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Hi there

I'm pretty new to stopmotion. I've dabbled in the past using cheap software and a webcam, but I'm interested in stepping things up a bit. I've done some research on cameras and lenses and ended up picking up a Canon T2i/550D (good price and low shutter count). 

Where things get a little more confusing for me is the lens choices as I don't have much photography background and I'm not familiar with the finer points of lens functionality between models and brands. What I understand is that a manual aperture lens is ideal to avoid flicker, and that Nikon is the way to go. I'll need a lens adapter and a 'D' series lenses from Nikon as they have manual aperture. What I don't understand is whether auto focus has to be taken into consideration? If the lens has a M/AF switch, is it enough to just leave it on 'M'?

To the best of my understanding, Nikon uses F mounts, so I would want an F mount adapter for my Canon? Is this the right adapter?

Here is a lens I am considering to start with - Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D

Or maybe this - Nikon AF 85mm f/1.8D

*Important* Does the AF lens NEED to have an MF override switch to be able to manual focus? Does the the AF even work when you're using a canon to Nikon F adapter? 

So, I was hoping to bounce this off the knowledgeable community here before I make any purchases :)

Thanks!

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i avoid the Auto Focus lenses altogether, and get older Nikon AI or AIS lenses originally made for 35mm film cameras.  I rely mostly on two lenses - a 28mm wide angle for medium to wide shots, and a 55mm Micro (Nikon-speak for macro) for close-ups to medium shots.  Occasionally I use a wider 24mm, to get a more exaggerated perspective (things up close get bigger, things far away get smaller) or to get more depth of field (the range of distance that comes up in reasonably sharp focus is greater).  I got them originally for a Nikon, but switched to Canon for the live view, and I got a Canon EOS to Nikon adapter for each lens.  Go for the simple adapters with no electronic connections, you want to isolate the lens from all automatic controls.

Thanks for the reply. I'm getting a connectionless adapter. There just doesn't seem to be that many older lenses around - locally anyway. Are you saying that there might be issues using an AF lens for this purpose? I'll keep looking for the lenses you recommended though - I assume some would be a bit cheaper than their AF counterparts. Cheers.


StopmoNick said:

i avoid the Auto Focus lenses altogether, and get older Nikon AI or AIS lenses originally made for 35mm film cameras.  I rely mostly on two lenses - a 28mm wide angle for medium to wide shots, and a 55mm Micro (Nikon-speak for macro) for close-ups to medium shots.  Occasionally I use a wider 24mm, to get a more exaggerated perspective (things up close get bigger, things far away get smaller) or to get more depth of field (the range of distance that comes up in reasonably sharp focus is greater).  I got them originally for a Nikon, but switched to Canon for the live view, and I got a Canon EOS to Nikon adapter for each lens.  Go for the simple adapters with no electronic connections, you want to isolate the lens from all automatic controls.

Good question about the AF, probably wouldn't auto focus anyway without the camera connection.  I have only one with auto focus, the original kit lens for my Nikon D70 from 2007, and I don't use it for animation, it has no aperture control.  And the first thing I did was to switch to manual, and leave it there, even for stills.  So honestly, I don't know.

Here's the same sort of 55mm lens that I have, on eBay Australia:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/313534267643?hash=item49001940fb:g:VaoA...

Except, i see it has mould on the back element, so expect to pay more for a good one. I bought my 28 and 55mm lenses from a used camera store, so I could put them on my camera and take a shot to see that they were good before buying.  The 24mm came from eBay USA, and has a sticky iris that takes a couple of seconds to stop down - not a problem for me since I do that at the beginning and it stays there all the time, but a disaster for normal still photos where it opens up between shots and has to close down instantly to the f-stop you set when you press the shutter.  Everything the seller said was true, but of course he didn't mention that!   So there is a risk with lenses online.

