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Thread: DSLR Minefield!!!!!........need help

  1. Default DSLR Minefield!!!!!........need help

    OK so im looking to get a DSLR for shooting video to replace my HV30.

    There are so many different Canon models that im having a hard time finding out which is best within my budget.

    For the camera body, im looking to spend approx £500, then I need to find out about lenses for video also so could use some advice on how much ill be looking at for those.

    I dont need anything too professional (i.e expensive) becuase im still learning and just making films/music videos for fun.

    What I do want however is a better image than I get from my HV30 and better low light performance is critical too. Plus I want to get away from mini DV.

    Can I get some advice please.


  2. #2


    At that budget it would be the 700d.

  3. #3


    Then you'll be looking at least a grand for about 3 lenses to start you off. The lenses I own are a canon 28mm usm is, 50 mm 1.4 and 55-250 is ef-s. I also have a tokina 11-16 that I stick on a monopod upside down for low shots. Theses are pretty cheap lenses and the zoom is pretty awful at the longer lengths. But you pays your money! For me, I could easily spend a few grand and not notice much difference in output. If I could afford it, I'd spend a grand on a decent tele zoom and only buy lenses with is.

  4. #4


    When I got my first DSLR for video. I knew I didn't have a ton of money for lens so I got a zoom first. This gives me more framing options and was what I was use to with normal video cameras. You can always get some nice fixed focal length lens later. Something like Marcs 55-250 would be my suggestion.

    Having said that you have to bear in mind you will be paying twice for a lens if you don't get top notch lens first time round, It's a tough decision.

  5. #5


    I rarely use the zoom to be honest. My first lens would be a fast wide or standard prime if budget was a big issue.

  6. Default

    Ive heard Samyang Cine lenses are good, what do you think?......Ideally I just want to start with one lense until I learn the kit fully then add on from there.

  7. #7


    Do you plan to use it got stills or use autofocus in video? I've become fairly accustomed to manual focus, made easier by focus assist in magic lantern, but it can be a pain and a waste of time for stills in my opinion.

    I would rent a few lenses of various types for a weekend. Play around with them and choose the one you want. Don't bother reading reviews other than to rule out duds.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by moonmin troll View Post
    Ive heard Samyang Cine lenses are good, what do you think?......Ideally I just want to start with one lense until I learn the kit fully then add on from there.
    Samyang lenses are awesome for the money (I have some in additional to Canon glass) and I particularly love the step-less aperture / iris rings for making subtle exposure adjustments. But remember, you'll be manual focus 100% of the time with these lenses. On a tripod with a static subject that's usually not a problem but when you're subject moves or you're run & gun then AF can sometimes save the day.

    If you're used to relying on auto focus then the Samyang lenses could be a major problem for you. If you're happy to manually focus then they are great value for money.

    What lenses you want will depend on many things, including:

    • What body you buy (crop or full frame)

    • What you plan to shoot (closeups / wide)

    • Where you plan to shoot (inside / outside)

    • How much light you'll have (daylight or low light)

    If low light performance is important to you then there are two ways to get there. The first is using a wide aperture, including the f1.4 of the Samyang & Canon primes, maybe f1.8 & f2.0 or other primes (e.g. the Canon 35 f2.0 IS and Sigma 18-35 f1.8 zoom) and then on to f2.8 primes (28mm) and zooms (Tokine 11-16 f2.8, Canon 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8 etc). Once you get past f2.8 then things start getting really unusable in low light.

    Shooting wide open (for low light) means shallower depth of field. Some see this as the holy grail and it's exactly what they want while others see it as a problem because you can't get 'enough' in focus to be usable in some cases. Which camp you fall in to may change from scene to scene when you're trying to balance focus depth and low light.

    The other way to get low light performance is through use of higher ISO settings on the camera, with the downside that you typically add noise, lose dynamic range (the difference between where blacks are crushed and whites are blown out), lose some details and can suffer some colour shift, especially in the higher ISO settings. You can always de-noise in post using plug-ins like Neat Video, but again it's likely to rob you of a tiny bit more detail along the way.

