Pro Video Tips
Illustration by John Hersey
Watching:

Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses


From:

Pro Video Tips

with Anthony Q. Artis

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses

So in this movie, I want to compare manual zoom lenses, servo zoom lenses, and prime lenses, and talk about some of the practical considerations of shooting with each. So let's start off with prime lenses. Prime lenses, of course are any lens that has a fixed focal length, 35 millimeter, 50 millimeter or 85 millimeter lenses are all popular choices for prime lenses. Now, what's great about prime lenses is that they're really fast, in other words, good in low light.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 8s
    1. Intro to Pro Video Tips
      2m 8s
  2. 17m 27s
    1. Controlling reflections in glass
      4m 7s
    2. Managing color with polarizers
      2m 32s
    3. Using a polarizer to adjust skin tones
      2m 0s
    4. Using polarizers when shooting landscapes
      4m 42s
    5. Ten polarizer tips
      4m 6s
  3. 14m 34s
    1. Supplies to get to hide lav mics
      2m 13s
    2. Hiding lavs in collars
      5m 16s
    3. Hiding mics in hair
      2m 17s
    4. Hiding mics in sheer tops
      2m 40s
    5. Hiding transmitter packs on talent
      2m 8s
  4. 34m 25s
    1. Canon C100 overview
      11m 33s
    2. Looking at the Atomos Ninja
      12m 20s
    3. Checking out the C100 menu options
      10m 32s
  5. 10m 28s
    1. Ten tips for set safety
      10m 28s
  6. 9m 18s
    1. Packing a truck
      9m 18s
  7. 19m 24s
    1. Putting together your lens kit
      1m 0s
    2. Normal lenses
      1m 54s
    3. Wide lenses
      3m 5s
    4. Ultra-wide and fish-eye lenses
      2m 53s
    5. Telephoto lenses
      4m 53s
    6. Super zooms
      2m 54s
    7. Macro lenses
      2m 45s
  8. 17m 22s
    1. The importance of exposure
      1m 31s
    2. Using waveforms
      5m 3s
    3. Using histograms
      6m 53s
    4. Using zebra stripes
      3m 55s
  9. 10m 20s
    1. Shutter speed overview
      3m 18s
    2. Different ways to use shutter speed
      7m 2s
  10. 10m 29s
    1. Tips for keeping your budget down
      10m 29s
  11. 10m 11s
    1. Working with batteries
      10m 11s
  12. 24m 39s
    1. External audio settings
      4m 2s
    2. Audio input menus
      9m 31s
    3. Audio output menus
      4m 6s
    4. Setting and monitoring your levels
      7m 0s
  13. 16m 33s
    1. Introduction to backlight
      1m 18s
    2. Types of backlight
      3m 51s
    3. Exposing for backlit shots
      5m 31s
    4. Backlighting translucent object
      1m 39s
    5. Avoiding lens flare and wash out
      4m 14s
  14. 13m 28s
    1. Booming techniques
      13m 28s
  15. 5m 42s
    1. Feeding your crew
      5m 42s
  16. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses
      5m 19s
    2. Running and gunning with prime lenses
      3m 17s
  17. 10m 55s
    1. Green screen lights and materials
      3m 47s
    2. Mounting the green screen
      1m 39s
    3. Lighting the green screen
      3m 8s
    4. Lighting your subject
      2m 21s
  18. 9m 28s
    1. What to look for when buying a tripod
      6m 13s
    2. Working with monopods
      3m 15s
  19. 23m 19s
    1. Choosing a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Preparation and supplies for a surf shoot
      2m 13s
    3. Dealing with lens fog
      1m 44s
    4. Mounting your POV camera
      3m 20s
    5. Tracking and shooting your surfer from the shore
      6m 56s
    6. Interview with Tony Cruz
      6m 4s
  20. 8m 37s
    1. Introduction to lens mounts
      1m 24s
    2. Canon mounts
      2m 0s
    3. PL mounts
      1m 59s
    4. Nikon mounts
      1m 24s
    5. Micro 4/3 mounts
      1m 50s
  21. 7m 30s
    1. Introduction to lighting ratios
      1m 19s
    2. Comparing ratios
      2m 52s
    3. Measuring light ratios
      3m 19s
  22. 10m 25s
    1. Ten Looks in Ten Minutes
      10m 25s
  23. 5m 36s
    1. Using camera height and POV to better tell your story
      5m 36s
  24. 9m 49s
    1. Tips for lighting an interview subject
      9m 49s
  25. 15m 5s
    1. Taking 10 pounds off your subject
      4m 1s
    2. Dealing with nose shadows
      3m 3s
    3. Lighting different skin tones
      2m 55s
    4. Putting makeup on your subject
      5m 6s
  26. 10m 4s
    1. Types of cookies
      4m 6s
    2. Making your own custom cookies
      2m 47s
    3. Controlling the look of a cookie
      3m 11s
  27. 18m 11s
    1. Introduction to shooting sports footage
      1m 15s
    2. Getting good coverage for your sport shoot
      5m 55s
    3. Camerawork for shooting sports videos
      5m 4s
    4. Gear to bring on your sports shoot
      4m 52s
    5. Wrapping up
      1m 5s
  28. 8m 34s
    1. Tips for using bounce light
      8m 34s
  29. 21m 43s
    1. Video portrait intro
      1m 51s
    2. Video portrait camera work
      13m 32s
    3. Considerations for a video portrait interview
      4m 11s
    4. Bonus: Finished video portrait
      2m 9s
