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Wedding Lens help please...

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Firestorm_westy, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Hi all,

    The Wedding business is really taking off (6 booking for 2009 already!)...

    I am looking at adding a new lens to my set-up;

    I currently have:

    105 2.8 Macro
    18-70 (Kit Lens)
    50mm 1.8

    I am looking at something faster to replace the 18-70...

    Would you go for the 17-55 (or wait for Photokina for the possible vr replacement), or the Nikkor 24-70 2.8?

    I have read rave reviews of the 24-70 (and the 28-70 before it), but I use two bodies (D200 and D300), so would this be too 'long' when the 1.5 factor is added?

    Any help and advice would be greatfully received.


  2. Hey Paul,

    I just shot a wedding, and I used both my 17-55 (group shots) and my Beast (portraits and small groups).

    The wedding I shot included 9 bridesmaids/groomsmen and the whole nine yards. I used the Beast for most of the shots. The 17-55 ended up being a bit soft on the corners and edges, but was necessary for the shoot.

    Personally, I wouldn't shoot another wedding without both, as they both contribute something special.

    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
  3. TippCity

    TippCity Guest

    My Wedding Lens Setup

    Looks like 2009 will be exciting for you!

    My Wedding lens setup came from a well established Photographer.
    His advice was don't use the same focal length as Uncle Bob.
    Go wider and longer!

    **Added this info.
    I originally used the 28-70 on a D200 and the D2x but found my shooting style needed to go wider. I was always backing up to frame, so I sold that and used the 12-24 zoom.
    I just had to watch at 12-14mm for distortion at the edges.

    ***Back to my original post

    My setup prior to 2008 was D200/D2x and the 12-14, 70-200.

    My current lineup is D2x w/14-24 and D3 w/24-70, w/ 70-200 available.

    The 14-24 is best for large group shots, and reception. Great corner to corner sharpness. The 24-70 is also sharp. The 70-200 is great up to about 180mm, then gets a little soft for my taste. Can't wait to see if this is upgraded in 2009. If the 70-200 is upgraded I will add another D3 for that lens.

    The 14-24 and the 24-70 work extremely well on the D3 for Weddings. The 14-24 gives that Wow! look to shots. That lens has booked me future weddings by itself.

    Also my assistant (Daughter) processes all shots on a laptop during the reception. A slideshow on a 21" monitor is running during the reception for all to view.

    I use a second shooter with a D300 and 18-200 to cover candids, while I usually do the more formal pictures.

    This setup has worked for me over the last 3 years very well.

    Good luck with your Weddings, and my last suggestion is not equipment related. Plan the wedding to the last detail with the Bride and Groom, but be very flexible on the Wedding Day. Try to shoot the couple before the Wedding so they get comfortable with you. It has helped every Wedding so far!
  4. Paulesko


    Jul 23, 2008
    my advice is to get a tamron 17-50 which is fantastic. Nikkor 10.5 fisheye and 85 1.8. Those are the focal lenghts we use the most. Then we also use 70-200 and 17-40 on a canon 5d
  5. CraigH


    Mar 21, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    I don't shoot weddings unless absolutely roped into one. That said, a couple of local friend do shoot them. They both glue a 17-35 f2.8 on one camera while the second body carries something else.
  6. How strange - I was just reading a review of the Tamron... I have only bought Nikon (and 1 Sigma EX) lenses up until now...

    Is the Tamron built to last like the Nikkors?


  7. This is exactly the sort of 'from the horses mouth' advice I was hoping for.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to help.

  8. Paulesko


    Jul 23, 2008
    It is not a well built lens at all, it´s a plastic thing. But it is optically almost as good as nikkor 17-55 I tested both and the truth is that nikkor 17-55 is sharper when focussing near infinite and has less CAS. For portrait or photografing things that are betwen 1 and 5 meters they are almost indistinguishable

    Your money in the nikkor goes for: faster and silent AF, and sealed body. I don´t think you need a sealed body to do a wedding. Focusing it´s important though.

    Sorry for my english:redface:
  9. Thanks for explaining - That gives me something to think about...

    Your English is WAY better than my Spanish (Ola!)
  10. Ditch the deeply average 18-200. A consumer superzoom has no place on a wedding photographers camera.

    For me it's screaming 17-55mm Nikkor. The silent AF is a factor you need to consider for ceremonies, the build is always going to pay dividends when you're earning with your kit and the weather-sealing can be useful when you're shooting in the rain, as you may sometimes have to.

