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Author Topic: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i  (Read 20103 times)

brothersage

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Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« on: December 22, 2010, 11:09:30 AM »
I'm looking to use the T2i primarily for video. My question for any video enthusiasts is whether or not the 50mm 1.8f lens is my best bet for doing video, price wise and functionality wise. $120 is the most I'm willing on spending on lense. My plan is to get the body, and then get the the lense I will primarily use.

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Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« on: December 22, 2010, 11:09:30 AM »

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 11:49:35 AM »
Do yourself a favor, and educate yourself about making videos with a DSLR, doing a semi-professional job will require much more than you can imagine. The video features on a DSLR are great for someone who is already into video, and has a knowledge of pro type videography.  They know it will cost $5,000-$15,000 to do quality amateur work, and a lot more for pro work.

The 50mm f/1.8 is horrible for doing video, in my opinion.  Video with a DSLR is all manual focus, and that tiny thin manual focus ring at the front of the 50mm f/1.8 II lens is very difficult to use.  I'd suggest starting with a older manual focus Nikon lens which is designed for manual focus. You can find a used one plus a adapter for under $100. Some of the more expensive Canon lenses can be manually focussed reasonably well, but they are not designed to be focused that way, and cost a lot more.

If you want to make videos of your kids running around, or playing scoccer, imagine trying to keep them in focus manually!.  I couldn't even dream of focusing manually that well.  You are limited to pre- setup shots where you can focus before capturing the scene.
 
Unless you are prepared to sink a big wad of cash into the necessary accessories, not to mention a fast computer, video card, and software, a camcorder will likely do better for you. To make video's outdoors, plan on purchasing ND filters or plan to stop the lens way down, and you still may have too much light.  You cannot set a fast shutter when taking video so aperture and ISO are your only tools to control exposure.

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2010, 12:10:24 PM »
I agree with SCALESUSA. I sold my HD video camera about 3 months ago and got a 7D thinking I could do both stills and video. I was really disappointed with the focusing for video - tried getting video of my kids playing basketball - nearly impossible unless they were standing still. Baseball was OK when my son was batting. The best success was video of a Christmas play last weekend - the kids were sitting on stage singing, I used a 300/2.8; got some great video and I didn't have to fight the other parents crowding the stage.
I would also like to add that the fantastic stills I am getting from the 7D outweigh the lacking video focusing capabilities for me.
I think you are heading in the right direction by choosing a fixed focal length lens - trying to zoom AND focus really would be impossible. Maybe the 5D MKIII will have a focus system better than the current contrast based system...

Policar

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2010, 07:13:15 PM »
The above posts are a little on the harsh side, but overall accurate.

The 7d/T2i/60d operate more like "cinema" cameras than video cameras, and so are poor choices for documentary or run-and-gun work.  This includes "home movies."  That said, you can operate one pretty well on your own if you're experienced at pulling focus, etc. and know the basics of cinematography (which are the same as the basic of photography, except you're using hot lights, not strobes, and your shutter angle is limited to 1/50th of a second).

The "normal" range for videography lenses is a 20-200mm equivalent zoom (in APS-C terms), with increased zoom lengths for some ENG cameras.  The standard zoom for narrative films is about 18-100mm, of which the wider portion is used most.  So I'd say a 17-50mm IS f2.8 zoom would be the most useful single lens.  And then filters (nd, polarizer, grad filters, etc.).  The kit lens is useful, too, except the focus throw is dreadful and it's very slow.

50mm is a nice focal length for medium close ups, too long for wider shots.  Though some directors (Yashiro Ozu) used it almost exclusively.  The 50mm f1.8 is terribly built and the focus throw is tiny (so the af motor won't struggle), so it's a bad "movie lens" if you ever want to rack or follow focus, even though the optical qualities are pretty decent (not on my sample, but that's another story).

My recommendation would be three lenses out of the following, and all manual focus (I use Nikkors with an adapter):  24mm or 28mm, 35mm or 50mm, 85mm or 105mm.  24mm f2.8/50mm f1.8/85 f2.8 would be my "budget" kit.  Those three are inexpensive in BGN condition from keh.com.  The kit lens would then be useful for the occasional ultra wide shot.

Don't think of the t2i like a normal ENG camera or camcorder!  There's no servo on the zoom, which ramps inelegantly and has a very limited range, and no useful autofocus.  Think of it more like a film camera or the red or something.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 09:26:16 PM by Policar »

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2010, 04:41:42 AM »
I have to agree that I would probably have gone with a traditional camcorder if I was to limit myself to only do family / amateur stuff.
Ie. situations where you cant control or have time to set up the shots.

In order words, the only time I use video with my mk II is when we're doing the odd musicvideo, in which these cameras really excel in my oppinion. They are lightweight and do a very nice job for semi pro work, the rest you can brush up in AE etc.

