Should I Lens upgrade or other?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by matteusclement, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    This is a serious question, just not a gear slut who's bored....
    Business is well and i am looking to the future.

    I have a video production company. You can see my work here:
    I seem to use the 28, 40 and 55mm the most of all my lenses. As you can see in my videos, I do a lot of handheld.
    I am a one man crew, so portability and ease of setup is key.

    CURRENT GEAR (for context)
    - 5dii & T2i
    - 28mm, 55mm, 135 Takumar Pentax lenses (adapted)
    - Canon 40mm & 18-55mm w/ IS
    - 2ft slider w/ motor
    - Aluminum manfrotto tripod with fluid head
    - Rode video mic pro (because plural eyes came with it)
    - Zoom H2 audio recorder
    - Seinhausser G3 Wireless audio
    - Zucutto eye view finder for 5dii
    - 128 LED light (battery powered)
    - Reflector

    And a 12 core computer with 32GB ram, SSD's and 10TB storage.

    Like I said, business is good and I like to invest when I am a little more flush with cash. My next camera will most likely be a C100 (I'm sure about this actually, so let's not talk bodies).

    I feel that lenses are the way I should head right now as I have most of the "tools" (sliders, audio gear, computer).

    I have my eye on:
    - Zeiss' 50mm F1.4 right now as I love the contrast, tone and sharpness of the lens and I use manual focus only. When I use 50mm, it's always on a tripod
    - Canon's 28mm w/ IS as I go hand held alot. (but depending on the Zeiss 50mm, I might go with Zeiss 28mm)
    - Canon's 24-105 F4 L-series looks appealing only because I have a lead on a factory fresh one for $800.

    What are your thoughts?

    THANK YOU!!!!
  2. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    good lenses are always a great investment - go for it. i borrowed a zeiss zf 35/2.0 some time ago. great lens.

    i am roughly in the same boat as you - one man crew, 2 cams (pana af100 & gh3), a little equipment - some good, some not so much,...
    i just have to get some things first (wireless audio, more lights, a new directional microphone,...), before buying new lenses.

    one thing that's missing from your list is some good lighting equipment. having said that - it's probably much cheaper to rent lights when you need them (i can get an arri 3x650w set for € 35/day vs. around € 1300 if i bought them)

    another thing that i'm really happy i bought is my steadicam merlin.
  3. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    I'd say a wide angle lens and a glide cam. Something like a 20mm for you 5dmII or the tokina 11-16 for the t2i. I think it provides a different shot that you can't get with your current lens setup.
  4. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    I was thinking the same thing... it's a stylistic shot that I don't have.

    I went through the same thing with my slider, thinking that "i never use that shot" but it was because i didn't have the gear to do it!!!

    the 28 with IS and a glidecam would be a good combo!

    AS per the lights... it's tough.....
    Alot of what I shoot is in natural light. My 128LED runs on batteries and makes a great fill light.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The 50mm Zeiss lens might look sharp to YOU but by the time the video is delivered to the target audience none of then will be able to see the difference as they view it on their phone. What you should invest in are things that allow you to do DIFFERENT THINGS that you can't do at present. Small incremental technical improvements will not do much for you

    From looking at your videos the things you don't do are big dramatic camera movements. dolly/boom shots. But maybe you just don't like those or don't have the gear. I don't know. I don't see that "in your face" ultra wide hand gel look either. For that mater none of your work is under water either. To get bigger you need to expand the genre you can shoot. You have to decide which why to move.

    Bottom line: Buy gear that allows you to expand the kinds of work you can do. That is the only gear you can justify is an "investment"
  6. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    I'd go with the 20mm on the full frame, although that is a personal preference. The canon 70-200 2.8 IS is a nice all-around lens to have that allows you to go handheld if needed. Another cool option I've used is an extension tube and put it on a 50 f1.8 or your 55 if it's a fast lens for a nice shallow depth of field.
  7. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
  8. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    A jib can be nice depending on your shooting situations. Will you have time to setup? With a one man show, it's another unload trip and somewhat of a large item. I will say though, a glidecam can get a similar shot with practice (if you're tall and your comparing it to a small jib).
  9. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I love the Rokinon Cine lenses.
    I have the 24mm, 35mm and 85mm.
    The 85mm is amazing for up close and personal subjects.
    You also cant go wrong with Zeiss 50mm.
    I wish there was a Cine version of that.
    Im sure Duclos can make one but thatll cost big time.
    I need a 50mm and def a big zoom like 70-200mm.
    I also have a Tokina 11-16mm.
    Great cheap lense better for my since I have RED Scarlet and need that small tight number for high frame rate shooting.
    Would like a 24-70mm but need faster lenses for my taste.
    For the fure, Im saving up for Zeiss Super Speeds ;)

    P.s. the new Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 is getting rave reviews and hard to find.
  10. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    I have that one, great size and easy to carry/setup plus it gets into tight places when a larger one can't. I also use this as a hand held option to move around if need be as it adds stability over other options.

