Zoom Lens Debate v. Weddings

Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
116
Location
Charlotte
Lets start off with what equipment I have.

Body: D50
Lenses: 18-70 3.5-4.5, 50mm 1.8, and the overall crappy 55-200 4-5.6
Flashes: SB600 and SB800


I mainly use my camera to shoot weddings, and landscapes. I have not gotten into the area of sports shooting, or "fast paced" events.

I would like to replace my 55-200 zoom with something better.

I have been eyeing the two touch 80-200 AF-D lens, but I have kept in the back of my head the 70-300 VR, and the 18-200 VR lens. I know the 80-200 will be great for lower light situations, and would be great for indoor candids. How well will the 18-200 VR do in lower light situations? Should I even have the 70-300 VR even on this list?

Remember money is an object here - I don't have "unlimited funds". Which do you think would be ideal choice?

With the price point of this glass around 7-900 bucks, I also have considered going to a D80 body.


What recommendations do you guys have?
 
N

Nuteshack

Guest
nothing wrong with your camera, stick with fast glass...80-200 2.8 and then you'll be spoiled ...;-)))
 
G

Gr8Tr1x

Guest
Hey there, and welcome. I live in Charlotte also, and I shoot weddings from time to time.

I'm surprised to hear that your 55-200mm is crappy. I just picked up a copy of the 55-200mm VR, and its rather sharp...at least for $249.

It is much better than my 24-120mm VR.

I bought it because my 70-300mm VR is kinda long, and honestly, the focus distance is too great, at least for indoor shots.

Take a look at these samples from my 55-200mm VR, and tell me if they are similar to what yours produces.

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Joined
May 4, 2007
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116
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Charlotte
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  • #4
Hey there, and welcome. I live in Charlotte also, and I shoot weddings from time to time.

I'm surprised to hear that your 55-200mm is crappy. I just picked up a copy of the 55-200mm VR, and its rather sharp...at least for $249.

It is much better than my 24-120mm VR.

I bought it because my 70-300mm VR is kinda long, and honestly, the focus distance is too great, at least for indoor shots.

Take a look at these samples from my 55-200mm VR, and tell me if they are similar to what yours produces.
The main problem with my 55-200, it is hunting all the time - even when there appears to be ample light. I did a wedding, and it just hunted for a spot to focus on, and I was around 100 ish millimeters or so. It also focuses very slow compared to my 50 and 18-70. I have used it with some great images in good light, but even in marginal lighting the zoom doesn't seem to be up to snuff, with my other lenses. This is what is leading me down the road for hunting for different glass.

I was looking at the notes on the new 55-20 with VR, and it seems to be a better improvement of the copy I have.

Where did you buy your lens? Wolf or Camera World?
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2007
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4,519
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Suwanee, GA
You might want to think about getting the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 lens. I bought one on this site (in the for sale forum) for $450 and it's been a great lens and very sharp. It wouldn't quite give you the reach of your 55-200, but it will give you a wider aperture for when you want to take those natural light shots. I've been very pleased with the sharpness of this lens at f/2.8.

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Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
300
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Columbia, MO
Dont worry about the D80 body, I have the D80 and used to own a D50. One thing the D50 has over every other Nikon Camera... INCLUDING the D2Xs is low-noise at high ISO. The D50 really is the high ISO king. So if you dont have incredibly fast glass, the ability to crank up the ISO on the D50 will save you some speed.

As far as your next lens goes. From what you have listed, I recommend the 80-200 f/2.8 I have it and love it. I have also used a 70-200VR and even though it is slightly out of your price range. It is likely the best lens in this zoom range that I have ever used.
 
Joined
May 13, 2006
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811
Location
San Diego CA
not to get too far off topic but I really have to say the whole iso noise thing is way blown out of proportion. everyone says the D50 beats the D80 and D70 hands down. but I think my current D80 body would thrash my old D50. and I have seen samples from a buddies D70s that would hang every bit with my old D50 and probably my D80. there just isnt that much difference between cameras to put any weight behind it as a selling point. they are all very good.
 
