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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 28th, 2014, 02:17 PM   #1
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DSLR for weddings

Hi All

I currently use a Sony NX5P for all my jobs but thinking I want to stick to concerts etc with that and switch to DSLR for more versatility for weddings.


I am new to this world and could use some advice. I have shot one with a canon 7Dwhich was ok but see lots about the mark iii.. Just wondering about everyone's

Thanks so much
Diana
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Old December 28th, 2014, 02:50 PM   #2
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Re: DSLR for weddings

What do you want it to do?

We use both the Canon 70D and 5d Mark ii for very different reasons. The 70D has very nice focus tracking, so when the bride is walking down the aisle, I tap her face on the touch screen and the camera keeps her in focus. Its not good in low light, and won't produce the kind of bokeh a full frame will.

Our 5d Mark ii will do handle low light and bokeh, but is tougher to keep properly focused.

Different cameras for different jobs.
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Old December 28th, 2014, 03:18 PM   #3
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Re: DSLR for weddings

Right now the two most talked about cameras under $3K are probably the Panasonic GH4 and the Sony A7S. If you need to buy something immediately I would probably look at either of those. The GH4 shoots in 4K, can use a wide assortment of lenses, and is only about $1500 US. It is not going to be as good in low light as Canon's 6D or 5D Mk III, but it will give you a very sharp image that you can reframe and crop in your editing program. If you were planning on getting 2 or three matching cameras this would be a great option.

The Sony A7S is probably the best low light camera that you can purchase right now and is very sharp with lots of detail. I think the main drawback is that it can have some strange effects with blue lights, so if you're at reception where they have a dozen blue LED lights set up then your footage will suffer. I think there are some workarounds but it is something to take into account now that colored LEDs are very inexpensive and used quite a bit.

In my opinion, Canon renders skin tones in a more pleasing way than either Sony or Panasonic which is very important for weddings. The Canon 6D would be a great, inexpensive choice because it is full frame so it will be very easy to get a shallow depth of field. It's also quite good in low light and may be a little sharper than the 5D Mark III. While some people have had great luck with the 70D, I've found that it just doesn't perform well enough in low light for what I need it to do. The Canon 6D and 5D Mark III are much better choices for shooting in low light situations.

If you don't need to buy immediately then you may want to wait until after CP+ in February because Canon (and others) may very well introduce some new DSLR cameras. If you can wait until April then you can also find out what is offered at NAB 2015 because there could be some other surprises announced.

Just as a side note, if you have the funds to afford it, the C100 Mk II would be a great choice for weddings and other types of work as well. I have the C100 Mk I and it's been an amazing camera. It has built in ND filters, XLR inputs, is amazing in low light, has continuous autofocus, and the dynamic range is outstanding. It's more expensive and it will be difficult to match the C100 with a less expensive camera, but in my opinion it's been worth the extra money.
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Old December 29th, 2014, 06:28 PM   #4
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Re: DSLR for weddings

What he said :)
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Old December 29th, 2014, 10:02 PM   #5
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Re: DSLR for weddings

I use the 7D. Great camera. The Mark II is an improvement, especially in lowlight, but outside of that I don't notice much of a difference. You can get something like this to combat the Anti-Aliasin if you want. VAF-7D Optical Anti-Aliasing Filter
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Old December 30th, 2014, 04:41 AM   #6
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Re: DSLR for weddings

Canon used to be the default recommendation, but if you're just starting down the DSLR route you need to think carefully about not just where you start, but where you think you want to be in another couple of years time.

You're buying in to a 'system' and that system includes both lenses and bodies.

Many people start out by looking at the body then try to find cheap solutions to needing more lenses, and for weddings, fast lenses. 'Fast' and 'Cheap' rarely go together, nor do 'Fast' and 'Lightweight' either. Figure out the glass you need before you buy the body! Look at the total cost of what you're likely to need (including and dual system audio) and see what's practical.

Buying in to one system then changing entire systems later gets expensive.

Also, understand that Canon aren't really serious about DSLR video, even though they effectively created the genre. Their video division has too much say in what can and can't go in to DSLRs so that it doesn't eat in to their own video sales. Clean HDMI out was a clear example of this, the video division veto'd it for a long time. You're not going to see 4K on a Canon DSLR any time soon, you're not going to see focus peaking, waveform monitors etc either, Canon are saving all those for the video division. That's Ok if you don't care about them today, but in a couple of years time you might, and if you're fully invested in Canon gear and they don't give you what you need you'll end up switching. Going in to the Canon systems means buying it for what is available today and not expecting them to add more goodies anytime soon.

