Movie Mode and Low-light lenses for the 60D

edited February 2012 Posted in » Canon 60D Forum
WOW! Just found your site and it's great! You've done a fantastic job! Very impressed!

Have only had my 60D for 3 weeks and I'm taking a photography class at the college where I also work. I love this camera so far! Finally understanding how aperture and shutter speed and ISO all relate. Hallelujah!

I only have the standard 18-135mm lens which I'm having a little trouble in low light situations, like indoors, trying to take pics without having to raise up the ISO too much. Is this because of me? The lens?

My thoughts are that I need a more wide angle lens.....this will open the shutter more? (lower aperture?)

Also, I love taking video so would that wide angle lens also work better for taking video?

Congratulations of your adorable baby! The adventure begins!

Thank you,
Ilona Mercier


  • edited February 2012
    The 18-135mm doesn't have a very large aperture at the 18mm setting which can cause some problems with low light shooting. Ideally you want a much 'faster' lens for indoor work eg. f/1.4 or f/1.8. There are a couple of lenses out there which fit the bill.

    As for video, the 18-135mm should cope. I have read a lot of blogs which seem to suggest that people are disappointed by zooms that are jerky. What this suggests to me is that these people do not understand the basics of filming. In a short video, zooming should be kept to a minimum and it is often better to stop filming and set the zoom ratio before you continue filming. A film should not be made in a continuous way, but made-up of many segments with different camera angles and zoom ratios etc. Films made this way are more interesting to watch than the continuous 'home movie'.
  • edited February 2012
    @ilonam - Thanks for the kind words and welcome! :)

    In regards to the performance issues you're experiencing with the 18-135mm lens in low light, the issue is tied directly to the average maximum aperture that it's capable of. When shooting towards the wide end of the lens (18mm), the lowest available aperture f-number is f/3.5. When shooting towards the long end of the lens (135mm), the lowest available aperture f-number is f/5.6.

    When shooting hand-held in low-light, it's best to use a lens that's capable of obtaining an aperture between f/1.4 and f/2.8. Lower f-numbers allow more light into the camera, thus giving you faster shutter speeds at lower ISO's.

    Choosing a good low-light shooter, really comes down to the types of subjects or scenes you shoot the most. Since you're also interested in video, you'll probably want a zoom lens with a constant aperture near f/2.8. Now before you're eye's pop out of their sockets, be warned that these types of lenses aren't cheap.

    The Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 (see here) would be perfect lens for both low light shooting and video. Obviously the price tag is a little steep, so the next best option would be the Tamron equivalent lens...the 17-50mm f/2.8 (see here).

    In regards to wide-angle lenses, generally speaking they don't usually have super low apertures between f/1.4 to f/2.8. The reason for this is because their primary purpose is for capturing landscapes, cityscapes and interiors where higher f-numbers are needed (f/8 to f/11) to put everything into focus.

    Hope all of that makes sense. Happy shooting! :)
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