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Old August 12th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #1
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Prime lens for processional?

Crazy idea, I know. My zooms are F/2.8, and for much of the day they are fine, but I've been wondering about shooting the processional with a F/1.4 lens from down front.

Has anyone tried this?

Don't get me wrong, I run two zoooms and two primes for each wedding ceremony, and I'm not a "prime lens snob". But I wonder if a clear crisp image shot with a 50mm F/1.4 would be better than a slow zoom for this all-important shot.

I find the dim conditions in the aisle make for less than stellar footage with an F/2.8 anyway, at least most weddings. Why not skip the zoom and just let the camera do the work, and not zoom at all for the subjects during the processional?
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Old August 12th, 2011, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

Hey, Jeff, I'm assuming you're planning to follow focus on the subjects as they walk up the aisle, right? If not, and you're just looking for them to walk in and out of a specific focal point then ignore this. Otherwise, the issue I see would be that at 1.4 the DOF is so shallow that you may find you have a very hard time following focus. Even at 2.8 it can be quite challenging.

You might just experiment in the studio. Have someone start a ways off and walk toward you while you follow focus. See if you're comfortable with it.
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Old August 12th, 2011, 08:53 PM   #3
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

Yes, I would be follow focusing Travis. SO many things to keep in mind with these cams, I forgot the DOF issues at wide apertures. You're right, it would be nigh-impossible at F/1.4. On the other hand, I could try even F/2.0, which would still be challenging but more doable, and still quite nice, if it could be pulled off. Your suggestion to play around with it is of course excellent. I'll try it tomorrow morning before my shoot, just for the heck of it.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #4
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

hey Jeff. I use the 24mm 1.4 at the front of the aisle on a 60D. I'm usually around 2.0 aperture.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

This is what I currently do with a 35 1.4 on a 5d usually around f2. I think going forward I am going to use a 24-70 on a 7d start on the long end and pull focus until the framing is bad. Snap wide and pull focus again. I will have to cut in footage during the transition.


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Old August 13th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

The widest prime I have today is a 30mm F/1.4, but that's effectively like 55mm or something (it's a 4/3 lens on a M4/3 body) and too tight/long for today.

I'm sending my 20mm to my second wedding (I hate not having that lens today!) so for today I can't do anything anyway.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #7
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

I use the 85mm 1.8 and love the way it looks. It takes some practice, but well worth it once you get the hang of it.

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Old August 13th, 2011, 10:31 PM   #8
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

You use an 85mm for the processional from down front to get the bride coming in? You would really have to back up as she approaches the altar, I imagine. Sounds exceedingly difficult.
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Old August 14th, 2011, 06:01 PM   #9
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

Hey Jeff,

Yep, the entire way down. Of course I have to back up a bit once she's at the end of the isle, but thats what the other camera(s) are for. I really love the 85 looks when it's kept in focus from start to finish.

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Old August 14th, 2011, 06:59 PM   #10
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

I'm looking for what will be an ideal lens to try for this purpose, the Panasonic 25mm F/1.4 which is effectively around 50mm which would be as long as I would want to try initially. I have a 50mm F/1.4, (effectively around 100mm) I might try going to a church tomorrow and playing with it for kicks.

I appreciate you sharing your experience Stephen!
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Old August 14th, 2011, 09:27 PM   #11
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

Jeff,

I use the 50mm 1.4 on my gh2 as well, it works great and having that manual focus ring is awesome!
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Old August 14th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #12
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

Hi David, I use the 50mm FD lens for various things, but I'm finding it lacks the coatings or something of other lenses, and it has some issues. Under the right conditions it's a fantastic lens, but it doesn't handle things too well under other conditions. I'm a newbie at this, so I'm not sure how to describe it, but the SSC coatings of some other lenses would probably improve the look a lot.

But yes, I do like the lens, but I'm getting much more finnicky over time, as I see the shortcomings of various lenses I have.
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Old August 15th, 2011, 02:00 PM   #13
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
You use an 85mm for the processional from down front to get the bride coming in? You would really have to back up as she approaches the altar, I imagine. Sounds exceedingly difficult.
I shoot processionals with the 70-200 all the time, and yes you have to back off as they approach you and do the hand off.

Likewise I shoot with primes if the aisle is short. My go to prime for this is the 50 1.2. I used it for this saturday's wedding precessional. If memory serves me correct I stopped it down to 2.0. I'm gotten pretty good at following focus for processionals.
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Old August 17th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #14
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Re: Prime lens for processional?

Jeff, there are a couple of tricks I use for shooting the processional from the head of the aisle. For starters, I stop down the aperture as much as possible so that I have maximum depth of field. Normally, you don't want shallow DOF for the procession anyway. If you do want it, it is usually a second camera that is dedicated to those shots.

The other thing I do on the GH2 is to mark on the LCD display the focus point for the back of the aisle and another for the front where you back away for the hand off. I do this beforehand so it is already marked before the wedding begins. As the person being shot moves down the aisle, I just proportionally adjust the focus between the two marks. This technique allows you to quickly move the point of focus to the back again for the next person coming down the aisle. For this, I turn off the LCD zoom focus assist. I find it very distracting for this shot. IMHO, if you are zooming and follow focusing that's a bigger handful because these lenses aren't par focal lenses so the focus shifts when you zoom.

You can also use a lock down camera low in the aisle in the front with a focus zone preset. You can use this footage in conjunction with footage from other cameras when people are out of the locked down cameras focus zone. You can extend this zone if you close down your aperture as much as possible and increase the ISO to allow a more closed down aperture.
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