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What is your lens kit strategy?


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We all talk about lenses on an individual basis, but what is your strategy for putting multiple lenses together into a kit?  

How many lens kits do you have?  How close are the focal lengths?  What aspects do you think matter when matching lenses?  I've heard on reduser that people often want a modern kit for some projects and a more vintage looking kit for other projects.  

My personal strategy is:

  • I have about a 2.3x ratio - so FF equivalents of 16mm, (16mm x 2.2) = 35mm, and (35mm x 2.3) = 80mm.  I used to have a 116mm instead of the 80, and it was too far apart at 3.3x the 35mm
  • They are 8mm F4, 17.5mm F0.95, and 40mm F1.8 and I'll be upgrading the 8mm to a 7.5mm F2 lens this year, so they'll all be under F2 for use in low-light if required
  • They're all full-manual lenses, so I can have full control and also nice MF with decent focus-throw.  This combined with IBIS gives me the perfect combination of stabilised manual lenses
  • I chose a 35mm equivalent as I like how the 35 is wider than a 50mm and longer than a 28mm, both focal lengths I don't think I like that much

What is your style?  Why have you chosen the lenses you use?

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I just buy a lot of lenses and then only use one or two of them.

Yep, because you wouldn't want to risk any of it being out of focus.

Yes, otherwise known as the empty bank account strategy, AKA: homeless man strategy.

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On FS5 & FS7 I use speedboosters, so they're pretty much FF equivalent.

I use Canon L zooms 80% of the time and Rokinon Primes the other 20%.

Canon 17-40 f/4, 24-70 f/2.8, 24-105 f/4, 70-200 f/2.8 IS.

Rokinon DS 35/50/85

No strategy other than If I feel a need or a gap in my coverage, I plug it. I mostly use the zooms as they're much easier for the doc work I do. Never use or want AF and always have IS turned off on the lenses that have it (I have my cameras rigged heavy so the inertia helps smooth things out, and the IS on the older Canon lenses is too jumpy).

I'm thinking my next camera will be the UMP G2 and the lens choices will be a bit harder than that. There's just no good wide-to-mid zoom that ticks all the boxes the same way the 24-70 or 24-105 lenses do. I'll likely get a Sigma 18-35 & 50-100 but don't think they will quite give me the coverage I need for my work. It's really been a while since any company - either OEM or 3rd party - bothered to update their ~17-50 APS-C line-up, and the existing ones are all pretty terrible for video work due to their poor build quality (though some are optically good). I'm really quite surprised that no company has yet released a decent, modern, 17-50 f/2.8 EF mount cine lens, given the amount of s35 cameras that support EF mount. Something similar in price and build to the 18-35 Sigma cine, but a bit slower and a bit longer, would be the perfect run-n-gun lens for a huge number of people, but it simply does not exist at a price point that makes sense for cameras like the C100/200, UMP or EVA1.
 

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Currently I have 2 lens sets.

24-70 G and 70-200 G Lenses to go with my Z6, probably going to grab a 16-35 or 14-28 at some point to finish it out.

Prime set of Voigtlanders SL 20, 28, 40, and 90. All have a matching look. 

Zooms for coverage, primes for art.

Haven't decided where to go next for my glass, it's a toss up between 2 sets I'm looking at. 

VOigtlander E mount Low Light: 21mm 1.4, 40mm 1.2, 110mm 2.5  

Nikon Creamy Dream Set:  Nikon 28mm 1.4, 58mm 1.4, and 105mm 1.4 lenses  

3 hours ago, barefoot_dp said:



I'm thinking my next camera will be the UMP G2 and the lens choices will be a bit harder than that. There's just no good wide-to-mid zoom that ticks all the boxes the same way the 24-70 or 24-105 lenses do. I'll likely get a Sigma 18-35 & 50-100 but don't think they will quite give me the coverage I need for my work. It's really been a while since any company - either OEM or 3rd party - bothered to update their ~17-50 APS-C line-up, and the existing ones are all pretty terrible for video work due to their poor build quality (though some are optically good). I'm really quite surprised that no company has yet released a decent, modern, 17-50 f/2.8 EF mount cine lens, given the amount of s35 cameras that support EF mount. Something similar in price and build to the 18-35 Sigma cine, but a bit slower and a bit longer, would be the perfect run-n-gun lens for a huge number of people, but it simply does not exist at a price point that makes sense for cameras like the C100/200, UMP or EVA1.
 

