Which lens for Event Photography ?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by chimera_h, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. Hi,

    I have the opportunity to do an event and I need to know which lens would be
    best. I realize I should have several lenses to work with, but I can only get
    one. I am currently using a 50mm 1.8 and I do have an 18-55mm. lens as well. I
    know these won't work, so let me tell you about the setting and maybe you can
    give me an idea as to what lens would be most useful.

    It will be indoors (evening) and probably low lighting. There will be a stage
    and stage lighting. I will photograph speakers and entertainers as well as
    people as dinner tables.

    This is for free and they know I've not done this sort of thing before. However,
    I want to do really well.

    So...I've heard a little about the 24-70 2.8lens and the and the Tamron 17-50
    2.8. Do you recommend either one of these and why? I really need to do what is
    the most affordable and versatile.

    Also, would either one of the above lenses work well for beach photography?

    I use the Rebel XT.
  2. Ok, I suspect I'm going to get bagged on for asking this question. So I'll just go do some more research.
  3. bdp


    The 50 is a nice lens, but you can't zoom with it. The 18-55 is also nice, but not fast enough.

    If you can swing it, get the 24-70/2.8 lens, you won't regret it for now, or future shoots. It's a fast lens, it's sharp and will help in low light situations.

    The ont thing I did notice that you did NOT mention is a flash. You really need a good flash, I would look into the 550/580 or Metz 54Mz4 flash units. That in itself will help you with what you have now, and will help if you get a 2.8 lens. The lens may be 2.8, but it still needs some kind of lighting should the lights be not bright enough for you.

    Also, shoot at 400 or 800 ISO you should be ok.

    The 2.8 lens' will give you nice bokeh (background blur) on the beach scenes, so yet another reason to get one.

    Now for the bagging. If you don't already have one, get a good camera bag to carry this stuff!
  4. hi Paige, I like the Fred Miranda Forums for comparing the lenses because it has reviews of all the canon lenses - and the reviews are from a bunch of different people. I'm sorry can't help you much with specific recommendation, but good luck!
  5. Are you sure the lenses you have won't do the trick? If you can shoot from the right distance from the stage, the 50 will do a nice job in those situations even without flash. For the tables, a good external flash with the kit lens will probably do better than no flash with a f2.8 zoom so if you're on a tight budget think about the flash first.

    I got the tamron 17-50 2.8 and it's a huge improvement from the kit lens.

  6. The 18-55mm will be okay if you use a decent flash (cheaper than a new fast zoom).
  7. Get yourself a Tamrom 28-75 f/2.8 for $300. I use one of those on my 20D and 5D and the image quality is just as good as my "L" glass.
  8. I have the Tamrom 17-50 as a walk-around lens. Yes, the 24-xx and 28-xx will probably be better overall but won't go as wide on a 1.6 body. Even with the barrel distortion at 17-20mm, it's a decent enough lens for grip&grin type of events and will get the job done.
  9. My vote would be for the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. It's a high-quality lens that is also fast, and offers a good deal of the focal lengths you'll likely need. Since you already have the 50mm f/1.8, bring it along "just in case". I doubt the 18-55 you have will do you much good indoors.
  10. Don >> I can agree that the 28-75 is sharp and compared to 24-70 2.8, it might be as sharp wide open, but only at the very center of the image. Once you move off of center, the 24-70 kills it in terms of sharpness.
  11. Hi I make my living from this work, unless there is heaps of room the 17 50 f2.8 + a 430 EX is all you`ll need. 24 70 is a nice lens but tooo big for table shots, I use 15 30 in reataurants & niteclubs. the 50mm 1.8 is ideal for entertainers.

    have fun
  12. BTW contrary to some opinions the 18 55 can do a reasonable job with a good flash between f4~f8 if only printing normal size prints, have used it in emergencies many times.
  13. Also BTW if you have money to burn, better than a 24 70 is 17 55f2.8IS + 430EX


