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Author Topic: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?  (Read 3897 times)

Marsu42

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Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« on: June 15, 2012, 05:07:47 PM »
So I've decided to get into the pro wedding business for real. I got to know a guy who - if my luck persists - will tell me the tricks of the local trade and coach me through my first contracts.

Until now, I shot purely for fun and learning, and now have a general idea where the shutter button is located. But in the future it'll business all over, at least that's the idea. And while it'll take a while to set me up, I'll have to get my new working gear now to become familiar with it, while keeping the cost-income relationship somewhat sane.

  • Conditions: From what I'm hearing, the basic idea when starting out is to get the job done, capture the important moments, the atmosphere and to get shots of all guests and esp. the relatives, so everyone is happy. The clients I'll be acquiring when starting off won't be concerned with corner sharpness, complicated flash setups or life-size prints.
  • My current gear: I've got the 60d as a backup body and the 100L for portraits, might be nice as a 160/2.8 on the crop body, too. I don't think the 70-300L is adequate for weddings, but from what I'm hearing, the local conditions don't necessarily call for a $2000+ 70-200 anyway. I'll have to get an uwa & some 24-70 lens and might ask about this in a separate thread - but with what body/flash?

BODY: I'll need a somewhat affordable high-iso ff body, so a 5d seems to make sense.

  • 5d2. It's half the price of the successor, and if using focus/recompose people seem to have used this successfully for wedding occasions.
  • 5d3. It's said to have higher iso performance, but looking at the raw samples I hardly can see an improvement? Is better awb, more fps (or quiet shutter), dual cards and the updated af system a noticeable improvement for weddings?

FLASH: For wedding run & gun, I guess I'll need one fast recycling flash with a battery pack, so my 430ex2 won't suffice. While shooting w/o flash might be preferable, as far as I understand it there's hardly any way around it.

  • 580ex2. Isn't sold new anymore, and obsolete ir technology. Seems to have a bug when using hss extensively. But great if combined with 3rd party triggers, esp. since these can trigger dumb ttl flashes, too.
  • 600rt. This is currently the must-have choice for the 5d3, but seems to be compatible with the 5d2 as well - and except the price there are no drawbacks (it can work with 3rd party triggers too)?

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Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« on: June 15, 2012, 05:07:47 PM »

Jettatore

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 05:15:24 PM »
You can rent very cheaply these days.  Depending on the item, it takes between 20 - 30 rentals before you would have owned the item outright.  For professional purposes, everything you buy should be bringing you additional profit either by doing something you couldn't otherwise or saving you time, etc..

I'd get a nice large set of rechargeable batteries and a good charger for your flashes, and aside from that, rent the rest for a bit.  You might consider a backup flash as well.  Some photographers use a lot of CF cards to minimize the impact any rare card failure may have and there are also automated portable CF backup units than can be rented to give you a little insurance.  I wouldn't rent too much redundant stuff for any one session as you might spend too much thought energy doing comparisons rather than taking awesome pictures.  You should get the feel quickly for what should be permanent best purchases, and you can figure in the cost of a rental package in your pricing, it's also a low risk, cost effective way to outfit an assistant.  I wouldn't rent too, too much over the long term, because you can buy used and maintain a lot of resale value.  But at least initially it seems ideal unless you are 100% sure on what you need for your style.  Professional Photography insurance may be a consideration later down the line in case you get sued or some such, knock on wood..
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 05:21:30 PM by Jettatore »

Marsu42

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 05:29:48 PM »
You can rent very cheaply these days.  Depending on the item, it takes between 20 - 30 rentals before you would have owned the item outright.  For professional purposes, everything you buy should be bringing you additional profit either by doing something you couldn't otherwise or saving you time, etc..

That's certainly true for added lenses like some primes or an ultrawide, but as far as I understand it and what my (now professional) approach would/will be, I have to get the basic gear for myself and use it a lot so I am accustomed to it - and that would include at least the camera body and flash I asked about as well as the basic zoom lens.

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 08:42:41 PM »
You can rent very cheaply these days.  Depending on the item, it takes between 20 - 30 rentals before you would have owned the item outright.  For professional purposes, everything you buy should be bringing you additional profit either by doing something you couldn't otherwise or saving you time, etc..

