What LENS should YOU BUY?!

– What’s up everybody? Peter McKinnon here, and today, whoo, we’re talking about lenses and which lens you should buy. Because let’s face it, so many choices. Super wide, wide, medium, closeup, (gasp) (snap) intro. (heavy drum techno music) There’s three questions that you need to ask yourself before you can start to really figure out what it is that you need. Number one, are you shooting photo or video? Number two, what’s your subject? And number three, what’s your price range? (ring) And when you answer those three questions, that’s gonna set you on the right path, a little bit closer to figuring out what it is that you need. So the first things that you might be saying is, Pete, how do you have so many lenses?

That is thousands, and thousands, and thousands of dollars in glass. None of us have that kind of money, and myself included. I don’t either. My friends at Henry’s Cameras, downtown Toronto, lent me all of these lenses for nothing. I just called them up and said hey, I need to make a video about lenses, can you guys help? And they said, sure, come in, we’ll give you whatever you want. So, shout out to my friends at Henry’s, downtown Toronto. I actually used to work there back in the day, so we’ve got a little bit of history and it’s where I go to buy all my gear. So, thank you guys, I appreciate it. Before we dive into answering those three questions, and talking about stabilization and all that stuff, I want to show you what I have today that we’re gonna be talking about.

Okay, we have a 14 mil super wide. We’ve got a 24 millimeter prime, a 24 millimeter tilt shift. 16 35, we’ve got a 35 mil, 50 mil, 24 70, a 135, a 100 mil macro lens, 100 mil macro lens L version, a 24 to 105, a 7200 zoom, 100 to 400 zoom, 200 to 400 zoom, and a 1.4 times teleconverter. Now, these are all Canon L series lenses that I’m showing you. Pay no attention to the fact their L series. They’re the lenses that I happen to use, but they are very expensive. It’s Canon’s pro line.

