I get asked often what my favorite lenses are for vlogging on our youtube channel or shooting videos and why.
In the blog, we’ll talk about Canon lenses.
First, let’s keep in mind this article was written in January 2018 so depending on today’s date, when you are reading this.. odds are we are using different equipment and quite possibly have more up to date opinions about the best lenses to use and why.
When vlogging for youtube or shooting online videos, I use a Canon 80D, at 60fps in 1080p. I use one of two lenses pretty much always, because they are both whisper silent.
1. Canon 10-18mm f4-5.6 EF-S IS STM (amazon)
This is a great lens for vlogging at arms length without massive warp.
A great deal of the videos in our youtube channel where it’s me talking, and I am walking around.. are shot with this lens, on the Canon 80D body.
Why do I shoot with the Canon 80D? (amazon)
Because it has Dual CMOS Pixel focus and it is simply the best there is for auto focus.
My daily camera for shooting photos is a SonyA7RIII (amazon) and I LOVE it, it’s a beast, but the auto focus video still is behind Canon with their system. It’s still great video… 8.5/10, maybe 9/10 compared to Canon’s 10/10.
Before you try and tell me, it’s because I don’t have the SonyA7SII – the video version for Sony… you might be surprised. Google it and you’ll findA7RII is better in almost every single way than the A7SII, which is why it costs more as well. Yes, theA7SII goes past 25,600 ISO.. so if that’s big for you, that’s your camera. In all my years of shooting, (20+) i have not one time shot anything remotely near 25,600 let alone past it.
A7SII (amazon) is a GREAT camera, but the A7RII is a better camera for all around. My opinion, meh. I use the Sony A7RIII now and that’s even better than then A7RII was, but it still simply isn’t as good for focus as Canon’s Dual CMOS Pixel system. Years upon years of shooting videos speaking here. If you’re using auto focus, Canon 80D is your new go to for cheap, effective, and always in focus.
So getting back to Canon.. I use Canon for 1080p videos because the focus can’t be beat. When we are filming, we need things to be CLEAR. It sucks when your focus is hunting and you hear the lens gears grinding away as the camera struggles to find focus.
Casey Neistat (prominent youtuber) used to be a huge Canon fan and then he went to Sony for awhile, then to the Panasonic GH5 (amazon), a beast of a camera capable of 4K 60 FPS.
With both his Sony’s and his Panasonic, his vlogs suffered from occasional hunting when in auto focus or the wall behind was in focus, but not his face etc.
He recently switched back to Canon with the 6D (amazon) and boom, Dual CMOS Focus in effect… his videos are now crispy all over again.
Why don’t I shoot with the superior 6D instead of my 80D? Simple reason? I already own the 80D and several APS-C CMOS lenses. The 6D is MUCH better, no question, but it’s a full frame camera. If I flip to it, I then have to start shooting full frame lenses which means I’d need to invest in good Canon L series glass, and honestly.. for what I need, the 80D and these lenses does the job. That said, I’d love a 6D.
2. Canon 18-135mm f 3.5-5.6 EF-S IS NANO USM (amazon)
This lens is fantastic which is a lot to say given it’s a f3.5-5.6 lens.
It always keeps focus, it never is heard hunting for us. I love this lens. There are two versions of it, one of course a little cheaper than the other but if you’re going to grab one, I’d suggest grabbing the newer NANO version if you can afford it, but if not, the non nano version has also been amazing for us. (we own both).
The third and final lens I’d mention is something every photographer should have in their arsenal. Downside of this lens, if you are using it for video, it is not silent. You will hear it focusing etc.
The Nifty Fifty!
3. Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM (amazon)
I shot a lot of these photos with this lens. It’s small, lightweight. the kind of lens you’d keep on the camera almost always. Great bokeh when shooting wide open at f1.8 and it’s surprisingly fast for a cheaper lens. There are many Canon 50mm lenses that are better than this, but they’re also a lot more pricey. Why spend it if you don’t need to?
I should point out, all of the lenses are APS-C meaning, not full frame. Make sure the lens you are buying are for the right system, or you’ll end up with cropping and well, you don’t want/need that. If you’re unsure what you need.. google your camera name and then the question.. example..
Is the Canon 80dD full frame?
Google will tell you. No, it’s not. It’s APS-C (Advanced Photo System type C)
If you’re unsure of the difference between APS-C and full frame… full frame has a much larger sensor so it allows more light, more everything into the frame.
Bokeh is also better with full frame. Remember, larger sensor means better details.
I’m so close to talking myself into a full frame Canon 6D here so I can have Canon’s amazing focus but also, full frame!
Thing is.. my Sony A7RII was the best camera I had ever used before they released my current beast… the Sony A7rIII, my full frame best friend. Easily the best camera I have ever owned. (as of original date I wrote this article, in January 2018)
If you’d like any of the equipment I listed or you’re just curious about it:
Camera bodies mentioned:
Canon 80D (I currently use) (amazon)
Canon 6D (never shot with) (amazon)
Sony A7RIII (I currently use) (amazon)
Sony A7RII (I used to use) (amazon)
Sony A7SII (never shot with) (amazon)
Panasonic GH5 (never shot with) (amazon)
Canon 10-18mm f4-5.6 EF-S IS STM (I currently use) (amazon)
Canon 18-135mm f 3.5-5.6 EF-S IS NANO USM (I currently use) (amazon)
Canon 18-135mm f 3.5-5.6 EF-S IS older non-nano USM (I currently use) (amazon)
Canon 50 mm f1.8 EF STM (I currently use) (amazon)
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Full disclosure statement here.
I hope this small review helped one or two of you!
Remember, this article was written in January 2018 so depending on today’s date, when you are reading this.. I most likely have a different or more up to date opinion about the best camera or lens to use and why
Comment down below if you have any questions!