  30. 9m 48s
    1. Shooting at 24p
      3m 2s
    2. Using depth of field
      1m 37s
    3. Lighting for a film look
      1m 18s
    4. Using filters
      2m 31s
    5. Getting a film look with software
      1m 20s
  31. 38m 57s
    1. Introduction to professional car rigs
      7m 41s
    2. Attaching a side mount rig
      12m 58s
    3. Mounting a speed rail rig
      10m 54s
    4. Hood suction mount
      4m 27s
    5. Car rig safety tips
      2m 57s
  32. 14m 3s
    1. Manipulating the size of people
      6m 12s
    2. Manipulating the size of buildings
      2m 59s
    3. Making crowds look more crowded
      4m 52s
  33. 12m 32s
    1. Introduction to lighting cars
      5m 13s
    2. Lighting the car from outside
      3m 10s
    3. Lighting the car from inside
      4m 9s
  34. 13m 46s
    1. Packing your gear for air travel
      6m 8s
    2. What to do at the airport
      4m 39s
    3. Getting on the plane
      2m 59s
  35. 15m 53s
    1. Why you should hire an editor
      1m 29s
    2. Working with editors during pre-production
      3m 33s
    3. Working with editors during shooting
      4m 3s
    4. Working with editors after your shoot
      4m 18s
    5. Final tips on working with editors
      2m 30s
  36. 7m 46s
    1. Tips on avoiding scam film festivals
      7m 46s
  37. 5m 22s
    1. 36. Four common budgeting mistakes
      5m 22s
  38. 12m 13s
    1. 10 Filmmaking Lessons...I Learned the Hard Way
      12m 13s
  39. 9m 38s
    1. Why you get moire and aliasing
      2m 52s
    2. Avoiding moire
      6m 46s
  40. 18m 56s
    1. Tips on boosting your production value
      1m 46s
    2. Shooting with a shallow depth of field
      1m 36s
    3. Great audio and sound design
      2m 44s
    4. Keep your shots steady
      2m 32s
    5. Keep your camera moving
      2m 29s
    6. Location, location, location
      2m 15s
    7. Adding appropriate titles and FX
      1m 56s
    8. Hiring a colorist
      3m 38s
  41. 11m 19s
    1. Positioning yourself for the interview
      2m 29s
    2. Settings for camera and audio
      5m 57s
    3. Using a second camera
      2m 53s
  42. 8m 5s
    1. Tips on shooting an interview with one camera
      4m 25s
    2. Faking reverse shots and cutaways
      3m 40s
  43. 8m 58s
    1. The trouble with shooting windows
      1m 6s
    2. Dealing with exposure issues
      2m 55s
    3. Managing mixed color temperatures
      2m 16s
    4. Tips and tricks for shooting window scenes
      2m 41s
  44. 4m 35s
    1. Adjusting SMPTE color bars
      4m 35s
  45. 11m 32s
    1. Introduction to shooting discreetly
      1m 1s
    2. Scouting locations for a stealth shoot
      1m 47s
    3. Traveling and shooting low profile
      1m 25s
    4. Recording audio discreetly
      1m 25s
    5. Using discreet cameras and camerawork
      2m 22s
    6. Running interference
      1m 24s
    7. Adding production value with local resources
      1m 13s
    8. Always have a plan B
      55s
  46. 5m 44s
    1. Five things you can do when your production stalls out
      5m 44s
  47. 10m 44s
    1. Why to use an Interrotron
      3m 50s
    2. Setting up an Interrotron the traditional way
      4m 4s
    3. Nontraditional Interrotron setups
      2m 50s
  48. 6m 3s
    1. Five ways to achieve shallow depth of field
      6m 3s
  49. 9m 41s
    1. Tips for managing your media
      9m 41s
  50. 16m 23s
    1. Tips for renting equipment
      1m 25s
    2. Do your homework
      2m 39s
    3. Test the gear out
      4m 13s
    4. Get the best rate on your rental
      1m 49s
    5. Getting all the manuals
      59s
    6. Stay covered, with insurance
      2m 48s
    7. Dealing with damaged, lost, or stolen gear
      2m 30s
  51. 4m 36s
    1. Using your hotel TV as an ad-hoc monitor
      4m 36s
  52. 3m 49s
    1. Shooting an overhead tabletop demo with a mirror
      3m 49s
  53. 3m 0s
    1. Creating a visual heat-wave effect
      3m 0s
  54. 14m 0s
    1. 10 Tips for Shooting Live Events
      14m 0s
  55. 15m 22s
    1. Understanding the challenges of shooting live events
      3m 21s
    2. Shooting for the cut
      5m 20s
    3. Getting neutral shots and cutaways
      3m 51s
    4. Bonus: Final edited video
      2m 50s
  56. 14m 2s
    1. Tips for recording audio at live events
      1m 51s
    2. Plugging into a mixing board
      5m 52s
    3. Mic'ing the instruments
      1m 46s
    4. Mic'ing the speakers
      1m 55s
    5. Using a shotgun mic
      2m 38s
  57. 15m 59s
    1. Seven tips for better managing your crew
      3m 13s
    2. Get it all on paper first
      2m 6s
    3. Learn to delegate
      2m 12s
    4. Hiring is half the work
      2m 53s
    5. Understand how each person likes to work
      1m 34s
    6. Feed them good food
      31s
    7. Learn to speak their language
      1m 55s
    8. Goodbye
      1m 35s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Pro Video Tips
11h 47m Appropriate for all Apr 15, 2014 Updated May 12, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.

