Best Lens for wedding photography

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by rick_viars_ii, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Hi, I'm in college not formally trained in photography but have always had a knack for it. My parents recently started a wedding and events business at our house. I have been incredibly busy and have realized that the lens and flash that came with my canon 30D is just not sufficient in low light situations. Can anyone suggest a good all-around lens and flash that performs well in low light (i.e. receptions inside or at night)? I have a budget of around $700 for both. Also should I look for new or used. Thanks!
    Rick
    www.farleyplantation.com
     
  2. If you go third party lens you might find a f2.8 standard zoom for aps-c less than $700. The "classic" range is 24-70 or 15-xx for aps-c. A 430ex should do fine. If you dont mind primes, then the 50 f1.8 comes to mind, but it might be too tight for aps-c. Ideally, you could get a used ef-s17-55 f2.8 for $750usd plus a 430ex used for around $200.
     
  3. Thanks! I might be able to squeeze some more money out of my parents. If so, is it worth spending the extra and getting Canon brand?
     
  4. Yes it is worth it, given the IS for low light shots and USM for quiet and fast auto focus. This lens will give you quality images and will not disappoint.
     
  5. Definitely buy used if you can find what you want at a good price. IS is not such a great idea for weddings since there is always some movement of your subjects and if you place too much confidence in the IS system you could end up with a lot of blurry images.
    Once you can afford it, you could likely put a zoom on one body and a prime lens on another. I'd start with a used Canon EF 17-35mm f2.8 L. They have a few at keh.com in the $700 USD range. For less than $100 USD a Canon EF 50/1.8 could be a nice addition too.
    Do some research on previous model flashes like the Canon 580 EX I, 550 EX, and even 540 EZ. You may be able to compromise on some less required capabilities while gaining some extremely important ones while spending less money.
    Down the road you could consider a couple more primes like a 24/1.4 L or 35/1.4 L, and either an 85/1.2 L or 135/2 L.
     
  6. Pretty much the all time classic wedding photography camera is the Rolleiflex with the Planar 80 f/2.8 lens.
    You could easily get similar results with a 50mm lens. Also, as the L lenses are generally too shallow in terms of DOF to use wide open with really good, reproducible results (you will miss some shots due to the DOF being too shallow), so consider lenses such as the 24 f/2.8, the 35 f/2, the 85 f/1.8, and the 135 f/2.8 Soft Focus as well. You could get the whole lot for the cost of one of the L lenses.
     
  7. Regarding the lens, get a Tamron 17-50 f2.8. Regarding the flash, go with a Canon EX model (e.g. 420, 430, 550, 580) or an auto flash (e.g. Sunpak 383, Nikon SB-24/25/26, etc.).
     
  8. Tamron's 17-50 f/2.8 now comes with image stabilizer (VC) for Canon mount. From what I've read and the users I know who own one for wedding work, it is a very good lens and looks to be within your budget. On a 30D that would likely be your most-used focal length at a wedding
     
  9. At that budget I'd say Tamron 17-50/2.8 non-VC plus a speedlight 270 because it's head can tilt.

    More budget will equal more choices...
     
  10. With only $700, you are kind of stuck, in my opinion. You would need at least 3 flashes and a speedlight transmitter to get good lighting. You’d need diffusers and a full frame camera, if you want to be able to use a decent lens. The lenses that I would use would be an 85mm L, a 24-105mm L, 50mm f/1.4(or 50mm L), and a 16-35mmL just for kicks. But… you only have $700…. So, if I were you, and being that wedding photography is mostly about lighting…. I would sell the camera you have now and upgrade a bit… chances are, you’ll only be able to afford a crop sensor camera. I’d then buy a few flashes and a speedlight transmitter with a few diffusers to go with the flashes. I think the EF-S 18-200mm IS lens should be okay. & dont forget to use FILTERS.
    FILTERS FILTERS FILTERS!
    But I’d save your pennies and then once you have enough… ask your parents for a little money and go big. Practice bouncing light, too…. In the long run, you’ll be happy that you saved your money for it all. After all, patience is a virtue.
     
  11. If you read enough of this forum you will realize that there are many wedding photographers using crop cameras but the vast majority do use full frame. The Tamron 17-50 is your best best.
     
  12. OMG Abraham do you really need all that kit to take a decent picture. With all that kit at a wedding I think most folk would get pretty fed up waiting around while you set up each shot. Who needs three flashes?
     
  13. OMG Abraham do you really need all that kit to take a decent picture. With all that kit at a wedding I think most folk would get pretty fed up waiting around while you set up each shot. Who needs three flashes?​
    That's why you have a friends or an assistant helping you out. ;) And if i was the photog, I wouldnt worry about them waiting around. People getting married want decent images, and they'll get it.
     
