Is a DSLR Mandatory for todays Wedding & Event Photog? (Fuji X Pro1?)

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by jon_kobeck|1, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. I am thinking about trying my hand once again at wedding and event photography. My question is, is a DSLR
    mandatory these days? Back when I was doing it part time I had a 5D. today for my fine art work I use medium
    format film, a Hasselblad system. Are there any wedding photographers using mirror-less smaller cameras? Im
    thinking about the new Fuji X line. I belive the IQ is in line with my old 5D and its so much easier and fun to work
    with.
    Take a look at my work here: http://www.johnkobeck.com
     
  2. What advantages do you see in a mirrorless system that your DSLRs are incapable of?
    The bottom line is that most wedding photogs use DSLR systems because they've proven the most flexible systems available. It is not that other systems (such as the mirror-less ones) are incapable, but that DSLR systems are more capable.
     
  3. You may find it limiting in low light due to the AF.
    However… I would not hesitate from an IQ perspective. If you could make the lighting work into the dark evenings (auxiliary lights etc.), you could potentially do it. I think the nod would be to something more akin to the Oly OM-D for its IQ and af abilities.
     
  4. John, yes there are wedding photographers using something other than the typical 35mm DSLR to cover the typical wedding ... but usually not to the exclusion of a mainstay Canon/Nikon/Sony/Etc. Personally, I've used a Leica M at most every wedding I've shot ... accounting for 1/3 to 1/2 of all photographs taken at any given event ... even though the AF is terrible on a Leica M : -)
    However, it totally depends on how you will approach wedding photography and what you will offer clients. If it is strictly journalistic/candid coverage then it may be possible to use one of the smaller mirror-less cameras ... whether the Fuji X Line is the best one depends on your technique and approach. I've used a Sony NEX for some wedding work, and "focus peaking" was quite helpful and accurate in low light ... but I returned to the M camera once I had a cataract removed from my shooting eye.
    Personally, I would seriously consider shooting a combination of your film Hasselblad for more limited number of staged shots in the manner of your excellent personal works, and study the crop of emerging smaller cameras for the more candid works.
    Despite not being a fan of 35mm DSLRs in general, (preferring my M and a Medium Format combination), I still use one at every wedding. Hopefully, as the smaller cameras keep aggressively advancing, I will be able to eliminate any 35mm from my wedding bag ... and I think that time is rapidly coming. The Sony A99 may be my last camera of that type I ever buy.
    Best of luck on your venture.
     
  5. I've shot 4 weddings and a bunch of portrait sessions and events with the X-Pro 1. It's awesome.The IQ is rivaled by only a few of the latest FF DSLRs. It's nice and light weight. The only thing missing from it right now is something in the 200-300 range for shooting down the isle. The Fuji flash units are okay (this is where Canon and Nikon are way ahead). You can use Pocket Wizards and non-dedicated flash with it.
    One thing that I find I love with this camera is that the JPEGs are soooooo gooooood SOOC that editing is very fast. With Canon, I shoot only RAW and convert for the best quality. With the XP1, I shoot RAW + JPEG and find I rarely if ever have to use any of the RAW files.
    All this chat online about the AF being not good in low light is by people who either don't have the camera or don't know how to use it. Don't let the web chatter scare you from using it. The XP1 focuses faster and more accurately (including in low light) then the 5DII (a very popular camera among wedding photogs) and other a lot of prosumer DLSRs. So much of the focus talk comes from side-by-side testing as opposed to real world use. Yes, the OM-D focuses faster (side-by-side and in good light) than the XP1 but the OM-D doesn't come close in IQ.
     
  6. I still use an old Mamiya RB 67, Bessa R2a and Nikon F5 for weddings alongside my Nikon DSLRs. Those RB 16x20's
    are gorgeous!
     
