My lens kit, the must haves for this versatile shooter

I would like to take this time to introduce (to those that are interested), what I have put together as my “all around” kit of lenses that allows me to shoot 100% of the work that I do with my DSLR.

  1. The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Zoom Lens
  2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
  3. TokinaAF 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX Canon Wide Angle Zoom Lens. 

These lenses cover the entire range of my event and corp videography requirements with exceptional performance, image quality, sharpness and colour.  Yes, the lenses are pretty pricey, but they are worth every penny in my optinion.  Here’s the rundown…

The Tokina 11-16mm is a super wide-angle lens that allows you to get tons of people in your shot, work at very close distances to subjects, minimize the obviousness of camera shake because of its width, is amazing to create the look of movement when on Glidecams or sliders and has hard stops in manual focus mode which is great when using a follow focus system like my D|Focus (Check out the D|Focus System Blog and website for info.  GREAT product!!!).

The Canon 24-70mm is great for interviews and speeches, but also covers a range that is suitable for what I would call “typical” event shooting.  This lens provides a natural feeling focal range…more like the feeling of looking around or seeing through a typical human perspective.  Now, obviously this depends on the distance between you and subject, but in an event world I think you’ll find this to be a “natural”feeling range.  Oh yeah…it’s a macro lens too.

Canon 70-200mm, AMAZING!  The ISII (image stabilization, 2nd generation) on the new version is great!  2 levels allow for pan type shooting (back and forth) and vertical stabilization (more for photographers as vertical shake is more common when trying to hold the cam still for  a photo).  The stabilization is a very welcomed feature, especially when on the telephoto end because you’ve zoomed in so close. Not having stabilization on a lens like this (for anyone that doesn’t get the why you need stabilization), well it’s kinda the same as trying to shine a flashlight across a dark football field at a person’s eye…and holding it still.  Wouldn’t be easy.  In addition, the depth of field on the tight end (how blurry you can make the background) is amazing and just looks so…uummph!  Beautiful!

So, here’s the summary.

  • 11-16mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm (the entire range from wide-angle to telephoto is covered…including macro)
  • All of them are f2.8.  This means great Depth of Field and good low light capabilities.  Also pretty darn sharp focus too
  • They give you versatility in the gigs that you can do and versatility in what you can do while there
  • They are all good quality lenses that can outlast your camera and go from cam to cam
  • you look like a pro (and yes, that matters)
  • Can cover anything from interviews to concerts, weddings to corporate video, super close-ups of things right in front of you and zoom-ability to things a football field away.

So for me, there have been and will be gigs that come up that a different lens or set of lenses will be needed.  I mean, let’s not forget that Prime lenses are the sharpest images you can get.  There are situations where if you can get your hands on Prime lenses either for a project or maybe even to own yourself then you would want to do it.  But generally I let the project pay for the rental of some really good Primes and this is two fold.

  1.  They are not as versatile for run-and-gun and event situations as zoom lenses are and with the huge number of corporate shooting that I’m involved in, the need to be versatile is even greater.
  2.  As expensive as the Canon Zoom lenses are, to cover the focal range with Primes that I have covered by using my 3 zoom lenses…let’s just say that in a lot of cases it makes sense for the client to rent the lenses on their budget!

Anyways, thanks for listening to my opinion!  Please feel free to comment or let me know what’s in your lens kit, I’d love to hear!

Shoot straight…and in focus!

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13 responses to “My lens kit, the must haves for this versatile shooter

  1. I love the 70-200, 2nd generation. So crisp. I use this one most for interviews. My other favorite is the 35mm 1.4 prime. Shot a spot with the Zeiss primes. Sweet!

    • Thanks for your post Greg. Yeah, I’m in love with my 70-200. I love the look of shooting down a long crowded street with it or down a road with lots of cars. The compressed dof and amazing sharpness is beautiful. Also loving those primes! 35mm f1.4 is SWEET! I can’t wait to get my hands on some Zeiss Compact Primes…maybe next big budget project!
      Thanks

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    • Thanks a lot, I am really trying to speak to everyone about digital video and my experiences, not just pros but anyone interested. I am trying very hard to post regularly, so if you have questions please feel free to send me a message and I’ll do my best to answer or post something to you!

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