View Full Version : First Lens?

05-01-2009, 02:54 PM
I just ordered the 5D body today. Can't wait, but I am very new to all of this. What would be a first lens to get keeping in mind my primary use will be video. Should it be Nikon or Canon?

Thanks in advance.

05-01-2009, 04:33 PM

Just kidding

This is a good start


Your gonna need both. And definetly without doubt get canon lenses, nikons won't work on it, won't mount at all, just acts as a really expesive paper weight.
Your gonna need good lenses they are more important than the body, they make the picture the camera just stores it. :)
--The Thunderous Production Team

05-01-2009, 05:29 PM
I wish I could afford the first one!

I thought some people were adapting Nikons so that they could adjust Aperture.

05-01-2009, 06:24 PM

get a manual prime 50mm with an aperture ring if you are going to do video. I went with Contax Zeiss (about $300or cheaper) lots of people have gone with Nikon. The Contax adapter I use has AF confirm and they must make the same for Nikon. 50mm is the starter for almost everybody. If you are going to go with a Canon zoom I'd go with the 24-70mm. The ones listed above both miss the 50mm mark which to me is a bit of a sweet spot. I have one and tape the contacts to fix the aperture and it works well. I use my primes alot more.

05-01-2009, 06:49 PM
Sorry, I am sure this is a stupid question, so is the prime 50mm a nikon? And if so, I need to alo by that Contax adpater?

05-01-2009, 10:31 PM
no problem with the questions. Canon is one of a few cameras that can take a lot of different lenses with adapters. There is a Contax/Yashica adapter as well as nikon and a ton of others. The AF confirm is a small chip that tells the camera that a lens is attached and to check for focus. It then flashes when something comes into focus. You need the aperture fairly open to do this and then close down after focus. The only lenses that I would avoid are Canon FD (weird in know) in that it used a lens in the adapter to make the connection.

05-02-2009, 07:37 AM
Thank you for you help. So I was think about going down this path:

1 Buy a Canon 50mm AF lens with EF mount (I don't if EF-s works w/o adapter)
2 Look for an adapter to be able to put on Nikon Lenses.
3 Look for some used Nikon Prime Manual lenses. (maybe two or three)

I would like to keep this around $1500 right now.

05-02-2009, 07:52 AM


Enough info there to get you started.

05-02-2009, 08:58 AM
$1500 should get you set up very well.

05-02-2009, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the links! I have lots more reading to do!

05-02-2009, 10:16 AM
Just got mine delivered from Adorama yesterday. I feel like handing out cigars.

Went to Samy's and picked up a Canon 50mm 1.4 and the moment it's my only lens. The sticker price of the camera was shocking but it actually pained me more to spend $350 on the lens. Go figure.

I'm a newborn when it comes to camera's so in the opinion of someone that doesn't know anything, the 50mm seems to best recreate the perspective of what your eye naturally sees, so it's a good start.

Youtube and Vimeo are also great resources in seeing some of the images you're able to pick up using the different lenses mentioned above.

Congrats. You won't regret it. My only trepidation so far is the fact that I have the equivalent value of a '93 Honda Accord hanging around my neck by a very thin strap. I'm getting over that though.

05-02-2009, 10:24 AM
And another note, lenses are very rentable/tryable. So before going out and spending a couple grand on them, spend a couple bucks to rent some or try them out at your local camera shop to get your hands on them and figure out which ones you like and fit your visual aesthetic. You'll be much happier spending the money after doing the due diligence.

05-02-2009, 11:58 AM

You don't always need to buy the manufacturers brand new lens in order to have the best value. For the price of your 50mm 1.4 new Canon lens, with some careful shopping, you could have bought two or three different lenses.

www.keh.com and Ebay are your friend. For the same price as you paid for a lens that you will not be able to control the aperture on your 50mm 1.4 without a hack (Mylar hack or untwist the lens hack) When I bought my Letus, I bought a pristine Nikon 1.4 AI lens for $90.00. It has a real aperture ring so I can easily manually control my depth of field. I also picked up a like new condition 85mm 1.8 AI Nikon for $150.00. Same deal with control. There are also Leica, Zeiss, Pentax, PL and many other lenses out there.

Nothing wrong with your lens. If you are mainly shooting stills, your Canon lens is awesome and very high quality. But for shooting video, the Canon lenses are somewhat more handicapped than third party lenses. The Nikon AI lenses, in particular, are very popular for shooting video on the 5D MKII because of the manual aperture control and that they look really nice for the money and also have some of the nicest manual focus feel of any non-cine lens ever made.