That adapter should work, but is a bit more expensive than the Chinese ones I have.  I'll see if I can look on Amazon Canada... ok, not so many choices there. (I think there was one for $22 but I don't know what the shipping was, it only told me it couldn't ship to Australia.) This is more like what I paid, a no-name adapter for US $16 on the US site.  At one stage they could be found at just under US$12 with free shipping from China, but there seem to be fewer of them around, for more money, now:  https://www.amazon.com/Fotga-Mount-Adapter-Nikon-Camera/dp/B07G268G...

Of my 3 cheap adapters, two are a perfect fit, however one is a good fit on the Canon body but a little loose on the Nikon lens - it can rotate slightly, about 1mm.  I put it on the 24mm lens, the one I use the least.   You feel the slack when adjusting the focus, but once set, it is not an issue.  You can of course take the adapter off the lens and put it on another one when you change lenses, but it is easier to have one for each lens.

I also got a similar adapter for my old Olympus OM lenses, and I use a 35 - 70 zoom on a Canon body occasionally.  

The D lens would be great - you just need a cheap mount adaptor for the canon body - also the 550 is great so good choice - the 85mm is an amazing lens but i feel you might want to wait to get that as a 35mm would be better if your puppets are around 10cm tall - the 50mm 1.8 d is a bit poop I would go for either the 60mm macro or the 50mm f1.4 if I were building a D set of nikkors -

hope that helps!!

P

Great reply. Thanks so much for the input. 

My concern with the AF D lenses was whether I would be doing any damage to them turning them manually if they were designed to be auto controlled. 

There are a few choices for adapters on Amazon, but they all seemed to have lukewarm reviews - very hit-and-miss. I opted to go with the K+F Concept adapter as it seemed to have the best overall reviews and they make other decent products. I'll see how that one works and then go from there.

I'll keep my eye open for full manual AI lenses that are in decent condition.

Cheers.

StopmoNick said:

Good question about the AF, probably wouldn't auto focus anyway without the camera connection.  I have only one with auto focus, the original kit lens for my Nikon D70 from 2007, and I don't use it for animation, it has no aperture control.  And the first thing I did was to switch to manual, and leave it there, even for stills.  So honestly, I don't know.

Here's the same sort of 55mm lens that I have, on eBay Australia:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/313534267643?hash=item49001940fb:g:VaoA...

Except, i see it has mould on the back element, so expect to pay more for a good one. I bought my 28 and 55mm lenses from a used camera store, so I could put them on my camera and take a shot to see that they were good before buying.  The 24mm came from eBay USA, and has a sticky iris that takes a couple of seconds to stop down - not a problem for me since I do that at the beginning and it stays there all the time, but a disaster for normal still photos where it opens up between shots and has to close down instantly to the f-stop you set when you press the shutter.  Everything the seller said was true, but of course he didn't mention that!   So there is a risk with lenses online.

That adapter should work, but is a bit more expensive than the Chinese ones I have.  I'll see if I can look on Amazon Canada... ok, not so many choices there. (I think there was one for $22 but I don't know what the shipping was, it only told me it couldn't ship to Australia.) This is more like what I paid, a no-name adapter for US $16 on the US site.  At one stage they could be found at just under US$12 with free shipping from China, but there seem to be fewer of them around, for more money, now:  https://www.amazon.com/Fotga-Mount-Adapter-Nikon-Camera/dp/B07G268G...

Of my 3 cheap adapters, two are a perfect fit, however one is a good fit on the Canon body but a little loose on the Nikon lens - it can rotate slightly, about 1mm.  I put it on the 24mm lens, the one I use the least.   You feel the slack when adjusting the focus, but once set, it is not an issue.  You can of course take the adapter off the lens and put it on another one when you change lenses, but it is easier to have one for each lens.

I also got a similar adapter for my old Olympus OM lenses, and I use a 35 - 70 zoom on a Canon body occasionally.  

Thanks for the input. I have found all of those lenses you recommended locally in the $300(CDN) range. Why do you suggest the 35mm for 10cm puppets? (Sorry, I'm still a bit green with my photo theory). My main concern with wider lenses is that I would have to get closer to the subject, which leaves me very little room to maneuver and not bump my camera :-/ Which would you suggest out of the three you mentioned for my first lens (I can't afford all three ATM).

