Thinking about taking the dive into video with your Canon DSLR? Hither’southward 5 lenses worth a look.
I’ve been shooting video for about xv years. First using a good ol’ Canon Vixia camcorder; then in 2010 everything changed when I bought the EOS Rebel T2i and entered the earth of DSLR video. I never looked back, somewhen moving to a EOS 60D and so to the brilliant motorcar-focus equipped 70D (seen in photo to a higher place), and to the Catechism EOS 80D. Most recently I’ve been shooting Stark Insider videos and brusk film projects on the (amazing) Panasonic GH5.
If you desire to buy ONE and merely one lens get the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and call information technology a day. Annotation though you’ll need a stabilizer similar a gimbal or tripod as this Sigma doesn’t have prototype stabilization. Otherwise, it’s an absolutely exceptional lens.
Lenses can be confusing. There are many choices. Lots of types (telephoto, prime, macro, fisheye). And a seemingly countless array of manufacturers (Canon, Tamron, Sigma, Zeiss, etc.). I thing I’ve learned: a lens made primarily for taking photos may non necessarily be the best for video.
A quick tip:
If y’all’re getting into DSLR video for the first time I highly recommend you look for a lens with image stabilization. On Canon lenses that feature is usually denoted with “IS” in the model proper name. Without lens stabilization you’ll get what’south called “micro-jiggles” when shooting handheld. You can apply a tripod or some form of rig to correct that outcome, but if you’re like me, y’all’re doing run-northward-gun and shooting documentary style… which leads me to this betoken…
Declaring these detail lenses as “best” for DSLR video is a bit of a misnomer. Permit me admit that right upwardly front. There is no best really. Information technology depends on how you’re planning to use the camera.
First constitute upwardly front what manner of video you’ll be filming.
A narrative feature will have a script and storyboard. Scenes will be advisedly constructed, blocked, lit. In this situation, prime lenses (those with stock-still focal lengths) are usually the best as they offer the sharpest quality image. On the other manus if yous’re shooting a documentary yous may not necessarily know where your subject is going to move, and so a stabilized telephoto may piece of work best.
For Stark Insider, we shoot food & vino, backstage theater, and sit-downwards interview videos. Again, more often than not run-n-gun. I don’t have fourth dimension to fix-up scenes. We are oft, if not ever, fourth dimension constrained. That means a flexible lens that works well in a diversity of situations (also, I usually don’t have the luxury of beingness able to change lenses on the become, and then I usually demand a exercise-it-all).
Invest in Quality Glass When You Can
Some of the best lenses on the marketplace, such every bit the “L” series from Canon, tin toll thousands of dollars. Are they worth it?
Yes and no.
Keep in mind a good lens tin can last a lifetime. Invest in quality once, and you’ll be able to relish it for decades to come, moving information technology from one Canon body (or EF mount camera) to the next. That doesn’t mean that y’all need to spend a fortune mind you. All of the lenses I use listed below are under $1,000 – and, yet, the results can exist perfectly acceptable, even at times astonishing. Again, it comes downward to goals. If you’re planning to projection 4K at a movie theater, well so you’re probably already renting Cinematics Primes or something similar that. On the other hand if you lot’re like me yous’re primarily delivering at 1080p or 4K for the web, and don’t necessarily need a $25,000 lens to get decent results and viewers watching.
In the Cease the Storytelling Matters Almost
I admit it. I become defenseless up too in the hoopla. Panasonic GH4! Sony a7 4K mirrorless cameras! Catechism EOS R5! Wow! Wow! Wow!
Search YouTube and you’ll find endless comparos for cameras and lenses. Cats. Flowers. Buildings. How great it is to test new gear, or, ameliorate still, scout someone else test new gear? Gonzo!
I honey all that stuff… but my advice is not to get too fixated with all the infatuating minutia. Become out there and shoot! Practice. Acquire from your mistakes. Refine your fashion. Instead of searching for the latest comparing sentry some tutorials on composition, editing, and using the camera to create a visual narrative. I’chiliad not quite in that location yet, really. I cringe at my early work, and I cringe ofttimes at my recent work — and so many mistakes. Just keep in mind a lens, a camera… or any piece of gear for that matter, will only get yous so far. A great idea with enough of creative spark could plough out beautifully when shot on but, say, an iPad or iPhone. Subsequently all, compelling storytelling is nigh grabbing our attention, stoking our imagination, and and then engaging a diverseness of homo emotion. No lens solitary, no thing how abrupt, can practise that. That’southward our job, as visual storytellers.
Okay, and then, onto the gear. I’ve listed these in the order that I’d recommend to someone edifice out a collection of lenses from scratch. If yous had all these in your bag I cartel say I think y’all’d be well equipped for just nearly anything (Zombie apocalypse excluded).
5 All-time Lenses for Shooting Video with a Canon DSLR
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/three.v-v.6 IS STM
A bully all-rounder. New to video, and want to buy just one lens to get started? This is the 1. Canon introduced auto-focus for DSLR last year with the revolutionary 70D. Chosen “dual pixel” yous tin can touch the LCD of the 70D and the camera volition automatically focus on a subject, even as it moves – merely like a camcorder. It works brilliantly. This lens which Canon introduced in 2013 features STM (Stepper Motor) which means it focuses with minimal to no noise. That’s great, because with this lens you don’t take to worry about the camera’s microphone picking up unwanted sounds. I’ve been shooting almost recent Stark Insider videos using this one, and it’s never permit me down. Keep in mind this lens is all-time for scenes with good lighting or outdoors.
Most of this video
Wrong’due south What I Do Best
was shot using the eighteen-135mm (for a couple of the shots of San Francisco I used the Sigma mentioned below).
