Wedding and Event Photographers 28-70 f2 or 24-70 f2.8 IS?

Which Lens for Wedding & Events Stills?


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Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
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My wife and I shoot a lot of weddings together and I also do video and photo coverage for corporate events with a friend of mine. Once Canon comes out with a pro R body with two slots we’ll be making the switch from our four 5D Mark IVs.

My question is, has anyone used the 28-70 for events on here? Some debate vs the upcoming 2.8 IS? I feel like the 28-70 could possibly replace ALL of our primes.

Here’s some background for us, we originally started with primes only - 35, 50, 85, 135, and 200. Mostly Canon and shared them, each shooting with two bodies on Holdfast MM. Currently my wife shoots with 35 & 85 art and mixes in 70-200 2.8 IS II. I use 24-70 2.8 II and 70-200 2.8 IS II with a 50 art in the bag....and a Macro 105 2.8. I’m definitely more in assisting and secondshooting role and my wife is the posing and client guru.

We’re finding that as we are moving towards a product model with albums and canvases, more flash, we’re not so worried about blown out backgrounds and try not to go below f2. We both want to stop using two bodies all day but 2.8 on the wide end just doesn’t quite do it for us. When I see the 28-70, it seems perfect for both of us and pair them with the 70-200s and just swap lenses instead of using two bodies all day.

We like the idea of being more present with our clients and focusing more on our shots and posing over all the gear hanging off us. This would also allow us to comfortably use one of HF small sightseer bags to keep some gear with us vs working out of our Pelican 1510s all day.

I find myself leaning towards that more than the benefit of IS (I may still get the 24-70 or 15-35 for video)....and IBIS May be in the near future as well making it not as important either.

I’m betting this has been a consideration for a lot of event photographers who want to minimize their gear and simplify with the 28-70 f2.
 

Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
113
149
Personally, I like using my 24-105 for events.
If they could squeeze it into a 2.8 I would consider it. Even at 2.8 in some events (where flash isn’t ideal) I’m pushing really high ISO if they don’t have good stage lighting.

Hotels seem to be the worst, unless they have budget for good stage lighting. I also use 1.4x tele on the 70-200 often and making it an f4.

I suppose I should have prefaced that I’m talking about indoor events and specifically low light situations.
 
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SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,242
265
I cannot see myself start swapping lenses at an event just not practical. You risk loosing moments. Unless, in between sessions. It would be 28-70 F2.0 plus other body with 70-200 F2.8 IS for me.
I trust that mirrorless kit will be much lighter anyway.
I would keep Sigma 35/1.4 and 85/1.4 and 100 macro in my bag as well. 50mm is not my thing.
 

Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
113
149
I cannot see myself start swapping lenses at an event just not practical. You risk loosing moments. Unless, in between sessions. It would be 28-70 F2.0 plus other body with 70-200 F2.8 IS for me.
I trust that mirrorless kit will be much lighter anyway.
I would keep Sigma 35/1.4 and 85/1.4 and 100 macro in my bag as well. 50mm is not my thing.
For sure, the only times I’m seeing switching or needing a second body is for my wife during certain ceremonies. She’s always closer to the action and I’m setting up lighting, the really creative flash shots, and getting the long shots.

During dance and reception we use the MagBox system which allows separate flash setups. She shoots wide and I shoot tight and we’re not stealing each other’s flash power.

So this is how most of the day works out and it would be really rare that we would be swapping lenses DURING the action. We also would need a third body as a backup...considering the RP (I’m assuming a pro R is going to be on the $3,500 range), strictly for those non critical shots and certain times two bodies would help.

I would consider a 85 1.4, 105 1.4, or the rumored 135 1.4 for a portrait lens plus a macro.

I’m always surprised looking at the metadata in LR and the really low shot counts for certain lenses or second bodies already. It’s hard to tell if a setup is going to work during an event unless we try it.

