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?