    Get the extra base plate for $29 so a larger camera (C100) will fit later on and you are not trying to make things fit "until".

    I also have the Kessler Tripod and their tripod head, thing is built like a tank and since it can hold 500lbs, tripod head 150lbs it is future proof. Also if you put a seat on it that will hold 300lbs to push/pull a person around giving you more growth in the future.

    I would say if you can go the extra for the case for the pocket jib traveler do it because I opted not to and regret it :( I bought another brand to save some cash but after getting the Tripod/head combo with the case it was stupid to go without fwiw. Last the bar to hold the weight at the balance end is a 1 inch bar so the hole for weights needs to be well 1 inch minimum and usually 10 lbs for me is a good counter give or take say your wireless unit and later your C100 purchase :)

    I keep my NX70, 5" LCD, mic and tripod head on the PJT and it levels out very nice. Don't use bag weights because of the swinging back movement. The plastic weights work better also than the metal ones as I don't do the metal on metal if I can help it, just my preference.

    I did purchase another brand before hand and sent it back. Kessler has really impressed me all around with their stuff so it's worth a strong look, I don't think you will be sorry as it's more than just a small jib :D
  11. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Thanks artful dodger

    Hey artful dodger,
    Do you have any shots with the jib I could see?

    Glad to hear your feedback (and warnings)!

    To the others, I know it's more set up time but judging by how fast Philip bloom we it up in his review, I think its safe to say the Kessler crane is a fast little job to start up
  12. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    I will post a couple hopefully tomorrow as this weekend and tomorrow are a bit busy. I can say that before getting the tripod from Kessler that my Manfrotto legs are nice (Carbon Fibre units) though I felt they needed to be weighted down even with the jib having a counter balance. I think my CF legs were too light for the setup but others may disagree. I feel better now with a heavier leg setup fwiw.
  13. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    do you have some samples that I can look at?
    I have been curious about the Rokinon Cine lenses...
  14. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Here is one link at REDUSER.

    I am sure there are more out there.
    I just picked up a PL mount a Mattebox and soon Follow Focus.
    Im leaning towards Cine more and probably will never buy anything other than EF-Cine or PL lenses.

    My Scarlet (and future EPIC) dont play nice with electronics e.g Sigma 18-35.
  15. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Ok finally able to upload the photos :cool:
    The first ones should be with the lowest tripod height and then at it's max.

    I used a garage for perspective.

    Attached Files:

  16. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Glass with manual aperture rings is always safe ground. RED Cameras support Canon glass which is nice but they don't support some and if things get glitchy you don't want to have to swap the lens on a Canon DSLR body just to change the aperture...I think an 85mm is a neccessary lens, I have the 85 1.8 and I love it to death, for me it creates a look that almost defines cinema with its close up shot and dreamy bokeh...that said the 70-200 could fill that void but I'm more of a prime lens guy even if its a pain to swap during times where I'd need say a zoom lens from 24-105. If you have Zeiss glass you get a unique look and I disagree with saying it doesnt matter with the end look because it does and will show (albeit small). Plus Zeiss glass with manual apertures future proof you as I said so if you have rented an EPIC you don't have to worry...
  17. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Just an update.

    I realized that a follow focus was probably a good investment as I pull focus ALOT (my friends say "it's your THING")

    After that, the glass sounds like a good bet, especially my 28mm! The f3.5 is too soft. I am looking at the canon 28mm f1.8 then the 85mm f1.8.

    BUT that damn jib looks SO SEXY.... so maybe that before the glass?
  18. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2013
    Rokinons, Alzo Lights, Kino, Atomos Ninja, etc.


    Good looking videos!

    Another one man video outfit here. I agree with ChrisA about adding new capabilities to your arsenal as far as value goes.

    My take:


    1. ATOMOS NINJA: When you get the C100, save some moolah for a Ninja and SSD drives so you can record out 10 bit 422 if you like and bypass the craptacular 4:2:0 internal compression. Then you basically have a C300 for one third the price. Add to that the 1.4 Cine Rokinons and you will have the fastest cheapest FF/low light camera king!


