Canon STM Lenses

Adding to the never-satisfied sea of online camera gear reviews has never been a consideration for us - that is until we discovered a few hidden gems for wedding videography. The first being Canon’s relatively new line of STM lenses.

Canon C100 w/ STM lenses 24mm, 10-18mm, 18-135mm, 55-250mm, underestimated team of high IQ champions. 

Being C100 shooters, we have found that these lenses pair magically with the Dual Pixel Auto Focus technology thanks to the lightning fast and virtually silent stepping motor. At entry level prices and availability at locations such as Best Buy and Target, these EF and EF-s lenses are easily dismissible for being subpar to more revered L-series EF lenses. We are just as guilty as anyone for thinking that perception is reality. It’s easy to think otherwise, but the optics and performance level of the STM lenses are quite good. Really good. So good that we’ve often filmed an entire wedding with AF, which is something we never in a million years considered doing. It’s totally possible with STM lenses if you have the corresponding AF camera. 

Canon C100 w/ 24mm STM pancake lens, so cute together that you almost never want to change the lens. 

What first drew our attention to the STM lenses are the focal lengths of the zooms, the Image Stabilization, and the prices. Our C100 features a Super-35 sensor and the equivalent CMOS sensor is on our 7D, which is the standard size for filmmaking sense the beginning. Nearly (if not all) of Canon’s professional-level photography lenses are designed with full frame sensors in mind, and are NOT ideal for shooting on crop sensors like the C100 and 7D. The equaling focal length of the flagship 24-70mm on our video cameras is 38-112mm. A 24-105mm turns into a 40mm-178mm zoom. 

Canon C100 w/ 10-18mm STM IS lens, amazing optics at such a wide field of view for Super-35 and CMOS sensors 

So, the Canon 18-135mm STM IS is a much more sensible focal length than the somewhat comparable L-series 24-105mm. We’ve found that keeping the STM lenses at f/5.6 solves the concern of varying aperture ratings and the results have been STUNNING. Yes that may seem naive but thats the whole point of this review; these lenses perform far better than what we ever expected, at least on the C100 and it’s Dual Pixel AF and high ISO capabilities. Paired with the 10-18mm STM and 55-250mm, we find ourselves wondering why we ever thought shooting at f/1.8 on a 18-35mm was ever a good idea. With that unspecified but overtly obvious lens out of our camera bag for good, we approach every wedding with a new-found confidence that our focal lengths will be applicable to every situation, inside and outside. But again, the AF and usable high ISO of the C100 are the ONLY reasons to use STM lenses on a profession level. We don’t recommend them on a DSLR for indoor shooting. We don’t really recommend them for anything other than the C100, C100 mkii and the 7D mkii. 

Canon c100 w/ 18-135mm STM IS lens, the best all around lens for Dual Pixel AF cameras

For narrative and commercial filmmaking, we’ll most likely always rely on our prime lenses. But for events that require constant following and changing, we have found that Canon’s surprising line of affordable STM lenses with Image Stabilization are the best choice. The optics are superb and the zoom ranges are all extremely useful with event videography. Our favorite’s are the 10-18mm and 18-135mm, but the winner for the most surprising IQ is the 55-250mm. 

Canon C100 with the unlikely hero, 55-250mm STM IS super zoom lens 

Canon C100 with the unlikely hero, 55-250mm STM IS super zoom lens 

Although its zoom and focus ring are substantially lesser quality than the others, we have been extremely impressed with the sharpness and color renditions and frequently find ourselves in awe of what it’s able to capture at such a low retail (and even lower resale) price point. The build quality on all of the lenses are not as bad as the haters will tell you. We are even starting to prefer the silver ring over the red ring... call us crazy if you want. The 135mm f/2 will always remain with us, but that’s about it for the time being. 

Ok, so we still bring out the Lord for special shots, but only for that f/2 and unparalleled IQ. 

Ok, so we still bring out the Lord for special shots, but only for that f/2 and unparalleled IQ. 

 

Follow up with video samples coming soon. 

Next, we’ll review the also easy-to-overlook gem, the EOS M - coming soon. 

All photos by Seth McGaha, Spruce Video Productions 

 

Bin & Lulu - Slow Mo Video

Available by popular interest is our first ever slow motion video booth, featured at Bin & Lulu’s lovely wedding celebration at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. We loved the energy it captured and will be forever grateful to have filmed their love story fully realized in the internationally known Walker and resident restaurant space Gather by D’Amico

 

Bin & Lulu’s Wedding Short Film - Coming Soon!

