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


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Old December 22nd, 2014, 03:22 AM   #1
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Camera Choices for Weddings

I'm looking for some ideas for new camera for shooting weddings with, and if anyone has any camera suggestions that I'd be grateful as I might have not though about using them or know of them.

I just did a wedding yesterday with three Canon 550Ds, but I found them to be quite lacking in low light situations. I also found I need some longer zooms as I used 24 - 70mm 2.8 for the cameras at the front, and at the 70mm end it's too short for getting nice close ups.

I'd like to get some new cameras that have the DSLR look as I feel it suits the style of weddings, but I also wanted something that I could probably use on the fly using a shoulder support or similar to get shots of the arrival and general guest arrival, because I feel using a tripod for these can be tricky (as where the guests were gathering it was rather a tight place, so I was using a 28mm on my 550D with a small mono pod.)

I considered the Sony RX10 but when I saw footage online of it fully zoomed out, it felt a bit too much like a camcorder (as in the look of the footage). So that put me off, would a Sony A7S be a better choice? Another one that I've just thought of maybe the black magic pocket?

Thank you,
Matt
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 04:43 AM   #2
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

The past 10 years I have had more camera's then I actually expected to get, having worked for a few years with one camera only, first a sony vx2100, then a panasonic dvx100b and finally Canon xh-a1 it all turned crazy when I got my first canon 550d, since then I have worked with a sony nex-ea50, cx730, rx10, ax100, panasonic g6, gh3 and gh4. The sony nex-ea50 and the panasonic g6 have been sold but still working with the cx730, rx10, ax100, gh3 and gh4 so I can give you some overall experience with working with different kind of small camera's. :)

The rx10 is actually a wonderfull camera, it's the only camera I have that produces beautiful images if the light is right. It's color reproduction, detail is better then any of my other camera's (except for my ax100 and gh4 when I downscale from 4k to 1080p), it has a motorized zoom, very slow but will give you a constant zoomspeed without jumps and the choice of different focal lengths without having to change lenses, a build in nd filter, a wide to telelens constant f2.8 lens, good enough stabilization, a good enough autofocus, very good videofunctionality for run and gun work and good enough onboard mike for ambient sound recording. It doesn't have the shallow dof of a full frame but zoom in and keep it steady and you get some very nice looking bokeh.

But Like I said, I only prefer it over my other camera's as long as the light is good, as soon as you need to gain up considerably the image gets soft, grainy, the color doesn't look as nice anymore and it starts to look like a cheap videocamera.

Once it gets dark however my panasonics take over, Their image looks great in good light but also in dark venues, especially paired with a 12mm f2.0, a 25mm f1.4 and 75mm f1.8 and 12-35 f2.8 lens, the dof is not so razor thin like full frame but workable when the lens is wide open, it helps me a lot nailing the focus and for me their image is usable up to 6400 iso, while on my first canon 550d that was 1600 iso.

The only disadvantage they have like any other camera out there with exchangeable lenses is they are much more difficult to use under run and gun, the only camera's I trust when things get hectic are my cx730, ax100 and rx10 as they will allow me to the the shot, no matter what.

For ceremonies however I trust in God, my ax100 and my two cx730 :) They are lifesavers when it comes to capturing a ceremony solo with 3 camera's.

The a7s you are referring to is a great camera but it comes at a price, get a good stabilized zoomlens with it and is not exactly cheap anymore and if you later on want 4K it becomes very expensive. For creative very shallow dof shots and lowlight capability it's about as good as it gets but it still remains a photocamera with video functionality, something to bear in mind of you shoot solo.
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 07:44 AM   #3
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

For Canon: for run and gun, I really like our 70Ds. The live facial tracking is pretty good, as long as you have the STM lenses. In low light, we use the 5D Mark ii. A pair of gently used Mark iis with Magic Lantern and an external screen to help focus. If the reception isn't too dark, we can still use the 70Ds with the 28mm and 40mm STM pancake lenses, which are actually nice.

I'm interested in the Sony A7s for its dynamic range and the low light, but know nothing about it, so will defer to people like Noa on that. The GH4's in camera 4K would make a great ceremony camera, but, again, I don't know much about it.

If I were starting with new cameras, I wouldn't be afraid to mix 2 or 3 cameras to cover all my needs.
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 08:21 AM   #4
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

Am i right in thinking a DSLR will either have a 12minute or in the uk a 29 minute recording limitation?

If so then a solo shooter with two or more cameras is going to need one DSLR and something else? That about right?

And if so, what's the best camcorder to pay with the ops 550.

In a similar decision quandary myself at the moment.
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 08:32 AM   #5
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

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Originally Posted by Paul Ekert View Post
Am i right in thinking a DSLR will either have a 12minute or in the uk a 29 minute recording limitation?

If so then a solo shooter with two or more cameras is going to need one DSLR and something else? That about right?.
Sort of. The 70D will film 30 minutes continuous and automatically break the files into 4GB size. We also use the 5d Mark ii with Magic Lantern installed, which, along with other benefits, gives us (almost) continuous recording. It will drop about 4 frames in between 12 minute sections.
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 08:51 AM   #6
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

For ceremonies, we prefer to use regular camcorders due to the distance we have to be from the stage - in many cases the 600mm zoom of my NX5 is still able to get tight shots from the back of a church. Also, on "from the side" shots, I'll use my Nikon 70-200 F2.8 VR2 on my Nikon V1 for another equivalent ~600mm zoom. Then opposite will be the Canon XA20 which also goes to 600mm. It's hard to get that kind of range out of DSLRs. You could get a couple of the new Tamron 150-600 I guess.

