Can you recommend a lens for the Brevis to use with an HPX-170?
I'm planning on shooting a music video, and want to have shallow depth-of-field for full to half body shots.
What kind of lens would I need?
A telephoto lens perhaps? I would appreciate some recommendations; would be great if it was something in the affordable range too.
Thanks a lot!
Oh, and if it helps, here's some music videos that have a similar feel to what I'm going for:
Results 1 to 10 of 12
12-05-2011 09:49 PM
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- Jun 2008
12-07-2011 09:02 PM
In regards to lenses, I would say there are definitely plenty of places where you can find a reasonably priced selection but you just have to know where to look. As you most likely already know, EBay is a good place to start and I would strongly suggest looking for faster glass. Nevertheless, as with any lens, faster glass doesn't necessarily mean a better image. Build quality is a big contributor to whether or not a lens offers a great result. Also, there are a multitude of determining factors in which to consider (i.e. chromatic aberration, edge to edge sharpness, vignetting, etc., all of which you should ideally try to avoid). I would suggest sticking to manual lenses (primes if possible, since they are generally faster and give you nicer DOF) in order to keep costs to a minimum. I could go on and on about how many excellent options there are, however, I'll keep it brief and you can do your own research and make an educated decision. I'll narrow it down to three possibilities and keep it simple.1.) Canon FD lenses:Very affordable and retain nice skin tones. If you are looking to do a lot of close ups or will be shooting mostly faces, this is absolutely a great choice. Unfortunely, FD's tend to soften your image and the breech-lock versions (older FD lenses) are heavier, bulkier and can be a pain to change lenses frequently. Although, some people like older FD's due to their solid (metal) construction. Try to stick with the newer FD's IMO (plastic construction, therefore extremely light).2.) Nikon F mount lenses:Great contrast, sharper lenses for the most part (compared to Canon FD's in particular). Very affordable glass as well. The thing about Nikon lenses, however, is that everything is basically backwards (meaning you would have to pull focus the other way, etc.).3.) Zeiss ZF's and ZF.2's:Cost more (comparatively speaking), although the images these lenses produce is amazing. Fortunately, they also use a Nikon F mount so if you brought a single $20 mount adapter from Cinevate (Nikon F mount) you could interchange between the two brands seamlessly. If it's Depth of Field your after, any one of these choices are good alternatives to cost-friendly lenses and each provides it's very own aesthetic. Personally, I would start with a good 50mm, then 85mm and work your way from there. By the way, I was only able to view the first video (since I'm on my mobile) so I'm sorry if I wasnt too technical as far your specific look is concerned. As I said, do your research and good luck finding some nice glass. -B
Last edited by bgodoy; 12-07-2011 at 09:49 PM.
01-09-2012 02:17 AM
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- Jun 2008
Thanks so much for the detailed feedback!! I've been using it as the guide for my lens search this month!
I ordered this one: Canon FD Zoom Lens 100-300mm 1:5.6
Any idea about this one? If this doesn't work out, I was thinking of getting a prime 200mm possibly or maybe even a 400mm.
01-09-2012 04:58 AM
Don't bother with a 200 or 400. Your zoom lens will cover all your telephoto requirements. You may find quality deteriorates at either extreme and you won't be able to get the camera physically very close to the subject in any meaningful way. Also f5.6 is very slow. You will find you have quite a dark image with the lens adapter.
You will want to get at least 3 lenses in principle to give yourself options in any given situation. A very rough guide follows:
1. WIDE ANGLE. These lenses have a wider angle of view than that of the human eye. Extreme wide angle (fisheye lenses 8mm/16mm) can view up to 180 degrees like a fish. You can get get physically quite close to your subject with these lenses (within a couple of feet) and still capture some of the background. The shorter the focal length the wider the angle and the greater the depth of field (easier to focus).
