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Old May 6th, 2018, 06:09 AM   #1
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Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

I'm new to using the EX3 and don't know to much about how it works with Prime Lenses. My only intented use of such a combination is to shoot "talking head" interviews. There is only minimal neck movements when conducting them. I'm looking towards the option of using a Prime Lense to achieve a short depth of field when space/room is to tight to be able to have that much space between the background and interviewee, good distance between the camera and interviewee or both problems at once. Can anyone please suggest some possible options for a lense and mount? It would be most preferable to have the Prime Lense connected to the EX3 when making all the necessary adjustments.
Any advice would be most appreciated.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 07:18 AM   #2
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

If your primary use of the EX3 is going to be shooting interviews, I recommend getting a different camera. No matter what lens you are able to mount on the EX3, the 1/2" sensors are going to be the limiting factor. There are many other cameras that would be better suited for interviews with shallow DoF. The EX3 is still a decent run & gun camera for HD shooting, but in comparison to other cameras today, it is not a good choice for interviews.

In fact, you could probably buy an entirely new camera for less money than what you would have to spend on a lens adapter and lens(s) for the EX3 -- and you still wouldn't get shallow DoF anyway.

BTW, there is no difference in the look between a prime lens and a zoom lens when the focal length and f-stop are the same.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 07:25 AM   #3
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

Not a simple answer...
Basically, the EX3 has 1/2" sensor sizes - that means that you will have more depth of field (more in focus) than with a larger sensor camera.
The zoom that came with your EX3 is fairly fast (in terms of f/stop). Of course shooting wide open gives you the shallowest depth of field.
If you take off the lens and use an adapter to go to a prime lens, you may achieve slightly better sharpness, but unless the prime lens is exceptionally fast you won't reduce the depth of field much. If you're on the longer end of the zoom, because of slight ramping f/stop design, wide open for the stock zoom lens might be about f/2.4. If you replace it with a prime lens at the same focal length that's an f/1.4, you're reducing your depth of field somewhat. In a small room this won't help that much...
I should also mention that you will want to check out your adapter availability if you go this route. I don't know of any Canon/EX3 adapters that allow you to adjust iris, so you might want to look to Nikon or PL options.

But the other way to go to reduce DOF is pretty clunky. It's to use an adapter that creates the DOF of a Super35mm sensor camera - such as a Letus35 adapter. This is a big rig that mounts in front of the camera (usually on support rods.) I found these expensive and finicky. They used to be expensive, though you could probably pick up a used one now for a song - just make sure it works!

If course the other thing that you could pick up very reasonably at this point (probably less than the cost of a new Letus adapter) would be a used F3 - takes prime lenses - Super35 sensor for true shallow DOF - still looks great! Same gammas as EX3, and the two cameras can be adjusted to match pretty well using the picture profiles.

Remember, the main elements in determining DOF are Focal length, iris and sensor size. Changing to a prime adapter on the EX3 doesn't change focal length or sensor size for a given shot. Adapters such as the Letus change the effective focal length and sensor size, hence their reduced depth of field.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 07:53 AM   #4
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

There are many new and used cameras that would be better suited for interviews than an old EX3. Depending on budget, my suggestions would include:
FS100, FS700, F3, FS5, FS7
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Old May 6th, 2018, 08:59 AM   #5
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

Thanks for the advice guys!

The EX3 was a good deal but doesn't sound like it's going to provide the results I need. Can still use as a B-Roll I guess. The Sony F3 looks like a good camera to go for but has no XRL ports from what I've briefly read, Can you suggest any other cameras from other manufacturers that would get me that SDOF for a similar secondhand price?

Thanks again!
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Old May 6th, 2018, 09:12 AM   #6
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

Patrick, have you considered the JVC GY-LS300?

