Which…lenses to buy?

This has become THE number one question asked to me. “I have xxx amount of dollars or I have xxx camera, which lenses should I buy”? It’s a question that is very difficult to answer, not least because it gets asked 20 times a day. Hopefully this will cut down on those emails! Try not to ask which lenses to buy in the comments. This blog gives you all the information you need. Read it, decide what is important to you and go from there! 🙂

What follows is not the definitive list of lenses to buy. It’s my opinion. Please treat it like that. Many will disagree and may well be quite right too! All I can do is base this post on my own experience, with the plethora of lenses I own and have used.

I want to cover other makes of cameras with this evolving blog post but for now it will be purely for Canon lenses. I will cover the GH1, Nikon, Sony at some point later. My most experience is with Canon Lenses.

First let us cover the fundamentals of what you need to know about sensor sizes and how your camera will affect which lenses you buy.

Currently there is just one solitary Canon that has a full frame sensor for Video and that is the 5DmkII. The 1dMkiv is an APS-H sensor and a 1.3x crop. All the others are a 1.6x crop called an APS-C. The full frame sensor is massive compared to the APS-C. It’s easy to forget just how much bigger it is. Look at this image below and you will see what I mean.

So the above image is shot with a 14mm L series lens. Designed for full frame and is as wide as you can get without going all fisheye on the Canons. It’s an amazing lens and one of my favourites…problem it is expensive and as you can see only wide when used on the 5Dmkii, on the other sensors it is cropped, making it not so wide. It’s still a 14mm on any camera, it’s just the equivalent field of view (EFOV) that has changed. On the APS-C sensor it has the EFOV of 14mm x 1.6 which equals 22.4mm, still wide-ish but as you can see above, nothing like the spectacular wideness of the lens on a full frame body.

This is the most important factor you need to think about when buying lenses. Is it worth spending over $2000 on a wide angle lens that is no longer wide for your crop sensor camera? Personally I think no. For full frame users, there is nothing like it, it’s amazing. But for the rest, don’t get this lens unless you are planning to upgrade to a full frame sensor very soon.

That is the biggest issue really. Do you buy lenses designed especially for your 1.6x crop (called EF-S by Canon) or do you get lenses which are future proof if you decide to move up to a full frame camera (called EF by Canon)? All the EF lenses are compatible with all the Canon cameras. It does not work the other way around. Some lenses by third party manufactures will work on the 5Dmkii despite being designed for the crop but will vignette heavily, unless they are zooms so you can zoom in slightly to avoid this…more on that later.

5Dmk2/7D lens comparison test from Mike Collins on Vimeo.

Canon’s premiere line of lenses are the L series. They are magnificent, expensive but worth the price. Build quality is almost uniformly excellent and the range of glass they have is enormous. These lenses are completely compatible across the whole range of cameras….There is one caveat. These lenses are getting sharper and sharper. I have the above mentioned 14mm II and the new 70-200mm F2.8II and they are actually too sharp in my opinion for video, for stills they are amazing, but in video they can accentuate some of the main issues we have with the camera, mainly moire and aliasing. I recently shot a project in Italy. A lot of it with the 14mm and the new 70-200 and I have had more moire issues than I have experienced before and I am certain it is down to them being simply tack sharp and this means all the detail can be seen and that is when we have moire issues. I am not saying don’t buy these lenses. If you do, make sure that your sharpness is turned all the way off (as it should be all the time) and look out for it. Below is a section of a shot where you can see the issues on the water…

Am i bothered? Yes and no. I can easily use a filter to knock back the sharpness of the 70-200mm version 2 (not on the 14mm though and it wont take filters). My old 70-200 was more forgiving, but these lenses are investments for me and I know that Canon will improve these cameras. It shows you just how incredible these lenses are for the money, their sharpness is almost too good for the video function of the cameras!…and this guys is the key thing you need to know when buying lenses.

It is the glass that is your investment, NOT the camera.

Your lenses should last you for years, through many bodies, so always take that into account when buying lenses.

Zooms or Primes?

Tough one this…prime lenses are generally of higher optical quality and are generally faster (as in can let in more light so better in low light and better for shallow depth of field) but are of course a fixed focal length so it’s harder to shoot with them. Zooms are great flexible lenses but PLEASE avoid those kit lenses. A zoom must have a constant aperture to be useful in video. Constant aperture means it maintains it’s F-Stop no matter how much you zoom in or out. Without this the iris stops down making the shot unusable. Of course constant aperture lenses cost more, but like everything in life, you get what you pay for. Canon’s L series of zooms are amazing. Although some like the 24-70mm could really do with updating to give them IS. IS is image stabilisation and I believe is absolutely essential for video work as it reduces the rolling shutter artefacts that we can get. Canon also do a very nice zoom for the EF-s with IS, it’s the 17-55mm F2.8 IS. Great lens, the crop sensor equivalent of the 24-70 but with IS, not an L series though. No EF-S lenses are L series. One of my favourite L series zoom lenses is the 24-105 f4 IS. Nice range and IS although a little on the slow side. It’s one of my favourite interview lenses.