2. STANDARD. A standard lens most approximates the human eye. From memory its 40 something degrees of view. You could get by with just a standard lens but it is more cinematic to mix it up. Common standards are 50mm or 85mm. The 35mm is technically a wide angle but is close enough to standard to substitute in situations that call for it, in a pinch. An 85mm is a lot more expensive and lets you stand further from your subject. A 50mm is a good all rounder but you will be right up in their face for a close up (will make inexperienced actors self conscious). It will never hurt to have one in your arsenal and are amongst the cheapest lenses available, even the fast ones (more on this later).
3. TELEPHOTO. A telephoto lens has an angle of view shallower than the human eye (most less than 20 degrees of view). You will need to place the camera quite far from the subject to get any meaningful framing. If the camera is only a few feet from the subject it is going to be a close up no matter what you do. Telephoto lenses have the shallowest depth of field and the narrowest angle of view. They are the hardest to focus and have the most 'blurriness'. Telephoto lenses are focal lengths larger than 100mm. You won't often need longer than 200mm outside of sports photography, bird watching and private investigation. .
Other than focal length (what I described above) you have lens speed, the f number on the lens designation. It refers to how much light is lost. Fast (low number) is better. Because your lens adapter is already costing you at least one stop of light it is important to have fast lenses. You want to aim for f1.4 but this will get very expensive, especially for wide angle and telephoto lenses. Best bang for buck aim for f2-2.8 for wides, f1.8-2 for standards and f2.8-4 for telephoto. If you go for off-brand lenses some very fast lenses become affordable but the build quality and often the optics may be inferior. Losing light means you need to use brighter lights and will often result in a bright centre and dark corners in the image (vignetting). You will inevitably experience at least mild vignetting with a lens adapter but it will be more extreme the higher the f value.
Lenses are also divided into PRIMEs and ZOOMs. Primes have fixed focal length, Zooms have variable focal length, allowing them to zoom in and out (obviously). Zooms make for easier setup (if you are too close or too far you don't need to move the camera) but are optically inferior to primes. They also may distort towards its focal extremes. By definition they are slower (lose more light). They may have variable speed (eg 28-85mm/f3.5~4.5), zooms with fixed speed (eg 35-135mm/f3.5) are superior and preferable. Primes on the other hand have fixed focal length so you will need to physically move the camera closer/further to frame your shots. They are faster, cheaper (individually), optically superior but you will ultimately need a set to accomplish all the different shots effectively.
Zoom shots (actually zooming while filming) should be used sparingly for a professional look. Only get one or two and aim to cover most of the focal lengths, bearing in mind that anything over 200mm will be used very rarely. I am aiming for a 28-85mm and a 70-210mm but it isn't essential to overlap focal lengths like that. I'm also considering a 35-200mm to save some money and allow extreme zooms but optics will be inferior.
I have 28mm/f2.8 (less than f2.8 gets expensive), 35mm/f2 (should've got f1.4 but it does the job), 50mm/f1.8 (no complaints), 105mm/f2.5 (great lens, arguably better than the f1.8), 135mm/f3.5 (in the mail, half the price of the f2.8 - may regret not spending the extra), 200mm/f4 (great lens though succumbing to internal fungus). If I was starting again I would get the 28mm/2.8 (establishing shots, landscapes and for use in cramped settings), 50mm/1.8 (normal use), 135mm/2.8 (close ups and medium shots) and build from there as required (35mm and 85mm next or 200mm depending on pressing needs). As it is I really want a 85mm/f2 (often called a portrait lens due to its primary use) but this is one of the more expensive lenses available so its had to wait. These are all Nikon but as far as focal length and speed goes the brand is irrelevant. These are all PRIME lenses (no zoom).
01-09-2012 05:17 AM
Also, do you know what ring mount you have on your brevis? If you have a Nikon F mount you will not be able to use the Canon lens without buying a Canon mount. If you have a Canon mount you likewise won't be able to use Nikon. These are the two most useful mounts but others exist. You will want to find genuine Brevis mounts rather than an adapter ring. Adapter rings are another option but not the best solution. Additionally I believe you can only get an adapter to mount Nikon lens on a Canon mount, not Canon on Nikon (unless I got that the wrong way round). Much easier to just get the lenses that fit the mounting ring on your Brevis.
