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03-16-2013, 11:25 PM   #1
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Good lenses for video?

I'm not looking to buy any new lenses. I'm just curious if there are certain types of lenses that people found worked well. For instance, primes or zooms, AF or MF, slow or fast , longer or shorter focal lengths, super zooms or limited range etc. I have several lenses but was wondering what might be god to start with? I'm going to have to try them all out anyway (seems some of my lenses do not shine so much on the better sensor of the k-01 as they did on the ist-ds I have, though thankfully plenty seem to still be good).

03-17-2013, 12:41 AM   #2
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Errr, how long is a piece of string?

Could spend hours answering but it's mostly dependant on what you're shooting. In terms of actual footage/picture quality, it's going to be the same as what lens is best for photography. With the lenses you have, you probably already know the focal lengths you like to use and what image quality you can get from those lenses - you'll now what lenses are sharp/soft, what works better in low light, how smooth the bokeh is, how they flare and so on - these would be creative choices. What differs for video is how usable those lenses are when trying to hold a camera stable; e.g how smoothly they focus, and how smoothly they zoom (if you're using zooms that is).

You can use either AF or MF lenses, but I don't think the K-01 will autofocus while taking video, and I'd suggest you switch to manual focus anyway. Manual focus lenses most often have much longer focus throws compared to AF ones, which means you'll be able to focus a lot more precicely and smoothly. Also just try out taking video's with different lenses and see how well they 'fit' in your hand - it's important for hand-held footage that you can adjust focus/camera settings etc while holding steady, so a big bulky zoom will be harder to handle than a smaller prime and would result in a lot of shake, but also if a lens is too small it might not have enough weight to it, or the focus ring might be too fiddly to turn.

If you're using a tripod the size/weight becomes a non-issue, it's just the focus you still need to think about. Or, if your focus is locked down for a shot anyway, then the focus ring doesn't matter either.

Personally, I'd just start off with a fast-ish, wide-to-medium manual prime. Something like a manual 28mm or 35mm 2.8 (or 50 1.7) - it'll be wide enough to step back, stop down, and got a good depth of field for wide shots, plus you'll still have a nice shallow dof to isolate your subject when you go closer and open up.

Last edited by Tom Woj; 03-17-2013 at 12:51 AM.
03-17-2013, 01:32 AM   #3
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I was thinking less along the lines of image quality or the focal length you want to use, and more along the lines of if there are certain types that play nice with the camera. I had noticed people talking about some lenses not working well with the k-01 for stills. I had started to notice the same thing (some lenses that work fine with my dslr, the k-01 just doesn't seem to like). I wan't sure if any particular type played well with the the camera when shooting video over another. I guess it is probably going to very from specific lens to specific lens rather than type?
03-17-2013, 05:35 AM   #4
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A lot of people like to use cheap old manual lenses. They have great IQ (more than good enough for video) and an aperture ring, long focus throw, and DoF scales. All of this is great for video.
Another good type of lens to get is SDM lenses, or lenses with quiet focus motors, if you use AF during video (because otherwise, loud AF can be distracting).
If you want to use zoom lenses, you might want it to be parfocal, so you can zoom out and about, but the focus stays at the same distance. There is a thread with tests and a list of which Pentax lenses are parfocal.

But honestly, if you want to make pro looking movies, the light, camera stabilization, and video editing will probably be more important. (and of course, things like shooting angles and stuff) If you just want to start doing video to improve your skills, I suggest you start with a manual prime and work your way up from there. I've seen some amazing footage shot with the M 50mm f1.7. Just get a lens hood for it.

Edit: Also, make sure you know which camera settings to use. Things like fps and shutter speed can really affect how the video looks in the end.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 03-17-2013 at 06:39 AM.
03-17-2013, 05:54 AM   #5
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First off all with video you use a smaller part off the sensor and the multiplier for the focal length off the lens is 1,70x. So the FA31mm in video becomes like a 35mm in photography.

I think, the better the lens, the better the footage, but it is also part off tast in this matter.
03-17-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
A lot of people like to use cheap old manual lenses. They have great IQ (more than good enough for video) and an aperture ring, long focus throw, and DoF scales. All of this is great for video.
Another good type of lens to get is SDM lenses, or lenses with quiet focus motors, if you use AF during video (because otherwise, loud AF can be distracting).
If you want to use zoom lenses, you might want it to be parfocal, so you can zoom out and about, but the focus stays at the same distance. There is a thread with tests and a list of which Pentax lenses are parfocal.