  14. OMG Abraham do you really need all that kit to take a decent picture. With all that kit at a wedding I think most folk would get pretty fed up waiting around while you set up each shot. Who needs three flashes?​
    Also, presetup is a must. Placing the lighting and flashes well before the wedding takes place is a good route. Usually you'll want to be included in the rehearsal so you'll know what happening.
     
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    “Can anyone suggest a good all-around lens and flash that performs well in low light (i.e. receptions inside or at night)?”
    Why do you need a new lens? Your question assumes you will be using Flash.
    Therefore the lens (assuming EF-S 18 to 55 F/3,5 to F/5.6 IS) should work efficiently enough with a 580MkII.
    Using the lens at about F/7 or F/8 will give the best consistent results – and you should learn good Flash Techniques including Bounce Flash, and Off Camera Flash and Flash Fill and also understand your Flash recycling time and how to compensate the Flash to Ambient Balance (Dragging the Shutter).
    Given the budget of $700 the Flash is more important than the lens for the scenario you outline.
    It is a different story if you want to shoot Available Light – but that is not your question.
    On a other topic - what’s your backup: Camera; Main working Lens and Flash? – you need two of each.
    WW.
     
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't used a Filter, specifically for a Wedding, in yonks - maybe a CPF when near the ocean - that's about it - what filters? Why in Capitals? why so emphatic? . . .
    WW
     
  17. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Pretty much the all time classic wedding photography camera is the Rolleiflex with the Planar 80 f/2.8 lens. You could easily get similar results with a 50mm lens."

    This conclusion is incorrect.
    A similar lens on 30D would be something like the EF35F/2.
    NOT a 50mm lens

    WW
     
  18. Ah, missed that he had a cropped camera.
    Still, one good lens CAN do it all at a wedding. And a few compact primes might be more workable than a few big, clunky zooms.
     
  19. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    (Yep I though you missed the APS-C format - easy to do when one was (is) film based - which I assumed . . . nice camera the Rollei . . .

    "Still, one good lens CAN do it all at a wedding. And a few compact primes might be more workable than a few big, clunky zooms."
    Yes I agree but it takes skill for big groups because there is a problem at the wide for an APS-C body - i.e. getting a suitable Prime that is wide enough – especially for inside.
    An Economic two lens set is a Tamron 17 to 50 f/2.8 and EF85F/1.8 - the lens back up could be the kit zoom. But a fast 28 or 24 is handy too.
    On a 20D I could do a whole Wedding with a fast 24 and fast 50 mostly always – except for really small spaces and large groups for any formals – but that’s where arranging is the key.
    WW
     
  20. I haven't used a Filter, specifically for a Wedding, in yonks - maybe a CPF when near the ocean - that's about it - what filters? Why in Capitals? why so emphatic? . . .
    Well.. a few basic reasons... Better color. Protection. (from those kids that like to run around aimlessly). For better black and white contrasts, if you are going to be shooting in black and white. And some filters allow special effects.
     
  21. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for responding as to why so emphatic about the use of filters.

    Considering that as the OP is requesting information about indoor, low light and/or Flash Photography with a Digital Camera and a Zoom lens - I would suggest not using any filters at all, because in these shooting conditions and with this equipment filters will increase the likelihood of:
    > Veiling Flare
    > Ghost Images
    > Effective EV loss resulting in a longer Tv, Higher ISO or wider Av (specifically for Available Light shooting)

    Also apropos the resultant image being B&W, then the shot should be taken RAW and digitally converted to B&W later. The loss of EV using B&W Contrast Filters and JPEG Digital B&W capture, is ridiculous to deal with in low light situation using a 30D, IMO.

    I do not understand what filter would be used to give better colour to a RAW file (or a JPEG File) on a 30D, but I do understand the use of filters for special effects - but special effects are just that – “special” - so one would surely not be using them for more than a few, very select images?

    If one uses a UV (or similar) filter for protection, then it is wise to remove it when shooting inside at the Reception, for the reasons of potential problems with Veiling Flare and Ghost Images – especially at the wider apertures and wider FL - especially with a zoom lens. Both wide FL and large Av are usually used when shooting at the Reception, inside.

    Most Professional W&P Photographers I work with follow this protocol of removing any Protection Filters at the reception, for the few basic reason outlined above.

    WW
     
  22. dont forget to use FILTERS.​
    In the digital age most filters can be emulated in postprocessing. The advantage is that you then have much more time to play with the settings. However, some few filters cannot be emulated, because the information the filter is sensitive to, is not recorded in the photo. To give some examples of filters that cannot be emulated:
    • polarizing filter to suppress / emphasize reflections
    • narrow band filters (e.g. UHC filter for astrophotography)
    • UV / IR (both pass and blocking) filters (maybe of limited use for DSLRs due to UV/IR blocking filter in the sensor protecting glass)
     

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