which lens to buy?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by mag_d, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. Hello,
    I photograph most of my weddings switching between Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.8. I am looking for a better zoom to use during the ceremony only.I can't afford the one I want (Canon 70-200mm f2.8) I am considering other options...What do you think about Canon 100mm f2.8?
    Thank you for you help.
  2. For weddings one usually needs a backup body, or a second camera and shoot with both.
    For a single camera and 3 lenses to keep switching, could be too much of frequent lens changes, and missing some picture opportunity.
    Since you do not have a longer lens, perhaps a longer zoom lens could make your life easier.
    A 50 to 150 zoom would be good addition to your 17-50.
    I suppose you use modern Canon DSLR that allows good quality at higher ISO, so a slower zoom lens could work well.
  3. Maggie, key point is what you want the lens to do? Getting a macrolens could be useful, for the occassional close-ups (rings, for example), but it's not the zoomlens you'd want. If that's no big issue, there are many more options to consider.... a 85 f/1.8 isn't extremely expensive and if the macro-functionality of the 100 f/2.8 doesn't matter it could make a nice alternative. Or 3rd brand macro-lenses, as the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro - quite a bit cheaper and optically good stuff.
    If you really want a zoom instead, you'd have to check for yourself if f/4 would be too slow - otherwise the 70-200 f/4 lenses have a great repuations. If you need faster, you could also look for the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 (current model with OS/IS is expensive, the older model without smaller, cheaper but only 2nd hand) or Tokina 50-135 f/2.8 are interesting options on APS-C. Both Tamron and Sigma also have 70-200 f/2.8 - they're quite a bit cheaper than the Canon, so they could be of interest too.
  4. They not paying you enough for a really good lens? Seems like you'll be using it indoors for the ceremonies, so you want a fast one so you don't have to use high ISO which pushes grain and contrast up on the black & whites. You can get a used Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for the same price as a Canon 70-200 f4 L, and the IS/OS/VR versions of these 2 are about the same too. The Sigma 50-150 f2.8 could indeed be useful for crop-format cameras and is even cheaper.
  5. Definitely check out the used market for the 70-200 f/2.8. Also you might want to browse the weddings forum as you can find out tidbits about equipment that you may want to consider. For example, getting a second body would be one of my priorities. Wish you the best.
  6. Thank you for all your responses. I mostly do outdoor weddings and I really like the 85mm f/1.8 suggestion, especially that I can use it on full frame body that I am hoping to upgrade to in the future. I have a back up body, but shooting with two cameras never worked for me for some reason... I might reconsider this option for ceremony only. Regarding buying a used lens : I'd worry that somebody dropped it and it won't work properly..
  7. I hate switching lenses for one very major reason. Dust. It's a real drag to fix dust marks during post editing. Dust removing 1000 plus images is simply a huge waste of time when it can be completely avoided. I have a few camera bodies so I rearly have to change lenses.

    For this reason I mostly use zooms. Sure there are primes that may be a lot or a little sharper, however you don't want or need super sharp glass that brings out every mark on someones face. Because of this I actually use a Softar filter for closeup work. The filter is called a Softar 1. The Softer 2 is too soft. Google it and if you are interested pick one up. It's by far the best soft filter made.

    At every wedding I'm packing 3 1dsMk 3 bodies, a 16 -35 2.8 wide angle lens, a 24-125 L IS, the 70-200, and my favorite lens which I hardly ever use is the fish eye. I also have an extra flash and 4 powerful White Lightning strobes to light up a rececption hall. Normally I only need 2 of these White Lightnings. I carry radio slaves to trigger these 3200 watt strobes.

    I'm against using high ISO/ASA camera ratings over 800 or so, because of pixalation showing. It's best to add and create light then to use ISO camera settings around 6400 and higher. As you enlarge images it really shows up.

    I pack the 70-200 2.8L IS, but I really don't use it that much.