Price has dropped to about US$2,500 and it records 4K or HD using MXF or AVCHD codecs, has XLR audio inputs, is a traditional video camcorder with a Super 35 sized sensor and a Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens mount for MFT still photo lenses, or Canon EF with an adapter. It can give you a shallow depth of field with the right lens. Plus it can "zoom through" a prime lens, with a 1.2x ratio in 4K or va 2.3x ratio in HD.

http://pro.jvc.com/pro/attributes/4k...hure_sep01.pdf
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Old May 6th, 2018, 09:15 AM   #7
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

All of the cameras I suggested above (FS100, FS700, F3, FS5, FS7) have XLR jacks. That is a mandatory requirement of any camera that I would recommend for shooting intverviews.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 05:05 AM   #8
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

As someone who has an EX3, F3, and FS7, and still regularly shoots on the EX3 (why toss out a perfectly good camera if the conditions are right?)...

The EX3 is very capable camera even these days for online content if you use it in good lighting conditions and don't need the look for shallow DoF that is more contemporary but also just a style. These days I don't think it makes sense changing to anything but the stock lens on the EX3 (like the old Letus adapters, etc.) because you would get better results on the other cameras which have proper S35 sensors (F3, FS7, etc.).

But what you are giving up on those other cameras when using primes is that you no longer have auto focus and power zoom. Now in a basic talking head that may not matter as much. So that is a judgement call.

If you're looking for a bargain, the F3 is an HD only (like the EX3) but comes with a PL mount, so glass is going to be pricey. You can go FS7, which is a step up in price and get E-Mount with a plethora of affordable glass and the ability to shoot 4K if needed. Still limited choices on AF. And as opposed to the F3 or FS7, the EX3 you can grab from the bag and be ready to shoot in 30s. No assembly required.

And as already pointed out, all those cameras have XLR, phantom power, and everything you need for interviews. Those are table stakes.

If you need to stay on a budget, and need basic prime lenses for basic talking heads, you may also look into a lot of the mirror less cameras that do video, like the Sony A7s, the GH5, etc. Lots of choices at affordable prices. Those are not ENG cameras, and may require a few tweaks for sound. But may get you closer to what you need visually at that price point. Easy enough to record XLR sound into a Zoom H4 and a scratch track into the camera for easy audio-sync.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 06:41 AM   #9
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

This is a good thread with lots of solid advice. Just felt like throwing that in.
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Old May 11th, 2018, 09:42 AM   #10
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Bronte View Post
Thanks for the advice guys!

The EX3 was a good deal but doesn't sound like it's going to provide the results I need. Can still use as a B-Roll I guess. The Sony F3 looks like a good camera to go for but has no XRL ports from what I've briefly read,
Patrick: If you got a great deal on the EX-3 and want to stay with it, you can always do your best to achieve the interview shallow look by doing the following: back up and shoot your interview at as close to full zoom as possible, and light it so you can shoot wide open. You can definitely get some separation from the background--but if you are shooting in a broom closet, you are SOL. The EX-3 remains a great run and gun handheld HD camera. I still have mine and use it for those kind of shoots.

I'd also second picking up a used F3 for interviews. They are dirt cheap now. I have a pair of them, and when coupled with an Optitek Prolock lens mount and some fast Nikon glass, the results are awesome. If you go that way, get your hands on one of Doug's F3 manuals. Totally worth it.
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Old May 13th, 2018, 05:47 AM   #11
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

Thanks for all the advice. The EX3 I purchased only lasted a couple of weeks after it was dropped so I've had to cleam insurance. So this leaves me a bit stuck as they won't replace the camera and will most likely pay out what I paid for it. So could anyone here please suggest some cameras in the lower end of the professional market place?

I've been looking at the Canon C100 Mk II for it sounds like I can get that SDOF within a small room/area. This is one of my key requirements in a camera for what I will only be using it for: sit down interviews of the talking head variety. It's also in my budget. The Sony EX3 fell short making it easy to achieve SDOF and was my first professional interchangeable lens camera. I didn't get a chance to really learn how to use it properly. Before that I used a Canon XF100. I posted a question about the C100 in the Canon forum and the one answer I received mentioned that it is more for cinematography than videography and will need a fast lens to capture SDOF. This has made me wonder if it's beyond my experience. I think once I've studied the manual, watched videos and read all that I can find about a camera, I should be able to work it after a decent amount of time playing with it in order to find and work out how to use everything I will need. The only thing is I need to have a decision made asap so I can get back to work as soon as everything has been sorted out with the insurance.