Lenses, if they have been well taken care of, are something that I feel are a much better value to buy used. Especially if you buy from www.keh.com, they are awesome. Prices are great and they really grade their gear realistically.

Enjoy your lens but when you buy your next one, I would consider stepping out on a limb and buy used and buy creatively. Nothing wrong with Leica, Contax, Zeiss, Nikon and all of the others that you can use on the 5D MKII for video or stills.


05-04-2009, 11:25 AM
Man... I wonder what Samy's return policy is.

Thanks for the link Pure.. I thought the same thing initially. Quality lenses strike me as holding their value the way quality sound equipment does, so I initially did the craigslist search for the lens beforehand. I found all the prices were near or over(?!?) the new listing. I didn't consider any Nikons, but obviously that changes now. Thanks for the tip and the lens suggestions. My KEH search has begun.

05-04-2009, 11:34 AM
I didn't want to talk you out of your Canon lens, it is great but if you are on a tight budget, you can get a lot more bang for your buck, especially if you are mainly interested in video over stills. Besides, if you get heavily invested in Canon glass and the Nikon D400 or whatever the next hot DSLR is comes out, you will be hosed. The Nikon lenses can be used on Canons or Nikon cameras but the Canon lenses are only useful on Canons.

There are some Canon lenses that don't exist in the Nikon line like the 85mm 1.2 that are really sweet lenses but if you are buying normal, reasonably priced lenses, the Nikon AIs are a great value.


Eric Papa
05-04-2009, 09:56 PM
If I was you I would buy the 24-105 f4.0

Your doing this primarily for video, and this lens will give you the most versatility and range. I'm guessing thats why canon packages it with the camera.

There is a huge difference between shooting at ranges 24-105, then opposed to a 50mm and moving the camera back and forth. If all you get is a 50mm, you are crippling yourself!

05-05-2009, 07:04 AM
Thanks everyone for their input. I just got the body today, so I have to get a lens soon!

If I want to by old nikon, is there a "type" or model, or name I should be looking for. Or are all old NIkons made for 35mm cameras?

05-05-2009, 07:47 AM
Nobody told me when I bought my first DSLR that I had just put a down payment of the photography gear I would end up buying. The truth is, my 6 day old 5dmkII is my third DSLR and my lenses are still serving me.

Put the money in the glass. The bodies are disposable.

The 24-70 f2.8 L lens is very nice as is the 50mm you purchase.

05-05-2009, 08:58 AM
Thanks for the tip, Dan. I just purchased the 50 F1.4 AIS from KEH. My first Nikon lens!

What about MF zooms, like the Nikon 80-200mm AIS F4? Would a Nikon zoom work well with the 5DM2?

Pierre N Petit
05-05-2009, 09:18 AM
OLympus om are pretty good too. I bought a 50mm 1.8 for 40$.

05-05-2009, 10:49 AM
This is what Ken Rockwell says about the 80-200 AIS F4...

"This is the best manual focus telephoto zoom for Nikon. Of course if you can find one of the huge (95 mm filter) manual focus 80 - 200mm f/2.8s don't let me stop you, but for my bag I'd get one of these if I wanted a manual focus tele zoom."

I think I may have had one of these back in the day. Nikon has made very few dogs, most of their AI and AIS glass was EXCELLENT.

My only hesitation would be that an F4 lens might be pretty difficult to focus past about 110mm without a split prism screen. With video, it is always nice to have the option of fast glass, but the 80-200 2.8 is much larger, heavier and more expensive than this lens. I prefer primes personally. I have read that the 5D MKII freaks out if you zoom while recording anyway so I prefer primes. Fast zooms are great but usually pretty expensive and primes are, for the most part, faster and higher quality, smaller, lighter and much less money.

Different strokes.


05-05-2009, 04:16 PM
I bought the 50mm 1.4 Zeiss F mount lens and have no regrets. I love it.

Of course I bought it knowing that I will soon after buy a 24mm or 28mm.

I also agree with Pure on the zoom idea. I don't plan on doing many zooms. I prefer primes.

05-05-2009, 04:40 PM
OK.. Nobody had any descent options for a canon lens locally, But I did find a Sigma 28-90 AF new for $15. At least I can start playing until I find a Nikon adapter and lenses.

