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09-26-2008, 08:30 AM   #46
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This is the point Ben. I have the zooms on for the service for example. If the venue will work for the 28mm or the 50. I use them. But the worst thing you can be doing is running around distracting everyone during the service. It is their day after all and if you're constantly "zooming with your feet" then you are too noticable.

More and more I'm shooting with the 70-200mm for part of the service and trying to get close from a respectful distance with less moving around. Partly because of the loud shutter. But again it's a balance. Flash can be even more distracting. If the venue and setup works for the 28 and 50. I'll put one on each body and use only those with no flash, shoot at 640 or 800 and +1 Ev to reduce noise, Av mode. Just switch between cameras instead of zooming. The primes offer much tighter DOF control and isolate the couple better than even a 2.8 zoom. It's all a balancing act. I'm looking forward to my arrival of the K20D as it may allow more high ISO cropping and "zoom with a crop". Thus allowing more prime use at wedding services.

As for the couple and the setup, I do discuss what I'm going to try to do during the service. So they will slow down or stand in the best spots etc. Not too much instruction but enough that they get the shots they want. Make sure you know every step of the service. No surprises with ring bearers and so on. Then being in the wrong spot with the wrong lens and no chance to correct.

09-26-2008, 09:22 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
As for the couple and the setup, I do discuss what I'm going to try to do during the service. So they will slow down or stand in the best spots etc. Not too much instruction but enough that they get the shots they want. Make sure you know every step of the service. No surprises with ring bearers and so on. Then being in the wrong spot with the wrong lens and no chance to correct.
I always discus that with the priest as well. Sometimes we agree, that I am the only photog and that the private snappers will have an opportunity after the offcial ceremony. Most priests don't like flash and ofcourse I accept that, but will educate the couple, that the photos will have some more "grain", than usual and that the colours might be very warm or mixed (blue from the windows...) But in the end, that never was a problem.

These things never change, whether you use film or digital.

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09-26-2008, 11:13 AM   #48
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These last two posts from Ben and Peter sum up things nicely - and show clearly the horns of the dilemma that I am dealing with.

ON THE ONE HAND... I am intrigued by the idea of shooting a wedding with just two primes, say, the Sigma 28 and the Sigma 105 (which I don't yet own), on two bodies. I think I could do that. In fact, I'm really tempted to order the 105 just so I can give this a try. There are two or three things to be said in favor of using a couple primes in this way. The 28 f/1.8 is significantly - more than a stop - faster than the f/2.8 lens I'd be using otherwise. That's perhaps the most important thing. I kind of hope that a decent prime will provide at least slightly better image quality than a good zoom. And finally, there's something intangible about shooting with fixed focal lengths - call it a discipline factor - that I believe is valuable, too. Shooting with a prime, and using full manual, these are the kinds of constraints that many artists and craftsmen find invigorating and motivating. This last point, that fixed focal length lenses are artistically valuable precisely because they're limited, may need lengthy philosophical argument to be persuasive to those who don't already believe this - and I hasten to say that I'm not entirely persuaded of it myself. But I do respect this line of thought.

ON THE OTHER HAND... As Peter notes, zooming with your legs can be distracting, both to the people around the photographer and to the photographer himself. I did receive delivery of the Sigma 28 f/1.8 yesterday morning and I've taken a couple dozen shots with it now. Last night I attended a "home and school" (like PTA) meeting up at my daughter's school. I do a lot of volunteer photography for the school and took my camera with me, with the new lens attached. The circumstances were sorta kinda similar to those of a wedding - bunch of people in the "audience", with a few people up front talking and being the center of attention. Even from a vantage point that, in a church, I would regard as very advantageous - maybe 20 ft away from the place where the speaker was standing - the 28mm was giving me a considerably wider field of view than I wanted. Several times I found myself doing what I remember doing years ago when I started photography and had no choice but to use fixed focal length lenses: I would walk up close to the speaker to take a shot, inevitably making myself fairly obvious in the process. I HATE doing this during a wedding. And even if I didn't care about bothering anybody else, composing shots for a prime lens makes my life a bit more difficult. Rotating the barrel of the lens to zoom is an extra level of complexity, but it's easier to zoom than it is to walk around, so at worst, this seems almost a wash. (Note that I'm not talking about portrait photography or any kind of photography where my distance from the subject is generally fixed or predictable. There I think it's very easy to justify the use of primes.) If you simply shoot wider than you need and then crop later, well, that defeats the "discipline" advantage of using the prime lens.

