basic gear for 2nd shooter

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by bertonsierens, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Hi
    I'm planning to work as 2nd shooter in weddings during the weekends. I'm willing to spend up to 5000 euros to get the most basic gear and take it from there and see how it goes. Thinking of buying the following items
    • 1 D700 body second hand
    • 1 Nikkkor 24-70 2.8 lens
    • 1 50mm 1.4G lens
    • 1 SB900 flash
    • 1 set of flash triggers + 1 stand and accessories
    • memory cards, batteries for flashes
    I would use the D5100 as backup camera and the 35 1.8 DX, 28-75 3.5 and 70-300G lenses as backup for my 24-70. I also own a Metz AF-50 flash, and a Tamron 90 macro for close-ups.
    Is this an acceptable setup for me do you think?
  2. I would say, that it is up to the person who takes you as a second shooter to determine, whether your setup is sufficient. Some would be satisfied, and some would require to shoot on primes only for example. Or to use only full-frame cameras.
  3. With that setup I would say you're well equipped as a second shooter for a good portion of pro wedding photogs. The main issue is that you must have the skills to use that equipment effectively. Make sure you take the time to learn the ins and outs of your equipment before putting yourself out there for wedding work.
  4. It's definitely a good idea to check with who you're going to work for, they might have something specific in mind. I think
    D700 is not such a great idea, 12 MP, older technology. Try to get into a new D600, Tamron f2.8 zoom, a 50 f1.8 and an
    SB800 and/or scrap the slaves and stand and go for the SB900. I'm sure others will feel differently ;-)))
  5. I would rather see your portfolio before seeing your list of tools prior to making a hiring decision.
  6. I think it's impossible to say. But I think the D600 is a better choice than the D700 as well. Dual slots and more megapixels if ever needed. But that is only if you wanted to go full frame which doesn't jive with "the most basic gear".
    The best position to be in as a second shooter would be to have a very capable camera, complete lens selection, meaning f/2.8 zooms from wide to tele and a few primes from wide to tele and something to shoot close ups with. Then you could fulfill any role during the wedding and work for almost anyone. It doesn't have to be absolute top of the line lenses just capable of pro quality.
    So a D600 and a flash, a 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8, 28/1.8 and a 85/1.8 and perhaps a 50/1.8 for good measure and the Tamron macro would be a great and very capable combo. You also need gels and flash modifiers. If you wanted redundancy a second equally capable body and another flash would be all that is needed. The lens setup is already redundant as the zooms and primes cover each other.
    But it would be much cheaper to go the crop camera route. Your current D5100 or preferably a D7000 for it's dual slots, a flash, a 17-50/2.8, a 50-150/2.8 or similar, the 35/1.8, 85/1.8 and the Tamron macro. Wide primes are a big problem on DX as there are few options except the very expensive 24/1.4 so it's better to skip that entirely.
    I think off-camera flash, stands and other gear are the primary shooters area. I would expect the second shooter to have a capable tripod though as well as basic stuff like enough memory cards, spare batteries for camera bodies and flash units, camera bag to carry it all etc.
  7. As others have said, there a simply too many variables. However, what you have outlined should be enough for most professional photographers looking for a 2nd shooter. 2nd shooter covers all manner of sins. I tend to agree that I would opt for the D600 over a D700. I would skip the 50mm f/1.4 in favor of the 85mm f/1.8 (you already have the 35mm for the DX camera which gives you roughly the same FoV). I might suggest skipping the 24-70. It is certainly one of the best lenses but for weddings, as a 2nd shooter... for me you wouldn't be offering me a different perspective if that is your "main" lens. When I 2nd shoot with my wife, the 24-120 f/4 rarely leaves the camera. And if I am going for "photojournalism", it's the 70-200 almost every time. And now there is a money saving f/4 version of that. So again, nothing wrong with your current choices, but that 24-70 is going to eat a chunk and probably duplicate what the primary shooter is shooting.
  8. Bring the 5100 and 28-75, the flash
    and the75-300 which you will rarely
    use. Leave the 35, 50 and 90. One bag
    full is plenty and most of it will stay in
    the bag.

    Rick H.
  9. I agree with John Deerfield, but would add that an alternative to the expensive and bulky Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 lens is the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens. This lens is a lot lighter and cheaper than the Nikon and is still extremely sharp. See image below taking with the Tamron lens on my D600.
    Good luck.
