need some advice on camera selection please

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by JMphotographyweddings, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. Hi everyone
    My name is Mike ive just joined this site and im hoping to learn a lot by reading and asking questions
    So firstly my partner and I are setting up a wedding photography business here in the UK (Milton Keynes)
    she has an industry recognised diploma and I have tons of experience (I shot film ) we love photography and have chosen weddings to specialise in. .why ? I love being part of someone's special day we have done a couple already and have really enjoyed them we are on a learning curve and its great
    My question is a technical one . . . at present I have a Canon 5D Mk 2 which I love and she has a Canon 6D which is great ! we shoot primes and each have a 70/200 f2/8 L now im in a good position workwise to be able to afford the gear we need and I am going to purchase a couple more cameras to use and have lenses attached without the need to keep changing in all I aim to have around 4 cameras each with a different lens we are buying used of a reputable dealer in the UK (MPB)
    now the question . . . I am going to add a canon 6D coz its a great bit of kit but I also want a "main" camera im not sure about the 5DMk3 (waiting for the Mk4 to surface . . also the 6D Mk 2) I have been looking at a Canon 1dx Mk 1 its obviously very impressive and yes I want it but do I NEED IT ??
    the higher ISO and shooting rate are a big plus for me, I know its a sport thing but surely having a high burst rate is a good thing all round . . right ?
    Yes its extravagant yes its overkill but I believe in having the right tools for the job I wont be looking for the next upgrade coz there isn't one !! ive seen all the clips on youtube and I really would love to have this thing I just need another perspective . .
    thanks in advance
  2. I'm not playing in that league so not sure what exactly to suggest.
    Before turning pro, I'd get at least my backup together, which sounds like 4 bodies in total for you two to start with.
    Its no overly bright idea to get different cameras for wedding work. Its easier to operate similar bodies intuitively. I'd love to have the snappiest AF money can buy, but I see little use in insane frame rates. - Who is going to sit down and weed the results out? - I guess you can already overshoot with what you have.
    Since flash gets used: What are camera frame rates worth anyhow?
    Once you are in the business rub your aching shoulders after a long day and ponder how much more you are willing to carry next time. - I'd rather invest into updating at least one 5/6D body per shooter for low(est) light.
    I'm not sure how far the 1D really outperforms them and what it takes to get sellable pictures out of it's insane ISO files.
  3. What do you plan to do with the reception halls which are often really dark? When you photograph someone that might
    be on the dance floor, such as the bride and grooms first dance the background will be black. You won't be able to see
    any of the guests. Do you have modeling lights for this situation and radio slaves to light up a dark room so you can see
    everyone? Cranking up the ISO to 12,000 isn't the answer. The people will look horrible! By the way I pretty much never go over ISO 800, because I like using creative lighting to make my photos. The high ISO's is for beginners not great wedding photographers. There are exceptions to every rule and that is being creative. I will settle for an ISO of 1600 with the new cameras, but that's it. Wedding photographers are looking for serious trouble if you shoot higher than that. For example you will start picking up DJ lights and reflections of these lights will wind up on the faces of people. Not pretty seeing blue, green, and red people! <laughing>

    Cameras - Get a camera that holds 2 card slots, such as an SD and a CF card. So many wedding photographers get
    into a pile of trouble when they have a card that fails. It's less common now, but I actually made a decent living trying to
    recover lost data on hard drives and camera cards. Hard drives is still a problem. It's amazing to me why people run a
    business and don't back up their hard drives! It's mind boggling! Wedding photographers should save all of their
    weddings to 2 other hard drives and maybe a dvd. Well anyway, get cameras that have dual cards, such as the 5D
    MK111, not the 5D Mark11.

