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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lenses For Still + Motion

Putting together the best optics for versatility and practicality

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Creating a set of lenses will depend heavily on the kind of content you're pursuing and the system you're invested in. Some even may prefer to have a heavy concentration of wide primes or telephotos, which certainly can be useful on motion projects. They normalize the relative size of subjects to the background, compress distance, narrow your view, flatten perspective and give you considerable throw, making them a compositional necessity for wildlife, sports, landscapes and situations that need to show scale or exaggerate the density of your subjects. (Compression of the scene will emphasize numbers because it makes subjects appear closer together.) Telephotos also can be used for exaggerating bokeh effects with an out-of-focus background since they magnify backgrounds in ratio to the foreground. Telephotos compress and, therefore, make viewers feel as if they have been removed from a scene.

A wide-angle exaggerates the size and distance of objects because more distant objects become a smaller portion of the ratio in the overall angle of view. This helps to emphasize the foreground while incorporating and enhancing expansive backgrounds. The effects are quite dramatic depending on how wide of a wide-angle you're using. Keep in mind that any foreground movement will be exaggerated, and converging lines also become very pronounced, so composition will take some care to master. Exposure levels across such large scenes also can vary greatly, which makes grad neutral-density filters helpful. A wide-angle is great for working in close-focus or interior situations where the subject is very close to the background because many of them provide a short minimum working distance so the subject will appear separated from the background. This can help to make a scene feel far less claustrophobic.

Other Lens Options
Some filmmakers choose to make a piecemeal kit from the best lenses available, even across alternate systems, while others are concerned with pricing. Several focal lengths aren't available through the major manufacturers, as well.

Available with or without Vibration Compensation, Tamron's 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro lens edges out most manufacturers' 85mm primes with a small jump in telephoto reach. That amounts to a bit more on APS-C cameras at about 135mm-144mm while an 85mm offers around 127.5mm-136mm. Ideal for portraiture, it also provides 1:1 magnification and a minimum focusing distance of less than a foot. Tamron also has the telephoto SP AF 180mm F/3.5 Di LD IF macro with 1:1 magnification. Tokina's AF 100mm F/2.8 AT-X PRO D is a macro telephoto with 1:1 reproduction and a minimum focus distance of a foot. The focus limiter switch is a nice touch for quickly achieving focus. Available in both APS-C and full-frame mounts for Canon and Nikon, the AT-X 107 AF DX fisheye zoom is a great choice if you're looking for that capability, as the zooming ability of the lens also makes it a wide-angle solution, with an angle-of-view range from 180º to 100º at 17mm.


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