Best vintage lenses for stop motion

the internet is filled with lens reviews
and it can often be confusing when animators transitioning between
animating with the web camera and an SLR as to which lenses they should buy the
lens is the tend to work best for animation don’t tend to be the same
lenses that would be ideal for live action let’s look at this 50 millimeter lens now this is a really great little lens
and it’s it’s really fast at f/1.8 It has a really really good image quality
really well made and it’s pretty cheap it’s about 50 to 75 dollars used on ebay
which is a very affordable lens that has one big glaring problem and that is it’s
got a pretty long minimal focal length this lens is minimum focal distance is a
whopping two feet that’s close to 60 centimeters for those
viewing areas with a logical measuring system now if you are shooting a live-action
film that wouldn’t really be an issue but if you’re you know, focuses is
a minifig it’s going to be a big deal like you will not be able to get close
to that minifig at all so we need to find lenses that are going
to have a good minimum focal distance for working with small subjects now
Before we jump into the lenses I’ve selected I think we need to get a few things out
of the way first thing is you with a Canon body and a Nikon lens now you need an adapter to use these
together and this is good because it means that the camera body cannot
communicate with the lens this eliminates some aperture flicker
when you’re doing animation which is actually really beneficial the second advantage to shooting on a
canon body is they have a much better live view than the nikon bodies do now
normally live use kind of a joke for serious photography but when you’re
dealing with stop motion it live view is very important for that live preview
you’re going to be getting in Dragonframe and now you may be like, “Well I can’t really
afford Dragonframe” but if you can’t really afford Dragonframe it it’s kind of a waste to shoot on a
digital SLR because it just makes it a lot easier and at that point I think you’re going
to be better off using a free capture program with the webcam and finally the reason I’m using
these vintage Nikon lenses is there a lot cheaper than a modern
lens and even though they are a lot cheaper the quality is just impeccable like the
the reasons you would buy a modern lens kind of just disappear when you’re
shooting stop motion and you’re getting an incredible piece of glass that’s going to work really well with
your animation at an incredibly affordable price like all four of these lenses could
probably be purchased for the price of maybe to modern lenses or or even less
like a modern lens could run you anywhere between four hundred to you
know sixteen hundred dollars and so that side it’s going to be a huge thing these
four lenses that i’m going to show you you can pick them up for like less than
five hundred dollars now that that’s out of the way we need to ask ourselves what
we need out of our lenses we don’t want to just pick one lens they
can get really close because only having one focal length is kind of defeating
the purpose of using an SLR so we need a good range that can go from
wide all the way to telephoto I’m shooting on aps-c camera The SL1 if you must know and this
is not the SL1 this is a Digital Rebel XT But i’m filming with the SL1 so I can
show you the actual camera I use for my animation but sounds it’s an aps-c sized
sensor that’s going to make all of these lenses on seem a little bit longer than
they actually are or longer than they would be if there were a full frame
camera now that’s fine it’s just something to
keep in mind but all of these lenses I am suggesting our full frame lenses and
you can use them on a full frame camera with no problem the wider the lens the more background
you’re going to see in your shot where is the closer to a telephoto lens
low or the longer the lens the less of the background you’re going to see it’s
going to allow you to separate your subject from your background much more
easily than with the wide angle lens and both of these have clear advantages and
disadvantages you know with the wide angle lens you
might want to establish shots or just show the entirety of the scene where as
you know you might want to cut to a telephoto shot to kind of separate the
main character from that scene so that you can focus more on him you will inevitably need a middle ground
as well so you can have a range of lenses that can meet the artistic needs
of your script and if you’re like me and you’re using a Canon body you’re going to need one of these little
adapters it’s going to allow you to adapt the Nikon F-mount to the Canon EOS
body and they’re going to run about $35 now that we’ve got all that out of the
way what lenses do i recommend first lens i
recommend people getting is this 55mm f/3.5 Micro and this is a
really great little piece of glass and it can get about 9.5 inches from the
subject that’s about 24 centimeters so it’s a
lot better than the last ones we looked at now i find that that i am using this
lends more than just about any other lens in my collection it’s going to do a
lot of your close-up shots on characters like your mid body shots and it’s it’s a
really good at its range for what it does and the optics are incredibly sharp
and the cherry on top of all this is you can pick this lens up on ebay for about
sixty to ninety dollars which is an incredible steal and this is the lens
that you’re probably going to be using the most in animation so pick it up
first you just can’t go wrong this lens now that you’ve got something that meets
a little bit more of your telephoto needs it’s time to get something a little bit
wider so the second lens i recommend people is this 35mm AI or AI-s
lens now it’s got a f-stop range from f/2.8
to f/22 and that’s going to be important when you’re looking for this
lens on ebay because there are some that only go down to about f/16 and those
lenses just aren’t as sharp as these lenses so just watch out for that and those are about half the price of
these so these are nicer lines but this lens is minimum focal distance is going
to be about 1 foot now it’s not as good as the 55 millimeter but it still can
get you pretty close and it’s going to be really good for a lot of your medium
shots you know your kind of medium wides and it’s just going to be a very general
purpose probably your second go to lens you’re going to find yourself using it
very frequently it’s going to be a very useful addition
and these things tend to run on ebay for about a hundred twenty to a hundred
eighty dollars so they’re pretty affordable and you know if you’re on a
budget you should just pick up the the 55 millimeter and this 35 millimeter if you find yourself needing a wider
lens be a good idea to pick up a 24 millimeter lens now I’ve got this nikon 24 millimeter f/
2.8 and this is a non-AI version you’re going to want to watch out for that I
messed up when i bought it actually and you’re going to want the AI or
AI-s version because these non-AI versions are just not as sharp as the
newer AI or AI-s versions and you can kind of tell it’s not AI it’s got this
scalloped focus ring so just make sure it’s got the
rubberized focus ring and it’s AI or AI-s this one only stops down to f/16 a lot
like the worst version of the 35 millimeter so just make sure you get a
lens that goes from f/2.8 – to f/22 when you’re buying these things
and this is going to be like a really good wide angle lens for you now if you find yourself wanting longer
telephoto shots going to have to hardly recommend this Nikon Micro 105
millimeter f/4 lens this is an incredible lens it’s got a minimum focus distance of
about one and a half feet which it sounds bad but because it is twice as
long as the 55 millimeter you’re actually looking at the subject matter
at the same distance on with this it’s just twice as far away so it’s got
a really good range it’s very very useful you can get just right up in
there without even having the camera near your set and I find that I am using
this more and more it’s becoming one of my favorite lenses and optically this
lens is incredibly sharp know with comparable sharpness two lenses that are
going to cost five times as much and it’s just a great lens and you can pick
it up on ebay for anywhere between like a hundred twenty two hundred dollars it
very affordable and excellent excellent quality lens and even if you’re wanting
to use it for non stop motion things such as macro photography when you pair
with some extension tubes it can do some amazing photographs is
totally worth it whoo that was a lot of information I was really hoping I could get into
extension tubes and why you need them for animation but I think that’s going
to have to be a video for another time now let me know if this was helpful to
you and if it was considered giving it a like’ may be sharing it with your other
animator friends and just let me know if you want more content like this like
obviously I could do a video about extension tubes or maybe even stuff like
this ultra wide zoom lens by Canon which
actually is a really good little lens for animation for some very specific
purposes just let me know in the comments let me
know what kind of content you’d like to see and I’ll see whether or not I can do


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