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Lenses To Consider for Photography or Videography Part 1

 

camera-158471_960_720Once you start on the journey of church photography and service or testimony videography, you immediately are faced with the problem of choosing the right lens or lenses for your camera. Now, I shoot with Canon cameras so I choose their lenses. But whatever you shoot with there will be a similar lens to choose from. First lets cover the basics. There are two types of lenses. Zoom lens, and prime lens.

lens 2

A zoom lens has the capability to maneuver from one distance to another. There are numerous amounts of zoom lens’s to choose from. There are so very many different ranges it can be maddening to know what you should choose. Just look at B&H list of zoom focal lengths:

  • 7-14mm
  • 8-15mm
  • 8-16mm
  • 9-18mm
  • 10-17mm
  • 10-18mm
  • 10-20mm
  • 10-22mm
  • 10-24mm
  • 11-16mm
  • 11-18mm (1)
  • 11-20mm
  • 11-22mm
  • 11-24mm
  • 12-24mm
  • 12-28mm (2)
  • 12-60mm
  • 14-20mm
  • 14-24mm
  • 14-35mm
  • 14-42mm
  • 14-54mm
  • 15-30mm (1)
  • 15-85mm (1)
  • 16-28mm (2)
  • 16-35mm (3)
  • 16-50mm (2)
  • 16-80mm (2)
  • 16-85mm (2)
  • 16-105mm (1)
  • 16-300mm (3)
  • 17-35mm (3)
  • 17-40mm (1)
  • 17-50mm (11)
  • 17-55mm (2)
  • 17-70mm (5)
  • 17-85mm (2)
  • 18-35mm (6)
  • 18-50mm (1)
  • 18-55mm (8)
  • 18-105mm (1)
  • 18-135mm (5)
  • 18-140mm (1)
  • 18-180mm
  • 18-200mm (14)
  • 18-250mm (6)
  • 18-270mm (4)
  • 18-300mm (7)
  • 20-40mm (2)
  • 24-35mm (3)
  • 24-70mm (15)
  • 24-85mm (2)
  • 24-105mm (6)
  • 24-120mm (1)
  • 28-70mm (1)
  • 28-75mm (5)
  • 28-105mm (2)
  • 28-135mm (1)
  • 28-200mm (1)
  • 28-210mm (1)
  • 28-300mm (7)
  • 35-100mm
  • 40-150mm
  • 50-100mm
  • 50-135mm
  • 50-200mm
  • 50-500mm
  • 55-200mm
  • 55-250mm
  • 55-300mm
  • 60-250mm
  • 70-200mm
  • 70-300mm
  • 70-400mm
  • 75-300mm
  • 80-200mm
  • 80-400mm
  • 90-250mm
  • 100-400mm
  • 100-500mm
  • 120-300mm
  • 150-450mm
  • 150-600mm
  • 200-400mm
  • 200-500mm
  • 300-800mm
  • 650-1300mm

I think you get the point. On with it then; what to choose. Let’s start with lenses for photography. In part 2 we will discuss lenses for videography, but you can use these zoom lenses for videography as well.  First on the list of considerations for your new lenses is  your budget.  Here is my list of affordable but quality zoom lenses. All prices are based upon B&H Photo and Video.

  1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens. $849

  2. Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. $599

  3. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens. $649

  4. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. $699

  5. Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens. $299

Again if you don’t shoot Canon there are similar Nikon or Sony lenses out there. You should even investigate to see if Sigma, Tamron or another brand makes a lens that will fit the mount of your camera.1280px-24mm-Fixed-focal-SLR-lens You can even buy special lens mounts for your camera if need be. These are good lengths to consider when buying a zoom lens. You can get wider zooms or even more telephoto zooms but for standard day to day shooting for church services or events this is a good list. The 24mm to 70mm is a decent mid range.  A down side is that the f/4L f-stop is kind of a low spot to have to start at. By that I mean that you can’t have a larger aperture than f/4. You can go higher ( f/5, f/6, f/7…) but not lower (f/3, f/2…). That aperture doesn’t allow you to get that beautiful depth of field. When your shooting at church it is nice to be able to go brighter with your aperture since your shooting in the dim lighting. Read my blog post on shooting in dim lighting. On that note, the 24-105 gives you more range and a lower f-stop to shoot at. The f/3.5 f-stop aperture is going to let in more light to your sensor for a better image. The next lens is nice because you can use it as your ad on lens. By that I mean if you want to be able to zoom in further it’s a good lens to have as an addition. It matches up really nicely with the 24-70 because with the two lenses you now essentially have a 24-300mm lens kit. That’s a nice kit.

For the most flexibility I like the 18-200mm lens. This is a all in one lens. Its range is wide to a nice telephoto. With the bottom of the lens at a 3.5 aperture, it lets in a fair amount of light. I’ve gotten a lot of really nice shots wit this lens and it keeps me from changing from one lens to another most of the time.  Finally another all in one lens is the 28-135mm. Its range is not as good but the price makes up the difference. You’ll notice that all of these have ranges in their aperture settings. For example, 3.5-5.6, this range means that the lowest f-stop you can have when at its widest setting is a 3.5. When the zoom is extended to 200mm the lowest setting of aperture will be 5.6. You can always go darker from there but know that those are the lowest settings you can get on your lens at any given time.

Now if you have a little higher budget here is my favorites list.

  1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. $1,499

  2. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. $1,799

  3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens. $1,249

The first lens is the 16-35mm. Thats a nice wide range for shooting a large group, the whole stage, or building. The bottom of the lens is f/2.8, which means that no matter how far in you have your lens zoomed, you can maintain a low aperture of 2.8 or for that matter, whatever you wish. There are no limits on this lens. The same is true for the other two lenses. Again the 24-70 is a nice medium range and the 70-200 is a nice telephoto. The strength of these lenses is that you can set your aperture no matter if the lens is at its widest or deepest. There are no restrictions on them. That’s the difference between the expensive lenses and the cheaper ones. The cheaper lenses have restrictions on them and the more expensive ones do not. The key to look for to tell the difference is to look for the “L” series or a lens with a constant f2/8 f-stop or less. Next time I’ll discussing prime lenses and video production.

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