Which single lens to take to a family wedding?

Started May 12, 2013 | Questions
Swiss L
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Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
May 12, 2013

I am not obviously a professional but shall be going along with my D800 plus the wife and our baby. I need to travel light and will take just one lens. What do I have to choose from... ? Nikon 50mm 1.4, 24-120f4, 105 VR Micro 2.8 and probably 18-35G. I favour the 50mm as its light sharp and will be good in low light however I was wondering what experienced wedding photographers would choose?

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Nikon D800
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AdamT
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Swiss L, May 12, 2013

I`d take a zoom unless you plan on buying a 35mm anytime .

The prob with the 50 is it`s too tight for a lot of the shots , if the new 18-35 is a lot better than the 24-120 F4 (I should damn well hope it is) then I`d use that and if you need more reach, with 36Mp on tap you can shoot at 35mm and crop ..

I liked the old 28-105 F3.5-4.5D for a small everyday lens on Nikon full frame, it was sharp wideopen (a LOT better optically than any of the 24-120s) , reasonably fast aperture and compact . Of course the 24-70 F2.8 is THE lens to have for this

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Swiss L
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to AdamT, May 12, 2013

Thanks Adam. I am considering the Sigma 35mm although having just bought my 24-120 I feel I need to give it more time. So far so good although i decided against the 24-70 on the grounds of weight which I may live to regret.

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Chas P
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to AdamT, May 12, 2013

AdamT wrote:

I liked the old 28-105 F3.5-4.5D for a small everyday lens on Nikon full frame, it was sharp wideopen (a LOT better optically than any of the 24-120s)

To clarify, the 28-105 is a lot better optically than the 24-120/4? Not in my experience, by a huge margin at wider apertures. No amount of processing can emulate Nano coating.

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Chas P
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Swiss L, May 12, 2013

the 24-120/4 and a 50 in yr pocket. What flash are you taking?

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ofior
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Chas P, May 12, 2013

+++ 1

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Ikeepem
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to ofior, May 12, 2013

+++2

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Swiss L
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Chas P, May 12, 2013

No room for flash in my morning suit!

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PHXAZCRAIG
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to ofior, May 12, 2013

+3

As for flash, experiment with the built-in flash.   You need to find the focal lengths that work, in terms of the lens in use not shadowing the subject.    It would possibly be worth getting some sort of small diffuser that can attach directly to the flash.

If you do end up shooting with the flash, you'll probably not want to have a lens hood on as it just increases the possibility of shadowing part of the light.  I'd think it would work fine with the 50mm lens, perhaps dialed down by part of a stop.

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hewhosculpts
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Swiss L, May 13, 2013

The 24-120 is the most versatile lens you mention and it's a good (but not great) lens for the D800. Of course, if money and convenience were not being considered then it would be a whole different ball game...

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hajagosb
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Swiss L, May 13, 2013

I would surely take the 50 only. If it's not your job to take pictures, the prime will give you some nice candid pictures, that they will be happy to see.

A wedding photographer friend of mine once went for a wedding just as a guest. He only took his 50 1.4 and a D700, and the whole thing turned out to be an amazing album.

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slimandy
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Swiss L, May 13, 2013

Without even reading what lenses you had available my first thought was Nikon 24~120mm f4 VR.

Take the 50mm f1.4 in case you need the fast aperture. It will fit in your pocket surely?

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Charles Currey
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to slimandy, May 13, 2013

slimandy wrote:

Without even reading what lenses you had available my first thought was Nikon 24~120mm f4 VR.

Take the 50mm f1.4 in case you need the fast aperture. It will fit in your pocket surely?

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I am always disturbed by this advice because it is true that the 50mm can go along in your pocket, but what do you do with your bigger zoom when the 50 is on the camera? What if the zoom will not fit so easily in your pocket?  I assume the pocket advice is because you are going light and not taking a camera bag. I wish someone would answer this question for me because I am always thinking that it would be handy to just slip the tiny 50/1.8 in my pocket, but my next thought is what do I do with the 70-200, lay it on a table, ask a friend to hold it, put it in the car, ask my wife to put it in her purse? All of these options seem to a greater or lesser degree to be less than realistic. So, what do I do with the 70-200 or the 24-70, should I be lucky enough to have one someday?