Cheers

Phil m said:

The D lens would be great - you just need a cheap mount adaptor for the canon body - also the 550 is great so good choice - the 85mm is an amazing lens but i feel you might want to wait to get that as a 35mm would be better if your puppets are around 10cm tall - the 50mm 1.8 d is a bit poop I would go for either the 60mm macro or the 50mm f1.4 if I were building a D set of nikkors -

hope that helps!!

P

Well i guess experience is what i'm basing this on - I have a full set of lenses available when i shoot but i'm often fighting over the 35mm for the sets, so will use the 28mm & 35mm the most - then occasional tight head shot on the 50mm with an extension tube and almost never the 85mm and 105mm as they are just too tight...  so if I had to buy three lenses only they would be 28mm 35mm and 50mm - if I had to buy one i would start in the middle at the 35mm or if I saw a cheap 28mm then go for that..  if I had money for two I would start with the 35mm and add a 24mm or a 50mm next depending on my style - big close ups can look a bit ugly unless your puppets and hands are super high quality ..

oh and regarding your concerns about using an AF D lens as a manual that is totally fine and I have done it for years. I have owned several 85mm f1.4 D and only and never owned a AF nikon body camera :) I just used them manually on old film cameras --



Michael said:

Thanks for the input. I have found all of those lenses you recommended locally in the $300(CDN) range. Why do you suggest the 35mm for 10cm puppets? (Sorry, I'm still a bit green with my photo theory). My main concern with wider lenses is that I would have to get closer to the subject, which leaves me very little room to maneuver and not bump my camera :-/ Which would you suggest out of the three you mentioned for my first lens (I can't afford all three ATM).

Cheers

Phil m said:

The D lens would be great - you just need a cheap mount adaptor for the canon body - also the 550 is great so good choice - the 85mm is an amazing lens but i feel you might want to wait to get that as a 35mm would be better if your puppets are around 10cm tall - the 50mm 1.8 d is a bit poop I would go for either the 60mm macro or the 50mm f1.4 if I were building a D set of nikkors -

hope that helps!!

P

I don't find the telephoto lenses of much use for stop motion - or any miniature set work - for 2 reasons.

One is, the longer the lens focal length, the shallower the depth of field.  A close-up of a puppet with the background blurry is a nice way to put the focus on the character.  But having the puppet's eyes in focus, but the nose too close and going blurry, and the ears blurry from being too far back, is not such a good look.  Also, that gives away the small scale.  There are filters which make a photo of a real city landscape look like a tiny model, by blurring the top and bottom of the frame, mimicking the look of shallow focus where only the middle distance is sharp.  Even stopped down to f-16, the focus on a telephoto is not deep when used up close on a miniature set.  My sets are roughly 1:6 scale, so puppets are around 250 to 300mm tall.   (Why is it architects measure great big buildings in millimetres, but dressmakers use centimetres?  A mystery.)

The other reason, as already pointed out, is that the lens may need to go too far back to get a useful field of view.  Depends on how big your room is I guess.

I had a set of re-mounted Nikon lenses for a Mitchell 35mm movie camera when I worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corp, which has a film size similar to the APS-C sensor size, and I never used the 80mm at all.   (Put it on a couple of times, looked through the viewfinder, thought Nope, took it off.)  I did use the 50, 35, and 24, and sometimes the 18mm.  For a full frame DSLR (which your 550d, and my 40d and 7d are not), the lenses will show a wider area, so you might use a 35mm more than a 24 or 28mm.

My older Nikon lenses were made for 35mm still cameras, so they would cover a full frame sensor as well as the APC-C sensor in my cameras, so would still be worth keeping if I upgraded to a full frame camera (like the mirrorless Canon R series) in the future.

How big a closeup I can get with the 55mm Micro - and also how much I can crop it and still get a 1920 x 1080 HD frame without loss of quality if I need to go super close. (Canon 7d)  The other photos with the 28mm lens have a ruler to show how big that head is.   

