New lens advice for wedding

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by FallOutBoy, Jul 26, 2016.

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  1. Nikon 20mm 1.8G

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  2. Tamron 15-30mm 2.8

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  3. Tamron 24-70mm 2.8

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  1. FallOutBoy

    FallOutBoy
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    I've been shooting with my Nikon D750 for around 9 months now, along with 50mm and 85mm 1.8G lenses. I love the setup so far but I've been asked to shoot a wedding next year so need to look at my lens collection! I'm going to get a second body (probably another D750) but for now I want to buy a new lens so I can shoot with it plenty before next year.

    I love shooting primes and would love to have a setup such as a 35mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 on my two D750's, as I'd like to change lenses as little as possible throughout the day. Obviously I will also need something wider, though, and also I will try and get hold of a Sigma 105mm macro as they are great for the money.

    The lenses I'm looking at (as I will probably be looking to have the 85mm 1.8 on one body most of the time) are:

    Nikon 20mm 1.8
    Tamron 15-30mm 2.8
    Tamron 24-70 2.8
    Sigma 24mm 1.4
    Sigma 35mm 1.4

    As you can tell from the above, my budget for this lens is around £500-700

    I preferably need something wide enough for indoor architectural shots and group portraits. But ideally it would be nice to also use that same lens for some details here and there and/or environmental portraits.

    Am I being lazy wanting to use only 2 lenses for as much of the wedding as possible? Will a 35mm be wide enough, will my 85mm be long enough for the ceremony? So many questions!

    My shooting style is very candid, I love the photojournalistic style of wedding photography but I'll be required to do do some group portraits, and obviously some posed bride and groom portraits using my 85mm.

    Any advice much appreciated, from anyone who has captured weddings before, what would you say were your two most-used lenses?
     
  2. stearman65

    stearman65
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    I would visit a large church or town hall & spend the day watching what the professionals are using. What experience I've had was too many cooks spoil the broth. Two lenses & two bodies is more than enough, one with a high quality zoom, one with an 80mm large aperture as a back up in case your main outfit fails. Both should be capable of video, which seems to be the norm nowadays. Finally a pocket compact for those candids that a DSLR would intrude on.
     
  3. FallOutBoy

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    I did consider a compact such as the Panasonic LX100 because of it's M43 sensor and IQ. Maybe this would be a good addition to the DSLR but I don't want too many cameras to think about!
    I'm used to using my DSLR to capture candid moments though, so might be a waste of time having another camera on top of two D750's!

    I know I need something capable of wide angle but I'm not sure if a 24-70 would be best, or a prime such as 24mm or 35mm with f1.4 for low light capabilities.

    I don't want to be changing lenses constantly, but I like the idea of ultra-wide lenses, but these of course aren't suitable for a lot of the wedding shots I'll be capturing. This is why I'm considering the Tamron 15-30mm because it is capable of creative ultra-wide angles, as well as 30mm which would be more suited to environmental portraits and group shots etc. Having something that can achieve really wide angles for architecture and getting creative on the dance floor etc, as well as zooming to a less wide angle for a more 'normal' focal length, definitely appeals to me.

    But then I wonder if I should go with a good prime such as 35mm f1.4 (alongside my 85mm 1.8) and then maybe swap to a cheaper, wider lens (like a f2.8-f4) or something, if/when required..

    The 105mm macro lens is also a must, I think, even if it's just for the ring shots!
     
  4. Peakoverload

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    You want to shoot a wedding with primes? Good Luck! This is just my personal opinion but one based on having shot a few weddings in the past (I won't do it again as too stressful) but whilst primes are brilliant in that they are very fast and very sharp the lack of ability to frame in camera is extremely limiting. Yes you can obviously move with your feet but weddings move fast, very fast. You simply don't have the time to look through the lens, think "I need to move closer/further away", move, look back through the lens and then take the picture", you will have missed the moment. For organised group shots and portraits a prime is brilliant but for candids and general reportage they are a nightmare (all IMHO).

    When I did weddings in the past I took 2 bodies one with a 24-70 f/2.8, one with a 70-200 f/2.8 and then a 3rd lens usually a 17-40 f/4 (this was all on a crop body I may change that slightly for a full frame). I rarely needed the 17-40, it was more there to take a few establishing shots of the church or for large groups if I couldn't move far enough back. The lens I used most was the 24-70 but the 70-200 did get a lot of use too and I personally wouldn't want to even think about shooting a wedding only a max focal length available to me of 70 or 85mm. You just can't get close enough with that focal length in many churches.

    If you are 'only' going to buy one new lens then it would definitely be the 24-70 for me of the ones you've listed. Will a 35mm be wide enough? Definitely/Probably/Possibly/No. It all depends on the size of the wedding party, the location, where you are going to stage group shots and most importantly what the Bride & Groom want. Again personally I wouldn't turn up at a wedding where the widest focal length I had was 35mm unless I knew the venue really, really well and knew exactly what I was doing. The 24-70 will give you the extra width you may need, so much so that I wouldn't bother taking the 35mm other than as a backup lens and put the 85mm on the other body. But 85mm on a FF camera is going to be limiting and you are almost certainly going to have to do a lot of cropping. I'd very seriously look at hiring something like a 70-200 for the day. Oh and make sure you've got a flash for each camera. The D750 has great high ISO performance but if the light is low the colours will be flat and you'll need a burst of light to give the images some life.