And then there's the issue of image quality. This for me is the bottom line. I am very aware that, back in the old days, zoom lenses could not hope to match primes in image quality. I simply don't find that to be so true any more. I have owned a couple mediocre zooms. But the zooms I'm doing most of my shooting with are not mediocre, and I find their results to be comparable in just about every way with the results I get from primes. I don't have an 80mm or 100mm prime to test the Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8 against, but the 50-135's image quality seems to me really very good, so even if a prime were better, I'm not yet persuaded the difference would be enough to outweigh the other advantages that the zoom has. As I think I've said, my Pentax FA 35 f/2 actually does NOT seem to me any better - may even be slightly worse - than the Pentax 16-45 f/4 at the same focal length and with an aperture of, say, f/5.6. I've only used it for a day now but the Sigma 28 f/1.8 seems a little sharper and a little better in other ways than the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8, but if I'm honest, I'll say that the difference in image quality isn't all THAT noticeable. Early in the year, I ordered an old Pentax 300 f/4 prime from KEH and was hoping that it would help with my nature photography (which is just hobby stuff for me - birds on vacation, etc.). But I honestly didn't think that the results I got were better than the results I was getting from the Tamron 70-300 zoom I've been using, and I know that the Tamron isn't really a great lens.

So the factors here seem to be speed (aperture), convenience, image quality, and discipline. Zooms win clearly on convenience. Image quality and displine seem to me not so clear. And speed or max aperture is at least fairly concrete: Substituting, say, a Sigma 105 f/2.8 for the Pentax 50-135 f/2.8, I'd gain nothing in speed and lose a LOT in convenience. Since I very much doubt that the Sigma 105 has better image quality than the Pentax 50-135, that puts a lot of weight on the very intangible issue of discipline.

So I'm struggling with this whole issue. This is just me - if anybody here already understands primes and feels comfortable using them, that's great, I know many people feel that way and I admire many of the shots I've seen taking by such photographers. I'm just so used to the advantages of zooms that I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out why I would volunteer to be stuck with just one focal length, especially for an assignment where multiple focal lengths are surely going to matter.

Will

Last edited by WMBP; 09-26-2008 at 11:19 AM.
09-26-2008, 11:24 AM   #49
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I hasten to add that I am NOT an image quality connoisseur. I could say that I'm not a pixel-peeper or measurebator but I'm trying not to be arrogant here. It's true that I generally don't worry about, say, chromatic aberration unless it's pretty noticeable. I tend to think that images can be TOO sharp. I don't fret over good or bad bokeh. Other aspects of lens quality do matter more to me (color rendition, contrast), but ultimately I'm not a technician. Perhaps that's my problem here. I say that I can't really see the big difference between the Pentax 35 and the Pentax 16-45, or between the Sigma 28 and the Sigma 18-50. Perhaps I'm just not looking hard enough, or not looking carefully enough....

Will

09-26-2008, 12:30 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I hasten to add that I am NOT an image quality connoisseur. I could say that I'm not a pixel-peeper or measurebator but I'm trying not to be arrogant here. It's true that I generally don't worry about, say, chromatic aberration unless it's pretty noticeable. I tend to think that images can be TOO sharp. I don't fret over good or bad bokeh. Other aspects of lens quality do matter more to me (color rendition, contrast), but ultimately I'm not a technician. Perhaps that's my problem here. I say that I can't really see the big difference between the Pentax 35 and the Pentax 16-45, or between the Sigma 28 and the Sigma 18-50. Perhaps I'm just not looking hard enough, or not looking carefully enough....

Will
If you don't see a difference - it is not important and obvious enough to annoy you. That's great - and I wouldn't worry, if others do see a difference. After all these are your lenses and your photographs and you need to be satisfied, as well as your clients. Whether anybody considering himself/herself to be an image-quality-hero(ine), goes at any length to tell you, that your images MUST be inferior, because you used this or that equipment instead of that and this - ignore it.

Ben
09-26-2008, 02:05 PM   #51
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I believe this is the most interesting lens thread I've ever read. I enjoy hearing the practical and pragmatic view of these lenses.
09-26-2008, 03:02 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I believe this is the most interesting lens thread I've ever read. I enjoy hearing the practical and pragmatic view of these lenses.
Dan,

I've found it a useful thread, too. And practical and pragmatic is where it's at, man, at least for those of us who aren't Bill Gates. You're right, a lot of lens threads (in every forum I've visited) seem to move fairly quickly to advanced discussion of chromatic aberration or purple fringing and to conclude that the $1400 Zeiss Super Studagon is the only lens worth putting on your camera. Those Super Studs do look really sweet and if I win the Texas lottery, I'm going to buy the whole line (all four of 'em). Might even buy one of them new Leica S2's while I'm at it, and donate it to the photography program of my alma mater.

:-)

Will
09-26-2008, 03:32 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Whether anybody considering himself/herself to be an image-quality-hero(ine), goes at any length to tell you, that your images MUST be inferior, because you used this or that equipment instead of that and this - ignore it.

Ben
This summarises the internet experience I have in Canon fora.

03-03-2010, 07:26 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Anyone with experience able to help me compare the Pentax FA 35 f/2 (the older, less expensive non-macro Pentax 35mm) with the Sigma 28 EX DG f/1.8 macro? Both seem to sell for about $300 and both look like very good lenses for the price. I like the Sigma's focal length a little better - 28mm (42mm-e) is closer to what I want - the 35mm is a tad long. (A 26mm would be even better but doesn't seem to exist.)

Thanks in advance.

