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Author Topic: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?  (Read 5386 times)

Offline MikeA57

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Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« on: February 09, 2014, 09:31:14 PM »
Hi guys, I'm new here and I've got a question. I'm the audio guy at my church but occasionally I'm asked to shoot wedding videos and the results are not quite what I expected. I know that part of it is my lack of experience at shooting video with a DSLR, but I've been reading up on the subject and I've read several articles that state that when shooting indoors in low light that using a 50 mm 2.8 lens will help in that situation. The footage I've been getting is very grainy and noisy. I currently use the stock 18-55 mm that came with the camera. Outdoor shots are not a problem. The video is crisp and clear. I shoot 1920 x 1080 30 usually and set the shutter speed to 60. I open the aperture all the way and I use a tripod. I use only the lighting in the church which is not overly bright. The highest point of the ceilings are 34' and the lights are high wattage incandescent bulbs. (The church is in the process of changing over to LED lights in all the cans and I think that will help but I'm not sure.)

My question is this though: I still have my father's old Nikkormat F2 camera and all his lenses. In the collection are a Nikon 50 mm 2.0 lens, and a Vivitar 28 mm 2.8. Both are from the late 60's early 70's and I'm wondering how they would work as video lenses on the T2i? I bought a ring adapter for them and they do work on the camera but I'm just not sure if they will work as video lenses. How should I approach using them? Is there even any point in it? Thanks for  any information you can give me, I really appreciate it!

Mike
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 09:38:05 PM by MikeA57 »

Offline Bish

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2014, 11:43:25 PM »
This is opinion only, the others may be better informed than I am.

The T2i doesn't auto focus with video so any , ens you use should be ok.

Did you know for less than $100 you could buy a Canon 50mm F1.8?

When you say that the results aren't what you expected, how did you mean?  Is it out of focus, too dark etc
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Offline AndyCivil

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 06:24:37 AM »
Conventional wisdom has it that your shutter speed should be 50% of the frame rate - clearly you researched this! - but personally I think you'll find that the imperfection of using 100% (i.e. a 30 shutter speed) will be more acceptable in the result because you'll have twice the light.

I'm afraid that when the lights are changed to LED types, the result will be horrible. You'll get banding horizontally across the screen. When this happens, a videolight (a DC or high-frequency pulsed light) will be required to illuminate the subject to get a good result. *

As Bish said, your older lenses will work just fine. Beware that with a larger aperture comes a narrower depth of field; you've also lost the ability to zoom. You definitely need to do some dry-runs to see how it works out for you. The Canon 50mm ƒ/1.8 is pretty unforgiving focus-wise when it's wide open - that comes with the optics! I think the Vivitar lens will work best for you.

* I'm a bit cynical when it comes to amateurs vs. professionals because I can forsee the following: you ask to use a video light, and the participants say 'no' because they don't want a light in their face on their wedding day. You take a video and it's got bands on it from the LED lights connected to the mains. You're put down as an amateur and next time, a professional is hired. He (or she) insists on using a video light, and the participants accept this because it's a professional. A good video is taken, and everyone is happy except you because of the injustice. Sound familiar to anyone?

Offline MikeA57

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 07:14:55 AM »
Bish,
The video comes out noisy and darker than I expected and the focus is soft too. I've added a 7" field monitor in an attempt to help with my focus issues, but I'm seeing that it too, takes some getting used to in using it. It may be that I'm just trying to do too much with just the one camera. I will try to borrow another camera/camcorder as a B camera when I can, which of course leads to it's own problem of matching footage.

Andy,
I will definitely try a slower shutter speed and see how it makes a difference. That makes sense!

I sure didn't know anything about the problems that LED lighting will cause! I will mention this to our elders but I doubt that I will have any luck changing their minds. The initial outlay is quite expensive but the idea of not having to change the bulbs for years I know has them all excited. And, in the initial tests that they've done in the main auditorium, the light is more white which equates to brighter in their eyes (and mine, when I saw it) and the shadows are different as well.

Thanks to both of you for your comments,

Mike

Offline 1074

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 07:55:39 AM »
The effects of the LEDs may or may not be serious, if they're that far away. Maybe some flickering/banding, but probably not enough to ruin a video.

The real issue here is that the T2i is a poor performer at high ISO settings, and since you didn't mention your ISO settings I'm assuming you're using auto ISO?

I wouldn't shoot above ISO800 on the T2i if I was expecting clean video. You need fast lenses (large apertures, i.e. f/1.8) and low shutter speeds to get the light, pushing the ISO will only destroy the video. Those Nikon lenses will be a great improvement over the T2i kit lens.

Ideally, you'd be able to upgrade your camera. The newer sensor technology does much better with high ISO settings, and if you can afford full frame, go for that. The T2i is fine under most circumstances, but it isn't a great choice for available light weddings in dark churches.
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Offline AndyCivil

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2014, 08:04:00 AM »
Perhaps it's not too late to ensure that the LED lights they install are 'video friendly'. In my experience, LED lights flash at the mains frequency (actually twice per cycle so it's 120Hz). Most people can't see this, but I can see the effect if anything moves. Some Christmas lights are awful because they're not rectified so they flash only once per cycle (60Hz) which is definitely noticeable.

