Christmas portrait / event - ~130mm instead of 70-200mm

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by raymondc, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. Hi all - as Christmas is coming up I have been tasked with some snapshots for 2hrs involving friends and family. I sold my 80-200mm 2.8 and haven't got a replacement. I know a wedding pro at my camera club who had weight issues with her Canon 70-200 2.8 and then bought a 135 F2 and she's very satisfied. I have a 85mm 1.8 on a crop body which would provide something similar. Question is how is this comparable from a practical point of view to the 70-200mm? Could you even see it as a long term replacement? Of course there is a mid zoom that I have already I have that on FF - specially a 35-70mm. I know it is not as convenient than the newer ones but I just shoot friends and family on occasions I don't do it for my own photography interests, I am more a landscape guy.
    Many thanks :)
  2. Since you are in Nikon's forum, perhaps you need to know about the 70-200 VR II Nikkor lens FOCUS BREATHING problem.
    When focused at close distance, that is usually set for portraits, and zoom set at 200mm, you only get 134 mm, and never get 200.
    The 70-200 VR I has much smaller focus breathing loss of focal length.
    The measurements were done by Thom Hogan. Read about it on his web site
  3. I know a wedding pro at my camera club who had weight issues with her Canon 70-200 2.8 and then bought a 135 F2 and she's very satisfied.​
    Can't see a wedding photographer working with a 135mm ONLY? That makes very little sense to me. Assuming she's 'Full Frame', something like a 24-70mm f2.8 G must be on the other body! 135mm for head/shoulder portraits, maybe...couples? ...not easy unless you've got fast legs and bags of space.

    85mm f1.8 G on something like the D7100 is a good combo.
    Could you even see it as a long term replacement?
    errr...No Chance! Big, fast and expensive zooms are made for a reason...:)

    There's not much difference between 70mm and 85mm framing wise, but the faster f1.8 makes soft backgrounds easier.
  4. She shoots FF Canon 5D with a 16-35 and a 24-70. She sold the 70-200 2.8 after having wrist / arm strains. She is looking into primes but haven't done so yet.
    Would a 135 equiv. with a mid zoom be sufficient you think for casual family friends group / events or not really?
    Just this Christmas event coming up I am not buying so just making do with the 85mm on DX with 35-70 on FX. 18-35 in the bag for groups if it came to that ... No pressure, the output requires is just Facebook / PowerPoint size. Yeah .. you saying a 85mm on DX for into the future may not be a long proof thing was a bit dreaming ....
  5. IQ wise, the lens would be fine. The only issue is whether you have enough working distance for the type of shots you plan on taking. What focal length you need really depends on your shooting style, what type of portraits you are shooting and the amount of room you have to work with between you and your subjects. Also, DOF is very narrow with that lens, as you are probably aware. What type of portraits do you think you will be taking? If you were planning on shooting with a flash, perhaps you could buy an inexpensive 'kit' lens, like the 18-55mm, for example (available for well under $100 used). For natural light in a small venue, a 35mm f1.8 or 50mm f1.8 might be a better choice for group shots.
  6. My long lenses are a 105VR and a 70-200VRII (on FX cameras). For people photos, most of the times I take the 105, only for unknown scenarios, or when I plan to take longer shots on open spaces I take the zoom. A DX camera with a 135mm is long enough to my needs.
    For more than 135mm you need space, so you`ll know where you`ll be shooting. Carrying the weight and size of the 70-200 is a big difference.
    Personally, with a DX body I`d rarely need more than 105mm.
    BTW, Frank, I think it was in the release day (or maybe a little bit later) when it was published here in Pnet the actual focal equivalences related to the breathing issue. The article you mention was written much later... :)
  7. For snapshots, with a mid zoom on an FF camera, I'd not lose sleep over this. I've tried guesting at a wedding with the 135 f/2 as my longer lens (on FF) and, while fine for head shots and candids, the moment someone said "can you take a snap of the children?" I had to walk half way across the field to get far enough away. I'd not use one as my only lens, but since you already have the shorter range covered, I can't imagine a problem. As Elliot says, you may not always want to be wide open, but the isolation can be useful if the background is ugly; just bear in mind that you have no VR if you want distant shots in dim light and have to stop down. Good luck.
  8. I have pretty much what Jose has, just older versions - but yes, my 80-200 f/2.8 sees relatively little work since in 90% of the cases, a 105mm actually does the same thing for me. The differences are really just a few steps back or forth. If I know I will really want a longer lens, I grab the 180 f/2.8, but quite often I find that basically the 105 and 180 are close enough to just carry one of them instead (and yes, I tend to prefer primes over zooms clearly...).
    So, in my view, unless working in very dynamic situation where moving around isn't all that easy all the time, a 135 could replace a 70-200 in my view, though I'd rather take a bit shorter (100-105). But for weddings / events, I think I'd take the zoom and suffer its weight and size to gain the flexibility.
  9. There are a lot of wedding pros using a fast prime like the 85 or 135 and no telephoto zoom.
    Often a two camera setup with a midrange zoom on one camera or a wide-ish prime like a 35mm and then a 85/105/135 mm prime on the other.
    So yes, it works both as a short and long term solution.
    The only time when a prime only telephoto can be a problem is when you are not allowed to move and have to shoot many shots from the same position. Then a zoom can give you a few more options than just having a single prime would. Some people like to carry a 1.4 extender for those odd times when they need some more reach.
  10. In a controlled environment such as portraits I prefer the 85mm over the 70-200. First it opens wider (I have 1.4G but the 1.8G would be great too) which results in shallower DOF and a more pleasing bokeh. And second it's less intimidating to the subject(s).
  11. Put your 35-40mm on your crop-body and you'll have all the range that you need for a party. You're thinking about this too much...
  12. I only use primes on my D800 and shoot all my events with 85 1.8G, and almost never feel that I need a longer lens - a standard zoom should be fine - I'd spend more time working out where the good/usable/attractive light is in my venue. My other camera is a Fuji X100 with fixed 35mm which I use instead of D800 for events that need some stealth, 35mm takes a different style of event pic, lots of photogs prefer wide to long.
  13. If these are Christmas snaps in a home, I would go with the 85 on ff. 135 requires some distance from subject, add subj to bg distance and you can run out of room. 85 allows enough distance for good perspective and is useful for 2 or 3 person shots up to 3/4 and can blur distracting backgrounds without the extreme compression.
  14. @Bob and others - it's a Christmas function involving groups of friends / family. So musical instruments, singing and a lunch afterwards ... like a larger suburbian hall .....
  15. Ray, I just reread your original post and missed that you were also shooting FX. Assuming you are taking both bodies (or at least both lenses), you should be fine with the 85mm as a 'replacement' for a lens in the 70-200mm range. I shoot a lot of ice hockey and have often shot with my 85mm instead of the 70-200mm specifically because of the weight (when I know I am not going to be making large prints). I can crop quite a bit and maintain IQ throughout the equivalent FOV range of a 70-200mm. Since you are shooting at a large hall, you should be fine.
  16. Wait, what? "Focus breathing" problems? Yet one more thing to worry about. :)
  17. I think indoor events can be covered well without anything longer than 85mm/105mm on FX. In most indoor spaces at homes and
    restaurants, I find the 70-200 too long, conspicuous and the minimum focus distance is sometimes not short enough. However, in larger
    interiors such as halls and churches it can be a good choice for close-ups of performers and speakers. The zoom lets you work without
    having to move as much but at close range it can be distracting. By the way a 70-200mm is an excellent lens for landscape as well, so I
    don't think it would be unused if you decide to get it. But you can easily cover indoor events with what you have.

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