    Of course, you could add lights, but that's a whole new level of learning.

    The default for most people when buying cheaper bodies is to go for cheaper glass, but (because they are cheap) they tend to have apertures in the f4.5-5.6 range which quite honestly is death in low light. It's hard to comprehend the difference between f1.4 and f5.6 until you actually compare them side by side in a low light scene.

    Having said that, if you're on a tight budget I'd be tempted to get an AF zoom first (consider the sigma 18-35 f1., see how you like the shooting experience and then look at a fast prime based on whether you think you can cope with MF only or whether you really do need AF.

    Keep in mind that what ever you buy, there's always more to buy than just the body & lens. You'll want to capture sound as an example. Sound is at least 50% (or more) of video and it's the one thing most people forget when they first start out making films. If you're used to sound on your HV30 then there's a temptation to carry on at that level, but for making films people will actually enjoy watching then the sound needs as much if not more of a bump up in quality than the picture does.

    So, coming back to your original post, you've set a budget of £500 for your body but then don't know how much lenses will be. With that in mind, how did you arrive at £500 for the body? what if it were £500 for the body and £2K for lenses, could that not be £1000 for the body and £1500 for lenses for example? I think you need to look at the entire kit before setting the budget for any one piece within it.
    Last edited by David Partington; 03-27-2014 at 10:18 AM.

  9. Default

    Thank you for the detailed response David.

    I shoot music videos and short films so need to be able to shoot close up and wide, indoors, outdoors, daylight and low light. Im not fussed about taking stills whatsoever, film is what ill be using the kit for.

    Sound is not something im worried about, I've been recording sound for years and have lots of studio experience too since I write music. I also have a basic tripod that will do the job until I need something better.

    I would definitely like to have AF as an option for shooting run & gun as you say although I like to use manual where possible. Im still learning though.

    I guess Im setting a £1000 budget for a body and general purpose lens as I need to set a price based on how much im willing to spend intially. I could have a body and lens for 6-12 months and these would last that long before I need more lenses whilst I experiment and learn basics of shooting on DSLR. I have never shot this way after all and Im a firm believer that you dont need tons of kit to produce something great, in fact I prefer to limit what I have.

    With this is mind, could I get a decent body and one "multi-purpose" lense with AF for £1000 or under?.....if so, what would you all recommend?



  10. #10


    I would be looking at the Canon 70D as the body and look for appropriate lenses from there.

    In terms of general purpose, well that usually means cheap or really expensive because cheap general purpose lenses are in the f4.5-5.6 sorts of ranges and to get them down to the f2.8 and better you're spending big money.

    I'll be honest, I'm a little out of touch with the cheaper zooms nowadays since I haven't actually seen one I like for several years (due to the aperture and needing to shoot low light). I'm much more up on the faster primes and zooms that are unfortunately out of your price range.

    In terms of primes to look at:

    Samyang 14mm T3.5 (vey wide - not AF)
    Samyang 16mm (not AF)
    Samyang 24mm T1.5 (f1.4 equivalent - not AF)
    Canon 28mm f2.8 IS
    Sigma 30 f1.4
    Samyang 35mm T1.5 (f1.4 equivalent -not AF)
    Canon 35mm f2 IS
    Canon 50 f1.8 (cheap but can have a lot of barrel distortion)
    Canon 50 f1.4
    Samyang 85 T1.5 (f1.4 equivalent - not AF)
    Canon 85 f1.8 (a very under rated but very good lens)

    Tokina 11-16 (really wide)
    Sigma 18-35 f1.8
    Canon 18-135 IS STM
    Canon 28-70 f2.8 L (used)
    Canon 24-70 f2.8 L (used)
    Canon 24-105 f4 L (about £450 used on ebay - a great general purpose lens)
    Canon 70-200 f2.8 (used from about £700)

    The 24-105 stays on my C100 quite a lot of the time and is a great general purpose lens. It's sharp, has IS and has a good zoom range. Of course it's an F4 so in really low light it gets swapped out for something fast but less flexible.

    Glass really is going to be up to you.
    Last edited by David Partington; 03-27-2014 at 02:02 PM.

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