Low Light 50mm Lens for Wedding

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Joseph2105, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Joseph2105

    Joseph2105 TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I've been asked to photograph my friends wedding. Reading up on the subject most people recommend using a 50mm lens for the low light, hand held shots.
    What I would like to know is, as I use either a Sony A200 or A700, as I understand it, the processor will magnify by approx 1.5-1.6x so therefore, do I need a lens that becomes 50mm ie 35mm x 1.5 = 52.5mm or use a 50mm and it becomes 75mm!??
    It may sound stupid but its not clear to me...
    Regards,
    Andy
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Er, the processor is not part of the equation, and nothing's being magnified. What's happening is that the lens is designed to cast light to fill a 35mm frame, but the sensor is smaller than 35mm in size. This means that the sensor has a crop factor, and for Sony this is 1.5. Thus, a 50mm lens is effectively 75mm when mounted on that camera, because the sensor is only capturing a smaller portion of the circle that the lens is projecting on the sensor.

    For low light, what really matters is the highest clean ISO you can use on the camera, the lowest f-stop of the lens, and the power of the flash.

    You've also just stepped into very hot water asking for such advice on photographing a wedding. Wedding photography is hard; if this is a case of your friend not being able to pay for a wedding photog, then hopefully people on here won't eat you for lunch. But if it isn't, try to convince them that paying a pro is worth it, no offence, because, well, it is.

    Oh, and if you haven't used fixed focal length lenses before, they're tricky at first because you need to be a lot more conscious of your surroundings and how you can move to get closer or farther away.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  3. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    I would NOT want to photograph a wedding using only one prime.....absolutely not. The distance from photographer to subject (whatever the subject is at the time) is constantly changing during a wedding and you can't accomodate for that with a single prime. I would ONLY use a prime if I had two bodies and even then a 50mm wouldn't be in the equation...it would be a 35 f1.8 or 35/2 on one body and a 85mm f1.8 or f1.4 on the other body

    Oh, and you need to do a ton of research, practice, and reading before you do this wedding. I researched and practiced, etc... for a solid 6 months before my first wedding.....and I already had a decent handle on portrait photography.
     
  4. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Unless you plan on standing right on top of the bride and groom, a 50mm lens isn't going to cut it.

    You're going to want a fast zoom like a 70-200mm f/2.8 for indoor stuff. Your camera needs to be able to handle ISO 1600 and 3200 as well and even at f/2.8. The A700 should be fine up to ISO 3200.

    If you're not aware that a 50mm prime is going to severely limit you at a wedding you're no where near ready to shoot this thing. You're getting in WAY over your head I fear.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Andy,

    This is very basic stuff. You don't seem to have a good grounding in understanding the technical ins and outs of how a camera and lens actually work.

    Weddings pose some of the most difficult technical challenges in all of photography and those challenges have to be solved on the fly in seconds and not minutes.

    Of course, if you just put the camera in Auto you might get some nice snapshots for your friend anyway.

    As mentioned above a couple of fast zooms, 1 wide angle and 1 medium telephoto are what experienced wedding photographers use the most.

    Have both the A200 and the A700 available so you have a backup.

    Are you planning on using any supplimental light sources?
     
  6. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Andy,

    Let me say that the 50mm is a great lens for weddings, in fact, it was my go-to lens for my first wedding. I will not assume, as others probably have, that this will be your only lens. I will assume, however, that you plan to have an external flash unit, despite what the purists would suggest. The reasons to have an external flash unit are many (and please refrain from using the pop-up flash, as that is a sure way to attain hideous looking wedding photos).

    I did not think I would ever be one of those people to caution against shooting a wedding if you are not ready, but here we are. Weddings are difficult to say the least. Not only are they difficult, but you will have to face the world's harshest critic when it comes to reviewing the final product (the bride, of course). Am I saying 'do not do the wedding.' Honestly, no. However, only do it if the bride and groom understand the possible implications having a friend shooting the wedding can have (a friend that has no experience shooting such a demanding event). If they truly want to give you a shot understanding completely what's at risk, then have at it. Just make sure you do everything in your power to be ready... I do not think it's possible to overprepare or even be ready for what can happen on that day. Good luck!
     
  7. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    You shot the ceremony and all the lead-up stuff using a 50mm? Was it a really small church/venue? Do you have any pics you can share? I would like to see the venue and the overall quality of the shots.
     
  8. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, let me clarify. I shot most of the wedding using the 50mm. However, during the ceremony, I used a telephoto.

    The 50 was great for capturing the bride getting ready and the lead-up to the reception, but then I switched lenses for the ceremony. Afterwards, I switched back and used the 50mm for the portraits at sunset. I was a second shooter, but the bride expressed (after viewing the results) that she wished I had creative control for the entire wedding. If I can, Ill post a few one of these days.
     
  9. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    That makes more sense. :) I couldn't imagine a photog being right up on the couple during the wedding with a 50mm. :) Yes, the 50mm is great for everything but the actual wedding. I like my 50mm and 85mm for table shots and some of the prep stuff too. But at my last wedding the brides room was so cramped with stuff and people, I wound up using my 24-70 and 70-200 the most because I couldn't move around as much as I needed to - so I had to use the zoom.

    Best bet is having good and fast zooms in your kit if you don't know what's going to happen. Since most of the time you don't, opt for these first.

    Once you have quality fast zooms covering from 24mm to at least 200mm, then start adding primes. The 50mm is cheap enough you can get one at any point though. I'm talking about the high-end expensive primes... I added those last to my collection of lenses.
     
  10. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Yes, and the fast zooms would definitely be my first choice (the 24-70 & 70-200). The 50mm option was good because, well, it was my only real option with the gear I possessed at the time. Therefore, I suggest the 50mm as a great choice, but if it's your only lens (again, not assuming it is), then you may have some issues :D
     
  11. Joseph2105

    Joseph2105 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys for all your replies.....
    A 50mm is one lens I don't have hence the question.
    I do have a 28mm, a 10-20mm wide angle, an 18-70 and a 75-300 along with flash gun etc.
    I create some very good pictures but am the first to admit I lack technical knowledge on the subject, I sort of click and hope...
    I want to do a course so I have a better understanding but am still in the process of researching which one is best.
    I have about three months to practise and as you guessed my friend is broke so cannnot afford a pro.
    The other problem I have is my friend is a pale white guy and his bride is dark oriental so like you have all said read, learn and hope for the best.
    Thanks again, regards,
    Andy
     

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