So Zooms are easier to shoot with as you can vary your focal length, are not as good in low light and the good ones cost money! There are some third party zooms out there which are very good. I haven’t used most of them but Sigma and Tamron make good lenses and the Tokina 11-16mm is easily my favourite crop wide angle lens. An absolutely essential purchase for 7D and T2i users. Yes, if you are a T2i user expect to spend a lot more than your camera on lenses and accessories. The downside of owning a dirt cheap camera! 🙂

Right…let’s get down to what to buy and why. We can cover more of the type of stuff above as we go along. First off I am going to break it down into type of sensors assuming money is not an issue and then after that into budget.

Zeiss lenses

I love the Zeiss ZE (The ZF’s are Nikon mount). They have excellent image quality, amazing build quality. Have hard focus stops unlike the Canon lenses and lovely long focus rotation for more accurate rack focusing. In a way I prefer the ZF lenses as they have manual apertures which can be modified to make them cine lens smooth but they focus in the opposite direction to Canon lenses so it may do your head in!

The Zeiss lenses are probably the best there are for video. They don’t have the bells and whistles that the L series have…no auto focus, no IS but they do have amazing metal build quality, incredible optics and wonderful focus control. Not ideal for stills though as they don’t have that amazing L series autofocus. It’s a shame the longest non macro they do is 85mm…I would love to see a 135mm F2 from them. The 100mm macro is good but focus, like any macro is tough and worse still the barrel moves in and out as you focus, it does not have internal focusing, no using with a matte box is tough, using a follow focus is practically impossible. I prefer the Canon one over this due it’s closer focus and the excellent IS.

Zeiss also has the CP.2 PL lens (positive lock) lenses for all the Canons. These are essentially re-housed ZE lenses. They have the same filter size and length and have pinpoint accurate focus marks. Great it you have the budget…They also have EF switchable mounts for these lenses so nice and flexible. PL mounts are always permanent mods to your cameras so do this only if you have no plans to ever use stills glass again…

Lenses for full frame cameras

Well the 14mm F2.8 II is the most amazing wide angle lens I have ever seen. Yes it is super sharp and can cause the moire to be visible especially on deep DOF shots but it really is in a class of it’s own.

Alternatively look at the 16-35mm F2.8L. A constant aperture zoom lens with a nice range and nice and wide, although quite distorted at the wide end and a little soft.

Next up would be either the 24mm F1.4 or the 35mm F1.4, although the 35mm is due an update and is not as sharp as I would like. The 24mm F1.4 is stunning and your best wide angle low light lens out there. An essential purchase. The Zeiss ZE is a lovely 35mm lens but slower at F2

From here we go to the Canon 50mm F1.4 or even better if you can afford it the F1.2. The F1.2 is an L lens and one of my favourite lenses. Amazing for stills and video. Is it worth the price difference. If you can afford it yes, otherwise get the F1.4.

I am not a fan of the 85mm F1.2. I hate the focus ring on it, too loose and too inaccurate. I much prefer the Zeiss 85mm F1.4. An amazing lens.

If you have the cash I adore the Canon 100mm Macro F2.8 IS. Make sure it is the L series version. Amazing lens, great IS and wonderful image. I just think the build quality is not quite as good as some of the other L series lenses. Feels plasticky. But I never travel without it…below are two short films, one shot entirely with the 100mm macro the other a lot…

As the water… from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Clock from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Next up is the other essential lens for your collection…the 70-200mm IS. MAKE SURE IT HAS IS…long lenses need it. You have two options here. The much cheaper and much lighter F4 version of the more expensive and very sharp F2.8 II. If you want one with more low light capability then go with the F2.8. If you are shooting daylight mostly get the F4. It’s much much lighter and a heck of a lot cheaper. For more flexibility get the F2.8.

Well those are the essential lenses for the full frame camera!

Lenses for crop cameras

First and foremost get the Tokina 11-16mm, it’s better than the Canon 10-22mm as it’s constant aperture even though the range on the Canon is better. Get it. This one of the only EF-S lenses I recommend getting. It is the best wide angle for the 1Dmkiv too, zoom in slightly to lose the vignetter and it’s the widest lens you can get for that camera. Same trick works for 5dmkII but only at the full zoom…16mm making the zoom part of it and for me the lens too, pointless for this camera. Save up and buy the 16-35mm much more use…BUT, $700 for a 16mm F2.8 prime ain’t bad! See…am full of contradictions!