Joined
May 4, 2007
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116
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Charlotte
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  • #8
Everytime I post something, I keep getting set back with some sort of Lens lust. :D I think that the 80-200 will serve me quite well - do you think that this lens does better than the infamous 18-200 VR? That seems to be the going lens that everyone wants, or has - or should I stick with the 18-70, and have a fast zoom and prime? I am having difficulty finding either lens at a decent price, that hasn't already sold. :(
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
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1,359
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Long Island, NY
I think that the 80-200 will serve me quite well - do you think that this lens does better than the infamous 18-200 VR? (
They are very different creatures. The 18-200 can't be beat for versatility and is a very capable lens in certain situations. I found the sharpness dropped off over 100-130mm and was not great at 200. The 80-200 is in a different league IMHO. Sharp throughout its entire range, even wide open, beautiful bokeh. Overall, I saw a noticeable difference in image quality and loved the solid feel - it's built like a tank. If you feel comforatble with what you have in the lower FL range, there is no need to duplicate. I would go with the 80-200 and not look back.
 
G

Gr8Tr1x

Guest
The main problem with my 55-200, it is hunting all the time - even when there appears to be ample light. I did a wedding, and it just hunted for a spot to focus on, and I was around 100 ish millimeters or so. It also focuses very slow compared to my 50 and 18-70. I have used it with some great images in good light, but even in marginal lighting the zoom doesn't seem to be up to snuff, with my other lenses. This is what is leading me down the road for hunting for different glass.

I was looking at the notes on the new 55-20 with VR, and it seems to be a better improvement of the copy I have.

Where did you buy your lens? Wolf or Camera World?
I got mine at the Wolf in the University Place Shoppes. We're sort of limited to camera stores that sell Nikon, now that Charlotte Camera is gone.

BTW, the portraits were shot in my dim living room with strobes. Focus was fine in low light...

See my new post here for some outdoor comparisons: LINKY
 
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Joined
Mar 23, 2007
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4,922
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Collecchio, northern Italy
Hi all there,
yes for weddings the 85 (even f1.8) as a good 50 is definitely a must. Among zooms, you could look for a Sigma 50-150 F2.8 that's very compact but whose direct experience I haven't. If you go for primes, a longer lens could be the 150 F2.8 macro by Sigma or the 180 F2.8 by Nikon.

All the best.
 
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
116
Location
Charlotte
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
They are very different creatures. The 18-200 can't be beat for versatility and is a very capable lens in certain situations. I found the sharpness dropped off over 100-130mm and was not great at 200. The 80-200 is in a different league IMHO. Sharp throughout its entire range, even wide open, beautiful bokeh. Overall, I saw a noticeable difference in image quality and loved the solid feel - it's built like a tank. If you feel comforatble with what you have in the lower FL range, there is no need to duplicate. I would go with the 80-200 and not look back.
That is what I keep hearing, that the 18-200 VR is a good all around lens, it does most everything well, but not all things. I have seen some sample images of the 80-200 and the bokeh is very nice. I guess I need to continue to hunt for this lens, for a reasonable price.
 
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
116
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Charlotte
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
Hi all there,
yes for weddings the 85 (even f1.8) as a good 50 is definitely a must. Among zooms, you could look for a Sigma 50-150 F2.8 that's very compact but whose direct experience I haven't. If you go for primes, a longer lens could be the 150 F2.8 macro by Sigma or the 180 F2.8 by Nikon.

All the best.
I have considered the 85mm in either variant but for candids, the versality of the zoom can't be beat. I have heard wonderful things about that lens, and may add it to my bag at somepoint. I really believe that I need the fast glass with a decent focal range. My other wedding photographer friend has the Canon 70-200 f4 L and loves it, but she feels like she needs the extra stops, for low light receptions.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Messages
966
Location
Nottingham, UK
For weddings you'll want fast glass, so the 80-200 is a much better bet than the 18-200 as you'll mainly have moving people in weddings and VR can't make up for a slow shutter speed in that respect.

