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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Rich Harrington: We've gone ahead and switched out to the more expensive lens, but before we talk about that, let's address a couple of strategies for this. Boy, that feels a lot less. Robbie Carman: Well, lighter. Rich: Three pounds, nothing. Robbie: A couple of ounces, right. Rich, you are absolutely right. When talking about shooting with a lot of these kit lenses that have sort of a variable f-stop or the variable aperture, you do have to go into your shoot with some strategies in mind. The first strategy is not to zoom, right? It's to sort of frame your shot up to the focal length that you want, change your Exposure triangle, your lighting, and everything like that to match that particular focal reach that you have.
Now, I know that's not ideal, but sometimes, especially if you are dealing with sort of these variable apertures or variable f-stop lenses, that's really your only choice, unless you visibly want to see that exposure change. Rich: Yeah, and to that end, another thing is, is just add more light. For example, what we can do here is make sure that we set the lens, in this case, this lens ranges to 5.6. I can just make sure that when I am pulled all the way out, I set the f-stop to 5.6, I'll need more light on set, but that way as I zoom in and out, there won't be a change.
Now, we all like not having limitations, and at 5.6, you are not going to get that sexy shallow depth of field that everyone loves about the DSLR. Robbie: Well, no, And especially 5.6. You know, inside, you don't have to throw a lot of light onto the scene to have proper exposure without having to sort of revert to the idea of raising your ISO and introducing noise into the image and that kind of thing. Rich: Well, and to that end, before we talk about stepping up on light, there is the novel idea if the problem was when I zoomed in, it got darker, you could actually just move the camera closer.
Robbie: The camera, yeah. Rich: And not use the zoom, but actually zoom with your feet, as we like to say. Robbie: Yeah, absolutely. So, when we step up to a better or sort of bigger lens like this Canon's 24-70 that we have here, one of the added benefits of stepping up to that more expensive lens is that the f-stop or the aperture is fixed throughout the entire zoom range. So, in this case, going from 24 millimeters all the way up to 70 millimeters, we don't actually change our f-stop. It remains whatever we have it set at. Now, this particular lens can go as low as f/2.8, which lets in a lot of light.
Rich: Yeah, so let's take a look here. We have got the camera itself. We are at 3.5 there, and notice as we are zooming in and out, it's not changing. That 3.5 is constant, but as you mentioned, we can actually open this up even more. This particular lens goes to 2.8. Now that's a lot of light, but the advantage here is I could probably lower my ISO, taking that down. I will just stop recording here. That's not a change I make while it's running, but I can go down to 200 there, and I still have a properly exposed image. So what's the advantage of going say from 400 to 200? Robbie: Well, there are a couple of advantages.
First, because you're not raising the sensitivity of that sensor, you are going to have a cleaner image, for the most part. Lower ISOs generally mean that you are going to have less noise in the image. The other thing about stepping down to a wider or lower f-stop is that you also can take advantage of the creative aspects of shooting with a fast lens. What I really mean by that is that you can get more background blur, sort of that nice depth of field that DSLRs have become really popular with. Now the only thing I will mention about shooting with an expensive lens is that they are expensive, right? Rich: Yes.
Robbie: When you're out there on set and you have a wide variety of situations that you need to shoot with, adding a lot of expensive zoom lenses can really add up. Zoom lenses, for the most part, are more expensive than their prime counterpart, simply because there's more going on in the lens, right? There is more pieces of glass, there is the zoom mechanism, that kind of stuff. So personally, I like to have maybe one or two really nice zoom lenses in my kit and I supplement them with prime lenses. Now for me, a good zoom lens to have would be something like this 24-70.
And then I also like the 70-200 millimeter range a lot of the manufacturers reach. Now at 200 millimeters, you can get a lot of reach into a scene. Rich: Yeah, that's a good balance. Both of those are going to be fairly expensive if you get a constant aperture. So I often find that for a DSLR shooter, starting out, beginning with even used prime lenses might be a good value, but save up, bypass that cheaper kit lens, and maybe save your money for a better zoom or even a used zoom that's going to have a constant f-stop.
Don't worry about getting tons of different coverage. Go for better glass, and the nice thing is, is that if I were to invest in say this lens, this lens is going to work with multiple camera bodies as I go forward. A good lens is going to last for a really long time. I've got lenses that are a decade old that look just as good as when I first got them. Robbie: Yeah, don't forget, a lot of the lens manufacturers will have multiple f-stop options within a particular zoom lens. So, for example on a Canon, which I have a Canon body and I like Canon bodies, on the 7200 millimeter lens, they actually have an f/4 option and then they have a more expensive f/2.8 option and both lenses offer a fixed f-stop or a fixed aperture, but obviously, there is a big price difference.
So if you are doing a lot of outdoor shooting, you might not need to go to that more expensive fixed 2.8 lens, you can go with the f/4 lens and just be totally fine with any shooting that you need to do with it. Rich: And the last option to strongly consider is rentals. There are tons of lens companies out there that'll ship you a lens for a one- or two-day rental, a week-long rental, this is a very affordable way to get the types of lenses you need for a specific shoot. We rent lenses all the time as we have specific types of shooting come up. Don't be afraid to rent a lens and try it out or maybe even get into a lens sharing pool with some of your colleagues.
Thanks a lot for joining us this week, see you soon.
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