  7. Jon:
    The main advantage I see for a professional DSLR is the image you're projecting. If you're not shooting with gear that's noticeably better than the guests at the wedding, you have to overcome doubts they might have.
    The Fuji X100 is certainly capable of delivering quality photos. In fact, I used it on a photo shoot for fun. I was doing a free session for some good friends. When I arrived, one of them thought I was pulling a prank by showing up with a "joke" camera. I told her "trust me" and that if she wasn't happy with what I delivered, I'd do another one with my "real" camera. She was extremely happy with the results and ended up with a large canvas print.
    In the future, this mindset will most likely change. Today, the reality is that most people associate professional with a large DSLR. At least, that's the reality in my neck of the woods. :)
    Eric
     
  8. Whats the recycle time? Thats about my only concern. You may miss some shots if the recycle time is too slow
     
  9. You need to provide reliable and proven camera and shooting technique.
    If someone thinks you are "pulling prank", then you make them uncomfortable or uneasy.
    For weddings one needs to deliver total prefessionalism, in equipment, apperance and behavior, and certainly in final delivered product.
    Weddings are not for exterimenting or "joke", and perhaps not even for fun, but for serious photographer planned hard labor. Those who do it "for free", or for a friend, or just happen to have a camera in their pocket, tend to take it easy rather than professionally.
    Surprising bride and groom by pulling a small camera out of pocket, is like pulling a rabbit out of sleve, regardless if it is a X Pro or NEX7, or whatever you could stash in your pants. It is not about you making impressions and surprises, but about serious photography business.
    All weeding attendants and guests must be aware of professional photographer presence, and yield and give priority on the scene to the photographer who is there. Those who pull cameras out of pocket frequently disturb and spoil professional's job. Many discarded wedding pictures were for showing an uncle Joe who pulled out a camera and stepped in front of hired phootographer.
     
  10. Frank I disagree with your comments. I have exhibited my work in museums and galleries world wide.
    I have a masters degree in fine art photography. So I like to consider myself somewhat "professional".

    What I fiind to be more of a "joke" are the photographers who think its all about the gear, or the size of
    the lens and camera. The camera doesn't make the photograph, I make the photograph. The camera
    is just a tool. But hey, if having a huge DSLR with a big grip and strobe help make you feel more
    secure and professional, then by all means enjoy yourself.

    With that said, I know one woman in Brooklyn who shoots weddings with a Holga (thats a toy camera).
    It costs about $20.00.
     
  11. John, I never stated anything about that "think all about the gear" , "size of the lens", etc. where do you get this from?
    This is about wedding photography, and not about museums or galleries, it is more about people expectations, perception and behavior. The things that perhaps should teach in a master's degree programs, if there was a wedding oriented class.
    Also from a master's dergree you must have ancountered a classes that teach not to twist other people words, unless you took some classes in Political Sciences, or Journalism.
     
  12. Jon, I think you may have missed Frank's point. He is speaking about the impression the couple and the guests may have of a principal photographer wielding what to them looks like a small, unprofessional camera. First impressions do count for a lot. Doesn't matter how skilled the photographer or how good the little camera is, I agree that it can create a negative impression amongst some people. Others may not care.

    I haven;t used any of the Fuji cameras but I know some people who have used them at weddings with amazing results. For me, I like shooting at ISO6400-12800 if necessary, and for couple shoots I love shooting at 200mm, F2.8. Also, snappy focussing is essential. These smaller mirrorless cameras cannot fulfill these needs, for my purposes at least.
     
  13. Well heres the thing. I have shot weddings a few years ago with my then Canon 5D. Today with digital
    cameras every consumer has access to the same cameras. I see plenty of amateurs walking around
    Times Square every day with $3000.00 cameras. So saying that the gear is going to make you look
    more professional? I dont think thats a valid argument anymore. Its not like years ago with film, when
    you pulled out a Hasselblad and everyone went OOOOOOO and AHHHHHHH what is that? What kind
    of strange camera is that? Oh you MUST be a PRO?

    DSLRs are common and everyplace. I guarantee that someone at that wedding reception owns a 5D.
    or similar. Unlike a Leica etc. So I am thinking that it may even work to the advantage of the
    photographer to be a little different from the crowd, to try to stand out. IQ wise the smaller cameras are
    just about on par with the full frame models.

    This whole conversation is starting to remind me why I didnt pursue weddings to begin with :)

    Terry Richardson, although not a wedding photographer, used a cheap Yashica T4 for his Vogue
    Magazine covers didn't he? Most of his counterparts in the fashion industry were using medium
    format Hasselblads. Was he viewed as unprofessional? I think it worked to his advantage by not being
    like everyone else.

    People make pictures, not cameras.
     
