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


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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:23 AM   #1
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If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

I'm looking to finally upgrade. I really feel I need to be on full frame and theres no use putting it off. Unfortunatly my Sigma 30mm f1.4 will have to be sold!

I really would like the flexibility of zoom since I don't have time to switch primes during a shoot.

Obviously, I'm taking a long hard look at 27-70mm options. Mostly f2.8s. I won't be able to afford a separate fast prime.

My question is, with the 6D's awesome high ISO ability, will 2.8 be enough for those dim wedding parties?

And will I regret not being able to go super shallow for arty shots?

I've been looking at a few videos showing f2.8 on a 6D

(Not dancefloor shots)

Thoughts?
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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:38 AM   #2
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

In my opinion, for many receptions it won't be fast enough. In my (limited) experience, I've not been able to use the 24-70 well in dark reception areas so I use the 24, 35 or 50 1.4 instead. The 50 1.4 is affordable and works great or you could even use the even more affordable 50 1.8, which would still be better. Otherwise, you'll have to pump the ISO extremely high and/or have some kind of lighting (which I don't like using.)
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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:54 AM   #3
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

Hi Noah, thanks for the info! I will look into the prices for those primes. I do use a light currently when its needed. Not ideal, I admit!

Thing is, from the tests I've seen, the 6D can go as high as ISO 6400 before it looks as bad as my 550D at ISO 800.

I'm not trying to eliminate grain entirely, just get it to an acceptable level. I still wonder if 2.8 at high enough ISO may still be useable by my standards.

This footage was shot at f6.3 and ISO 2000!

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Old July 1st, 2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

I shoot with a 5d3, and I even though I can go that high with ISO, I generally like to keep it 3200 or lower. Plus, I like the shallow DOF that I get with 1.4 primes. But if you use Neat Video to denoise, you can go usually go to 6400 (or higher) and not have that many issues. Either way, I'd highly recommend having a 50 prime in your bag. For $100-$300 (1.8 vs 1.4) it can be an invaluable lens. My 50 is my favorite lens.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 01:31 PM   #5
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

With the 5D2 I will routinely use ISO3200 but with the 5D3 I will use ISO6400 or even ISO12800 as it is perfectly fine IF AND ONLY IF the scene is properly exposed. If you underexpose & then try & push it in post it will look like crap. There is no need to use Neat Video on the 5D3 even if using the maximum ISO. If you needed to use it then it was underexposed. An F/2.8 lens is going to be good for even the darkest reception. I use a 24-105mm F/4L all the time. I usually use my 70-200mm F/2.8L at F/4-5.6 to give a deeper DoF. I do have a Plastic Fantastic Nifty Fifty Canon 50mm F/1.8 in my bag but never have to use for the extra 1+ stop. If using a 5D3 or 6D don't be frightened of using high ISO as the normal rules of physics simply don't apply. The onboard noise reduction is so efficient you will never see noise if correctly exposed. The image will get a little softer as you crank up the ISO but it's fine. Neat Video is wonderful for rescuing unusable footage but takes so long to render that it's only useful in an emergency & should never be considered for routine use.

Another good tip for wedding coverage is that you can always squeeze an extra stop out by dropping your shutter speed to 1/30. If it's a really dark ceremony or speeches then nobody will be moving much & if it's dancing then some extra motion blur will add to the atmosphere.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 02:28 PM   #6
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

If you're willing to shoot 6400, I find 2.8 is fast enough for pre-dance festivities, usually, like speeches, and 1.8 or so for the dance.

The real issue the the outlier, the random situation where it's all but pitch black. We had an issue with a hall with zero built in lights being used, only white string lights, and during speeches, the only string lights were right behind the head table. It mean our 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/1.8 were the only lenses that came even close for us.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 07:05 PM   #7
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

This is from my 6D shooting in P mode. ISO was at 12800. Amazing.

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Old July 1st, 2013, 10:04 PM   #8
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

Hey Clive, here's AU$0.02:

-- In terms of depth of field, I don't think you'll regret trading a 30/1.4 for a 24-70/2.8. Maybe in terms of sharpness, but not in terms of shallowness.

One reason is that I think 2.8 is plenty shallow.

Another reason is that I think it's the close-ups where depth of field is most effective, not the wide shots; and shallowness is about the focal length and not just the aperture. If you're shooting 70mm and above on full frame, I think 2.8 is plenty of shallow depth, and very often too shallow (you're into hunting-for-focus, hit-or-miss, use-a-dodgy-sharpen-filter-in-post territory -- which, admittedly, is kind of where I live).

