Posts Tagged ‘ Events

Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art lens for video

Sigma 18-35 for video review 4

For a few years now I’ve been using the Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 as a general walk around lens when shooting events with my C300. Over that time I’ve become quite frustrated with it, mainly due to it’s nasty plastic construction and the way the horrible rear mounted focus ring feels in use. Lets also not forget the fact that it can cause vignetting when used with the C300.

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8

Most of my other Canon lenses are L series which tend to have a better build quality and feel much nicer to use. When I purchased the 17-55 the only real alternative from Canon was the 16-35 f/2.8 but when I tested that lens against the 17-55 the image stabilisation in the 17-55 won me over and I opted to live with the horrible feel for the advantages the IS provides.

During  the next couple of years I was generally happy with the images produced by 17-55 but I never really got past the nasty feel of the lens, it also has a habit of sucking dust inside the barrel which can be annoying. Earlier this year something broke inside the lens during a shoot causing the zoom mechanism to get stuck, the 17-55 found it’s way unceremoniously thrown in to my spare parts box!

Over the next few event shoots I swapped between the Tokina 11-16 and Canon 24-105 but I missed the flexibility of having a fast mid zoom so eventually decided to look for a replacement. I visited the Wex Store in Norwich with my C300 to try out the Canon EF16-35 f/2.8 II and also have a look at the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art series lens which I’d been hearing good things about online.

canon 16-35

Canon 16-35 f/2.8 L II

I tried the Canon 16-35 first. At £1064 it’s not a cheap lens but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s sometimes better to swallow the cost in favour of reliability and performance. The 16-35 II felt very familiar, the zoom and focus rings have the same loose but solid feel as my other L series lenses. I tested the dual pixel autofocusing on the C300 and the 16-35 responded extremely quickly. I didn’t feel I needed to worry about image quality from a lens of this standing, i was more concerned about feel and operational performance.

Next up I asked to try the Sigma 18-35 Art Series lens. At £610 it’s a lot cheaper than the Canon 16-35 but unlike the Canon it’s not a full frame lens. Much like the Canon EF-S range the Sigma is designed to work with APS-C cameras like the 7D but at f/1.8 throughout it’s entire zoom range the Sigma is faster.

Sigma 18-35 for video review 1

Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Series

As soon as the sales assistant passed me the lens I was surprised at how heavy and solid it felt, it had a cold metal feeling that reminded me of holding my old Nikkor lenses.  Once fitted to the C300 I was immediately struck by the feel and responsiveness of the zoom and focus rings, they have a heavy yet extremely smooth travel which responds more like a cine style lens than a stills lens. Unlike the Canon L series lenses it’s really easy to perform a smooth zoom on this lens if required as well.

Sigma 18-35 for video review 2

Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Series

I’d read reports that the Sigma lens would only work with the dual pixel autofocusing feature on the C300 with it’s fully open at f/1.8 but that wasn’t the case and the lens focused successfully throughout the aperture range. The focus speed was slower than the Canon lens however I found that to be an advantage as a slower focussing looks more pleasing if used within a shot than a snap focus.

Sigma 18-35 for video review 3

Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Series

I found that both pulling focus and running the zoom on the sigma produced extremely fluid results that far exceed what I could produce with my Canon glass. Just to be sure I fitted the Canon 16-35 again and in comparison it actually felt clunky and nowhere near as nice to use. I was sold and purchased the Sigma there and then!


Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 fitted to Canon C300

Two days after purchasing the Sigma I filmed an event for Harley-Davidson and the Sigma performed flawlessly. It’s a great walk around lens for the C300 and having the option to shoot at f/1.8 makes it great for low light shots and shallow depth of field work during the day.

I haven’t found any negatives to report so far. I do miss the image stabiliser from the 17-55 a little so it would be great to see Sigma add IS to the mix in the future.

I used the Sigma for most of the shots shown in the video below and would highly recommend it for video use. In fact, I’m now keen to replace some of my other Canon L zooms as well!

Buy the Sigma 18-35 at B&H

European Bike Week 2014

Just back from shooting another Harley-Davidson European Bike Week in Faaker See, Austria. Unlike all the others I’ve filmed there over the past six years the weather was well and truly against us this year with every day being wet and grey.