That's certainly true for added lenses like some primes or an ultrawide, but as far as I understand it and what my (now professional) approach would/will be, I have to get the basic gear for myself and use it a lot so I am accustomed to it - and that would include at least the camera body and flash I asked about as well as the basic zoom lens.

You absolutely need two bodies, in a for hire situation. If you only have a single body, a failure could wipe out or severely impact your fledging business.  It could even bring on a lawsuit from a bride who did not get her wedding Photos.  Its better to have two 5D MK II's, for example. than one 5D MK III.  Even a 5D MK II and a 60D or D7 as a backup is still good insurance.  Also have a second photographer if you can, its sometimes a big advantage when multiple things are happening quickly.  The advantage of a 5D MK III is the dual memory cards, but two bodies, each with their own memory card can prevent total disaster.

Marsu42

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 09:18:58 PM »
Even a 5D MK II and a 60D or D7 as a backup is still good insurance.

As I wrote above: "I've got the 60d as a backup body", so that's covered. It's certainly nice of people answering, but reading the original post does help :-p ... I just don't know if I'll prefer to shoot with two cameras simultaneously or just keep my 60d for backup.

The advantage of a 5D MK III is the dual memory cards, but two bodies, each with their own memory card can prevent total disaster.

Indeed - but my question was about experiences of the other added advantages of the 5d3 for weddings, too. If it's only the dual memory cards, double the price of the 5d2 would clearly indicate "not worth it" for me.

briansquibb

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 11:36:21 PM »

All from my experience:

Because you are not going for the 5DIII you have the option of getting 3rd party triggers - Odin, Pixel Kings, PW for eTTL

At a wedding you dont get time for manual flash setup

If using multiple flash then a battery pack is not needed. A spare set of batteries as a change before the reception will do in most cases

16Gb cards gives about 500 photos - so 3 for a wedding is about the max you should need (depending on you shooting style). 30mb is fast enough for the 5DII IMO

Flash/low iso will give better IQ than no flash/high iso

Flash in the sunlight to get rid of shadows

Shoot safe rather than artistically

bdunbar79

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 11:41:09 PM »
Even a 5D MK II and a 60D or D7 as a backup is still good insurance.

As I wrote above: "I've got the 60d as a backup body", so that's covered. It's certainly nice of people answering, but reading the original post does help :-p ... I just don't know if I'll prefer to shoot with two cameras simultaneously or just keep my 60d for backup.

The advantage of a 5D MK III is the dual memory cards, but two bodies, each with their own memory card can prevent total disaster.

Indeed - but my question was about experiences of the other added advantages of the 5d3 for weddings, too. If it's only the dual memory cards, double the price of the 5d2 would clearly indicate "not worth it" for me.

I put a prime on my backup body and main zoom lens on my main body.  Then instead of changing lenses I just shot away.
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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 11:41:09 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2012, 05:17:34 AM »
Because you are not going for the 5DIII you have the option of getting 3rd party triggers - Odin, Pixel Kings, PW for eTTL

Well, this is what the topic is all about - I don't know yet if I'll go with the 5d3 or 5d2, I specified what I think potential differences are above and would be delighted about comments from people who actually used the 5d2 and 5d3 for weddings (or at least other events).

Albi86

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2012, 05:30:08 AM »
The 580 EX 2 is a a great flash. I have been using the first model for years with no problem, flashguns technology hasn't changed that much I reckon. Once in a while they just throw something in to justify the price increase from 400 to 600$....

In my experience in photographing night events, your flashgun is the best weapon you have. It will make for the 80% of your IQ, assuming you use it properly. Never spare on it.

Another tip: don't go too wide-open with the aperture. I know it sounds stupid, but in low-light focusing accuracy is always a risk, especially if people are moving. Some more depth of field comes in handy.

bdunbar79

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2012, 10:56:32 AM »
So I've decided to get into the pro wedding business for real. I got to know a guy who - if my luck persists - will tell me the tricks of the local trade and coach me through my first contracts.