    I'm not sure why you would want a camera that fires around 12 to 14 frames per second! If you can afford it go for it!
    Just remember that your flash can't keep up. It's also pretty heavy, with a long lens, maybe a 70-200mm and a flash
    you might be looking at 5 to 6 pounds! I'm not young anymore! The cool thing about the camera is it does have dual card

    So think outside of the box a bit. Think about lighting, which to me is the most important part of wedding photography,
    actually any type of photography. Read up on lighting up dark rooms and backyard weddings when the sun goes down,
    where to place your lights, batteries in case the hall or the backyard doesn't have power outlets. Read books on portraits
    and the art of wedding photo-journalism since you like fast speed cameras! Best of luck! It's a fun field!
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I believe in having the right tools for the job"​
    Probably better to think in terms of having the best practice and cost appropriate tools for the product that your business is required to deliver, whilst considering the techniques that you will employ to make those products.
    Your question basically a business question: and even if your business plan has unlimited capital then it still behooves you to protect the business from over-capitalization due to any emotive input.
    Having shot several hundred (film) Weddings, I am used to using up to 5 cameras (two Medium Format and three 135 Format) and mostly all with Prime Lenses - but that was then and the main reason was that different film was loaded and not the avoidance of lens changes.
    Toting four DSLR cameras seems excessive to me: three, each loaded with a Prime was more than adequate at the most frantic times for me - and the most frantic action time is usually quite short lived - carrying two cameras at most other times through the coverage was more than adequate.
    If you do choose to work with Primes only - then my advice is to consider that being in the right position (i.e. having the correct Camera Viewpoint) is much more important than have the "EXACTLY BEST" Focal Length Lens - once you are in the right spot shoot a bit wider and crop in post.
    Although (one or two) Zoom Lenses would probably be the main working lenses of most Wedding Professionals - I don't argue with your idea of using mainly Prime Lenses - BUT - then is seems rather counterproductive/illogical to each be lugging around a 70 to 200/2.8L - its a good lens no doubt, but I suggest that you quantitatively assess how many "sale shots" TWO of those lenses will produce for you business and consider how a 135/2L would have coped instead.
    I'd advise that you balance having appropriate gear with having technology lust drive your business choices.
    If you do choose to use more than one Main Working Camera and also choose to use only Prime Lenses - then for a "ready to go kit tomorrow morning using Prime Lenses":
    Concerning cameras - from the cameras that you've mentioned - I'd buy 4 x 5DMkIII's and use two each as the main working cameras - and I would keep the 5DMkII and the 6D as your back up camera and your third Main Working Camera in the (few) time of high workload. In 2016 It is a prudent business choice to use cameras with two card slots for Weddings.
    Concerning Lenses - as you already have 2 x 70 to 200/2.8L I'd keep both at the moment - a reasonably flexible set of Primes would be: fast 35; fast 85; fast 135 - two lenses loaded and one in your pocket.
    Concerning Speedlites - get four one each loaded on each of the main working cameras - have a couple spare.
    In all of this - remember that the gear is about one-tenth of the final result: the gear that I outlined is a reasonable Capital outlay and seeks to answer your "technical question" (though I do think it is also a business question and I encourage you to consider that point of view also). But (as you probably know) this gear won't of itself get you the results. There are many Wedding Photographers here at that make a good living; have very content clients and produce an high quality product using 5DMkII's or 6D's and basically use one zoom lens for 90% of their shots. And then, of course,there is the necessary business acumen that is required.
    Concerning the 1Dx - I wouldn't buy it. I also do not see a requirement for such high frame rates. I do understand the scatter-gun / cull severely technique. That is not a veiled criticism of it - there is a member here whose work is fantastic and I admire - he captures JPEG only; uses (mainly) Primes; shoots two handed both cameras usually set to "Continuous" Drive Mode; and holds a Speedlite Off Camera . . . but really a frame rate of around 4fps is more than adequate to get "that decisive moment" at a Wedding, if you do choose to shoot with that technique.
    Notice I wrote "for a ready to go kit tomorrow morning using Prime Lenses" - if this is a business decision then you need to make that decision for tomorrow and based on gear that is available today: people who are doing business do that. If they do not have the tools at hand and ready to go, they don't wait for what might come out on a few weeks or a few months.
  5. If you have to ask what camera to buy in order to do business then your not ready. know your equipment and shooting techniques first then you can better choose what needs to be upgraded or not based on your shooting experience. I can't answer those questions. I can shoot with any camera you give me.
  6. Great advice from Michael and William as usual. I do have something to add about primes and zooms, also the 70-