Also quality would also be paramount and I don't think the 18-200 is capable of what's required for a wedding shoot.

not to get too far off topic but I really have to say the whole iso noise thing is way blown out of proportion. everyone says the D50 beats the D80 and D70 hands down. but I think my current D80 body would thrash my old D50. and I have seen samples from a buddies D70s that would hang every bit with my old D50 and probably my D80. there just isnt that much difference between cameras to put any weight behind it as a selling point. they are all very good.
Completely untrue. The D50 has much better high ISO performance than the D80 or D70 and this has been verified by reviews, professional or otherwise. Either there was something wrong with your technique or your D50 was a dud.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
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Collecchio, northern Italy
Ciao Fts,

you're right and I'm not doubting about the versatily of zooms, in fact I also suggested a mid-long range F2.8 zoom. Keep in mind, anyway, that some situations require lenses faster than F2.8 and this is why I suggested to get them, sooner or later. With the 50 you frame a whole person at about 5-6 meters, with the 85 you do at 9-10 meters. I don't know how ceremonies are done there, but if zoom can be kept on camera during topic moments (while you can usually use flash and a more favorable aperture for sharpness, like F4 / F5.6 or so, instead of going to full aperture) the other two kinds of primes will give you better results in "homily/sermon" time, when you can't use flash (that would disturb people) to get candids. This is what i did with my cousin, having just two lenses: the D200 kit 18/200 plus the 50 F1.4.

Just imho :)
All the best.

p.s. I've to add that in that occasion they didn't look too much to quality, they hadn't anyone who could decently shoot at their wedding, so I did it for them. There was another guy (who was the "official photog", theoretically) but I saw he was completely out of what was going on.
 
Joined
May 27, 2005
Messages
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Location
Clearwater, Florida
While the 18-200mm is a good walkaround lens, I can't imagine that it has the speed or quality to be part of a professional wedding photographer's kit.

If you must have a zoom, you should consider the 28-70mm, f2.8 or the 17-55mm, f2.8 lenses. These are a bit out of your price range, but you should consider them an investment in your wedding photography business.

You other option, as state above, are some fast primes. I just took some wedding photos with only my 85mm, f1.4 and 28-70mm, f2.8. I really felt like I had the whole event well covered.
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
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259
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RI
I would stick with your 18-70 and the 50mm and get an 80-200 2.8 or if the funds allowed the 70-200 vr. Either one of those longer lenses will work nicely at weddings.
 
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
116
Location
Charlotte
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
While the 18-200mm is a good walkaround lens, I can't imagine that it has the speed or quality to be part of a professional wedding photographer's kit.

If you must have a zoom, you should consider the 28-70mm, f2.8 or the 17-55mm, f2.8 lenses. These are a bit out of your price range, but you should consider them an investment in your wedding photography business.

You other option, as state above, are some fast primes. I just took some wedding photos with only my 85mm, f1.4 and 28-70mm, f2.8. I really felt like I had the whole event well covered.
This would be a good option, unfortunately I am on a balcony when provided, and the reach is needed. I think for my budget and needs the 80-200 2.8 will fit the bill nicely, and until the funds allow, the 70-200 VR.
 
Joined
May 19, 2006
Messages
44
Location
Finland
I think the best option is the 80-200 2.8, just like you have concluded yourself. Take support from the railing and use a monopod if possible. Also if there is space to mount a tripod in the best shooting angle, it could be a way to guarantee some shots without camera shake. The thing is, there is usually no space for a tripod. I have the 70-200/2.8 VR. VR is great but to get critically sharp shots a tripod is the way to go.

It would be a good idea to check the lighting level at the venue beforehand to get an idea of expected shutter speeds. It would also help in the purchasing decision.
 

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