$2000 (US$1800) to spend on gear. Suggestions please.

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by dannytekino, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. I'm getting into shooting weddings as a second shooter. I shot my second wedding a few days ago and I'm really happy with the results, but I need to add to my current list of gear now so I can start to get a bit more serious, and hopefully start to get paid for my work.

    For those who are interested, here's a link to some shots from the other day:

    OK. Here's what I already have:

    Eos 400D
    50mm f1.4
    Tamron 17-50 f2.8
    580ex Flash
    battery grip
    multiple batteries
    multiple CF cards
    expensive tripod
    Sekonic L358 light meter

    Here's what I'm considering buying:

    Second body (most likely a 30D cos they are extremely cheap at the moment) - $1200 (US$1070.00)
    Spare flash - probably a 430ex - $350 (US$310)
    A longer lens - either an 85mm f1.8 - $500 (US$440), or a 100mm macro - $740 (US$650) (see me other forum post)
    If you think the money could be spent in a better way, please let me know.

    Thanks heaps.
  2. Danny, I would go with a longer lens. It would be a 70-200mm f2.8 IS.
  3. danny - first, I hope you are getting paid for your work as a second shooter! just because you are inexperienced doesn't mean you should do it for free!

    here's what I would suggest:

    -second flash, absolutely (canon flashes, unfortunately, are very, very poorly made and go bad all the time due to little bumps and bruises!)
    -sell the 17-50 (not sure what you will get for it - $500?)
    -buy the canon EF-S 17-55 IS 2.8. ($1150 or so)
    -sell the 50mm 1.4 and pick up the 85mm 1.8. (sell for $250, buy for around $350 I think)
    -buy a canon 20D for $500-$600 (there is very little difference between the type of images that the 20D and the 30D produce, and the 20D can be found used for much less - I see them going for $500-$600 nowadays.)

    if you aren't finding 20D bodies for that price, email me and I can give you a special secret on how to where to find them quickly for that price.

    if you really want to be able to handle any situation, I would buy an alien bee monolight, an umbrella and a radio trigger system like the quantum radio slave. getting your flash off camera can do wonders for your photography. you can get a monolight, a trigger and receiver and an umbrella for aroudn $500-$600.

    glad you have a tripod - those are important. I would finish it all off with a good tripod head if you don't already have one - the head can make the difference!

    or the canon ef-s 60mm macro - it is relatively cheap ($350 or so? much cheaper than the 100mm macro!) and very sharp.
  4. Since you're digital, you might want to think about your computer. A better monitor, a tablette, more memory, another laptop, better software?
  5. You can send me the money and I will buy you a proper kit... :)

    Conrad's suggestion, especially with regards to the second body, is good.

    Do you have a flash bracket to get the flash off the camera? If not, you should have one and the cord that goes between the flash and the camera.
  6. Unlike Conrad, I wouldn't recommend selling anything you now have. 30D is good to get. I would actually get that over the 20D even though I think the improvements weren't all that great. The 20D had it's problems, like not so great autofocus and the tiny LCD. I like mine, but I'm used to it. I might actually consider getting a 40D and get a used Vivitar 285 or Sunpak 383 for the back-up flash. The 85mm is great to have--I wouldn't go for a macro unless you can use it for other things. For those ring shots, I'd get a close-up filter (Canon makes ones) or extension tubes. One thing you haven't considered is a back-up lens. On a crop camera, you can't shoot an entire wedding with a 50mm or 85mm lens, like you can with a 50mm on a full frame camera (difficult but possible). If your 17-50mm goes down, you need something there, even if it is a decent consumer zoom, or the 35mm f2 (inexpensive but very good prime). I think the 17-50mm is a great lens--don't see any need to sell it. As for brackets--that's up to you.
  7. Conrad has a well thought-out plan.

    I'd just get:


    Another 580EX

    85/1.8 + extension tubes or close up lenses

    additional BP-511 batteries

    for now.
  8. I would get the EOS 40D, and the 85mm 1.8 to round things up for now...

    actually my 85mm 1.8 arrives tomorrow, can't be happier...
  9. Howdy!

    It makes sense to have another camera body so you can use two lenses full time. I am going to disagree with my compatriots and recommend another 400D.

    The 400D may not be a "professional" camera, but it's WAY past the 20D and 30D with regards to resolution and automatic sensor cleaning. There is also the added benefit of having two identical camera bodies to avoid confusion when switching cameras. I use the 400D myself, and I do just fine.

    I would then get an 85mm f1.8, another 580EX, a CP-E3 battery pack, 16 NiMH batteries, and a LightSphere instead of a bracket. (Endless debates exist on this forum regarding this topic, but the LightSphere works for me).

    Any extra money left over? Insure it all!


