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10-30-2008, 11:09 AM   #1
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weddings and lens selection

a friend of mine wanted to become a wedding planner for awhile now, this upcoming December shes going to get her chance

being a good friend she is trying to get me on board to do the photography, its not going to be a big wedding so it wont be as hectic.

now, i have assisted at a wedding before, so i fully realize that this is no easy task, in fact after my first assist my respect for wedding photographers went up significantly.

anyhoo, i have enough equipment to do almost any standard job (a K20D and a K100D, flashes, tripods, monopods, and i can get access to some light stands n such)

however all of my lenses with the exception of the sigma 10-20 are primes,

they are GOOD primes, so as long as i can get the subjects patient with me to swap lenses i should do okay

however being at weddings i know how little patience the bride and groom have, if this was an off-wedding day "photoshoot" i wouldnt care, but the "day off", ohh man, you have to be quick on your feet..

ANYWAY

the photographer i assisted has had great success with his Nikon D200 and a 17-50mm F2.8 lens

its a good range, its fast, it has autofocus and would require little lens changing (he rarely changed is)

pentax has that, the DA*16-50

pentax ALSO has the brand new DA17-70 F4

so here is my question for anyone that wants to throw their two cents in.

considering there will be alot of use of flash and lights, do i need 2.8?

outside of a wedding, i would bother with a zoom only from a tourist point of view, and even then, 3 primes in my bag and i'm good... so i definetly dont "need" a zoom

which is why the 17-70 is getting my attention, it has a very nice coverage, apperantly superb IQ, and can be a good tourist lens.

or stick to my nice prime collection and simply explain to the client that they are just going to have to be patient with me (particulary the manual focus primes )


thoughts?

10-30-2008, 11:26 AM   #2
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What primes do you have right now?

Personally, I like the idea of using a constant aperture zoom because I shoot with manual flash. The constant aperture means there's only one variable, distance from the subject. Being able to zoom in/out without the aperture changing is a major plus. I just adjust the flash power depending on the distance. Having a wider aperture allows for less flash power and faster recycle times. At F2.8 and 1/8th or 1/16 power on the flash, I've never had to wait for the flash to recycle. Very important if you're in a fast-paced setting.

The other good thing about a F2.8 is the ability to throw the backgrund out of focus more easily. Of course, you can accomplish the same thing with your primes. That's good for ring shots, bouquet shots, and any other shot where you want a shallower DOF. I'm sure there are plenty of wedding photogs that shoot entire weddings with primes. A kit with a 24mm, 43mm, and a 70mm would cover just about anything....
10-30-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxwell1295 Quote
What primes do you have right now?

Personally, I like the idea of using a constant aperture zoom because I shoot with manual flash. The constant aperture means there's only one variable, distance from the subject. Being able to zoom in/out without the aperture changing is a major plus. I just adjust the flash power depending on the distance. Having a wider aperture allows for less flash power and faster recycle times. At F2.8 and 1/8th or 1/16 power on the flash, I've never had to wait for the flash to recycle. Very important if you're in a fast-paced setting.

The other good thing about a F2.8 is the ability to throw the backgrund out of focus more easily. Of course, you can accomplish the same thing with your primes. That's good for ring shots, bouquet shots, and any other shot where you want a shallower DOF. I'm sure there are plenty of wedding photogs that shoot entire weddings with primes. A kit with a 24mm, 43mm, and a 70mm would cover just about anything....

my primes include...

zen 16mm fish
sig 18mm f2.8
da 21 f3.2
sig 28 f1.8
tak 28 f3.5
tak 35 f2.0
tak 35 f3.5
fa 43 f1.9
fa 50 f1.4
tak 50 f1.4
viv 50 f1.7
chi 50 f1.9
tak 55 f1.8
cos 55 f1.2
tak 85 f1.8
jup 85 f2.0
tak 135 f2.5
tak 135 f3.5

there.... i think thats all of them, HAHAHAHAHA

hmm..

the thing about shallow depth of field, at F4 between 30-70mm i think i can get good enough OOF backgrounds on portrait shots, i dont think F2.8 is going to help much on the 17mm end though, which btw, also depends on the background itself, and how far away the background is (can you feel i'm trying to sell the DA17-70 to myself )

on the other hand a weather sealed f2.8 lens is also nice, i can feel more secure on my camping trips and what not.
10-30-2008, 11:33 AM   #4
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Having never been a wedding photographer before, the only input I have is that some of the nicest wedding shots I've seen are the lowlight, non-flash shots that are full of bokeh. As you've got two bodies, I think I would likely have a fast lens (probably the 50 1.4) on one of the cameras. Regarding the other body, I like your logic re the lens options...