Sony & Panasonic are taking a different view of things, trying to make their products the best they can be. They both have video divisions too, but they understand that not everyone is going to spend $15K on a video camera. With this in mind they are adding things to make the film maker's life easier.

Something to keep in mind.
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Last edited by Dave Partington; December 30th, 2014 at 05:55 AM.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 06:19 AM   #7
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Re: DSLR for weddings

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Originally Posted by Diana Fisk View Post
I currently use a Sony NX5P for all my jobs but thinking I want to stick to concerts etc with that and switch to DSLR for more versatility for weddings.
Hi Diana, if I were buying a DSLR for weddings right this moment, didn't care about photo capabilities, and couldn't wait till NAB 2015, I'd opt for Sony a7s. I think it's no contest to be honest. Only real wedding video advantages of a 7D or Mk3 are: possibly more pleasing skin tones and performance under blue LED lights, and the Magic Lantern hack (allowing automatic restart after 30 minutes, fiddly HDR, and raw, which isn't that useful for weddings anyway, though some people have tried).

The advantages of an a7s include: lower price tag (meaning it's easier to buy 3-5 of them, which might be preferable for a wedding setup); full frame (vs a 7D or GH4); better low-light capability; cheaper accessories, media and batteries (vs the Mk3); compatibility with more lenses (so it's also more future proof); higher frame rates; more dynamic range; 4K with a box attached; and also lower weight. This last factor makes a difference for support gear. The most recent News Shooter article is about a crazy one-handed brushless gimbal for $700; you can put an a7s on it, but not a Mk3.

And the icing on the cake is you already own a Sony, so I think there's a good chance it'd be easier to match colours if you wanted to use your current camera on a wedding shoot as well.

But if you cared about taking stills, and not just video, then maybe take a look at other options... I think it's mainly the 12.2 megapixel count that would deter me from an a7s, in case clients wanted to create large prints from photos.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 07:12 AM   #8
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Re: DSLR for weddings

I thought that "performance under blue LED lights" was more of a issue on the a7s instead of a advantage?

Quote:
compatibility with more lenses (so it's also more future proof)
I actually find the camerabody one of the only components that's not future proof, lenses are because they can last almost a lifetime, bodies otoh get replaced every 3 or so years.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 07:12 AM   #9
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Re: DSLR for weddings

To chime in on the A7S: Be aware that if you wish to shoot 4K, the add on isn't necessarily going to be cheap - and adds to your bulk.

Also, the A7Rii that Sony just introduced has 5 axis image stabilisation. That was after a year of the A7R being out, so I see a new A7S coming soon with the 5 axis added to it.

This could transform the way that you shoot and would make the A7S an incredible camera - even more incredible than it already is.

That said, I shoot Panasonic and will for the foreseeable future. There are a great range of lenses available and because it's M4/3, you're able to get some incredible lenses in a very small package.

It's a hard choice between the two popular offerings.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 09:32 AM   #10
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Re: DSLR for weddings

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
I think it's mainly the 12.2 megapixel count that would deter me from an a7s, in case clients wanted to create large prints from photos.
Seriously? The Canon 5D (original) and Nikon D700 were big wedding photographer favourites (the D700 is still very widely used) and at 'only' 12MPs they made excellent images, including large albums and wall pictures.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 12:54 PM   #11
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Re: DSLR for weddings

If you're investing in a system I would say the best option right now is Sony cameras + EF-mount lenses. Right now I'm using 2x A7s and a C100, along with several Canon lenses + Samyang lenses.

My opinion up till now has been that the leading brands for low-light large-sensor video cameras have always been Canon and Sony, so lenses that can be used with both are a solid investment since you'd still be changing cameras within the next couple of years or so.

If you're not really in a hurry, I would suggest waiting a couple of months for the next NAB as the next Sony cameras (and hopefully Canon's as well) would include in-camera 4K recording. Whilst the A7s currently can record 4K through an external recorder, I still wouldn't invest in such a setup for weddings due to added bulk, battery life, and lack of noise reduction in the prores files (if it works anything like the C100 + Ninja setup).