  10. paul makes a good point - having two identical bodies is a great idea - no having to switch mental gears that way.

    but just for the record, I find the 20D focus just fine - it's not quite like the 1d mark 2...but pretty good, IMHO.
  11. Danny, I took a look at your photos and they are very impressive. Beautiful work, and I am sure you will be very successful.
  12. you'd need much more than 2k to get you out of the amateur corner (at least equipment-wise). 20k would sound more interesting to me.

    the wedding photographer's equipment hole is huge and very deep. you'll always be lusting after another piece of gear you haven't got yet. once you think you've got it all: BANG! your equipment is rendered obsolete by a paradigm shift...
  13. Easy: Second body and flash and use spare change for a spare lens.

    You've got two good lenses already, but if your flash or cam went out you would be out of business.
  14. Thanks for the responses so far.<br><br>
    I'm curious why a second 580ex has been recommended, instead of a 430ex. Is there that much difference between the two?<br>
    And regarding the suggestion to get a Vivitar or Sunpak flash as a backup....can those be triggered by the 580ex?<br><br>
    One of the reasons I was looking at getting the 30D, is the spot metering mode. I usually shoot in manual, but for times when I need to quickly make a shot in various lighting conditions, I'd like to be able to flick over to AV mode and meter with the spot. Any thoughts on this? And also the faster fps also appeals to me for my non-wedding photography.<br><br>

    Nadine, can you tell me which close-up filter you are referring to, and why you think it would be better than an extension tube? And the suggestion for a back up lens is good. <br>Can anyone tell me which would be the better choice (for image quality/sharpness)....<br>35mm f2<br> 28mm f1.8<br> 24mm f2.8<br> Sigma 30mm f1.4 (which I've heard some fantastic reviews about)?
  15. As far as the 580EX instead of the 430EX--580EX has more power, even if slightly, and has more bells and whistles (for instance, the 430EX doesn't swivel completely, doesn't recycle as fast). Also some people feel that if you are going to get a back up, it should be exactly the same as your primary, so you don't fumble when you need to press the back up into service. I personally don't have any problems using other models, but I can see the advantage for someone beginning in the field. I suggested the Vivitar or Sunpak in conjunction with spending more on a 40D--point being--you can get these used for as little as $35-50. Both these flashes use older flash metering technology and do not work with ETTL or with other ETTL flashes like the 580EX AT ALL, and they do have some limitations. They don't communicate with the camera either. However, they work fine if you know how to use them, and learning how to use them isn't that hard. A 430EX will give you the ability to have an off camera flash with triggering by the 580EX--that is an advantage. Up to you how to spend the money.

    Re the spot metering--your reason is as good as any for getting the 30D. Wouldn't be a reason for me, but it seems valid.

    Canon makes several close-up filters. I don't actually have them but they have been recommended by Marc Williams. I actually use the limited macro capability of my Tamron 28-75mm lens on my 5D to get as close as I can for ring shots, etc., and then crop. But one day I might get the close-up filter. While a macro lens is going to give the best quality for sure, you have to weigh this against carrying the lens all day too, even if just in an equipment case, just for a few macro shots. I believe this is one of the ones he is talking about.


    Or, you can just get close-up filters made by third party manufacturers. Again, quality isn't the same, but I don't think you need extreme quality for ring shots.

    As for the primes you mention, I have the 35mm f2, and it is quite sharp, with f2 being quite usable. It doesn't have USM, which bothers some people, because it isn't as silent and smooth in focus. I have heard that the 28mm f1.8 is decent but the 24mm f2.8 is quite good, however, it isn't surprising given the 28mm has a wider aperture, which might affect opinions. Wide open on any lens is not going to be the best. I also have heard good things about the Sigma--note that Alexandras Babicius, who posted below, uses this lens with excellent results, as you can see. Do some searches on photo.net to get some opinions.
  16. I'm not big on spending alot of money for equipment early on...instead, I would suggest that you invest your money by joining WPPI and attending the annual conference. Get some training and visit all the vendors at the trade show. Network with prophotographers in your area and build your equipment as you gain more practical experience.
  17. Ditto the 70-200 2.8. It's not much use when I'm shooting solo, but as a second shooter it's my workhorse lens. I've gotten jobs just because I own it.

    Best use is during the ceremony and the formals. My ceremony drill is pretty boring: set up the lens on a tripod at the back of the aisle or balcony so I can capture all the action. But it means the first shooter is guaranteed 100% coverage. During the formals I open the lens up wide and zoom to 200 to get that nice Bokeh, then concentrate on tight shots of the bride and groom. Again, it's extra coverage that the first shooters like.

    For the reception I shoot with my 35 2.0. You could probably get by with your 50.

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