If you could pick 2 lenses

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For someone

on a budget who cannot afford fast glass, I have actually found VR is more important than fast apeture at weddings (just my experience). I have shot a few weddings, but keep in mind this was NOT commerical and I am not a full-time pro and this is just opinion. One thing about weddings is that 80% of the pictures are either staged (group shots, etc) or are candids in which most people are still. For shots in indoor (church lighting, reception hall, etc), VR works one better than having a fast apeture for me. For example, recently I shot a wedding in a church that had less than adequate lighting. I had my 50 1.8 attached and even at ISO 800 the shutter speed was too low and most pictures came out out-of-focus. I switched to my 70-300 VR and with VR on I was able to shoot the same photos (100mm to 300mm) at 5.6 ISO 800 and all were razor sharp. Now the VR cannot stop movement, but in this case the VR proved better than apeture. When people are moving (dancing, etc) I found that flash is needed more than anything else. Of course having both a fast apeture combined with VR is even better. After experiencing how amazing Nikon's VR system works (and I honestly doubted it prior to owning a lens with it), I don't know if I could live without it when the moment counts - and If i had to choose fast glass without VR over slower glass with VR, I would choose the slower glass with VR (but hey that's just me).

.
 
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You just can't achieve decent portraits with slower glass. The great thing about the 50mm 1.8 is how inexpensive it is for being such fast and sharp glass. Dear Nikon: MAKE THE 55mm F1.2 IN AF-S!!!!
 
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You just can't achieve decent portraits with slower glass. The great thing about the 50mm 1.8 is how inexpensive it is for being such fast and sharp glass. Dear Nikon: MAKE THE 55mm F1.2 IN AF-S!!!!
Can't acheive decent portraits with slower glass - hmmm. I think a great photographer can make excellant pictures with just about any optic, but a poor photographer, well they might need better glass to make up for.....

Here is an example taken with the el-cheapo Nikon 55-200 DX @ f6.3 ($179 retail). No post processing. I can post a hundred more just like it and better if need be....

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Daniel, you were able to pull that shot off because

1. there was a huge distance between the subject and the background, which allowed you to throw the background OOF, even at a tight aperture setting.

2. there was a lot of sun hitting the subject squarely in the face... which is why she was squinting, and showing off every wrinkle in her beautiful face.

A good portrait lens should allow you to take a picture in low light, so the subject's face is relaxed, allow for selective focus when the background is at more reasonable distances, and have good bokeh to render the OOF areas in a pleasing/complementary manner.
 
G

Gr8Tr1x

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You just can't achieve decent portraits with slower glass.
I'm going to go ahead and respectfully disagree with that as well.

A good portrait lens should allow you to take a picture in low light, so the subject's face is relaxed, allow for selective focus when the background is at more reasonable distances, and have good bokeh to render the OOF areas in a pleasing/complementary manner.
Good bokeh at reasonable distances is subjective. Not everyone wants to completely render the background unrecognizable. In my case, a decent portrait lens is any lens that can deliver pleasing results for me...such as the following examples. You will also note, the dead on focus...something that is much less forgiving with the shallower DOF rendered by shooting a fast lens wide open . I personally prefer to see the front of the nose to the ears in focus. Thats not a hard and fast rule for me, but I like shooting portraits stopped down a bit if I'm shooting with a 2.8 lens (or faster). Just depends on my mood and what I'm after.

Nikon 55-200mm VR
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Camera NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200
Exposure Time 0.02s (1/50)
Aperture f/4.2
ISO 200
Focal Length 72mm (108mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 2314 x 3240

Nikon 55-200mm VR
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Camera NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200
Exposure Time 0.0125s (1/80)
Aperture f/5.6
ISO 100
Focal Length 82mm (123mm 35mm)

Nikon 55-200mm VR
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Camera NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200
Exposure Time 0.01s (1/100)
Aperture f/4.5
ISO 400
Focal Length 86mm (129mm 35mm)

Nikon 55-200mm VR
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Camera NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200
Exposure Time 0.0166s (1/60)
Aperture f/5.0
ISO 640
Focal Length 55mm (82mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 474 x 663

Yet again, the 55-200mm VR
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Camera NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200
Exposure Time 0.0166s (1/60)
Aperture f/5.0
ISO 100
Focal Length 55mm (82mm 35mm)
 
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Interesting discussion and fun to hear what the weddings pros say. There was a survey a while ago here on the Café asking what people used the most for weddings and the 17-55 was on top. Not sure if the beast or the 70-200 was next.

