricey.

Still the advantage of the ZE 100/2 is that it can replace a fast 85mm lens in the kit, and it offers a manual focus ring for video.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 07:02 PM   #24
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

The Sigma 180mm APO f/2.8 Macro was discontinued when they launched the updated f/3.5 EX 1:1 model, so you'll need to keep an eye on Ebay for one.
Like you, I love the sharpness and handling of the Canon 200mm f/2.8, and also owned the Pentax A* 200mm f/2.8 and Nikkor 180mm f/2.8...all knife-sharp optics, but always wished that they had closer minimum focus. The Sigma 180mm f/2.8 Macro fitted that requirement. I've owned two of them in the past, but sadly dropped both from a great height on to rocks and both broke in half! So now I'm on the look out for another.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 07:06 PM   #25
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

Both? Dang!
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Old April 18th, 2011, 05:29 PM   #26
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
OT, but what was up with every Tom, Dick and Harry with a DSLR and a shoulder rig at NAB this year? There were as many "reporters" as there were attendees. My feet are killing me by the end of the day and my arm is about to fall off after every booth says "want some literature?", I can't imagine dragging a whole gear kit around.

Kind of funny, two years ago at NAB 2009, I was one of the few - maybe the only person shooting interviews on the show floor with the 5DM2 and "tweeting", now, you're right, everyone is doing it! Pretty cool to see the evolution though. The lens used in the video above and the one I find myself reaching for is the Canon 24-70 2.8. That way I can hit a wide range when run-n-gunnin'. It's not as tack sharp as a prime and there is no IS, but being able to go wide to slight telephoto is pretty sweet. It's also a beast to handhold still without a rig. I've been eating my Wheaties :) Cost is also pretty extreme. Luckily I had this lens on my ole Canon 1D Mark IIn before the whole HDSLR revolution began so it was "just sitting around". It probably wouldn't have been a lens I would have chosen for HD Video. Now I love it, I bought the 50mm 1.4 after, and still, the 24-70 gets way more use.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 06:58 PM   #27
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Re: Anyone else not a big fan of the nifty 50?

I'm with you on the 24-70, its just such a useful range, great bokeh and on the 5D and there aren't many occasions that you want to stop down below 2.8 (except for the obvious low-light situations). Yes it is a little less sharp than a good prime when you pixel peep on a 21 mega pixel image, but you can't do that with video anyway. Close focusing is actually pretty good too (from memory it goes to around .3 magnification).

But I would still like to round it off with the 100mm macro IS f2.8 (my next lens purchase and a good match with the 24-70 in terms of aperture).

For low-light I've got a Super Tak SMC f1.4 50mm and for a low-light-wide I would like to add the 28 1.8 or similar. For the moment that's about all I really want from a set of lenses.
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