    1. ROKINONS: I have the 24, 35, and 85 and they are all probably the best value you can get cine-lens wise, all the more-so if you use a follow focus or do low light work. Fast, sharp, and clickless. I have the Zeiss 50mm ZE and I don't think it is anywhere near as good as its brethren. Rokinons also have rebates from time to time. Rokinons today, Zeiss tomorrow.

    1a. Red Rock Follow Focus Blue. A good solid FF.


    Investing in good audio is even better value than computers or camera bodies which last a few years at most (though not as interesting to cameramen). Good mics will last decades if you take care. Unless you are into silent movies, you will be doing audio on every take of every shoot so you will get full value out of these things even if they are pricey. Will you use a jib or any other specialty tool for every single take?

    2. SANKEN COS LAVs: I also have the Sennheiser wireless but the lavs they come with stink. The Sanken Cos are about $400-$600 but they are great. Get the RF resistant ones.

    2a. OUTDOOR AUDIO: Sennheiser 416 is also great value at $1k. (I used the ME 66 and 64 for a decade and I regret not spending the extra $500 at the time which would've been a measily extra $50 a year. I never realized how mediocre my audio was until I used them side by side with more expensive mics)

    INDOOR AUDIO: the Schoeps CMC6 w/41 module. $1900. Buy once, cry once. It will still be working for you when you are on to your 8k holographic camera. Think of the time and money you can save in post not trying to clean up extraneous noises.

    3. Sound Devices 302: If you get good mics then a decent mixer/recorder is necessary. But that implies you are hiring a sound guy to lug it around.

    3a. Zoom H6N: If you are always strictly a one man band then the H6N should still have much better preamps than the H2n or H4n.

    Enough audio, back to cameras:

    4. PICO DOLLY: $70 plus a ball head. If you want longer dolly shots than a slider can give or dolly shots in places a slider can't go, or go quickly. Small & lightweight.

    4a. STEDDIEPOD: About $500. You can get some good 'steadycam' shots with it using a stripped down light camera. Balancing it only takes about a minute. You can flip it into low mode instantly. You can also telescope it up about 10 ft high or extend it over a railing. Needs a monitor though. I have also mounted B cams on it in tight spaces where a tripod wouldn't fit.

    5. CAR MOUNTS: Get some suction cup car mount gear (Filmtools has all this stuff) build up your car rigs a piece at a time and add a new dimension to your capabilities. You can also suction cup a camera or small LED light to different surfaces.

    5a. MATHEWS GRIP GEAR: Basic 5/8 & 3/8 Mathews grip kit is all around great for mounting cameras & lights when you don't want to carry a bunch of stands.


    6. ALZO PAN L 2 bank / 4 bank: $350-$400. I've gotten good mileage out of these fluorescent units. They are on sale periodically. Swap out the crappy bulbs they come with for KINO tubes. $23 a pop vs. $13 (on sale at Filmtools) but your light will be clean and you color balancing done for you on set. Also the Kino CFLs are good but they don't deliver the most output.

    I have some cheap ALZO LEDs but I have found that most LEDs have crappy color rendition unless they are expensive ones.


    7. RAZOR led luminaires from Cinemills look pretty cool. Basically LED versions of KINOs. You can build your light unit one $40 tube at a time. You can link up to 8 together to make bigger lights, either wide or tall, mount them to your camera, or tuck individual units around the place. High CRI so they say.

    8. Lowell / Arri Light with a softbox: as a keylight it is a great value. The light wrapping is more flattering than fluorescents or LEDs I think.


    9. Blackmagic Pocket Camera: B camera, car mounts, lightweight glidecam camera or if you just need a better dynamic range option. (With Voigtlander .095 lenses)

    10. THINKTANK/LOWEPRO ROLLING SUITCASE: If you don't have it already, a good rolling case to carry all this junk around so you don't break your back.

    Sorry for the long reply. I am still waiting for Premiere to finish rendering...
  19. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    I just looked up 100 things to do while waiting for your video to render lmao. This is great advice anyways! See rendering IS AWESOME, it lets you go on creative tangents like this!
  20. matteusclement, Nov 13, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013

    matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    where can i find ROKINONS in canada?

    What the difference (besides declicking) between the cine and regular rokinon?

    I'm having a hard time finding the ROKINONS 24, 35, and 85 in Canada.

