Safe or splurge? Next camera: D700 for Weddings?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by matthew_banks|1, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm sure similar questions have been asked, but allow me to be so rude as to post a question to get responses specific to my situation.
    I currently have a D60, the 2 kit lenses and a Nikon 50mm 1.4. Most of the time I shoot with the prime as I love the clarity, but I'm pretty happy with the zoom in daylight conditions. Surprisingly good for such a cheap lens.
    I shoot portraits (kids mostly) and have assisted at some weddings where I have found myself a bit limited with the prime (I don't use the zoom for weddings). I will be doing a couple of weddings soon for cousins that don't want a full pro package. I know this will ruffle some feathers out there but I'm confident I can exceed there (low) expectations. I don't intend to become a pro wedding photog but would like to do more of them, so am going to purchase a second camera as a backup if nothing else.
    I was pretty set on the D90 with Tammy 17-50 as a great all-round kit, but have been thinking I may just be making a moderate improvement on my current kit without adding anything to it. A friend I shoot weddings with was telling me that with my current setup I would be better off putting the money into a D700.
    There are many factors to consider (money being a second priority), but if this was YOU and you had my setup, which way would you go? Will use your feedback to decide which side of the fence to fall on.
  2. Oh, not sure if I should have posted this in the wedding forum instead, but decided not to as weddings are just part of what I do (and I'm afraid of getting an ear bashing from the wedding pros!).
  3. yeah, you probably would get creamed in the wedding forum...
    i see where you're coming from. the D60 is a bit light for wedding work, as you know, but a step up to a D90 is pretty substantial, especially with the 17-50/2.8. you can do serious work with that rig.
    the D700 is no doubt a great camera for wedding use. if you want to be sure you can get shots in sucky lighting conditions, that's the way to go. on the other hand, plenty of people shoot weddings using nikon's 12mp APS-C cameras successfully, and you can, too.
    it really comes down to what resources you want to commit to wedding work, and whether you're willing to make the substantial investment in glass required to assemble an FX kit.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D700 is great for wedding work, but if the OP buys that camera, I wonder which lenses he will use on the D700. The 50mm/f1.4 should be fine, especially if we are talking about the AF-S version, which is the only version that can AF with the D60. However, it would make absolutely no sense to put the D60's kit lenses onto any D700. (The common kits lenses for the D60 are the very slow 18-55 and 55-200, both DX.)
  5. Thanks guys (and Shun I was hoping you would pipe up!). The combination for wedding work would be D700+50mm and D60+18-55 during the day and D700 only after dark. If I got the D90 instead I would have a good camera with good zoom plus my D60 with great prime, so a good combination in my opinion. And William you hit it on the head, I guess I need to decide if I'm willing to do the inevitable splurge on glass if I go full frame.
  6. From a shooters perpective I would start getting a flash, shooting by availible light only is IMHO no a realistic option.
    I have shot a wedding with a D3 (also a high ISO monster) but had a D300 with flash for the reception and indoor shots as well
    Upgrading to a D90 and 17-50 is great but I would consider a D300/D300S for the better AF and ruggedness (from what I heard the high ISO of the D90 is on par). The D700 is a great camera ( I'm waiting for the D700X/S and then pick up an 'old' one from the upgraders) love the smaller package.
    Also, why not use the kitlenses? I use the 18-55 a lot and results are pretty much great. I would get a longer zoom though, the 2.8/80-200 still is my main lens in that regard, obviously the 70-200 will be even better (especially on DX)
    my two cents
  7. As others have noted, if you pony up for a D700 body, you're just getting started spending money. I'd estimate about 2-3 times the cost of the body to get the glass you'll want/need. Price an 85/1.4D, 24-70/2.8G and 70-200/2.8 VR or VRII and you'll see what I mean. And when you're done with all that, you still won't have a back-up body like you started out looking for.
    With FX, all lenses will appear wider-angle relative to a DX body camera. Conversely, you'll lose the 'reach' of DX. Even though the 50/1.4 will migrate in terms of using the D700's resolution and not vignetting, you'll probably want a lens to replace what it did for you - it'll look like a 33mm lens would on DX.
    If it were me, I'd get a D90 and a DX 17-55/2.8G Nikon lens. It's a better lens than the Tamron, and will hold better resale value as well.
  8. Thanks Paul I totally agree. I have an SB-400 and Nissin Di622 with diffusers, a reflector, hot shoe cable etc and love experimenting with them. I'll soon get another flash with umbrella and stand for formals. Can't wait for the upcoming Nikon announcement, maybe you won't need to wait long!
  9. Mr Cooper - good points, especially about the backup body I'd be left with. RE the lens, I prefer the Tamron over the Nikon for its price, size&weight, and the fact I can get VR on it.
