Lens dilemma

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by schertzphotography, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. Let me preface this question with a little info about my approach to shooting weddings. I'm mostly an available light shooter and I primarily use and enjoy working with prime lenses. Currently I have a 5D Mark II with a 28mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8 (f/1.4 is on the way) and an 85mm f/1.8. I also have a 40D with a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 and an additional 50mm f/1.8 as a backup...and when I say backup, I mean they rarely see action. I've tried the whole two camera approach and just can't grow accustomed to it.
    Now my question...I have a little bit of room in my budget for another lens and I'm looking at a few zooms. While I like using primes, sometimes I just wish I didn't have to switch out lenses as often when poor lighting isn't an issue. The two I'm most heavily considering are the 70-200mm f/4 IS and the 24-105mm f/4 IS (To the 24-70mm supporters, I've opted against that one because the added range is more important to me than that extra stop). I'm leaning a little more toward the 24-105 at this point, because while it doesn't really give much of a boost to my current focal length range, I feel that could actually serve as a positive by keeping me in familiar territory. Most importantly, it gives me what I'm looking for--the ability to change focal lengths more quickly. On the other hand, the 70-200mm does the same thing and has the added benefit of allowing me to stand farther away from the action. Thoughts?
  2. William, have you considered Canon's 135 f/2L? For less than either of these, you get one of the sharpest and fastest primes in Canon's lineup. It will give you more reach than the 24-105 and more speed than either that or the 70-200. On your 40D it will give you an equivalent FOV of 216mm. Indeed, it is the next lens on my list. I know you want a zoom for versatility, but Canon has still not accepted my request for a 24-135 f/2L IS ...LOL
    Acknowledging that the 5D2 has amazing low-light high-ISO performance, its AF system could use a little help from a fast zoom or in this case (yet another!) prime :)
    Finally, can you describe to us your 2-camera approach? A dual-format kit like your can gain you untold mileage. I acknowledge it doesn't work for everyone, but perhaps we can help you refine it and you could potentially gain a lot of leverage from your lenses.
  3. 70-200mm 4/f IS definitely. You're going to love it. Find a used 70-200mm f/2.8 IS and that saves you having to buy a fast tele-prime later on after youre hooked on the focal length.
    24-105mm f/4 IS is an excellent lens, but after a while it's a bit -> meh :/ More of the same. The primes are better, and the zoom will make you lazy. Then you will stop using primes. Then you will be missing out on all the benefits of your great prime lenses.
    70-200mm of some flavor, for sure. ;)
  4. I suspect that you might be unhappy w/ the choice of either the 24-105/4 or the 70-200/4.
    I too use a 28/1.8, a 50/1.4, and a 85/1.8 routinely for a working prime setup (though less recently). I did try the 24-105/4 IS to augement them, allowing for alot less lens juggling, but even in good lighting, the loss of limited DOF was tangible, and I felt it negatively affected my compositional choices. In the end, I chose the 24-70/2.8, which allowed me the flexibility I wanted, but didn't limit my shooting as much as the 24-105/4.
    That being said, it wasn't the most effective of lens purchases, I've found that purchasing lenses to complement your existing range is not as well advised as purchasing lenses to extend your capabilities. Thus I'd recommend the 70-200/2.8. It extends your capabilities, and gives you superior capability (and DOF control) over the 70-200/4.
    There is a seperate issue here though... I do a dual format setup for weddings, and I love it, but it requires an adequate method of camera holding/swapping. Frankly, two straps is terrible, So I keep the strap on one body, and use a spider holster (with a hand strap) on the other. Using a system allowing me to manage two dif bodies rapidly and effectively while shooting was far more advantageous than any single lens choice. just a thought to consider.
  5. Thanks for the suggestions and feedback. I can see what you mean about the limited DoF and the possibility of ousting my primes from regular use. Caleb, I never really thought of it that way, and that would be a terrible waste for sure. Perhaps as Mark and Marcus were saying though, my two camera setup just needs help.
    That being said, my experience with two cameras thus far has been two straps, which I agree is terrible. I've considered the spider holster, but I was worried that thing would have me singing the "pants on the ground" song in minutes. Some of the harness systems I've seen that have both cameras on straps at your side make me worry they'd be constantly banging against things. If I found something that looks sturdy and keeps at least one camera off my neck I'd be willing to try it.
    And Mark, the 135mm is definitely on my list already...possibly next, if I can figure out a good two camera setup.
  6. Actually, does anyone have experience with the Cotton Carrier 100 CCS system? That seems pretty safe...just now located on B&H's website. I never found it before because I was looking under the section for camera straps, not apparel.
  7. I typically shoot wedding with two lenses. I do have others, but use these two the majority of the time. I have a 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. I have used primes but love the ability to be able to stand in one spot and zoom in and out because sometimes space and mobility is limited. Just my two cents...
  8. I will second the 135 f2. I'm a mostly available light shooter as well working on a 5d mkII, and the 135 is one of my current favorites. And at around $1k It's not a bad price for L series glass, not just one of the best lenses for the money, one of the better L lenses IMO
  9. I second Melissa on the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. I have both and love them and the convenience of zooming. Have you considered renting the contender lenses to try them out?
  10. William, your 5D2+40D is already a very versatile setup, so it could well be that for a fraction of the investment of buying a second body plus lens, you need only spend some more time and effort in making your 2-camera setup work efficiently. I currently use the two standard straps on my cameras but I am also investigating a more flexible solution.
  11. Between the two lenses you mention, the 24-105mm would cover the more used range. However, I own a 5D and 40D, and based part of my decision to purchase a Tokina 50-135mm (for APS cameras) on being able to enjoy zoom flexibility for outside weddings where space and low light are not issues. So I would say it would be up to you and how you work. That plus outdoor engagement shoots.
    As for the two camera set up, I've been very happy with my setup, which consists of using my 5D and 580EXII with a regular strap, around the neck, and my 40D with 580EX on my homemade Black Rapid type holster style strap. It sits under my left arm, ready to go. I can walk around all day without feeling any pain or stress, even with the Tokina on the 40D.
    Those two camera straps would make me uncomfortable, with the cameras swinging around. Some people like the Spyder holster but I don't think I would. And the Cotton Carrier would be out of the question for me. You really have to consider your personal situation. I am a short female--don't have a lot of body 'real estate' for gear. And unfortunately, you never know if anything will work for you until you really put it to an all day test.
  12. I use a D3/D300 combination and the BlackRapid Double Strap. Of all the straps, bat-belts, gizmos, and bags I've ever used, this is easily the best purchase I've made. It's pretty easy to keep them from banging into things. The mounts are reliable (the older ones from a few years ago were a little sketchy, but the current mounts are great).
    Although I use mostly zooms and only a couple of primes, the dual format kit does work as a multiplier. With an all-primes or mostly-primes setup, I think this would be even more valuable.
    I still find I use the D3 body for 80% of my shooting, but having the second one right at hand significantly increases flexibility. And with primes, this would actually be a great substitute for having a zoom -- best of both worlds: multiple focal lengths with all the benefits of a fast sharp prime.
  13. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think I'm going to save a little money for now and try a more efficient two-camera approach first, using the 28mm and 50mm on the 5DMII and the 18-50mm and 85mm on the 40D. The Black Rapid RS DR-1 seems like a good option to try out...and if it doesn't work for me, it won't have been too big of a loss.

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