Hello!

Realized I can't keep avoiding (boring) technical research any longer. I really want an equipment upgrade.. My prefered budget is something like $1200/€1100 including lenses. 

Been using a Nikon D80 for a few years, but would love to get a camera with live view. Not sure what camera to buy. After browsing this forum the general opinion seems to be a Canon (read a suggestion for a 600D, is that still one of the best choices?) Are fullframe cameras a bad idea?

What lenses to buy (and at what price you get decent lenses) is the most confusing to me. Been using the provided 18-135 mm Nikkor lens all along. It's worked OK for my general needs; animating/morphing 1 central clay object/subject. I've discovered it does distort the image pretty bad for anything that moves sideways though..

Started on a landscape animation recently and I'm having problems with depth of field unless I'm too zoomed out for my liking (my workaround to this problem so far has been cropping images heavily, but I want to have leeway to pan this animation..). 

My sets are usually small, something like 30x60 cm. Would a manual 24 or 28 mm lens be enough to get decent depth of field (spanning 30 cm) on the entire set (while my intended final crop covers maybe 50% of the entire photo)? (Borrowed a full frame Canon 6D to try using live view, and i seem to have problems getting enough depth of field @ 24 mm/f22 with the attached 24-70 mm lens.) Do I need an even shorter focal length? 20? 15?

So yeah, I have little technical knowledge, I always work with trial and error.. 
Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help!

Views: 610

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I started with a Nikon D70.  I did try the 18 - 70 kit lens, but with no manual adjustment ring for aperture on the lens, I got flicker.  I got two older Nikkor lenses from a used camera store to use for animation. A manual 28mm  and a manual 55mm Micro.  I partly unscrewed the lenses so they stopped down and stayed there all the time, and that fixed the flicker.

I switched to a Canon 40d body for the Live View, and used the same lenses with an adapter.  Just the basic one, with no electronic connections, so the lens can't be adjusted by the camera while animating.   I added a 24mm, but I use the 28mm more often.  However I have the 24mm on at the moment, for a giant creature which is walking directly towards the camera and covers a distance of 400mm, so I need maximum depth of field.  (I can't afford an 18mm or 20mm prime lens so the 24mm is my widest.)  I also use a Canon 7d with the same lenses, but none of them are full frame cameras.  With the smaller sensor you need a wider lens to get the same field of view, but depth of field is the same for each lens whatever the sensor size.  So by having to use a wider lens, you are increasing your depth of field compared to a full frame camera.

When I shot with a 16mm Bolex, where I used a 10mm wide angle, I got amazing depth of field, and the 12 - 120mm zoom was nearly as good at the wide end.  Then I changed to a 35mm Mitchell, and put on the 24mm lens on as a rough equivalent, but found I didn't get the depth of field because a 24mm lens is a 24mm lens.  It was the same depth of field as the 25mm standard lens on the Bolex, even though it was a wider view because the film size was bigger.    (Actually similar to a DSLR sensor size. 35mm movie film is half the size of a 35mm still frame, where the film goes through sideways.)  I learned I had to stop down more, from f-5.6 to f-11 or f-16.  I do the same with the DSLRs.   Personally I don't want a full frame camera for animation, I was able to choose lenses based on what I had learned with the 35mm Mitchell.  But if you were used to shooting 35mm stills, I can see how the full size sensor would be what you are used to.  Your solution of cropping the picture is a good one, since the pixel sizes are much bigger than you need.  I don't crop much except for top and bottom to get the 16:9 HD format, but I sometimes zoom in and do camera pans in post. 

I got a Depth of Field Calculator to help me adjust to the 35mm cine frame, which tells me that prime lenses have slightly better depth of field than zoom lenses at the same setting.   But not a huge difference.  Still, I would get older prime lenses that were made for film, they will cover either size of sensor and are solidly built, so they are a good long term investment. 

The 600d works well, I've borrowed one and fitted my lenses, and the result looked great.  So do the mid-range 40d and 7d.  As they make changes and bring out new models, all DSLR cameras become a bit obsolete, so I would not pay for the top of the range pro models like the 1d.     

The way to adjust depth of field is by making adjustments to the aperture (f-stop, iris - they all refer to the same thing basically). 

This all seems really complicated at first, until you actually mess around and try it yourself a few times and then it will all click in your head. 

Important thing to keep in mind - a bigger f-stop number means the iris is actually closed down farther and letting in LESS light - seems like it would be the other way around. But less light (bigger f-stop number) means more DOF, so that might help you remember it. I've had some really frustrating sessions where I wanted to get everything in focus but in order to achieve that I had to stop down to the last f-stop, and just as everything was coming into sharp focus the image got too dark! 