But honestly, if you want to make pro looking movies, the light, camera stabilization, and video editing will probably be more important. (and of course, things like shooting angles and stuff) If you just want to start doing video to improve your skills, I suggest you start with a manual prime and work your way up from there. I've seen some amazing footage shot with the M 50mm f1.7. Just get a lens hood for it.

Edit: Also, make sure you know which camera settings to use. Things like fps and shutter speed can really affect how the video looks in the end.
Thanks a ton, that was extremely helpful. I didn't even think about using a para focal lens.
03-17-2013, 08:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
First off all with video you use a smaller part off the sensor and the multiplier for the focal length off the lens is 1,70x. So the FA31mm in video becomes like a 35mm in photography.

I think, the better the lens, the better the footage, but it is also part off tast in this matter.
Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware it used a smaller part of the sensor changing the multiplier.
03-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #8
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The problem with manual lenses and video with the K-01 is that you cannot lock exposure while filming. This can be really frustrating, and I find myself using only F, FA, and DA lenses when I shoot video. This thread goes into the details of the issue; https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-01/181426-pentax-k-01-problem-vi...al-lenses.html

03-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chris Stearns Quote
The problem with manual lenses and video with the K-01 is that you cannot lock exposure while filming. This can be really frustrating, and I find myself using only F, FA, and DA lenses when I shoot video. This thread goes into the details of the issue; https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-01/181426-pentax-k-01-problem-vi...al-lenses.html
As you say, this has come up before - I don't know enough about video to investigate properly, and I've never gotten an answer: is the behavior different for M42 and K/M manual lenses? (I assume A lenses behave like F/FA/DA.) I'm wondering if tricking the camera into thinking the lens was an M42 would help or make things worse...
03-17-2013, 11:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
As you say, this has come up before - I don't know enough about video to investigate properly, and I've never gotten an answer: is the behavior different for M42 and K/M manual lenses? (I assume A lenses behave like F/FA/DA.) I'm wondering if tricking the camera into thinking the lens was an M42 would help or make things worse...
I don't have any A lenses to test with, but my M42 SMC 300mm f4 varies exposure during filming as does the M50 f1.4. It seems as though the camera automatically adjusts the ISO even when a specific ISO has been chosen.

The effect can be somewhat lessened if you set the camera to zone exposure instead of spot. It is still a crippling flaw that makes using manual lenses with video rather difficult if you are trying to do any kind of serious video work.
03-17-2013, 02:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chris Stearns Quote
I don't have any A lenses to test with, but my M42 SMC 300mm f4 varies exposure during filming as does the M50 f1.4. It seems as though the camera automatically adjusts the ISO even when a specific ISO has been chosen.

The effect can be somewhat lessened if you set the camera to zone exposure instead of spot. It is still a crippling flaw that makes using manual lenses with video rather difficult if you are trying to do any kind of serious video work.
Like I said, I don't know enough about video to know what I'm doing right/wrong, but what are the downsides of using AutoISO and the AF/AE-L button set to lock autoexposure? I tried to experiment with M42 and M lenses, and it seemed like I could hit AE-L and get it to NOT darken as I panned past a bright object - but it only worked with AutoISO enabled.
03-17-2013, 02:15 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the advice. I tried the exposure thing on my camera. Is this basically right? If you set exposure to P, it will automatically adjust exposure. If you set it to M, on auto focus lenses and A lenses, it will obey your exposure settings, on M lenses it will it will act like it was in p mode and automatically adjust exposure. Does that sound right? I can certainly see where that would be limiting if you have a lot of M lenses. Personally the only place it would limit me is with primes (I have several A and autofocus zooms). That does kind of suck. Not having continuous focus sucks too. It seems this camera has some bad points with its video. I gather the reason for using an M or A lens is to get that continuous focus? It might make it worth looking for an A prime or two, although I do have the 40mm AF kit lens. I assume you can just use AF lenses in MF mode?
11-07-2013, 06:58 PM   #13
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@ripit: Don't worry about not having AF while or before shooting videos.
You have good A lenses ? Great !
If you got them as a good old parfocal glass you can just zoom in to your object ...
or zoom in with that magnification tool if no zoomis on board - or without display-viewfinder
... and pull the wanted focus - zoom back and shoot ...

This is the best way to shoot movies - you may of course need some time to learn that,
but this is the only way professionals do it nowadays and also decades before now ...
(No AF can ever do a good job on moving targets, because it has no intelligence at al)

Btw:
Has there ever been a lense for Pentax with an aperture controle that runs smoothly and stepless ?
I know some expensive ZEISS glasses can do that. (good for manual aperture changes while shooting)
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