  14. http://photonotes.org/articles/beginner-faq/misc.html#weddingphoto

    Happy shooting,
  15. Unless you've got time to practice with flash, before the event, I wouldn't recommend introducing that into this mix so "late in the game".
  16. There must be a reason 98% of all PJs have and carry two zoom lenses and one prime:
    1. They work in most venues and
    2. They cover nearly any situation where the venue is an enclosed room.
    I, like most PJs, used f/2.8 28-70 & f/2.8 70-200 ``pro`` zoom lenses, with an f/2.8 24mm prime.
    That said, you would be better served using the 18-55mm in Av mode: when you use Av, the aperture you set is used throughout the zoom range.
    Your 50 f/1.8 is just fine for close-in candid work.
    And as has been noted, a quality OEM flash in Av mode will serve you just fine if flash is permitted.
  17. Wow! Thanks for the great information. I appreciate you all taking the time. I do have the 430EX Flash and a GF Lightsphere. So...you've all offered so much advice, I don't know which way to go. I do not have a lot of money. Could I not use the 24-70 2.8 for zoom and my 50mm. for table shots?

    I have, what I suspect, is a really stupid question, but I might as well ask it here. :) I use a grey card for WB and exposure. Can I use the grey card when using a zoom lens? Meaning, if I'm far from the subject, where I might be in the dark but the the subject is on stage, is there a way to meter for light (using the grey card)?

    Second stupid/probably pbvious question: Also, I know how to bounce flash, but if the subject is further away, do I aim the flash at the subject?

    Thanks for the help!
  18. Paige, the 50mm will be long for tables, the 24 70 ok with room. I`ll try to give you something to work from. this table shot (reject so hope they don`t mind) this taken about 8 feet back from the table at 18mm. 20D+15 30+550EX possibly with a stofen.

  19. Thanks for the help! I appreciate the picture.
  20. Hi Paige!

    I've used a Canon 18-55 for event shots (I currently am doing for an alderman candidate here in Chicago). I also use a Canon Speedlite 580EX flash, which helps a lot in low light conditions (many of the places I shot in were bars, where the lighting is never at full brightness).

    I sometimes use my Tamron 28-200 aspherical lens, mainly in the 28-70mm area, as the larger mm's won't cut it. Overall, I prefer the 18-55 mm lens.

    I may get the 28-70 mm though (at the suggestion of those on this page), just to have on hand, as I like a lens with some range in mm's.

    does anyone have a better suggestion for a flash besides the 580EX, as I think somtimes it doesn't always cut the mustard for low light rooms.

    hope that helps some.

  21. does anyone have a better suggestion for a flash besides the 580EX, as I think somtimes it doesn't always cut the mustard for low light rooms.

    Hi Sheryl, not sure what you mean here, we do restuarants and niteclubs all in low light using 550EX`s, with no probs.

    The EX flashes emit an IR beam to assist focus so that shouldn`t be a problem. Not knowing your technique I just say what has worked best for us the last 14yrs..

    We use central focus point only, `M` mode, slower shutter speeds to allow more ambient light 1/30~1/90 depends how much light you have to start with. the 18 55 best from f4~ f8 DOF varied for number of people in shot. focus on a nutral face (closest to gray) FEL recompose, shoot. Some folks don`t like doing this as they shoot wide open but with practice its fine. we also use Stofen diffussers with a plastic reflector on top to push light forward, it tends to reduce fall off in the low portion of the frame.

    In dark rooms like nite clubs when dark aparel is worn you`ll still need some compensation, but FEL is far more accurate than just point & shoot.

    The only other way is by Auto thyristor flash, we used then long before getting the EX`s, Metz CL4`s, which are a lot more consistant BUT unless you have faster lenses focus becomes a pain.A shoe mount Metz would be better for convenience sake.

  22. I was thinking in for going in with a 70-300 is usm for similar kind of work , simply for the ability of going in really close

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