The one saving grace for this shoot was that when there’s low clouds and mist in the area the passes surrounding the event site take on a whole new feel with rising mist over the tree lined roads.

15th European Bike Week

Once again, the picturesque and mountainous region of Carinthia played host to Europe’s biggest bike event in early September. Approximately 110,000 people descended upon the area surrounding Faaker See, turning the tranquil landscape into a tumultuous party of roaring V-Twin engines.

I flew out to shoot the event for Harley-Davidson again this year and as with previous years it turned out to be a very hectic yet amazing experience. I used the Canon C300 exclusively, mostly with the Canon 17-55 EFs lens although I did break out the 70-200 at one point to grab some close shots of the crowds enjoying bands.

The C300 is such a great all-round camera for this kind of work, during the day I configure it with the full monitor rig and a shotgun mic and then when I prefer to be a little less conspicuous I tend to remove the handle and monitor and just run either without a mic at all or with the Rode VideoMic Pro.

Towards the end of each rally I ride pillion in the parade and again the C300’s modular build proves useful as I hang my smallHD DP4 around my neck on a lanyard and just run the camera with it’s handle attached allowing me to shot using many angles that would be impossible using the cameras onboard monitor.

Because I had to fly out to Brasil to shoot another rally for Harley-Davidson soon after returning from Austria this one was edited by Paul Pearson (@pearsonpost) on twitter.

The wonderful, “Wild Blood” by Lovedrug was supplied by The Music Bed.


Using the Canon EOS C300 for a Harley-Davidson event

The post production for the event I shot for Harley-Davidson in St Tropez is now completed so I thought I’d share my thoughts on using the Canon EOS C300 on an event shoot for the first time. Previous to this event I’ve been using a Sony EX1 and Canon 5D mkII combination which have produced some nice results. The EX1 has been my main camera for event work over the last few years and even though I’ve felt the results from the 5D2 have been better at times the functionality and ease of use that the EX1 provided meant that it was just a better all around camera for my needs.

My shooting days at these events involve a lot of walking, I’m generally out shooting from 10am until the early hours of the morning for three or four days in a row so it can be very hard on the feet and becomes tiring after a few days. Because of this I tend to try and avoid carrying too much kit around with me and certainly didn’t like carrying both the EX1 and the 5D at the same time with all the batteries and lenses that go with them. My preferred method was to head out for a few hours with the 5D and my Glidetrack grabbing some more stylised material and then head back and swap over to the EX1. This worked well most of the time but invariably there would be times with the 5D that I missed the EX1’s over cranking feature and shooting aids, likewise when using the EX1 I’d really miss the ability to shoot really wide and have more control over the depth of field of my shots.

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Shooting in St Tropez with the C300

I’m currently shooting another event for Harley-Davidson in the French riviera. I’ve shot this event a few times before but this is the first time Ive used the C300 for a rally so it’s proving to be a new challenge for me and the camera. I’m about to head out for another days shooting but I just wanted to post a quick update as to my progress and how the C300 was coping with the role of event coverage.

In terms of usability the camera’s working really well, I’ve been using the 17-55 IS most of the time just because I find I need the wide end a lot for these events. I have used the Tokina 11-16 a little too but I find it restrictive being stuck that wide when walking around shooting. I don’t like swapping lenses outside if I can help it at all so I’ve tended to pop back to my apartment in order to swap lenses so as to keep the dust inside the camera to a minimum.

When I popped back to swap lenses yesterday however I did notice that there were three spots of white debris behind the IR glass inside the C300’s body. I thought this area was sealed as it contains the ND filters and the sensor itself so I was a little shocked to see that stuff inside. There’s no way for me to clean it either so the camera will have to go back to canon when I get home next week.

Anyway, I have to run as it’s time for another day’s shooting but I’ll leave you with a few screen grabs, these are all unedited VLC grabs from the footage straight from the camera. It’s taken me a while and a lot of experimenting with various custom picture settings but I think I’ve finally made one which is ideal for providing a nice natural look with faithful colours and contrast straight from the camera.