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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 11th, 2012, 03:42 PM   #1
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Lenses questions for the SLT a77

I'm contemplating the purchase a Sony a77 to shoot weddings but I'm not sure what glass to go with. We want to replace our FX1, our 3rd camera, with something shooting 30p (60p).

========

OK, just a couple of questions.

1.) I want to get the
AF 24-70mm f/2.8
(APSc = 36-105mm) as a main lens. With that lens will I still need the
AF 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens Kit
(APSc = 24-75mm) -- Is 24mm (APSc =36mm) good enough for shooting the pre/post wedding activities in tighter locations or will I need a shorter lens??

2.) And for getting in tight during the ceremony, is the
AF 70-200mm f/2.8 G
(APSc = 105-300mm) going to be enough to get up close and personal from the back of the wedding? -- Should I consider getting the
2x AF Teleconverter
-or- the
AF 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G
(APSc = 105-600mm) ? -- Which equivalent of the Sony Z5 lenses (105-590mm).

========

We hope to eventually purchase either a Sony FS100 or the upcoming Alpha99-SLT at some point, so we want to stick with the Alpha lenses for now. We have shot a few weddings, for friends, a number of years ago. So this isn't entirely new to us, it is new... shooting with nice equipment.

I would appreciate the thoughts of those who have been shooting in the wedding settings. Thanks.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

We finally jumped into the A77's. So far we're pretty happy with them, although we have yet to shoot an actual wedding (We have 1 free and 1 paid wedding lined up for next month). I'm excited about getting started even this late in the season.

We now have 3x A77's and we're very happy with the video we can get, we also have a pair of Z5's+MRC1's. We spent quite a bit on good lenses and hope to eventually retire the Z5's and move to FS100, or something similar.

Having x3 A77's has made uniform practice much easier for the crew, my family. One daughter is already skilled with the Z5's and the rest can shoot OK but set-up is something my daughter & I have always done.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 08:30 PM   #3
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

Best of luck Mark - I just added a pair of A65's, looking forward to doing some "fusion" style with them. Great still cameras, and the video samples so far look great, mostly shooting old (cheap!) Minolta glass. Overall I'm impressed with these latest Sonys, finally beginning to feel that they can do "double duty" as both still and Video cameras.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #4
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

We added the a77 to our arsenal this past November and have been very pleased with the results. I can't speak personally about the CZ 24-70mm f/2.8 as I don't own one (yet), but I have heard nothing but great things about this lens. I use the 16-50mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 G and I get awsome coverage between those two. I'm sure I'll add a few more lenses this summer but for now, these two serve their purpose very well.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 12:50 PM   #5
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

Yes Dave, the dual role is pretty important for me, a ploy of sorts on my part. -- My wife and I shoot niche video where she is the talent and over time she has developed a fair-weathered knowledge of camera operations. It wasn't until we got the dual-role cameras that she began to take vested interest in becoming competent with camera operations. My wife likes the smaller form and feels better walking around with it. Now its not just me who carries a camera all the time.

Its been a long slow effort to get my wife serious about shooting. She has a good eye and creativity, now she's shooting with independence. My girls have been raised filming from both ends of the camera, they've had no trouble learning to operate the A77's.

Tonight is our first chance to operate as a shooting team with the cameras. We've been asked to film a local political debate (another free-bee).
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Old April 26th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #6
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

Michael, we dropped our plans of buying the FS100's and went with A77 kits and good glass. We bought the 1635Z, 2470Z, 85F14Z, 135F18Z, a pair of 70200G's, 3x Heliopan vND's and 3x Sony/Zeiss CPL's. I still need 2 macros and something nice and wide.

So far I'm really impressed with all the glass. Mostly we've stuck with the kit 1650's as everyone trains with the cameras but we have had the opportunity to use all the lenses. I was hoping the 70200G's would get a little tighter at 40' as B&G lenses, but I think they'll work great most of the time. I had to RMA the 135F18Z although I enjoyed it for the short time I had it. The Heliopan vND's are a great tool. I know many people complain about the over use of DoF, but that dreamy is look is what a bride expects for her vows.

It's been a bit overwhelming with so much gear flowing in, I'm not complaining but I've been really busy with life and still have more equipment coming. We plan on developing our team skills all summer as we push forward. If I can pick up just 2 paying jobs this summer I'll be happy.
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Old April 28th, 2012, 03:28 AM   #7
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

Is it true that to use the auto focus on the A77 you cannot use an f-stop wider than f3.5?

sonyalpharumors | Blog | Sony A77 video review from David Dugdale and more news and in Stock status check.
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Old April 28th, 2012, 07:33 AM   #8
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

Sadly, it's true. I think it might be some sort of limitation with the SLT system in conjunction with the PDAF though I can't confirm that. All of Sony's SLT cameras work this way...even the FS-100 when used with the LA-EA2 will default to this behavior. I hope they find a way around this limitation via an update at some point. It's a very crippling feature on an otherwise very good camera.

Last edited by Michael Bray; April 28th, 2012 at 08:36 AM.
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Old April 28th, 2012, 12:25 PM   #9
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

Thanks Michael. Between that, the lag in setting changes and delay switching the VF, I've stopped considering it. It was the 16-50 f2.8 IS lens that caught my interest thinking it would be nice lens for both stills via the A77 and video via VG-20 with adapter. But not at f3.5. Forget it.
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Old April 28th, 2012, 01:29 PM   #10
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Re: Lenses questions for the SLT a77

FWIW, I think the latest firmware addessed the lag in setting changes, and there is a way to make it faster in the menus - it's got a "tell you how to do it" feature that I think can be turned off once you know how to run the camera. The VF lag doen't seem to be a problem from my use of the A65 (A77's little bro), again the firmware update was supposed to address that issue IIRC.

And I mounted an old Minolta F1.7 lens on it, it seems to "work" fine for video, but since it's a wide f stop lens, the camera can't stop it down, so useless in bright light, where overexposure is guaranteed! So,I suspect if you have a fixed wider aperature lens, the camera can't stop it down, but still seems to work OK...

Still getting used to this camera, so I'm going from limited testing, but dang it takes good stills and the video seems plenty good so far. I'd have done the upgrade for the stills alone from what I've seen, but so far the video seems a bit more dialed in and less of an "add on feature" than the prior generation (not that it was bad, but it wasn't as useful in the way it was implemented.

As with any shooting with a SLR style cam, you have to change your approach to the camera, but these seem to work quite well in video mode so far. Fingers crossed, as I get to use the old Minolta glass collection and other accessories, and get a bonus "big chip video cam" in the bargain!
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