  14. If you need a "pro" camera to be a professional then your photos aren't good enough.
     
  15. I know one woman in Brooklyn who shoots weddings with a Holga (thats a toy camera). It costs about $20.00.​
    That's the cost of shooting the wedding, right?
    --Lannie
     
  16. The answer is no, a DSLR is not mandatory. Nothing is mandatory to shoot a wedding nowadays. You can use a 110 disposable with Tri-X. You can use an 8x10 Sinar.
    All you HAVE to do is not annoy the bride and groom (or their guests) on their wedding day and produce pictures that the bride and groom (or whoever else is paying the bill) will love and not want their money back or hate you forever.
    THAT is mandatory.
     
  17. You'd be surprised by how often the bride, or groom, ask WHAT you use to shoot with.
     
  18. At any rate … you would very likely need a few batteries and one extra camera body for the wedding shoot. A wedding is not the place to
    "oops, my canera has locked up or overheated" and we need a time-out.
     
  19. Jon, you are right that plenty of amatures have DSLR cameras (myself being one). But they are not as mainstream as you think. I agree with Frank and Eric - that if a photographer shows up with a mirrorless camera he/she will inevitably not be taken as seriously. I don't doubt that the OP can produce superior work with his mirrorless than I can with my DSLR. But the expectations of the people in attendance would be reversed. All of us here on photo.net understand that the photographer's ability, not the equipment, determines the quality of their work. But that's not the case with the general masses who aren't pro's or at least serious enthusiasts. I personally face the exact opposite problem all the time. Because I carry around a "fancy" camera (not to weddings, but other events, gatherings, sight-seeing trips, etc.) people often apoint me as the designated photographer. Little do they care that I prefer to shoot landscapes and stills, not people or action. I find myself often wishing I hadn't brought my camera so I could avoid people expecting professional-level results from me in settings I don't specialize/am not practiced in. Indeed, the camera we carry makes a statement to the general public - inaccurate as that statement may be.
    All that said, to the OP I say this: Your work will speak for itself. When people are looking to hire a photographer they look at his portfolio, not his equipment list. But you may want to be extra transparent about the equipment you use, just so they don't get a shock when you show up without a "fancy" camera.
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Here are some wedding shots from the reasonably famous European photographer who shot my sister's wedding about six years ago. The formals were done with a view camera, the rest with a Hexar. Nobody said anything about him not having a SLR or dSLR.
     
  21. The discussion is getting unnecessarily contentious.
    You can photograph a wedding with any camera you want, as long as the couple believes in you and your abilities enough to not care at all what kind of gear you use.
    To ensure that there are no problems, the wise 'non-traditional' wedding photograher markets his or her work with 'full disclosure'. When showing samples and talking to the couple before the event, there should be something said about gear and resulting images. In the past, wise wedding photographers have turned the non-traditional parts into marketing pluses (I am not your typical wedding photographer...).
    I am curious why you asked the question the way you did. Of course a DSLR is not mandatory--you already knew that (woman with the Holga). Use any camera you want if you can market your services successfully.
     
  22. Personally, I do not sell cameras or equipment to my clients ... I sell them images of their wedding day. The only clients that have ever asked me what gear I used was ... another photographer.
    For example, 99% of the people at a wedding wouldn't know a Leica from a Latte, and no one has ever questioned why I was using a small manual focus camera that looks like a P&S for something as important as a wedding ... not once in over 10 years.
    All this is actually moot ... when you show up at the wedding with your gear, the client has already hired you based on your work and prior meetings. THEY know you are the Pro, and they are the ONLY ones that matter.
     
  23. Marc I agree. the last weeding I did I remember there was a teenage boy following me around asking
    all kinds of questions about my camera and lenses etc. He was the only one who cared about the gear
    lol.
     
  24. I'll cast another vote for perceptions of professionalism not being based on the camera you're using. Whenever I've been hired for any type of photography work, it has always been based on my work and reputation. If you need a big camera or lots of gear to be perceived as a professional, then you need to work on your people skills.
     
  25. I recently exchanged emails with a photog that still shoots medium format, and does so in PJ style. Once upon a time, I produced several award winning professional quality sports images with an old ratty manual focus Nikon 300mm f/2.8 AIS mounted with everything from a D70 to a D200. However, no matter how hard I tried, this skill never translated to weddings or even portraits. The quality of your work is outstanding, and it's likely your understanding of lighting, portraiture, and other intangibles has prepared and will allow you to shoot a wedding in a unique and competent manner. Weddings are an entirely different ballgame and will likely make you revisit all of your equipment choices. I have always marveled at Marc Williams ability to produce superior images no matter the choice of equipment. You are correct that equipment should not matter, and really, it won't matter in the end. Until you shoot a few weddings and the images stand on their own, I would make no purchase that doesn't compliment what you already shoot.
     
