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Messages - Policar

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Lenses / Re: what s the best ef lenses for making a movie
« on: November 03, 2012, 06:34:47 PM »
For a one-lens solution, I prefer the 17-55mm f2.8 IS. Sure, it's $900 and the 50mm is $300. But when you compare it with the cost of a 17mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm prime... it's cheap. The Tamron version is decent, too, but bad bokeh and soft corners (not a problem for video). I've heard the Sigma is also very good. Both of these are like $500. Then get a fader ND ($20 on eBay for 77mm). That's the cheapest kit I would consider for a really good, comprehensive set up. Fwiw, I also love the 11-16mm for music video style shoots.

The 50mm is a fine lens (although the 50mm f1.8 is no worse optically, just worse bokeh and a very bad focus ring) and very popular. But it's a bit long. You'll want a wider lens if you shoot in small spaces. I prefer 28mm or 30mm and a lot of major filmmakers (Bay, Woo, Fincher, Kubrick, Spielberg, Jackson, etc.) love shooting wide. 50mm is kind of "boring." But it's a good lens for the money, yes, and you can get nice shallow focus with it, too. Just try out your current lens (the kit zoom, I'm assuming) and see if you can live with it being set to 50mm all the time. If you can, go for it! It's a nice lens.

You'll want an ND filter (58mm I think?) if you want to shoot outside. The ND faders are cheap, but the Hoya HMC NDs are the best thing going for the money (get a couple: ND6, ND1.2).

Lenses / Re: what s the best ef lenses for making a movie
« on: November 03, 2012, 04:23:31 PM »
Most sets I've been on have rented a set of prime lenses between 18mm and 85mm. I once got the chance to shoot with Primos from 14mm to 150mm and did a music video with much wider and longer lenses, but for regular "movie" type stuff, those are the focal lengths that get used the most.

So I would say the 17-55mm IS zoom. Shoot at f2.8 at night, day interiors at f4, and day exteriors between f4 and f8 and use NDs. That's how most movies are shot. The color manipulation is more a matter of lighting, set design, and post. Some directors go wider (Gilliam), some stick to the 20mm range primarily (Spielberg), some like to go a bit longer (Hitchock), and some stick to 50mm as you mentioned was your idea (Ozu). So it's all up to you. Personally my favorite focal length is around 30mm on APS-C/super35.

Lenses / Re: Thinking about a 17-40 f4L USM. Thoughts?
« on: November 02, 2012, 09:13:42 PM »
The 17-40mm L is inexpensive and weather sealed and has great build quality. The center is contrasty and reasonably sharp, even wide open at 17mm. The corners are very soft until f8 or f11. Then they're sharper but with some CA. There's a lot of fall-off. But it's an inexpensive constant aperture ultrawide. For whatever strange reason, I like the bokeh.

On APS-C I would take either the 18-55mm IS or 17-55mm IS over this lens any day. I assume I'd take the 55-85mm, too. On FF, it's good for the price but it has some distortion and it's just okay optically. Not a bad lens, but not awe inspiring.

The 70-200mm f2.8 IS II is wonderful. The 70-200mm f2.8 (non-IS) is also very good if you have a tripod or steady hands and don't mind somewhat soft corners wide open; it's a very nice lens, really.

For landscape I'd go tilt shift rather than UWA zoom (you're using a tripod, so you might as well), but the price is so high! I've got big hopes for the 24mm Rokinon TS lens.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: New RED One Price
« on: November 02, 2012, 05:20:09 PM »
Its only part of a camera, when you put all the pieces together, the price is a bit more, in fact, a lot more.
All camera manufacturers are hurting for sales.  Prices will keep dropping.

It's still a pretty great deal. But the cost of accessories and the cost of supporting this kludgy science project of a camera (90 second plus boot ups, lots of crashes, etc.) means I'll be keeping my Mark III.

The Scarlet and F5 are also great deals. It's frustrating that the market for semi-pro cameras has fallen as far as it has ($8,000 for C100/FS700) but not further. The prosumer market ($1500-$4000) is vastly larger and less demanding and yet the products there are pretty half-assed (GH3/5D Mark III/BMC) in one major way or another. Maybe in one more generation...