Also a side note, super stoked what Canon is doing with their mirrorless system. The monstrous 28-70 will actually be overall shorter and same weight as 5D plus Sigma 85 art. While it’s a bigger heavier lens, the new body should be lighter and shorter.... along with new 70-200. Can’t wait.
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,242
265
For sure, the only times I’m seeing switching or needing a second body is for my wife during certain ceremonies. She’s always closer to the action and I’m setting up lighting, the really creative flash shots, and getting the long shots.

During dance and reception we use the MagBox system which allows separate flash setups. She shoots wide and I shoot tight and we’re not stealing each other’s flash power.

So this is how most of the day works out and it would be really rare that we would be swapping lenses DURING the action. We also would need a third body as a backup...considering the RP (I’m assuming a pro R is going to be on the $3,500 range), strictly for those non critical shots and certain times two bodies would help.

I would consider a 85 1.4, 105 1.4, or the rumored 135 1.4 for a portrait lens plus a macro.

I’m always surprised looking at the metadata in LR and the really low shot counts for certain lenses or second bodies already. It’s hard to tell if a setup is going to work during an event unless we try it.

Also a side note, super stoked what Canon is doing with their mirrorless system. The monstrous 28-70 will actually be overall shorter and same weight as 5D plus Sigma 85 art. While it’s a bigger heavier lens, the new body should be lighter and shorter.... along with new 70-200. Can’t wait.
Yup, exactly my thoughts. And least we forget that Canon mirrorless system is capable of confident autofocusing at -5EV. Infrared AF flash assist certainly helps but slows down AF and annoys subjects a lot.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,476
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You might consider renting a 28-70 with the Pro body or even Rent a R to try it with and see what you think. I find the R as difficult to grip with my large hand, and keep putting my thumb on the top right corner of the LCD touch screen as I'm moving around. This moves the focus point to the top right, so I have to stop and get it back where I want it.

Finally, I bought a grip for my R which arrived last night. I haven't used it, so I don't know if it solves my issue.

The other issue with my R is that in the EVF, the image in low light events with spotlights and a lot of dark area is totally overexposed and looks like yhe image is blown out. The image on the rear LCD looks fine. I'm beginning to wonder if there is a problem involved. I also find it difficult to use the EVF outdoors in bright light and assume its due to my sensitive eyes and light leakage, but I wonder.

I've been far too busy to do much experimenting with it, but I may need to get it resolved rather than drag my feet until the warranty expires. Brightness of the EVF adjusts just fine, its not too bright, there is just no detail in a person, just a all white figure with a dark outline. It is weird, considering that the image on the LCD is beautiful. I might try and get a photo of it if I can reproduce it in my studio. I wonder if exposure simulation is working for the EVF.
 
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Cwall64

EOS 5D MK IV / EOS R
Jan 1, 2019
7
16
Iola, TX
I love the R and the RF 28-70 f/2, but i am a big guy so the weight is no issue. Also not a pro, but i love the images i get out of it. I did exactly what Mt Spokane mentioned - rented the RF 28-70 f/2 for a week to see if i would like it and would be willing to spend the money on it... I think that is the best option on all these new expensive pieces of glass, well worth the $100 - $150 to rent for a week and test out.
 
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Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
113
149
Lots of issues and things I didn’t think about. I’ll definitely rent one when they come out. Thinking about it... I’ve never rented anything or tried out gear before buying. I’ve always made my decisions based on budget, reviews, and research. Though they were easy decisions like 6D to 5D MKIII to MKIV and all the lenses I didn’t like were easy to sell.

I’ve read the debate between aperture vs IS as a means of letting in more light. But for events and weddings, I’m already shooting low shutter speeds and don’t see how IS is going to help me on the wide end. Yeah a 70-200 absolutely I want IS. But when I’m already at 1/100 on a 35mm and subjects are sometimes moving.... I see a greater benefit of f2 over f2.8 and no IS. I don’t really want to lower my shutter speed much more than that.

Yes the rare occasion I want a creative hand held shot with objects or people blurred around a stationary subject, IS would be great. Buuut that’s one type of shot vs an entire day of documenting where I want to open the lens more over IS.
 
