In Our Bag: The Lenses Part 1
No matter how good your camera is, it can still be let down by sticking a substandard lens on the front. That’s why we pay close attention to the glass we use. Here’s a flavour of what we use and why.
Olympus OM-Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 Lens (refurbished)
A 35mm lens manufactured for Olympus SLRs in the 1970s. This particular model was bought refurbished online, with a few extra features added — making it perfect for video.
Since we mostly use the full-frame Sony A7Sii, 35mm is a logical wide-angle lens to work on. Not too wide, not too tight, this lens is just right. Will likes to say that this focal length nicely matches the field-of-view of the human eye, making the image pleasing and unobtrusive, though he’s yet to find definitive proof of this. The vintage nature of this lens adds a bit of extra texture to the image, which makes a nice alternative to the more precise look of modern lenses.
This is Will’s first-choice lens, and is normally found wedded to the front of his camera. Since Will isn’t really after shallow depth-of-field, this lens works perfectly for him in most situations. There tends to be a specific creative reason for Will to change to something else.
Sigma Super-Wide II 24mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
Heralding from the mid-1980s, this vintage wide-angle lens boasts an impressive close-focus distance, allowing it to get extremely close to the subject. Its 24mm focal length also makes it far less common than similar lenses which are only available at 28mm.
That close-focus distance makes the Sigma a brilliant option for macro imagery, as well as offering an additional wide angle option beyond the standard 35mm. This particular lens was picked up very cheaply online, with the caveat that its fitting would have to be ascertained after-the-fact and modified to fit our cameras. Challenge accepted and completed.
This lens is mostly used as a macro option, but its 24mm focal length comes in handy during slow-motion shots, where the extra width negates the A7Sii’s insistence on cropping the image. This allows Will to get close to the action without missing the bigger picture.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 Lens
This telephoto lens is one of many that Canon make for sports and wildlife photography, but is equally adept at capturing video from a distance.
Sometimes we need to step back and take footage from afar — and this lens is the perfect instrument for that. Its 70-200mm zoom provides a good focal range while never sacrificing stability or ease of use, especially with the built-in stabilisation in our cameras. In addition to its video credentials, it also has a lightning-fast autofocus — very handy for quick-fire stills.
We usually reserve telephoto lenses for times when we want to remain unnoticed by our subjects. This usually means either candid work with people, or wildlife filmmaking. We affectionately call this practise “sniping”. Or at least James does.
This is the start of the run down of our lenses, stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!
If you have any questions or advice for us on what we might have missed, leave a comment below!
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