Agreed, the UMP G2 ticks all the boxes except the mount/sensor combo. I would probably go for a nikon 17-55 2.8, but like you said older optical design. 

How do you like the FS5? I'm thinking of picking one up now that they are so cheap and like you said they can be used with speedboosters. Tempted to get one of them and upgrade to the FX9 down the line. E-mount is such a better mount than Canon EF. Hoping Blackmagic's next camera joins the L-mount alliance and is full frame. 

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It’s not a secret I like my MFT gear.

I go for a balance of flexibility, coverage and weight.

PL 10-25mm f/1.7 serves as my wide to portrait lens and as my set of primes. Fast aperture. Great lowlight. It’s on my camera 75% of the time. It also serves as my astro lens. FF equiv. of a 20-50mm.

PL 50-200 f/2.8-4 a great telephoto that balances focal range, aperture, and size nicely. Will be getting a 2x teleconverter to extend range. FF equiv. 100-400mm. With a 2x teleconverter a 200-800mm.

Those are my go to lenses the vast majority of the time. They are the two lenses I grab when I know I might want to shoot but don’t know exactly what. Packs nicely in even a small bag and with a teleconverter in my bag as well I can carry two lenses and have 20mm  to 800mm coverage with two lens! With only a slight gap in the middle around 85mm.

I did own the venerable 12-35f/2.8 but sold it as it has been replaced by the 10-25. I sold my PL 12mm f/1.4 as it also just was never on my camera after the 10-25.

Will be building out a vintage kit later that prioritizes character and feel.

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I think it’s important to first note that I’m a narrative hobbyist with a long term goal of producing a few short films and a feature film as time and money permits. I’m more interested in composition than resolution, but consider myself a writer/director more than a cinematographer. 

With that being said, I love lenses and through the years I have tested nearly every major brand of vintage lenses on most modern mounts. When I finally settled on a camera, I learned that going native, whenever possible, was the best option, and most of the time, a zoom lens allowed me the freedom to concentrate on the creative. But there aren’t many zoom lenses that offered the MUST HAVES for handheld, guerrilla shooting my style and circumstance requires...

• size and weight

• good image stabilization

• fast aperture

It was easy to get one or two of the three, but that elusive third usually ended up being the dealbreaker. And when you added the cost of a good zoom lens, it was difficult to compromise on even one of those.

So, I moved onto the single prime concept of shooting, which I really enjoy from a creative stance. I’m pretty steady handheld, up to about 35mm, which happens to be the sweet spot for my point of view. And if I use native Canon glass with IS, I usually don’t need any secondary support other than a neck strap.

But even the single, prime concept doesn’t feel perfect for my circumstances so I’ll most likely end up compromising my MUST HAVES and replace a few of my prime lenses with a slow zoom and end up with a couple fast modern primes, a couple fast vintage primes and a zoom.

As I get older, I realize this never ending pursuit for the best lens or best camera or highest resolution is the antithesis of creativity and stagnates the art and craft of filmmaking.

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Auto focus, cost, size, sharpness wide open, speed are all factors. 

I am waiting for Viltrox to release its Fuji 23mm 1.4, 33mm 1.4, and 56mm 1.4 in December and I'll probably get all three. I'll have the 18-55 2.8 for when I need a wider shots as well as my manual 17mm 3.5(with speedbooster) for something super wide. That should cover all my needs. 

I was thinking on getting the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8. Its a huge lens though and a bit pricey especially combined with the fringer adapter. I could use it to substitute the 23mm 1.4 as well as the 33mm 1.4, but its not as fast as either of those lenses. 

I've gotten used to shooting a lot with my 50mm 1.8 plus a speedbooster, which gives me a ton of light. APSC lenses always feel like a compromise. But 1.4 is pretty close in terms of the light gathering that a 50mm 1.8 with speedbooster gives me. 