Michael's advice is solid, and one thing I need to stress out that he also mentioned is not to base your decision on the price of the body alone, but rather look at the whole system. For example the C100's price isn't that steeper when compared to full-frame DSLRs (5D3 & 6D) when factoring in an audio recorder with XLR inputs, ND filter, viewfinder, etc.

Last edited by Malcolm Debono; December 30th, 2014 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Added details
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Old December 30th, 2014, 01:24 PM   #12
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Re: DSLR for weddings

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I thought that "performance under blue LED lights" was more of a issue on the a7s instead of a advantage?
Yep, I agree! I expressed it confusingly, but I was trying to list that as an advantage for the Canon cameras over the a7s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Partington
The Canon 5D (original) and Nikon D700 were big wedding photographer favourites (the D700 is still very widely used) and at 'only' 12MPs they made excellent images, including large albums and wall pictures.
Well, I've always gone by the rule of thumb:

-- for paper: ideally print at 300 dots per inch or better, but don't go larger than 150 dots per inch
-- for canvas: ideally print at 200 dots per inch or better, but don't go larger than 100 dots per inch

and I've tended to look at the pixel dimensions of the image I'm getting from the camera and treated "pixels per inch" and "dots per inch" as interchangeable.

Why do I think all this? To be honest, I've never looked into the matter that deeply or compared results, but I think something along these lines tends to be the recommendations at printing places. I understand that it's all somewhat subjective and also depends on viewing distance.

Anyway, this is what I've been telling clients when they've asked me how large they can print. So if I'm wrong, please tell me! I've always felt hungry for more pixels when I think that, if you stick to these guidelines, the 22.1 megapixel images I'm giving them from my 5D3 should be printed at around 70cm in length for canvas or 50cm for paper.
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Old December 31st, 2014, 04:23 AM   #13
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Re: DSLR for weddings

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Anyway, this is what I've been telling clients when they've asked me how large they can print. So if I'm wrong, please tell me! I've always felt hungry for more pixels when I think that, if you stick to these guidelines, the 22.1 megapixel images I'm giving them from my 5D3 should be printed at around 70cm in length for canvas or 50cm for paper.
The figures you quote are indeed those that appear on the internet time and time again.

I'm not even going to disagree with them.

However, consider this. When you drive along the road and see a bill board.... how many megapixels must that guy have in his camera? Zillions right?

It's all about where the picture is going to be and how you will view it.

I've printed to 60"x40" from 12mp and the bride's father was ecstatic. Could a 36mp source been better? What about a 60mp from medium format? Of course it would, but unless you have them side by side the difference doesn't really exist.

I just printed a 16"x20" from a GoPro Hero 3+ Black (photo mode from a quad copter). It looks awesome and the client is very happy. Go figure....
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Old January 26th, 2015, 03:59 AM   #14
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Re: DSLR for weddings

Thanks so much everyone - invaluable advice. I will compare your suggestions and also see what 2015 brings in new releases!! I really appreciate it!
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Old January 26th, 2015, 09:29 AM   #15
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Re: DSLR for weddings

Just wanted to emphasize one point: automatic recording restart of Canon DSLRs with Magic Lantern. I think that's a huge feature for weddings.

Without automatic restart, you will miss something some day. There is going to be a time when you forget to restart before time elapses, or the camera is in an inaccessible position.

Consider the nightmare of covering a ceremony with three 5DMk2 cameras and one operator. You only have a 12-minute record time. This means that just before the ceremony starts, you've got to run around and press record on everything. If she's running a bit late, which she pretty much always is, you're constantly on edge, and have to keep running around and keep pressing record, and this meanwhile limits you from getting shots of the guests and groomsmen.

Then, during the ceremony proper, you've got to keep running around as well. Utter madness. In fact, I'm pretty sceptical that most people could do it. The far smarter thing is to get a proper video camera to be an unmanned wide-angle safety, with the trade-off being that your cameras will then not quite match (but the only person likely to care is you -- brides will never notice cameras don't quite match).

With automatic restart, you get to the church, set up a wide, press record, and you're covered... As long as battery holds out anyway (get a battery grip, or hook up to external battery).

There's been some talk lately that Canon are blocking Magic Lantern on recent firmware updates of the Mk3. Well, if the Mk4 is equally unfriendly, I see this as a big reason to stick with the Mk3 or upgrade to proper video camera.
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