Until now, I shot purely for fun and learning, and now have a general idea where the shutter button is located. But in the future it'll business all over, at least that's the idea. And while it'll take a while to set me up, I'll have to get my new working gear now to become familiar with it, while keeping the cost-income relationship somewhat sane.

  • Conditions: From what I'm hearing, the basic idea when starting out is to get the job done, capture the important moments, the atmosphere and to get shots of all guests and esp. the relatives, so everyone is happy. The clients I'll be acquiring when starting off won't be concerned with corner sharpness, complicated flash setups or life-size prints.
  • My current gear: I've got the 60d as a backup body and the 100L for portraits, might be nice as a 160/2.8 on the crop body, too. I don't think the 70-300L is adequate for weddings, but from what I'm hearing, the local conditions don't necessarily call for a $2000+ 70-200 anyway. I'll have to get an uwa & some 24-70 lens and might ask about this in a separate thread - but with what body/flash?

BODY: I'll need a somewhat affordable high-iso ff body, so a 5d seems to make sense.

  • 5d2. It's half the price of the successor, and if using focus/recompose people seem to have used this successfully for wedding occasions.
  • 5d3. It's said to have higher iso performance, but looking at the raw samples I hardly can see an improvement? Is better awb, more fps (or quiet shutter), dual cards and the updated af system a noticeable improvement for weddings?

FLASH: For wedding run & gun, I guess I'll need one fast recycling flash with a battery pack, so my 430ex2 won't suffice. While shooting w/o flash might be preferable, as far as I understand it there's hardly any way around it.

  • 580ex2. Isn't sold new anymore, and obsolete ir technology. Seems to have a bug when using hss extensively. But great if combined with 3rd party triggers, esp. since these can trigger dumb ttl flashes, too.
  • 600rt. This is currently the must-have choice for the 5d3, but seems to be compatible with the 5d2 as well - and except the price there are no drawbacks (it can work with 3rd party triggers too)?

My personal recommendation is to keep your 60D as a backup camera and definitely use it at some point during the weddings.  I would buy a 5D Mark II and get either the 580 or 600 flash (I just ordered the 600 yesterday).  You will certainly need the 24-70L zoom lens, which is why I recommend the 5D Mk II.  In weddings, from my experience, the 5D Mk III would be a diminishing returns type thing.  If you shoot RAW don't worry about white balance so much.  That is a minor issue.  In an ideal world, you'd have the 5D Mk II with 600EX-RT flash, 24-70L zoom lens, and I would strongly encourage you to get a 50mm lens for the 60D and USE it.  50mm on a crop body is 80mm.  Or, you could get an 85 f/1.8 to use on both cameras.  It depends on your style of wedding shooting.  I prefer a photojournalistic type approach more, but I would take 3 primes and the zoom lens, 2 cameras, and the flash.  If you have any more questions please keep asking because there a LOT of people on here who do or did weddings.  As long as you have the equipment described above and you know how to use that equipment, AND you get the exposures correct, you will be taking some awesome wedding photos!  Good luck.
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Marsu42

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2012, 01:46:02 PM »
I would buy a 5D Mark II and get either the 580 or 600 flash (I just ordered the 600 yesterday).  You will certainly need the 24-70L zoom lens, which is why I recommend the 5D Mk II. 

Thanks a lot, that's sounds like good advice, esp. since there are used 5d2 bodies around. The most interesting thing to me is that even in a Canon enthusiast's forum, no one is advising the 5d3 for this purpose, even though it certainly has one or two nice features. But since the af point expansion seems to be too slow, it would be single point shooting - and this seems to be ok on the 5d2, and I've been shooting "focus & recompose" for my whole life.

and I would strongly encourage you to get a 50mm lens for the 60D and USE it.  50mm on a crop body is 80mm.  Or, you could get an 85 f/1.8 to use on both cameras. It depends on your style of wedding shooting.  I prefer a photojournalistic type approach more, but I would take 3 primes and the zoom lens, 2 cameras, and the flash. 

* Zoom: I'm not sure what 24-70 to get, though: The Tamron is a bargain esp. if backed up by good primes for important iq shots, the Canon 24-70mk1 is still rather expensive too, but the 24-70mk2 might be overkill for my purposes!?