I've really been impressed with the Sony a7s. I think it is THE camera for wedding receptions. Paired with a 24-70 F4 is pretty nice. You can go up to ISO 80,000-100,000 and still have very acceptable footage.
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Last edited by Kyle Root; December 22nd, 2014 at 08:54 AM. Reason: changed
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 10:14 AM   #7
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

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Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Sort of. The 70D will film 30 minutes continuous and automatically break the files into 4GB size. We also use the 5d Mark ii with Magic Lantern installed, which, along with other benefits, gives us (almost) continuous recording. It will drop about 4 frames in between 12 minute sections.
So the 70d will need a manual restart after 30 mins?

If I install ML on my 600d, will I also gwet continuous recording, albeit with dropped frames every 12 mins.

Apologies to the op for hijacking your thread.
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 10:22 AM   #8
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

Whilst I don't know much about the kind of setup you're running, the A7S combined with 24-105L sounds like a decent choice since it will give you more range (wider + tighter, not to mention that if you need more reach you can turn on crop mode) and f4 will be more than adequate even in low-light. I'm totally comfortable pushing the ISO to 12,000 - 16,000 as I know that footage will still remain pretty clean.

Edit: with regards to running & gunning, the 24-105L is also stabilized (unlike the 24-70) which makes it even more suitable

Last edited by Malcolm Debono; December 22nd, 2014 at 10:24 AM. Reason: added info
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 12:05 PM   #9
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

It really depends on your budget as there are lots of great choices all at different price points. If your budget is near $10-$12K US then I would go with two Canon C100s and for the 3rd camera I would get the Canon XC10 which is due to be announced in about a month. The C100s are very sharp, have amazing low light ability, 12 stops of dynamic range, and are great with skin tones and highlights. They also have built in XLRs, ND filters, and you can get the dual pixel continuous auto-focus option which is great for processional and dances. The XC10 will have a 1" sensor and shoots internal 4K, so you can use this as a safety camera and then zoom in during post for a tighter shot that is still very sharp at 1080p. In situations with a decent amount of light, it will likely match the look of the C100 and would also give you a power zoom in case you need it.

If your budget is closer to $5-$6K US then I would personally go with three GH4 cameras because they are the sharpest of all the ones that have been mentioned and are not very expensive at all. They will be better than your current camera in low light, but they will not be nearly as good in low light as the C100 or the A7S.

The Sony A7S is a good choice since it's amazing in low light, but right now there's a thread going on here (and probably lots of other places online) about blue light clipping. If you depend on 2 or 3 of these for a reception and you show up and they have dozens of blue LEDs in the venue then you may be in trouble. I think there are workarounds, but that's certainly a risk you'd have to take and I don't know that I would risk it until Sony fixes the issue.

Another option is the Canon 6D or 5D Mk III as the prices are dropping significantly on both cameras and they both work very well in low light. Not quite as good in low light as the C100 or A7S, but better than the GH4 and most other DSLRs. They will also give you a nice full frame look in case you want really shallow depth of field and most people like the way skin tones look with these cameras.

I don't know of many people who shoot weddings on Blackmagic cameras and I think it's because they are not very good in low light, they shoot in codecs that take up LOTS of room on memory cards, and some of them have less than ideal battery options. So it might be a good camera to use for b roll to get shots of bridal preps, scenery, etc. But probably not great for the ceremony or reception.

The other option (if you can wait) is to let NAB 2015 roll around in April and see what new cameras are announced. There might be something new that comes out that is perfect for you, but it would mean waiting a little bit until they're announced and then a little longer until they're released.

Fortunately, you've got LOTS of options. But that also makes the decision making process all the more difficult.
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Old December 23rd, 2014, 04:12 AM   #10
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

Yeah there is a lot of good options, I also find that the 550D can be tad soft as well when using lenses that have wider apertures (2.8 and below).

Thanks for everyones replies much appreciated. I would consider mixing say a Sony A7S and Sony RX10 for more run and gun style, but like you said the A7S has issues with blue clipping, as well as I'm not entirely sure these would look sharper then my 550D (I know its due to the lens as well and what aperture you have it on).
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Old December 23rd, 2014, 05:31 AM   #11
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

The C100 is much better to shoot with than Canon DSLRs (I can't comment on the GH4 and A7S). The ergonomics, ND filters, dual slot recording, image and low light make it a much more pleasing experience, both shooting and editing. The draw backs are the VF and LCD although these problems look to have been resolved in the C100 mk2. The upgrade is worth it if your business can afford it especially if you are only going to have 1 camera.
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Old December 23rd, 2014, 05:47 AM   #12
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

for low light I rely on my Canon 5D Mk III usually with a EF 70 - 200 f2.8, i've compared it side by side to my Sony 7xx handycam and while the small cam is great it wouldn't be as good as the Canon
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Old December 24th, 2014, 03:31 AM   #13
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

I used a MarkIII for a while but lack of 50p plus no focussing aids led me to the A7s - awesome low light, focus peaking, zoom assist while shooting, tilt screen and 50p, plus I can still use me Canon lenses :)
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Old December 24th, 2014, 04:29 AM   #14
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

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tilt screen
Sony really like those tilt screens but I have to say I actually hate using it one on my rx10, I didn't mention it before because I mainly use it's excellent viewvinder, but a swivelscreen like on my gh4 is so much better and more versatile for video use. Also the tilt screen on my rx10 gets smudged all the time and I already have scratches on it which I never had on my camera's that had swivelscreens.
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Old December 24th, 2014, 04:32 AM   #15
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Re: Camera Choices for Weddings

Oh right, so you have the A7S Peter? You had any issues with the A7S?
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