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10-31-2011, 03:24 PM   #1
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transitioning from amateur to pro on a budget

Hi All, first time poster...be gentle.

My partner, for whatever reason, although I seriously consider she may be insane, after doing a couple of weddings, wants to do more.

She's currently using our K20d, and we are considering buying a K5 and using the 20 as a back up, however that is not relevant here I guess. The question is, I feel we obviously need to get away from the cheap Sigma lenses supplied with the camera for a variety of reasons. The question is........prime or zoom. I'm quite leaning towards prime after playing with an SMC Pentax - A 50mm that I bought on ebay. However after using it in a wedding situation I feel that it may have a little more magnification than we want indoors, although the aperture of f1.7 is very useful. I was considering buying a DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited Edition, for around $AUD700, but was wondering how this would compare with the aforementioned lens, in terms of magnification, considering one is a film lense and the other dedicated digital?

I guess the reason I'm leaning towards the primes, apart from the quality of the images, is that doubling the price and losing 2 or 3 f stops, just to save having to move back or forward, seems a luxury at this stage.

Thoughts?
Phil

10-31-2011, 03:36 PM   #2
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It would be an interesting poll to run, but I think unless you have a camera per lens, most wedding photographers use fast zooms and then only one prime for speecial shots.

You just don't have enough control of most shooting situations to continually use a prime or two. Zooms let you be very selective of framing from a variety of ever changing perspectives
10-31-2011, 03:43 PM   #3
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Well, the 35mm macro does 1:1 magification, but I doubt that's what you want for a wedding. 1:1 magnification means that the lens can focus on very close things, and therefore take pictures of small things (i.e. insects, small flowers) very well.

I think what you're interested in is Field of View, or its related brother, Focal Length. The 35mm macro lens you mentioned has a smaller focal length, and therefore a wider field of view than the 50mm lens you mentioned. Large focal length is for taking pictures of things that are far away.

The standard recommendation for pentax wedding photographers seems to be the 50-135mm f2.8 lens. Being able to zoom helps frame the photo correctly, which improves autofocus and metering (how light/dark to make the image). It also affects perspective.


The differences between lenses designed for digital or film are relatively minimal, though in your case, there's a difference of autofocus as well.
10-31-2011, 03:54 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by alphanerd Quote
Well, the 35mm macro does 1:1 magification, but I doubt that's what you want for a wedding. 1:1 magnification means that the lens can focus on very close things, and therefore take pictures of small things (i.e. insects, small flowers) very well.

I think what you're interested in is Field of View, or its related brother, Focal Length. The 35mm macro lens you mentioned has a smaller focal length, and therefore a wider field of view than the 50mm lens you mentioned. Large focal length is for taking pictures of things that are far away.

The standard recommendation for pentax wedding photographers seems to be the 50-135mm f2.8 lens. Being able to zoom helps frame the photo correctly, which improves autofocus and metering (how light/dark to make the image). It also affects perspective.


The differences between lenses designed for digital or film are relatively minimal, though in your case, there's a difference of autofocus as well.
Oops, missed the lack of magnification factor. I gather assuming focal length = relative magnification is a flaw in my thinking?

10-31-2011, 04:42 PM   #5
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I didn't do many weddings and I always got away with primes only. DA14 for groups and nice perspective, FA35 for most of the action and then something longer for potraits and details. But I needed 2 bodies not to miss any action. I could have done the job with one body and DA*16-50. If I wanted to go pro on wedings, I'd buy the DA*16-50 and keep sencond body with some primes as a backup.
10-31-2011, 04:43 PM   #6
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First let me say that I don't shoot weddings, at all, ever. But yeah, if you're looking for a great portrait lens the DA* 50-135 f/2.8 is superb. It has prime-like sharpness, and it's fast (i.e. bright). You'll probably need something wider for group pictures, you won't always have the luxury of backing up, so you might consider the DA 21 limited f/3.2, and a speedlight since it will let you get group shots in smaller rooms, or the FA 31 Limited f/1.8 for easier low light shooting. I use the K20d as well, and I can tell you that I never take it above ISO 800, the IQ just degrades too much for my taste, and I've just got myself to please, not psycho brides.

Last edited by maxfield_photo; 10-31-2011 at 07:44 PM.
10-31-2011, 04:50 PM   #7
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I think you'll find that the Tamron 17-50/2.8 and either FA50/1.4 or DA*55/1.4 are favored wedding lenses around here. Search the forums for WEDDING and you'll find many recommendations.
10-31-2011, 06:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
It would be an interesting poll to run, but I think unless you have a camera per lens, most wedding photographers use fast zooms and then only one prime for speecial shots.
I'd second this...and don't use a 28-75 if you're indoors. Most budget weddings are in cramped conditions indoors which means you need a wide angle.
If you want to stay on a budget, look at the Tamron 17-50, otherwise the get Pentax 16-50. That's the first zoom range people generally use at a wedding. 2nd zoom is a 50-135 or 70-200 equiv. Prime is for wedding rings, so get a macro...
whoops...there goes your budget

You can always rent them from lensrentals.com too...