For shots where you want to play with depth of field, start by setting your focus to the center of the focal range you want. Stand something there in front of the camera if there isn't something already there, like if a puppet will be walking through. Then adjust aperture (f-stop, iris) until you get the depth you want. Now the image may be too dark or too light depending, so you need to compensate for that using exposure time. A longer exposure will soak up more light to compensate for a dark shot, and vice verse. There's no exact formula I know of, you just need to guess at how long and try a quick test shot then adjust etc until you get it zeroed in. 

And when you've got that all set up, check your focus again. 

Not to overload you with info, but another way to adjust DOF is by how close your camera is to the set. If it's very close you'll find it hard to get everything in focus - that gets easier as you move farther away. 

Here's where I hit the send button and hope I didn't say anything completely wrong - it's been known to happen.. 

600d has been discontinued. I think the successor has a touch screen. 650d. Apparently they have the same sensor as the more expensive models, but plastic body and doubtless fewer silly features like WiFi and GPS! 

You can get a used 5d mk2, quite an old model now, for about £600/€800 but be careful that it has a low shutter count, and wasn't used professionally.

I've bought Vivitar manual lenses, and they are also good. 24 and 28mm are nice. They also do a 19mm lens. Best thing is that for stopmo you don't need the fast lenses, so f3.8 is fine. One on eBay just now for £65.

Nick and Strider didn't mention exposure length. Using 1/2 a second exposures means you need a neutral density filter, and there are good cheap variable examples on eBay. Just get one for your biggest lens and some step-up rings.

Hey, I did mention it in my last post!  

Personally I've never needed to use an ND filter, though I do have a few. If I need to lower the brightness of the lights I usually just put some ND gels in front of them or close down the barndoors or move them farther away, but generally speaking I can get by without needing to monkey around with all that stuff just by adjusting exposure time. I also remember reading that the adjustable ND filters aren't very good - offhand I don't remember why. I've seen some people swear by them, but more knowledgeable photographers won't use them. I think they're made of inferior glass that can cause fringing and distortion and all manner of issues like you get with really cheap lenses. 

Thank you!

I've tried looking up lots of camera model comparisons the last few days. Right now I'm kinda leaning towards getting a camera that would work well for things outside stop motion from time to time... Maybe the 70d? I seem to be able to find it used for €650 (about €300 more than a used 600D) locally. It feels like pretty much all EOS models work well for stop motion, which makes it so much harder to choose!

I tried shooting with my old camera alongside the fullframe ones, and I do seem to have way more trouble with enough depth of field on the fullframe cameras @ 24mm.. So if i get a aps-c sensor camera, a 24mm lens would probably be enough for my needs! Didn't take the sensor into account before.. just figured I should finally get some decent lenses.

Thanks for the tips on depth of field, Strider. I always have to think for a while in order to wrap my head around it whenever I'm about to shoot something new. It's indeed very unintuitive, haha! I have tried the moving-the-camera-farther-away-method but felt the usable part of the image was too small for my liking, even at f-22.

I'll have to see if I need ND filters once I've bought everything else, by the sound of it!

I don't use ND filters, mostly because I have small lights - 50 watt halogens, and a couple of LED replacement globes that are really the equivalent of 35 watts, can't seem to find any for sale that are as bright as the halogens they replace. So I need 1/2 sec to 1 sec exposures, and usually need to boost the gain on the live view up to +4 in Dragonframe so I can see what I am animating.   I might put an ND filter on a light, or a bit of fly screen which does the same thing, or some diffuser which also dims it a bit, but I wouldn't want to put an ND filter on the camera lens, that would dim my live view as well.  

Good point, Strider, about cheap ND filters, although the variable one I got doesn't seem to create problems. I did buy a set of cheap non-adjustable filters and they are complete junk!

Sorry I missed your mention of exposure length! You guys know so much more than me about all this. I have been using some 500w halogen lights, which are great for keeping me warm in the shed in winter and definitely do require a filter to cut down the light. Unfortunately they are so hot that gels etc seem like risking a fire next to them. My new Dedolights are much better and more controllable, so perhaps I will be able to dispense with the ND filter altogether...

You could get a Canon 5Dii for that money. Full sensor, pretty powerful chip, lovely stuff, shoots nicely and hd footage too. 

You should also take in to consideration the crop factor for the sensor size on your current camera. I think your focal length will multiplied by about 1.6 I think, so in you are shooting on 24mm it's more like 40mm. 

I figured that the magnification that crop frame provides isn't necessarily a bad thing for stop motion? Crop frames are also better at depth of field, right? Which is what I'm after right now.

Anthony Leigh said:

You could get a Canon 5Dii for that money. Full sensor, pretty powerful chip, lovely stuff, shoots nicely and hd footage too. 

You should also take in to consideration the crop factor for the sensor size on your current camera. I think your focal length will multiplied by about 1.6 I think, so in you are shooting on 24mm it's more like 40mm. 

If you are using a wide angled lens to fit in as much of the set as possible and your sensor is magnifying it by a factor of 1.6 (i think) then your work is sort of being undone in the camera. 

