Equipment Advice

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by colt_hagmaier, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. I have finally got around to buying some better photography
    equipment. Its something I have been wanting for years, but just
    havn't had the money. I am Nikon all the way, so if your answer has
    to do with some other brand, thanks, but I'm not buying it (pardon
    the pun). Anyway, my question is simple. I would like to be able
    to start photographing events, indoor parties and such (we're not
    talking weddings here, not yet atleast) and want to get a lens that
    has a relatively broad range of effectiveness (I mean focal
    length). Concurrently, I realize that many events are indoors where
    lighting is poor, and occasionally, flash photography is not
    appropriate or permitted. Here is where lies my quandry. The two
    lenses I have been looking at are the 28-85/2.8-4.0 D and the 24-
    120/3.5-5.6 G AF-S VR. Obviously, I like the 28-85 better because
    of it is faster, but I like the 24-120 because of the greater focal
    length coverage and the Vibration Reduction (although I have never
    used that before, it sounds cool :^}. Additionally, it is a G lens,
    so it lacks the distance computation of a D lens. I really don't
    know what would be best. Please let me know any suggestions you
    have here and or if you think another lense which I have not
    considered would be better. I guess I might just have to buy two,
    although I don't want to, the F100 was quite an amature investment
    in itself. Just one other thing, Portra 400 ok for indoor shooting
    without a flash with these lenses, or do you think 800 is required?
    I realize it is completely dependent upon the availible light, but
    just in general, what do you think? I guess I could always push the
    400? Anyway, thanks for any help.
     
  2. Colt, even though I am up to my eyeballs in Canon gear now, my previous system was all
    Nikon.

    First of all the F-100 is hardly an "amateur investment". It is a pro level camera all the way.
    Personally, I liked it better than my F-5 because the focus points in the viewfinder lit up so
    you knew the AF had locked on in dark situations. It's a tough little camera.

    Of the 2 lenses you mentioned, I've only used the 28-85/2.8-4 which is a decent lens. I
    can't speak to the other, but if it is an AF-S it'll focus a bit faster than without AF-S.
    However, as a G lens without distance computation it may be problematic with flash and
    ambient metering. I'd double check that. VR is indeed neat, but just something else to
    break just when you need the lens. I had an IS lenses fail due to the extra moving parts in
    the lens. They just don't seem to travel well. The 28-85 is fine for event work.

    Flash: not having one with either of the above lenses is suicide IMO. f/3.5 max aperture
    will push you to a higher film speed for available light work. With a flash, you can use it as
    fill both outdoors and even indoors when using a f/2.8 aperture. It should be on a flip-
    flash bracket using an off camera cord. For people shots I'd also invest in a diffuser for the
    flash.

    My opinion based on shooting a number of event type jobs: You are shooting for hire,
    having one camera and one lens is very risky. If either fails you are out of business.
    Scroll down the list of threads here and read the "Murphy's Law" posts.
     
  3. Hi Colt, I, like Marc, used Nikon film and now have Conon gear. The 24-120 I have no experience in but would think it to be soft at either end due to its range. The 28-85 on the other hand, That is far better IMHO. The 28 should get most every thing wide that you need and you can (at most events) approach a little for the 85 end.

    Faster glass gives greater flexibility. Faster film..... now that is a matter of great debate. 400 can be too fast for outdoor and not quite fast enough for indoor. A second body might be a needed investment. VR? not sure if there is a real advantage unless you are moving slowly, that has not been very often for me at 'events'.

    If you use fill (which seems a must for most situations at least some of the time) the lack of data from the lens will make your life a more interesting challenge. On the upside, you will become quite familiar with manual flash usage. Not a skill I anticipate you will need too much otherwise (unless using multiple flashes, or shooting studio, etc) given the technological onset of E-TTL and so forth.

    Well, I wish you luck without dropping anything!!
     
  4. Hello Colt,

    <<Obviously, I like the 28-85 better because of it is faster, but I like the 24-120 because of the greater focal length coverage and the Vibration Reduction (although I have never used that before, it sounds cool :^}.>>

    For handheld shooting, the 24-120 really is the faster lens. That's what VR does for you. So if you like the broader focal length range, don't let the "slower" aperture hold you back. The VR function is like having a lens one or two stops faster (with good technique and good luck, more than a couple of stops).

    <<Additionally, it is a G lens, so it lacks the distance computation of a D lens.>>

    Not true at all. Every G-series lens incorporates the "D" distance info for Nikon camera bodies. Really. Look it up. What you DON'T get is an aperture ring. You certainly DO get the D feature.

    <<if you think another lense which I have not considered would be better.>>

    The humble 50/1.8 should be in your bag, vest or pocket.

    <<the F100 was quite an amature investment in itself.>>

    I understand. These are not trivial purchases.

    <<Portra 400 ok for indoor shooting without a flash with these lenses, or do you think 800 is required?>>

    Do what works for you. I like Portra NC 400 film a lot, but for indoor work in available light I would load Fuji NPZ 800 film, no question.