  26. Somehow I read all of the responses and did not read clearly your OP... it seems to me as if you are thinking re-inventing the wheel with a Fuji will change the results you could not get with the 5D. As the owner of a Fuji, only you can answer that question, and it's likely you already know the answer.
     
  27. Personally, I like using a DSLR (with bracket, strobe, and battery) because not only does it give me a lot of options to make good shots but the rig separates me from the guests and lets me interact with them on a different level. If I showed up with a camera little or no different than the other guests, it would diminish my authority to pose and direct people (when necessary). Probably just a power trip on my part :).
    If your thing is to use smaller cameras in a discreet manner and you get great shots, more power to you.
     
  28. This could go on until the cows come home because it has to do with what each person thinks they need to do the job, not necessarily what is really needed. Whatever works for you is all that matters.
    The one caution I would offer about some of the current smaller cameras is one of matching your skill with using it in the face of the usual demands at a wedding. This has nothing to do with projecting authority or presence, and everything to do with what style of imagery you are selling, and your ability to meet or exceed the expectations of the current wedding client pool ... in your market.
    IMO, the reality of most wedding photography assignments can be summed up in one word ... diverse. Frankly, the fastest, most diverse tool available is the 35mm DSLR. I see the smaller cameras as supplemental ... I may do 1/2 of a wedding with Leica M, but the other half would be quite a challenge even though I am very skilled at using the M camera. So, while I am sure I could do an entire wedding with a M or one of the Fuji/Sony/Oly crop of small cameras, my question would be why? Why limit yourself? Professional wedding photography is hard enough without throwing in more challenges into the mix.
    The counter point to that, would be if you sell only discreet candid work with no shot list in the client's head going in ... which some photographers have been successful at marketing ... unfortunately, I'm not one of them. In my market, you have to be prepared to do a pretty diverse mix of imagery ... which brings it all back to the old saying ... Horses For Courses.
     
  29. David Bell said: "Jon, I think you may have missed Frank's point. He is speaking about the impression the couple and the guests may have of a principal photographer wielding what to them looks like a small, unprofessional camera. First impressions do count for a lot. Doesn't matter how skilled the photographer or how good the little camera is, I agree that it can create a negative impression amongst some people. Others may not care. I haven;t used any of the Fuji cameras but I know some people who have used them at weddings with amazing results. For me, I like shooting at ISO6400-12800 if necessary, and for couple shoots I love shooting at 200mm, F2.8. Also, snappy focussing is essential. These smaller mirrorless cameras cannot fulfill these needs, for my purposes at least."

    David, the solution to your first statement is "educate your clients". It's as simple as showing them existing work created on a range of equipment. That soon reassures them.

    The Internet is awash with armchair commentators who have never used the kit they're going on about! You're wrong on a few counts when it comes to the Fuji X series cameras - at the high ISO values you speak of the XP1 is quite capable, and a long high quality zoom is on the Fuji roadmap for early next year (in fact Fujinon glass is amongst the best out there, on par with or better than your Canon L glass) the autofocus is far from slow thanks to the most recent firmware updates. Whilst the X series cameras are best suited to photographers with a certain style, in skilled hands they are more than capable of creating excellent wedding photography and sublime professional portraits.
    Edit: If I see you in January I may well force one of my little bodies into your hands, just to prove a point! (-:
     
  30. Somtimes a guest may show up with a camera that the pro's use. The guest may think you are a joke. Who care's. If you get the shots with quality,don't worry about the guests that come with $8000 cameras and 22 lenses that can take video too.
     