    Some the the pro zoom lenses are amazing. Such as the 16-35mm Canon, the 24- 70 Canon and the 24-105 Canon.
    Sometimes you can keep life so simple and shoot an entire wedding with the 24-70mm or the 24-105mm lens, alone,
    without a partner, or an assistant, the 2 card camera, and a flash! So 1 zoom lens, 1 camera, 1 flash and 2 cards. Life is
    that simple!

    My camera gear which I carried to every wedding. 1Ds Mark111, 2 - 5D Mark111's, 15mm fish eye, 16-35mm, 24-
    70mm, 24-105mm, and the 70-200L IS2.8. 2 Quantum flash units, 4 turbo batteries, and 2 canon 580 flash units. So I
    came to every wedding prepared.

    At the wedding I only used the 5dmark111, the Quantum Trio Flash, and the 24-105 lens for 95 percent of the weddings.
    If the reception room was really small with a lot of people I would throw on the 16-35mm for a few shots only when
    needed. I used the 15mm fish eye lens for 3 to 5 shots, because I like the crazy look, the 70-200mm was only used at a
    church/temple when the photographer had to be way in the back, but even then I often usually used the 24-105 and
    cropped if needed. Often the church/temple had beautiful stained glass so why use a long lens and crop that out?

    Yes I have a lot of other lenses. Primes mainly, because I do like nature photography, a lot! But lets face the facts for a
    second. Yes pro primes are usually sharper. But when you photograph a bride, the mother, pretty much everyone at the
    wedding, if you use tack sharp primes you will see every single mark on their faces! Ever look at Playboy magazines?
    They use wicked soft filters! I use a Zeiss Softar 1 filter for closeup shots. It takes the edge off, so why would we use
    primes, or spend hours in Photoshop trying to hide all of the wrinkles on the grandparents? My point is simple, leave
    your primes at home.

