May 21, 2016 at 7:40AM

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Prime & Zoom Lens Investment - Need some help!

Hello great people of the internet.

I've been thinking about my next camera gear investment, and want to start building my lens kit.
As of now I own a Canon 28mm f1.8 & Canon 50mm F1.4, which works great. I've been looking to invest in another prime lens, which I've been looking at the Rokinon/Samyang 85mm T1.5. This would be to have a basic range of primes to use in short films and corporate videos where the shoots are more controlled (studio's and interviews etc..)

My second investment that I want to do is in a zoom lens, as some of the work I do end up being run-and-gun type shooting, like weddings or documentary, or even just having a lens that I can bring on holidays if I don't want to bring the whole camera kit.

I've been looking at three options:

1. Canon 24-70mm f2.8
2. Tamron 24-70mm f2.8, VR
3. Canon 25-105mm f.4

The problem that I have justifying the purchase of the 24-70mm lenses is that they are to similar to the range of primes that I already have, and would kind of render them a bit useless. Secondly, the Canon version doesn't have VR or IS, which would be handy doing a lot of handheld stuff. The Tamron produces a bit lower quality image than the canon, but it's a bit cheaper and has the VR.
The 24-105mm is cheap, gives a good image, can go in a bit tighter with the 105mm and has IS, but downside is the f.4 (nuff said).

My budget would be around 1-2k for the lenses.

Any suggestions of what I should do/buy? Are there any other good options for me out there? Would the 24-70mm be enough?

14 Comments

if i were you i will choose 24-70 f2.8 sir :D

May 21, 2016 at 11:07AM

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That's what I was thinking as well, just feel like if I have 28, 50 and 85mm primes, it would be rendered a bit useless in a sense. But love that lens though, fast and versatile!

Morten Furre

May 22, 2016 at 6:38AM

I think that the camera(s) you use is a big factor in what lens to take. In specific the sensor size. If you use a full sensor lens on a crop sensor camera or even smaller you will lose a lot of resolution (it is like you are doing a digital zoom). For a crop sensor it is better to use EF-S lenses unless you are using high end primes.

For run and gun situations consider having two cameras with good primes instead of a zoom lens. Many people think they just need a zoom but the reality is that many zooms are quite limited in range and primes with a good pair of legs can do wonders!

In my opinion you only really need a zoom lens if you are doing telephoto work or if you want to zoom during recording. However for the latter you need expensive lenses and tripods for that to look good.

May 21, 2016 at 11:30AM, Edited May 21, 11:33AM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2291

Hi Cary! Thank you for this! Currently using a Canon C100 MKII. So would be the Super 35 sensor on that one. Bought that one a couple of months ago, so wouldn't be able to invest in another camera yet :)

Morten Furre

May 22, 2016 at 6:36AM

The zoom I'd recommend thinking about is a 70-200. Or perhaps the Sigma 50-100, depending on the size of your sensor (as Cary noted).

Lots of folks have a 24-105 as their only lens. If you have good low-light capability (or a good lighting kit, which many professionals do), you don't necessarily need f2.8 or faster. It is a great run-and-gun lens. Having a couple of fast primes in your bag make the 24-105 all the more of a good choice (again, depending on your sensor size).

May 21, 2016 at 12:34PM, Edited May 21, 12:36PM

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I have a Canon C100 MKII, so it does well in low light. Would definitely not have the 24-105mm as my only lens though. It's a great lens, but f.4 is still a bit limiting. But seeing that I have a 28mm f1.8 and a 50mm f.14 and considering buying the 85mm T1.5, I could get away with going lower on the aperture with the 24-105 in trade of having something ready for a run-and-gun situation :)

Morten Furre

May 22, 2016 at 6:40AM

If you really think you wont need a zoom lens which covers the same focal lengths as your primes maybe also take a look at maybe the Canon 16-35mm 2.8 for wideangle shots or as Michael Tiemann already said in a telephoto zoom lens.
If you still consider the 24-105mm it is for run and gun a very good choice and gives you focal lengths from a decent wideangle to medium telephoto shot. As I use this lens myself very often, I have never experienced a huge drawback with the f4 in low light, especially if you own the C100 MKII.

May 22, 2016 at 11:27AM

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Hi Mark! Yes, the 16-35 is really nice for wides, and I love the 70-200mm one. I think the 70-200mm would be a good investment down the track, but highly considering the 24-105mm as of now, after getting some good feedback here.