    <<I guess I could always push the 400?>>

    Hmmmm. Buy and shoot 800 film, or... buy and shoot 400 film, then pay extra to have it push processed with the resulting loss of contrast? Would seem to be a tie. I'd shoot the 800, it's simpler.

    <<Anyway, thanks for any help>>

    You're welcome, assuming any of that was helpful, Also, the word is quandary, not quandry. An awful lot of people leave out that middle syllable. Just trying to help keep the Internet from trashing yet another fine word.

    Be well,

    Jim
     
  5. Guys that went to Canon:


    Nikon has a AF 24-85mm f2.8D~f4D lens (older version, non AF-S)-- but a 28-85mm f2.8~f4 lens? Even older is a AF 28-85mm f3.5~ lens.....
     
  6. Assuming one is using a variable aperture lens (any) without flash, the variable aperture when set in Av mode becomes a fixed aperture lens. But you all knew that.
    When used with flash in Av mode, the only thing that changes is the shutter speed, which can get too slow if you insist on using ISO 400 instead of ISO 800 film.
    Thus, the 24-120 lens in Av mode becomes the lens of choice for shooting events.
     
  7. Colt, can't contribute to the lens Q. except my friend has the 24-120 lens which from what I have seen from his slides tends to suffer a bit from chromatic abberation. Personaly I dislike any and all zoom lenses and would vote as another poster suggested a nice little 50mm. You can anything and everything with that little lens and whats more it can almost see in the dark! Film I would recommend the lowly but very good Fuji 800 superia XTRA from a little store with a Bulls Eye! It's cheap,fine grain for 800, will push better than any pro film to 1600 with no apparent grain degredation and will also pull to 400. However, you could load it and under or over expose it by these margins and not really worry about it. Keep it simple, keep it light and shoot pictures and don't forget to get paid. Have fun.
     
  8. VR lenses help you at low shutter speeds, but not your subjects. Unless you have pretty static subjects, slow shutter speeds can result in subject motion blur. If you're trying to capture a sense of movement with blur, then that's fine. Otherwise you need a faster shutter speed. Another thing to consider is that slow lenses limit your ability to use shallow DOF. There are good reasons for wedding/event photographers using 28-70/2.8 lenses. You can shoot them wide open for higher shutter speeds, shallower DOF and still get reasonably sharp pictures. The slower lenses tend to be soft wide open. With cost being a real factor for you, I would take a look at the new Tamron 28-75/2.8 lens.
     
  9. I had the non vr version of the 24-120, so take these comments for what they may (or may not be) worth. Distortion at 24-28 was pretty abysmal. Build quality was also not great. It's a convenient lens, but it isn't a terribly high quality one in my experience. Maybe the vr version would be bettter.

    How about a 35-70mm f/2.8D. It's about the same price as a the 24-120 VR and even less if you buy used from KEH. Heck get the 35-70 used for $300, a 24 F2.8 for 200 and and a 50 1.8 for less than a $100. That should cover an adequate range and allow for some low light work.
     
  10. I can't help but thinking that if you're going to limit yourself to an
    f2.8 maximum aperture, why not shoot medium format? F2.8 is
    sloooow for available light photography. One big advantage of
    the 35mm format is fast lenses, and zooms toss that advantage
    right in the trash for the sake of the convenience of not changing
    lenses or carrying more than one body. Nikon makes some
    good primes with f2.0 and even f1.4 apertures. Check those out.
    Thanks to everyone's pre-occupation with zoom lenses, they're
    cheap, too.
     
  11. Right on Kevin.

    When I used Nikon I could shoot an entire wedding with the 28/1.4 ASPH and 85/1.4.

    Both great lenses even at f/1.4

    After I started using them, I dumped my mid-range zooms altogether.

    But did I learn? Noooooo.

    Bought Canon zooms when I switched, which sucked for low light.

    Dumped my 24-85/2.8L, and now basically use 35/1.4 & 85/1.2 primes.

    Since I got the 135/2L, the 70-200/2.8L has just sat in the gear closet.
     
  12. Something to consider here is the personal evolution of a photographer. When folks start out they tend to try to shoot what look like generally accepted "wedding pictures". As time goes on they, hopefully, develop their own style. The desire to take a particular type of picture tends to drive the selection of specific pieces of gear for a specific purpose. This results in getting quite a lot of gear. The final evelotionary step comes when you know what you really want to shoot, how to shoot it and not carrying around a lot of stuff that you know you don't use much. These kits can be small, and are tailored to specific photographers. They may work for them, but not for you. Just as there is no easy way to become a really good photographer, there is no easy way to arrive at a really good kit because the two are so interelated.

    The most general bit of guidance that can be passed along is that the useful life (on many levels) of lowend gear is so short that it is often a waste of money.
     
  13. Marc and Kevin both have a good point. You can get some pretty high quality optics for a fairly low price by going to nikon primes. When I had zoom lenses, I found that they tended to stay at one our two different zoom lengths anyway. I just bought primes that were nearest to those lengths.
     
  14. What types of events are you shooting? If you're doing a broad range of work, set yourself up like a photojournalist. One body with a 17-35 2.8 and a second with an 80-200 2.8. Get a speedlight and a stroboframe and you're set.
     

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