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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,816
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Need help picking a new lens.....


@Skirball wrote:
As far as lenses, all this 24-70 II and 70-200 II is bull**bleep**.  People were taking great wedding photos long before those came out.  You already have a 70-200 2.8?  It's fine.  Maybe add in a fast prime for when it gets dark and call it good.  

I'm not sure where you were going with that comment.  The 24-70 & 70-200 f/2.8 pair is pretty much the standard pairing for weddings.  People did wedding portraits with 8x10 view cameras and a tray of magnesium sulfate flash powder too... but I don't recommend those for today's weddings since it's messy and tends to trigger the smoke alarms.

 

As the OP asked a straight up question, and those are the most commonly used lenses, you may as well give the OP the straight up answer because I think that's what they want to know.  

 

I use the original gen I versions of those lenses because I purchased mind before the 2nd gen versions existed and there's no compelling reason to upgrade.  But if I were buying the lenses again today and the gen I lenses are pretty hard to find, I'm sure I'd be buying the gen II lenses.

 

I did my weddings with a single 'normal' prime lens on a medium format camera (Hasselblad 500 CM with 80mm lens) and I _really_ liked the result.  In many ways, a single prime lens has an advantage especially when it comes to manual flash.  Subject framing in the lens was an excellent indicator of subject distance which could be used to set the f-stop when using manual flashes.  With a zoom lens you don't necessarily know the subject distance becasue the zoom changes the angle of view.

 

The main thing is:  The church, synagogue, temple, etc. will almost certainly be poorly lit.  Unless this is an outdoor wedding, you'll want a lens with a low focal ratio.  That's where the 70-200mm f/2.8 comes in.  Using flash during a ceremony is almost universally frowned upon (you can use flash anytime before or after... just not during.)

 

Reception halls are also generally dark -- they deliberately dim the lights after dinner for dancing and celebration.  The telephoto zoom lens isn't so necessary there and of course you can flash use flash.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Need help picking a new lens.....


@TCampbell wrote:

@Skirball wrote:
As far as lenses, all this 24-70 II and 70-200 II is bull**bleep**.  People were taking great wedding photos long before those came out.  You already have a 70-200 2.8?  It's fine.  Maybe add in a fast prime for when it gets dark and call it good.  

I'm not sure where you were going with that comment.  The 24-70 & 70-200 f/2.8 pair is pretty much the standard pairing for weddings.  People did wedding portraits with 8x10 view cameras and a tray of magnesium sulfate flash powder too... but I don't recommend those for today's weddings since it's messy and tends to trigger the smoke alarms.

 

As the OP asked a straight up question, and those are the most commonly used lenses, you may as well give the OP the straight up answer because I think that's what they want to know.  

 


You're really arguing that the mark I isn't sufficient for a beginning wedding phographer?  And that's stretching the term, it sounds like someone learning the art who's friend asked them to take pictures at their wedding.

 

And your analogy is crap, the difference between that and the magnesium, is that the Mark I are still capable of producing shots of a quality reflective of modern day photography.  

 

Yes, the OP did ask a straight up question, and as usual, you ignore it.  You two seem to always gloss right over peoples monitary concerns...  see where they mentioned the $1000 limit?  The lenses you suggested would run close to $5000.  But you gotta have the best, right?

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Re: Need help picking a new lens.....

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎09-30-2013

Re: Need help picking a new lens.....

Thanks for yourr help

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎09-30-2013

Re: Need help picking a new lens.....

70-200 2.8 yes I do have that but I do not use it for the weddings I been taking so far. 

 

Thanks for your help Skirball

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,816
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Need help picking a new lens.....


@Skirball wrote:
You're really arguing that the mark I isn't sufficient for a beginning wedding phographer?  

Ultimately you're going to need f/2.8 glass (or faster) at a wedding.  It would be misleading to suggest that someone could shoot a wedding with an f/3.5-5.6 variable zoom.  It would work for an ourdoor wedding, but would be very risky for an indoor wedding -- and as you can't re-shoot a wedding, one really cannot afford the risk.

 

I have lots of photos taken at indoor weddings, no flash allowed, where the camera is at ISO 3200, the lens _is_ f/2.8 glass (and is at f/2.8), and the "fastest" shutter speed I can pull off is 1/30th sec.  These are not unusual shooting circumstances... I can show LOTS of shots like that.  Now just imagine owning an f/3.5-5.6 zoom and being a full 2 stops slower.  Now the camera needs 1/8 sec exposure and that's just not realistic.  At 1/30th you have to be very careful as to when you take the shot to avoid motion blur.

 

So it's not a question of "having the best" -- it's a question of "having the right gear".  It is wholly unrealistic to expect to shoot an indoor wedding ceremony with anything less.  The lens used for an indoor wedding by a professional photographer is not inexpensive and that's just the way it is.  Sports photographers have the same challenge with their telephoto zooms... the lenses they need are not inexpensive and that's also just the way it is.

 

The prices are not high arbitrarily.  f/2.8 zooms are much more complicated to make (if they're any good.)  The focal ratio is dervied by dividing the focal length by the diameter of clear aperture.  In order to divide the diameter of clear aperture into the focal length fewer times, the diameter of clear aperture must be larger -- sometimes much larger.   That means the glass elements are bigger (and heavier).  Large lens elements increase the amount of dispersion that the lens has -- meaning it wants to behave like a prism all around the edges and split the light into a rainbow where the different wavelengths no longer focus at the same distance and you end up with a fuzzy picture with a lot of color fringing.  So now they have to create compensating elements.  All lenses have these compensating elements, but low focal ratio lenses need more of them and they're bigger.  At the same time, they try to fight back the dispersion by using low-dispersion, ultra-low dispersion "glass" and that can mean using exotic materials such as florite crystal.  The problem with the crystal is that it doesn't occur in nature in anything but very tiny pieces.  Canon has to "grow" the crystal in a kiln.  But the faster you grow a crystal, the more likely it is to have flaws in it and Canon has to make sure the crystal is optically clean to be suitable for use in a lens.  This means it has to be grown particularly slowly in order to get a clean product.  It's very time consuming... it's not normal mass production like we normally think of in the consumer space.