I know you're excited but don't be too quick to throw away your cash, do some research. Look up 'Canon FD mount' and 'Nikon F mount' on google for some images to compare yours to. Not sure about Canon but Nikon has a few variations but any F mount lens made in the last 50 years will fit an F mount (Non-AI, AI, Ai-s, AF, AF-D etc). Regardless of brand you will not be able to access any electronic features of any lens you buy so get manual focus lenses only. Autofocus, IR, motorised zoom, light detection etc...none of these will work. So full manual lenses are the best although some lenses are both manual and auto - I have a 35mm AF-D (autofocus digital) which is capable of manual focus, is cheaper and has modern optics (glass) which is sharper than the older 35mm I had. But that said many old lenses are optically superior to modern lenses which have prioritised convenience, weight and automation over image quality. As you can see its complicated and most online resources assess lenses according to still photography requirements but most of the information is valid.
Ultimately, lenses tend to hold their value so you will often get your money back on a lens that isn't working for you. Do your research though, there are a lot of well-known lemons going for high prices on eBay, waiting to catch out a newbie. You won't even be able to re-sell these at any price if you get caught out. Sometimes an early release of the same lens is the worst lens of all time and the later release is one of the best! I was recently almost caught out on this one myself. Always at the very least cut and paste the name of the lens into google and read a couple of reviews before paying. If nothing else you will soon identify a couple of lens nerd sites you can trust for information.
Last edited by Egg Born Son; 01-09-2012 at 05:28 AM.
01-15-2012 08:15 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Wow, thanks so much for the very detailed information James!!! I have both Canon and Nikon ring mounts.
I'm waiting for those f5.6 lenses to arrive in the mail to test out (perhaps I could use them with my still camera instead), and am also looking for the faster lenses you recommended.
I'm having trouble picking one out, can you let me know which lenses you use and/or recommend? I want to make sure I don't get the wrong one again. Thanks so much!!!
01-16-2012 05:57 PM
WIDE 28mm/f2.8 Nikkor AI-s (expect to pay ~$200, alternately get the Rokinon 28mm/2.8 for around $30 and have a play with a wide angle for cheap)
WIDE 35mm/f2 Nikkor AF-D (less than $100 - cheap, versatile lens but not as wide as the 28mm but can be used as a normal)
NORMAL 50mm/f1.8 AI-s (pay around $100, the f1.4 will be about half as much again, the f2 slightly cheaper - just look for one in good condition)
NORMAL 85mm/f2 (expensive, generally $250+ known as a portrait lens because that's what it's good for)
TELE 105mm/f2.5 (can be found for $200-250, you're paying for its 'legendary' status - it is a pretty sweet short tele though and doubles as a portrait lens)
TELE just use your zoom for the time being for any longer focal length. Later upgrade to a 135mm and 200mm prime.
You want a wide, a normal and a telephoto. These will cover all situations - having a selection of each type will give you more precise control, like having a set of spanners instead of an adjustable wrench. I would suggest Nikkor AI-s 28mm/f2.8 because it is a proper wide angle lens and you will quickly learn what a wide angle lens is for. Get the Rokinon if you don't want to spend the money - excellent bang for buck. Get a Nikkor AI-s 50mm/f1.8 because it is cheap and versatile. These used to come with the camera body so oversupply keeps the price down on a quality lens. Get the Nikkor AI-s 105mm/f2.5 for your telephoto because you already have 100-300mm covered with your zoom (image will be distorted at both 100 and 300mm but probably fine in the middle of its range).
Use these three prime lenses for a while and work out when to use each type and then you will know which one to get next according to your need. Ultimately you will probably want a full set of primes but having too many choices to start with may set you back. These three cover the basics. If you can't wait the Nikon Nikkor AF-D 35mm/f2 is versatile, bridging wide angle and normal ranges (and cheap). Once you've used the 105mm a fair bit you might want to consider an 85mm or 135mm depending on whether you find the 105mm brings you in too close or too far when framing shots. These are both going to cost you.
