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Lens Recommendations


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#1 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 02:50 PM

I just bought a brand new Canon Rebel t2i and so far i'm loving it.

This is my first DSLR camera and I love being able to use it as a video camera, its a great upgrade from my HV20 which sadly died in the field a few weeks ago after some water damage.

Anyway, so far I have a simple 50mm f1.8 Canon prime and an 18mm-55mm f3.5 Canon

I'm planning on buying a cheap nikon mount convereter so I can use lenses from my universitie's equipment cage.

Does anyone know a great site for getting cheap/used zoom or prime lenses?

What's a great lens that you guys have in mind for a video shooter?
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 05:15 PM

I just bought a brand new Canon Rebel t2i and so far i'm loving it.
................What's a great lens that you guys have in mind for a video shooter?


How deep are your pockets? The best all around EOS lens that's not an "L" series is the 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM. It's the lens that lives on my 7D. Everyone I know who has one loves it.
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#3 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 12:39 AM

How deep are your pockets? The best all around EOS lens that's not an "L" series is the 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM. It's the lens that lives on my 7D. Everyone I know who has one loves it.



I'm thinking a couple hundred dollars ($400 - $500 at most) I know that's a pretty small number, but I'm trying to be able to eat too.


What is an "L" series?
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#4 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 12:47 AM

Also, the lens you mention is nearly what I have, despite being slightly faster (mines f3.5)
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 07:13 PM

I'm thinking a couple hundred dollars ($400 - $500 at most) I know that's a pretty small number, but I'm trying to be able to eat too.


What is an "L" series?

The "L" is shorthand for "Luxury". That's Canon's top grade professional series of lenses with fluorite and super high dispersion glass lens elements, magnesium housings, and weather resistant design. They get the best of everything Canon has to offer but with a price tag that reflects their perfection.

The 17-55 ain't cheap, around $1K but as much $$$ as that seems it's $500 and more cheaper than the "L" series zooms and it has pretty much the same optics as they do. If you take care of it, you'll never need another lens in that range.

You're just going to have to decide if it's food or great lenses. ;)
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#6 Ben Syverson

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 09:51 PM

Forget "great lenses." Forget "L" lenses. The video modes on the 5D, 7D and 550D simply do not resolve that much detail.

My advice would be to figure out one or two focal lengths you think you would like, and get the cheapest possible prime lenses in those lengths. It will be cheap, and probably give you better results than a good zoom. Definitely forget zooms.

For example, if you think you would want a wide-normal and close-up perspective, you could do the 24/2.8 and 50/1.8, which would set you back $364 used at KEH.

You just will NOT see any real benefit from f/1.4 vs f/1.8. Down the line you can decide if an extra third of a stop or two is worth the large difference in price. In the meantime, you will be able to actually use your gear rather than sit around saving money, and your lenses will still have good resale value.

Edited by Ben Syverson, 23 March 2010 - 09:54 PM.

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#7 Paul Bruening

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 07:14 AM

Zooms are handy lenses. I despise a live zoom shot, though. I'm inclined towards Ben's position. Three primes: Wide for interiors, normal for most everything and something between 75 and 135 for facial close-ups will cover everything a dramatic shooter will ever really need. Fast lenses give the notion that you can reach into dark places. Yet, most still lenses tend to fall apart, image-wise, below f2.
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#8 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:26 PM

Zooms are handy lenses. I despise a live zoom shot, though. I'm inclined towards Ben's position. Three primes: Wide for interiors, normal for most everything and something between 75 and 135 for facial close-ups will cover everything a dramatic shooter will ever really need. Fast lenses give the notion that you can reach into dark places. Yet, most still lenses tend to fall apart, image-wise, below f2.


I've been reading about the 1/3 sensor on the 7D and T2i. because its smaller you have to calculate a 1.6 frame crop. (that means a 50mm is actually an 80mm?)

I guess I really have my designated medium lens (my cheap $100 50 f1.8)

and a standard fairly useful kit lens (18-55 f3.5)

Whats a good cheap wide? and a specific 75-135 close up (sigma, tonika, nikon? I may need a converter mount for some of these)

Also, what do you mean by "fall-apart" below f2?
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:39 PM

The sensor in the 550D & 7D is APS-C sized, which is the same as 35mm cine / Super-35 -- the sensor in a 5D is Full-Frame 35mm, the same as with 35mm still cameras and 35mm VistaVision. Yes, it's about a 1.5X or 1.6X difference.

So your 50mm lens looks a bit more telephoto on the APS-C sensor (like a 75mm lens looks on a FF35 camera) and you'd need a shorter focal length to match the view of a 50mm lens on a FF35 camera (something like a 35mm lens.)
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#10 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:51 PM

The sensor in the 550D & 7D is APS-C sized, which is the same as 35mm cine / Super-35 -- the sensor in a 5D is Full-Frame 35mm, the same as with 35mm still cameras and 35mm VistaVision. Yes, it's about a 1.5X or 1.6X difference.

