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


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Old October 31st, 2015, 03:42 PM   #16
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

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Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
Wouldn't an 85mm be and pretty extreme zoom for speeches & especially 1st dance?
Depends on the room and the camera.

For instance, some large ballrooms I've even put a 135mm f/2.8 on our full frame because the best open space to capture the head table was pretty far back.

As for first dance, we often use a mix, and I like one of the cameras to have a decent medium tight, or tight shot.

As for decrying the number of lenses... for us, its much cheaper to use a combination of lenses across 3 cameras. We have our primes in one bag, mostly for the reception. They rarely come out for the prep and ceremony, where each of our 3 cameras has its 2 lenses with it, same as extra batteries and cards. Once we go over to the reception, where its too dark for most of our zooms (STM lenses are cheap, even if they are super useful with the 70D), so we leave those in the car and just bring what we can use, 4, maybe 5 lens choices.
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Old October 31st, 2015, 03:46 PM   #17
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

Prep I use a rokinon 50mm and the 85 or 135 for some tight shots.

Ceremony: I use 70-200 2.8 and a combo of 85, 135 and 50mm depending on the room setup.

Reception: Ronin has 24mm for whenever. I use an 85 for the people actually giving the toast and 70-200 for reaction shots. For dancing I use the 70-200, 135 or 85 unless I'm flying with the Ronin.
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Old October 31st, 2015, 06:42 PM   #18
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

The use of lens for wedding varies from the size of the room but here is a typical lens set up I always use.

For prep I use the Sigma Art 18-35 1.7 lens.

For ceremony I use 3 cameras, Sigma 50-150 2.8 on the side with a 18-35 1.7 on standby just in case I need to switch on a wider shot, For the back I use the 17-50 2.8 wide shot, And finally I use the EOS M with 22mm lens on a mini tripod just sitting anywhere on the altar facing towards the audience.

The reception the 18-35 1.7 for wide shot and 50mm 1.4 or 85mm 1.4 for close up will do the job for me.

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Old November 1st, 2015, 08:48 AM   #19
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

I shoot either solo or with one other camera man so I don't have the luxury of playing around much.

Even though I have primes I don't find I ever use them. I leave *17-55mm F/2.8 on my 70d the entire day attached to a mono pod. Its light, auto focus, image stabilization and the flexibility to get most of what I need.

If I was going to add a lens it would be the 70-200mm for ceremony and reception closeups. But I don't want to carry it around and buy another camera for dedicated use. I've contemplated getting the 24-70mm but it's expensive to only get an extra 15mm and to lose the wide range.

I'm not a fan of trying to swap primes during fast moving events. The risk of missing a key shot, scratching the rear element, or getting dust on your sensor is just not worth it.

I value the angles of views a zoom provides and the convenience. It frees up me to concentrate on the non technical things observing and capturing the special moments.
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Old November 1st, 2015, 09:01 AM   #20
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
I'm not a fan of trying to swap primes during fast moving events. The risk of missing a key shot, scratching the rear element, or getting dust on your sensor is just not worth it.
I shoot solo and yet regularly use primes as my earlier post testifies. I'm not sure how things are with your Weddings, but there are plenty of moments in the day for me that aren't fast moving. Bridal Preps, guests having drinks and canapés, dancing footage. I swap lenses constantly and only need to properly clean my sensor now and then. My camera has its own sensor clean function that I regularly use, along with a blower. Swapping lenses takes no more than 10 seconds for me. I've never yet missed a moment due to a lens change and the benefits are well worth it.
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Old November 1st, 2015, 09:24 AM   #21
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

I find that even at slow moments, like a brideprep, unexpected things do happen that are worth shooting and when I would have my 42,5mm attached to my gh4 I would loose that moment, that's why I always have a second camera, the rx10, attached to my belt with a quickrelease plate. I might miss the first few seconds but it's a lot quicker then having to switch lenses. To be honest though I would prefer to use just one lens, like a 12-35mm the entire day and shoot handheld, there are so often moments where you have to act in a split second to get that one shot that will blow away any other slider, steadicam or crane shot.