Subject:
Video
Author:
Anthony Q. Artis

Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses

So in this movie, I want to compare manual zoom lenses, servo zoom lenses, and prime lenses, and talk about some of the practical considerations of shooting with each. So let's start off with prime lenses. Prime lenses, of course are any lens that has a fixed focal length, 35 millimeter, 50 millimeter or 85 millimeter lenses are all popular choices for prime lenses. Now, what's great about prime lenses is that they're really fast, in other words, good in low light.

They're also pretty light weight and they look gorgeous. And for the price, they can't be beat. It's one of the least expensive, highest quality type of lenses that you can get. However, the one big limitation to prime lenses is that they require you to keep changing lenses or to move the camera if you want to recompose your shot, since they have fixed focal lengths. So you can shoot a close up, medium, or wide shot with any prime lens. You just have to move the camera to recompose the shot. Now, zoom lenses on the other hand, allow you to get all up in there without having to keep moving the camera.

My personal preference and most unpredictable running gun cases, is for a good zoom lens with a decent range, that doesn't suck up too much light. Now as I've said before, I've long been a big fan of the convenience, smoothness, and speed of shooting with the servo zoom on a fixed lens camera like the Sony EX1 or this Panasonic HPX17. But, when I recently decided to move up to the Canon C100, I had to give up my precious servo zoom motor.

For the more valuable ability to swap out lenses, shoot with prime lenses, and have the option, whenever the budget allowed, to rent top of the line cinema lenses, which offer the absolute best image quality available. The budget doesn't allow as often as I'd like. But to be clear, I only had to give up, my smooth server zoom motor. You can still use zoom lenses with interchangeable lens cameras, of course, you'll just be shooting, on manual zooms. Not motorized zoom lenses. While they don't have servo motors, manual zooms like this one, are still generally preferable to prime lenses for fast paced documentary shooting, or you may still prefer a zoom for narrative work any time you just have a low budget limited crew, or just don't have the time to keep moving the camera and swapping out lenses.

The obvious advantage of a zoom whether you're talking servos or manual zooms for documentary work is that it's faster to change compositions, and it doesn't require nearly as much hustle to get a series of close ups, mediums and wide shots in a short period of time so you can get. A lot of coverage and a little bit of time using the zoom lens. However, one downside to zoom lenses are that they generally tend to be heavier. This thing here is about eight pounds so I could probably do a couple of reps and I'd put on a little bulk before the end of this tutorial. These are also, more expensive and they're generally not as good in the light as prime lenses.

So, I think zooms versus primes is really just a matter of personal preference. It's going to vary by style, by stamina, and by subject matter. But, it doesn't at all have to be an either/or choice. If there's enough breaks in the action, I'll often use both zooms and prime lenses before the day is out, or, I'll freely switch back and forth as the situation, or shot dictates, at the particular time. So let's just take a quick look at the general pros and cons of each type of lens, starting off with the servo zooms.

Now, Servo Zooms are going to offer quicker framing, they're going to be smoother, and a big plus is that, in many cameras, you can adjust the exact speed to where you want it. The downside of servo zooms is that they are generally only available for fixed lens prosumer cameras or high-end big-budget ENG cameras. Also, servo zoom lenses on these fixed lens prosumer cameras, generally don't tend to be of the highest quality. They aren't bad. They just aren't, of the highest quality. And they can also be a little heavier.

Now when it comes to manual zooms, the big pro of manual zooms is you can frame shots a lot quicker than you can with primes. Also, manual zooms generally offer higher quality glass so you can get better optics in a manual zoom than you can with the servo zooms that come with tha pros from the cameras. The. The downside is that they're not as smooth and the speed is controlled manually and they're also more expensive. And, as I said before, they tend to be a lot heavier, which I think is one of the biggest downsides. I don't think I would want this on a handheld camera for a long day of shooting.

Now, prime lenses are, more affordable. They also are faster as in their better with low light and they tend to be more light weight. The only real downside to prime lenses is that they're just a little less versatile because you had to switch them out to change compositions or move the camera. So, regardless of what type of work you do or what camera you shoot with, what I think is most important is that you understand the technical, aesthetic and practical limitations and advantages of each type of lens and think it through, before you shoot.

There are currently no FAQs about Pro Video Tips.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Pro Video Tips.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.