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Old March 19th, 2013, 03:58 AM   #1
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Who's using primes for the ceremony?

Hi All - last weekend I shot in a very dark ceremony room (Allerton Castle) that had my Sony EA50 kit lens fully open at f3.5 and the gain all the way up to 30db - Neat Video to the rescue again!

So I'm finally thinking about putting on a prime lens for the ceremony but I'm so used to being able to zoom and reframe (even use a few slow zooms) I might find a fixed focal length so limiting. Also, in a similar environment using an f1.4 or f2.8 I'll still be using 24 or 27db gain which will only be marginally better

I always have 2 other cameras on the go but without the option for reframing my main camera it might take on a more 'ccvt' type aspect.

So the question is - How to be creative with primes?
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Old March 19th, 2013, 04:20 AM   #2
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

Hi I've started using Primes in the Ceremony. It's tricky, but I have a Canon handycam at the back for safety, a GH2 with a Prime on one side of the room, then me on the otherside with a GH3 + Prime lens and a GH2, with either a Prime lens or a Zoom. Being small cameras, I can have the GH3 on a thin tripod and my GH2 on a Monopod without taking up much space. Or vice Versa, whichever I feel works best before the Ceremony begins. Last Ceremony I did, I had the GH2 with a 45mm for more wide angle, and my GH3 on a 75mm for closeups. Switching between the 2 in edit removes the CCTV look.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 04:22 AM   #3
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

Hi Pete

The SEL50F18 is quite nice for ceremonies ..I tried it once then sold it!! I'm so used to zooms and reframing (not zooming except if I have a framing error and have to creep towards my new target)

I'm normally semi wide in the Church and then on my A-Cam once the readings are over (which I have already reframed cos the lectern is way over on the right or left) I then have a few seconds when the couple come into the centre and I like a fairly tight shot of them during vows and use the 2nd cam for wide shots. To get that sort of sequence on a prime your only option is to use the EA-50 digital zoom as the priest isn't going to be too happy with you moving tripods around his Church.

During the rehearsal I try and quiz them about what lights are going to be (can be) on and in one case I even persuaded the guy to have the side door open to give me some more light.

If you did use a prime then a good idea would be to buy a dolly spreader for you tripod and then at least when you have to get closer you could quietly wheel it forward just like a studio camera.

Due to the limited need to focus constantly at a wedding, would something like a Nikon zoom not be a good idea?? My photog has a zoom that is about right and it's F2.8 right the way through the range...the issue with the stock lens it that if you zoom up halfway for readings and vows your F3.5 becomes F5.6!!

There must be really fast DSLR zooms out there ???

Chris
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Old March 19th, 2013, 05:42 AM   #4
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

Hi Peter,

You can be just a creative with prime lenses, just that you have to move more yourself, to get the framing!

I'm not a wedding shooter, so my comments may not be applicable, but I have shot some ¨quinceaneros¨, using an FS100 and primes - I usually don't use the Sony kit lens due to lighting, but mainly use Rokinon primes, as well as the SEL50F18.
I get good results never going above 18-24dB gain, but of course, I have the freedom to move freely most of the time, or to plan my location for the main fixed events (waltz, etc) to get the best shots.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 06:05 AM   #5
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

If you work alone faster primes are a challenge, especially when it comes to focus and choosing a frame since you have to move instead of zooming in. You could use the digital zoom but I would be careful with that to ensure your image doesn't degrade too much. The best solution however would be to get a fixed f2.8 zoom lens and buy a metabones speedbooster. In that way you have zoom functionality (manually but still better then nothing) and you gain a stop of low light sensitivity.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 06:33 AM   #6
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

Using primes for shooting the wedding ceremony is really making a rod for your own back. Unlike a photographer who can dip in & out & use his/her feet to get the framing right you will be stuck on a tripod in a place where you have been told to stand. What if you are too far away for your 50mm but too close for your 100mm to get the framing that you want. What are you going to do when it comes to the ring shot or the first kiss? Quickly change to a longer lens to get the close-up?

With the GH2/GH3 there are lots of cheap manual primes that you can use & few decent zooms & non of them cheap. You are also limited as to low light performance. With the Canon DSLRs the 24-70mm & 70-200mm are outstanding lenses & the 24-105mm is pretty decent too. With a Canon 5D3 I have never encountered a church that was so dark that needed ISO6400 at F/2.8 & even if I did I would just drop the shutter speed to 1/30 to grab almost another stop of light as they don't move much.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 07:15 AM   #7
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