I've only done 5 weddings it's not my thing really but I found the focal range of my 17-55 to be excellent for most shots I wanted to do. Then I had the 70-200VR and the 85 1.4 with me and the couples have been happy.

as for fast glass I try to keep it at F8 for most of the time anyway, but then again portrait is not my thing really... (so beat me up :smile: )

Here is one by the 17-55 that I liked

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This is a great thread. I've been asked - time and again - to shoot weddings. Because I didn't have any ultra-fast glass (1.4 lenses), I declined the requests. Perhaps I should reconsider. The problem (for me) is that I'm not in Uncle Frank's league, so the shots he posts only show what I could do if I had the talent. Perhaps a wedding tutorial from UF should be in order???
 
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If I had to do one today with lenses I have, it'd be Tamron 17-50 and 80-200 AFS. Could probably do a perfectly decent job with just the former. Last one I braved was mostly 18-70 (didn't have Tammy, obviously), some 80-200 (ceremony; I was in back), and a dash of 50/1.4 and Lensbaby.

With some luck, I won't let myself get talked into it for at least another 5 years. I'm way too introverted for weddings! :redface:
 
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Frank, I have to respectively disagree with you. This forum is full of too much bull and not enough substance. Everyone has an opinion and I respect that, but whenever someone like myself attempts to be the voice of 'average joe' photographer I get put down by other people. I honestly think (and Jack Nicolson said it best) 'People can't handle the truth'. For some reason, people like to believe that their glass is 'magic' and it's impossible to shoot great portraiture, landscapes, etc without having expensive 'pro' grade optics at one’s side. You want to know the truth, it's all completely B.S. Yes, I understand the differences between consumer grade and pro and the need to have those features under certain circumstances, but has not having 'pro' features ever kept me from getting the shot I needed - no, not at all (honestly). You can attempt to justify it, pixel-peep it, argue and debate it until worlds end, but it doesn't matter....it purely psychological. In your mind, your expensive glass gives you confidence and as such you feel you are a better photographer - but what defines a photographer, the name on the end of that lens or the person behind the lens? Give me any lens, I don't care if it is made of plastic and I will produce something that people will mull over. It is my skills, my creativity, and my passion that defines the final picture - not the body, and certainly not the lens. The camera is simply a tool - a means to an end....give it to one person and the result will be poor, a moment captured in time without a story, give it to another and the result will be a masterpiece…

On these forums we tend to judge people by their equipment and not their skills as a photographer. I have seen plenty of horrid pictures taken with expensive glass only to find people complimenting and ogling over the pictures and in other cases I have seen people take beautiful shots using cheap consumer optics only to find people making statements such as 'you were able to pull off that shot because....' as if it was just luck. At the end of the day I do smile about all of this even though I sound rattled - I smile because I know the truth, I know what defines a photographer, and I know that even if no one else here agrees with me I am still happy with the end result and that is what truly counts and no one can take that away from me.

I sign off saying that this was just a good friendly debate, nothing more, nothing less. Hopefully it will make people think and not fight.

Regards,
Daniel
 
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Frank, I have to respectively disagree with you. This forum is full of too much bull and not enough substance. Everyone has an opinion and I respect that, but whenever someone like myself attempts to be the voice of 'average joe' photographer I get put down by other people. I honestly think (and Jack Nicolson said it best) 'People can't handle the truth'.
I also find that to be the case -- on both sides of the coin. Typically, the user with the less expensive glass is the most vocal and over the top.

Now, here is the "truth" as I see it. I have both classes of glass, consumer and pro -- whatever those two terms indicate. Let's say "expensive and not-so expensive. The exact same shot taken under the exact same conditions with both classes of glass will produce much a better -- that's right, I said MUCH BETTER -- image from the pro glass. Hands down, no question.

Remember, I have both. Is the "consumer glass" capable of producing stellar images? You bet it is -- but not in the same class as the pro glass.

There's your "truth".