If I was doing run and gun work I would probably  go with the similar setup to previous poster. But again, you have to know what you'll be doing?? Will you be shooting stuff that will be edited after wards and therefore can handle a zoom here and there? Or are you going for a nice clean look that requires primes? Or are you just shooting this and that?
For the latter I wouldn't think twice about using a zoom lens (just remember that that involves adjusting two rings instead of one).
For family stuff I would probably use a prime of some sort....

My current setup for music videos are: Mk II (2nd unit carries a T2i), 24-70, 70-200 2.8 L, and a 100 2.8L for the occasional close up. The T2i actually wears a 50 1.8 and I know he's done a couple of blog jobs shooting at events. Clients these days aren't too picky about it being sharp all the time as long as your shots are sharp at the right time ;)

Best of luck to ya.


(My 5D MkII work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB01PTZNpBc , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mLTQ0djEMw , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i2gcLPED2c )

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brothersage

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 10:58:32 AM »
My primary purpose is to create  what I've drawn in my storyboards as documentary type films, with occasional person to person interviews. I  might also do some sports photography later on down the road. My main mission is to create movies, and to second document important family moments. I plan to encourage young people with inspiration stories, and put them here. www.discipleoftruth.wordpress.com.

I just got off the phone with my dad and its sad to say I might be going with the kit lens and the 50mm f1.8 just based on pricing and what I've seen others do with teh combo, because I really do love the ability to forego sneaker-zooming. I definitely understand I would be better off with the gl1/gl2. I will definitely be getting another lens shortly thereafter, once the budget allows for it.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 12:39:09 PM by brothersage »

Policar

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 01:14:12 PM »
I hate to say it, but you would be better off with virtually any other camera.  For sports, you won't be able to get anywhere near close enough with a 50mm lens.  On the flip side, focusing will never be an issue because you're hyperfocal at that distance at any reasonable aperture.  The skew also makes dslrs inappropriate for sports, unless you're okay bringing along a tripod (which you should do, anyway).

The 50mm f1.8 will do reasonably well for talking heads, but the kit as a whole is completely inappropriate for your listed purposes.  Difficult to use at all, impossible to use well.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a low end prosumer ($1000, anything with a good mic input) video camera instead and get far superior results with much less effort.

dSLR video, unless shot with a tremendous amount of skill and knowledge, which takes years to accrue, is wholly inappropriate for documentary, sports, etc. and the lenses you list (50mm f1.8; kit lens) are inappropriate for video except in a very limited context.  You'll have no trouble with the talking heads (again, assuming you have a background in video and photo), the rest Spielberg couldn't make work with that gear.  You'll need a technical background to do good work with any camera, but at least it will be possible with a video camera that has proper automatic options, a proper zoom, proper audio, proper built-in nds, proper monitoring, a relative lack of skew and aliasing, etc.

Also consider that the sound is very poor on the t2i and you'll absolutely need an external mic recorder or external audio device and a microphone to record useable audio; the cost of that set-up exceeds the price of the camera.  dSRLs as video cameras are deceptively expensive.  The camera itself is cheap, the cost of turning that into a capable video camera, not just an "oh cool" gimmick, is high in terms of effort and accessories alike. 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 01:27:41 PM by Policar »

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 01:14:12 PM »

brothersage

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 03:00:26 PM »
I agree with everything you guys are saying and it definitely makes sense. What I will try and do, is keep all of my shots close and intimate. When I mentioned doing sports photography, I forgot to mention that eventually I would get a nice telephoto lens in the future, possibly the Canon EF Telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm - F/4.0-5.6.

The other type of sports of photography I would get into would be the sports portrait style, where the kids hold the balls with the cropped background in the back, as a way to make some friend with a guy I know who has the business and infrastructure already going.

That said the only video work I would do is close and personal, where lens speed is not so much of a problem. My only reservation with camcorders is that I would have to spend ALOt of money on a piece of equipment that is one dimensional in a sense.

The Canon T2i does it all, photo and video. Its a space saver, meaning its very portable in my opinion.

Thanks for all the words of wisdom. I will definitely stick with canon lenses as I heard somewhere that the adapters can wear down the original threads of the canon mounting system.

More words of advice are welcome as I am open to buying whatever Canon lense is best.

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2010, 05:33:57 PM »
I agree with everything you guys are saying and it definitely makes sense. What I will try and do, is keep all of my shots close and intimate. When I mentioned doing sports photography, I forgot to mention that eventually I would get a nice telephoto lens in the future, possibly the Canon EF Telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm - F/4.0-5.6.

The other type of sports of photography I would get into would be the sports portrait style, where the kids hold the balls with the cropped background in the back, as a way to make some friend with a guy I know who has the business and infrastructure already going.

That said the only video work I would do is close and personal, where lens speed is not so much of a problem. My only reservation with camcorders is that I would have to spend ALOt of money on a piece of equipment that is one dimensional in a sense.

The Canon T2i does it all, photo and video. Its a space saver, meaning its very portable in my opinion.