This isn’t the lens type I’m telling you definitively to go get. However, they’re just what I have as examples today. But keep in mind the focal lengths and the F-stops, because those are important, despite what brand you actually end up going with. Being able to answer the question of if you want to do photo or video, why that’s important is because some lenses are better for video, and some lenses are better for photos, and some lenses are perfect for both. Here’s a great example. This 50 millimeter 1.2 lens from Canon L series is a very expensive lens. Now, this is what I’ve found when I used to own it. It got rid of it because I felt that it sucked for photography. When I shot wide open at 1.2, I could never really get a super crisp image. Now, you can go into your camera settings and do what are called micro adjustments. You can print out a document online. I might even put the Dropbox link below if I can still find one. And you can micro adjust every single lens so that you know it’s perfect, spot on focus, every single time. So even after micro adjusting the 50 mil 1.2, I just didn’t find it consistent with getting sharp images. However, when it came to video and doing interview stuff and talking head stuff, bokeh, the depth of field, the speed of the lens, it was phenomenal. I couldn’t justify keeping it, because it didn’t work for photo as well, because that’s something I also do. So, I sold this, along with an 85 that I never used, and I bought a 70 to 200. 70 was close enough to 50 for me, 85 was covered in that focal range, and the 200 gave me even more of an extended range. The lens is also image stabilized, so the money from those two lenses went into one lens that overall feeds both my photography and my video in a better, more cost effective way. That’s why it’s important for you to figure out if photo is your focus, or video is your focus, or both. Because those three spectrums will dictate which type of equipment, which type of lenses, that you buy ultimately at the end of the day. I did a little test outside to show you the difference that lenses make shooting the same thing at different focal lengths. Keeping in mind the distortion and the compression that different lenses have. So we did portraits at 16, 24, 35, 50, 85, 100, 130, all the way up to 400 with that huge bazooka lens. Matty stayed in the same place. I kept him in the same spot in the frame, but just moved back depending on the focal length I was shooting on. And I did this because I want to show you how it completely distorts his face going from a 16 mil lens all the way to a 400 mil lens. Take a look at this. I’ll throw them on the screen as we go through it. Here is Matty with 16 millimeters, 24, 35, 50, 85, 100, 135, 200, 300, 400 mil. Huge difference. The lines in the alley completely open up, then they vanish completely, and you only got that background. So, you can see how that lens choice drastically changes the subject. If you’re gonna do portraits, maybe shooting them at a 400 mil is not the best idea. Maybe shooting them at 16 mil isn’t the best idea. Unless that’s what you’re trying to go for. And that’s where video intercepts, and film makers use these same principles to tell stories and make you feel different things, and convey different messages. Because maybe they want that super wide alleyway to show the grandeur of a fight scene. Or maybe they’re gonna use that 400 mil to get in real close to a humming bird for the Planet Earth series. So these lenses aren’t just things that people want and end up buying because they’re cool to have a whole bunch. People are allocating specific jobs, thoughts, stories, messages, to the lenses that they’re choosing to shoot with. Maybe you don’t want to shoot the bride on her wedding day with a 400 mil and make her look like she’s got 20 pounds on her. Might not be the most happy. Subsequently, you don’t want to shoot her with a 14 mil and make everything look super, super wide and warped because you don’t want her to look like she tried a little bit too hard to fit into that dress. Just saying. So just to touch on this, because there are people here that have never heard about this before, and I want to address your needs as well. When someone refers to a lens as being really fast, or shooting wide open, that means the aperture is as open as can be and the most amount of light is coming in. Now, why they say it’s fast is because due to that amount of light coming in to the sensor, you can make your shutter speed faster. So you can take pictures, (hand smacks) and the shutter is gonna open and close faster than it would if it wasn’t getting enough light. Now, because that aperture is wide open, that gives you the nice blurry background. That gives you the bokeh, the out of focus elements. Now, typically, if you’re gonna buy a faster lens, or you want a lens that’s good in low light, or you want to get that depth of field, those do cost more money inherently. As an example of that, this 50 mil, if we’re talking about this again, Canon makes three versions of this. They make a 50 millimeter 1.8, a 50 millimeter 1.4, and a 1.2. So this lens opens up the widest, lets the most amount of light in, meaning it’s the fastest 50 mil that Canon makes. Subsequently, if you’re shooting video, and you want a faster lens, you’re not necessarily taking photos, however, because that aperture is open wider to 1.2, more light is coming in, which means you can shoot in darker situations. So when you’re thinking about what lens you wanna buy, that’s also a factor. Are you doing a lot of low light photography? Are you doing a lot of low light video? Maybe you shoot weddings and you need a lens that’s as fast and opens as wide as possible, because you’re shooting through a huge variety of scenarios during that day, from the morning where it’s nice and light to the very end of the day where it’s dark and everyone’s dancing and you need good low light capability. So depending on what you do, depending on what you shoot, which is the subject, which we brought up at the beginning, those things decide what lens you’re gonna buy ultimately. Okay, so you’ve heard everything I have to say so far, but you’re still thinking I don’t know what lens to get. What do I do? Just tell me what I should do. This is a good neutral ground lens that I really, really love. It’s the 24 70. It’s the new version that Canon just brought out. It is an L series lens, but it’s 2.8, so you’re getting a little bit of wide and you’re getting a little bit of telephoto. It’s not too far in. 85 for me was always a little git too far, but 70 is just right. So 24 to 70 is a really good range for anyone who’s starting, anyone who’s already shooting. It’s just a good middle of the road solution. So, there are different brands that make 24 to 70, you don’t have to get this one, because it is expensive. I’ll link them below. Sigma have a great 24 70, for example. Now, the first L series lens that I