If a story is worth telling, it deserves to be told through the right lens.
Over the years we’ve rented or purchased so many different lenses — and we’ve found, much like with everything else we do, that lens choice is entirely dependent on story.
Sometimes it can be really easy to go with your favorite lens all the time, because you love the way it looks. But you must realize that this just isn’t fair to the other lenses! They look good too — you just need to know when they look really good.
Not only do we have our favorite lenses, we’re still discovering new ways that these lenses can be applicable to certain shoots. You always want to cater your lens to the shoot, so we want to share some of our favorite Canon lenses with you — and more importantly, the types of shooting that they’re perfect for.
24-105mm f4L IS
This lens is all about capturing movement.
The 24-105 allows for a nice wide focal length with the image stabilizer, making it great for getting in there and capturing the action.
When do we use it? Well, let’s be honest — a Steadicam or slider just isn’t always practical, so you need to have something that works for capturing movement when you’re in a small space and there’s a lot going on. We use it if we’re trying to capture footage from a car, in an airplane, and any other situation where movement is prioritized and big pieces of gear aren’t an option.
14mm f2.8L Rectilinear
When we are able to use nice big pieces of gear like a Steadicam, slider, or crane — we go for this 14mm lens.
Because the lens shoots so wide, when paired with something like a slider the look of the movement is very amplified and, well… it looks awesome. When you pair this lens with the Steadicam, you can walk and shoot — and the footage will come out looking like you were running.
This lens is also great if you’re trying to keep your distortion looking natural — that is, after all, the purpose of a rectilinear lens! Of all the rectilinear options, we really like this lens because the distortion always looks very pleasing to the eye.
Why would we choose this lens over the 70-200mm f2.8?
It’s true that they’re similar lenses and the 2.8 is going to give you a wider range…
The 135mm has a very short minimum focusing distance (a mere 3ft!), and this lens can achieve something very special when you’re going for a nice shallow depth of field. You’ll see in the image above that the background blur looks particularly beautiful. The super shallow depth of field you get with this lens is the secret to getting the really gorgeous looking background blur, and this is why we truly cherish the 135mm.
Also it’s much smaller and more portable than the 70-200mm. What’s not to love?
Extender 1.4 x II
Here at Stillmotion, we celebrate diversity.
One of our favorite ways to celebrate is with this converter! This baby is going to allow you to get a lot more diversity out of the lenses that you already have. We particularly love using it with the 70-200mm f2.8, or the 135mm.
Attaching this converter to your lens is going to lose you one stop of light, but that’s a small price to pay for multiplying your focal length by 1.4x. This is always going to be an incredibly handy converter to have when you’re looking to diversify in the clutch!
Check out this converter chart for the Extender 1.4x to see if it’s a friend to any of your lenses.
100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS
This is a push-pull lens, which means that it’s not only fun to play with — it’s also going to let you zoom in and out as well as focus with only one hand.
Why is that so great?
The push-pull lens allows you to keep one hand on the monopod while using the other hand to work with the lens, and this is going to give you a much stabler image.
This lens also works well with the 1.4x converter, and has a great focal range to begin with. With this lens you can quickly and smoothly jump from a medium shot into a super close-up, so it’s great for fast-paced movement like sports footage.
Come on, just try it…
Look, we don’t want to pressure you into anything… but we really encourage you to experiment when it comes to lenses.
Rent these different lenses and try them all out — this is the best way to get a feel for them and understand when you like using one lens over another. We’re all about forming beautiful relationships, but when it comes to lenses we really recommend you sleep around and don’t let yourself get tied down to just one lens.
Which lenses have you tried and loved?
Which ones are you ready to experiment with?
Agreed. Especially the 14mm 2.8L. I find the distortion is very minimal but gives stellar shots for steadicam and landscapes.
Another great video tip! Thanks guys for sharing your wealth of knowledge.
Nice to hear.
My absolute favorite lens is my 85mm f1.2.
Portraits are amazing to do with it and video it is absolutely fantastic.
It is very very sharp and the evening shots you can do is outstanding 🙂
Also the 100mm f2.8 macro is great for cllose up shots 🙂
The 24mm f1.4 is also a killer 🙂
The 85 1.2 sure is something special, isn’t it?
Thanks for sharing some of your favorites with us.
Thanks for showcasing some of these unconventional lenses for video use. Excited to try them out. Once again, the information you guys are putting out for aspiring videographers is amazing.
Great information. So many videographers today have never really had a chance to learn the joy of finding the right lens for the right situation. Now with todays cameras we’ve all got that opportunity. The lens i use 60% of the time is the Canon 24mm f/1.4. Everything just looks pretty.
Good info! By the way, how about 35mm f1.4 lens?
The 35mm rarely leaves our side, it’s one of our favorite lenses by far. At f1.4 it’s great for shooting in low light too 🙂
I really love the new Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VC, since Canon doesn’t provide IS with their F2.8 models this is my run and gun to-go lens(when i’m in need for IS). This Tamron has an faster aperture than the Canon F2.8 VS F4 and the IS(VC) on this Tamron lens is way better then on the Canon 24-105mm F4L model(haven’t tried the new 24-70 F4 IS yet).
I agree, I use all the lenses except the 100-400 for photography and filming, they are all great, but I also like my Zeiss 28 mm ZE and 50 mm ZE about all especially in low light situations. Tested the Zeiss 15 mm (CP) for one day: amazing, nearly no distortion, a great lens but for the price you really have to need it.
Great tips as always.
Greetings from Germany.
These are some great suggestions and some great information. It could really help expand someone’s repertoire and improve their abilities with Canon cameras and lenses.
Of course, where should you get your cameras and lenses? One option, if you’re using Canon, is a dedicated Canon store, or shopping directly on their website. Or there’s Ebay. Or, you can visit an all-around online store with tons of deals on all sorts of cameras and equipment at http://BestCameraSolutions.com. It’s a great place to look around and see what you may want, or to look for good prices on what you already want!
Yes! Finally something about canon lens ebay auto.
Great collection! Got the 24-105mm myself – a good all-around standard for most situations. But of course the primes are more beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.
Hi guys I need a recommendation. In January I will be filming a wedding and I will be using 14mm 2.8 canon lens for my gimbal. But for second camera what zoom lens you guys recommend for me to use. The wedding will at night inside a small lodge, and there will be some recording outside as well. Any suggestions for a closer focal range lens that is good in low light for my second camera that will be in a tripod.