Next up is your 50mm equivalent for the crop…Take a look at the Sigma 30mm F1.4 (EF-S) only or the Canon 35mm F1.4 (universal). The Sigma is WAY cheaper and I hear good things, although never shot with it myself…Just remember, it won’t work on a 5DmkII!

The 17-55mm F2.8 IS is a great flexible zoom…worth the cash, trust me!

Then I would look at the Canon 50mm F1.4 or the F1.2…you 85mm equivalent…

The Macro 100mm will be great here too…especially as it becomes an EFOV of 160mm!

Then the same as the full frame…the 70-200…

I recommend getting as few EF-S lenses as possible, make yourself future proof!

Nikon lenses

Great lenses if you are on a budget. There are loads of old ones on ebay and you can get some bloody good bargains. Also they are generally not as sharp and therefore quite forgiving! Get a Fotodiox Pro adaptor and away you go! I bought a 20 years old F1.2 50mm for $250 from ebay. It’s awesome!
This is the way to go if you are really on a budget…

I am on a real budget!

Well if you are REALLY on a tight budget then get one lens. You can shoot everything you want with a standard lens. That’s a 50mm on a full frame, 3omm on the crop sensor. So if you have a T2i, 7D get the Sigma, it’s a great price and has great image. For the 5Dmkii get a 50mm. The below film was shot entirely on a Zeiss 50mm F1.4 and the music video below was shot on a 50mm F1.2

Sofia’s People: Canon 5dmk2 24p from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Monarchs “Miles away” from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Telephoto lenses are really important too, so on the T2i/ 7D look for an 85mm F1.4 and for those really wide shots the Tokina as mentioned earlier.

Full frame users have to pay more as EF lenses are generally more. So if you are on that budget then it’s Nikon all the way for now!

Canon FD lenses

Avoid the Canon FD lenses. You need an adaptor with glass in it to make it work with the EOS cameras and they simply do not work well. Soft am afraid! A real shame as there are lots of affordable FD lenses out there…

Special effect lenses

Samyang do a nice 8mm fish eye for the crop sensor and it’s pretty cheap if you can source them…

I love the Canon Tilt Shift lenses although these are not cheap. They are designed primarily for architecture photography and you can alter keystone lines so they are straight when looking up at buildings but can also be used to make things look really nice and miniature. Also check out the Lensbaby Composer lens, again, special effect but a lot of fun. Check out the pool shot in the below film shot on the 24mm F2.8 TS lens.

Sky from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

As with all special effect lenses use sparingly. But great fun to use.

This is the end of the first draft of the lens blog. This will be continually updated, so keep an eye on it!


  1. Hi Philip-

    Great and truly informative article: I learn so many new things from each one you post! I just have 2 questions:

    1) If you had to make a choice between IS and constant aperture, which would you choose? My belief is that you could use a tripod or hand-held mount to counteract not having IS (if necessary), but you couldn’t make up for not having constant aperture, making the latter more important.

    2) I know you’re busy doing, well, it seems close to everything everywhere, but could you give a rough estimate as to when we can expect the article on the GH2 lenses you mentioned in this article? I just bought a GH2 and want to avoid buying a kit lens, but I feel incomplete in making a decision without your advice!

    Thanks for all your work,

      1. HI Philip,

        How long is long?

        I just ordered a 60d with a Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 and was considering my next focal length.

        I heard alot of good things about the Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 and saw some really cracking images taken with it. After a little digging though I found out that the new version of this lens which has Vibration Compensation, Tamron’s answer to canon’s IS. Does not give as good picture quality as the slightly older version without Vibration Compensation.

        My question Is, Is the Image Stabilisation essential at this focal length? 17-50mm or should i go for the version without which gives a better image.

        Here are some images taken with this lens




      2. Actually I find your information really useful and I, too, need heads-up for the GH2… adapters make us lose the AF & other important features but then the choice of M43 mounts is really small for native M43 lenses.

        I’m sure your insight would be great. Or maybe you’ve posted an article somewhere else?

        Thank you!

      3. Hey Phillip, great advise all around. On the gh2 x2 crop, am i to assume then the tokina 11-16 will be more like 22-32? also any issues with the lense at full wide?

    1. Well I am a bit confused here. I thought the Sony FS100 was a full frame 35mm sensor?
      I am going to be renting the camera and lenses, will I be having the same crop issues you described in this article? Or is there no crop on that camera? Could someone please elaborate for me? Thanks

  2. Hi Philip,

    Great article that continues to be fruitful for me, thank you.

    I purchased a Canon 50mm 1.4, but am now considering the purchase of some used Zeiss lenses to complete my prime lens set. Is it a bad idea to mix manufacturers for my primes? Am I better off selling the 50mm 1.4 if I’m going to buy Zeiss primes, or perhaps going the other way, and buying all Canons? Or… do you think it’s ok to interchange prime lens manufacturers, and sweat the rest when color grading?

