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Old April 21st, 2004, 10:13 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: New Rochelle, NY 10801 (near NYC)
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what lens best for weddings?

Hi. Although I'm halfway through shooting my first feature with the XL1 stock lens, until I make that huge million dollar deal at Sundance my bread and butter is shooting weddings.

My main employer has become dissatisfied with the image of the XL1, having seen footage shot with cameras such as the DSR300, 500, 570 etc. Not wanting to give up my XL1, I told him I would get a better lens for it. So:

1) will the 16 or 14 manual lens give a noticeable superior image to the stock lens?

2) for someone like myself who is shooting weddings, shooting on the fly, no second takes usually and who has to zoom a lot to grab the shot, is it really feasible to get one of these manual lenses or will it slow me down?

3) from what I've read in the past, the 14 lens has no servo zoom capability, correct? while the 16 lens does? if so, I would lean toward the 16 then but-

4) is the 16 lens significantly heavier than the stock lens? I shoot handheld with a monopod, no tripod, with the monopod
retracted so I use it more as a steady stick.

5) I understand with both I lose the image stablization feature, so given that and the heavier weight of the 16 lens, is this going to make shooting significantly more difficult, giving I'm handheld, aided by my monopod steady stick?

6)any wedding/event videographers out there using the XL1, with one of these manual lenses, who has any advice/comments?
or anyone else for that matter, just general comments on my situtation?

Finally, anyone know where I could get a 16 lens under a thousand?

Bob Andren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2004, 11:24 PM   #2
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I'll take a swing at some of your queries.

1) No.

2) The 16x Manual Servo lens features a servo-driven zoom. But the real issue of potential "slow down" in your case is probably mainly a matter of manually focusing and managing your iris. In this regard, all I can tell you is that it requires a great deal or practice. But mastery will bring rewards in much better results.

3) That is correct. The 14x is all-manual.

4) See my article in the link above, for details.

5) Again, this will be a matter of practice to get good results. But, in my opinion, the XL1's design makes handheld shooting more difficult than with full-sized cameras. I'd recommend considering investing in a good shoulder brace such as the DV Rig Pro or Studio One's brace for greater stability.

I doubt you'll find the 16x for under $1,000, except under distressed conditions. You may find a used 14x for well under that figure.

One last note. Comparing the XL1's footage to that of 1/2" or 2/3" full-sized professional cameras is illegitimate. The head of a DSR570 alone costs 5 times what a whole XL1S costs. A good lens for that camera can cost well over $20,000. (Canon has one 2/3" lens that runs nearly $44,000.) These cameras are in a completely different price/performance league and market. Certainly, if your business' margins can afford better equipment why not use them? (A $60,000 camera seems pretty rich for shooting weddings but, hey.) You should realize, however, that using a big camera requires the same skilled camera/lens handling abilities required for the manual lenses above.

Good luck!
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Old April 23rd, 2004, 10:38 AM   #3
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Location: Brossard, Quebec, Canada
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For wedding, I use the standard 16x Canon lens with stabilization on. During the park/photo shoot I add in the 1.6 Extender. With the MA100 and stabilizer on, I can get extreme steady CUs of the bride capturing those emotional moments. I also stand way back so that I can grab these candid moments without disturbing the event. This also throws foreground and background out of focus which makes the shot beautiful (the money shots). I also always keep autofocus off so that I use my left fingers to tap on the manual autofocus to get things in focus fast.

I once forgot to turn on the stablization and noticed the shakiness at the extreme end of the zoom with the 1.6 extender.

For quick on the fly (grab those special moments), I always keep my left pinkie ready to tap on the focus button, while my left thumbs rides (rack) the aperture (I always shoot everything in manual). My right on the zoom button for quick framing ( I never use zooms in shots and when I do, I use the zoom almost at a crawl)).

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Old April 23rd, 2004, 08:20 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Bob, tell your employer that you are happy to use a DSR570.
Once he is happy with that, remark to him that your day shooting rate will go up $900 a day to cover the cost of renting or leasing it.

I think you can rent one for about $600/day, including tripod.
Put the other $300 in your pocket and smile.

That's what I would do.
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Old April 23rd, 2004, 09:07 PM   #5
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One thing you might consider trying is what the photographers of National Geographic and Life do. These guys who work the crowds and streets taking those neat photos you see use one camera and one lens, a 28 or 35mm wide angle.

They walk right up to the street markets and snap away close up and never seem to get in anyone's way. Yes, there is a technique to it but they all say it's the only way to do it, including all their "candids".

The trick, I read, is to not be afraid to let them know your there and warm up to them. That way they forget you're there and you can snap away like crazy.

Well, roll tape at least.

Now that idea, I guess, wouldn't work during the formal ceremony and you'd need longer lenses but pick up any of those magazines and see what they do with short lenses.
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