Should I use Prime Lenses or 1 Superzoom to rule them all?
There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of a prime lens. Sharper images, better quality. Easier to use in low light. Etc. All of these are true but when you’re a run and gun filmmaker like myself, where capturing the moment is more important than the absolute best image, zoom lens are queen.
Specifically, the Canon 18–200mm 3.5–5.6 IS.
I bought this lens to grab the entire range of wide to super zoom. I sacrificed the sexy f1.8 you can get with a nice prime lens over the ability to frame the shot on the fly.
This lens, though released years ago, still retails for $700. It got me thinking, why is this lens still at such a premium?
I took to the studio. After a couple dozen tests, I found that hitting the subject (me) with 2 studio lights about 6 feet away from the subject nails the amount of light the lens needs for its 3.5 - 5.6 aperture.
The key with superzooms is to use the highest focal length whenever possible to get that creamy compression that will simulate what a 24mm f2.8 or 50mm f1.8 can pull off.
I’ve found the best results at:
35mm (easy to pull off)
All of these recreate that nice bokeh (blurred background) most are looking for and keep the subject focused.
Throw it down to 18mm or 24mm when you need to point the camera at yourself.
Lastly, keep your ISO UNDER 800, ideally 100 whenever possible, or you’ll notice grain sneak in super quick. And shoot on a neutral picture profile and boost the saturation and stop the exposure down a notch in post and you’ll generate some sexy images just as good as a bag of prime lens.
Here are a few more thoughts on superzooms: