Which Lens?

Started Jan 21, 2013 | Questions
sustownsend
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Which Lens?
Jan 21, 2013

I am a semi-proffessional photographer and in preperation of shooting my first wedding this summer I am purchasing some new lenses. I'm a bit bogged down by all of the choices but have narrowed my long-distance lens down to 3 choices: the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap throughout zoom with the optical stabilization system, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap without IS and the same with the IS. Does anyone have any experience shooting between the Sigma with OS and the Canon without IS? Is there a big difference? I'm sure the best would be the Canon with IS but the Sigma is about $500 cheaper, would the Sigma optical stabilization be comparable to the Canon image stabilization? Are there any other lenses that I haven't found in my shopping that would be better in that range?

Josh Hunt
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 21, 2013

I will just say that IS is really nice--especially with long glass

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hedwards
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 22, 2013

I can't comment on the Sigma. I do however own the Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS Mk I and it's arguably the best lens that Canon has ever released. You're going to need IS on a lens like that, unless you're constantly working off a tripod.

Mk I versus MK II is kind of a toughie. The Mk II is slightly better in some ways, but I'm not sure it's good enough to justify spending the extra money on.

The main problem with the Sigma is that you may need to get it rechipped in the future. I've heard rumors about a USB lens mount that would allow you to update the lens firmware at home, but I don't think that's been released. And, anyways, I wouldn't bother until/unless you need it.

But, anyways, as a proud owner of one of the lenses in question, I love it. The main problem with it is that it's a brick and you'll have to make sure you're in good shape if you want to hand hold it. And if you're going to use a tripod or monopod, you're going to need a proper gimbal head.

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Guidenet
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 22, 2013

sustownsend wrote:

I am a semi-proffessional photographer and in preperation of shooting my first wedding this summer I am purchasing some new lenses. I'm a bit bogged down by all of the choices but have narrowed my long-distance lens down to 3 choices: the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap throughout zoom with the optical stabilization system, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap without IS and the same with the IS. Does anyone have any experience shooting between the Sigma with OS and the Canon without IS? Is there a big difference? I'm sure the best would be the Canon with IS but the Sigma is about $500 cheaper, would the Sigma optical stabilization be comparable to the Canon image stabilization? Are there any other lenses that I haven't found in my shopping that would be better in that range?

Let me get this straight. You're a semi-professional photographer but you are asking in a beginner's forum what lens to get to shoot your first wedding? You do have at least two semi-professional cameras like a 5D MKII or MKIII I would assume so you must use full frame EF glass.

Personally, I wouldn't shoot a 70-200 f/2.8 at a wedding. I think they're too large for a several hour job and it can bog you down hanging there while you've got something wider on the other body. I'd be using something like a 17-40 f/4 on one body and an 85 f/1.2 on the other body. At least an 85 f/1.8 maybe if you want to go cheaper. That gives you a wide lens for groups and other wide ceremony chots and the short fast tele for ceremony, portraits and the reception. Weddings can be fast and furious. You have to be that as well.

Two bodies and two lenses should get you most of what you need. You can also consider a 28mm or 35mm for the wide shots. I like them too. I just switched my daughter who is a full time and successful wedding photographer from a 70-200 f/2.8 VR Nikon to the Nikon 85 f/1.8 and she's very happy she did. She's much less drained at the end of it all and gets better shots overall.

What camera bodies do you currently have? What glass do you have now and what kind of strobes?

Have fun.

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Alphoid
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Try renting
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 22, 2013

When I shot my first (and -- to date -- only) wedding, I rented two lenses (well, more than two -- two worth mentioning). One was a 70-200mm f/2.8. The other was an 85mm f/1.4. I found the 70-200mm almost worthless. Points of note:

  • Bride didn't want a lot of flash. When the lights went down, the f/2.8 was extremely insufficient.
  • With crops, the 85mm f/1.4 magically turns into an 85-170mm f/1.4-f/2.8. My camera has 24MP, so that's a 6MP crop; plenty good enough.
  • The 70-200mm is huge, cumbersome, and awkward.
  • f/1.4 was pretty nice for some shots even with good light.

I learned my lesson, bought a Zeiss 85mm, and avoided a $2000 mistake.

Take-home lesson: Rent before you spend $2000 on a lens. (Note: The take-home lesson should not be about picking the 85mm over the 70-200mm. (1) Different lenses are good for different people (2) Even if we were identical, I shoot Sony, so the 85mm is stabilized, whereas it would not be in Canon; I'd probably still pick the 85mm in Canon, but it would be much, much closer).

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ARShutterbug
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135 f/2
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 22, 2013

A 200 mm lens without IS is not recommended for weddings, unless you are using strobes or a tripod.  Sigma's IS system seems to be comparable to Canon's, although it may be noiser and not as smooth when starting up.  I'd actually suggest considering the 135 f/2; you'll save money and get a faster relative aperture.

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Hank3152
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 22, 2013

Being a semi-pro I wouldn't skimp on the price since the investment will yield great returns in the long run, so if you need the reach then the 70-200f/2.8IS II is Canon's finest zoom. However most pro wedding photographers consider the 24-70f/2.8 to be their bread and butter lens..........and the mkII version is even better, but neither has IS.

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AlbertInFrance
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to Hank3152, Jan 22, 2013

I'll agree with all the 'Why a long zoom?' comments.

About the only use I can see for one is if you get banished to the organ loft during the ceremony. If you get much of that I'd go for a straight wide aperture telephoto.

And yes, I've done a few weddings in my time. Normally you should be close enough to the bride (or whoever is the current subject) to communicate and control poses.

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Chris R-UK
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to AlbertInFrance, Jan 22, 2013

AlbertInFrance wrote:

I'll agree with all the 'Why a long zoom?' comments.