Here is the 28mm, a couple of test photos with measurements, to show how blurred the background is at f-22 and f-8.    

Good discussion. I need to get one of these 55mm Micro lenses Nick!

Just to throw in my tuppence worth... I would agree that the 28, 35 and 55 are the most useful. As stopmo uses long exposures there is no need to hunt out the lenses that go down to f1.8 or whatever. I like to use between f5.6 and f16 and exposures are usually half a second or longer.

I have Olympus Zuiko lenses at 24mm, 28 and 50, all quite nice lenses. Nikkor 35 and 55 macro, Vivitar 35mm. I also have a Canon 10-20mm zoom which gives some interesting wide shots with a bit of distortion. The Olympus and Vivitar are quite good value on eBay.

My longer lenses get almost no use at all, except for occasional cutaways, for the reasons Nick gives above.

Using an APS-C (is that the acronym?) sensor so the lenses all operate as if they were a bit longer. If I get a mirror less full-frame, that would give even more variety to the available lens selection.

But at the moment the 35 is the one I use most often.

all good feedback guys..

I got a canon D1200 - which I now need to replace, because the lead socket is damaged, DF looses the connection.. it goes on/off .it's doing my head in lol 

and I got:

55mm I think it's the same one you got Nick

35mm

24mm - I always tend to use this one.....

105mm F4 I never use this one.. 

and I even got 

TAMRON SP 10-24mm 1:3.5-4.5 - this is faulty..

077 Di II because I wanted to shoot the night sky.. but this Lens I have had issues with on my camera..it's saying there's dust on the electrics or something.. keeps going off...

and I got two digital lens, one that came with the camera Canon EFS 18-55mm and also got another digital lens 80-200mm and I never use either of these... 

Simon you mentioned there about mirrorless full frame cameras..

I noticed on DF website recently:  mirrorless Canon EOS (R, RP)  https://www.dragonframe.com/camera-support/

what's everyone's view on these cameras.. it allows 1920x1280 full resolution playback and focus tweaking feature.. but those cameras are not cheap.. £1,000 - £1800 but I been talking a new photography guy that's been throwing ideas of cameras at me.. he mentioned the Nikon D850, Nikon Z6 II, Panosonic S1, 

I don't know what to do next. whether to just buy another cheap one like D1200 or invest in a good one..

DF says "Canon EOS R / RP – Stop Motion Animation Firmware

For high quality, professional stop motion work, we recommend the Canon EOS R or RP with stop motion animation firmware. These models have a massive 1920 x 1280 live view over USB, as well as new focus peaking capabilities."  and even if I go for one of these or an expensive mirrorless full frame like any of the cams mentioned.. will I still be using the old Nikon lenses with it or will I have to buy expensive digital lens???

I believe Canon make adapters to fit the regular Canon EOS lenses onto the R series mirrorless cameras.  So you could fit the Canon R to EOS adapter, then fit your EOS-to-Nikon adapter and Nikon lens on that, like you do now.  I think there will also be direct Canon R to Nikon or other lenses adapters from various 3rd party vendors.  They will be kind of long looking, as the Canon DSLRs already mount their lenses closer to the sensor than other brands, and it looks like the R cameras mount them closer still.  

My 7d is still working fine, so I won't be buying an RP any time soon.  But I really would like that 1920 x 1280 live view!  That is the only reason I see for getting one for animation, but it is quite a good reason.

I would check the live view on those Nikon models, as they are usually lower res than Canon.  And be sure they work with Dragonframe. Same with Panasonic.  DF probably have the live view res of every compatible camera on their site. 

I don't think I would invest in a new pro quality DSLR at this point, I feel like they were a comfortable transition for photographers used to SLR film cameras, but will be on their way out in a couple of years as more mirrorless models ar released.  A low end to mid range model might still be a good way to go though.

Maybe Anthony can say if he has shot any test frames with his RP and Nikon lens - possibly not yet as I think he is busy with paid work at the moment?

 

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