This is a very nice lens; the center isn't as sharp as the L at f1.4 and it doesn't get quite as crisp as the best lenses in the world once stopped down (edges are never perfect due to a tiny bit of CA mostly), but it might be the sharpest thing I own...definitely better than my L zooms. The 50mm f1.8 puts up a lot of competition for sharpest lens I own once it gets to f5.6 (and I know a major photographer who's published many books who swears by this lens for sharp images, and he has a huge kit of the nicest L telephotos you've seen), but the bokeh is poor, which is an issue for some more than it is for others.

The fact that other MF 35mm lenses go for so much more, even the 35mm f1.4 AIS Nikon (which is a very poor performer wide open), is ridiculous. Optically this is as good as the best. Bokeh is good. Build quality is good except the focus ring is sometimes marked wrong and the infinity stop goes beyond infinity. It might be a little longer than 35mm according to some anecdotes...

I can't stand it for stills, though, because it's too hard to focus. My favorite lens for stills is my 50mm f1.8, I think. So if you're shooting APS-C that should be a similar focal length, but focusing will be hard! If you get a split prism screen or didn't mind using live view you'd be fine, but for stills I'd choose a 35mm f2 instead unless you're okay with live view.

Lenses / Re: Bring 120-300 OS or buy 55-250mm ?
« on: October 22, 2012, 01:56:55 AM »
The 55-250mm is totally usable and tiny, with decent IS. But it's a bit soft and there's a lot of falloff. The size is great.

The 70-300mm Canon and 70-300mm Tamron are larger but even better. I'd shoot the Tamron at f8 at 300mm, but otherwise it's usable everywhere. Great stabilization. It's a nice lens (and pretty big, but not that heavy).

They are all weak the longer they get and obviously they're meant for daylight photography only.

Choose entirely based on what focal lengths you plan to use, but I disagree with comments about the 18-55mm IS being bad. It's a great lens, just slow. At the wide end it's just as good as the 17-55mm f2.8 IS (except 1/2 stop slower, but smaller and with arguably better IS) and at the long end it's about as good at f5.6, but unfortunately it's too slow to get shallow focus and it does have some CA. And I consider the 17-55mm f2.8 IS to be one of Canon's best zooms. The 18-55mm IS beats the pants off the 17-40mm f4 L! Trust me, I have owned all these covers boring focal lengths and is too slow to offer shallow focus, but the new kit lens is very, very good and an enormous step up from the original 18-55mm (the one lacking IS).

The 55-250mm IS is ok, too. But switching lenses can be a pain, so I might go with the 18-135mm purely for convenience, but then you get a jack of all trades camera (no better, just bigger, than a point and shoot for most purposes).

The 85mm f1.8 would be nice for portraits. I find the 50mm f1.8 too short, but for $100 it is a great lens.

Lenses / Re: A very dumb view
« on: October 21, 2012, 07:32:07 PM »
Very surprised (and glad) to see the Hoya HMC filter do so well.

I don't use UV filters, but for video I use Hoya HMC NDs and they're just swell.

Lenses / Re: 70-200 f2.8L USM or 70-200 f2.8L IS USM II
« on: October 21, 2012, 07:29:44 PM »
I have the original non-IS 70-200mm f2.8, and despite what people claim it's a perfectly acceptable lens, even wide open. Sure, the corners could be sharper at f2.8, but the bokeh is good and you can stop down to f4 for landscapes....and the focus is very fast and the contrast is good.

That said, the lack of IS is a big deal. Even with this less-than-modern lens, softness from image shake is generally way more significant than softness from a lack of sharpness. The IS II will solve both these problems. Just get it and don't look back. But be prepared for a heavy lens.

That said, the original is no slouch despite its age.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Full Frame Sharper Than Crop?
« on: October 19, 2012, 03:29:04 PM »
Lenses will always perform 1.6x better in the center in FF. Corners might be worse. Since few people outresolve the sensor in everyday shooting at that 1.6x MTF boost is for all frequencies, I'd think FF would look much sharper for most.

EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: Where do you start for videos?
« on: October 15, 2012, 05:25:35 PM »
Quick question regarding Auto-Focus:

If your subject is moving, how do you keep the focus on at all times? Does this have to be done manually?

Hire a good AC (most pros have roughly memorized distance by eye and can pull decently on the fly at normal stops i.e. f5.6 or deeper on the 5D). Otherwise, just write your marks (with erasable marker on the follow focus and tape on set) and find a friend who's good at video games to pull--it's what I do.

All your focusing has to be done manually if you want consistently decent results (I'm not even sure the Mark III has video AF), and if you do not have an AC you'll have to practice like mad or design your shots around your limitations (or shoot at like f11 with wide lenses). Without peaking (please ML?) it is very very difficult to get an in-focus image on the fly, and even with it...very difficult.

Pretty sure it's the have some brutal (and really unattractive) falloff/"vignetting" on the first shot. That's not normal unless something is really weird inside the lens.

Both of those shots are incredibly blurry relative to how well this lens can perform. The first has horrible motion blur; of course 1/focal length won't solve that if the subject is in motion. (And since you're using a 1.6 crop anyway and digital has twice the sharpness of film give-or-take, try 1/3.2(focal length) to get acceptable results at the very minimum unless you have very steady hands). The second shot is obviously focused wrong.

It's a myth that this lens is as sharp as a high end prime (wide open) or nearly as sharp as the newest zooms. The corners are soft at f2.8... But those are incredibly soft images, worse than what any lens alone should do. It might also be an issue of your AF not keeping up. Try shooting a still object from a tripod with liveview. If it's still soft (and you've got that wonky vignette) then something is up. Otherwise, it's user error.

No one is reading the article. It states that the only phone camera that trumps old point and shoots is the Nokia 808, which has an enormous sensor.

I'm still taking better and cleaner photos with my 7 year old Kodak 6MP digital point and shoot (bought at $100 during that time) than all the IPHONES and Samsungs that my friends are using.  I still can't get what DXOmark is using to test those smartphones.

Neither can I, but the phone they cite as outpacing 5-year-old still cameras (and not even dSLRs) is the Nokia 808, which has a 1/1.2'' sensor, likely LARGER than the sensors on those old cameras. So that's...not very good. And if iPhones are much worse than that (the sensors are much smaller), that's really not very good.

EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: Next Zeiss lens?
« on: October 12, 2012, 10:48:19 PM »
A normal lens kit for dramatic cinema is 18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm or 28-135mm on FF.

I find for music videos (on the 5D) I am likely to go very wide to make a space dramatic and make dolly moves feel "big" so I often go as wide as 14mm or 17mm, but then I usually crop to widescreen. For beauty I like to shoot as long as possible, 135mm or 200mm to flatten faces. So I don't think this is an easy answer. You need it all. For standard coverage of dance I like a UWA of the space, axial punch in that's just tighter than normal, mild WAs for the diagonals, and a portrait lens for the talent, straight on the face.

I also feel ZE lenses are very overrated (they're still good, but terrible values); that said they rent well and clients like them so they are good for pros who want a high end brand. But they're just average performers (with nice coatings, admittedly) and for shooting video at normal stops (f2.8-f8) you'll get the same results with anything. Since getting a 28mm, 35mm, 85mm, and 135mm to complete the kit is prohibitively expensive, I'd just go by feel. Take out a zoom for a while and see what you want. Focal length is all that matters; performance will be fine with anything. I'd go 28mm f2 since I like that focal length, but I also love 35mm on FF a whole lot. But then you don't have enough variation between that and the 50mm (which I also like on FF; 85mm is not as nice, but I use it occasionally).

So buy what you like and rent more when you shoot. If I am shooting a music video I'd like the 16-28mm or a 14mm L for the space, the 24-70mm zooms for coverage, and the 70-200mm zoom for additional coverage and beauty CUs. And three cameras, one with each lens. But I am not a pro so this is just...preference.

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