Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I'm thinking of buying a Canon 60D for both photos and videos. I'm not a professional photographer, so I know little about lenses. I'll use the camera for two main purposes: modeling and recording talks. My model is going to be very close to the camera whereas the talks can be from 5 to 60 minutes long, also close to the camera and in front of a white background.

I can only afford one lens at the moment, and I don't want to buy a camcorder for shooting videos. Also only interested in Canon lenses. What lens would you suggest me buy?

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What kind of models? – mattdm Jul 4 '12 at 18:32
male model in various clothes although the focus will be on the upper body – Mark13426 Jul 4 '12 at 18:33
This isn't necessarily a bad question, but please see for some notes on how this kind of question can be better asked. Of particular note, if you don't know much about lenses, why are you certain that you must restrict yourself to Canon-branded options? – mattdm Jul 4 '12 at 18:35

As far as lenses, the 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 (depending on your budget) might be good choices for the portraits. I'm not sure if these will give you the focal length you need for your videos though. If you want to have more choice (and have an even bigger budget) then you may consider the 17-55 f/2.8.

Regarding your intention to record long videos, you should know that due to several reasons (technical and otherwise) DSLRs cannot record for long periods of time. In particular the 60D will record up to about 12 minutes, because that is when the movie file reaches 4GB in size (a limitation of the format of the SD card). At that point the recording will stop on its own. You can begin a new recording, which will give you up to another 12 minutes.

If you install the Magic Lantern firmware extensions then you get bitrate control, so you can reduce your recording bitrate. This will reduce the file size at the expense of video quality. The net effect is that it will take longer for a recording to reach the 4GB size.

There is also a non-technical limitation that I believe all Canon DSLRs are subject to. The limit is 30 minutes and it is related to tax laws in Europe, where any device that records for longer than 30 minutes is classified as a video camera and has higher taxes. The firmware in all Canon DSLRs limits recording to 30 minutes to avoid the tax implications.

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Assuming you are considering buying brand new items, and that you have your mind fixed on a Canon 60D and Canon lenses, there really is only one choice:

Buy the 60D with kit lens ( Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS)

It does what you want, and it is by far the cheapest option.

share|improve this answer
What about the new 40mm pancake lens? – mattdm Jul 5 '12 at 13:31
He said the "talks" that he wants to record will as well be "very close to the camera" that's why I think a zoom with both wide and tele end would be more flexible in comparison to a prime. You can do full-body shot as well as head-shot, same for video recording, you don't have to move around to zoom. The OP said he is recording "talks" so I guess moving around all the time ( unless you are the hired videographer ) is not that polite to the speaker. – Gapton Jul 6 '12 at 4:13

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