Good Afternoon Everybody,
A quick note on yesterday's post - I found out that the Technique Tuesday tutorial had a slight hiccup and didn't make it on-line till 6:00 p.m. It's up and running now so scroll down and give it a peek. It's a Cecil B. DeMille, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg extravaganza!!!
OK gang, today I'm grabbing one of the most requested Skribit questions, "What's the best recommendations of lenses to use at a wedding?" Well, first, let me say, "It kind of depends on your budget." So dear reader, let me start with the basic set-up and move up to the exotic and pricey options.
Let's talk cameras first. Regardless of whether you are a Canon or Nikon shooter, I would be choosing one of the models with the APS-C sensor size. I'm a Canon shooter and love the Canon 40D. If I were a Nikon shooter, I'd definitely be looking at the new D300. Nikon has finally got pretty darn close to Canon in the low noise area with their new D3 and D300 series of cameras. Why do I love the APS-C size sensors? Because basically I'm cheap. What's the #1 characteristic of photographers? We are all CHEAP...... 'nough said here.
How does that help me? Well, now I can buy a long lens and get 1.5-1.6x the focal length out of the glass. I love having a 300mm optic on my camera when I really only had to buy a 200mm lenses, but I digress. Bottom line - shoot with a Canon 40D or a Nikon D300 - both solid choices for the wedding shooter. By the way, both also offer highlight protection for the JPEG shooter in the form of Highlight Tone Priority on the Canon side and Active D-Lighting on the Nikon side. Both settings also work on RAW as well. Bob Atkins had some Canon flavored discussion on the topic over at his site right here.
OK, on with the lenses. Hit the "Read More..." link below for what's in my gear bag.
If you are in the Canon camp, pick up their 17-85mm IS lens if you don't own it already. On the Nikon side, pick up the 18-200mm VR lens (sweet range.) I wish Canon went that wide. In any case, because of the very wide focal length of these two lenses, you can just about shoot an entire wedding with those lens choices. Wait there is more, you didn't hear it from me, but I know a certain third party manufacturer is coming out with a 15:1 image stabilized zoom in the next few months. Unfortunately, I'm sworn to secrecy under penalty of death so I can't tell you more but, as soon as possible I'll be reporting with this latest, greatest lens. I can only hope Maxwell Smart isn't lurking in the shadows as I write this.
What's the second lens to purchase? It's really a "no-brainer" - pick up either manufacturer's 50mm lenses. Spend about $320 dollars and you can get a 50mm F1.4's from B&H. Want to save a bundle and only lose 1/2 stop, pick up the F1.8 versions - either lens is only about $80. Folks, that's a steal since the optical quality is pretty darn close to the F1.4 variety.
On to number 3. I would pick up a 70-200mm image stabilized lens. Yes, I know it's pricey but worth every cent. On the Canon side, you have a choice of the lens in either an F2.8 or F4.0 version. The F4.0 version saves you about $500.
Hey gang, these are the BIG THREE that need to be in your camera case. You can get into pricier models and different focal lengths, but these are still my favorites. I also have another "Lens Rule" - if it's available image stabilized - BUY IT. Read my lips - do not settle for less. The image stabilized lenses offer many more possibilities in getting a lot more shots in the day than shooting with the alternative non IS/VR lens.
The next lens I would pick up would be one of the super wide lenses. That would be the 10-22mm (107 degrees wide) wide angle on the Canon side or the 12-24mm (99 degrees wide) on the Nikon side. This is about all the "wide angle" you will ever need. You can put together some pretty cool images with these wide angle optics. How wide are they? Heck, when I put the camera up to my eye with one of these babies on it, I can actually see people approaching me from behind. OK, OK, I'm exaggerating a bit here, but they truly are reeealy, reeealy wide.
Oh, and did I say that they don't really break the bank. Well, maybe slightly, but still great lens to have in your bag. How much are they? These lenses run about $700 for the Canon version and $900 for the Nikon version when I last checked. Hey, in the old days, I spent $5000 on my Distagon 40mm f/4.0 Lens (89 degrees wide) for my Hassy. We certainly have it so good in these digital days.
One last lens just for fun would be the Sigma 8mm Fisheye. It's just a fun lens to have in the bag. There are some interesting creative possibilities, and guess what, you would probably be the only one on the block with one. It's the difference that makes the difference, you know.
You know, at this point the list could go on and on. I picked up the 100mm Macro lens for my Canon and it's fun to shoot. I just wish it was image stabilized like the Nikon version. Anther lens I'm looking at right now is the 14mm Fisheye, but I keep hesitating because my 10-22mm wide angle is wider that the 14mm after taking in the 1.6x magnification factor on my 40D. Just do the math - the 10mm lens is really a 16mm optic while the 14mm Fisheye becomes a 2mm optic. One last lens I'm also looking at is a perspective control lens. You can focus from here to infinity with the tilt function of the lens. No, it's not auto-focus, hey I'm over fifty so that's not a good thing, but I still would like to play with it even though it's a bit pricey.
The last lens in my bag I didn't mention is my Canon 70-300mm DO IS lens. It becomes almost a 500mm (actually 480mm) optic on my 40D - which is pretty cool. Did I mention that I have taken pictures down to 1/6 second with that lens. Yep, it is pretty cool to get really great available light ceremony shots with that lens. Also, I have a Canon 24-105mm lens I picked up for my Canon 5D. I really don't use the Canon 5D anymore - it's the "highlight tone priority" thing with the 40D. Now put the 24-105mm on the 40D and you have one of Canon's sharpest "tacks in the box" for your wedding party groups and general shooting. I still occasionally get cramped with the 24mm setting which means I switch back to the 17-85mm.
Here is the quick recap:
The BIG THREE
-Canon: 17-85mm IS (24-105mm IS is a good choice too but it might cramp you now and then), 50mm F1.4, 70-200mm f2.4 or F4.0 IS it's all about the budget here.
-Nikon: 18-200mm VR (great range for the wedding shooter and sharp enough especially at F6.3), 50mm F1.4, 70-200mm F2.8 VR
Now GO WIDE:
Canon: 10-22mm wide angle lens
Nikon: 12-24mm wide angle lens - sorry it costs more that the wider Canon optic.
8mm Sigma Fisheye
OK everybody, that pretty much wraps up where I stand on the lens subject. I know a zillion readers will have a zillion opinions on the subject, but these are my favorites. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
All kidding aside, admittedly, I'm a wide angle kind of guy, love the long lenses at wide apertures to isolate the subject in my wedding and portrait shoots, and I'm a fan of wide to tele zooms for all the general purpose assignments. I hope this gives you some insight into how I shoot and why I like the lenses in my line up.
That's it for today, so I hope to see everyone tomorrow. David