  10. That's the lens I was thinking of John, I'd like one myself. That's a pretty crackin' file you've got there, if you don't mind
    discussing, what was your workflow on that? If you prefer not I understand.
  11. No Problem Dave, Checking back on my history for this file in Lightroom 4 it has only my standard import preset applied and then cropped.
    My standard import is
    Highlights -14, Shadow +69, Whites +55, Blacks +26, Clarity +5, Vibrance +20
    Tone curve - Lights +3, Darks -9, Shadow -22
    Detail - Sharpening - Amount 70, Radius 1.5, Detail 55, Masking 40
    Noise Reduction - Luminance 20, Detail 55, Contrast 10
    Camera Calibration - Profile - Camera Portrait.
    This preset has come about with a lot of tweaking and probably not as tidy as it could be. But I use it for all portraits when I import as a starting point.
    Find the Tamron a great lens and appreciate the lack of bulk when shooting a wedding all day, as I offer full day coverage and can be and quite often is from 8am to 9pm. This and my 70 - 300mm Nikon lens are all I use for weddings. Going to purchase the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 when I can afford (probably this time next year).
  12. Thanks John, that was really nice of you to post all those details sir!
    I'm pretty much out of the wedding circuit, but I'm still doing some portrait and commercial/editorial assignments and as
    time marches on slowly but surely I've been going lighter and less bulk just as you say. It works for me.
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Is this an acceptable setup for me do you think?"​
    The kit is reasonably comprehensive and has a level of redundancy, but, as mentioned there are lots of ‘variables’.
    I suggest before you buy anything, that you seek out information and responses from you prospective / target market ‘employers’
    As an example of another ‘variable’: it appears back in 2009 you had an EOS 400D 18-55 kit lens and 70-200 F4 zoom. Perhaps you now have Nikon gear and are adding to that kit?
    Just as an example of ‘variables’ - all other matters being equal I could very well prefer you shooting alongside me (initially) with that 400D and those two lenses, rather than all of the Nikon gear – simply because I would be there with a kit full of Canon Gear.
  14. Hey thank you all for the great answers and the effort you put in to give me advice. My plan is to gain as much experience as possible as 2nd shooter or assistant to learn the business of weddings, baptisms, communions, etc.
    I'm biased to full frame because of the shallow depth of field, low light capacity and the big viewfinder (find it hard to view through my D5100 viewfinder). So the D600 would be a good choice (although not as big as the D700).
    I'd really like to shoot candid shots from distance without bothering the guests, as such the 70-200 would be indeed be for me a very good idea. The new F4 70-200 perhaps? Anyone that has used this lens, feel free to comment.
    Indeed, I also think it best to find out what is available on the market for me, I will get started right away at doing some research.
    In short, my gear will depend of course on the needs of the persons that will have me, but with your input I think of something like this:
    1 D600 new
    1 70-200 F4 (need to see reviews first though before buying - maybe rent it first)
    1 24-70 tamron 2.8 ( about 500 euros less than the Nikon)
    1 50mm 1.8
    1 85mm 1.8
    I'll let you know how it goes with my research :)
    So, my gear set
  15. I would say the bigger question is not what gear do you have but do you have any experience shooting weddings? Personally I would hire someone with experience as long as they had basic gear over somebody with great gear and no experience.
    As for the f/4 70-200, the f/4 maximum aperture just doesn't just it for me. Weddings and many other situations are often in low light and you need 2.8 to get faster AF and just to be able to see through the viewfinder even if you're not necessarily shooting wide open. Keep in mind that 2.8 isn't particularly fast to start with when compared with 1.4 and 2.0 primes. If you want a 2.8 70-200 but can't afford Nikon, take a look at the Tamron. I have it and I've found it to be a little slower to AF when shooting sports but just as sharp as the Nikon and plenty fast enough in AF for shooting just about anything else.
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    As for the f/4 70-200, the f/4 maximum aperture just doesn't just it for me . . .​
    That comment made me think about this: -
    berton's target client market (initially) is other W&P Photographers.
    I’d argue that if these Photographers 'wanted' their Second to have a 70 to 200, most would ‘prefer’ it to be an F/2.8 version.
    I put the words ‘wanted’ and ‘prefer’ within inverted commas, because my meaning is: IF you do have a 70 to 200 zoom, then the leverage in ‘selling’ yourself to another Photographer, would certainly be in having the faster and not the slower version – if any notice were to be taken of the lens, in the first place.