  3. Hi Philip.
    Have a question about lenses in 2.39:1 shooting. Do you recommend anamorphic lenses or to crop the image in editing?

    What anamorphic lens/brand do you recommend? Any experience/tips with anamorphic you can share?

    When it comes to normal cine lenses:
    Do you recommend to get one or two really expensive lenses like Arri master primes/ultra primes and rent the rest when needed or get several Zeiss CP.2. If Im not way of, you get about seven Zeiss CP.2 for the price of one ARRI Master Prime.

  4. Thanks again for a great run down on lenses!

    Quick question: Is there a filter that can reduce the moire problems, especially on the 70-200 2.8L IS II, and the 24 1.4L II ?

    I’m using the 5DII and in some shots I’m getting a ton of moire (especially when stopping down to gain DOF).

    1. Hi Steve,

      Did you ever get an answer or figure out this filter issue? I shoot with two 7Ds, 16-35L series, 50mm 1.4, and the 70-200 2.8L IS II. I am looking to get filters to slightly soften shots to reduce moire problems and possibly get a slightly softer filmic look. Any suggestions would greatly help.

      While I’m at it, any suggestions on Variable ND filters? Should I check out the Heliopan Variable ND filter? Is anything cheaper worth it, or will I lose quality?


  5. Ciao Phil 🙂

    first of all congratulations for your works!

    I’m using a 5D MII and i got the 24-70 f2.8 L.
    i love it, but i need a wide and a tele too.
    I was thinkin to buy the Canon EF 10-22 (or the Samyang 14 f2.8) and the Canon EF 135 f2 L.

    Instead u talk about the Tokina 11-16 and the Canon 100 macro.. Mmh, I’m confused! 🙂

    Is the Tokina good for a full frame camera? Does it work quick autofocus with it?
    What u think about Samyang 14 f2.8?
    So u think it’s better 100 macro instead 135?

    A lot of questions, I know, but i must do the right choice!! 😀
    Thanx a lot!


  6. Phillip,
    Deciding which lens to buy… What are your thoughts on a Canon 200 L f/2 IS prime vs a 70-200 2.8 IS II when @ 200mm focal length. When I use this Zoom I seem to always have it at 200 anyway. Is there a big difference in sharpness, contrast etc. to warrant more than twice a price increase? This would be for video, not stills.

    Thank You

  7. Hi Philip,
    I’m using a 5dmk2 with sigma lenses, 28-70 and 70-300 to be precise but really not impressed with the picture quality. I want to purchase the CP.2 but you just said on the post that its the same glass as the ZE. Is there an image disparity between the CP.2 and the ZE? I want the best. Thanks


  8. Hi Philip. Hi Everyone.
    I’m a new DSLR head inspired by Philip’s Vimeo tutorials and reading posts here @ pb.net. I’ve opted for a Canon 60d and a Sigma 30mm and these have been brilliant starting points. Loving the results so far and encouraged by how much fun I’ve been having, I’ve freed up some cash for one more lens in the $500+ dollar ballpark.

    I’m good with the walking zoom of a prime, but feel have a zoom in the bag wouldn’t be unwise. Similarly, I’ve heard the praises of the Tokina 11-16 which I’m sure would be fantastic. My hope would be to get a lens that was valuable to both video and standard photography. This is because I feel learning better manual photography practices will improve my video capture. I should add that Macro video is something I would like to experiment with. Basically I’m looking at a Canon 28-135mm as a potential zoom, but I’m worried it won’t be useful for video (with the possible exception of its macro mode).

    I’d appreciate any thoughts you might contribute.

      1. Thanks Steve. I saw a video which described this variable aperture shortcoming. It was very informative. Thanks for the heads-up. Does this aperture issue show up when in manual mode? Understandably most zooms have a range of apertures, but is this “feature” unique to certain zooms? Can one find a lens with a good zoom range without this problem? Thanks!

        1. You’re welcome!
          Variable aperture means that the aperture changes as you zoom. This means that the exposure changes, ruining your shot. Constant aperture means that your exposure will not change when zooming in or out.
          If you don’t want the Tokina, get the Canon 17-55 2.8 IS. It has constant aperture, useful zoom range, and IS. I had this lens: it was super sharp and the IS worked very well. I sold it when I moved to the 5DII (full frame). The only thing I didn’t like was that the zoom ring was not as smooth as L lenses, and the build quality didn’t feel as solid as L lenses. But optically it was very good, the bokeh was a little jittery too, but not a deal-breaker.
          I also have the Tokina 50-135 2.8. This is an excellent affordable lens, but it does not have IS. Since you have the Sigma 30, I think the Tokina 11-16 is your best bet for a next lens. Ultra-wide is really useful in Video, even more than photography.

  9. Phillip,
    Thank you for all of the great info on your blog. Can you clarify something for me. Shooting purely video on the 5D.