    So in reality you can shoot perfect weddings with 1 zoom lens, a flash, and a camera. The more gear you have the more
    of those special moments will be missed, because of messing around with lens changes things like that. Buy some gear
    to light up dark places and as others have said study up on weddings, portraits, and lighting techniques. A stinky bridal
    portrait print from a $70,000 200 megapixil medium format Hasselblad camera will look the same as a $2300 Canon 5D
    Mk111. Please study hard, Take a lot of practice shots, 1000's before your first wedding. If you do this you both will be
    great photographers.
  7. Excellent advise by Bob and William. I am short with my words but I will add that a 24-70 2.8 or 24-105 zoom lens is a must for all around candid shooting with flash. Primes would be as mentioned 35 1.4 and 85 1.4. With those two lenses you can shoot a job photo journalistically. The 135 is nice but not priority at this point. Don't waist your money on the 1Dx get a couple of 5d Mk III for the same price or wait a couple more months for the new 5d. Best advise was given to me use the KISS system. You can not go wrong that way.
  8. I had canon 5drs, it will improve the resolution results of every lens.
  9. I just bought the Canon 50 megapixel 5DSr. I need to go shoot with it... I got lucky with Canon in Irvine or wherever they
    are located in California, picked it up on a holiday sale, plus I had to deal with them on the phone, being a member of their pro group, and a coupon I found somewhere, the total cost was only $2400, plus tax of course! The coupon was a big issue and Canon wouldn't accept it, so my credit card is with Paypal and Paypal did a conference call with Canon. WOW! So Canon finally honored it. Should have bought 10 instead of just 1. Sold some on ebay! That was fun! A toy that I didn't need though, but the 5D Mark111 cameras are the about same price! So folks watch the ads, coupons, rebates, and the Canon website. They surely messed up and I got lucky.
  10. Bob Bernardo, did you take some shoots? I'l like to see your works with Canon 5drs.
  11. Svitlana, no I haven't. Maybe I can play with it this weekend. I wanted to take some fireworks shots but I got lazy and didn't go out!
  12. We Photographers love stuff. We like buying stuff, learning about stuff, upgrading stuff, having stuff, having more stuff than we need … and we especially love to recommend stuff : -)
    Beginners beware.
    You need to act like a business person first, then a photographer second. Being a good photographer is the price of admission and goes without saying. Good business practices is what will allow you to stay a wedding photographer, and continue doing the thing that you love doing.
    To do that you have to get real. Analyze your market, who is the target, what are their expectations, how is the competition meeting those expectations, what can you do in terms of service and/or creative ideas that can separate you from that competition?
    As far as gear is concerned: that depends on your style of wedding photography. You have not mentioned anything about that subject nor provided a link to any work that indicates your intended approach to this sort of photography.
    Since you are Canon DSLR centric, and already have invested in that direction, I'd say stay there … but keep it real. If you are drooling over the Canon 1DX, ask yourself how this will advance your business (my guess is that it won't).
    The trouble with gear in the digital age is that we want the latest/greatest for ourselves, which changes fast and often … all to to please ourselves, to entertain ourselves, to feel good about having state of the art stuff to pump us up. On the other hand, the client who is shelling out for your services could not care less.
    The clients want NICE pics of themselves, friends, and loved ones … they don't care if you sniped a reception shot of Aunt Millie @ ISO 400 using lighting, or hosed off 10fps of her @ ISO 12,500. They WILL care if the ISO 12,500 shot makes Aunt Millie look like a zombie (which is highly likely because low artificial ambient is almost always ugly).
    The advice given to keep all the cameras similar or the same is good advice, especially in the beginning. Many folks here have shot so many weddings that nothing surprises them, and their experience is so deep that there are not many circumstances they cannot solve on the fly.
    Not so if you haven't faced repeated chaos and the fog of war at a wedding. So, the more familiar and comfortable you are with your gear the better you will be at operating on an instinctive level when your brain freezes up admists a surprising turn of events, or when the shooting schedule compresses to half the time it was.
    Lenses: This is where to put your money. Cameras come and go especially in the digital age. lenses stay. Tread carefully here also. You have two 70-200s … which you may or may not need. Check your exif info to see how you use these lenses … how many shots, at what focal length, and what f/stop. You may be surprised. I dumped mine after doing that, and got a 200mm which was 1/3 the price. As mentioned by others, a mid-range zoom is almost a given.
    Lighting: This is one area where you may separate yourself from the pack. Lighting has come a long way in the past two years. Radio controlled TTL is common now. There are a ton of inexpensive choices today besides pricey OEM selections.
  13. Bob, don't be lazy :) Fireworks shots - awesome. Hope, next time you will do shots.
    Wishing you bright, gorgeous, awesome photos. Waiting for reply
  14. I prefer 2 cameras much of the time, BUT I think some kind of zoom lens is important 28-70 or whatever you like, for crowded rooms. I've been in many situations where that second body would represent a possible bump on the head for a guest. So I leave camera 2 in the equipment stash. Get a less expensive model, if you don't want to put money into it. This situation is usually strictly flash time too. Remember you are shooting for them. Artistic pictures are not the only ones you are after.