 

I use a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM original (gen I).  But those aren't marketed anymore so that could be tough to find.  You could buy a used copy.  Some people are extremely averse to buying used glass -- especially a main bread-n-butter lens (mostly because people don't often part with bread-n-butter glass ... so one immediately has to wonder why the lens is for sale.)   Keep in mind that I have a full frame camera... on a crop-frame camera it'd be the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM (and that costs about half as much as the 24-70 f/2.8L II)

 

There is the option to use a prime lens because you can get a low focal ratio for much less than the cost of an f/2.8 zoom... and then "zoom with your feet".  I did mention that in the initial reply and that's how I shot all my weddings "back in the day" when it was all film.

 

I'm actually a big advocate of renting the glass *if* it's just a single occasion need.  If it's an ongoing need then, of course, buy it.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Need help picking a new lens.....


@TCampbell wrote:

@Skirball wrote:
You're really arguing that the mark I isn't sufficient for a beginning wedding phographer?  

Ultimately you're going to need f/2.8 glass (or faster) at a wedding.

 

*snip*

 

There is the option to use a prime lens because you can get a low focal ratio for much less than the cost of an f/2.8 zoom... and then "zoom with your feet".  I did mention that in the initial reply and that's how I shot all my weddings "back in the day" when it was all film.

 

I'm actually a big advocate of renting the glass *if* it's just a single occasion need.  If it's an ongoing need then, of course, buy it.

 


He said he has a 70-200 2.8, which is a fine piece of glass.  It may not be as sharp as the Mark II, and the IS sure would be nice, but it's a capable lens.  As I said on the first page, add in a fast prime and you're good to go.

 

Having a full kit is great, but you gotta keep things in perspective, it's something that I feel is rarely done here.  The OP said they don't have a lot of experience, and the friend who is getting married knows this.  They're not hiring a pro photog, they're asking a friend.  And I'm not knocking the OP, but look at the first post "I want a better lens that can zoom in and out."  Have you ever heard an experienced photographer use this vernacular?  I made the assumption off the start that the OP doesn't have much experience and try to tailor my answer to fit needs.  Sure a pro kit is great, but it seems like so many answers on here are black and white, you either need the 5d3, 24-70 II, and 70-200 II, or just get a rebel and a kit lens.  There's a whole grey area in-between, and while that may not work for high-charging professionals, those usually aren't the people that come here asking questions.

 

I was in a similar situation to the OP when I went to a friends wedding in Mexico awhile back.  Turns out they didn't have the money for a photog so they asked me if I could shoot a bit.  They waited to ask me until I was already there, so I shot with what I had:  a 450D, a Sigma 17-70, and a 50/1.4.  It was far from optimal, but I made it work.  Afterwards I was grumbling as I looked over the shots thinking 'this would have been better if I had this, and that would have been better if I did that...".  My friends were estatic with the results, they still thank me every time I see them.  Sometimes you have to calibrate your expections.

 

I don't doubt your advice Tim, you're obviously very knowledgeable when it comes to photography.  I just think sometimes your advice is for the wrong audience.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,816
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Need help picking a new lens.....

Keep in mind that I mentioned three things:

 

1)  The 24-70 f/2.8 is the bread-n-butter for full frame / the 17-55 f/2.8 is the EF-S equivalent for a crop-frame body like the T2i

 

2)  The f/2.8 zooms are very expensive to buy and a low focal ratio prime would be much less expensive

 

3)  If this lens purchase is for a single event... rent the lens rather than buy.  If the lens will be needed on an ongoing basis, then buy.

 

Skirball, You're putting me on the defense as if I suggested that the OP simply has to spend $2300 and that's all there is to it.  At no point did I say that... in each message I mentioned the option of the prime and the option of renting.

 

So... I just checked Lensrentals and their price on an EF-S 17-55 for 7 day rental is $61.  Probably the other rental houses will be close.  That probably doesn't factor in shipping and/or insurance.  Even with shipping and insurance that's hardly going to break the bank.

 

I suggest a week because it's a bit risky to minimize the rental period should anything go wrong in shipping and/or if the product is damaged when it arrives.  But ALSO... I wouldn't want to unbox a new-to-me lens and then go shoot a wedding with it even if it was a brand new factory lens.  I'd much rather get some experience with it, learn it's nuances, etc. and THEN go shoot the wedding.  Consider the week before the wedding as if you're "booked" testing the lens... and the day of the wedding as being booked doing a wedding.

 

As the bride is a personal friend, do you plan to go to the wedding rehearsal.  This would give you an opportunity to bring the camera & lens and test the light in the church (I say church, but recognize this may be in some other venue).

 

One last thing to keep in mind... while low focal ratio lenses do pull in more light (often much more light), they also decrease the depth-of-field... the range of distances at which a subject will appear to be acceptably focused.  This means if you've framed up a shot where the people in the frame are all at different distances, they probably will not all be in good focus if you're shooting at lower focal ratios.

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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