Right now I have a Minolta 135mm 2.8, but I need something longer for weddings where the Church is big and they want me further in the back. 

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I have 16-35/24-105 and borrow 70-200 on my EOS R for event type work, sometimes use primes for some artistic stuff or need lowlight

On GH5 I use 12-35/35-100 again for event type of work, speedbooster the EF prime lens if i need more artistic stuff/lowlight.

I do think about the 10-25mm 1.7..  much lighter than 18-35/speedbooster combo and have AF which is handy on gimbal.

 

The reason for having two brand of camera is because people i work with use those two brands.

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Depends on what I am filming...

On normal shoots (everyday shoots), a standard zoom (24-70 or 24-105 [FF equivalent]) + portrait (85 or 135 [FF equivalent]) lens is more than enough...

On family trips or vacations (if its local) a standard zoom and/or phone is enough; sometimes I just want to enjoy the moment with the family - I can't be spending my time, switching lenses, adjusting exposure and framing/composing.... I actually believe that I am part of the family, not a bring along videographer/photographer.... but if its a once in a lifetime trip abroad... then I will bring the above setup (standard zoom + portrait).

Now, planned shoots.... depends.... the shot list will tell you.... but typically a wide prime 25mm or lower (FF equivalent), one portrait and a macro (60mm or 100mm [FF equivalent]).

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My current lens strategy is to try and hang on to the ones I have left!

 

I am a gadget bloke who is now poor so can not afford much now or at least nothing over a  couple of hundred dollars (Australian...so about $2 US).

 

Having had some good stuff over the last few years, I am done buying cheap rubbish though for the sake of it.

Will be sticking with Sony E mount and Canon EF mount cameras for now and my lenses are pretty well set....with my main lenses being-

Canon 17mm F4 L TS-E (both systems, my favourite lens ever...used far more on Sony though)..

Canon FD 24 1.4 (for Sony)

Sony Zeiss 55 1.8 (for Sony)

Sigma 150 2.8 APO macro (both)

Tamron adaptall 300 2.8 (both).

Canon 20-35 2.8 L (both)

I have some others for both and a few lenses for systems I no longer have so can not use.

Many of the above are hardly used for video though but will use them depending on the situation.

Since poverty will probably keep me at APSC for a while at least, I have to add EF to E and FD to E focal reducers in the coming months.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Video Hummus said:

Will be building out a vintage kit later that prioritizes character and feel.

Do you know which lenses you're likely to get?

I'm tempted (for almost no reason lol) to make a Russian kit for that vintage look.

4 hours ago, mercer said:

As I get older, I realize this never ending pursuit for the best lens or best camera or highest resolution is the antithesis of creativity and stagnates the art and craft of filmmaking.

I totally agree.  Once I worked out the focal lengths I use and why I use them and how they suit my shooting style I felt so much more free.  Being able to go and shoot and not have doubt in the back of my mind about if I was messing up the situation and later on would curse myself for not having chosen different lenses.  Of course, I still stuff up and curse myself later on, but it's now mostly for which settings I've used or for artistic aspects!  At this point for me it's about taking things I know in my brain and baking-them-in as habit so I do them reliably and don't have to think about it, so the learning journey continues.

3 hours ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

Right now I have a Minolta 135mm 2.8, but I need something longer for weddings where the Church is big and they want me further in the back.

I have a Minolta 200mm F4 and it's a really nice lens, and gets great reviews.  I'd suggest having a look at it, as it will be the same look as your 135 so should be a drop-in replacement for going slightly longer.

3 hours ago, ntblowz said:

much lighter than 18-35/speedbooster combo

I sympathise..  I bought my 18-35 to use with my 700D + ML setup and I'm selling it because it is so ridiculously heavy!

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10 hours ago, Geoff CB said:

Agreed, the UMP G2 ticks all the boxes except the mount/sensor combo. I would probably go for a nikon 17-55 2.8, but like you said older optical design. 

