The Sound Of Silens

on October 20, 2022
Do not write in. I meant to type that. I have a prime lens for my Fujifilm cameras that is just about standard focal length for the APS-C sensor. It has a wonderfully wide aperture that produces great out-of-focus backgrounds for studio shots. So good that I even stopped myself from buying an even better Fujinon portrait lens that goes to a wider aperture. It was a struggle, but I resisted*. Having this prime - one of the original big three that Fujifilm released for the X-Pro1 camera - and just starting to try my eye at video work, I figured it would be a natural star for stage work. The focal length was good and the big aperture would let me work in some of the dimmer venues. So I put it on the X-T2, attached the Røde microphone, and pointed it at a dancer. Middle eastern dancing can be a loud affair - particularly if there is stage amplification in operation. But even the most robust tabla solo could not disguise the fact that my dear old prime lens made more noise than Simon or Garfunkle combined - hence the title of this post. It was not made as a video lens, and the motors driving it, while fine for a gun turret, were far too intrusive for video capture. The Røde did its job and faithfully picked up every grind of the focusing mechanism. Lesson learnt. I switched to the 18-135 and the 18-55 - and the 14mm prime - and have not heard a discordant sound since. I am delighted that I own what works already. Not so lucky for another photographer who also takes dance pictures - and is commencing video as well. She's much more talented than I and has taken far better still images with her Canon DSLR and long lens at the shows. But following a recent decision to move to Canon mirror-less, she thought that her older lenses would be easily usable on the new body with a canon adapter. So they might - for stills. They are good glass on a good mechanism - but she's run into the same noise problem when the video starts. She's using a Røde microphone system as well, and is despairing of getting good saleable footage when doing interviews for commercial purposes - the lenses are just intruding. I threw my 2¢ in at a show and suggested: a. Get new lenses - the ones made for the purpose. All it takes is money... b. Get a wireless lav mike system to remove the pickup from the vicinity of the body. Again, all it takes is money... c. Get an extension cord for the Røde and physically distance the mike. d. Shoot from inside a sound blimp. I got looks for the last one... I'll report how she got on in the future. But do consider it if you are starting to hear as well as see your subjects. *The hobby shop got me in the end.