About the only use I can see for one is if you get banished to the organ loft during the ceremony. If you get much of that I'd go for a straight wide aperture telephoto.

I have to say that for several weddings that I have been to with pros shooting, if the ceremony is in a church one of the pros normally has a 70-200 f2.8.

In the UK most churches make the photographers stay at the back during the ceremony.  I have been to a couple of weddings in churches with a choir gallery at the back where one of the pros has been positioned in the gallery with the 70-200 on a tripod.

I have shot a small family wedding in a church and bitterly regretted not having a fast telephoto lens with me.

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Chris R

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AlbertInFrance
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to Chris R-UK, Jan 22, 2013

All my wedding experience was in SE England. I worked for an up-market agency (guaranteed to get your picture in the Tatler) so never in the same church twice. Some priests/vicars/ministers seem to see cameras as toys of the Devil and others are happy to let you go anywhere just as long as you don't climb on the altar!

I never found the lack of a long zoom restricting

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Rich Rosen
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 25, 2013

sustownsend wrote:

I am a semi-proffessional photographer and in preperation of shooting my first wedding this summer I am purchasing some new lenses. I'm a bit bogged down by all of the choices but have narrowed my long-distance lens down to 3 choices: the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap throughout zoom with the optical stabilization system, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap without IS and the same with the IS. Does anyone have any experience shooting between the Sigma with OS and the Canon without IS? Is there a big difference? I'm sure the best would be the Canon with IS but the Sigma is about $500 cheaper, would the Sigma optical stabilization be comparable to the Canon image stabilization? Are there any other lenses that I haven't found in my shopping that would be better in that range?

I can't remark on the Canon-Sigma thing as I shoot Nikon. But my wedding bag includes a 70-200 2.8 VR (same as IS), a 28-70  2.8, a 17-35 2.8 and an 85 1.4.  I am assuming you either have or plan to buy at least some of my choices.   IS on a 2.8 telephoto that is not going to be on a tripod is pretty mandatory. Get the Canon. The Sigma is questionable. The 17-35 is for group shots, the 85 for portraits, the 28-70 for the reception and general shots.

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beagle1
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Re: Which Lens?
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 25, 2013

sustownsend wrote:

I am a semi-proffessional photographer and in preperation of shooting my first wedding this summer I am purchasing some new lenses. I'm a bit bogged down by all of the choices but have narrowed my long-distance lens down to 3 choices: the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap throughout zoom with the optical stabilization system, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 constant ap without IS and the same with the IS. Does anyone have any experience shooting between the Sigma with OS and the Canon without IS? Is there a big difference? I'm sure the best would be the Canon with IS but the Sigma is about $500 cheaper, would the Sigma optical stabilization be comparable to the Canon image stabilization? Are there any other lenses that I haven't found in my shopping that would be better in that range?

The Canon is going to have better AF, resolution and "IQ", especially the latest version of the 70-200 2.8 II but if you're on a budget the Sigma with OS will work.

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sustownsend
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Re: 135 f/2
In reply to ARShutterbug, Jan 27, 2013

Thanks for the tips! I currently have the Canon 50mm f/1.8 so I kind of have the prime lens covered, and have already decided on puchasing a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) so, I'm mainly looking for something with good zoom capabillities. I was really wondering if the "optical stabilization" of the sigma is comparable to the "image stabilization" in the canon, and you answered my question! Thank you! I will be going with the sigma and am really excited to get out there and start practicing with it!

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Guidenet
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Re: 135 f/2
In reply to sustownsend, Jan 27, 2013

sustownsend wrote:

Thanks for the tips! I currently have the Canon 50mm f/1.8 so I kind of have the prime lens covered, and have already decided on puchasing a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) so, I'm mainly looking for something with good zoom capabillities. I was really wondering if the "optical stabilization" of the sigma is comparable to the "image stabilization" in the canon, and you answered my question! Thank you! I will be going with the sigma and am really excited to get out there and start practicing with it!

So far, unless I missed it, nobody has been told what cameras you use. That makes quite a big difference in lens selection. If you're using a pair of Canon 7D models, things are quite a bit different than if you're shooting 5D MKIII cameras. The 1.6 crop factor really narrows the view of a telephoto zoom like the 70-200 any brand.

When you say "good zoom capabilities" I assume you mean good telephoto range and not zoom. With the 28-75 you have the same "zoom capability" as the 70-200. They are both around a 3x ratio.

My concern is if you're going to attempt this with crop cameras. That 28mm on the wide side has the same field of view as a 45mm would on a full frame 5D as an example. If you don't have any other glass thand what you've said so far, then you don't have anthing wide angle. Many wedding shots, maybe half or so are shot wide. The inside of the church and outside come to mind. Maybe the rice throwing part and lots of the reception might be best wide. In the case of a wedding and depending on the light, wide and fast may be needed where the kit lens that came with the camera just is not acceptable.

If you're shooting something along the lines of 5D bodies, I'd expect that the 28-75 would possibly do the job. If not, I'd think you'd want something along the lines of a Tokina 11-16 or 17-55 Canon. I just don't think 45mm would cover even the grouip formals inside.

Just thinking about it. Oh and remember to bring and be comfortable with two strobes and have plenty of batteries for them. An extra battery for each camera as well as extra compact flash memory would be very handy. You might want the strobes on brackets to keep red-eye at a minimum. It saves time later in post fixing all of them. A tripod, assistant and a reflector often come in very handy for the formals. The assistant can float during the reception. For the large formals, I've often used a pair of studio strobes to really well light the entire group, allowing me a somewhat smaller aperture for a deeper depth of field where the edges of the group are sharp along with the center. A somewhat powerful camera or bracket mounted flash bounced can be nearly as good.

Good luck and have fun.

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