The flicker is visible on the screen and in the movie as banding because the camera scans the sensor, it doesn't capture the whole frame instantaneously.

The old fashioned tungsten incandescent lamps didn't suffer from this problem because the filament didn't cool down enough to notice between cycles.

Some LED lights however, seem to have some storage (capacitors) inside them because the light doesn't flicker. I have a "LEDARE" bulb from IKEA which behaves quite nicely, even though it was inexpensive.

Mike, you say "when I saw it" which implies that you have an example (or the salesman showed you one). Perhaps you can borrow one of the bulbs and do a test on it? Maybe at marginal cost, you could organise for the right kind of LED bulb to be installed? Cheaper to do it now rather than later...

Here's how to do a test. If you have any LED mains-driven bulbs in your house you can try this out at home first. Put the camera in video mode, wind the shutter speed up so that you can point at the bulb (I used 500 but it's not critical). If the bulb is illuminating the whole area, you'll see banding. If not (e.g. if you're doing this in day time) then move the camera up and down and see if the LED bulb is brighter and darker depending on where it is in the frame. Note, you don't need to even "take" a movie, you can see the effect on the screen.

While I was writing this, 1074 also posted. I don't exactly agree that distance is important, but what does matter is to what extent the subject is being illuminated by the lights. If the subject is entirely bathed in flickering light (all the lights will flicker in sync) then you will get banding no matter the distance.

Also, he didn't type ƒ/1 he actually typed ƒ1.8 but the forum takes an 8 and a bracket as a 8) and that's what you see.

Offline 1074

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 08:59:40 AM »
While I was writing this, 1074 also posted. I don't exactly agree that distance is important, but what does matter is to what extent the subject is being illuminated by the lights. If the subject is entirely bathed in flickering light (all the lights will flicker in sync) then you will get banding no matter the distance.

Also, he didn't type ƒ/1 he actually typed ƒ1.8 but the forum takes an 8 and a bracket as a 8) and that's what you see.

That's pretty much what I meant about the light/distance, there may be other ambient light in the mix, we don't know...

The worst wedding I've done, light wise, was a mix of old incandescent bulbs throwing off multiple colors, some very green fluorescents, and a lot of daylight (but from one side of the room only). It was a mess, but it didn't actually look bad with a little grading and matching in post. No LEDs, though. Although I have worked with LED video lights and they're just fine, and I'm not sure how much in-house LEDs would vary from that... I'm not an electrician, that's for sure.

And I'm not through my first cup of coffee yet, and it's Monday. We'll get there!
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Offline AndyCivil

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2014, 10:50:07 AM »
LED Video lights are generally pulsed, to give the variable brightness, but it's done at a high frequency to eliminate the problem. Lights run off the AC mains however, may go dark 120 times a second (because a sine wave goes to zero between plus and minus). Some do, some don't.

Offline 1074

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2014, 10:57:08 AM »
LED Video lights are generally pulsed, to give the variable brightness, but it's done at a high frequency to eliminate the problem. Lights run off the AC mains however, may go dark 120 times a second (because a sine wave goes to zero between plus and minus). Some do, some don't.

Good to know, thanks!
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Offline AndyCivil

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2014, 11:12:21 AM »
I've just bought myself a Nikon (!) 1 S1 an hour ago because I happened to get an awesome deal on it - and the first thing I shot? A 400fps slow motion movie of an LED light flashing away. I'll post it tomorrow, if I can.

Offline 1074

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2014, 11:19:42 AM »
I've just bought myself a Nikon (!) 1 S1 an hour ago because I happened to get an awesome deal on it - and the first thing I shot? A 400fps slow motion movie of an LED light flashing away. I'll post it tomorrow, if I can.

Welcome to the dark side...  8)
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Offline AndyCivil

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2014, 09:04:19 PM »
Welcome to the dark side...  8)

Damn... lens... screws... on... backwards...

Offline MikeA57

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2014, 06:07:05 PM »
Well I ended up staying home from work today due to a bad cold. Plus, we had some snow/ice here this morning and the kids were out of school. I shot some video of my grand kids in the house with both new lenses this afternoon. Much brighter and better color too. Still working on the focus aspect, but then again I WAS shooting kids and a shutter speed of 1/30 is a little slow for fast moving kids. I'm guessing that might be a problem too if I'm trying to do some follows on the bride and groom and attendants as they leave the ceremony. They seem to walk in very refined and rush out. BUT, I think this might work better. Thanks for the tips and encouragement guys! I'll keep plugging away at it!

Mike

Offline 1074

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Re: Nikon lenses for shooting video with my T2i?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2014, 08:02:39 PM »
You're welcome, and keep practicing!

And remember, shooting weddings is an art, not a science.

It's okay if your subject walks out of focus.  ;)
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