Depth of field hasn't got anything to do with the sensor, it comes from the different sizes of aperture on your lens. something like f/1.8 will be nice and big, and give you a very shallow depth of field, and it'll let a lot of light in to the camera. f/22 will be tiny and will have a reasonably deep depth of field, and a lot of things will be in focus, but not a lot of light will be getting in to the camera, so you'll need much longer exposures. If you squint your eye your peripheral vision becomes sharper, like with making your aperture smaller. 

The only way I can see sensor magnification changing depth of field is that as you increase focal length DOF is exaggerated so it looks like a more telephoto lens. 

If you want really shallow depth of field don't use a zoom lens. Stick a cheap 50 or 85mm prime f1.8 on a camera with a full sensor and it'll look lovely. 

Also if you hang white mesh between the camera and the background and light it, it will make things look like they are in the distance. 

I tried googling fullframe vs crop frame and for example this site (among others) states that depth of field is better with crop frame cameras: http://wahlmanphotography.com/full-frame-vs-crop-sensor/
I
 did try this out (mentioned it in my second post in this thread) and the difference in dof was clear. 
I'm not having a problem fitting my sets into the frame, I'm rather having a problem that they don't fill up the frame enough when I have the depth of field I want!

Anthony Leigh said:

If you are using a wide angled lens to fit in as much of the set as possible and your sensor is magnifying it by a factor of 1.6 (i think) then your work is sort of being undone in the camera. 

Depth of field hasn't got anything to do with the sensor, it comes from the different sizes of aperture on your lens. something like f/1.8 will be nice and big, and give you a very shallow depth of field, and it'll let a lot of light in to the camera. f/22 will be tiny and will have a reasonably deep depth of field, and a lot of things will be in focus, but not a lot of light will be getting in to the camera, so you'll need much longer exposures. If you squint your eye your peripheral vision becomes sharper, like with making your aperture smaller. 

The only way I can see sensor magnification changing depth of field is that as you increase focal length DOF is exaggerated so it looks like a more telephoto lens. 

If you want really shallow depth of field don't use a zoom lens. Stick a cheap 50 or 85mm prime f1.8 on a camera with a full sensor and it'll look lovely. 

Also if you hang white mesh between the camera and the background and light it, it will make things look like they are in the distance. 

Reply to Discussion

RSS

MESSAGE BOARD CATEGORIES

STOPMO NEWBIES
basic stopmo discussion

ANIMATOR TALK
experienced animators looking to improve

CAMERA & STAGE
animation camera, lighting and moco rigs

ANIMATION TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
animation tool and rigging discussion

STOP MOTION & COMPUTERS
frame capture, editing, and post-production

STORY
script, storyboarding and storyreel discussion

SOUND
lip-sync, sound effects and music

YOUR STOPMO FILM PROJECT
discuss your stopmo film

ARMATURES
ball & socket and wire armature discussion

MACHINE SHOP
metalwork tool & talk

SCULPTING
sculpture information and advice

HAIR & COSTUME
materials, patterns and technique

CASTING
foam, silicone and resin

CLAY
clay puppet construction

GENERAL PUPPET MAKING
other puppet fabrication issues

STOP MOTION SETS
set design and construction information

MODEL DEPARTMENT
miniature prop discussion

MATTE PAINTINGS
glass matte paintings and backgrounds

GENERAL SPECIAL EFFECTS

STOP MOTION FILM DISCUSSION

FAVORITE STOP MOTION CHARACTERS

PRO ANIMATOR DISCUSSION

FILM FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

ANIMATION SCHOOLS

STOP MOTION BOOKS

STOP MOTION ON VIDEO

JOBS & PROJECTS
post here if you are looking for talent to hire

SWAP MEET
stop motion items for sale

CHAT BOARD
general discussion

SITE FEEDBACK
report bugs, comments and suggestions here

Latest Activity

StopmoNick replied to Dave Cooley's discussion Moving water in a scene
"The general effect looks beautiful!  I do see some pops - is that the board catching and not…"
1 hour ago
Dave Cooley commented on Stanley Milton Strawn's video
Thumbnail

Big Trouble From Outer Space Trailer

"Nice modelwork! Is the trailer all there is or is there more?"
2 hours ago
Stanley Milton Strawn posted a video

Big Trouble From Outer Space Trailer

Updated BigTrouble from OuterSpace trailer 2020
3 hours ago
Dave Cooley replied to Dave Cooley's discussion Moving water in a scene
"I having trouble embedding the video, so will try again:"
9 hours ago

© 2020   Created by Anthony Scott.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

.xg_widget_forum_index_index .xg_column.xg_span-7.xg_last {display:none;} .xg_widget_forum_topic_listForCategory .xg_column.xg_span-7.xg_last {display:none;} .xg_widget_forum_topic_show .xg_column.xg_span-7.xg_last {display:none;}