Lens for video?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Pollic02, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Pollic02 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Hey All,

    Looking into buying a canon t4i within the next weeks and had a few questions about a lens for video. This will be my first dslr so pardon my noobness.

    First of all, is the video quality of this camera (or any camera really) limited by the camera internals or will a really good lens improve the video quality? I ask this because in my research Ive heard about moire and aliasing problems with the t4i and wondering if a better lens will combat this. Are certain lenses better for photos and others better for video?

    Secondly, does anyone have an experience with a fisheye lense for the t4i? Im looking for something to compliment my brothers go pro hero3.

    Thanks! :)

  2. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    The lens will not effect video as much as it will stills and moire and aliasing are more a factor of the sensor as far as I know.

    I would recommend the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 as a run around lens and the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 if you are keen for something on the wide end.

    Both are top of their class and the 17-55mm has IS which you will find very useful when using hand held.
  3. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    As acearchie has already mentioned, it's not really a case of video quality vs photo quality. All Canon lenses will work fine for both, but still be sure to invest in quality glass (the 17-55IS that acearchie suggested is a good one, but watch for dust). The only lens feature that MAY benefit video is the STM auto focus that can be found on some newer Canon lenses. This is only a benefit if you plan on using auto focus in video mode while using the on-board microphone (it's quieter then other focus motors), which I'd advise against anyway. Right now auto focus for video is pretty slow so it's a bit useless. Also, most of these STM motors are found on inexpensive, entry level lenses so you may not get the quality bump you're after. It's also better to use an external mic for audio. The built in is not so great. Hope this helps!
  4. Pollic02 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Thanks for the replies! Im starting to think id be better off with a better body to begin with and put the lenses on hold until I get comfortable with the camera. The prices of those lenses are pretty high for me right now, im really only looking to spend no more than $1000 on a body and lens.

    Kevin- i know a little bit about the STM but dont think i would benefit too much from that as I would like to pull focus myself and i do plan on buying an external mic as well.

    Ace- I read some reviews on those lenses and they seem like solid suggestions. Thanks, but a little overpriced for me right now

    Right now im kinda torn between putting all my eggs in 1 basket so to speak and buy a used GH2 to go mainly video, or to go with something simple that can take nice video and nice pics until i find out which direction i want to go in.
  5. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    I'd highly recommend sticking with what you have. The GH2 is very good, but by no means would it be considered "better" then what you already have. It's not a step up, just a step sideways. Same level of camera. Even comparing your body to the higher end 60D and 7D you'll strain to see the difference because they all have the same sensor. The upgrades in those line of bodies are more about control then pure video quality. IMO the wisest use of your money would be in lenses. If you can't afford a higher end zoom then check out primes (fixed focal lengths with big apertures). Start with a 50mm and go from there. Another benefit of sticking with Canon or Nikon is that their lenses are waaayyyyyyy easier to find second hand. Stick with what you got a build from there.
  6. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    I find the video on the GH2 to be a lot more impressive than the video on Canon's crop dSLRs, but if you don't know what you want to focus on the Canons are nice as they do everything well. Everyone has Canons so for multi-cam shoots it's great. You can use it with the 7D/5D/C300 etc. and it will cut with them all.

    But the hacked GH2 has much nicer video if you don't plan to shoot with other people.

    I agree that a 17-55mm f2.8 zoom is the most generally useful for video (and anyone who claims otherwise is kind of nuts, though everyone's needs vary but it seems you're looking for general purpose). The Sigma is cheaper and very nice.
  7. Pollic02 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    I think im going to stick with the t4i. it will give me some extra cash to spend on glass. I already have a bag/tripod/light kit and some other accessories. The body comes with the 18-55mm and i plan on buying the 40 mm pancake with it as well.