10-30-2008, 11:46 AM   #5
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Before you read my message, please consider the following:

1) I've only shot two weddings in my life (both as a favor, and both this past month, as it happens);
2) I don't intend on shooting another one (things went well, but I have no desire to get into this sort of thing seriously);
3) they were both shot with Nikon equipment (which a friend - the father of the bride in the 1st wedding - lent to me for a month before the first wedding so I could get accustomed to it);

I used a D300 with a Nikkor 17-55/2.8 zoom almost exclusively on both occasions. I felt the zoom was most useful during the ceremony proper, because things happen very quickly then and you will want/need different framings in a short time span. I would not have been comfortable changing lenses.

The zoom was also very useful for the "candid" shots of the groom and bride's preparation and dressing up. Again, this happen quickly and different angles of view are called for in a short time.

Primes would have been fine for the "formal" & family pictures, but even then time is of the essence because everyone just wants to go to the party by then

I feel f/2.8 is preferable to f/4 because it gives you more possibilities to use shallow DOF for more "artsy" shots. Mind you, I spend most of my time between f/4 and f/5.6, but f/2.8 was used several times.

So my advice is: get a f/2.8 zoom. Two cheaper alternatives to the DA*16-50 are the Tamron 17-50/2.8 and the Sigma 18-50/2.8. I have no experience with them at all, but they are generall well-spoken of.


Other thoughts & notes not directly related to your enquiry:

My "base" settings on the D300 were M-mode, ISO 800, f/4 to f/5.6, 1/80-1/100s. The flash was in "TTL-BL" mode ("balanced-light", very nifty - I don't believe Pentax has an equivalent more unfortunately) with a Gary Fong Lightsphere Universal II (no dome, pointed at the ceiling).

I went to the church on two occasions before the wedding to perform lighting tests. I also printed some tests shots in 8x12" to make sure the ISO800 results were good when printed at that size.

For the first wedding, I had the D300 + 17-55/2.8 zoom as my main camera, with a D200 + 85/1.8 prime as a backup/longer reach solution. A bit cumbersome to carry around my neck, but not as bad as I anticipated. I wanted a longer lens because I felt 55mm would not be long enough for some shots.

I ended up not using the D200+85mm combo much, and was generally dissatisfied with the results it gave so I did not use it for the 2nd wedding. As it happens, lack of stabilisation was a major factor in the so-so results I got, along with the fact the I was limited to ISO 400 for IQ reasons. I should have gone with my initial idea and carry the K10D+FA77 for a "longer reach" body, and keep the D200 strictly as a backup.

So I guess my recommendation is a xx-50/2.8 zoom on your K20D, and a prime between 70 and 85mm on your K100D, both cameras around you neck at least during the ceremony. If you can, get a D-BG2 battery grip for your K20D, because you'll be shooting a lot of shots in "portrait" orientation, and you'll need 2 batteries for the whole day anyway.
10-30-2008, 12:00 PM   #6
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Ditto 17-70 being a bit slow...go w/ a 17-55 to handle most of your shots.
Put a prime or a 70-200/2.8 on the other camera.

p.s., and cross your fingers and hope you don't run into a bridezilla ;-)
10-30-2008, 12:21 PM   #7
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You will be much happier with an f/2.8 lens for the wedding. You may never use it wide open, but an extra stop or two is invaluable in helping with your focusing, auto or manual.

If I were to take on a wedding (having shot a few with my KX and 55/1.8 + 28/3.5 many years ago) My k10d with the DA* 16-50 would be about all I feel I would need. As the "official photographer" you are expected to get up close during the ceremony, as long as you are not in the way. This makes a 75mm equivalent just enough for the ceremony.

I did shoot one wedding where no camera was allowed in the sanctuary during the service. I shot with chromogenic black and white film through a glass window on the front of the "cry room" in the balcony. Not much chance to change perspective, but it worked.
10-30-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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Post 12 of this thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-talk/40556-taking-up-knitting-me-...-disaster.html

10-30-2008, 12:40 PM   #9
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very intresting read indeed.

maybe i should stop wasting money and just try to learn to do the job using the lenses i already have (one too many i say!)
10-30-2008, 02:08 PM   #10
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The truth is that modern day wedding is fast paced photojournalistic style (so called "capturing the moments of the day" style). There is little time to actually compose every shot. Instead, it is more like hit and miss kind of thing.