Last edited by Noa Put; November 1st, 2015 at 09:48 AM. Reason: typo
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Old November 1st, 2015, 09:47 AM   #22
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

I'm pretty careful with my gear distribution during the day. My 12-35 is used a great deal on a monopod. If I feel the Reception is a lively one then it stays on and I keep it simple, but when you have an hour of a small group of guests just drinking their drink and helping themselves to canapés, then its worth the risk of missing that special moment when a guest decides to take 2 canapés instead of 1. In which point I'll curse my use of the 75mm. :) Failing that I've captured plenty of great moments, and still used a wide variety of gear. Weddings are full of potential moments to film, I could miss one just by being in another room. I've filmed plenty of lively Weddings with hectic schedules. I know when to keep my better gear at bay.
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Old November 1st, 2015, 10:05 AM   #23
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
I'm not a fan of trying to swap primes during fast moving events. The risk of missing a key shot, scratching the rear element, or getting dust on your sensor is just not worth it.
I use both zooms and primes. The primes are great for the lower light reception. I'm not swapping them, though since I'm using 3 cameras. One prime for each. Earlier in the day I stick with one zoom on each camera until its time for the vows, when I switch to a longer lens.

sticking with something like a 17-55mm would mean having to be unacceptably close to the bride and groom during the ceremony to get the shots I want, though I do use something similar during prep and processional.
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Old November 2nd, 2015, 07:32 AM   #24
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

It all depends really - I'm in a bit of transition. I'll take about past season first, then what I'm moving towards next season.

All day on steadycam is my a6000 with the Sony 16mm f2.8 (24mm effectively) - I use autofocus on this lens.

I then transfer this lens onto my A7s and swap that onto my gimbal for first dance. A7s is put into crop mode for this.

The rest of the day I use my Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC. I really enjoy having the flexibility of a zoom, but in recent tests I've come to discover it is significantly softer at all apertures than any prime I have.

Also used is my Canon 35mm f2 IS. I've had some weddings where i've hardly used it, and some weddings where I've hardly used the Tamron. It probably comes down to my feelings about the wedding. If it's a stunning wedding and everything is eyecatching, I'd probably be more inclined to up my game and effort and force myself to work within the 35mm of my prime.

you will notice both these lenses are stabilised - I shoot a lot of handheld.

I also have a Canon 17-40mm L in my bag which occasionally gets used on a slider.

I honestly believe that nobody needs to be shooting wider than 2.8 for weddings. Maybe f2 at a push in special circumstances. But personally, I've progressed to the point where I see video at f1.4 and it just annoys me. It's just too much....


Now - next season. I've got in built stabilisation with my A7sii. I've had some bad issues with ND filters last season. I'm annoyed with the lack of fast FE lenses (and the price). I'm fed up with the poor electronic performance on my Metabones adaptor.

So..... I'm going full manual with a Fotodiox nd throttle adaptor. I've just purchased three old manual prime lenses (35mm, 85mm and 135mm) for a total of £225. and the adaptor at £99.

My A7s is now going on the gimbal, with a new Sony FE 28mm f2 (which I may buy the wide angle adaptor for making it 21mm) - again - autofocus.

Including the a7sii, I've spent approx £2750.

I'm looking to sell my a6000 with a sony 16-50mm kit lens, a 16mm f2.8 emount lens, my Canon 35mm f2 IS, Canon 17-40mm f4 L, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8, Metabones EOS - NEX Mark IV and probably both my Sony CX730s.
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Old November 2nd, 2015, 07:45 AM   #25
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

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I've progressed to the point where I see video at f1.4 and it just annoys me. It's just too much....
Unless you shoot with m4/3 camera's :) As I understood f1.4 looks somewhat the same as f2.8 on full frame when it comes to shallow dof. I consider this an advantage with m4/3 camera's as like you said f1.4 on a full frame camera can give a very narrow dof which in some cases can be a nice effect but not something you would be shooting constantly in, on m4/3 otoh it's perfectly usable throughout the entire evening and a way to shoot at a lower gain setting or to get the max light gathering which is something you need with m4/3 camera's.
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Old November 2nd, 2015, 08:58 AM   #26
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

Like Noa, I shoot m4/3 (GH4), but I will list the 35mm equivalent to keep it simple:

Intro/Prep Shots:
35mm, and 85mm
I use these lenses across 2 different cameras to save swapping them back and forth.
Steadicam: 35mm

Ceremony:
Cam A: 70-200 (center back)
Cam B: 24-70 (wide safe angle)
Cam C: 150 mm prime (for processional, details)
Steadicam: 35mm

Reception:
Cam A: 35mm
Cam B: 24 mm (safe angle wide on dance floor)
Steadicam: 35mm

In my bag, I also have a 14-28 that I rarely use.
I also had a 50mm that I used so infrequently, I decided to sell it.