Douglas & Brianna

The fiery colors of last year's autumn are vivid in our memories, thanks to Douglas and Brianna’s October wedding! The lakeside ceremony couldn’t have been more beautiful,  providing a spectacular backdrop, along with an amazing collection of classic cars and picturesque forest landscapes. A very warm congrats to the newlywed couple and their wonderful family!  


2015 City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival

This year’s City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival took place in Theodore Wirth Park, a last minute decision due to the lack of recent snowfall in the Minneapolis metro. Overall the weekend was a tremendous experience and I can’t say enough about how amazing the Loppet Foundation has been to work with. Here is the recap I produced for the festival:

Loppet Festival Recap
This article was posted on Monday, February 2nd, 2015

This was not your ordinary Loppet Weekend! The venues changed. The times changed. The distances changed. The difficulty level changed. The Comcast Luminary Loppet even changed from a primarily skiing event to a walking-only event. But one thing remained the same: the community spirit that makes the City of Lakes Loppet great. Volunteers and staff turned on a dime. Participants rolled with the changes. And in the end the community spirit more than saved the weekend; it might have made the 2015 Loppet weekend among the best ever.

Many events sold out and/or had record attendance. The Comcast Luminary Loppet actually sold out . . . twice – once when it was going to be primarily a skiing course and again after it was converted to a walking-only course. The Captain Ken’s Kubb Tournament sold out. The Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet sold out. And the Finn Sisu Sprints, Puoli Loppets and Minne-Loppet saw record attendance!

Video produced by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation. More info at Loppet.org

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation. 

The 2015 City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival was the Loppet Foundation's biggest adventure yet. In just three days organizers relocated nearly all of the events to Theodore Wirth Park save the Comcast Luminary Loppet and the Southwest Journal Snow Sculpture Contest.

Everything else from the Finn Sisu Sprints and the Hoigaard's Classic ski race to the Captain Ken's Kubb Tournament and the Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet took place on the snowmaking trails of Theodore Wirth Park while Loppet Village and the Surly Brewing Company Beer Garden relocated to the Loppet Tent at Wirth Park as well.

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation. 

This year we had more Minne-Loppet participants and welcomed more families and school staff than ever before thanks in part to our partnership with seven North Minneapolis elementary schools and Park Brook Elementary in Brooklyn Center. Eight schools - a new record! We also had a record number of athletes from the Loppet Foundation's three middle school ski teams competing in the Rossignol Junior Loppet.

We also introduced two new aspects to the Loppet docket, including opening night fireworks, sponsored by Mounds Park Academy, and the Pearson's Crew Ski Loppet, which involved teams of six people competing on hand-crafted 25-foot-long wooden skis for the chance to win a giant Pearson's Salted Nut Roll. 

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation. 

 We had some exciting competitions this year with great stories behind the victories. Matt Liebsch, a local Olympic hopeful, beat four-time Olympian and Washington State resident Torin Koos in the Loppet Minne Tour. The Minne Tour is anything but mini - it combines the Friday night sprints, with the big races Saturday and Sunday. Going into the last day Liebsch was more than 1:40 down - but managed to beat Koos resoundingly to take the Loppet crown for the fifth time.

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation. 

Orono’s Dallas Johnson won the Chuck & Dog's Skijoring Loppet and the Subaru One-Dog National Championships with his dog, Comet Johnson. Johnson was inspired at a past Loppet event to take up skijoring and lost 80 pounds in the process. Now he's competing in the Skijoring World Championships.

And in the Subaru Dogsled Loppet twin 14-year old sisters, Chloe and Carlie Beatty of Lakeville, decided - on the morning of the race - to compete. Surprisingly, with an old team of dogs and a homemade sled, Chloe came in first place and won $500, while Carlie came in fourth place. It was their FIRST RACE EVER!

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation.

All in all the 2015 Loppet was a great success filled with great stories, great times and great fun.

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation,

Photo by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation,

Minneapolis Wedding Film Makers featured at the 2014 Minnesota Wedding Video Awards

Minnesota Wedding Video Awards at the IDS Center, Windows on MN

WeddingVideoAwards.com

Sunday, March 1, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (CST) MPLS MN

 

The 2014 Wedding Video Awards is coming to town March 1st at the IDS and we hope it’s as fun as it sounds!  This event recognizes local wedding film makers and the couples featured in their films. We are so happy for the wedding couples for being recognized as celebrities and ready for the red carpet. I hope the whole town can make it! Bring a friend. 

More Ticket and Event Information  here.