If in doubt, try before you buy!

-- In terms of low-light... I pretty much shoot all my weddings with nothing wider than 2.8.

But put it this way: would you want to be shooting everything at 1.4 anyway? Wouldn't you have a lot of focus problems? Isn't it better to stop down?

And would you want to walk into any reception situation without some sort of portable light handy, 1.4 or no 1.4?
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 10:32 AM   #9
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

I find Adrians response most helpful here. He makes a valid point. I find that 9/10 times when i use 1.4, its because I'm forced into it! And it's annoying me!

For example, shooting from corner front in ceremony, the angle can mean the groom i slightly closer (or further away) from your lens than the bride. One of the couple is nearly always soft because My 550D cant handle higher than ISO 800 and so I can't stay up at f4.5 or greater.

I want a full frame right now! and the 6Ds excellent ISO performance should help greatly. A prime may be worth owning as soon as is possible, but I'm hoping f2.8, plus decent footage at ISO6400, plus my simple lighting setup will see me through comfortably enough.

Does anyone use, or have tried the Tamron 24-70mm with Vibration Control??

Reviews say its as sharp as the Canon in the center, and the VC certainly seems like it would benefit is video guys.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 12:35 AM   #10
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

I bought the Tammy for my Nikon and it took probably two weeks of kicking it around in my head before I pulled the trigger. I only paid $700 for the D5200 body so $1300 for just a lens was really hard to choke down.

Don't ask me the last time I took it off the camera......cause I just plain don't remember. :-)

DISCLAIMER: I, and my daughter, have been shooting stills with it, not video as of late.

Now this is my opinion and as always, YMMV. When I switched to Nikon this time I wanted nice sharp lenses and did not care who made them. My last foree into Nikon had me Nikkor all the way. I bought this Tammy and then the slow 70-300 to go with it. Both are razor sharp and way off Nikkor or Canon L glass pricing. If the Nikkor or Canon are better, then IMO, you are starting to split hairs that I nor most anyone else, won't see or notice.

The rest of my kit, remember for mostly stills, is a Tokina 12-24, Rokinon 85, Nikkor 10.5 Fisheye, Nikons in 50mm 1.8 and 35mm 1.8. Again IMO, I researched the crap out of it and I have as good a kit as I could assemble, even if I didn't spend the most.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 04:57 AM   #11
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

You are correct Chip, the price difference is crazy.

In this video, Dave Dugdale compares it with the Canon. From what I've found, the Tamron is very close in the center (and with video I think thats mostly what matters, since corners will mostly be out of focus). But I've even heard that on some combinations of zoom and aperture, the Tamron trumps the Canon at the corners.

Canon vs Tamron VC vs Sigma 24-70mm 2.8 Comparison Review - YouTube

Sure the Canon is technically better but I can pick up the Tamron at 400 compared with the Canon L at 1300!
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 11:05 AM   #12
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

One thing you need to know. Tamron lens zoom ring and focus ring direction is different than canon's. It takes time to get used to.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 02:02 PM   #13
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

I got my Tammy from Amazon here. Before I choked down the full $1300 for a brand spanking new one, I tried several of their $1000 "warehouse deals" of the same lens. What I found in those were, every one of them had an issue, mostly focus related. From what I learned in my investigating it appears some of the earliest versions Tammy sent out, weren't 100% perfect. People felt since though, Tammy has tuned up their manufacturing process on them. I would agree as my brand new copy is dead on sharp as a tack.

What I felt, and again just my opinion, there is a point of diminished returns when you go to chase "perfection" in cameras and lenses. With the kit I assembled, I firmly believe any issues now are 99% going to be operator error, instead of a possible equipment deficiency. I can still get crappy results with this Tammy. But I am skilled enough to be able to get the same equally crappy results with either of the OEM 24-70s too !!!
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Old July 4th, 2013, 10:29 AM   #14
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

The 6D at f2.8 will be similar or better grain wise to whatever crop-sensor camera you are currently using at f1.4. However I highly recommend getting a fast prime ASAP. I keep my 50 f1.4 on my 6D probably 90% of the time when shooting weddings. I've even shot entire weddings with just that lens. If weddings are your primary market I might even recommend getting that before buying a zoom. Others will disagree, but that's my 2 cents.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 06:34 PM   #15
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Re: If I go FF, will f2.8 be fast enough?

I loved my 50 1.4 in photography, and still love it for video. I use that on my VG30 more than the stock lens. I do not always run it wide open though. I had a 24-70 2.8 on the DSLR during a very dark reception and had no problem, but just make sure the camera can handle the higher ISO.
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