    If I have to I can do an American company but the tariffs and brokerage have killed me in the past.
  21. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    No diff I hear, same glass just de-clicked and with a Cine body.
    Mind you the 24/85 dont play nice with my Cinevate Durus Follow Focus.
    Teeth barely touch but thats due to my current Studio 19mm setup.
    I purchased all my Rokinons from BHPhoto.
    With BHPhoto, you have the option of adding the duty/taxes.
    Its hard to find those lenses nowadays.
    If I went PL, Id sell mine but they are awesome EF Cine lenses ;)
  22. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2013
    Cine / Non Cine Rokinon differences


    1. Focus gearing and aperture gearing. Something tells me they aren't strong enough for motorized. But whoever wants to test them...

    2. Focus marks are on the side for ACs, rather than the top.

    3. T stops not F stops, if that matters to you.

    4. The name Rokinon as opposed to Samyang or Bowers. If you like your lenses with multiple personality disorder, this could be for you.

    5. A completely minor yet compelling practical advantage of the Rokinon cines is that without the larger geared rings you have to attach to still lenses when using FFs, you can squeeze more lenses into your lens bag when you are running and gunning. No wasted space when packing, no pulling gears off and on or futzing with them to get them back into alignment.

    re: mBox.

    I had a similar problem with the Rokinon geared teeth not touching my Red Rock FF after I put a CoolLCD antitwist plate onto my 5d which put it just out of reach. I then had to buy the Red Rock gears which defeated the cost savings of a geared lens. (You get a better focus throw though).

    Then I realized the ultimate solution to antitwist plates! I just added an extra tie down screw to the back of my Manfrotto plate (a longer one) and screwed down a cold shoe onto the Manfrotto plate, right behind the 5d, wedging it in place.

    Now the 5d doesn't twist, the Rokinon gears mate perfectly with the Red Rock focus, all the lenses fit neatly into my bags again, and I only had to waste $150 bucks to realize it was a $5.00 solution all along!

    Anyone interested in purchasing some slightly used Red Rock gears and a coolLCD antitwist plate for 5d2, feel free to inquire.
  23. Policar, Nov 14, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013

    Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    I have always found jibs to be a pain because you need a way to pull focus wirelessly unless you really limit your moves and they are difficult to set up without some help. They provide a really cool look for outside establishing shots, and with the 70D or upgraded C100 you could use autofocus with one presumably. The old Kessler jib I tried was ok; it had a remote head that was not as smooth as I would have liked, but it worked well otherwise. Big and heavy, though, given that it's designed for small cameras.

    As for lights, for dramatic stuff I want everything I can get my hands on. For ENG, documentary, corporate, etc. I often find the LEDs to be the most useful. The kinflo diva is ok, too, but expensive and it dims poorly, shifting color toward magenta. Having a few LEDs (key, kicker, background, then of course the reflector for fill) and some diff and gels (CTO and minus green and plus green) to modify them helps, though. C-stands and flags are nice, or at least some duvy.

    As for lenses, my favorite lenses on the C100 (11-16mm Tokina, 18-35mm Sigma, 70-200mm f2.8 II IS Canon) are not my favorite on the 5D (ok, the 70-200mm is great on everything). The Rokinons are fine… 24mm is not great until stopped down to f2, 35mm f1.4 is excellent, 85mm f1.4 is very good and they pair well with the excellent Sigma 50mm f1.4 or the also-good and less expensive 50mm f1.4 Canon and work on both cameras, just add the 16mm f2 to the C100 to go wider. There is a LOT to be said for the 24-105mm on both the C100 and 5D. The C100 is so light-sensitive that it's all you really need and the lens provides a nice FOV on both. It's a pretty good lens, too, just not that fast. The original 24-70mm is ok but not that sharp. Still a good choice, just expensive. Seen a few copies of the 24-70mm II, never used one, but the build quality is great and users rave about it. :/ I love the super speeds, too, but not for smaller shoots, and not for corporate… their look is too edgy and of course they are PL mount only. I am not however overly impressed by the Zeiss Compact Primes and ZE/ZF lenses, then again I have never used them, but I have posted footage shot on them (intercut with S4is, which blew them away). They don't seem much better than the competition, but they cost a lot more. They rent well, however, due to the Zeiss name. But I'm not sure Zeiss' 50mm f1.4 is any better (or worse) than the Canon or Sigma and it costs more. Never used the Canon 28mm f1.8, but the 50mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.8 are great. They are all a little soft wide open, of course.