  17. Hello Craig
    I have shot one wedding recently as primary for a friends wedding. I used the 35 1.8 lens for bride shots during make-up session and in the church. I used a 18-200 + the 50 Metz flashon loan to shoot reception group pictures, and for other shots during the remainder of the party following. I failed miserably at the reception group photos, not the picture itself, but getting people to stand still and look at me :( The entry of the bride and father in the church I didnt compensate exposure and of course the bride was underexposed. For the rest, I am pretty happy with my pictures considering I only had the 35 1.8 and an 18-200 lens.
    I will post some pictures of latere of the wedding so you have an idea of what i'm capable of.
    So I do not have experience at weddings, but i am very eager to learn, and one has to start somewhere. I have read good reviews for the 70-200 F4, and considering the D600 low res capabilities, would that not be sufficient to capture, say, at 1/50th or less considering VR?
    Thanks for all the comments
  18. From everything I have read, the 70-200 f/4 is a great lens. And on a D600, which has a decent IOS 6400, it will do just fine in low light as needed. A LOT of 2nd shooters use a D300 with a 70-200 f/2.8 and the f/4 on a D600 will do better in low light! Is the 70-200 f/2.8 preferred? On paper at least! For my part, the only way this would influence my decision on a 2nd shooter was if everything else equal. In other words, unlikely. Someone had mentioned the darker viewfinder of the f/4 lens. This is true, but the difference between f/2.8 and f/4 through the viewfinder is hardly all that great (as judged by putting a f/2.8 lens on the camera and pressing the DoF preview button). Certainly not enough to rule the lens out. And on another positive note: weight. It doesn't much matter to me, but my wife hates carrying heavy lenses all day. The f/4 is smaller and lighter and this can have a real impact throughout the day.
  19. What is low light? Normal indoor lighting at night is around EV5, that's ISO3200, 1/60s, f/4. Low light that you can encounter in a wedding is more like EV1 or EV2. EV1 with an f/4 lens would force you to ISO6400 and 1/8s. Not good. With an f/2 lens you would be at ISO6400 and 1/30s instead which is workable. I'd say you need a f/2 lens to be able to shoot in low light with the D600. An f/4 lens wont cut it IMHO.
  20. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    What is low light? Good question.
    It’s becoming a little academic and certainly I can all pull out specific examples to suit the argument for an F/2.8 lens zoom lens rather than an F/4 zoom lens.
    But, just on the simplistic point of view, take ANY ‘low light situation’ at whatever the ISO settimg you wish and consider what you wrote here:
    “I have read good reviews for the 70-200 F4, and considering the D600 low res capabilities, would that not be sufficient to capture, say, at 1/50th or less considering VR?”
    Sure in many situation that might be correct – but what you need to consider is an F/2.8 lens will allow you to make that shot at 1/100s and that might just be the difference between capturing SUBJECT MOVEMENT (with the F/4 lens) or NOT (with the F/2.8 lens).
    It is not just about the “VR” – even when they are ‘standing still’ – the Subjects are moving.

    What you have to judge is how often the F/2.8 will be required and place your bets accordingly. The point I was making is some prospective employees might have strong views about this.
    Personally if you had Canon gear I wouldn’t care – as you could borrow one of my faster telephoto lenses if it was necessary to make shots I required of you . . .
  21. I'm sure the 70-200 f/4 is a fine lens, and the D600 will do high ISO reasonably well, but speed is half the equation; the extra DOF control you get with the f/2.8 version is valuable at weddings.
    I'd suggest getting a used VRI version of the 70-200 f/2.8 rather than getting the f/4.
    I would have no problem hiring a second who was using the Tamron 24-75 f/2.8. I do usually send my second to shoot the guys getting ready, and would therefore expect that lens to be useful then. I'm not sure I'd bother with a 50mm, but the f/1.8 version is so cheap that it may provide useful backup at a trivial marginal cost. Just don't expect to get a lot of mileage out of it.
    I do look at gear, but there are two things I'm interested in before gear, when deciding whether to use someone as a second. First, I want to know whether the second's personality is a good fit, including the second's reliability, integrity, friendliness, manners, etc. Second, I want to see some sample work to understand what kind of quality to expect.
    Gear is third. It's still important, because it either removes or imposes limitations on the shooter's range. Ideally, I want my second to have one or two good bodies with good low-light performance, plus a fast 24-70 and a 70-200 (regardless of brand or model year). Those basic components give my second a lot of flexibility to go do something different from whatever I'm doing. (If my second is a prime shooter, then a 35 and 85 on full-frame is good, with something for wide coverage like a 20, 24, or a 16-35 is a plus.)