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Chas P
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Charles Currey, May 13, 2013

The 24-120/4 fits in a tiny belt pouch.

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Bouddha
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Charles Currey, May 13, 2013

50mm f1.4 for evening shoots IMHO.

Other than that, I think a zoom for outside photos with good daylight should be fine.

I just comeback from a trip to Venezia and used the following :

d600 body

- 24-70mm f2.8

- 50mm 1.4g

- SB-910

IMHO the 24-70 could be replaced by an other zoom and the 50mm 1.4g maybe by an other wide aperture fixed lens but both are IMHO necessary.

The SB-910 gave me interesting additionnal options but was not a must for me.

rgds

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Gaspode1964
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Bouddha, May 13, 2013

I have to agree that convenience is the key thing (if you're hoping to enjoy the wedding as anything other than a chance to practice your photography).

I've recently been to a family wedding - after much deliberation, I ended up leaving the Nikon at home and going with a Leica D-Lux4. Tiny enough to slip in a jacket pocket, usable zoom range, in-built pop-up flash and Leica glass - I got some really pleasing shots and was able to join in with the occasion. With a DSLR, I think I'd have been more 'obvious' and missed a lot of the informal shots as people became concious of a larger camera being pointed at them....

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slimandy
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Charles Currey, May 13, 2013

Charles Currey wrote:

slimandy wrote:

Without even reading what lenses you had available my first thought was Nikon 24~120mm f4 VR.

Take the 50mm f1.4 in case you need the fast aperture. It will fit in your pocket surely?

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I am always disturbed by this advice because it is true that the 50mm can go along in your pocket, but what do you do with your bigger zoom when the 50 is on the camera? What if the zoom will not fit so easily in your pocket?  I assume the pocket advice is because you are going light and not taking a camera bag. I wish someone would answer this question for me because I am always thinking that it would be handy to just slip the tiny 50/1.8 in my pocket, but my next thought is what do I do with the 70-200, lay it on a table, ask a friend to hold it, put it in the car, ask my wife to put it in her purse? All of these options seem to a greater or lesser degree to be less than realistic. So, what do I do with the 70-200 or the 24-70, should I be lucky enough to have one someday?

I always carry my camera in a shoulder bag such as a Lowepro TLZ mini. I don't like putting the camera in my car or anywhere else if it's not in the bag unless I'm actually using it. So if I am using the camera the lens goes in the empty bag. I always have a bag.

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joejack951
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Swiss L, May 13, 2013

Swiss L wrote:

I was wondering what experienced wedding photographers would choose?

You aren't going as the paid photographer so I'm not sure why the opinion of an experienced wedding photographer is relevant to you. In fact, any experienced wedding photographer would likely laugh at the idea of "traveling light" for a wedding. It's something they simply don't do.

My advice would be to take the lens that you find the most fun to use and get the pictures that you can get. You aren't being paid to take pictures so there's no reason to worry about missing something. The pro shooting the wedding will be the one concerned with getting all the shots and thus will likely be using some fairly boring zooms (relative to an ultra-fast prime at least).

I've had a lot of fun at a wedding with a 35/1.4 but I'm sure a 50/1.4 would be just as fun.

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sachinn
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to joejack951, May 13, 2013

+1

I'm no pro, but as a guest at weddings I find it more fun to be in photos than taking them. I'd take the camera plus the 50/1.4 and have a good time.

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AdamT
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Re: Which single lens to take to a family wedding?
In reply to Chas P, May 13, 2013

To clarify, the 28-105 is a lot better optically than the 24-120/4? Not in my experience, by a huge margin at wider apertures. No amount of processing can emulate Nano coating.

I was so unimpressed with that lens when I tried it, better than the awful original VR version, yes but it was stil poor at the edges, distorted heavily and was soft at the long end (only less so than the first VR version) . Maybe I tried a dud but what I saw wasn`t as good as the 28-105 across the frame or at the long end

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