Morten Furre

May 24, 2016 at 10:08PM, Edited May 24, 10:08PM

If you are looking for a run and gun lens, then you shouldn't be factoring your primes into account, they serve a different (while related) purpose and, in my opinion, are more specialty lenses for you. In run and gun, you won't be able to swap lenses and need to move fast, often handheld, sometimes with limited light.

The 24-105 f4 will give you a great range, tighter on the long end and wide enough to get most establishing shots. The IS is very helpful for anything hand held. This is my go to lens and lives on my camera 90% of the time because of how versatile it is. The only time it fails is in low light, which is when I'll pull out a prime.

My business partner shoots with the Tamron 24-70 2.8 and loves it. That lens lives on his C100 and has the added benefits of an extra stop of light, but sacrifices a bit on the long end. To make up for that he also has a 70-200, which fills in for specialty longer shots or close-ups. If image quality concerns you and might scare you away from this lens, be aware that I have not noticed any problems while shooting video, at all.

You really will have to consider the trade off of a stop of light for a longer lens, which would you prefer? Do you shoot in brighter spaces or darker? Do you shoot a lot of close-ups? What sort of coverage do you typically want?

May 26, 2016 at 2:25PM

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Eric Buist
Producer | Creator
493

Great points, Eric. Really true what you said about primes as a side thing. Starting to land on the 24-105mm, as it gives both ends of the spectrum. 70-200mm is definitely something I'm looking at getting up the road.

Morten Furre

May 28, 2016 at 4:59AM

We use the Canon 24-70 with our FS5 for interviews, and with a speedboster, gets it down to a 2.0. Its as flawless as you're going to get for a zoom that costs less than a camera itself. Nice focus throw(VERY IMPORTANT) and handles everything we need. Makes the camera too front heavy for handheld work, along with no IS, but who needs it when its on a tripod 99% of the time;) It really is hard to justify carrying 2-3 primes around when one lens does it all better. Toss the Tokina 11-17 on for anything wide and the Sony 18-105 handles any running and gunning duties. No discernible loss in image quality, especially when nearly everything ends up on the web or TV.

People need to get off their high horse, especially when nothing they're producing is ending up being projected in 4k in a theater;)

May 28, 2016 at 1:30PM, Edited May 28, 1:30PM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
734

Really true, Josh! Love the 24-70mm. Have used it on several occasions, and works great all around :) Only thing missing for me is that IS, since a lot of what I do would be more handheld. That's why I was thinking of the Tamron alternative. Also would be nice to have that extra zoom from 70-105mm, so I think I'm starting to lean more and more towards the 24-105 for those reasons.

Morten Furre

June 1, 2016 at 6:16PM

How is that FS5 working for you btw? I feel like it's a camera that people are really starting to pick up, but haven't heard a lot about it in terms of people in my circuit using it etc.

Morten Furre

June 1, 2016 at 6:17PM

There's pros and cons and workarounds, and no clear answer :).

Personally, I love the 24-105. It's a do-everything lens. It's been my go-to lens for years. When it gets too dark, I switch to a prime. It's not only the IS and the flexibility of range: that lens also is semi-macro.

But horses for courses. Obviously, the 24-70 is a bit sharper (though not as sharp as a prime) and a bit faster (though not as fast as a prime). I'd guess that the majority of event photographers who shoot with zooms spend most of their day on a 24-70, maybe pairing it with a 70-200; and they don't miss the extra 35mm off the tele end of the range. Limitations like that aren't necessarily a bad thing creatively; they just force you to shoot in different ways and get different shots (and photographers, anyway, don't necessarily want to go as tight as 105mm -- they usually want their images to be wider, have more context, be more flattering to faces). As for the missing IS, well, maybe you shouldn't be shooting handheld anyway, but should always have tripod, monopod, slider, gimbal attached.

About low light, by the way... speaking primarily from wedding experience: the f/4 is useless at receptions; the 2.8 is useful in at least 75% of receptions (the remaining weddings get too dark for it). Sure, you can add light to make up for the f/4's deficiencies, but in an event situation, where you don't have the lighting gear with you to affect all parts of a room, and maybe don't want to spoil whatever ambience the bride has planned in the first place, you'd probably have to resort to ugly on-camera frontal light.

December 25, 2016 at 5:20PM

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Adrian Tan
Videographer
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