Lens Choice

So as a photographer/cinematographer/artist/etc, the tools we use should not define who we are or what they do. Instead they should just enhance what we are capable. You don’t see painters arrogantly saying you need paint x or brush x to be a serious artist. I don’t hear writers saying you need to use a typewriter or pen and ink only to be a serious writer (though some might). But as photographers and film makers, we have a tendency to do that. I have a tendency to do that, though not as much as I might have. However, what is used can make a massive difference or no difference at all if you are smart enough.

My main still camera is a Canon EOS 60D. For a while it was also my primary video camera as well. I shot all of my short form documentaries for AGWM on it. It served me well. Lens wise I only had the stock 18-135mm, a cheap nifty 50, and my lensbaby composer w/ double glass optic. But after a while i do begin to see the downfall of the video quality. The footage looks a bit aged in comparison to newer camera outside of the canon line due to the fact that canon hasn’t updated the codec. But that’s a different matter. When it came to lenses i worked with what I had and I would like to do a damn good job with it. Sure better glass will produce better results. That is very true, and something better optically than my zoom lens would have been nice. But it worked and I wouldn’t change that. It still works great for photography.

My Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a different matter. This is a M43 mount camera. I only own 1 lens for it and it is only ok. Its a 15mm f8 body cap lens. The rest of my lenses for it are old vintage Canon FD lenses. Why? Because they are cheap and work great. Most everything you’ll see on this blog from the BMPCC will be an old FD lens.

“How hipster of you.”

Sure, why not. The truth is lenses are expensive and I’m poor and unemployed. So spend over $300 on one lens or spend just over $100 for 4 quality legacy glass and an adapter. You do the math. I have a 50mm 1.8, 28mm f 2.8, a 35-75mm, and a 70-210mm. I think I am doing ok. Sure there is a crop factor and it makes getting wider interior shots a bit more of a challenge, but you work with what you’ve got. And at the end of the day, these lenses work great and produce some very nice results. This is especially true when working with the Cinema DNG format

My lens choice isn’t me trying to make a statement or show off. Its about being practical. Sure i’d love a Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 art lens or some killer Zeiss CP2 cinema lenses. I mean, WHO WOULDN’T?! When it comes down to film and photography, it is more of what you are capable with what you have then only using expensive high end equipment. A poorly shot photo video/photo on high end glass is still a poorly shot photo/video. This is the gear I am taking with me to film a friend’s wedding in Canada in August (plus a rented Lumix GH4, my 60D doesn’t cut it for wedding ceremonies these days) and I guarantee I can make the final product look great because I know my equipment and I know my craft. These are merely the tools that make the art, not the art itself.

lens choice


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