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Old Jul 14, 2010, 5:28 AM   #1
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Default 50mm 1.4 for a wedding?

Yes it's a matter of style, but if you were to choose between a tele zoom (70-200mm for example) or a fast portrait lens to use at a wedding, which would it be? For those of you with experience shooting weddings, which do you use more?
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 6:49 AM   #2
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It depends entirely on the type of shot and distance involved. You could make either work at a reception - although both a quite tight on an aps-c camera. If you're talking the ceremony itself it depends on how close you will be
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 7:11 AM   #3
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Thanks John - a better question might be which of the two lens options would best compliment the 17-70mm and 105mm lenses that I already have? I know that both would be useful to me, but I have to choose one, and it's a tough choice with weddings on the horizon!!

It's interesting just how divided opinion is - having read a good few pro photographers' blogs, some say they never take their 50mm when shooting a wedding and some say the 50mm is on the camera for most of the day. Argh!
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 10:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davi View Post
It's interesting just how divided opinion is - having read a good few pro photographers' blogs, some say they never take their 50mm when shooting a wedding and some say the 50mm is on the camera for most of the day. Argh!
The thing about the pros is that almost everyone (if not all) are using Full Frame cameras (5DM2, D700, !Ds, ect) so the 50 will have a much wider field of view that if you used the 50 on an crop sensor body (50=80 field of view on canon 1.6 body). for the crop body you would need small than a 35mm lens to be to the same point as the pros.
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 12:05 PM   #5
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When I shoot a wedding I will have a primary setup of 5DmkII (yep that full frame thing again) with 24-105mm f4 IS and as my second boy either 1DmkIII or 5DmkI and 70-200mm f2.8 IS. Then there will be one other body (either of the non used between 1DmkIII and 5DmkI or the 7D) ready to go with a short tele and flash in case the primary camera goes down so I don't have to stop shooting.

I always carry a 50mm f1.8 (yep, the plastic fantastic) and 85mm f1.8 just in case I really need the extra light, but it is very rare hence not having invested in the f1.4 50mm. Also if I did then it would be the Sigma. I've considered it a few times but really can't justify the cost for the very limited use.

When you say you have weddings coming up, do you mean friends weddings that you will be a guest at or that you are shooting weddings for people as this would likely be very different requirements?
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 4:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the responses folks - very helpful indeed. The 85mm L is a very popular lens with some of the pros, which is what prompted me to consider the 50mm to use on my crop body; having already owned a 28mm f/1.8, I definitely want something longer and sharper.

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Originally Posted by Mark1616
I've considered it a few times but really can't justify the cost for the very limited use.
I'm in exactly the same boat; I don't want to drop money on a lens that isn't going to be used, where the primary reason for buying it is work, not play. You say that needing extra light is very rare in your experience, which is interesting and I take note!

Re. weddings, the first one coming up is my brother-in-law's wedding at which I will be a guest and I will be road-testing whichever lens I decide to buy; the second wedding is work!
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 5:05 PM   #7
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Re. weddings, the first one coming up is my brother-in-law's wedding at which I will be a guest and I will be road-testing whichever lens I decide to buy; the second wedding is work!
The first isn't anything much to worry about in that case as you can just have fun and play with the camera etc. The 2nd is obviously much more important. Do you have things like 2nd body, 2nd main lens to cover the wide/medium shots, 2nd external flash etc? I might be preaching to the choir but I would rather check as it can be very painful if something fails. If you don't have at least one each spare of the main 3 components (body, lens and external flash) then these are where I would be putting my money.

As for the not needing fast primes, don't forget I can comfortably shoot at ISO 3200 and push to 6400 and still be able to use them easily and I have constant f4 and f2.8 glass on the bodies anyway, with the 50D I personally am happy at ISO 1600 and 3200 at a push so that is a stop of light gone before any less bright glass is used. I've been fortunate apart from the very rare old church where lighting is poor that I can shoot happily with ambient light in the service if flash isn't allowed. Even when it is, a lot of the time I like natural light, you get nicer shadows, face shape etc.
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 7:41 PM   #8
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I have one better than spare gear: another photographer

I too am happy to shoot up to 3200 (if needs be) with the 50D; I did a function earlier this year and nearly all the photos were at 3200 of people dancing, and the image quality really surprised me.

The things that really draw me to the 50mm 1.4 are the focal length and shallow depth of field; as you know, it'd be a lot like using an 85mm prime on a FF body, which some photographers really seem to like (some cracking wedding photos taken with the 85mm L over at the Canon forum). Think I'll grab it for the first wedding and see how I get on. Any particular reason you'd choose the Sigma over the Canon?
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 9:48 AM   #9
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The things that really draw me to the 50mm 1.4 are the focal length and shallow depth of field; as you know, it'd be a lot like using an 85mm prime on a FF body...
Only from an angle of view perspective.

The larger the sensor or film size, the shallower the depth of field for a given aperture and subject framing (where your subject occupies the same percentage of the frame).

For example, you'd need to shoot with an 80mm lens on a full frame (35mm film size sensor) camera to get the same angle of view you'd have with a 50mm on a camera with an APS-C size sensor so that your subject would occupy the same percentage of the frame at the same focus distance (assuming a Canon APS-C size sensor). In that case, the full frame camera will have a shallower depth of field for a given aperture setting, because the actual focal length of the lens is longer to get the same subject framing at a given focus distance.

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Basically, you're looking at around a one and a half stop difference for depth of field purposes. For example, if you were shooting at f/1.4 with a camera using an APS-C size sensor, you'd have about the same depth of field as you'd get with a full frame camera shooting at f/2.4 if the subject occupied the same percentage of the frame; or if you were shooting at f/2.8 with a camera using an APS-C size sensor, that would be like shooting at around f/4.8 with a full frame camera for depth of field purposes, provided your subject occupies the same percentage of the frame (which means using a shorter focal length lens on the camera with the APS-C size sensor from the same focus distance, or shooting from further away if you're using the same focal length lens on both cameras).

The larger the sensor or film size, the shallower your depth of field for a given aperture and subject framing. The smaller the sensor or film size, the greater your depth of field for a given aperture and subject framing.
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:38 PM   #10
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Thanks for the explanation Jim - I knew about the angle of view difference, but didn't realise there was such a difference with DOF. For what it's worth I've had a lot of time to think about the various primes available from canon and sigma and I'd really like to give the 50mm 1.4 a shot...just need to decide whether I go for the canon or stay with sigma!
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