Tag Archives: canon 17-55mm

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After shooting a few projects with the BlackMagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K camera, I found several that I could sometimes get away with just the audio from the built in microphones. But as soon as I threw on my Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 lens with Image Stabilization (Ursa is not full frame), the camera microphones would pick up all of the IS noise. Once that noise was embedded into the audio, it was no longer usable. So I set out to find a good microphone that I could mount over the handle.

I personally wanted the shortest shotgun microphone, powered over XLR phantom so I didn't have to worry about batteries. I wanted to find the slimmest shock mount so it didn't sit too high (trying to keep the camera clean and simple). It didn't need to be the best microphone in the world, as I was only planning to use it mostly on camera for good scratch audio or sound bites. After reviewing a few options I found the Azden SGM-PDII to be a good fit and has excellent customer reviews. Over at B&H they have an Azden SGM-PDII Shotgun Mic Kit that includes the shock mount, and the microphone already comes with a short XLR lead.

Running through the tests mounted on camera, the SGM-PDII was completely free of any Image Stabilization noise from my lens. So for my on-camera needs it works great. And surprisingly I found the microphone also sounded very good when booming overhead, so it's something I would even use during interviews. If you're working with a camera that has built in XLR inputs (i.e. Sony FS7) and looking for something better than the built in microphones, you may want to take a look at the Azden SGM-PDII Short Shotgun Microphone.

azden sgm-pdii shotgun short microphone xlr ursaazden sgm-pdii microphone shotgun ursa mini
Learn-More-sm Azden SGM-PDII Professional Shotgun Microphone

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Testing the Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 IS lens on the BlackMagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K EF. It's not a full frame sensor, so this lens with constant F/2.8 aperture and Image Stabilization pairs well for a run-gun style lens. Certainly not as sharp as some prime lenses, but great when you want to run around with just one lens. Also had a new set of 256GB Transcend CFAST Cards I wanted to test out. They held up great shooting mostly 1080p 48fps ProRes HQ.

Product Links:
Canon 17-55mm F/2.8 IS
Ursa Mini 4.6K Camera
Transcend 256GB CFast Cards

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Image stabilization or 'IS' is what Canon calls it, Vibration Compensation or 'VC' is a Tamron term, and Anti Shake 'OS' a.k.a Optical Stabilization is Sigma's phrase. Yeah that last one didn't match up very well, but it's an all important feature for today's run and gun hand held DSLR video renegades. It's also going to provide you with sharper images in low light situations when you can't use flash. When photographing with an Image Stabilized lens, you can also keep some of that ISO noise down. Sure a fast F/2.8 or better will help get that light through, but Image Stabilization is equally as important. Which lens is right for you? In today's economy, that question often comes down to 'What price is right for you'. So what's the options for Wide lenses between 16-55mm with a fast F/2.8? Here's the top three for Canon DSLR's (not full frame).

First is of course Canon's 17-55mm with IS. Some say it's super sharp, and built with such quality it should be labeled with other 'L' class lenses, but Canon doesn't seem to stamp L on any of their EF-S mount. Of course, it's also priced close to other L lenses so it's above what some young shooters want to invest.
canon-17-55mm
find-price-button Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 IS Zoom

I'm going to throw off the order of things and skip down straight to most inexpensive. If you're looking for the cheapest price, Tamron has been doing well with today's market and offers a 17-50mm F/2.8 with VC (Vibration Control) that has worked very effectively for me on my 18-270mm. Some may argue it's not better than Canon, but I find that the VC with Tamron is super quiet compared to the IS on some Canon lenses (especially the 24-105mm).
tamron-17-50mm
find-price-button Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II VC

Here's the middle ground in the top three list of fast wide lenses offering Image Stabilization. Although i'm talking about Canon options, keep in mind that both the Tamron and Sigma are available in other makes such as Nikon and Sony. The Sigma 17-50mm F/2.8 is still incredibly cheaper than the Canon 17-55mm and just slightly more than the Tamron 17-50mm. This is one of Sigma's recent lenses offering a 17-50mm F/2.8 with OS. Sigma's been getting great reviews as of late, and their designs keep getting better. Normally Sigma's are way over priced compared to the Tamron brand, but in this range of lens it's not a huge difference. Personally I think Sigma has an edge in quality of glass and build so if you could afford to, this Sigma is a great option for a fast wide with optical stabilization.
sigma-17-50mm
find-price-button Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens

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