    If buying a new 50mm, you prefer the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 over canon and sigma, but would you…

    a. buy the ZE

    b. buy the ZF and an adapter (does having the manual iris make a huge difference, is it worth the extra money for an adapter and if so, do you recommend a specific brand?)

    Basically…if I can just about swing the cost on the Zeiss ZE, is that a good move or wait for the extra cash to by ZF and an adapter?


    1. hi ally

      i prefer the zf lenses as they are more portable to other cameras in future as they have a manual iris. Canon version are all electronic and to get them to work on any other camera properly is very hard!

      1. Just a quick follow up question. The idea of portable is fine, but I don’t see myself moving to another camera for a while. So in terms of shooting video on the 5D only, would you still recommend the ZF? If so, what adapter do you use, I’m concerned about the infinity focus.

        thanks again.

        1. Amazing review!
          Speaking of Zeiss ZF lenses with manual iris.

          Please, what adaptor manufacturers do you recommend for
          – Sony FS700
          – 5dmk3
          – RED?

          Is there any serious disadvantage using them on the Canons compared to ZE

          Thanks 🙂

  10. Hello Philip,

    following your hint to look at Nikon lenses,
    would the Nikon constant aperture *zoom* lenses work well?

    Found some possible candidates:
    Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8 AFD
    Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 AFDEDIFS

    Thank you!

  11. Hello Phillip, I’m a huge fan of your work!
    I just got asked to go on a last minute trip to Israel to shoot a travel type show/doc. I’m heading out for two weeks, and the crew is slim. Long story short Im trying to figure out what lenses to take with me. Of course the budget isn’t all that great, and Im trying to keep the load light and mobile.

    Any ideas???

    Thanks Jacob

  12. Phillip,

    First off thanks for the inspiration – I’m in the film/video biz and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of why I chose this path. Your joyful approach reminds me that it can be fun!

    Now to lenses. We’ve been using the two Olympus-Zuiko zooms on the af-100 for documentary shoots. The glass looks great but the iris shift on both lenses has been a big problem. Our DP was on a dolly yesterday shooting an interview with the 35-100 and every time he pushed in or pulled out to re-establish a frame the IRIS JUMPED causing him to take a few seconds to dial the desired exposure back in. Those few seconds, compounded by the inherent challenge of focussing a still lens can be vital when trying to capture a statement or a moment that can’t be repeated.

    Abel Cinetech tells me everyone is having this problem with the af-100/Olympus zooms and they believe Panasonic is working on a fix that will arrive in new firmware. Do you know anything about this? In an earlier thread you said you hadn’t noticed this glitch – have you noticed it since? Thanks!

  13. Hi Phillip. I’m considering buying a Canon 70-200F2.8l USM II, but you say it’s too sharp for video. Should I be looking at the old mkI then? they’ve been around awhile and are a lot cheaper. Also is 70-200 the right focal length? It’s for shooting sit down interviews mainly, just enough to get 3 shot sizes.

    And finally……before I buy a 5DmkII, should I wait for the mkIII?

    Ok, unfair, I know you can’t answer that one,but……..?

      1. Hi Philip – This website really is a fantastic resource – thank you.

        Quick question re above post – I’m assuming that reference to fixing the new 70-200 issues are aliasing
        and more significantly moire – I’ve found anti-aliasing in FCP but would appreciate any info on removing moire.
        Also you mentioned in another post that if the lens is too sharp and creating moire a filter can be applied to overcome this – is there a specific filter or would anything that would soften the image (ie 1/4 Promist) work? Any help much appreciated.


  14. Hi Philip,

    I tried the canon 70-200 2.8L IS on my 7D… incredible lens. But expensive… What do you think about the SIGMA 70-200 mm F2,8 APO DG OS EX HSM ? It seems really good and half price. Have you tried it ?

    Thanks for your advices I carefully read and your films I carefully watch ! 🙂

    JB from France

  15. Hi Philip, love the site.

    Ay present I am more of a photographer than a video man, but I’m looking at changing some of the lenses i have to take advantage of the video capabilities of the 7D. I have a couple of your suggested lenses already (50mm f1.4 and 100mm macro) but my big investments to this point have been at the long end for wildlife.

    Much as i would love to be able to afford the 70-200 f2.8 IS lens, it is at the limits of my price range (and I’m wary of another heavy lens).

    As a stills lens I have heard nothing but rave reviews of the canon 70-200 L f4 IS model, and was leaning towards this (for it’s sharpness and it’s light weight). Is f4 too slow for video?

    This will probably be my last purchase for a while, and by choosing to buy the 70-200 f4 IS, I can probably afford to get the Zacuto Z-finder, a decent fluid head, and maybe the Zoon h4n as well. This would be a much better starting point I’m guessing?