Tim & Kathy

We had a seriously good time at Camrose Hill, capturing Tim & Kathy’s heartwarming wedding.  It was a rather warm day in September (just enough to cause a little natural sparkle) that had a magical ending under the moon, lit by a bonfire with s’mores. The grounds and facilities were stunning. Both the bride and groom as well as the photographer Ryan A. Stadler were a joy to work along side. The place was rich with character and incredibly charming which paired perfectly with the newly weds and their cute dog. Such a sweet new family. What a fun day to remembe

Sylvia & Lloyd

We proudly present Sylvia & Lloyd, a newlywed couple with a beautiful bond with each other, family and friends. May their love deepen over time and be a blessing to all. We were so honored to capture their day, starting in the AM with preparations all the way till the last dances. Everyone was more than welcoming and we felt like a part of their family for the day! Here is their short film.

9.19.2014

Ara & Kevin

Ready for some sunshine, green leaves and that warm summer breeze? Watch the premiere of Ara & Kevin’s outdoor wedding film! It’ll help with the winter blues. Congrats to the newlyweds and thank you for reminding us that Minnesota is a beautiful place to fall in love. 

Amanda & Daniel 8.30.2014 Wedding

Oh how we miss summer after editing Amanda & Daniel’s fantastic lakeside wedding! We are so proud to present this film on behalf of their wonderful family. The bright rainbow that followed the refreshing rainfall couldn’t have been timed better during the golden hour, and it was only one of the countless beauties of the day. We hope this helps with the winter blues as much as it has for us! Congrats and happy holidays to the newlyweds and their beautiful daughter! 

Alyssa & Demetri 8.9.2014

We are proud to present Alyssa & Demetri! Their lovely wedding took place in White Bear Lake, Minnesota this past summer, and we couldn’t be more happy with how this short film turned out. Congrats to the newlyweds, thank you for everything! 


Allison & Patrick

Allison and Patrick’s St. Paul wedding was the perfect blend of classic and modern. Their love was brilliant and contagious, deeply rooted in family and friends. A’bulae was the perfect venue with it’s magical lighting, state-of-the-art technology and views of downtown. Nearby Mears Park provided stellar location spots and a great smoothie from a vintage-style food truck. Congratulations to the newlyweds! And Patrick, hope to see you on the ice for a pick-up game this winter! 

Ashley & Dan

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."                          -Ono/Lennon 

Ashley & Dan's elegant Minnesota wedding was a gift to be apart of and we are very happy to share their story with you. A special thanks to them and their family for having us capture their day. Congratulations! 


Sonnie & Valentine

Minneapolis is known for its parks - publications have recently ranked our city parks #1 in the nation. The wedding of Sonnie & Valentine really stands out from any wedding I've filmed. The park setting is rich with vibrant color and beautiful landscaping. Equally so are the smiles and laughter beeming brightly throughout the entire Short Film.

It was an honor to capture this special occasion. May their love remain strong and in each other. Congrats Sonnie & Valentine! 

7.18.2014

Katy & Sean Duffy

We had a wonderful time capturing Katy & Sean Duffy’s wedding this past July. The rain only made the day better with great stories and memories. Congratulations to the happy couple and may their new life together be filled with joy and endless memories. 

Katy & Sean | 07.12.2014 | 


2014 Surly Trail Loppet

We had a great time shooting photos and video for the Loppet Foundation this past Saturday, September the 20th in Theodore With Park, Minneapolis. It was also my brother James’ birthday and I wish I could have been in Oregon with him to celebrate! Happy birthday James! 

It was great seeing and experience the Surly Trail Loppet for the first time - the perfect end of the summer event with a Surly Coffee Bender - and I am already looking forward to next year’s event. 

Click for more photos from the event. 

Click for more photos from the event. 

Surly Trail Loppet Recap – Amazing Day to Run and Drink Surly

This article was posted on Saturday, September 20th, 2014. Photos by Seth McGaha and courtesy of The Loppet Foundation. Read the full article here. 

What a beautiful day to run! Early in the week there was a threat of rain but there was barely a cloud in sight when the 2014 Surly Trail Loppet started.

Feedback from the runners was overwhelmingly positive. “Tough, but great course!” “Beautiful!” “Wonderful!” “Fun!” “Great views!” Were some of the comments people made. Others remarked that it was amazing to be able to run for so long on trails in the middle of a city. Loppet Run Club coach Greg Nitty commented that the “course was really well marked.” He only saw one person make a wrong turn – down a path from the old course. Loppet Run Club member Tony Heaney was thrilled that he had run the trails with the group because he noted, “I knew right where to turn.”

Hands down the success of the event – in addition to the amazing weather, challenging course and great beer – can be attributed to fantastic volunteers before and during the event. One hundred volunteers came out to help on race day, which is a tremendous showing. Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Nelson remarked that all of the volunteers were just “awesome!” More... 

Photo Gallery 

Photos by Seth McGaha and courtesy of the Loppet Foundation.