    Fwiw, my current kit on my C100 is 11-16mm f2.8 Tokina, 18-35mm f1.8 Sigma, 50mm f1.4 Sigma, and 70-200mm f2.8 II IS Canon. I have lots more lenses but rarely bring them along anymore. The Sigma 18-35mm is amazingly sharp and useful, but doesn't cover FF. If you didn't need FF I'd say skip the Rokinons and get the Sigma for sure. I can't praise the Sigma highly enough for video, though. At f1.8 it is already sharp and it gives you the elusive "3D" look. It replaces 18mm, 24mm, and 35mm primes. Build quality is great and it's near-parfocal with very little breathing. Just phenomenal for the money.

    As regards follow focuses, there are a lot of ok ones and a lot of great expensive ones (the Redrock one is a nice compromise) but for the money the Fotga DP500 II follow focus is unreal, then just buy some lens gears. $150 and really quite good. Not the smoothest but still smooth with very little to no play and the small gear makes the focus thrown on SLR lenses sufficient. Nice big markable disk and hard stops. Great for the money.

    catonfire's recommendations are good. Particularly for audio. The 416 (or increasingly the MKH60 or NTG3, which is less directional but sounds very similar) and Schoeps are the mics to have. 416 outdoors, Schoeps indoors. I have the 416 and it is indeed nice but the Schoeps is rich for my blood, although it sounds great. The Oktava MK012 is a decent substitute (or so they tell me). I disagree strongly about the lights and Black Magic pocket camera, but otherwise good recommendations.

    Ultimately, this is a business. Get what makes you money, so get what your clients want that you feel you can utilize well and often. A jib does increase production value immediately, but it's only of limited utility. Those old lenses have a beautiful look but high end newer ones "pop" more, less flare and more microcontrast wide open.

    Another option: just stop down to f4/f5.6. Your lenses will be sharp there and you will still have shallow focus from shooting FF.
  24. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Policar, catonfire, and nateo200 you have been SUPER awesome.

    Catonfire, you gave some great gear advice for the next 3 years! LOL.

    I have looked at the video world as well as the consumer world and really believe that HD 1080 is going to be around for the masses for at least another 4-5 years.

    I see the cost of 4k TV's and monitors and using a little bit of Moore's Law, I figure that 4k will be in the majority of houses. I also look at the cost of speed of internet bandwith, which is another major factor I think of with my clients and the recieving consumer.

    With all that in mind, I think that the Blackmagic Pocket Camera is a better option right now, leaving me with more $$$$ for lights, sound, etc. Then as I get better and charge more, a 4k camera will make more sense.

    I believe that the manual lenses are the way to go. I love full control. I can adapt my canon and pentax lenses to the BMPC.
  25. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Already mentioned but the importance of an external recorder is important so I'll bring it up again! Being able to pull 10-bit 4:2:2 or even 8-bit 4:2:2 is a HUGE game changer and even if you get something like an Intensity Shuttle that needs to be tethered to a computer its great because if you have a scene that really needs that extra color or dynamic range or whatever you capture it (albeit difficult with a computer tethered but still possible). Going from 8-bit to 10-bit is beautiful though, I'm not sure if the C100 does it I was under the impression it still only did 8-bit 4:2:2 but regardless its still better than 8-bit 4:2:0 compressed AVCHD or MPEG-2. Atmos Ninja is going to be one of the best external recorders, if you want cheaper Blackmagic Hypershuttle 2 will get the job done but its more fragile and I keep hearing about broken BNC connectors (for the HD-SDI in and out) from very little field abuse but it is substantially cheaper and other than sensitive BNC connectors it seams to work fine....just keep in mind timecode over HDMI is NOT standard and so HD-SDI is better if you can afford a recorder with it...HD-SDI also has a more professional connection (BNC) that are less likely to fall out vs HDMI although I've never had massive issues with HDMI cables falling out and they do make locking HDMI cables that will port on any device very well.

    As for 4K...yes it will be some time but don't completely ignore it. 1080p/2K is fine for most things but if you ever feel a project might be worth capturing in the best quality you could always rent a RED Scarlet or RED Epic and get your feet wet with that type of workflow which really isn't that bad. I hesitate to say 4K capture makes things future proof and that 4K is the only way to capture as RED does plenty of brain washing with that (don't get me wrong I love RED but they bash anything that isn't an Epic...) but it does have some merit...that said a good movie in "only" 1080p beats someone who thought having a RED Epic would automatically make everything better.

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