    Gearóid from Ireland

  16. Aloha,

    I’m new to this HDSLR video and recently purchased the 60D and the 24-70. I’m undecided about 17-40 and the 16-35. The 16-35 is double the price. Is it worth paying that much for the 2.8?

    If I get the 17-40, I can save to get another lenses, but not sure if I will be happy or get the 16-35 and question myself if I made the right decision

    What would you do?

    1. @ DVACE – I have the 17-40 and it’s a perfectly good lens (for stills at least), but I’m wondering whether you’d be better off going for a wider angle lens to complement what you have already? Such as the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 that gets such good reviews.

      I know that I miss having the true wide angle capability on my 7D.

  17. Hey, thank you so much for the great post. I just got a question why it is so essential to have a constant aperture for video lenses. So if I get this right then a lense like this would for example drop a f-stop if it is zoomed in more then lets say 100mm.

    Wouldn’t this only be a problem so, if you were to zoom in the shot? (Which in most cases should be avoided anyways? Couldn’t you just deal with a lens like that, as if you had two different lenses? So lets say a 70-200mm could be considered as a 70-130mm/f4 and a 130-200mm/f5.6?

    I’m kinda new to the whole dslr thing so please excuse me if what I’m saying makes no sense at all!


  18. Hello all.

    Does anyone have any experience of working with Samyang lenses? I am thinking of buying the 85mm and 35mm for my Sony NEXFS100. I know they are fully manual,but thats what appeals.

    I have a Zeiss 50mm C/Y T*, and thinking of investing in a Canon 70-200mm L USM MKII 2.8.

      1. Hi Philip,

        I am planning to use Sony NEX-FS100 camera with Canon EF mount lenses.
        Are there any adaptors for that? …perhaps this is a problem and it is better to choose another type of lens mount

          1. Thanks, Philip!

            He has already sold or only planned for release? In the forums, write about it but no offers for sale or order. Also write the adapter from Conurus but also anything useful. Perhaps you own more accurate information about the availability of the adapter of Birger and his price. Thanks again.

  19. Hello,

    I am planning to buy canon EOS 7d and zeiss master primes as my priority is shooting video for indies.

    I am confused about Tokina vs Zeiss wide.

    I want to use the best video quality lenses with 7d,

    What should I go for? I’m confused !

  20. I know there is the endless debate between the 24-70 f2.8 and the 24-105 f4 IS, but most of them are in regards to photography. I was wondering how important the IS is to filming. I tend to like the image from the 24-70 more and I shoot in low light a lot, but I am usually shooting with a shoulder rig which having IS would be quite helpful. I hear the 24-70 is better in low light and the 24-105 is better for handheld. So I guess I’m asking, “If I often find myself in a situation where I need to use a shoulder mount in a low light area (weddings mostly and events) is it better to go for the extra stop or the IS?” any help would be fantastic! Thank you!!

    (I also thought about waiting for a 24-70 with IS but it is currently looking like the version II of the 24-70 will not have IS)

  21. Dear Mr. Bloom,

    I love your website! it has provided me a sweet, smooth beggining in the world of video DSLR.

    I bought a 60D, the Tokina 11-16, the Samyang 35mm 1,4 and the Canon 50mm 1.8 based on your recommendations and I have never been more satisfied with an electronic purchase. I think I got the best possible starting pack for the money I had thanks to your advice.

    For my next lens I was thinking of buying a 20mm as it would give me a nice option between the Tokina and the 35mm. I also considered the 85mm to get a nice 135 on my 1.6 sensor but I dont think I need that kind of shots now.

    A lot of people have told me I should invest in a zoom but as all my professional work has been as AD in 35mmm independent features I have only seen ACs and DPs try to avoid using the zooms at all cost I have not had much experience seeing people work with them. I am very comfortable with the primes on the other hand (i’ve done SO MANY take reports for the ACs and theyve taught me so much as we normally work with a very reduced crew due to the low budget of the films).

    Sorry for the long text. Ill keep it short. Im between the 17-55 2.8 and a 20 possibly Sigma’s 1.8. What do you think?

    Thanks a lot!!!

  22. Hi Mr. Bloom,

    first thanks a lot for the great informations on your site; and sorry for my bad written language; i am from germany.

    In this article i was a little confused cause you say IS is essential for many shots (i support this!) but then you recommend lenses without IS (mostly).

    Today i am filming with my efs 15-85mm IS USM and a cheap canon 50mm 1.8 plastic lens (Canon 7D), that isn’t so good in my opinion, cause it is very shaky without stabilisation, when you don’t get in slomo.

    Now i am searching for new lenses and i think the Sigma 30mm F1.4 (EF-S) and the tokina 11-16mm are great; but without stabilisation?!

    Are there some other good lenses like that, WITH IS ? Like the Canon 17-55mm F2.8 IS.