got when I was like, okay, I’m gonna put money into a lens, here we go. I bought the 24 to 105 from BH Photo online. Had it shipped here. I got in in like a day, paid for extra fast shipping. I loved it, for the longest time it was all I needed. However, it’s only F4, so in low light situations, I started struggling a little bit. So, I switched that to the 16 to 35 two eight, and that’s when I really fell in love with doing landscape photography, and then that turned into doing portraits, which made me buy the 24 mil. And I’ve been pretty constant with that, as you guys know, for the better part of the last eight to 10 years. I bought the macro lens when I was doing a lot of wedding photography, because I needed those details. So, if you’re into events and stuff like that, highly recommended. Now, if you’re into like street photography, and urban stuff, and urban exploration, and you’re always kind of out on the go, you like a little bit of landscape, sometimes portraits, a 16 to 35 is a phenomenal focal length to go with, or a fixed 24 millimeter. If you’re into wildlife photography, or you want to do really crispy B roll, and really isolate your subject, something like a 70 to 200 would be better. ‘Cause the longer the focal length the more compression you’re gonna get in your image, which is really gonna make that subject stand out and pop out of the screen. I use the 70 200 for just about everything I shoot with regards to B roll. Again, depends what the subject is. This lens is massive. The lens hood makes it look a lot bigger. Take that off there. Damn if that isn’t a giant element. I don’t even think this takes a lens cap. I don’t think they make a lens cap this big. Now, why on earth would you ever use something this big? Or this heavy? This lens has its own case. It’s got its own neck strap. Is that overkill? I don’t know, it depends. What is it that you’re trying to do? If you’re shoot for National Geographic, and you’re out there trying to get super closeups of cheetahs running, that’s exactly what you need. Maybe you’re sidelines at the Superbowl. Are you gonna go do that with a wide angle lens? No. I mean, you could. Might actually look badass, but, let’s be honest, you want to get close up to the action. You want to get in on those players faces. You want to capture that moment when that ball is caught mid-air, but you’re way too far away to get anything with a wide angle lens. That’s when something like this comes into play. This has a 1.4 times teleconverter built in. Hell, you could put another one on it. (groan) It is a heavy bitch. You could legit work out with this lens. I could do this every single day and in two months from now, my biceps would be considerably larger. I’m not gonna do that because, the hell with it. But, this is no joke to carry around. As you can see, it’s got its own bag. So, you’re not sticking this in your backpack. It’s not going in that new should bag you just bought. This is going beside you in a giant, ugly gray, Canon pelican-like case. So, keep that in mind. (laugh) There’s something inside me that just wants to smash the shit out of this lens. You could assault someone with this lens. Someone’s about to come through the door, (comic hit) game over. I’ll tell you that right now. Don’t do that at home. I’m not condoning that. Let’s just get that on the table. That’s the lens cap. You know what I mean? Like, this could be a hat for a small child. Something to also keep in mind is when you invest in good glass, an expensive lens, they hold their value pretty well. You can sell that down the line, sometimes for more than you paid, if not exactly what you paid, or a very small loss. So even though a lens may seem super expensive, go into it knowing that it’s a good investment. If you have a nice camera, you want to put a nice lens on there. Think of it as an investment into your craft. It’s like when you’re playing an instrument. You start on a not so good guitar. Maybe you work your way up to a custom, or a really beautiful Taylor, or something that was handmade for you. But that costs exceptionally more than something that’s really beginner basic. Those instruments are easier to play. Those instruments sound better. It’s the same thing when it comes to lenses. The more expensive glass does look better, it does make your job easier. But, you need to know what it is that you’re doing. Is this a hobby? Is it only ever going to be a hobby? Is it a job? Are you being paid thousands and thousands of dollars to capture moments for people that they’ll never have captured again? Maybe it’s worth investing in something that is a little bit more pricey than you’d typically pay for because it’s gonna make you look better. It’s gonna make your work better. It’s gonna be easier for you to make that happen. Now, if you have an expensive lens, you probably wanna get a filter for it. Don’t buy a cheap filter, because think about it. If you just spent $2,000 on a lens and you buy the cheapest filter that you can, because you don’t want to spend any more money, you’re taking a really crappy piece of glass, and putting it on an amazing piece of glass. You want to pair them both together. You’ve got a cheap lens that you don’t care about, buy a cheap filter. You’ve got a beautiful lens that you really do care about, buy a good filter to put on that lens. Buy a nice polarizer. Buy a good UV filter. B plus W make incredible filters. HOYA make good filters. Invest in quality glass to put on your quality glass. (clap) Okay, so with all of that being said, I don’t want to ramble too long. This video could easily have been like nine parts and 30 minutes. I hope you guys are okay with watching it as long as it already was. Lenses are very important. They’re important to tell your story. They’re important to convey meaning. They’re important to up the quality of your work, in terms of sharpness, depth of field, stabilization, quality, build quality, product that you’re giving to a client, or the product that you’re keeping for yourself. Lenses are one of the most important aspects when it comes to gear as a whole. Do you need to spend tons of money to get great lenses? No. There are tons of companies and options out there to get good glass. But, do you need to know what you want in order to make the best decision, yes. So, hope you enjoyed that video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. What’s your favorite lens? And what do you love shooting? I’d love to hear it. I’ll try to get back to you guys as much as I can. I love reading the comments. We’ve created this incredible community, and I’m so grateful for it. So, let’s start chatting below. What do you guys love using? So, if you’ve liked this video and you got something out of it, and you learned something, hit that like button, subscribe if you aren’t already. And, and, I will see you guys in the next video. Shoo. (upbeat music)


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