    As I say this is all just IMHO based on some experience. I'm not a pro
     
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  5. FallOutBoy

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    Thanks for your advice. I did think I'd need a zoom or two, so may get hold of a 24-70 asap and see how I get on because I've never been a fan of zoom lenses in the past.

    There are actually a lot of photographers who shoot weddings with a pair of primes, with 35mm and 85mm lenses being a favourite pair.

    I'll try and borrow a couple of lenses and see what I prefer to work with, and shoot a few weddings as a second shooter so I can get a feel for them and see how I'll work best, using primes or zooms (I know zooms are easier but I like a challenge lol)
     
  6. snerkler

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    There's plenty of folk over on TP that shoot with primes only and do just fine. A lot of folk seem to like the 35/85mm combo, as 35mm is generally wide enough for group shots but also has less distortion than something like a 24mm.

    Of course there are those that stick to two of the "holy grail" lenses, i.e. the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8. If going for zooms I wouldn't choose any 3rd party 24-70mm's over the Nikon for weddings as the AF performance just can't compete, especially in situations like a low light church. I have seen some folk pick up excellent condition Nikon 24-70's for £600-650.

    Two bodies is a must for weddings really, and if it were me doing it (thank god I don't) I'd personally go primes, but of course it's more preference these days as, with the high ISO capabilities of todays FF cameras you don't have to worry so much about having f1.8 and f1.4 light gathering.

    For the 35mm's a used Nikon 35mm f1.4 might come within budget, and whilst apparently not as sharp as the Sigma the bokeh is said to be nicer.
     
  7. 12harry

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    A possible alternative is to use the "Panorama" feature, whilst this may not work with "Candids" is should be fine for organised groups ( I'm assuming you are their Official photographer and expected to organise family groups.).
    My own NEX5 has this - it stitches together about 5 overlapping frames - possibly "too wide" for a wedding group, but it's like a fish-eye with ZERO distortion. For architectural use it also does Vertical. I've never noticed the joins! It takes about 2-seconds, but each is a "Still" - I've seen no motion-blur . . . .

    That advice (stearman65), to "go a watch" is very sound . . . take a compact as a Notebook, so you can study afterwards . . . Things may move quite quickly - esp. as the Official Photographer doesn't want to lose sales by having family taking their own snaps.
    FWIW I suggest travel to another town, so you aren't seen as a Competitor. However, if you present yourself prior, you might get their permission to shoot some video ( provided you hand-over the files ) - so the Stills-Official can have a go at Video. You've got some time before "Next year" so some practice will improve your appreciation. Beware though, that Video is a different challenge as you are required to "Tell the Story" with images moving from the arrival to the farewell cheers. Plenty of Stills ( as "Cutaways" ) will also impress the audience.....but don't expect the single-frames ~2mpx to be good enough.

    It's true that a zoom allows you to frame-better, but most zooms will be f-stop slower than a similarly-priced prime - this should not matter outdoors - but in some churches there will be much less light ( and Vicars usually don't like flash to be used - although a good ring-flash will introduce no shadows . . . . but I don't see these much these days...).
     
  8. FallOutBoy

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    Cheers guys..

    In reference to panoramas, I am quite used to the brenizer method and stitching several images together afterwards in Photoshop/LR to make a wider angle image. Due to the fact that I only currently have 50mm and 85mm primes, I've used this technique quite a bit, for landscapes and posed portraits.

    I have contemplated a ring flash but I think it's too clumsy and bulky for a wedding, I'd probably just bounce the flashes whenever possible and have the white card up to provide catch-lights.

    I'm not interested in shooting video and will not be responsible for any video at the wedding I am shooting next year (thank god!) so I'm not concerning myself with that lol the photography will keep my busy enough!
     
  9. Peakoverload

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    Dont bother with a ring flash. They are great things but they have far less throw than a standard flash thus limiting their use.

    Whilst I accept that there are some that use primes for weddings I still maintain its not a good idea unless you really know what you are doing, you've discussed with the bride & groom what style of photographs they want and that primes suit that, that the bride & groom are happy with you been pretty close to them the whole time (it can get pretty wearing if you are there for the whole day but less so if you are just shooting the ceremony), you know the venue well can plan where you will take the shots and have a back up plan for if things change like if it rains and you have to move indoors for group shots. You only have once chance with a wedding to get it right.
     
  10. snerkler

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    @FallOutBoy as you will see from the wonders of posting questions like this on the internet there's always differing opinions, and tbh in this case there's no right or wrong answer, it's whatever suits you. Are you happy that you can move around and get the shots that you want? If so primes might be the answer. Are you less confident, or don't think you'll have the room to move then zooms might be the answer. There are plenty of pros and enthusiasts using the 24-70/70-200 combo for weddings, and likewise the 35/85 combo. Then there are those like Dancook who shot a wedding just using the Leica Q which is a fixed focal length of 28mm.