  15. Hi Mike, fellow UK wedding photographer here.
    Can I ask why you think that each of you would need 4 camera bodies? You only have two shoulders, so not sure what good two additional bodies do if they'll sit in your camera bag.
    I am a working wedding photographer (7 years full time), I shoot the usual mix of photojournalistic and posed family/couple photos. I have two Nikon bodies I carry on a sunsniper double harness (back and shoulder problems are a given if you just use your normal camera straps). There are really only two viable professional set ups in my opinion:
    1) zoom lens set up: one body with 24-70mm f2.8 and one body with a 70-200mm 2.8 - covers every situation you could possibly encounter without ever having to change lenses. And I mean. EVER. Noise levels these days are so low that you can comfortably shoot up to ISO 4000 without any problems even if you're missing out on the extra stops you would get with a high end prime.
    2) prime lens set up: one body with a 35mm f1.4 and one body with a 85mm f1.4. Plus additional wide angle lens, portrait lens and/or long lens of the prime lens family.
    Until I was confident enough in my ability to judge which focal length was required in different set ups I used a 24-70mm on one body and a 105mm f2.0 to give me extra close up power during speeches and in big churches. The reason being that I found the 70-200mm too heavy to carry all day.
    I now use Nikon D700s with 35mm and 85mm 1.4s and swap the 35mm for a 24-70mm for the ceremony, just to give me extra flexibility in a constricted space. If it's a massive church or a big reception venue I'll swap out one of the primes for my trusty 105mm f2.0. When it gets dark I"m back on the primes and utilise the extra f-stops and low noise of the D700 to their full potential.
    I used to wear the spare lenses on a belt for a while but I now make a judgement call during the location reccie and then mount the required lenses while the spares stay in my camera trolley nearby. After the ceremony I ditch the 24-70mm and use the 35mm unless I'm working in an awkward space. Group photos I shoot on the 24-70mm just to give me a bit more flexibility in terms of wider angles.
    There is no time saving element in having four camera bodies with lenses attached ready to go versus two bodies and changing lenses occasionally. You can't carry four bodies so two will stay in your bag somewhere in a corner and you'd have to walk over and change cameras instead of changing lenses. Time saved? Probably 10 seconds. Since you should never change lenses when time is of the essence anyway I don't think doubling up on camera bodies is of any benefit. Just costs more in terms of insurance and you are lugging more stuff around.
    I've been using D700s for 5 years and at weddings I often encounter guests with newer gear. I still shoot indefinitely higher quality photos than they do on their D4s or whatever. If money was no object I'd buy 4 bodies (two for each of you), invest in the best you can afford and then I wouldn't worry about upgrading for the next 5 years at least. Instead I'd hone my craft if I were you because it's not the gear that makes you a great photographer it's hard work, a good eye and lots of experience. If it was about the gear then people like Leo Patrone, who shoot weddings on film using creaky old Nikon cameras, wouldn't produce such stellar work and command such high fees.
    So yes, take it from someone who's worked in the business successfully for what feels like and eternity. You don't need 4 camera bodies, even if you can afford it. If you want to throw money at something, I'd invest in the latest speedlights (two for each of you) and a set of Pocket Wizards and light stands to give your first dance and night portraits that extra 'wow' factor.
    And a word of warning. You don't have tons of experience. You have the technical knowledge to use a camera properly. That's not the same thing and I personally would be very careful not to conflate the two. The reason I'm saying this is that I have a dear friend who has been shooting professionally and full-time for 35 years, very successfully, and he wanted to make some easy money (haha) and tried his hand at a few weddings - with all his pro-gear and decades of experience - and gave up after 2 weddings because the stress absolutely killed him. He then admitted to me that he had thought that weddings are for people who can't hack being 'real' photographers. Ah yes.
    Hope this helps and doesn't come across as patronising. I sincerely wish you all the best with your new business venture.
  16. Too much kit. Way too much.
    You should be able to do the lot with a 24-70 2.8 and a 80-200 2.8. Some delete the 24-70 and go with a 16-35. Two good bodies is enough. I have never seen anyone with more than this. My partner shot weddings for 20 years with two bodies and the above lenses. There are so many people doing weddings today, the competition is huge. Being more resourceful is the key.
    Don't forget that all a digital camera is, is a sensor with controls, just the same as a camera in the film days was a housing for the film with similar controls. The photographer needs to add the artistry and discover beautiful moments to record.
    I saw the reference to "high ISOs are for beginners". Thats a silly comment. Todays top of the line FF cameras, Canon or Nikon, can produce acceptable images up to ISO 100,000. Its amazing. This capability is really useful as it frees up constraints in churches where no flash is allowed. It also frees up shutter speeds that were reduced to maybe 1/250 with a flash.

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