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40mm f/2.8 vs 50mm f/1.8 for video


AFKLenz3G
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What camera are you using, which lenses do you already have?

Anyway, if you are on a tight budget, better buy some second hand cheap manual primes that fit on your camera - Canon EOS I suppose. Anything with a Nikon mount will fit (with a $5 adapter).

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That depends on a lot of variables. What kind of camera are you going to shoot on? Is it fullframe? APS-C? M4/3? I shot a short that was selected for some festival's a few years back with one 35mm lens. We had no money.  The Canon 5D i shot with, with the 35 Zeiss was loaned from a friend.

I think you would be hard pressed to get nice wide shots in small spaces with a 50mm.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Have both, prefer the 50mm MUCH more. It's a significantly shallower dof for portrature/beauty shots, higher contrast/sharpness, you just can't go wrong with the nifty fifty. It acts as an very sharp 85mm F/2.8 of crop sensor body.

It's more plastiky/weaker construction, the 40 is more well built and over course smaller. I never use it as I never broke a 50mm from normal use and just like the image much more. I can shoot an entire feature with a 50mm 1.8 + wide 10-18mm. That's what I love about Canon, Cheap lenses!

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I am using a Canon 600D. I don't necessarily understand the crop factor, but isnt it essentially a 50mm lens will look like 85 on a crop sensor and a normal 50 on a full? Correct me if im wrong

​Yes. Canon 600D is APS-C, which has a cropfactor of 1.6. Therefore 50mm x 1,6 = 80mm field of view. 

For a cinematic look you probably want a fast lens, 2.8 at least.

I would recommend this one: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/967344-REG/sigma_18_35mm_f1_8_dc_hsm.html for example...many others also, depends on budget and what features you want.

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If you are after "hollywood look" you probably need more then one lens, at least 2 or 3 lenses, as the great Andy Lee says in this post: 

28mm for the wides

70mm for all the close up head shots

and 40mm for all the rest the coverage shots

(use a 50mm lens if you don't have a 40mm lens and take 3 steps backwards!! haha that ususally gives the same look)

 

 When I used Canon (a 600 and a 70D all the time, a lent 5DMKIII sometimes), I had both the 40 f/2.8 and the 50 f/1.8.
The 50 was really better for portraits, close up etc… while the 40 was a little too "boring" for my taste.

For 70% of my shots I used a 35 f/2 (the old model, not the USM: http://kenrockwell.com/canon/lenses/35mm-f2.htm ) and for the 30% the 50 f/1.8.

The 40 was 2.8, so a little less fast.

my 2 cents :)

 

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50mm is good, also many people say 1.6 but I would rate crop factor at 1.5 giving you an effective 75mm on APS-C which many cine lenses are composed of.

 

The most important thing I can tell you is lighting, lighting, art design, wardrobe and acting is what will help any project look cinematic. 50mm is good on APS-C, I would also look into a nice 24-30mm for your Medium shots and actually I wouldn't shoot wider than those lenses as the Camera you are using will lose a lot of quality in extreme wide shots. Keep your project in 24-30mm range and 50mm for your closeups and build everything around that.

 

A good concept is very important, probably the most important thing of any project

Peace

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Apsc on nikon, sony, samsung etc etc has a 1.52 crop factor.  But canon apsc has a 1.62 crop factor.

If you had a full frame camera I would say get the 40 because it would give a nice wide normal fov. But on apsc it will be a long normal which will be less usefull. If you need long why not go with the longer 50. And if you are in a situation where the 50 is too long, then 40 isn't going to be wide enough to help you. I even find a 30 mm a bit long when indoors a lot of the time.   So i really recomend getting the 50 for a solid short portrait and close up lens, then you can think about getting a 24mm for a wide normal lens.

Bare in mind that the 50mm 1.8 and 1.4 are soft wide open. So if you are shooting stills you will want to stop down liberally according to the scene and you wont be disappointed.

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Roger Deakins, a living legend cinematographer, says if he had to choose one lens, it'd be 32mm. I can't remember names but I know that I've read that other legendary cinematographers would go with about the same. So on your camera, that would be a lens in the low 20's. 