Can anyone please recommend a camera and a lens that will first record great HD footage and can capture talking heads with SDOF. I use a 3 point lighting system so will always have good light. I always do everything manually but have noticed some cameras have AF with face detection which is fine with me. So the only other requirements are that it comes in at $5.5, with the lens preferably within $1200. Do I need 4K? The end results will be headed towards TV but other than that it's going towards independent film festivals and the web. Will 4K become the required format within the next 3-4 years? Your help with some recommendations for a good camera and lens would be really appreciated here as I don't want to be talked into the wrong camera & lens by a salesman. I need to go in prepared.
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Old May 13th, 2018, 12:37 PM   #12
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, any of these cameras will suit your needs. They are ranked in order of quality, so buy the best one that your budget will permit:
FS100, FS700, F3, FS5, FS7

A good interview lens would be any 85mm f/2.8 or faster. Other lenses may also work, but that is a good go-to lens for interviews when you are starting out and don't really know a lot about these types of cameras. Do not get suckered into buying one of those f/4 lenses with an 18-110mm (or similar) zoom range. They are all wrong for interviews or for anything that you want to look cinematic. You will be best served by a fast 75mm or 85mm prime for interviews and then you can build your lens collection from there as budget and needs dictate.
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Old May 13th, 2018, 02:31 PM   #13
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

There was a brief mention back near the beginning of this thread about the need for XLR inputs but not much after. If XLR inputs are needed, there are two options to consider: one is to use a pre amp such as the JuicedLink, and the second is to use a separate recorder.

Since hardly any of the cam or camera manufacturers list their audio specs, and there is little to no independent testing of their audio section (based on what Iíve been able to find), one might assume the audio section isnít the worldís best quality. On the other hand, separate preamps and recorders pretty much always have audio specs published. How accurate they are may be another question but at least theyíre published.

With regard to preamps, there are 2-channel ones in the used market that are not that expensive. If one changes cams, the pre can moved over and reused so it isnít like something like some accessories that arenít transferrable.

The other option, going with a recorder, has a lot of flexibility and is something that would most likely outlast the technology of any cam or camera one selects. Even a relatively inexpensive recorder will have an audio capability as good as, and most likely better, than any cam one would get (we'll never know because cam manufacturers tend not to publish their audio specs), and, a LOT more flexibility. As an example, the Tascam DR44WL has bluetooth so it can be controlled from a smart phone or iPad, and has vu meter capability.

If lack of XLR inputs are a dealbreaker, a separate audio unit would make more cam choices available and maybe provide better audio at the same time.
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Old May 13th, 2018, 03:23 PM   #14
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

All of the camcorders I've suggested (FS100, FS700, F3, FS5, FS7) have XLR inputs and tons of highly configurable audio settings. Some of them even offer four channels of 48KHz 24-bit quality audio. There is absolutely no reason to mess around with audio preamps or separate recorders. This is 2018, why on earth would anyone want to bother with that hassle if interviews will be one of the primary uses of the camera?? Simply record onboard the camera and be done with it. Period. That is one of the great time-saving and hassle-saving advantages of using professional camcorders instead of DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and other devices that are not designed for professional video production and require a lot of extra gear and wasted time in post.
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; May 13th, 2018 at 04:46 PM.
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Old May 13th, 2018, 05:39 PM   #15
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Re: Prime Lense and EX3? Can anyone please provide some advice?

well said doug.

i find it astounding that anyone in the business of shooting serious interviews would even dream of going through the hassles of setting up external 'primary' recording equipment, i often use a zoom as back up, just in case, but...
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