05-05-2009, 10:14 PM
And definitely go with a Kawa adapter from Ebay.

I originally went with a Novoflex but they sent me the wrong one so I immediately ordered a Kawa figuring I had nothing to lose since it was only 8 bucks. Well I put it on and it was totally worth it.

Pierre N Petit
05-06-2009, 07:30 AM
You might want to order more then one adaptor that way it is faster to change lenses.

05-06-2009, 07:59 AM
OK, so Nikon glass gives you control over the aperture, but you still have no control over the shutter speed and ISO, right?

I realize this isn't a run-n-gun camera, but are you able to manipulate the 5DM2 fairly easily & quickly in order to get the shutter speed & ISO you want?

Basically, I've got a summer camp video gig starting up in the middle of June. I'll be traveling all over the States shooting camp footage - mostly b-roll, with a few interviews here and there. I'd love to use the 5DM2, but I'm afraid I'll miss key shots if I'm having to dork around too much with the shutter speed and ISO.

I'm still on the fence - 5DM2 or GH1? But at least my Nikkor 50mm F1.4 AIS is in the mail! I'll use it no matter which camera I buy.

BTW, I already own the Canon 40D w/ 24-105mm, 100mm macro, remote timer, etc. And the Zoom H4n.

(If I didn't already own Canon gear then it would probably be a no-brainer - I'd buy the GH-1).

05-06-2009, 09:06 AM
You do have some control over the shutter speed and aperture but you have to fool the camera into the settings you want to use. Yes, a drag but that is the way it is. At least us Nikon users can control DOF. I am going to be running some experiments using gray scale cards on my iPod Touch to hold up to the lens. I have read and spoken with some who are doing this and they can control the shutter speed and aperture within a certain amount of presets.

GH1 is not available yet. It is so hot, you may not be able to get your hands on one until July easily, possibly August. My 5D MKII is arriving this morning and I will pick up the GH1 in a few months.


05-06-2009, 11:56 AM
At the moment I'm investigating Leica R glass (S/H of course!), or possibly Contax. Prices are a bit steep-ish.
I don't have teh MkII yet, but I do have a MkI to put them on. Problem is I have several boring things I have to spend money on, you know Mortgage, food, untilities, insurance, and on and on... :violin:

05-06-2009, 03:56 PM
I am going to be running some experiments using gray scale cards on my iPod Touch to hold up to the lens. I have read and spoken with some who are doing this and they can control the shutter speed and aperture within a certain amount of presets.

Woah. Interesting solution. I don't own an iPod Touch, so I may have to wait for the supposed firmware update (if I buy the 5DM2).

Are you thinking this will be the quickest way to adjust the shutter speed? Is that what you've read?

I'll be curious to hear your results.

Pierre N Petit
05-06-2009, 07:50 PM
Writing an app for the iphone(ipod touch) could be interesting.

05-06-2009, 08:28 PM
You don't even need an application, just create your gray cards in Photoshop, take measurements, check calibration and label them. You really only need two or three repeatable settings for most situations as far as shutter speeds and ISO care considered.


05-06-2009, 08:49 PM
You really only need two or three repeatable settings for most situations as far as shutter speeds and ISO care considered.


Two or three settings? You're talking about settings that can be programed into the 5DM2??? Is that what you mean?

I thought all of your settings - aperture, shutter speed, ISO - were flushed down the toilet after each video recording?

05-06-2009, 08:55 PM
No, no, you aren't understanding the concept. By covering the lens of the 5D MKII with a screen from an iPhone or iPod Touch that is exhibiting a specific level of gray card on it's screen, the process of guiding the camera toward the same ISO and shutter speed becomes, in theory, repeatable. Yes, you would still have to do it for each take, but if it becomes repeatable, that could save a lot of time and effort and could make repeated takes look the same.


05-06-2009, 09:04 PM
Got it. I'm following you now.


Pierre N Petit
05-06-2009, 09:14 PM
I'm gonna try it this week end. Maybe we can share our results!

05-07-2009, 07:00 AM
I know, a gray card, once it is read and accurately tabulated, should be the same for everyone. Heck, I see a little niche market here for iPhone "virtual' gray cards. Especially if they were all measured out and labeled so that you could easily find one.

It would be pretty cool if you could hold up a gray card labeled (f2.8, ISO 200, shutter speed 1/60) and cover the lens and if it worked to set all of the parameters correctly. I have read a few threads over on the Cinema 5D site of a few people who are doing this.