Thanks for all the words of wisdom. I will definitely stick with canon lenses as I heard somewhere that the adapters can wear down the original threads of the canon mounting system.

More words of advice are welcome as I am open to buying whatever Canon lense is best.

The 70-300mm IS lens is a good one, avoid the 75-300mm lenses, not so good. 

Whoever said that the threads wear down on the Canon mounting system by using adapters is smoking some funny stuff.  Canon uses a bayonet mounting system, no threads are involved, and it does not wear down. The adapters use the exact same bayonet mounting as the lenses.

Policar

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2010, 07:50:16 PM »
In my opinion it's the mid-range camcorder that does everything (fast lens, good zoom range, intelligent autoexposure and autofocus, reasonable quality audio built-in and with standard gain-controllable inputs, built in nds, proper monitoring, no worries about aliasing and skew) whereas the dSLR does everything photo-wise and two things ridiculously well video-wise (low light and shallow focus)--and then nothing else.  To get equal lens quality and speed to a camcorder across similar equivalent focal lengths?  Add $2,000 or more for high quality IS zooms.  Autofocus?  It's horrible; hire a focus puller.  Audio?  Buy an external recorder or $400 adapter, and a decent mic (the mic is a requirement for all video, though).  ND filters?  Buy a set for every lens you have (they're necessary since one needs to keep a consistent shutter speed or else get jumpy motion, which means even f16/ISO 200 is too bright during the day).  Want to mitigate skew?  Add a steadicam and IS lenses and then avoid certain camera moves entirely.  How about the aliasing?  Still a problem no one's solved very well, but it's semi-managable.

I'm not saying the t2i is unusable.  I would rather have it than virtually any camcorder on a music video shoot or a short film or anything with a crew, because the image is nice and the shallow focus and 24p give it a great "film look." It's democratizing to see so much technology cheap, in terms of stills and video.  But it's a pain.  You can equip it with a telephoto lens, but the skew may be so bad that it will be unusable off a tripod, and IS is almost necessary for handholding over 100mm.  And I find pulling focus to be exceptionally difficult with most modern lenses (the only reason I recommend old lenses, beyond the price, is the long focus throw).

All that said, I quite like the camera so far.  The build quality and optical finder are quite bad but the LCD is excellent and the video seems similar to the 7d's.  It's just that as general purpose video cameras, dSLRs have enormous deficits that you have to work around either through practice or supplemental equipment.  But those problems show their face fast so it's mostly a matter of practice.

Amazon has a deal (check the website slickdeals.com, last Tuesday) for the t2i with kit lens and 55-250mm IS for $750.  Just recently got mine at that price and I'm generally impressed with the camera.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2010, 08:07:05 PM by Policar »

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2010, 10:30:56 PM »
I've done some concerts with the Canon 7D and used the 70-300 IS USM F4-5.6 lens for this out door show go here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCy_tFyOZrI
This video was done hand held.  I used both the zoom and auto focus (where the scenes get white for a split second is the auto focus).  I had no issues as Rita moved around on stage.  I was fairly impressed with the overall outcome except the sound.  To keep the camera stable, I recall sitting with my legs folded and elbow tucked in my belly.

This concert of Bachman-Turner was also hand held and I used the 15-85 E-FS F3.5-5.6 Canon Zoom Lens
go here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcbdgxShhrQ

In the future I will use a tripod or monopod as after awhile it does get burdensome on the wrist.   I've also since acquired the H4N Zoom for audio.  The built in audio mic is a joke on the 7D as well as the stereo mic accessory.  The H4N audio track can easily be synced up with the video using proper software such as Adobe Premiere.  You can use the main audio track as a guide if need be until synced.

PS - stay away from the 1.8 lens.  I had the same initial thought as you and decided to go for the better made 1.4 lens which is worth it IMHO (the 1.2 is overpriced for almost the same quality as the 1.4 - see photozone.de for more insight.  the 50mm is fairly soft on larger apertures especially around the corners - I had to Lens Align mine to sharpen it up a bit as it was front focusing.  I've only used the 1.4 minimally for video and prefer the 15-85 for most video shooting. - Hope this helps 8)
Thanks
Rev
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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2010, 02:16:19 AM »
I have a few months of freelance work with DSLR videos, so I can't quite comment on what a real full-time job would be like. For my own $0.02, I think long lenses are incredibly hard to use without a tripod due to the need to use a shutter speed approximately double the frame rate (1/50s for 24p, etc.). Handholding a 200mm zoom shot at 1/50s??? I don't think so! Plus, on all APS-C bodies, we have to factor in the 1.6x... 320mm at 1/50s is death. IS comes in handy but can only do so much. Now, if you want the handheld look, then this isn't a problem at all. War movies and action flicks might actually benefit if used properly.

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Re: Best Lense for shooting video with Canon T2i
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2010, 02:16:19 AM »