    Best regards

      1. Thanks again for your answer!

        The Tokina is shipped already and now i am thinking about the Samyang 35mm or the sigma 30mm 1.4 for my 7D. I really don’t know which lens is the best for me; the Samyang is a bigger lens, what i prefer, but i hardly can’t find a good review/test of that lens, because it is so new on marked.
        i hope i could get one of these in my hands on a store to test which is fitting better for me.

        Have a nice day!

  23. Just want to say, this has been one of the most informative, easy to read and inspirational blogs/websites I’ve seen in a long time. Just through scanning this site over the past few months my knowledge has grown exponentially, and I feel comfortable in my purchase decisions in the future.

    Between you and Andrew Kramer I’ll have a blockbusting feature under my belt for less than $1000 in no time.

    A big thank you to you!

  24. Hello Philip…Really nice job with your site. It is a real help indeed! I am a GH2 owner and would love to hear your lens recommendations for primes and zooms and a good macro. Thanks much and keep up the great work!

  25. I have the 7d and saw a vivitar 28mm 1:2.5 second hand that I bought.
    I have also ordered Nikon to eos mount adapter.
    I also have efs 15 – 85 mm and 50mm 1.8 and efs 100mm macro usm (non is)
    What are your thoughts on the vivitar 28mm 1:2.5 got it very cheap.

  26. It is unbelievable how hard it is to get your hands on a Tokina 11-16mm. At first, I was avoiding this lens because of the crop-nature of it. (Was looking at the L 17-40mm.)
    But on Amazon and other sites it is always sold out a few days after it hits the warehouse.
    And I rarely find it on eBay. People have to love this lens.
    As soon as I see it avaible, I will have a look at it (or rather with it).

    Thank you, for this nice blog post.

  27. Just bought an FS100 and am frustrated about not having smooth and quiet iris control on a non e-mount lens while recording.

    I’m now wondering whether there is an adapter that will allow me to use the EX3 stock lens (smooth iris wheel) on the FS100. Anyone ?

    I know that Samyang makes a smooth aperture ring for video, but I’m looking for a zoom lens that does that.

    Thanks Phil and anyone else who can share some advice,


  28. Hi Philip,
    I have the Canon 7D and the standard lens that comes with (Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS). I was thinking of getting the Sigma 30m (since I can’t afford the Tokina just yet). Is that the next lens you would advise me to get or? It is mainly for video (indie, commercial)…
    Thanks so much! Your site and info has been soooo helpful!! Gorgeous work as well!

    1. If you are planning to use it for video, you will have issues with it if you are not using a shoulder rig or a tripod as it does not have Image Stabilization (IS). Personally, I would recommend saving a little longer for either a lens with manual aperture or a lens with IS! If you are stuck on that price range however and want a lens now, I would recommend either the Canon 28mm f/1.8 or the Canon 35mm f/2 as you will not lose 2/3 to 1 stop that you will from the sigma.

  29. Thanks, Phil.

    I’m looking now at the Nikon 28-70 zoom on my FS100 for use on interviews. I’ll have the aperture ring de-clicked and mount it with a Fotodiox or Novoflex. Just need to make sure whether the cheaper in price Fotodiox is just as good as Novoflex.

  30. Thank you for your article. Well thought out; very useful.

    I have a 60D and a 5D classic (I intend to eventually get a video-capable FF camera). My primes: 35-1.4, 50-1.4, 135-2; my zooms: Tok. 11-16 f/2.8, ef-s 17-55 f/2.8 and 70-300L 4-5.6 L IS.

    If I may, two questions, applicable to both still and video:

    Which lens? 14 f/2.8 or 24 f/1.4, or given my bag, do you recommend another?

    In a month, I’m going to Africa to look at rural water wells / villages that use them. Want to take both bodies. What would be your lens kit?


    1. Both are great lenses. I’ve used both but went for the 14mm. I find that the sweet spot on 14 is around f/8. Anything more open than that on the lens has blurring on the edges of frame (photo). You don’t notice it as much with video as your frame is cropped. I find the 24mm does a better job avoiding the blurring all together. Then again, it is only a 24 ;). In your case, because of crop factor, I would go for the 14. Are you looking to do a lot of night photography/filming?

      In my case, my two favorite lenses in my kit are my 24-105mm f/4 and 70-200mm II f/2.8 if that accounts for anything! Investing in the 24-105mm is never a bad decision!

      1. Thanks. I would like to take some astronomical stills of the night sky. Which lens (14 or 24) does it better? And do they do it better than my existing 35-1.4?

        I want the 14, but read its difficult to master.

  31. Sir, pairi pauna (Indian way of respecting gurus)!

    1. Does Dual “DIGIC 4” Digital Image Processor affect the video quality?

    2. I am about to film my first feature on in September! I would be lucky to have your blessings, guru!

    PS: It is because of people like you that people still have faith in humanity and kindness! May god bless you! 🙂

  32. Hi.

    Can someone tell me if the focus direction on Samyang CANON FIT lenses all work the same way?