  31. IMO, the reality of most wedding photography assignments can be summed up in one word ... diverse. Frankly, the fastest, most diverse tool available is the 35mm DSLR. I see the smaller cameras as supplemental ... I may do 1/2 of a wedding with Leica M, but the other half would be quite a challenge even though I am very skilled at using the M camera. So, while I am sure I could do an entire wedding with a M or one of the Fuji/Sony/Oly crop of small cameras, my question would be why? Why limit yourself? Professional wedding photography is hard enough without throwing in more challenges into the mix.​
    Marc, you are dead on. One of the problems with this forum is a lot of people simply do not realize that just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should. DSLRs exist for a reason. There is no law that says you SHOULD use one but why not? I get so tired of people reinventing the wheel on here for no apparent reason. I was in a debate in an iphone camera phone thread. I mean seriously people? If you want to do some professional photography work I can pickup a used DSLR and 50mm prime for less than an iphone and have so much versatility. Why even argue about it? It's just argument for arguments sake.
    I agree with the marketing. I shoot film along side digital. If I shot weddings I would just shoot digital unless someone paid me MORE yes that is right MORE to shoot medium format film. But I would market that service. I would sell it. Otherwise I would just go with the flow and make my money.
    Today with digital cameras every consumer has access to the same cameras. I see plenty of amateurs walking around Times Square every day with $3000.00 cameras.​
    Jon, I live in America. Let me assure you the average person has never touched $3,000 of consumer electronics of any type let alone a camera. Unemployment is officially at 7.9%. This is not the type of environment that is littered with $3,000 cameras.
     
  32. Interesting, I have a range of 'vintage' cameras that I charge my clients extra to use (£100 per roll) everything from Box Brownies to my big old wooden 5x4.
    Weddings should be fun, otherwise what's the point!?
     
  33. I went to the journalist school in Argentina and Cuba and i remember my teacher in Buenos Airies always say...don't worry about camera brand and expensive gear you can take the best pictures with any cheap and simple cameras!
    Now everybody talk about sharp lenses and sofisticated cameras and in many cases went you see a big guy with heavy cameras and lenses he take ugly photos without felling.I think that sometime the tecnology kill our imagination and creativity.The america consumer society is killing the planet.
    I have publication in the Boston Globe newspaper and also in Argentina magazine for inmigrant i use all type of cameras from Rollei,Contax 645,Hasselblad,Mamiya 7,Canon 5D markII.I sold everything and i only keep my Rolleiflex tlr and my Fujifilm EX1....If i need a faster camera for any job i prefer to rent.
    I can say that my best photos was taking went i was in the school with a simple canon AE1 and only one lens a 50mm f1.8
    In this country EU everything is about how people look appearance,money and competition and we are human and imperfectos!
     
  34. I went to the journalist school in Argentina and Cuba and i remember my teacher in Buenos Airies always say...don't worry about camera brand and expensive gear you can take the best pictures with any cheap and simple cameras!
    Now everybody talk about sharp lenses and sofisticated cameras and in many cases went you see a big guy with heavy cameras and lenses he take ugly photos without felling.I think that sometime the tecnology kill our imagination and creativity.The america consumer society is killing the planet.
    I have publication in the Boston Globe newspaper and also in Argentina magazine for inmigrant i use all type of cameras from Rollei,Contax 645,Hasselblad,Mamiya 7,Canon 5D markII.I sold everything and i only keep my Rolleiflex tlr and my Fujifilm EX1....If i need a faster camera for any job i prefer to rent.
    I can say that my best photos was taking went i was in the school with a simple canon AE1 and only one lens a 50mm f1.8
    In this country EU everything is about how people look appearance,money and competition and we are human and imperfectos!
    00bLEo-519371584.jpg
     
  35. Juan BEAUTIFUL image!
    I also have a degree in photography (MFA) and I like you have come to realize, photography really has
    nothing to do with cameras or gear. Unfortunately this art form tends to attract technicians more then
    artisans. Or simply put "gear heads"
    Keep making gorgeous photographs
     
  36. Thanks Jon..here are more pictures from that years!
    00bLEw-519373584.jpg
     
  37. Lo escencial es invisible para los ojos!!
    The essential is invisible for the eyes!!
    00bLF2-519375584.jpg
     
  38. Based on the first page, the op has already made up his mind before posting here. Therefore, no accounts of better
    flash capability, focus speed/accuracy, lens variety, burst function, live view performance, focus tracking,
    shutter lag, write speed, overall practicality, etc., will change his mind anyway. He's obviously used to taking things
    slowly and methodically with medium format and that's the kind of wedding style he will have. Spontaneity and fast
    moving subjects will just have to get missed sometimes.
     

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