Being a wedding assist is more about getting shots that main photographer cannot get like guest blunder, funny moments, different angles of the wedding couple and some unsuspecting moments.

For a 2nd assist, the focus is to supplment the potential failed images taken by the main photographer like the timing of putting on the ring, kissing moment, reading vowels, signing wedding document, in and out of the car, expression of the loved ones. Not to mention the time before the bride left the house about how she applied her make up, the dressing up period etc.

Changing primes frequently make you lost control of the wedding photography as the photographer has to be able to snap away so many crucial moments as evidence of service. In the end, the photographer needs to reveal the work he/she has done. Time is essence.

f2.8 is rather dark inside building when everyone does not pause or pose for the photographer. Flash can be potentially damaging to render images with the quality of children's snapshots (no time to control the lighting environment). High ISO is often used just to make sure the shots are captured without motion blurr most of the time.

Zooms are just easier than primes in wedding. But you do not need to go all the way just to get a zoom for the wedding. After all, this is a good thing to be 2nd assist and shooting wedding without any pressure to produce great work is always relaxing. I enjoy 3rd assist much better than main photographer.

Try to use prime to go very close to the guest and snap shots on their faces. Surely, it would be a very different style to the main photographer...
10-30-2008, 02:47 PM   #11
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Serge, have you thought about using one of your film cameras as well so you always have two lenses available? You could use B&W film that way as well.
10-30-2008, 02:52 PM   #12
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I agree with Roentarre's comments on lens changes. I've shot a fair number of weddings and in the old days everyone who was serious, shot with primes. It was tough. It was why I had 2 LX's and a K1000. Switch cameras instead of lenses.

Today's zooms are much better and actually the better lens in many cases because you don't really want 85mm f1.8 razor sharpness for a portrait. A touch of softness can make the image better in many cases.

So my kit (and it works great for me - 16 weddings this year so far)
K20D Da16-45 f4
K10D Sigma EX 70-200mm f2.8
In the waist belt is:
FA50mm f1.4
Sigma EX 28mm f1.8
Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro
Sigma 10-20mm

The 2 zooms get 85% of the work. I don't want to a) fumble with lens changes. b) introduce dust during the day. c) make anyone wait cause they won't.

The results I think are just fine. I'd love to have the speed of the DA*16-50mm f2.8 but bought one and it was a bad copy. The 16-45 is sharp from f4 and fast focusing so I'm waiting on a V2 of the DA* or the right lens on the marketplace that I know is fine. So far I missed 3.
10-30-2008, 03:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
.

The results I think are just fine. I'd love to have the speed of the DA*16-50mm f2.8
16 weddings without an F2.8 seems like a good accomplishment

can you elaborate a bit more on how confident you feel at a wedding knowing you cant go below F4? (without busting out a prime)
10-30-2008, 04:36 PM   #14
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I friend of mine got married this past weekend. Here in Albania, the bride does her own wedding, if she can afford it, and then the groom has his own wedding.

The bride of my friend was short on money and she wasn't going to hire a professional photographer and she asked me to lend her one of my cameras. I offered her to be her wedding photographer as a p&s wouldn't be up to the task and people wouldn't be able to use a dslr.

I have a K100D and took all my lenses with me:

Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8

Kit lens 18-55mm

Tamron 28-200mm

Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4

ect.


I started with the sigma being a fast lens but I ended up using it between f/5.0 and f/6.3. Our wedding are very fast paced with a lot of people dancing and 28mm wide angle of the Sigma wasn't enough. I ended up using the kit lens for the second part of the wedding.

The ideal range for the kind of weddings we have here would be a 18-70mm.
10-30-2008, 05:44 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
16 weddings without an F2.8 seems like a good accomplishment

can you elaborate a bit more on how confident you feel at a wedding knowing you cant go below F4? (without busting out a prime)
Serge, I have no issues with F4. Sometimes I'll shoot the lens wide open, sometimes I'll go up to ISO 800. When I need the higher ISO's I'll either shoot in manual and slightly over expose the shot or I'll in any other mode, set the camera to +1/3 eV. That will help reduce shadow noise.

The lens will focus fast enough and those settings will give me enough shutter speed to freeze the action. If the light is just too dark, I'll put the 28 f1.8 and the 50 f1.4 on the bodies and use those lenses. You have them as well so you'd be all set.

I'm not sure what else I can add to this. I really like the lens. It's sharp enough and renders a very good image so it does the job.
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