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Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
513
183
I really don't think IS helps you much in a wedding situation. IS would allow you to use shutter speeds slower than 1/80 hand held, but I would never want to go much slower than that in any kind of dynamic, moving situation.

Then again, I don't really get all the fanfare over an f2 lens, even if it does zoom. You still only have about half the light gathering ability of a good prime at f2. Like I've said before, the cost and weight of the 28-70 f2 is a lot to sacrifice to end up with a lens that's not as fast as a prime, and not as versatile as a 24-70. But, I guess some people will be willing to make the compromises.
 
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Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
113
149
I really don't think IS helps you much in a wedding situation. IS would allow you to use shutter speeds slower than 1/80 hand held, but I would never want to go much slower than that in any kind of dynamic, moving situation.

Then again, I don't really get all the fanfare over an f2 lens, even if it does zoom. You still only have about half the light gathering ability of a good prime at f2. Like I've said before, the cost and weight of the 28-70 f2 is a lot to sacrifice to end up with a lens that's not as fast as a prime, and not as versatile as a 24-70. But, I guess some people will be willing to make the compromises.
I would’ve said the same thing a couple years ago, but now we’re in the spot to make those compromises as I mentioned above. Ever since I got into photography I’ve always been searching for a one size fits all solution. I think many of us seek that.

This new lens seems to be the closest thing to achieving that for us when paired with the 70-200. For us, the compromises are enough to replace 3 primes with one lens. Yeah, I know it’s not a 24 or an 85. But, we went years with our widest being a 35 and our go to portrait a 135.

Like the shutter speeds rarely dipping below 1/100, I’ve noticed in LR that our apertures are rarely dipping below f2. I’m glad I can sort that information and take a good look at our shooting habits.

I can see I’m not alone in my thinking here on this lens. I would’ve thought this would be a big talking point when the lens was announced (which I have heard) but it seemed to be drowned out by the typical throngs of people criticizing every point of the lens and the expectation of perfection. People want a 15-300 f1.4 IS in the size of a small prime and $1,500 it seems and a body to match haha instead of being excited that Canon is continuing to do what others never could.
 
Mar 14, 2012
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I would’ve said the same thing a couple years ago, but now we’re in the spot to make those compromises as I mentioned above. Ever since I got into photography I’ve always been searching for a one size fits all solution. I think many of us seek that.

This new lens seems to be the closest thing to achieving that for us when paired with the 70-200. For us, the compromises are enough to replace 3 primes with one lens. Yeah, I know it’s not a 24 or an 85. But, we went years with our widest being a 35 and our go to portrait a 135.

Like the shutter speeds rarely dipping below 1/100, I’ve noticed in LR that our apertures are rarely dipping below f2. I’m glad I can sort that information and take a good look at our shooting habits.

I can see I’m not alone in my thinking here on this lens. I would’ve thought this would be a big talking point when the lens was announced (which I have heard) but it seemed to be drowned out by the typical throngs of people criticizing every point of the lens and the expectation of perfection. People want a 15-300 f1.4 IS in the size of a small prime and $1,500 it seems and a body to match haha instead of being excited that Canon is continuing to do what others never could.
It's not a lens for everyone but it is a great event lens. I used it to shoot an indoor pinewood derby event that had snack stands, and other side events and the lens was ideal in that situation. With a f/2.8 lens and available light, I'd be using ISOs 3200, and having an extra stop is useful for trading shutter speed, ISO and DOF. Yes, this lens is heavy but if you're using a strap anyway and you're not walking long distances (hiking where it swings a lot), then this lens is a great choice. I never liked using the 70mm at the 24-70 for portraits because it couldn't blur out the background as well as the 70-200, but I find the 28-70 to be a nice compromise at f/2.