How do you like the FS5? I'm thinking of picking one up now that they are so cheap and like you said they can be used with speedboosters. Tempted to get one of them and upgrade to the FX9 down the line. E-mount is such a better mount than Canon EF. Hoping Blackmagic's next camera joins the L-mount alliance and is full frame. 

It's not just the UMP that suffers from that problem either. C100/200/300 and EVA1 all share the same combo, as do some of the Red cameras. Not to mention all the people using Metabones adapters on E-mount or m4/3 cameras, and the sure-to-be-wildly-popular Pocket 6K. There's a huge gap in the market there but I suppose all the manufacturers are currently focused on either the new mirrorless systems, or FF coverage for the new pro cine cameras.

I don't like the FS5 as much as the FS7, that is for sure. Though I would take it any day over any mirrorless camera out there. Proper ND and audio are far more important to me that 6k, raw, IBIS, AF, etc.  Not to mention the benefits of using the Shogun Inferno.

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28 minutes ago, kye said:

Do you know which lenses you're likely to get?

I'm tempted (for almost no reason lol) to make a Russian kit for that vintage look.

Ah ha,  so the single soviet lens challenge was a ploy.... very sneaky kye ?

i guess im old school. I  first bought a microprism screen for my canon and a couple of pentax m42 mounts as m42 seemed the easiest to adapt. After that i figured i may as well get the whole set ?. Within the m42 range of lenses some are more popular than others. Most were quite reasonably priced, the 85mm is the dearest i have bought so far. I must be in the leaky boat next to @noone  and with the aussie $ acting like a submarine stuff gets pretty expensive quickly here in aus. I would like to round out the collection with the 20mm, i think the 17mm might be a bridge too far for me.

About the time i got the 85mm along came the p4k with the crop factor every lens suddenly becomes a telephoto, i have mitigated that with the addition of a villtrox speedbooster which has yet to arrive. I'll play with that for awhile and see how it goes. I'm still tempted by a metabones 0.64 but it will have to wait for awhile while i see how the villtrox performs and allow some time for the $ to accumulate.

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1 hour ago, barefoot_dp said:

I don't like the FS5 as much as the FS7, that is for sure. Though I would take it any day over any mirrorless camera out there. Proper ND and audio are far more important to me that 6k, raw, IBIS, AF, etc.  Not to mention the benefits of using the Shogun Inferno.

I agree. I bought an fs5 a few months ago, I love good AF but I dont think I would give up for the internal ND, XLR inputs with amazing pre amps. I usually shoot on a tripod so ibis is negligible for me. 

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3 hours ago, leslie said:

Ah ha,  so the single soviet lens challenge was a ploy.... very sneaky kye ?

 

Hahaha... He who goes first makes the rules!

3 hours ago, Video Hummus said:

I think I'm going to start with some Contax Zeiss and go from there. I'm not a huge fan of the Russian Helios swirly bokeh lenses much but there are many others.

Yeah, the swirly bokeh isn't my favourite either, but on a cropped sensor it isn't so bad as you're only looking at the middle of the image circle.

The CZ's are super nice, so you'd do well to start there and not go any further.

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Currently trying out viltrox + sigma 18-35 on GH5 as a main all around lens. Practicing my manual focus skills and i really like the smooth zoom i am starting to incorporate into my shots. Parafocalness is also very nice to have. Also have Oly 75 1.8 in my bag, for portraits, but i want to switch it with Sigma 56 1.4 soon. 

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When I was using the canon C100 I mainly used the Canon 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 and the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8. If I needed wider my business partner (photographer) would lend me his Tokina 11-16mm. I also have a Sigma 50-150mm 2.8 which covers everything!

Since getting the GH5 a couple of years ago I've mainly being using the Sigma 18-35 and 50-150 with a Speedbooster. But sometimes I use the Voigtlanders 17.5 and 25 and an Slr Magic 12mm 1.6. But since hiring an Olympus 12-40 2.8 I've decided that I really prefer native and going lightweight. So today I'll pick up the 10-25mm 1.7 and I'm considering the Olympus 12-100mm f4, 12-40 2.8. I'd love a longer lens like the 10-25. Maybe 35-90mm f1.7 or 2 (but constant).

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