VIDEO EXAMPLE: Canon 18-135mm STM Lens
Wrong’south What I Exercise Best – San Francisco Art Institute from Stark Insider on Vimeo.
The “Corking Fifty” – Catechism EF 50mm f/1.viii II
Catechism makes three 50mm lenses. I similar the cheapest the best. At simply $110 this is an amazing deal. For that you get quality drinking glass that belies its price that works wonders in low lite thanks to its speed (1.8). IS is absent so yous’ll need a (very) steady hand or (preferred) a rig. All the same, I’ve managed to capture filmic like footage handheld with this beauty. Thanks to it glorious bokeh (the unfocused area of the frame) you might just be blown away past the results. The craziest lens deal of all time.
Rokinon Cine 85mm t/one.five De-Clicked Aperture
If yous have the first two lenses I mention above you’re off to a proficient kickoff. Want to go fancier without breaking the bank? Try this Rokinon. It’s a “Cinematics” lens which in this case ways the aperture has been “de-clicked” – so instead of adjusting the f-end using the photographic camera controls, y’all’ll arrange it by rotating the band on the lens. Plainly don’t buy this lens get-go, information technology takes practice. Everything is manual. Then it’s non ideal for run-northward-gun. I withal carry it with me when I have a few extra minutes, specially at night. I tin punch in a cinematic scene and the results are often spectacular. Go along in listen about Canon DSLRs feature a APS-C sensor, meaning they are not full frame (like the Canon 5D Mk III). The crop-cistron is about one.6x. Meaning this lens will in fact consequence in a shot that is more like ~ 130mm. I like this i for filming people from a altitude. Again, that filmic look!
Sigma 18-35mm F1.viii DC HSM L
Sigma set the camera world ablaze with this new lens. All you could hear anyone talk almost in 2013, especially those into DSLR video, was
that new Sigma lens… and its incredible sharpness and overall performance (rivaling that of glass costing two- to 3-times every bit much). Many even suggest that considering this lens is and so skillful that it is in essence three primes in 1: 18, 24, and 35mm. In fact that’south exactly how I care for it. With the above mentioned 3 lenses I’m covered for prototype stabilized zoom from xviii-105mm, have a abrupt 50mm, and cinema 85mm for creative stuff. This Sigma give me wider angles and superb depression-light functioning (F1.8). An instant classic.
Again, no paradigm stabilization. Keep that in mind.
Nonetheless, I shot this cocked (okay, quirky) short
A GIFT FROM ME TO You
video on it handheld, using modest warp stabilizer hither and there in Premiere CC.
VIDEO EXAMPLE: A Gift From Me To You
Sigma 18-35mm Art Lens
Catechism ten-18mm f/4.5-five.6 IS STM Lens
This is a new lens that comes out this summer. I have non tested it. But I’m calculation it to the listing because it’southward (a) simply $300; (b) features STM meaning it volition focus without noise and pairs well with Catechism camera bodies such equally the 70D and T4i/T5i; and (c) should give overnice broad angle shots, especially for outdoors. It has IS and so it should be suitable for handheld piece of work. Information technology’southward not a fast lens (f4.5-5.6) so I’d avoid low low-cal shoots. Note: wait for the reviews on this 1 merely to be sure before y’all buy.
5 Lenses to Rule the World
… and scene!
With these v lenses in your bag, you’re pretty much set for annihilation (invasion of Godzilla excluded). The 18-105mm with STM is a perfect all-rounder, fix for just well-nigh any occasion, easy to apply and nearly silent. It’s on my 70D about 90% of the time. If I want to get some filmic looks I’ll bandy it out for the Catechism 50mm or (if I accept actress time) the Rokinon 85mm. In low light I’ll switch to the astonishing Sigma xviii-35mm and zoom… using my feet! Finally for wide angles I’d use the new Canon 10-18mm STM – I could see this coming in handy, say, for sweeping shots of Napa, San Francisco and in and around Silicon Valley where Stark Insider is based.
What about L Glass?
I didn’t recommend any of Canon’s premium L glass. Am I crazy? Well, okay, you might have a indicate. If you take the budget I’d consider swapping out my #1 lens with a Canon 24-70mm f/two.eight 50. It’s a professional staple. With a pro cost to match: $2,300. Is it worth it? If you lot’re just getting started with video I’d say probably not – there’due south as well much to learn get-go, and besides you tin can get not bad results from the lenses I mention higher up. If yous’re a pro, then you likely already own this lens (or rent information technology). It’southward a classic. Phenomenal performance. Again, think, “best lens” is a very subjective topic.
Parting Thought: The Dazzler of the EF Mount
All of these lenses I’m recommending to a higher place use Canon’southward EF mountain. I beloved it. Among videographers and filmmakers the EF mountain has become an industry standard (much similar PL for loftier terminate piece of work). That means if you decide to have the leap and invest in a so-called cinema camera body, such as the lovely (albeit quirky) Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF or superb Canon EOS Movie house series (C100/300/500), you’ll be able to use all your existing Canon glass. Bellissimo!
Clinton Stark’s five all-time lenses for shooting video with a Catechism DSLR:
Canon EF-S xviii-135mm f/three.5-5.vi IS STM
The “Nifty Fifty” – Canon EF 50mm f/one.eight II
Rokinon Cinematics 85mm t/1.5 De-Clicked Discontinuity
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM L
Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.six IS STM Lens
- I actually like the Catechism 24-105mm f/four USM lens for all-in-one doc/events/run&gun videography. If your budget allows, this versatile lens might exist worth a look.
And finally, higher up all else: have fun shooting video with your DSLR or mirrorless photographic camera!