The 24-70 variants are much better general use lenses but the 28-70 is the better event lens. Yes, the 35 II and RF 50 are amazing and give even shallower DOF, but f/2 is usually good enough and the flexibility in framing a group in winners circle with balloons surrounding them to just the people waist up with their trophies in seconds is where the value of the zoom is realized.
 
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privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
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Yup, exactly my thoughts. And least we forget that Canon mirrorless system is capable of confident autofocusing at -5EV. Infrared AF flash assist certainly helps but slows down AF and annoys subjects a lot.
Not in my limited experience. I had better and more assured focusing when using a 1DX MkII than the R at a dimly illuminated venue.
 

Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
113
149
Not in my limited experience. I had better and more assured focusing when using a 1DX MkII than the R at a dimly illuminated venue.
Did you recall which lenses you were using? I remember seeing what a big difference it made in the owners manual by having different aperture lenses attached. Obviously an f1.2 prime will allow more light for autofocus than an f4 zoom.

Just curious if there were different lenses, adapted lenses, etc?
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,242
265
Not in my limited experience. I had better and more assured focusing when using a 1DX MkII than the R at a dimly illuminated venue.
Thanks for the tip. I have not used EOS R in low light yet but AF to -5 EV of R vs -3 EV of 1dx II does not sound like a small change to me.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
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Did you recall which lenses you were using? I remember seeing what a big difference it made in the owners manual by having different aperture lenses attached. Obviously an f1.2 prime will allow more light for autofocus than an f4 zoom.

Just curious if there were different lenses, adapted lenses, etc?
It was the RF 24-105 f4 on the R and the 70-200 f2.8 IS MkI on the 1DX MkII. I used both regular and Live View AF on the 1DX MkII and both seemed ‘better’, quicker to acquire and more assured, than the R with it’s native lens.

I was disappointed with the R’s AF capability for that specific shoot as I believed the specs should have shown a decadent advantage over the 1DX MkII.
 

Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
113
149
I think the lens maximum aperture and focus point selections may have an impact on that. I can only speak for the 6D and 5D4, I’m sure it’s similar for all of them, but the EV numbers advertised are for the center focus points and with the widest aperture lenses.

It’s the same for placement of cross type and dual cross type focus points. Your lenses widest aperture can limit the number and location of these focus points.

You should be able to find charts and info in the camera manuals and some blogs online to see which of your points are cross, dual, the EV, etc. And the limitations from lens aperture.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
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I think the lens maximum aperture and focus point selections may have an impact on that. I can only speak for the 6D and 5D4, I’m sure it’s similar for all of them, but the EV numbers advertised are for the center focus points and with the widest aperture lenses.

It’s the same for placement of cross type and dual cross type focus points. Your lenses widest aperture can limit the number and location of these focus points.

You should be able to find charts and info in the camera manuals and some blogs online to see which of your points are cross, dual, the EV, etc. And the limitations from lens aperture.
Or you can pick them up and use them side by side, I did and found the 1DX MkII to focus ‘better’ than the RF in a poorly illuminated venue.
 

Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
113
149
Or you can pick them up and use them side by side, I did and found the 1DX MkII to focus ‘better’ than the RF in a poorly illuminated venue.
Ok, by design, you got the results one would expect with the lenses you’re using. Not a good comparison expecting good low light focusing from an f4 lens vs a 2.8. So your criticism of the R isn’t valid. The focus speed, detection, accuracy are greatly affected by lens choice.

That’s like saying your 1D handles noise better than the R but shooting at 2.8 on the 1D and F4 on the R. It’s not a fair comparison and you would expect those results anyways with totally different ISO settings.
 
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SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,242
265
Or you can pick them up and use them side by side, I did and found the 1DX MkII to focus ‘better’ than the RF in a poorly illuminated venue.
Thanks Private, that is an alarming information. are you able to share a bit more details? was that your experience with current/ recent EOS R firmware? SIngle shot or Servo mode? type of lighting: fluoro, LED, natural? just making sure I understand limitations of the R system, that's all. I trust your judgement as am confident that with your experience you can easily justify a good AF from a bad one.