    I understand the Uncle Bob point, but they're more likely to show up with an 18-200mm rather than a 17-55/2.8, and if you can't get better shots that them with the same kit anyway you're in trouble.

    The 24-70mm is incredible, but it's a FF lens for me:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    24mm on a 1.5x body just isn't wide enough as a standard zoom IMO.
  11. I've only done 2 weddings (hope to do more) but I've only every used my 17-55/70-200, each on it's own body. I bring my 50/1.4, but I just don't have time to be changing lenses! My assistant (my brother) takes care of rings/cake/details/candids for me, and also gives a second perspective on the ceremony, which is a nice relief. If one of us misses a shot, the other has it covered. He shoots a D70s also, and uses mostly his 18-70 and my Sigma 150 macro for telephoto/close-ups. He really likes that combo. Both of us also have our flashes with ABBC attached, and I have a few extra flashes for just in case. I've not used the 24-70, but have no doubt it is excellent, I just get the feeling that you'll be wanting something wider. I know you could also get a 14-24/12-24 or whatever, but then you're back to more lens changing, and I would avoid that as much as possible. For me, the 17-55 is the perfect compromise for wide to moderate telephoto... it will do large groups as well as single portraits just fine. I think the 17-55/70-200 combination leaves almost nothing to be desired, and trust me, the clients will NEVER be able to tell you used a 17-55 over a 24-70. I've never had one person say to me, "Oh, that corner to corner sharpness just isn't what I expected!" :tongue: :biggrin:
  12. Brodman


    Aug 26, 2007
    Knoxville, TN
    What a wonderful picture.:smile:
  13. It would help to know what camera(s) you're using, and if you have plans to move to FX in the future.
  14. Steinar


    Aug 16, 2007
    You have got a lot of good advices here.

    In a future wedding try the fisheye 10,5mm - yes !!

    But of course not a portrait of the bride, then you will not be paid :biggrin:

    I rented the lens last summer (bought it now) for a wedding and shot the couple with the sea as the background, and that was the pic. they loved most !!!

    The horizon/the sea was bending as the fish does if you do not level it, and it gave the impression, that they were standing at "mother earth" as a very special couple - and of course every new-married couple want to be "special."

    Of course this lens is only for very few shots among all the others - but also in the church - marvellous if you can go a little higher and shoot from there.

    If you try it, please come back and tell your experience.
  15. rvink


    Mar 21, 2006
    New Zealand
    If I were doing a lot of weddings, I'd have two camera bodies. One with a wide ranging zoom for grab shots, and another with a fast lens for low light and shallow DOF shots. The exact choice for either lens depends on whether you prefer zooms or primes, like really wide shots or more tightly cropped compositions etc.

    Suggestions for the wide ranging zoom could be:
    18-70 - not too slow, useful range
    16-85 - greater zoom range especially the wide end, has VR
    18-200 - good all round zoom

    Suggestions for your faster lens could be:
    17-55 - the standard fast zoom for DX
    24-70 - covers better portrait range on DX, wide enough for most shots (use the other zoom for wider shots)
    50/1.8 or 1.4 - short portrait lens on DX, 1-2 stops faster than a zoom
    85/1.8 or 1.4 - good fast long portrait lens on DX.
    Depending on the the size of the venue or for outdoor location shots you could also add a longer tele like 105DC, 180/2.8 or 70-200VR. Also try interesting perspectives with a fisheye or ultrawide lens.

    It's best to get to the venue early so you can check out the spaces and lighting to get an idea of which focal lengths and apertures you are likely to need. The wide ranging zoom is permanently on one camera so you are always ready for a shot, change lenses on the other camera depending on the situation.
  16. Frank - I have a D200 and a D300 (and a D70).

    The D300 is only 2 months old, so I doubt it will be replaced with a D700 for a while yet (but the D200 probably will be in 18 months or so).

    This is why I asked about the 24-70 vs the 28-70...



  17. The 28-70 is my favorite wedding lens. Some feel it's too long on a dx body, but that's a matter of style. The new 24-70 is 4mm wider, has nano-crystals, and costs about 80% more than a mint used copy of the Beast. Both are FX lenses, which means they can be used on your d70/200/300, and can also be used on a d3/700 should you decide to upgrade.

    Wide is important at weddings, but rather than picking up an 17-55 or 18-35, I opted to go really wide, and complemented my 28-70 with a 12-24.

    Jmho, and based on my personal shooting style.
  18. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    I would add the 17-55 Nikon if you can afford it. I can't, so I got the Sigma 18-50 HSM instead.
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