Will
I am considering both of the lenses you mentioned. Since the original thread is 1.5 years old I am guessing you have come to a conclusion?
03-03-2010, 07:56 PM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Riktar Quote
I am considering both of the lenses you mentioned. Since the original thread is 1.5 years old I am guessing you have come to a conclusion?
Riktar,

I have them both. :-)

I admit that I like the Sigma a little better, both because it's a bit faster and because I like the 28mm focal length—in a general way—better than the 35. Also, although I seem to be almost alone in this, I rather like my Sigma lenses. I like the way they look and handle. The Pentax 35 f/2 seems, I dunno, less substantial. But I use them both and am glad to have them both.

If I HAD to get rid of one, I'd keep the Sigma 28. On the other hand, I think there's a Sigma 30 f/1.4 that looks excellent and I would consider trading my 28 for the 30....

Will
03-03-2010, 08:32 PM   #56
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There are 2 versions of the Sigma 28mm f/1.8 AF - the older one with the 58mm filter size and the newer 77mm filter size. Which one are you guys referring to?
03-03-2010, 09:16 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
There are 2 versions of the Sigma 28mm f/1.8 AF - the older one with the 58mm filter size and the newer 77mm filter size. Which one are you guys referring to?
I have the newer one with the 77mm filter.

Will
03-04-2010, 09:43 AM   #58
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Hey Will,

Thanks for the reply and giving your preference.

The reason I was asking was, I recently picked up a (My first FA prime) FA 50mm f/1.7 lens and I am blown away by the shots I can achieve with it. The difference in shooting with that vs my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 was almost as big a revelation as the first time I shot and viewed a picture on a Dslr vs a point and shoot camera.

Maybe not that big, but you get the idea.

So now I am on a mission to score additional primes to (maybe) replace my 17-50mm zoom.

My biggest needs for more primes are for my wedding shoots. Let me state that I am not the primary photographer but an assistant to the main photographer. My job (Aside from being a gopher) is getting the scene shots that the main person can not. IE: Before the cermony I shoot the groom and groomsmen preparing, during the ceremony I become the "church mouse" catching whatever looks like a good shot from the far corners or balcony, and then staying 45 - 90 degrees off the main photographer's shoulder to get post ceremony/reception shots from a different angle.

Now in "Church mouse" mode I primarily use a Sigma 35-135mm AF lens which (For what it is - f/3.5-4.5) is quite sharp and gives me great latitude in framing my shots.

But for the post ceremony/reception I have found that my 17-50mm pretty much lives in the 24-33mm range. I reviewed the last 4 weddings I shot and looked over all my (several hundred) "keepers" and determined that either the 35mm or the 28mm would suffice my prime needs.

Quality issues aside, I am glad you prefered the 28mm over the 35mm since I was thinking it is always easier to step forward, rather than (since walls and people tend to limit) backward movement.

So I guess my next mission is finding a Sigma 28mm. The following one is determining if I should sell the 17-50mm. Heck with that sale I could (almost) convince the Mrs. I need both!
03-04-2010, 10:42 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Riktar Quote
But for the post ceremony/reception I have found that my 17-50mm pretty much lives in the 24-33mm range. I reviewed the last 4 weddings I shot and looked over all my (several hundred) "keepers" and determined that either the 35mm or the 28mm would suffice my prime needs.
Before I decided to stop using zooms and go to primes, I did the same sort of analysis of my own photos and discovered that I was overwhelmingly favoring just a couple focal lengths, particularly at different points in the day. Before the wedding (taking shots in the dressing room, etc.) I was shooting wide-to-normal. For that, the Sigma 28 works almost perfectly. (I have the Sigma 10-20 handy at this point if I need it.) At the ceremony I was shooting long. I just acquired the Sigma 105 f/2.8 to help me here, since I sold my Pentax DA* 50-135. And at the reception, I was in the middle—there I will now be using the Pentax 40 and Pentax 70.


QuoteQuote:
Quality issues aside, I am glad you prefered the 28mm over the 35mm since I was thinking it is always easier to step forward, rather than (since walls and people tend to limit) backward movement.
Well, I want to give you a caveat. As I've said here many times, I am NOT a lens connoisseur. I have certainly learned a lot about lenses in the last several years and I guess I'm becoming more discriminating. But some folks HATE Sigma lenses. I think that's a mistake: They may have some quality control problems, but my experience with Sigma lenses has been very good. Anyway, check out other reviews that you respect before making your purchase.


Will
03-04-2010, 12:50 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Well, I want to give you a caveat. As I've said here many times, I am NOT a lens connoisseur. I have certainly learned a lot about lenses in the last several years and I guess I'm becoming more discriminating. But some folks HATE Sigma lenses. I think that's a mistake: They may have some quality control problems, but my experience with Sigma lenses has been very good. Anyway, check out other reviews that you respect before making your purchase.
Excellent advice. What's more... it's not like Pentax - and other OEM cameramakers - haven't experienced QC problems with some of their lenses in recent years as well. At least Sigma gives you a much-longer warranty. If one sticks with their top-of-the-line glass, one should be okay.
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