    One other thing to consider is the weight. The 24-70mm weighs 900g vs 655g for the Sigma 35mm f1.4, or 305g for the Nikon 35mm f1.8G. The 70-200mm f2.8 (if you chose to go down this route at some point instead of using a 24-70/85mm combo) is 1.5kg vs 350g for the 85mm f1.8G. Plus the size of the lenses, having the 70-200mm attached to a body on a sling strap isn't the end of the world weight wise, but it's quite cumbersome and could get it the way when using the other camera/lens.

    As I mentioned above, fast primes is not as important as it used to be due to the capabilities of modern cameras, and for the fact that most pictures going in a wedding album will be less than A4 in size and therefore won't show noise as much. However, bear in mind that at certain venues you can still find yourself at 12800 iso and f2.8 if you want to keep any meaningful shutter speed.

    Good luck with your choice :devil: :p
     
  11. Dancook

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    :hiya:

    Yes that was a friend's wedding, without any pressure.

    I do regularly second shoot weddings with a Leica Q (28mm 1.7) and a D750 with 85mm 1.8g - that is all i need for second shooting. The 85mm just gives a bit of variety in shots, also allows me to take photos when I can't get close enough.
     
  12. snerkler

    snerkler
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    No pressure shooting a wedding, there's no such thing ;) :p
     
  13. Dancook

    Dancook
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    She didn't hire a photographer, so when I arrived at the ceremony I offered to take some photos.. :) didn't really feel pressure

    Few snaps from the wedding
    Davinas Wedding
     
  14. snerkler

    snerkler
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    Yeah I was pulling your leg ;) That being said, I'd have felt the pressure but I do whenever I'm asked to take photos for someone/business :blush:

    Nice pics. Seen them before but never hurts to have a second look :)
     
  15. Delvey

    Delvey
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    I did a friends reception a few months ago. Used the tamron 18-50 2.8 exclusively and was happy with the results. However the room was not large and I was doing it as a favour
     
  16. icemanonline

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    Nikon 35mm F1.8G lens. Brilliant lens. And I have one for sale in the classifieds.

    Ice
     
  17. Aardvarks

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    I must have done upwards of 10 weddings over the years as favours to mates and young colleagues. Back in the day I had two bodies, both Yashica FXD loaded with 400ASA Kodakcolour and one with a Tamron SP 28-85 and the other with a Tamron SP 80-210. I left the wide lens kit on a tripod to do the set groups shots and as I was joking about I used the telezoom to grab candid laughs and crowd interaction. I never had a prime lens. I wouldn't have the bravado to do it these days as expectations are so much higher but the biggest thing I found that helped was having a real rapport and patter with the guests, it helps to have the low down on some inside jokes about the family. Like I said, I only did it for mates who couldn't afford a pro or sometimes as a back up to a pro to grab candids.
     
  18. ScottW75

    ScottW75
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    I'm approaching having shot 50 weddings now and use:

    D750 with Nikon 24-70mm
    D750 with Nikon 70-200mm

    I've got a third d750 I use for prep with the Nikon 105mm macro and as a backup. I also carry the Nikon 85mm f1.8 and the 14-24mm Nikon but these rarely get outings at weddings due to time constraints.

    The 24-70mm is most useful during the ceremony as more often than not you are stuck in one position due to there being a videographer or a celebrant who has banned you from moving during the service. Not being able to move and being stuck with 1 focal length limits you greatly. My wife has the 70-200mm in a different position to snipe the first few rows of guests without them knowing.
     
  19. snerkler

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    Random question but do you find the focus ring on the 24-70mm quite light to use compared to other zooms, as though there's little resistance?
     
  20. ScottW75

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    Yes, Not that i manually focus very often during a wedding.
     
  21. snerkler

    snerkler
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    Thanks for the confirmation, much appreciated. Only reason I asked is that I bought a used one recently and just checking that it's normal :smashin:
     
  22. Richard1989

    Richard1989
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  23. muljao

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    As said many different opinions, but in your shoes I'd make it as easy as I could at first. I'm sure even the prime only guys started out with zooms until they were comfortable and confident of what they needed. It's all very well getting ultimate picture quality, but you need to do so without interfering with the days proceedings, and a good zoom is good enough for great photos that will print for the married couples wall.

    Only photographers would know or care that only primes were used
     
  24. muljao

    muljao
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  25. Richard1989

    Richard1989
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    Wow, thank you, my friend:D
     
  26. Jane Cooper

    Jane Cooper
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    I also had such struggle with lenses. Wedding photography is a whole philosophy) I can suggest you reading this article Quick Guide How To Pick Up A Lens It really helped me, hope you'll enjoy it too)
     
  27. newbie1

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    I've never been the official photographer at a wedding, but I have done a dozen or so events in the past two years and settled on the 24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 combo, one over each shoulder plus a speed light with gels and reflector / shield for controlling the flash.

    As a wedding guest I've used 85 1.2 prime to take candid portraits which went down very well.
     

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