* Prime: I already have the 100/2.8L macro, so I guess a 85mm would be too much of a duplication. If I'm really shooting w/ two bodies, a fast prime on the 60d sounds plausible for shooting available light and not pushing iso too high, and otherwise I've got the older 430ex2 to put on the 60d. Originally I thought about a 35L as my prime, but since you advise a 50mm - what "3 primes" do you use?

If you have any more questions please keep asking because there a LOT of people on here who do or did weddings.  As long as you have the equipment described above and you know how to use that equipment, AND you get the exposures correct, you will be taking some awesome wedding photos!  Good luck.

Thanks :-)) ... I'm not in a great hurry, I'll get the gear and get to know it extensively before I'd ask money for shooting, but I hope and think I can do it. The most important thing for me will be further learning now, and not going over the top with expensive gear.

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2012, 01:56:34 PM »
No you're right about duplication at the 85-100 end.  A 35L on a crop sensor body would be fine, since it's 56mm cropped in.  Again it's your call and what perspectives you want.  Personally, I shot with an 85mm on a FF body so I was shooting just that, 85mm.  That's why I recommended the 50mm for the crop body.  A 35mm f/2 would work okay on a 60D but I didn't like it on FF because the corners were pretty bad.  They were not as bad as on a 7D.  If I were you, and let's say you did get a 24-70 mm zoom lens, whichever one you had, that may serve your purposes on the FF.  If you planted the 50mm on the crop body, you'd have an 80mm prime in a sense.  Again though, the 35 works because 56mm is OK too for a lot of wedding shots.  It's not an easy choice because you'd put the lenses on the different bodies, so it's totally your call.  The 24-70 will take care of a lot of it.  And realistically, why couldn't you switch lenses and put the 24-70 on the 60D for awhile?  When the bride is coming down the aisle though, I personally liked the 80-85mm focal length from where I was.  You could achieve that two ways:  24-70 on the 60D, OR a 50mm prime on the 60D.  Again, I know I'm adding more confusion, but it's your call.  I didn't have a crop sensor at the time, I only had a 5D Mark II and 1D Mark III, so I had to have an 85mm lens; you don't.
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Marsu42

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2012, 02:09:15 PM »
Again, I know I'm adding more confusion, but it's your call.

Hargrnffff :-) What you're saying is of course correct, I'm the only one to figure out my wedding shooting style and requirements, but now I'm gaining a general idea what the decision will be about. For primes, I'd either get the Sigma 50/1.4 or the more expensive Canon 35/1.4L ... any further input from readers for weddings and dual use on crop & ff would be appreciated, and I've got plenty of time to decide which one to get.

You didn't mention a sub-24mm lens - isn't that necessary from your experience for shots in small interiors?

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2012, 02:09:15 PM »

bdunbar79

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2012, 02:31:27 PM »
I never shot sub 24mm on FF.  I do have the 16-35mm L lens, and I brought it with me, but  I don't recall ever using it more than a few times.  My style was more photojournalistic/sports, just because that's my forte, but perhaps you would want some photos, such as the front of the church with wedding members bustling about, but I felt that 24mm was short enough for that.  Any wider you can lose alot of immediate-to-the-eye detail.  I feel that the 16-35L would not be necessary; 17-40L would be great or 10-22 on the 60D.  If you find yourself in a pinch and need a tight indoor shot in low light, use the high iso capabilities and even if that shot with post-processing doesn't look good, throw it out as those shots aren't typically "key" shots of the wedding anyways.
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Marsu42

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2012, 03:22:57 PM »
I feel that the 16-35L would not be necessary

Thanks again for the information, and I still have time to figure out if I need an uwa at all, buy it or rent it. If I shoot with both bodies anyway, there'll be more affordable ultrawides for crop like the Tokina 11-16 which just stops at ff's 24mm. The reason I think about a wider angle is for few select shots in the civil registry office when all family members should be on the picture in a small office room, and maybe some church shots you mentioned but that aren't essential.

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Re: Which 5d/flash to get for a first wedding kit?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2012, 03:22:57 PM »