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Author Topic: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?  (Read 10626 times)

takoman46

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2012, 05:21:05 PM »
Hi all,

Hope you can help me out a bit here - I've recklessly agreed to shoot a friend's wedding and wonder if I need something extra in the bag.

My main kit is 7D, 24-70L, 70-300L, 50 1.8, 85 1.8, Sigma 10-20. And my little 400D for backup. Also got a couple of YN560 flashes

So with my fastest being f1.8 and anticipating dark reception etc, I'm wondering if it's worth looking at something faster?

I really can't justify any more posh glass yet (the 70-300 was my silly spend for this year) so if anything it's got to be at the cheaper end - under £500.

I've been considering the 50 f1.4 or, given the crop of the 7D, the Sigma 30 f1.4 - any views on these? I've seen very mixed comments about both.

Or if you think the kit is OK as is, that would be a great reassurance - I'm sure some of you remember First-Wedding Fear!

I also thought of a used 5D classic instead - it's at the outer end of sensible budget but I could always lie to the wife...

Any wisdom would be very gratefully received.

Pete

A faster lens is not necessarily the solution for your dilemma since you already have f/1.8 primes. Even if you got a EF 50mm f/1.2L, you wouldn't even gain a full stop of light from f/1.8... You're image quality, sharpness, and bokeh would definitely improve by upgrading to a higher end prime, but keep in mind that you can't shoot everything at low apertures because the DOF is too narrow for many situations.  I shoot wedding and use the 50mm f/1.2L and the 24mm f/1.4L but usually don't shoot at f/1.2-1.4... or even f/2.8 for that matter... If you're concerned about maintaining a high enough shutter speed for moving subjects or to compensate for camera shake, you should increase your ISO setting and/or use a speedlite.  I wouldn't shoot the 7D over ISO 3200 though and that is pushing it IMO especially if you're going to be shooting with available low light. If you nail the exposure with a speedlite, then ISO 3200 is ok on the 7D. So as a solution to this problem you might want to consider purchasing a new body instead of a faster lens. Maybe a 5D Mark II or Mark III? The Mark III is king in low light and I've been using it's ISO performance a lot in the last couple weddings, boosting up to ISO 12800 in dim ballrooms with multicolored mood lighting  ;). It allows me to achieve an effect different than shooting on camera flash or with a monolight or speedlite on a light stand in many situations.  However, the Mark III is expensive and the Mark II still does an reasonable job at ISO 6400 in low light situations.  Just need to apply a bit of noise reduction in post processing.  ;) If you're on a budget, then maybe look for a used 5D Mark II. Hope this helps and best of luck to you!  ;)

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2012, 05:21:05 PM »

Halfrack

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2012, 05:46:48 PM »
Toss on a good tripod, use the 7D/24-70 and have fun.  Take the Sigma 10-20 on the 400D and show a few folks how to shoot (auto) - you'll never know what a kid will find (reception only).  The YN560's with wireless triggers for the static posed shots - have people hold them if you don't have/want to deal with stands. 

Since this is all crop, the 70-300L is only going to play in if you're shooting from the back of a very large room or there is a really REALLY tight shot you're trying for.  Ask them for specific photos that matter - those 10 shots are what you need to focus on and have fun with the rest.

Remember, you're a friend too and should be in some of these photos.  Bug them to see who else the know that may have any kit or interest - you may find a gem.
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elflord

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #32 on: June 22, 2012, 06:33:02 PM »
On the long lens argument (gosh, so sorry - I didn't mean to start a fight but really appreciate that you care  ;)), I take the point on the 70-200 and will consider renting though there aren't many options locally.
you could also try lensrentals.com.

gmrza

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2012, 07:44:24 PM »
to the OP: honestly you are are going to be fine with your current set up.  If anything do as others have suggested and buy/rent a FF body. 

Obviously if you are doing this for friends you want to make sure their day is special, but since you aren't being paid don't go over board with a bunch of stuff you have to cart around with you all day.  After all I assume you want to enjoy the day celebrating your friends as much as you want to also capture it.  Set expecations low, then they will be pleasantly surprised when you deliver the goods! 

If it was me, I'd bring the 7D, 24-70, a flash, and be done with it.

+1

You will get one or two stops better high iso noise performance on a 5DII than a 7D, which makes up for slower lenses.  Keep in mind that the wider your aperture, the greater your risk of misfocusing.  Especially when you are shooting your first few weddings, it is possibly better to be conservative in what you shoot.