I think the only other lens I would like would be a slightly longer zoom lens that covers at least up to
200mm, but those are rare to find in the f/2.8 range for m4/3 line and anything darker than 2.8 is basically
not usable for interior ceremonies.
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Old November 2nd, 2015, 09:03 AM   #27
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

The only time I get that dreamy background I associate with fullframe on my micro 4/3's is if I'm using my 42.5 pretty close to the subject or with my 75mm. Its a nice look for certain shots, but I limit its use to a few shots for nice effect.

I kind of wish I could be in position sometimes to not need to go lower than 2.8 but dark rooms aren't so forgiving. I have tried, especially since pairing my 2.8 12-35mm with my stabiliser, but had to scrap the footage as it matched poorly with my other cameras on primes.
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Old November 2nd, 2015, 05:25 PM   #28
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

The Tamron does a great job. I think I have been spoiled by the ability of primes getting better video in low light situations. 2.8 just does not cut it for me when it there is not much light...(even when I have 2 lights going). There have been several times when I have been able to get great shots in low light with my primes. When editing I look at those same shots and can notice the difference. My clients don't care what I have, it is more or less what I feel I can accomplish with my abilities and with what gear I own. If I can get a better picture with a prime I should probably do so. I just recently purchased the Tamron and was trying it out. It does a great job, but when I was looking at my wife's camera with the 35mm 1.4 and then looking at mine with the 2.8 Tarmon it really opened up my eyes on how really great the primes are in low light. It is great to hear about all your gear and how you use it for certain parts of the wedding day, thanks for sharing.
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Old November 3rd, 2015, 01:03 PM   #29
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

Fast primes are excellent in low light but now with many cameras that have the BSI sensor technology in them, the iso is upped at least a couple of stops from the non BSI for the almost same grain structure as the new Sony A7 series refer to. A 2.8 zoom lens can be considered as a like a 1.4 in low light situations with the same iso. That would save a heck of a lot of money from buying primes just for their light gathering ability. But then there are many that need the fast primes for their shallow DOF. I recently borrowed a Sony A7s( the older model) and fitted a "slow" SMC Takumar 28mm F3.5 in a very dimly lit restaurant just to see what iso 50K would look like. It was an eye opener to be able to shoot 60P @ F4 without any trace of grain, at least not to my eyes. And this camera did not even have the BSI sensor. The Sony RX10 I use will be replaced by the RX10II that will have the BSI. There will always be a need for super fast primes ( lightness and DOF) but I believe many will opt for the newer generation of low light cameras and a full range zoom. Even if a zoom is F4 max aperture, it surely will be more compact and light as compared with a 2.8.
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Old November 3rd, 2015, 01:41 PM   #30
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Re: What lenses are you using throughout the wedding?

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Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis View Post
Fast primes are excellent in low light but now with many cameras that have the BSI sensor technology in them, the iso is upped at least a couple of stops from the non BSI for the almost same grain structure as the new Sony A7 series refer to. A 2.8 zoom lens can be considered as a like a 1.4 in low light situations with the same iso.
Not quite true, BSI from what I've heard is more half a stop for smaller sensors, but this can reduce to a 1/4 once you get to APC-S size sensors. The larger the sensor, the lower the benefits. It certainly allows 1" sensors to compete with slightly larger sensor cameras, but only in giving similar noise levels at respective apertures. The Sony A7s is truly a lowlight king, but not one free from issues, a fate shared by its successor I hear.

The thing with low light performance is that when one camera system improves, the other follow suits and raises the bar higher. My GH4 shoots lower noise levels than some older Canon cameras, but is still declared a poor low light camera as Canon have since improved their own line up. So whilst BSI does make a difference, it'll be a long time before it can shoot a candle lit room at F4.

That said, I'd welcome the day when my primes become just a creative choice rather than as a low light choice as well.
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