    I don't know if this helps you or confuses you more, just food for thought.
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.8. I am looking for a better zoom to use during the ceremony only. I can't afford the one I want (Canon 70-200mm f2.8) I am considering other options...What do you think about Canon 100mm f2.8?​
    I understand that you’ve subsequently mentioned that you might reconsider the uses of the lens you purchase, but addressing ONLY the question above, as it was asked:
    I cannot see that the 85/1.8 is much gain over the 50/1.8 you have; albeit that the 85/1.8 is very good value for money glass.
    For “the ceremony only” I would be attributing an high priority to lens speed, for example when the ‘Ceremony Only’ is “No Flash” – or – when one just want to shoot available light anyway.
    Considering these points, I’d suggest that the 100/2, would be a better choice to pair with the 50/1.8 you have.
    The 135/2L is perhaps a better choice again, (though the FL range from 50 to 135 is a big gap) remembering that one can use a x1.4MkII EF Extender, to get the equivalent of a 189/2.8 – and the results of that pairing, are spectacular.
    Although, I do understand that the 100/2 can be paired with some third party extenders: I cannot comment on the resultant quality.
  9. If you get either the Sigma 50-150 or Tokina 50-135 you'd be pretty much covered in terms of having the equivalent of a full frame 24-70 and 70-200. In my book, those are the two money lenses almost regardless of what kind of photography you do. Fast primes are nice, but to me I prefer to cover the basics before I start adding icing on the cake. Peronsally, I use a 12-24 Tokina, 24-70 Sigma and 70-200 Tamron, with a Nikon D200 and D7000. If you are shooting weddings (or any other assignment that doesn't stop and wait if you have camera trouble), you absolutely positively have to have a second body.
  10. clarification - close up work, meaning the top 1/3rd of a person, the face and slightly below the shoulders and above the waist. Not related to macro.
  11. Weston here (Marissa's husband)
    Hi Mag! Everyone is going to have a way to make all the aforementioned lenses work well in certain situations so the advice thus far is awesome but likely too many options to consider haha. Comes down to preference to some degree based on what's been said so far but IMHO I think what you're looking for is the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS. Let me explain why...
    Of course this is just my opinion so trolls please relax if you're out there lol. Over the past 10 years that lens has been an absolute beast and has produced about 90% of my absolute favorite ceremony shots(the other 10% on our Canon 85mm 1.2L).
    I believe the case to be made for the 70-200mm is:

    -Keeps you from moving around all over the place during the ceremony because A. it's not prime and B. has a great focal range for ceremony shots, key moments, up-close expressions, yet wide enough on a full-frame for wider shots(though I'd always have a 50mm or 24mm on another body handy of course)
    -Has much more dramatic depth of field at f2.8 vs the f4. Typically I'm looking to isolate moments/expressions/subjects from distracting things that I want out of focus anyway, drawing the view to my popping subject(s) at 2.8
    -It also does well in low light since it can open up to 2.8 AND has IS
    -Speed and accuracy. VS all my other lenses this one has always held the highest percentages for correct focus point and was also ready to fire, so quick and dependable. This was tested big time when I shot in Haiti in some scary situations and needed to rely on it's speed.
    Again I come back to the zoom element of this lens because it has such great image quality throughout the focal range vs any other zoom I've owned. It might as well be prime it looks so good IMO. The focal range gives you so many cropping/framing possibilities without ever having to move(unless you can of course go for it haha).
    Hopefully that's helpful and affirms your initial desire to go for the 70-200mm Canon, definitely can't go wrong. Lens is also amazing for all around photojournalism all throughout the wedding day, sniper lens for sure. Incredible for portraits as well, very compressed, love it.
    Head over to our wedding blog if you're curious as to my allegiance to that lens as a large majority was shot on 70-200mm 2.8L IS, 50mm 1.2L and 85mm 1.2L and if you like the look from the ceremony shots then maybe you'll prefer it as well. Keyword, prefer ;) As this is subjective and opinions vary with anything artistic.
    -Weston Boucher
  12. IMO, a 70-200/2.8 would serve you well. However, I wouldn't limit myself to Canon's offerings. Sigma and Tamron also make 70-200/2.8s that have near as makes no difference (for wedding photography especially) IQ to the Canon Ls. However, you mentioned that your budget keeps you out of the upper tear of lens choices... care to be a bit more specific?
    You can find used 70-200/2.8s from ~$500 and up, which is close (or less) to what you'd be putting out for a one horse pony (100/2.8, 85/1.8, 100/2) new. If you can afford ~$1300, then the new Tamron 70-200/2.8 USD VC will work, or a Canon 70-200/4 IS L, or even a Canon 70-200/2.8 L (non-IS). While the IQ, and speed, of a prime is always nice, for weddings where you do not control your shooting environment, the flexibility of a longer zoom is very very attractive - especially given your experience level.
  13. Canon 24-70 or 17-55 for standard zoom, 70-200 f/2.8 IS for long ceremony lens. If you can't afford it, that basically means you can't afford the equipment versatility necessary for professional wedding photography - which means perhaps you should consider a different line of work until you can afford the appropriate equipment.
  14. The 70-200 is a great lens whether from Canon, Nikon, Sony, or 3rd party makers ... great for some, but not everyone. I personally do not like longer zooms.
    While I've owned many different 70-200/2.8 lenses over the years, I've rarely used it for anything other than shots from the back of a church or up in the balcony ... in addition, the amount of times that 200mm was needed reduced its' full use even more ... which is a huge investment for such limited application. It isn't a matter of affording it, but how much use one may get out of it for so much money. In my case not much.
    So I sold it and haven't missed it one bit. Hated how big it was for use any where else at a wedding. Also do not like the "Sports Illustrated" look of compacted perspective of multiple people candid shots when used at 200mm ... and even had a client comment on that "look" in a negative manner.
    My longest lens is now a Sony/Zeiss 135/1.8 ... and before that a Canon 135/2L ... and before that a Nikon 135/2. I don't use 135 very often either (much more than I did with the 70-200 because it is smaller and faster at receptions, etc), but at least I don't have that much cash locked up in it.
    The Canon 135/2 is a renowned lens prized for it's crisp rendering of in-focus areas, 3D rendition, and soft roll-off of out-of-focus areas to a beautiful bokeh in the background ... a faster max aperture lens of f/2 that costs $990 new compared to the 70-200/2.8 @ $2,500. Keep in mind that on a APSc sized sensor the 135 is the equivalent field-of-view of a 200mm anyway, and on a FF camera you can crop tighter since the resolution is usually higher.
    3rd party long zooms can be problematic. You have to test any one of them as soon as you get it to assure it focuses properly and does so swiftly. We (my assistants and I) have had to send back many of them due to inconsistency of manufacture in past ... sometimes more than one had to be returned. BTW, this can happen with a camera company's lenses also, but seem less prone to need it.
    Other lenses of interest for in church ceremony shots if a zoom is preferred could be the Canon 70-200/4L used on a tripod ... $630 new. Or 70-200/4 with Image Stabilization for $1,150 new.
    Shorter lenses like the 100/2.8L IS Macro @ $1,050 could be interesting because of the multiple application one can use it for (ring-shots, cake toppers, flowers, portraits, as well as a bit longer shots that are a 150mm field-of-view on an APSc sized sensor).
    A real "sleeper" in the Canon telephoto lens line-up is the 100/2 @ $450 new ... a great portrait lens that is often over looked.
    Each person has different opinions based on their approach to wedding photography. However, in an article I wrote for P.Net, I forwarded the idea that perception of use often doesn't match reality. By looking at the exif information for multiple weddings, actual use of lenses can be determined. In my case the 70-200 was the least used lens and when used was at either 70mm or around 120 to 135mm ... 200mm was the least used. The 24-70/2.8 zoom the most used lens, 85/1.4 a close second, and 35/50mm primes the next most used. 16-35/2.8 was the second least used.
    Different strokes for different folks.
    - Marc

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