Always used my 60D for stills; but now our old video camera has crapped out, which my wife normally uses. I figure if I leave the 60D on video/auto all day my wife can snap and on and shoot videos of the kids in case they do something cute.
I love my wife to death but she has a tendency to "Drop" things. thus i dont want to leave my 17-40 or 24-105L on the camera; will video quality suffer greatly if I buy a cheaper 28-135 or maybe 17-85 lens for her?
Please keep in mind it's just for family memories; I don't need to hear about moire, etc lol. I just am looking for insight or recommendations on an inexpensive alternative lens for decent video. I am also not too sure about what focal length is best for video...
thanks for your help!
I use my DSLRs (600D/T3i and 5D Mark III) for video only.
As you might have already played around with and figured out, the AUTO mode can have mixed results for video. These DSLRs may not be great replacements for simple video cameras in many candid, capture-the-moment situations in the hands of people who are used to or prefer the simplicity of a video camera.
As to the lens, compared to the nice quality L's that you mention, image quality will suffer, but not "greatly" in my opinion. Yes, there is a difference in video with good vs. not-so-good lenses. The lenses you describe are reported to be nice lenses, so I'm not sure you would see much difference at all. I seriously doubt that using a cheaper lens (e.g., the 18-55mm) will make the video worse than your "old video camera." But, I don't know how good your old video camera was or a lot of other things.
The 17-85 would be the best bet. Anything longer is just not practical in my opinion for what you are describing (candid, probably handheld shots) and the wider end will sometimes come in handy on the crop sensor (as you know from having the 17-40). Image Stabilization is a must unless you are okay with shaky footage (don't know if your old video camera had it or not). Unfortunately, the 17-85 isn't very fast, so the ISO will end up being quite high... Again, I'm sure you know that already. I haven't used AUTO mode in so long, I can't even recall how low it will set the f-stop before preferring a higher ISO (my vague recollection is that it won't go very low).
Not disregarding the last sentence, you might also consider the 50mm 1.8. Fast and cheap with good image quality. No IS and no zoom. Focal distance match is up to you. But, for what your describing, might preserve some great memories... and, you'd have added a prime to your mix of lenses for stills. But, zoom might take a priorty, I understand.
Bottom line: 17-85 would be my pick for what you describe.