Well many Canon users sneer down at Panasonic Micro 4/3 users. The GH2 is I admit pretty poor in low light, though better with the hack; the GH3 is not too bad and better than the Canon 60d which I used last year. Not a patch of course on the Mark III's low light and I did come close to going down that route last year but the videos I saw initially looked too soft for me. I've revised this now knowing how well it sharpens in post, but I made a decision which route to go down and chose the Panasonic. Not one I regret. I've got some good quality lens that are much smaller than Canon equivalent, allowing me to have a variety of Primes in a pouch by my side for quick change, and even a small camera bag to have a GH2 with a different prime or zoom for getting out if the need arises. For the Ceremony I operate 2 Cameras side by side, with one either being a longer range prime or a zoom. The GH2/GH3 also has a crop mode so I can get a closer zoom as long as I keep the ISO low. However don't get me wrong, a zoom lens is used frequently. I've been lucky the last 2 Weddings that I knew I could get away with just Primes, but the 1 before I used my zoom on my GH3 throughout the Ceremony because I knew the Primes would limit me. I prefer the look of the Primes, which can vary from one lens to the next - some of softer than others. However I don't like messing up a shot, so where I feel this could be an issue, my zoom lens comes into play. All I can say is, it works for me and I like the results.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 07:30 AM   #8
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

Quote:
With the GH2/GH3 there are lots of cheap manual primes that you can use & few decent zooms & non of them cheap. You are also limited as to low light performance. With the Canon DSLRs the 24-70mm & 70-200mm are outstanding lenses & the 24-105mm is pretty decent too. With a Canon 5D3 I have never encountered a church that was so dark that needed ISO6400 at F/2.8 & even if I did I would just drop the shutter speed to 1/30 to grab almost another stop of light as they don't move much.
The GH2/3 has the 12-35 and 35-70 (which is equivalent to the Canon 24-70 and 70-200 because of the crop factor). They aren't necessarily cheap, but with a constant aperture of 2.8 they are great lenses.

I use prime lenses on prep and reception filming, but the ceremony I'll use zooms just because it's not as practical to move around a lot.

Last edited by Daniel Latimer; March 19th, 2013 at 09:49 AM.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 09:01 AM   #9
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

We use both primes and zooms. For our low light situations, we keep 4 prime lengths on hand to solve the issue of changing distance to subject (35, 50, 85, 135). Having 3 cameras setup and 2 operators means we can actually change lens. Bride camera will have a 35 and 85, groom side will have a 50 and 135, for example.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 11:46 AM   #10
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

I usually have a 3 camera setup.

1st camera is on centre aisle with generally a 70-200 f2.8 to zoom in on reader or zoom out to include both bride & groom during vows & rings

2nd camera will get a 2nd angle of reader and then groom's angle during vows. This is generally a 135mm f.2

3rd camera will get cutaways and reactions during readings and then bride's angle during vows. This one can alternate between any kind of lenses during readings and generally back to 135mm f.2 during vows to match the 2nd camera.

It's generally not so hard to hire an assistant to show up for only 1-2 hours during ceremony just to man a camera and give me some peace of mind so I normally run this setup with 2-3 shooters but I could get away with just 1 shooter if I really needed to. I just need to make sure I have one safe angle locked down before adjusting my other cameras. I move discreetly between my cameras from around the back of the crowd so I don't disturb anyone.

Many times, my 2nd shooter or assistant would also have their own second backup camera so I can sometimes add an extra camera as wide angle on the balcony or somewhere at the back. I would also tell them to feel free to grab a slider and discreetly get some creative stuff around when other cameras are already secured.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:13 AM   #11
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

I've shot about 70 weddings with the lumix cameras now and they'll do me but I'm not game to use a prime during the ceremony - I use the 14-140 and sure it struggles sometimes but I can cope with whatever happens with a zoom (3 camera setup as well)
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Old March 21st, 2013, 08:57 AM   #12
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

I use primes for ceremonies all the time and I'm a single shooter (single cam) at my jobs. I've figured out the perfect setup/timing for the quinceanera's I film but for weddings it really is very difficult unless you use 2 cams and are able to move from side to center aisle. On my C100 I use the 85mm 1.8 a lot and the 17-55 IS as well at different times at the ceremony. For the 2 weddings I've used the C100 on I've used both the same lenses but for majority of the ceremony I shot on the side closest to the podium with the 85 and when time for vows move to the middle with the 85 and when I know I can switch lens switch if need be. If you're giving the ceremony in full then it's very difficult single cam to do it. If you're giving a condensed ceremony then it's a lot easier to shoot only primes and enjoy the better lowlight and Shallow DOF. GL
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Old March 25th, 2013, 12:36 PM   #13
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Re: Who's using primes for the ceremony?

I use a Canon 5D MKII with a Canon 17-40mm f/4 for processional, Canon 135mm f/2 for the bulk of the ceremony (center aisle) and usually a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 for recessional. 1-2 side cams and those guys usually use a 24-70mm f/2.8 for most of it (on 7D's).

Sometimes it would be nicer to have a bit extra length on the 135mm but the fast aperture is great in dark churches, which I do far more of than outdoor ceremonies.
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