10-31-2011, 06:34 PM   #9
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I just shot my first wedding last month in about 20 years. I used the DA* 50-135mm for all the ceremony shots. For group shots I had to use something wide with all the people crowding around trying to get their shots as well. I used a Tamron 18-250mm because that is all I had that would be wide enough. Ideally, the 16-50mm or any of the wide limiteds would have been better. In a more controlled area with a larger sanctuary I probably could have gotten by with just the 50-135.
10-31-2011, 07:21 PM   #10
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I don't think most wedding shooters use zooms, I mean the low end ones probably do... I use 90% primes, and a tele zoom only for the ceremony. Read the PDN wedding books and you'll see those top end shooters using fast primes, medim format, and even film! Hell I shoot Super 8 at my weddings.

And don't worry too much about spending money early on, build your kit, but do it responsibly. Get that K5 and whatever lenses you'll use most, don't mind the debt too much because it's ok to be in the red for a while before things turn your way. Groupon for instance hasn't made a dime to date.

I'm thinking about getting a 645D. Don't be reckless, but show your clients you're legit. Think...31mm FA Limted is good debt...and sports cars bad debt... That kind of thing.
10-31-2011, 09:17 PM   #11
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I'm another prime only shooter at weddings. My kit for weddings is the 15LTD, 21LTD, 31LTD, DA*55/1.4 and either the 70LTD or the 77LTD.
I'll generally also have the A*85/1.4 along for available light from the back of the church.
Real estate is more important than zooming around, and one of the things I've noticed about zoom users is they tend to move around a lot more than prime shooters, with the risk of being noticed (rule 1 is be invisible).
I go to the rehearsal and mark out my spots where I'll be shooting from and I use those spots.
If you do decide to use zooms, use constant aperture ones, as variable aperture zooms can play havoc with fill light ratios.
11-01-2011, 01:25 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Hmmm... I'm into wedding photography and photojournalism, both is where I get my living. Anyway, you can use either zoom and/or prime. For me, what's important is that your lens is fast in the sense of having a wide aperture. As you know, especially that you and your friend are already shooting weddings, that some church or priests don't allow flash photography. So, those fast lenses are a good thing. As others have suggested here, yes, those lenses that they've suggested are all good choices.
Your choice of lens depends on what you shoot, and that's wedding. For wedding, you need wide, mid-range, telephoto, and lenses for special purpose.

My suggestions for weddings are:
- 12-24mm or 10-24mm
- 16-50mm f/2.8
- 50-135mm f/2.8 or 28-75mm f/2.8
- 70-200mm f/2.8
- 50mm f/1.4
- 77mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.4

These are just suggestions, but I hope it would help you choose. Your choice of lens still depends on your shooting style and your taste in composition. Again, a fast lenses are important for weddings. =)

Last edited by richard balonglong; 11-01-2011 at 04:53 AM.
11-01-2011, 08:54 PM   #13
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You need to know your equipment and that includes your lenses. As Wheatfield pointed out, knowing your venue, marking your spots, being there at the rehearsal is key. Add to that a great understanding of your equipment and you will do fine with either primes, zooms, or both.

Sperdynamite, many of the top wedding photographers (whether in popularity, revenue, and critical acclaim) use a mix of zooms and primes. Based on what I've seen, there is no right combo as each uses what works for them.
11-01-2011, 10:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by filthy58 Quote
Hi All, first time poster...be gentle.

My partner, for whatever reason, although I seriously consider she may be insane, after doing a couple of weddings, wants to do more.

She's currently using our K20d, and we are considering buying a K5 and using the 20 as a back up, however that is not relevant here I guess. The question is, I feel we obviously need to get away from the cheap Sigma lenses supplied with the camera for a variety of reasons. The question is........prime or zoom. I'm quite leaning towards prime after playing with an SMC Pentax - A 50mm that I bought on ebay. However after using it in a wedding situation I feel that it may have a little more magnification than we want indoors, although the aperture of f1.7 is very useful. I was considering buying a DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited Edition, for around $AUD700, but was wondering how this would compare with the aforementioned lens, in terms of magnification, considering one is a film lense and the other dedicated digital?

I guess the reason I'm leaning towards the primes, apart from the quality of the images, is that doubling the price and losing 2 or 3 f stops, just to save having to move back or forward, seems a luxury at this stage.

Thoughts?
Phil


I think the best investment you could make at this stage would be in a couple of books. One on the basics of digital photography, one on wedding photography. Then do some serious practice and testing wtih the lenses you already have. Either simulate wedding situations, or shoot weddings as a backup photog on a non-paying basis. Your Sigma lenses may not be perfect, but they will serve to develop baseline criteria for informed lens selection using first-hand experience rather than the widely varying opinions you encounter on the Web. You can also learn a lot about proper technique in general without placing clients' interests at risk.

Wedding photography seminars are a standard feature of many profesional photograpers' associations.

Remember that weddings are very important events in peoples' lives. It would be highly unethical to go professional in this field without thorough preparation. Could get very expensive legally speaking too.
11-02-2011, 08:47 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
Then do some serious practice and testing wtih the lenses you already have. Either simulate wedding situations, or shoot weddings as a backup photog on a non-paying basis.
^^ my thoughts too

QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
Remember that weddings are very important events in peoples' lives. It would be highly unethical to go professional in this field without thorough preparation. Could get very expensive legally speaking too

^^ yup, brings to mind a certain clip of judge joe brown, funny stuff, except for the bride:

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