Choosing the right camera lens can be one of the pieces to the puzzle that you’ll be glad you didn’t overlook. So many filmmakers tend to just use the lens that they’re most comfortable with, but unless you’re filming the exact type of film or sequel, this is usually not the best way to go about it. Some say that the lens makes the director, so use care and do some research when selecting the best lens for your project.
Make sure that you understand which size crop sensor you’ll want, and also consider your focal length. In my experience, an APS-C mid range sensor was sufficient for almost every type of shot on my SLR cameras. But you can also choose a smaller Four-Thirds lens.
For the focal length, we see that there are quite a few directors that have a kit on hand for different lighting, even different times of day under sunlight demand a focal swap. In low light you may want to go with a fixed focal lens because of it’s wider aperture. There is another choice in the Full Frame length, which is very similar to 35mm.
Let’s take a quick snapshot at some of the most popular lenses.
- The Ultrawide lens is slowly becoming more and more popular because of how much you can capture in a shot. You can really get detailed and panoramic views with stunning quality. Though these tend to cost much more, they are well worth the investment because of their versatility.
- On this note, the Wide Angle lens is very similar but gives your piece a more dramatic feel. Colors are slightly different but still very crisp with these lenses. Also a very versatile lens for wide shots, you can probably do more with this one with the exception of close ups.
- The Standard lens is smaller, so it’s better for mid range shots. You’ll want this one on hand for filming people while keeping somewhat of a clear background with the distortion. Cost effective and definitely in all directors’ repertoire.
- Portrait lenses are really great for a very detailed, crisp close up on zoom in but will heavily distort the background. These will cost you more due to some of the bells and whistles you may want, including a different sensor and a tripod. You’ll frustrate yourself without having something to set the camera on while this lens is loaded.
- The Telephoto lens is much longer and faster, so again, you will definitely need a tripod or a stationary surface. These are good for face close ups and basically eliminate, or flatten the background out. When using this with an APS-C, we recommend 85mm or higher.
As you see, you will have choices, so the “one size fits all” approach rarely comes in to play with lenses. Stay tuned for some more basics and feel free to comment below.