Monthly Archives: June 2013

Canon's new 24-70 f/4 makes shooting handheld DSLR video a real possibility

The professional DSLR community has collectively yawned at the recent release of Canon’s 24-70 f/4 zoom. “Too slow for me,” is the conventional wisdom. So far, this lens is getting ignored. And that’s a real shame. Because it has the killer app: hybrid stabilization. For video shooters like me, this turns out to be huge. Game changing, even.

I rented this lens from Lensrentals to test it out (it’s not available at my local rental house, Glazers). Yesterday I took this lens along on a picnic with my wife to Seattle’s Carkeek Park. I shot this video entirely handheld, with my 5dmkiii (in Magic Lantern raw). Check it out:

This lens is a miracle. Forget everything else anybody is saying about it being slow. With a 5dmkiii, just boost your ISO a stop and forget about it. Only one thing matters: you can actually shoot great looking video handheld with it. Let me repeat that: You can shoot handheld with it.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to NEVER handhold a dslr while shooting video. This is true for almost anyone, but me in particular. My hands are shaky. I wouldn’t even THINK of trying a camera move like the last shot, a tilt up and pan left.

One of my favorite lenses is the 100mm macro L glass from Canon. I like it because the IS on it is amazing. I’ve been wondering ever since why Canon hasn’t built hybrid IS into more lenses. So I was excited to try this new zoom when it was announced, to see if it was able to bring the same formidable stabilization to a general purpose lens. They have, and it rocks.

Stable shooting in 3x. There are two clips in my video that reveal how truly incredible this IS is. Noticing the extreme close up shot at 11:05, and the train approaching at 15:08. These were both shot handheld in Magic Lantern’s crop-sensor mode, which triples the effective focal length of the lens. In the case of the train approaching, I was shoot at 70mm, so x3 = 210mm. Ever try to handhold a 200mm lens while shooting video?

Other nice things about this glass:

1. The size is perfect (small). It feels “just right” on my 5dmkiii.
2. It has a 77mm filter size. Works with all my expensive filters.
3. The image stabilizer is SILENT. I put my ear right up against it, and it just doesn’t make a sound. All of my other Canon IS glass makes too much noise for use with on-camera mic.
4. It has macro, so you can use it in a pinch to grab extreme close up detail shots without reaching for specialty glass.
5. You can shoot stills with it! Zippy autofocus makes grabbing snaps like this easy:

For shooting video, I’m blown away by what this makes possible. I won’t be abandoning my tripod or shoulder rig any time soon, but this lens gives me a whole ‘nother option, one I never imagined I would have with a dslr. I want this lens.