My wife's experience has been that there is little time for changing lenses.  Especially at the reception, you risk missing shots.  Her first couple of weddings, she shot almost exclusively with the 24-105 f/4L (second shooting).  She now takes along the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, 50mm f/1.4 and 15mm f/2.8 fisheye (that is really an optional lens, but it doesn't weigh much).
Her biggest complaint at the moment is the AF system on the 5DII, but that will get sorted when she gets a 5DIII.

The 5DII is a much more forgiving camera than the 7D, despite the fact that the 7D has better AF.  If you are under pressure, that counts for a lot.  Using good bounce flash technique, you can get away with pretty poor light and a f/4 lens with the 5DII.
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bdunbar79

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2012, 09:32:29 PM »
I'd modify my setup:  5D Mark II and 60D backup, 24-70L II, 135L, 600EX-RT flash, tripod.  That would be my bare essentials if I had to start over with gear and go right into wedding photography.  This is for the criteria of two bodies, 2 lenses, a flash, and a tripod.  Kind of a scary thought, haha.
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pwp

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2012, 11:23:52 PM »
Your current lens setup looks pretty good to me. The 50 f/1.8 is not the sharpest wide open, but most copies mix it with the best of them from f/5.6-f/8. I'd think the predominant comment in this thread so far is the best one, get another body, preferably FF. Even a low-mileage 5D classic is worth considering. It's a very good camera. You'd get one for $500 easily. If the budget is there, stretch to a pre-owned 5D2. This is a far better proposition and will be an ideal "buddy" to your current body. The excellent high ISO performance of a 5D2 will make up for your slower lenses in many situations.

Good luck with your new business.

PW
« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 01:30:17 AM by pwp »

Halfrack

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2012, 01:21:26 AM »
This chap seems to be in England, so lensrentals isn't going to help with gear, but it may help with knowledge...

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2010/07/fwigtew-and-other-first-wedding-acronyms
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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2012, 01:21:26 AM »

briansquibb

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2012, 03:34:05 AM »
This chap seems to be in England, so lensrentals isn't going to help with gear, but it may help with knowledge...

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2010/07/fwigtew-and-other-first-wedding-acronyms


Being in the UK at the moment would mean a waterproof camera would be usefull at the moment :D

Marsu42

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2012, 07:52:54 AM »
I am disappointed that you are not prepared to listen or learn from other peoples experience

I am well prepared to learn & listen, that's why I'm reading plenty of posts - see me asking about what 24-70 to get. It's just that your attitude and enthusiasm for all Canon no matter what wouldn't encourage me to take advice from *you*. But of course I am prepared to change my mind anytime if I see other evidence of professional-like unbiased advice. But time will tell, so no need to discuss this further from my side.

the 70-300L on crop imho just isn't a wedding lens - and as I wrote, I have it, too
I'll disagree, with the caveat being that the ceremony has to be outdoors.

Ok, I should have added that of course - I had your standard wedding in mind, civil reg office & church inside, then group shots & portraits outside and later on, and the sun's not always shining... I just wanted to make sure the op knows the limitations of shooting and esp. af'ing with f4-5.6(!) inside, if he didn't happen to have tried it himself. And if it's a friend who's getting the shots, they shouldn't be too concerned if they're not getting 85L-style bokeh in portraits.

The 70-300L is a fine and not too heavy lens that is sharp wide open - that's why I bought it after all. But for me, it's always most interesting to hear people point out shortcomings of equipment they actually own rather than globally recommend it.

bdunbar79

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2012, 10:23:37 AM »
I am disappointed that you are not prepared to listen or learn from other peoples experience

I am well prepared to learn & listen, that's why I'm reading plenty of posts - see me asking about what 24-70 to get. It's just that your attitude and enthusiasm for all Canon no matter what wouldn't encourage me to take advice from *you*. But of course I am prepared to change my mind anytime if I see other evidence of professional-like unbiased advice. But time will tell, so no need to discuss this further from my side.

the 70-300L on crop imho just isn't a wedding lens - and as I wrote, I have it, too
I'll disagree, with the caveat being that the ceremony has to be outdoors.

Ok, I should have added that of course - I had your standard wedding in mind, civil reg office & church inside, then group shots & portraits outside and later on, and the sun's not always shining... I just wanted to make sure the op knows the limitations of shooting and esp. af'ing with f4-5.6(!) inside, if he didn't happen to have tried it himself. And if it's a friend who's getting the shots, they shouldn't be too concerned if they're not getting 85L-style bokeh in portraits.

