Lens Comparison Canon 5D Mark II


Here’s a video I made for a lens comparison on the Canon 5D Mark II using Final Cut Express, MPEG Streamclip and ProTools 9. Footage is automatic settings with tripod at 25 (23.98) frames per second. Lenses in the comparison are:

  • Canon 24-105mm f/4L
  • Canon 50mm f/1.4
  • Canon 15mm Fisheye f/2.8
  • Tamron 20mm f/1.8

For my comparison I chose the gondoliers up in the shopping arcade at the Venetian Casino in Macau, China. I enjoyed being able to see the slow approach of the gondola boats, spectators moving in the background and the detail of the nature water ripples.

I did have an Azden SGM-X microphone mounted but the gondoliers stopped singing on approach after I set up the conspicuous tripod rig. So I arranged some traditional Chinese music and sampled grooves in Pro Tools as a background soundtrack.

This video is around one and a half minutes. I had edited and composes music for an 8 minute version that included two more rounds of location lens comparisons, but when I rendered the final video it was not clear at all. So I did some research and re-rendered all the clips for this version which is much more clear. I think default view is 360p but you can also select to view it in 720p HD.

To convert the Canon 5D Mark II footage I used MPEG Streamclip. Settings were Apple Intermediate Codec, Quality 100%, 1920×1080 unscaled, Interlaced Scaling OFF, Sound: uncompressed, stereo, off.

My original render from Final Cut Express was almost 2 gigs! For a ninety second video! I found this video helped me a lot to prepare the HD video for YouTube (and worked for a Facebook upload too):


For Final Cut express to export your finished movie I used these settings:

  • Export > Using QuickTime Conversion
  • Format: QuickTime Movie (default)
  • Options > Video Settings > Compression Type: MPEG4 Video
  • Options > Video Settings > Quality: Best
  • Options > Video Size > HD 1280 x 720 16:9
  • Sound Settings > Format: AAC
  • Sound Settings > Rate: 44.1kHz
  • Sound Settings > Show Advanced Settings > Quality: Better

I am new to creating videos and this is my first video using Final Cut Express. I do realize that a lens comparison on automatic settings is not a benchmark to judge the lenses. But it was a very good project for me because it allowed me to use all my lenses on location for the first time. And best of all, gave me a chance to score to video in ProTools which I haven’t done before.

What? I’ve never scored to video in ProTools? Yes, it’s true. I have a Digidesign Pro Tools TDM Mix Plus system that I used for years producing music in Southern California. But I never did any scoring direct to video. It’s hard to imagine that back around  2000 I paid over $20,000 USD for my Pro Tools rig. In March 2011 I just picked up Pro Tools 9 for $600 USD. Prices have dropped a lot! (Ok, so my old TDM system included 8 ins/outs 24 bit, etc).

MPEG Streamclip is free for video conversion. Pro Tools 9 is $600USD. Final Cut Express 4 is $200 USD. The Canon 5D Mark II with a high quality L-series 24-105mm f/4 lens is around $3,000 or less. So for $4,000 you have a pretty good rig for video editing. Or use whatever camera you have and invest less than $1000 to do video editing and custom music trax. I think that’s pretty exciting.

And part of all this is to prep for a larger project coming up that I’m very excited about. So check back to see some cool new videos (I hope they’re cool).

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