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I just got back from 5 weeks abroad with my Sony FS100. It is a large camera, but not bad for what it offers, and you can really build it down to make it less obtrusive. If you take off the handle and mic and use a small prime it almost looks like an older vhs camera. I’d suggest you look into it. I was backpacking with this camera for 5 weeks throughout Bosnia, Croatia, Italy and Czech, and it wasn’t too bad to haul around.
Gary, I’ve shot with a t2i and the EF f1.8 for a little over a year, it being my main camera when I started out. It’s a very versatile lens, although the construction feels cheap (plastic) I’ve traveled a lot with it, taking it through Africa on hikes, safari’s, etc, and it is still in good shape. It is quite sharp for video, and the glass yields a very crisp contrast that really complements the canon sensors. The shallow depth of field is amazing for achieving a professional look easily. All in all, it was well worth the $120 I bought it for. What are you shooting with? If you have a canon dslr, I’d suggest putting magic lantern on it. Running that along with a fast lens like the EF f1.8 will virtually give you a professional digital cinema camera, very comparable to my fs100, which I’ve upgraded to.
Another thing you might be interested in is the older canon FD lenses. I picked up an f1.4 off ebay for around $80 shipped, and it is in great shape with a very solid metal construction. Adapters can also be bought off ebay for virtually any camera. I’ve had tremendous success using this lens with the sony e-mount line, as the sensor is close enough to the lens that you don’t have issues with the focus. It isn’t as good on any mirrored slrs I’ve tried it with, although you can get some really artsy light spills going on. For reference, here is a video I did using the EF f1.8 and the rebel t2i:
(Skip to about 1:10 to see a nice shot demonstrating both the contrast and DOF)
I hope this helps you. If you have any other questions about the lens let me know.
Thanks for the comments and discussion everyone.
Paul – I appreciate the suggestions. I looked into the Lee 126 violet and will definitely be getting some soon! Video lighting with gels is new to me, however I am really enjoying the possibilities and things I can do now that I couldn’t before.
Don – I’ve seen the tin barn doors before – this certainly is an easy and cheap way to do it, which is great for beginners like me so I can try out the equipment a bit first before I lay down the cash and buy a professionally made one. I’ll put this on the to do list 🙂
Dagunner – I’m sure this would work just as well, and you could probably even bolt the pieces together somehow, which would allow them to be more compact for transport. For an item like this, the joints aren’t under a whole lot of stress so welding isn’t essential.
Signmax – Illegal? I highly doubt it, although maybe not the best idea 🙂 In my video, I never removed the glass, so if the bulb did decide to explode it still would be protected. I simply removed the wire grill, which only serves to prevent objects from hitting the glass in a construction setting. The wire grill is large enough that it would not do anything to prevent the scattering of exploded glass, and as I said, the glass cover is still there. Also, as it stands I can’t afford the right equipment, and I don’t have the experience or knowledge to use it to it’s full potential. As I stated, I am new to the world of lighting with gels, and these lights allow me to add a bit of value to my services and learn some techniques, eventually I’ll hopefully be able to upgrade to a professional lighting kit, but I’m just not there yet.
Rick – Scary to think about the damage equipment can do when it malfunctions. As with anything though, a little bit of planning for the worst can go a long way in terms of minimizing the potential for damage. Again, why I left the glass on the cover of the work lights! In the long run, it pays to just lay down the cash and get a good quality tool for the job… if you can afford it. If you can’t, you’re left to hacking up bits of aluminum in your garage like me! I will keep that in mind though, for when I do upgrade my kit in the future, thanks for the comment.