The 70-300L is a fine and not too heavy lens that is sharp wide open - that's why I bought it after all. But for me, it's always most interesting to hear people point out shortcomings of equipment they actually own rather than globally recommend it.

Bryan Carnathan recommends this lens as a portrait lens.  Is that heavy enough?  ;)
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friedmud

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2012, 07:43:00 PM »
Wow - Crazy to see all the "gear hounds" pounce on this thread...

I've shot two weddings myself... both of them in similar circumstances to the OP (friends; weren't planning on having a 'tog at all)... and I did it both times with a 450D + 17-55 f/2.8 and a 55-250 with only a 430EX for a flash!  They were both _very_ dark (second one was at night in a tiny church) but both times the photos came out great!  My friends were absolutely overjoyed at the results.

Now - of course I wasn't as good as a real professional... especially if you were to drop some real cash for a high end professional.. BUT they were REALLY good and perfectly captured the moment for my friends.  The bonus is that they got the full RAW photos + full resolution worked up JPEGs that they could do whatever they wanted to with.... which is something you don't normally get from professionals.

My point?  The OP's gear is great for this particular purpose.  He's NOT a professional... and isn't planning on becoming one.  Suggesting that he buy new gear for this is ridiculous.  Suggesting that his 70-300 won't be adequate for this situation is asinine.  Suggesting that he buy a new body (!) when he has a 7D is insane.

My suggestion to the OP: PRACTICE!  The way you use your gear and the way you know your gear will make more of a difference than any lens or body.  Being able to fluently change lenses; getting good at focus/expose and recompose; switching back and forth between your two bodies quickly (so you can have two different lenses ready to go); understanding AI Servo mode on your 7D and getting good at switching AF points / modes; getting used to composing attractive shots on the fly

All of that will make or break your photos.  Before I did both of the weddings I practiced a lot with my wife.  We went to a nearby church and I would practice shooting her walking up and down the aisle.  I practiced with a monopod at a distance in a dark church with her standing in the front so that I could get a feel for how long my 55-250 would take to hunt.  Right before each ceremony I repeated the above in the actual place where the ceremony was going to happen.  At that point I dialed in how I would use my flashes and what surfaces acted best for bounced flashes, etc.

The first wedding I did they didn't want any flashes at all during the ceremony.  Let me tell you... that definitely tested me!  But things still came out fine.  The second wedding allowed flashes and everything came out beautifully.

Don't let the people here talk you into buying new gear... just utilize the gear you have to the best your ability and I bet your friends will be thrilled.

RKK

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2012, 11:27:49 PM »
I think you can shoot a great wedding with the lenses and bodies you have.

I would work on a way to get those two flashes off camera for the reception and light the entire hall by bouncing them off a wall or ceiling. Get some cheap radio transmitters and point those flashes in the corner. You can light a reception site with 1/4 power. I do it, and it works great. It also means your lenses don't have to be super fast. And you can get those flashes off camera for $60 for the cheap stuff.

Hello mitchell3417,
When you use off camera flashes, what mode do you use on the flashes and what mode do you use on the camera?

SandyP

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2012, 12:32:44 AM »
What's the definition of "poor light"? My definition of poor light automatically renders f/4 as being EXTREMELY slow and frustrating. Hell, f/2.8 is way too slow in many situations. The 5D2 is good at low light, but it ain't AMAZING at it like a 5D3 or D3s or something.

The forums across all the internet are full of people shooting weddings for the first time on their own, with no experience. They'll all realize that in the end the best wedding shooters are ones that have a ton of experience, and over many years. Gotta learn somewhere, but it's really best to 2nd shoot for a lot of weddings to really understand what it's all about.

The difference between a good wedding package of photos, and a bad one, is big. But the difference between a good one, and a GREAT one, is even bigger.

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2012, 12:32:44 AM »

briansquibb

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2012, 02:32:23 AM »
What's the definition of "poor light"?

I would say that bad light is when motion blur becomes an issue

tt

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2012, 11:21:33 AM »
Anyone mentioned a rental house like Calumet? Depends where the OP is, but a rental gives chance to try the gear before hand, and not buy lots of things, and get some experience they can take with them -
Changing from a crop sensor to a full frame is a jump that you might want a bit of practise with.

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Re: Faster cheapish prime for a wedding?
« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2012, 11:21:33 AM »