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Old October 25th, 2012, 02:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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steady shooting; IS/VR vs Monopod vs Software?

I am an artist, working with both video and photo, and because I have a limited budget I thought it would be a good idea to get a dslr that shoots both video and photos. I have previously worked a lot with the XH-A1s (borrowed), and I own a nikon D80. But I lack experience in shooting video with a dslr.

I really miss being able to print bigger high-res photos than what is currently possible with my d80 (APS-C 10mpx), so I am thinking of getting a “full-frame” camera, I.e. the Nikon D600 or soon to come Canon 6D.

I am now trying to decide what lens setup I should choose. What makes this decision so difficult is that I tend to do different kinds of videos, both documentary style and staged well planned shoots. I find myself mostly doing shoots in a focal length about 24-85 mm, almost never beyond 100mm (well, hard to tell with the xh-a1, but never any wild life zoomed far away work..)

One way to go is to get a set of prime lenses. These are of course great lenses for shooting photos, fast, sharp etc. and if it was just for taking pictures, I would definitely go for these. However most of them don't have any built in stabilization (VR/IS). Since I am unfamiliar with shooting video with a dslr I have no idea how important this is.

Another way to go is a zoom lens with VR/IS. Not as sharp or fast (unless really expensive), but perhaps better suited for video work because of the stabilization?

I guess what I am really curious about is how important VR/IS is. If I shoot mostly with a monopod like the Manfrotto 561, and also have access to stabilization software like the warp stabilizer for Adobe After Effects, do I really need the VR/IS?

(btw, sorry if my english is off, it's not my first language)
Adam Andersson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2012, 06:09 AM   #2
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Re: steady shooting; IS/VR vs Monopod vs Software?

IS is helpful for handheld shooting with the small camcorders. It works to smooth out fine movement and shake, but is usually ineffective against large movements. And it does tend to add artifacts such as lag and overshoot. Optical stabalization is generally better than electronic stabilization. Some DSLRs now do stabilization by moving the sensor.

IS is generally not recommended when shooting from a tripod. With a monopod could go either way depedning on your skill as a shooter.

If you get acceptable results with the monopod and stabalization software it may not be worth the additional cost for the more exotic lens. But proof is in trying it, so if you can, borrow or rent a rig and use it a day or two to decide for yourself. What meets one persons needs may not do for another.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 11:08 PM   #3
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Re: steady shooting; IS/VR vs Monopod vs Software?

Hi, Adam..................

This is all IMHO, OK?

Reading and re - reading your post, the one thing that strikes me is that you have two diametrically opposite requirements, stills and video.

What works for one won't work for the other, though it's possible to have a "mish mash" system that does neither well, but can muddle through.

I write this with a Canon XH A1 and a Nikon D80 parked just next to my right elbow, so can see where you're coming from.

Do I use either to do the job of the other (not that the D80 shoots video, and if it did, I wouldn't use it anyway) - no.

I have just been advising someone else who started dabbling with video, bought a stills camera and was told (by me), buy primes for the stills, use a video camera for the video.

Have to say the same to you, if you want the best, go for for what works best for the medium you're working in - primes for stills and, on a budget, a good mid level video camera with decent lens, say in the $5 to $10k region, maybe less, with all the added stuff you'll need.

(In a perfect world, you'd use primes on the video camera as well, except at $15K a pop they're not probably within your budget)

I just know I'll get heaps over this from the dedicated DSLR crowd, but they simply are not video cameras - they're stills cameras that can shoot video, not the same thing at all.

It's up to you, how much of a compromise are you willing to make, given the budget?

This business, contrary to popular belief, IS NOT CHEAP, and if you can't afford the price of admission, trim your sails for the prevailing budgetory winds.

Just my 2 Krona's worth.

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Old October 27th, 2012, 11:01 PM   #4
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Re: steady shooting; IS/VR vs Monopod vs Software?

Hi Adam,
The DSLRs have moved up to a sufficient degree that you can use them for both stills as well as for Videos. However, for videos there would be a few limitations and you have to understand those limitations and work within those.

I have moved from a still photography background to films. I used a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV to shoot wildlife still photographs as well film. There are some limitations. I am giving you a link here so that you can know in detail. Wildlife Filming Queries

I find the IS (Image stabilisation) function of the Canon lenses to be a boon for handheld filming. For example for filming handheld wide to medium shots I use the EF 24-105 f4 L IS USM lens. If I use tripod, then I use the Canon EF 24-70 f2.8 L USM lens as it is sharper. I have the EF 70-200 f2.8 L IS II USM which is very good for handholding, however, that is costlier and you may not require that focal length. Since you said you need max 100mm, so either the EF 24-105 L IS USM lens will suffice or you can buy the EF 100mm f2.8 L IS USM macro lens. It is sharp as well as the IS is very good.

I would prefer to do the stabilisation during shooting itself rather than during post processing using softwares. You lose some resolution as well and not always you will get the stabilisation right.

Since you are from Sweden, I would like to mention this. My film "A Call in the Rainforest" which was completely made with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV has been nominated for Special Awards in Wildlife Vaasa Festival, Finland. So don't ignore the power of DSLRs. You can see the one minute trailer here: Nominated for Special Awards in Wildlife Vaasa Festival 2012, Finland

If you can detail your requirements then we can suggest lenses for you.
Wild Tiger Productions
Sabyasachi Patra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 30th, 2012, 09:43 AM   #5
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Re: steady shooting; IS/VR vs Monopod vs Software?

Have you considered something like the Panasonic AF100? It might be the gap filler.
Lee Mullen is offline   Reply

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