  10. Not sure if you are a full-timer, Matthew, but a typical wedding set of gear would be 2 bodies (one 12Mpix and another higher res around 24Mpix) and they should both be FF sensor. The higher res body is typically used for the formal bride, bride-groom and group shots where images may be used for prints that are 16x20 or larger. The 12 Mpix body covers everything else and it needs to be fast. If you buy the D700, you would probably need the bottom grip mb-d10 to improve the responsiveness of the outfit.
    The D700 would give you the high ISO advantage when you are running in the photo-journalistic mode. If you are a full-timer, the D3S should be considered as well.
    Typical wedding lenses would include the following, if not more:
    1. 50mm/14G AF-S
    2. 24-70mm/2.8G AF-S
    3. 85mm/1.4 AFD (I wished there's an AF-S with ED but... alas, there is none)
  11. Here's my take:
    • Buy good glass first, then camera.
    • Nikon glass is almost always better than Tamron and Sigma glass.
    • By used and you can get Nikon glass for Tamron and Sigma prices.
    • You can cover almost everything with a 28-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8.
    • You need a flash and a diffusser.
    • You need two bodies.
  12. Ever considered renting gear for the occasion?
  13. You can make an excellent wedding kit out of a D700 with relatively inexpensive lenses. You already have the 50/1.4, so a 28/2 Ai-S or 35/2D AF, and an 85 (either 1.8 or 1.4) would round the kit. I could do all my weddings with just 28/2, 50/1.4, and 85/1.4 (and with FX, slower primes would be ok too). The wide and tele prime could be purchased for only a little money compared to the price of the D700 body. I think you also need backup equipment especially if you're the primary shooter. Your existing camera could serve that function for now though in the long run you should have the backup of the same format as the primary.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I could do all my weddings with just 28/2, 50/1.4, and 85/1.4​
    Ilkka, how many FX bodies do you use to shoot weddings with those three lenses? The OP is planning to buy one D700. If one shoots weddings with three fixed lenses and one body, I would imagine that photographer will be very busy changing lenses throughout the day.
    I have used from fisheye to 300mm/f2.8 and 200-400mm/f4 for weddings. I prefer to use two to three f2.8 zooms so that I change lenses less often.
  15. From personal experience, I think you're initial gut feeling was the correct one. I was in your shoes several years back. I was beginning to break into weddings and didn't have the budget for the high end Nikon body at the time (which, funny enough, wasn't full frame anyway). Don't laugh, but I rocked out some awesome weddings with a D70/Sigma +18-50/2.8+speedlite around my neck and a D50/50mm/1.8 over my shoulder. I also had a 85/1.8 and a 180/2.8 that I would break out occasionally but the Sigma zoom and the 50 accounted for the bulk of my shots. For the last couple years, I've been shooting with the D3 and some awesome lenses, but doing that when I was first starting out in weddings just wasn't an option. Go with your gut! The D90/Tamron and the D60/50mm 1.4 is a perfect combination for now. Good luck!
  16. I woke up this morning to find this thread on the front page of PN - what an honour! Thanks everyone for your responses.
    Ilkka, I'm with Shun in that I would feel safer with one prime and one zoom over my shoulders. Would not like to miss any action while changing lenses, and currently feel a bit restricted when using just one prime so need flexibility.
    I'm not jumping head first into wedding work, so will for a while be very much a weekend warrior, but if I do decide to pursue weddings more seriously I will be willing to make a big outlay for a decent kit or at least rent as Arthur suggested.
    I hope to be a Shaun for a while and do my best with a good all-rounder (which would be the D90), and when I'm ready to step up I'll be happy to know I have a good backup to supplement my shiny new full frame and glass should I pursue weddings further.
    Thanks again everyone!
  17. The d700 is fantastic, and you dont need to spend a fortune on lenses. I am using 2 second hand lenses, and a third lense that isnt made anymore, the most i paid for any was 300 pounds sterling, and they are all very sharp. I hear all the time about how a d700 is a waste without £1500 worth of glass, the day a client or an agency doesnt like some of my work and i determine that it is the fault of the lense, i will post a message saying so, because it gets talked about all the time, but certainly hasnt happened yet. My work is always judged by my vision, creativity and lighting. The clients dont care what my lenses are, as long as you have something fast enough to use the high iso performance, wait till you are being paid enough that a 1000 quid lense is no big deal. Flashes for slow lenses in low light, your primes can deliver the shallow DOF.
  18. Shaun Ring , Jan 31, 2010; 05:29 p.m.
    Don't laugh, but I rocked out some awesome weddings with a D70/Sigma +18-50/2.8+speedlite around my neck and a D50/50mm/1.8 over my shoulder.
    I only laugh when it's the other way around. D3 and awesome lenses but crappy photos.
  19. Good point - I don't think people who judge those who do their best with humble beginnings. Jumping in the deep end with equipment doesn't guarantee the client will get value for money.

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