    After those basics are covered, then additional components, such as fast primes, macro lenses, fisheyes, and other tools or toys that can add flavor, are icing on the cake. But primarily, I want basic, reliable, complete coverage ability when I look at gear.
  22. I suppose I'll just go ahead and open a can of worms by saying I don't see the D5100 as a serious contender, and wouldn't expect to see my second using one unless the D600 broke, was stolen, or sank to the bottom of a pond. If you don't already have the D5100, consider getting a used entry-level body for back-up, such as a D90, to save money.
  23. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Another thought:
    Probably it is also worthwhile considering what could be the ‘main working lens’ a second shooter might be using. Would a Second Shooter tend to use a 70 to 200 more often than the Primary Photographer?
  24. WW wrote:
    Would a Second Shooter tend to use a 70 to 200 more often than the Primary Photographer?​
    I think so, and that's exactly why it's a key part of the second's kit. If I'm shooting close, I don't also want my second shooting close. I usually want my second to be able to snipe.
  25. Thanks again for all the valuable input I'm getting here. Before anything else, I'm going to focus on my current gear and getting to know it as well as I can, to the point i can make shots without even needing to look at the histograms.... Making the adjustments as automatic as possible to enable to react quickly and get those important moments. That plus reading these forums, books, etc.
    I'm also going to get my best pictures on a website, so that I can refer to those in my applications. I'm also thinking of having my best pictures printed out so that I can show them to the photographers.
    Thanks again for the info.
  26. I would think a second body would be a must...
    Otherwise... it depends on the photographer, but you have a nice setup.
    Maybe at some point add a longer focal length. Depending upon your style maybe the 105mm f/2 or 135mm f/2 for portraits and back of the church. Some people prefer zooms like the 70-200 or 80-200 f/2.8
    I intentionally skipped the 85mm because you pretty much have that covered with your current setup.
  27. There is no escaping the reality of technology. D90 has 12.3mp opposed to D5100 16.2, image area pixels is 4288x2848
    opposed to 4928x3264, 12 bit NEF opposed to 14 bit NEF, basically same AF 11pt 3D and multi cam 1000. According to
    several reputable sources D5100 has better high ISO and better color depth too.
  28. Dave wrote:
    D90 has 12.3mp opposed to D5100 16.2,​

    Yes, of course the D5100 is technically better than the prior-generation body. My point is that I wouldn't have my second shooting with either one as a matter of course, and that the D90 is about as good, as a backup (i.e., emergency) body, as is the D5100. So if the OP can save money (up front and in depreciation) by getting a used prior-gen body, he may as well do that because the value of having either the D90 or the D5100 is close enough to zero that it's more valuable to spend money on lenses or save it for the eventual second D600.
  29. The D90 is very capable of covering weddings having shot over 80 weddings with a pair of D90's. Have only just recently upgraded one to a D600.
    To many people get hung up over gear, if you have the right skills then your going to produce better pictures using just about any gear than a poor photographer would with the best available gear.
    It's the person that is holding the camera that matters more than what camera / lens combination that he is holding. Having said that if you have the right skills as demonstrated with your previous images using your gear that you would use on a wedding as a second shooter then this is what I would employ you on. Not what camera gear is in your bag.
  30. The price of change. The digital free ride where cameras a few years old are considered obsolete. I think focus, should be on Portfolio. It matters little what one uses. A friend of mine a busy photographer doing PJ, Publicity, Art, Advertising and Commercial uses everything from high end Nikons to Film cameras such a The Nikon FE and a Holga!
    I often did a 2nd Shooter at Weddings. I used Film. There was no digital. The Rig consisted of a Leica M3, 50mm, a 90 and 35mm for groups.A small flash. Sometimes only the Leica M3, 50mm and flash.
    Later i preferred the SLR, Pentax Spotmatic. 28mm, 50mm and 85mm.
    i am amazed with all this equipment, said to be required. Photographer not porter.
  31. I think Peter J hit the nail squarely on the head. It's all about the image not the "junk". I'm never surprised by the number of photographers who are willing to jump in with both feet and offer free advice on the pro's and con's of the various "junk" that's out there.
    Go out and make some great images. No one will care what you made them with. It's all about the image.

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