So your 50mm lens looks a bit more telephoto on the APS-C sensor (like a 75mm lens looks on a FF35 camera) and you'd need a shorter focal length to match the view of a 50mm lens on a FF35 camera (something like a 35mm lens.)


ok then a 24mm wide, would barely be wide at all on this sensor? Whats a very good (cheap!) wide prime for the 7D/t2i?

Edited by Aaron Freeder, 24 March 2010 - 03:52 PM.

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#11 Ben Syverson

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 04:57 PM

ok then a 24mm wide, would barely be wide at all on this sensor? Whats a very good (cheap!) wide prime for the 7D/t2i?

Unfortunately, there are none. There's the 14mm/2.8, but it's a premium lens and not cheap at all. There's the 20/2.8, which you can find for $300-$350, but at 32mm equivalent, it's not that wide.

Honestly, if you have the kit lens, I would use that at 18mm for the wide end. If you absolutely NEED a true wide, there's the Canon 10-22, Sigma 10-20, etc. Unfortunately, they aren't all that cheap, and the stops aren't great (usually around f/4).

Wide shots won't look all that great anyway... That deep DOF and wide FOV grabs a lot detail, and tends to expose the aliasing artifacts that dog these cameras.
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#12 Paul Bruening

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 07:33 AM

He's stuck with the FOV/depth perspective trade-offs of still lenses. He can't really have the best of both unless he goes with the full size sensor. If he goes with an ultra-wide lens to get that wide FOV on the smaller sensor, then his images are going to look surreal in depth perception. No one, yet, has found a way around that. Or at least, I haven't seen a full solution here. It seems to me that living inside the limits of the lenses is about the only possibility regardless of the format.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:27 AM

He's stuck with the FOV/depth perspective trade-offs of still lenses. He can't really have the best of both unless he goes with the full size sensor. If he goes with an ultra-wide lens to get that wide FOV on the smaller sensor, then his images are going to look surreal in depth perception. No one, yet, has found a way around that. Or at least, I haven't seen a full solution here. It seems to me that living inside the limits of the lenses is about the only possibility regardless of the format.


I don't understand what you're saying -- the 7D sensor is the same size as what we use in 35mm moviemaking, so why would wide-angle shots look "surreal in depth perception" any more than they do in regular 35mm filmmaking?
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#14 Paul Bruening

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 12:45 PM

I don't understand what you're saying -- the 7D sensor is the same size as what we use in 35mm moviemaking, so why would wide-angle shots look "surreal in depth perception" any more than they do in regular 35mm filmmaking?



Sorry for getting a little e.e. cummings, there. I would have been clearer saying: It is a concern for users of smaller sensors to gain FOV using shorter lenses at the cost of more normal perspective compared to the same FOV achieved by a somewhat longer lens used on a still film frame sized sensor.
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#15 Noah Yuan-Vogel

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:50 PM

Sorry for getting a little e.e. cummings, there. I would have been clearer saying: It is a concern for users of smaller sensors to gain FOV using shorter lenses at the cost of more normal perspective compared to the same FOV achieved by a somewhat longer lens used on a still film frame sized sensor.



Not sure what you mean by that. Could you elaborate? Are you saying you think that for some reason an image that represents a 90deg FOV on S35 will have perspective that is poorly rendered compared to an image that represents a 90deg FOV on FF35?

As for what lenses to get, I might recommend trying a few out in the store that are of the range and stop and price you are looking for. I'm not sure why exactly Ben recommended against zooms, but I think they can be a valuable option considering the additional cost and work that a set of primes will cause, not to mention you might have trouble finding a good set of well-matched primes intended for still cameras that also have good traits for filmmaking.

Personally, I like the way Sigma zooms look. I have found the ones I chose breathe surprisingly little and hold focus through a zoom surprisingly (definitely not perfectly) well. I find the look of modern canon still lenses a bit distracting as they have a very particular look that is rarely seen in moving pictures (until lately) and that I consider to be quite different from nikon, zeiss, sigma, etc. which each have their own look but seem to me much closer to eachother in their look than a Canon lens (of course this varies depending on when the lens was made). For me, my Sigma 24-70 2.8 lives on my camera a fair amount of the time but I also have a Sigma 70-200 2.8, Tokina 11-16 2.8, and a nikon 55mm f1.2, all of which I can recommend (I can give you specifics as to which generations of these lenses I prefer if that is of any help), and I can also highly recommend KEH for buying lenses as most of those lenses were purchased there. The only lens of those that I consider a compromise for a still lens set (of course they are all compromises compared to certain cine lenses) is the nikon, but it was just such a good deal and I wanted to have that save-your-ass super fast lens for the inevitable ultra low budget night ext's but I didnt really want to spend money on it. It does have surprisingly good mechanics compared to almost all the many other old old Nikons I've had the misfortune of using, though. Most of the lenses I've mentioned sell for around $400-600 used at KEH except for the 55mm f1.2 which was $254.

Edited by Noah Yuan-Vogel, 08 April 2010 - 11:53 PM.

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