Also, don't worry about speed (aperture). 2.8 is good enough. In fact 4.0 is probably fine too. The vast majority of cinema is NOT shot with an extreme shallow DOF. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

while the 40 was a little too "boring" for my taste.
 

​Exactly what I wanted to explain but couldn't. The 40mm 2.8 pancake is too boring vs the 50mm 1.8... but that's just us (who like shooting in low light and love shallow DOF.)

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If you dont have lighting and plan on shooting night or indoors scene i would go with f1.8 even better f1.4 and get something wide like a 24mm you can always use the 3x zoom option on your 600d to get closer shots

​Well I (am going to) have plenty of lighting for all shots that need it. 

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i shot 3 years with the 600d and at that time i really liked samyang the 24mm 1.4 with a genus variable nd filter 

good wen your in a tight spot enough shallow dept of field to get that cinematic look

nowadays with the 600d you should def consider the sigma 18-35mm f1.8 big time saver on a shoot

the 50mm f1.8 is the best bang for your buck but steady fast moving shots will need practice and forget shooting in tight spot exept for close ups

 

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...if he had to choose one lens, it'd be 32mm...on your camera, that would be a lens in the low 20's. 

​Isn't the 600D an ASP-C sensor, essentially the same size as s35 motion picture film?

A 32mm lens is a 32mm in this context.

It's not the crop factor, camera bodies, or lenses alone that determines "cinematic look."  I understand why this notion persists, but people starting out should recognize that there's no simple solution to achieving such an aesthetic. The difference in 10mm focal length and 2 f-stops isn't going to determine the cinematic look of your film.

Personally, and only just regarding the technical side of things, I feel that motion blur, frame rate, and skillful lighting are the bigger factors of the cinematic look...but one man's opinion...others will go on and on about skin tones and dynamic range as if the foundation of the industry is wholly reliant on those notions. 

But please don't let me dissuade anyone from pursuing gear purchases on a gear-centric site to solve a problem ... that gear alone cannot solve ;-)  

My lecturing aside, if I had to make an action film with one of those lenses I'd choose the 40mm and shoot @f2.8 at 24fps and a 50 shutter speed.  Lock that in and don't change it.  I'd control exposure with ND filters, lighting, and ISO.

Above all, have fun.

CropperCapture89.jpg

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whether or not the actual glass in either of these lenses will contribute to a cinematic look is purely down to personal opinion.

 

I for one believe modern canon glass is about as far away from motion picture lenses as you can get (in visual terms).  If you had Cooke or Panavision at one end, the modern Canon lenses would be at the other.  Maybe because just about every stills photographer turned corporate film maker from 2008 till now just goes stright for what they owned as still photography lenses.  It's blighted modern canon glass imo.

There is also the focus mechanisms.  the nifty fifty for example has a really nasty manual focus mech.  as I imagine the 40mm does?  Focus pulls look very non cinematic from most af lenses when used in manual mode.

 

I'd suggest getting either a vintage nikon 50mm f1.8 (£40), olympus 50mm f1.8 (£40) or if money allows a contax 50mm f1.7 (£100).  and the suitable adaptor for around £10.

 

a 50mm on aps-c is about as 'cinematic as it gets' to my eye. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Actually no. Your'e right about the sensor's size being roughly the same as s35 film, however, cinema lenses are described in full frame equivalents. When Mr Deakins is describing a 32mm cinema lens on 35mm film, it is behaving like a 32mm lens on a full frame dslr. To achieve the same FOV on an aps-c sensor you'd need a 20mm lens (20x1.6=32). 

EDIT: I don't have this quote thing down but fuzzy said "​Isn't the 600D an ASP-C sensor, essentially the same size as s35 motion picture film?... A 32mm lens is a 32mm in this context."

Also, my explanation is probably atrocious, but the math is good.

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cinema lenses are described in full frame equivalents.

​No, they're not. The only people talking about focal length equivalents are DSLR/mirrorles stills camera users. In cinema 50mm is 50mm is 50mm, no matter 65-mm, 35-mm or 16-mm film/sensor is used. Also in cinema world "full frame" is called VistaVision.

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