BTW your zoom is a decent lens, it is fast (for a zoom) and fixed speed (some zooms have variable speed eg f3.5~4.5) which is good. It's a specialist rather than general use lens. It is intended for sports photography and birdwatching - where you need to be physically distant from your subject. It will be fine for long shots and outdoors in daylight.
IMPORTANT - when buying online make sure the ad says that it is free of fungus and that the aperture and focus action is smooth. Light scratches on the lens will generally not appear in the image and bring the price down but will also affect resale. Scratches on the rear element are worse than scratches on the front element.
01-21-2012 07:32 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
01-21-2012 10:42 PM
You can do everything with that selection. I'd stick with these until you find they don't do what you want before you go nuts buying more. The Tamron covers your wide to normal range. Your Canon covers your tele range. Your 50mm is a normal and will perform better in poor light than the Tamron.
The zooms both have fixed speed which is good. You will find they distort the image at extremes but this may be acceptable for now. It can even be used to creative effect. When it starts annoying you, get some primes. You will find zooms make it very easy to set up a shot. Just plonk the camera down in a good spot and use the zoom to size the picture. With a prime you will need to physically move the camera to frame your shot, it's a pain in the a. If you're alone, picky and inexperienced (like me) then it can be a very time consuming process but makes you really think about what you're trying to achieve and gives a better end result. It's probably a good idea to use zooms to begin with to get a lot of fast and dirty experience framing shots then move onto primes when you're ready to be more pedantic and have studied some (that's right, no way around it, some reading will be necessary - get some books on exposure, lighting and composition).
The second thing that may get annoying will be having to switch around your mounting brackets. Compare your Nikon and Canon lens and decide which look you like the best (both are excellent, it's a matter of taste). It will also be easier to match shots for a consistent look. Also, while your current selection won't hold up your workflow much, once you've got more lenses you're going to want to pick a side to avoid swapping mounts as well as lenses. It's doesn't take long to swap them but it is the short, avoidable tasks that quickly become the most annoying. You want to avoid technical tasks that break your creative workflow.
You can use your existing set to decide what you want to look for in future lenses. I've gone for a full Nikkor set mainly because my 35mm adapter came with a Nikon F mount and I like the way they feel in my hand. Weighty, solid, precision machined. A pleasure to hold and operate with top shelf optics (and a price to match). The Canon will be a solidly engineered bit of gear with slightly softer focus but warmer colours than the Nikon. The Tamron will be light and plasticky by comparison to either but then again, light is a good thing as you're loading up your tripod or carry your gear to location. My rig weighs just over 10lbs fully loaded, nearly quadrupling the price of my tripod. While its optics are inferior they are certainly acceptable and the price on offbrand Nikon are unbeatable, just don't drop them. By having three different brands you can generalise your expectations of these options. All offbrand Nikon will be comparable to the Tamron.
I'm guessing either an 85mm, 105mm or 135mm tele prime will be your next choice followed by a 20mm, 24mm or 28mm wide prime. Use what you have and let that guide your next choice. When your existing lenses are letting you down it should give you an idea of what you need. Are you having to place the camera too close or too far away? Do you mostly use the Tamron close to the 28mm extreme or the 75mm? Are you always using its middle range? If so try using the 50mm instead and moving the camera. Is the 75mm too close and the 100mm extreme of the canon too far? Is there too much distortion from either zoom at their extremes? Is the Canon too dark at f5.6? Maybe time to get that 105mm/2.5 or 135mm/3.5. Maybe you really like the zooms and want to get, say, a 50-135mm and 70-210mm to give you more control over distortion while retaining the convenience of framing.
Do you know people who own Canon FD or Nikon F lenses? If so ask to borrow them for an afternoon and experiment. If not once you know your own lenses intimately, take your camera to a store with a second hand range and try out some alternatives in the store. Guess which one might solve your problem and then see if you're right. Play with your camera often and you will quickly find favourite go-to lenses for different circumstances. So get out there and play with what you've got!
01-24-2012 02:57 AM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
I tried out the lenses this weekend. This is the Canon FD Zoom Lens 100-300mm 1:5.6 at 1/24 shutter speed, 300mm with the ND filter turned way up.
I can see what you mean about the slow lens speed.