    The 85mm works the “correct” way (for me at least), but do the rest. All pictures I’ve seen seem to appear they don’t.

  33. If budget is not an issue. Which one would you choose between those two 50mm lenses? > Canon 50mm 1.4 or Carl Zeiss 50mm 1.4 (priority given to filmmaking not still photography).

    Thanks in advance for the advice

  34. hi Philip!
    please, i have a Canon 5D mark ii. i need to bay a Wide Angle lens, tell me your opinion which to bay?
    is canon 10-22 compatible for my camera or s best tokina 11-16 mm?
    help me please

  35. Phillip,
    What are your thoughts on using Cooke Pacnhro lenses on the 5D? If I could only afford one one these lenses at lines until I got the whole set, which ones would you start out with first, and why


      1. The Hot Rod PL mount boasts of being able to mount Cooke Panchro and most other pl lenses onto the 5D Mark II. Do you think the Cooke Panchro and Uniqoptice would give a better feature film look? I want these lenses not only for my own camera, but I want to be able to rent these lenses as well. In Chattanooga, TN there are no lens rental. The closest one is 2 hours away. These lenses will be used for short films and indie feature films primarily, but also for some commercials and corporate shots as well.

  36. Philip,

    I just wanted to thank you for all of your info. My wife and I are starting a film and animation company and decided to go with the DSLR solution for filming and you have been our definitive resource for everything we are doing. And this article has saved us some serious dough and guided us to what lenses to use. We both just can’t thank you enough for all of your efforts in the community.


    Paul Thomas

  37. Philip,

    Forgot to ask a question that’s been nagging me. We have the 7D and are using the Zeiss 50mm F1.4 and love it, but we are looking at our next lens and are trying to decide between these two:

    1.) Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
    2.) Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

    And wanted to know if you had to choose between the two, for all around great shots, which one would you recommend. I see the use of the 24-105mm a lot in DSLR filming, but wanted to see what your take was. We will be getting the Tokina 11-16/2.8 either way, we tested it and loved the simplicity and crisp image, but need another great lens for our arsenal. Any help would be supremely appreciated.


  38. Forgot to ask my question;)

    So we have the 7D and the Zeiss 50mm 1,4 and love the heck out of that lens. But now it’s time to get into some more lenses and this is what we are looking at:

    1.) Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS
    2.) Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

    We will be getting the Tokina Super Wide, loved it in the store. But we are trying to decide which one of these to get. Or do we scratch that and jut get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS. Most of our initial filming will be interviews to make more money to then move on to making short films (sci-fi, drama, ect) Any help you can give us would be most appreciated. Thanks.

        1. We struggle with the next step here and want to be as certain as we can. We need to get the audio and lighting gear (which we have finally agreed on and will have soon). But again we are just not sure what direction to go next for lenses for the Canon 7D. We will get the Tokina Super Wide for sure and are just trying to determine the next lens to give us a well rounded arsenal. Thanks for the help.

  39. Hi Philip!

    Thank you for posting this really helpful!
    I am going to buy my first dslr (canon 60d) and i wonder if canons’ efs 17-55mm F2.8 lens is the right choice rather than fixed lenses.I want an all purpose lens as i shoot web commercials, cultural events, music video clips etc.So what do you propose getting first? a Tokina 11-16mm and a Sigma 30mm F1.4 (EF-S) or just a 17-55mm F2.8.(i m on a real budget!)

  40. Hi Philip,
    Many thanks for all your posts, they are really helpful.
    I have been shooting with a 7D for a while, with the tokina 11-16mm f2.8 and a vintage nikkor lens 85mm f2 all manual. I love both but id need something in between and for a relatively low budget. Ive been considering many options for months but im still confused.
    Ill probably get myself an old nikon 50mm f1.4 which for what ive heard is a killer but id also need something wider as im working with a cropped sensor.
    I like the sigma 30mm you suggest but i dont like the fact its not “future proof” for full frames. I cant make up my mind on vintage nikon lenses either.
    May be the canon 28mm f1.8 would be a good option? Good price, reviews and it works with full frame too.
    Any advice will be much appreciated.

    All the best,

    All the best!

    1. Philip,

      What about Zeiss ZE f2/28mm as a low budget solution for the 7d (first lens, no updates for a while)?

      Any problems with the follow focus in the future (the focus ring REALLY seems to be not like those of plastic)?


  41. Hi Philip,

    I shoot a ton of action sports (freestyle skiing, wakeboarding, mtn biking) with the Canon T3i and just got the Tokina 11-16mm. What lens would be the best upgrade to replace my 18-135mm kit lens?

    Best, Tommy