New Lens

Let’s talk about lenses. Well one in particular – and how it’s going to help achieve a cool look for my upcoming horror short.

I got a new lens for my Sony NEX-5 digital camera last week, it’s a 50mm 1.8f prime lens. I’m going to explain what that means, and why it’s cool.

Firstly, I should say something about the camera. My Sony NEX-5D is looking a bit dated now against the newest model in the range, the NEX-5T, but they are very similar. Sony, in my opinion, are the leaders in this new digital camera space that’s opened up in the last few years – something smaller than a DSLR, but still with interchangeable lenses. They’re called Mirrorless interchangable-lens cameras, and every camera company worth their weight in salt has their own product line. Check out that link for the full definition, but the bottom line for me is a compact camera I can realistically and casually carry around that takes superb photos and video. According to filmmaker Benedict Campbell, who’s worked with the likes of Harley-Davidson, it’s the next big thing for Hollywood.

One of the major benefits of these cameras is the fact you can buy additional lenses for different purposes, but until now I’ve only had two – the stock 18-55mm lens and a flat 16mm which was good for when I wanted to turn the camera into something no bigger than a compact camera. These lenses are great for a wide range of everyday shots, but they are limiting in some conditions. The 18-55mm zooms from a wide-angle (18mm) to something at the start of telephoto (55mm). Sony offer a zoom-ier lens in the 18-200mm, that gets a proper zoom going, but it is about twice the size. The 16mm lens is very-wide, edging on fish-eye territory. But neither offer a wide aperture…

Why is a wide aperture desirable? This is where you need to read my blog post about aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Essentially, aperture lets you control the depth-of-field within your photo – a shallow depth-of-field can give you a blurred background. I recently found a really good video explaining this, maybe that would clear up any confusion. I want a shallow depth-of-field look for some of the shots in my short film to accentuate the isolated-ness of the character, to pull the audience into his mindset and really focus our attention on certain details within the scene. This new lens lets me do that.

Let me explain in pictures… The pictures are captioned with more information.

Now I have this lens the next step is to experiment using it for video in the shooting locations to see what can be achieved. I’ll let you know how I get on with that!