Phil
 
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Agree with Daniel
fact is the photographer makes the image we just use what we have and learn how to use it
we really don' t need to go on and on with this
The fact is not everyone has a budget that has no limits many have family's to feed.
buy what you can afford then learn how to use it well
In the end it is what they wanted for an image that matters

one does not have to be rich to take great photos just a good eye

Lowolf
 
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I also find that to be the case -- on both sides of the coin. Typically, the user with the less expensive glass is the most vocal and over the top.

Now, here is the "truth" as I see it. I have both classes of glass, consumer and pro -- whatever those two terms indicate. Let's say "expensive and not-so expensive. The exact same shot taken under the exact same conditions with both classes of glass will produce much a better -- that's right, I said MUCH BETTER -- image from the pro glass. Hands down, no question.

Remember, I have both. Is the "consumer glass" capable of producing stellar images? You bet it is -- but not in the same class as the pro glass.

There's your "truth".

Phil
Phil, like other people often do, you missed my point completely. I wasn't arguing about whether X was better than Y, i was simply debating that you do not need better glass to make great pictures. I understand a more expensive optic can yield a higher degree of sharpess, or possibly better contrast, or possibly better color rendition - but does that make a great picture or is it the photographer who uses lighting, composition, color, contrast, etc to bring the final product together ?

I have nothing against pro or expensive (or however you want to define it) lenses, I DO have something against people who argue unjust points.
 
Z

ZBaum

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I have no doubts that "consumer" grade glass can yield great results. However, a slow lens (even with VR) won't be enough for the entire ceremony. In dim light, you can't get a shot of the bride walking up the aisle and expect it to be sharp if you have slow glass (unless flash is allowed). Even moments such as "the kiss" (didn't know what else to call it) have too much movement in them to be shot with a slow shutter speed.

Yes, in some situations a 55-200 VR will do a great job. But in less than ideal lighting conditions, there just isn't a substitute for a large aperture lens. Additionally, a faster aperture lens will allow you to shoot at a lower ISO, which in turn lowers noise, increases fine detail, shortens PP time, etc.
 
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I have no doubts that "consumer" grade glass can yield great results. However, a slow lens (even with VR) won't be enough for the entire ceremony. In dim light, you can't get a shot of the bride walking up the aisle and expect it to be sharp if you have slow glass (unless flash is allowed). Even moments such as "the kiss" (didn't know what else to call it) have too much movement in them to be shot with a slow shutter speed.

Yes, in some situations a 55-200 VR will do a great job. But in less than ideal lighting conditions, there just isn't a substitute for a large aperture lens. Additionally, a faster aperture lens will allow you to shoot at a lower ISO, which in turn lowers noise, increases fine detail, shortens PP time, etc.
Zach, I suppose this is why I leave weddings up to pros that do this sort of thing for a living while I just stick to 'this and that' photography as a hobbyist. While I have shot a few weddings, I did it not as a professional, but just for fun and to provide the bride and groom with additional pictures. While the pro at the last wedding I shot sweated profusely lugging around two camera bodies and a couple of very fine (but very heavy) lenses and running around setting up off-camera flash I enjoyed myself eating, drinking, and capturing some fantastic candid’s with my more mobile (but understandably 'consumer') setup :wink:

I admit I am different kind of photographer; I only buy what I need and make the best of the tools I have at my disposal. I like to be mobile and stealth, the lighter the kit, the more fun I have and the more fun I have the better the pictures I take. I don't worry about having the best glass, the fastest aperture or whether my body is the latest greatest on the market - I worry about composition, lighting, color and contrast and yes if I don't have a fast aperture or my tools aren't good enough to get the expected result I work hard to find a way to get that result and find more pride in my work doing so.
 
Z

ZBaum

Guest
Zach, I suppose this is why I leave weddings up to pros that do this sort of thing for a living while I just stick to 'this and that' photography as a hobbyist. While I have shot a few weddings, I did it not as a professional, but just for fun and to provide the bride and groom with additional pictures. While the pro at the last wedding I shot sweated profusely lugging around two camera bodies and a couple of very fine (but very heavy) lenses and running around setting up off-camera flash I enjoyed myself eating, drinking, and capturing some fantastic candid’s with my more mobile (but understandably 'consumer') setup :wink:

I admit I am different kind of photographer; I only buy what I need and make the best of the tools I have at my disposal. I like to be mobile and stealth, the lighter the kit, the more fun I have and the more fun I have the better the pictures I take. I don't worry about having the best glass, the fastest aperture or whether my body is the latest greatest on the market - I worry about composition, lighting, color and contrast and yes if I don't have a fast aperture or my tools aren't good enough to get the expected result I work hard to find a way to get that result and find more pride in my work doing so.
Well, I am by no means a pro, and I have never shot (nor even attended) a wedding. But, I did recently shoot my cousin's Bar Mitzvah (the post-ceremony party, since cameras aren't allowed in the temple), and learned a lot. I have a reasonably small kit, and while it isn't "light weight", I know how tiring it can be to lug around heavier gear. I think that many of Nikon's less-expensive lenses are highly underrated, but sometimes they just simply can't perform to the needed level.
 
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Before we go any farther with this discussion I need to make a point, I have nothing against pro glass.

Trust me, I would have no problem owning a 17-55 or 70-200 2.8, these lenses are beautiful, wonderful, and well respected Nikon optics. The irony is, I make a very good living and could easily afford this (though at the moment my wife and I our closing on a house so priorities have shifted). At the same time, I just don't know if need a 17-55 2.8. Do I want one, sure, do i need one, not really - not for what I do. In the future, maybe I will change, but I am quite humble in finding enjoyment and happieness in what I have right now. My points have never been to put down those with better glass or to argue consumer is better or on par, just to make people understand good glass does not make you a better photographer and yes you can make wonderful portraits, landscapes, etc with lesser glass.
 
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Daniel,

You are correct. Not everybody can afford fast glass. I don't think anyone on this forum fails to understand that. Unlike most of the other forums I have hung around, this one tends to be very supportive of the hobbiest who loves to hone his/her craft.

To defend someone who needs no defense, I have never found Unlce Frank to be snobbish to anyone (he loves his beast beyound reason and can't see the real benefits of the digital beast on a 1.5 sensor - but nobody is perfect).

The fact is, this topic was about wedding photographty (paid gigs). That to me says professional job. As Scott Kelby points out in his book "go to Wal-Mart, buy the cheapest set of golf clubs made, hand them to Tiger Woods, and he's still Tiger Woods". Read: Most of us are not Ansel Adams.

He goes on to make the point "to get pro results sometimes you have to use (and that means buy) what the pros use"

That's what this thread is about. Not what a great photo can be taken with and inexpensive lens but, what is the best tool to enable the greatest amount of highquality yield in a professional wedding shoot.

Nuf said, we respect your hobbiest perspective. I also am a hobbiest. I have chosen to spend hard earned money on some "pro glass". I love it but, it does not make me a better artist just gives me technically better pics despite my feeble skills.
 
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cadman, if you follow the thread backwards you will see that my argument started when someone stated "You just can't achieve decent portraits with slower glass". And then once I posted a great example of what can be achieved with slower glass the whole 'you just got lucky' rebuttle started per Uncle Frank. My arguments are not about Wedding Photography, Pro vs. Non-Pro, or X vs. Y. Someone else shifted the thread, not I, I only proved my point - the rest of course is history.....
 
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Phil, like other people often do, you missed my point completely. .
Nope -- I didn't miss your point, not in the least. Allow me to quote a couple of lines:

"This forum is full of too much bull and not enough substance."

" For some reason, people like to believe that their glass is 'magic' and it's impossible to shoot great portraiture, landscapes, etc without having expensive 'pro' grade optics at one’s side. You want to know the truth, it's all completely B.S."

Your point seems to be this forum is full of bull regards photographic opinions not matching your own. You are wrong.

Your point also seems to be that you can make just as good an image with consumer glass as you can the more expensive stuff. Once again, you are wrong.

It would seem to me if you had a simple difference of opinion instead of saying most on this forum spout complete BS and are full of bull, the conversation might go a little better. You can put your little niceties in there in a redirection attempt or say I am taking points out of context, but the above *are* your main points -- at least in the post to which I responded. Saying people are full of crap tends to get on their last nerve. :biggrin:

Phil
 
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Daniel,

I read that post before I replied, I think I had already dimissed it in my mind. Opinions expressed as fact never hold much weight in my book. The more emphatically, or loudly, I express an opinion never makes it any more than an opinion.

Which as we know, everyone has one....
 
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