My Lenskit for Video with the Nikon D7000

screen_shot_2011_02_17_at_83222_pm.pngI’ve been getting more than a few emails asking what I’m carrying these days in my Jekyll and Hyde persona as videographer with the D7000 (so which one is the videographer you ask?…why the monstrous Mr. Hyde, of course!)

Basically, I’m trying not to change too much from my still setup, but I am finding that there are different requirements for videos that make a slight variation on the lens kit desireable for me.

Take the above video, for instance.   I

I’m following up on my local “New Hope: In Character” print project with a video project I’m calling “Bucks County: In Character.”  Instead of portraits, I’m shooting short video vignettes on some of my more interesting neighbors whenever I’m home and “between engagements.”

You can see what I usually carry in the bag for stills here.

Here’s the lens kit for video…so far.

35mm f/1.8 Nikon-–still small, light, cheap and very sharp….a delight to carry!

16-85mm VR Nikon–my wideangle workhorse

70-300mm VR Nikon–my tele workhorse

Nothing different here…but wait….

10.5mm Nikon—At various times during my career, I’ve fallen in and out of love with a full frame fisheye lens, like this one. I haven’t been using one for many moons in still work, but for video, somehow I find it much, much more useful, and less obvious.

85mm f/3.5VR Macro Nikon—Up until a month ago, I had never owned a macro lens! Yes, it’s true, I just never had the need for one, and when I wanted to shoot the rare closeup, I’d use some extension tubes or a screw on, dual element closeup filter. But I had a chance to play with one on a recent shoot for Nikon and I fell in love with its tiny size, sharpness, and responsive handling.

So, since I find that I’m doing so many ECU’s (videospeak for “extreme close up”) and closeups for video that the tiny, sharp, DX only 85mm macro has pushed out the 85mm f/1.8 that is my usual prime in that range. If shooting in really low light, though, I’d take both, or maybe even the big 85mm f/1.4.

11-16mm f/2.8 Tokina—Yes, this has supplanted my 12-24 f/4 Nikon. It’s a full stop faster, slightly wider, and less fussy (sometimes my 12-24 looked great, sometimes…not so great).

For the Costume Barn, I used every lens but the 70-300mm, plus I used the audio kit to do the interview. 

It all fits, along with my Hoodman HoodLoupe, Litepanel MicroPro light and assorted chatchkes in my Lowepro Outback 300AW Modular Beltpack.  The audio kit goes in a vest pocket or in the tripod bag.

On the backshop end, someday,when I grow up, I really hope to be able to learn Final Cut. But in the meantime, I’m making due with iMovie 11…so simple, even I can do it!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Bob,

    This is interesting stuff. When I got back to full frame bodies with my 5D (and now 5D Mark II) bodies I went back to prime lenses and I love them. Then came video. I am still shooting video with my primes but shooting video with primes is a little harder than shooting stills. I sometimes haul out the zooms to shoot video, it’s a lot easier to frame up a shot and make fine adjustments with a zoom than it is a prime. (Although video shot with 50 f1.2 or 100 f2 wide open looks amazing. When it’s in focus.)


    1. Jack: The magic word for me is “if” its in focus. It’s getting harder to pull off lately!

  2. Bob,
    That’s a great piece you’ve made, thanks for sharing it… I’m impressed with all of it and curious to know if you’ve also posted your shoot and edit work-flow. The details of your acquisition video and edit process plus what prompts you to use voice-over rather than sync sound. Thanks.

    1. Jacques: As soon as I figure out what my acquisition and edit process is, I’ll post it:-). Seriously, I’m a complete beginner at the video stuff, so I’m still feeling my way…I mean the only program I’m comfortable using at this point is iMovie…so that tells you something.

      We decided to do the interview in voiceover instead of sync sound for a couple of reasons. First, in the Barn and the workshop, there were so many heaters and distracting background sound, it would have made getting good audio a problem.

      And Tony was more comfortable just sitting around the kitchen table in his house talking, and that, combined with the fact that shooting him in his kitchen would have added yet another unexplained setting, we did it audio only.

      Also, since I’m experienced at making audio slideshow soundtracks with music and narration in Garageband, this method made my editing process easier with movie clips. I’m working up to my first sync sound interview piece soon!

  3. Thanks Bob, Yes, iMovie is just a swell tool. And more specifically regarding the Nikon D7000, I noticed that the camera set-up offers many choices for video recording formats and frame rates so I’m checking to see what your selection was set on as your on-line video looked really good!! Though I’m sure you had something to do with that as well – LOL ;>)

    1. Jacques: I selected the highest quality 1080 p 24fps setting on the camera. When exporting out of iMovie, I used these settings:

      Export using Quicktime

      Compression H.264 (x264)
      Quality: Best
      Keyframe Rate: 24
      Bitrate: 4800 kbits/sec
      Frame reordering: yes
      Encoding mode: multi-pass
      Dimensions: 1280×720

      Is that what you mean?

  4. Bob: Yup, hard to be dissatisfied with the best and your settings shows that… many thanks for the confirming details. BTW – love your use of light, colors, camera angles + motion and changing frame sizes.

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