    Have another question tho. My dad has some old lenses that were used on his ae-1 film camera. will they be compatible with the t4i body? im sure they can be added with an adapter but is there anything special i should know about using vintage glass on a dslr?
  8. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    The 40mm lens is nice for the price. You may want to also look at the 50mm 1.4. It may cost a little extra, but it's definitely worth it IMO. Yes you should be able to find an adapter for those old lenses. Just check the writing around the lens to see if they're FD or FL lenses to make sure you get the right one. There's not much to know about using older lenses. Just like modern lenses some are great and some are not so great. That being said the differences might be more noticeable when taking stills compared to shooting video. Regardless, the results should be better then your kit lens if they are primes.
  9. Prodo123, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013

    Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    If you're serious about video then the focus drive should not matter. STM, USM or micro motor, none of them do anything when you're pulling focus. The only thing I'd care about, and only as a convenience factor, is full-time manual focus; this would mean I can autofocus in photo mode and manual focus in video without worrying about switches.

    That said, the Canon 17-55 is a great lens. It has IS (3 stops, not 4), f/2.8 aperture and a standard focal length fit for any shooter. But the focus ring is small and rear-oriented which might throw you off. Also, it's notorious for gathering dust so that might also be an issue.

    Personally if it were up to me I'd go with the 24-105. 4-stop IS, constant aperture, and the best part, a super big focal length range. It may not sound like much, but in crop sensor term this lens stacks up to be a 38.4-168 lens! The f/2.8 aperture of the 17-55 might appeal a little more to photographers, but for video shooters who stay at maximum aperture and 1/60th shutter, the 24-105 will have MUCH shallower depth of field and zoom range, both of which are very important in video.

    So my vote goes to the 24-105.
    (it's also cheaper)

    As for video the only thing that T4i is better at than T3i if you're manual focusing is the stereo mic. If that's important to you then go with the T4i; otherwise save your money and get the T3i.

    The image made by a camera mostly depends on the lens. The 100mm f/2 will produce sharper images than the 18-270 f/3.5-6.3 superzoom. And as I said, there are certain lenses better for photography (e.g. 17-55 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8) and others better for video (24-105mm f/4). But of course you can use any lens for any occasion, and many people do shoot video with the 24-70 and stills with the 24-105.

    Once you pay $600+ for a standard lens you can do just about anything with it. From there on it's not an image quality battle; it's a features battle, with IS and USM being major differentiators.

    As for fisheye lenses, any fisheye lens you get for a DSLR will work. I'd suspect since there is so much distortion in a fisheye already, image quality won't be an issue. I hear the Canon fisheyes are great.
  10. Borntorun macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    I can not recommend a novice DSLR videographer to buy a fast lens (anything faster than f/4). Reason is simple - for video, the depth of field is so shallow at wide apertures that only the most experienced videographer (aided by external equipment), can control the focus accurately enough to take advantage of the Lens's inherent sharpness.

    If you know what you are doing, and have the external equipment (dslr mounting plus focussing kit), AND the experience, go for it.

    Otherwise, you will be dissappointed with the result.

    Get yourself a general purpose lens, such as the 24-105 f/4 L, which is a very decent piece of glass, but without the temptation to throw the aperture wide open and hence ruin shoots due to an inexperienced operator!
  11. Pollic02 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    thanks for the responses everyone, a lot of useful information here! I think the best way for me to use this info would be to borrow/rent some lenses and gear from my friends and see for myself what fits into my shooting style. Out of all the recommended lenses, which would you suggest I rent/borrow/purchase as my first lens (other than the kit lens). Basically, which lens is easiest to work with to use as an all around photo/video lens? Ive been out of the game for a while!
  12. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    If you're on a right budget consider getting some used old prime lenses. Preferably before 1990. They're typically a full metal construction, feature a fast enough aperture depending on focal length (old wide angles tend to be quite a bit slower) but the best part is that they're made for manual focusing so they're much smoother and have a larger throw than cheap modern primes.

    The kicker is the price, I got an off brand 50 f/1.4 for 5$ and an older sigma 28 f/2.8 for 20$. You'll also need an adaptor to use them on your canon body. Sure they're no L glass but they get the job done, especially when it comes to video.
  13. zombiecakes macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2012
    Get a good IS lens and then you can buy old film lenses for really cheap on Ebay to build your prime lens collection. I recommend starting with the Helios 44-2 that runs around $40-50 after international shipping (58mm f2, M42 mount), its used a lot for video, has stylized unique bokeh, and has long slow turning focus.

    DSLR's are really bad about camera shake so if you are doing any walking then a steadicam will help. If everything is done on a tripod then IS doesnt matter.

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