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Do I have the gear to pull it off

saqibzulsaqibzul Member
edited August 2012 in wedding photography
Hello Guys,
My upfront apology if this has been asked umpteenth time already. I just wanted to get an expert opinion from specialists, specially Neil. I have been taking pictures for a number of years, but haven't formally done any weddings or parties. Most of my work has been landscapes and documentary style with some family and personal events thrown in there. I have recently been tempted to try out event photography. Have read Neil's book and been regularly reading blogs for a few months now and think may be ready for the challenge.

The question is: I will be covering a few events in the next month or so and after reviewing my gear, I have some concerns. I have a D7000, with the D70 as a backup. Lenses are 35-70 2.8D and 50 1.8D. I also have 55-200 and 17-70, but don’t consider them any good for low light events.
Regarding the 35-70 lens, feel I may be a bit too close (50mm) and may need the 24-70 or the 17-55 2.8, and not confident that I will be able to pull it off with this lens. Can anyone please help me out in deciding whether the 35-70 will be good enough to get the job done. I have concerns with insufficient wide angle range and slow focus.
Secondly will the 24-70 going to be too tight at the 24 (36)mm range if I do consider that option.
Thirdly what is the majority of the focal range used in events for DX.
Thanks for your feedback and help.

Saqib Z.
P.S: I do understand, if money was not the issue for me buying a D800 with a 24-70, 70-200 and a 85 1.4 would have been an obvious choice:)


  • Could you include the max aperture values (F numbers) for all the lenses you mentioned?

    And from what I've read, the D800 is not an ideal wedding camera because it takes the buffer over 60 seconds to write a burst of raw files. Not good if the ring is about to come out.
  • Hi Mgarber,
    The lens I would primarily be using is the nikkor 35-70 f2.8 constant. Would also carry along nikkor 50 1.8 in case of low light, and the nikkor 55-200 f4-5.6 vr for shooting stuff without being intrusive, might have to crank up the iOS to 3200 or something. Didn't know that about the d800, since we're talking hypothetically, let's replace d4 with that :)
  • What type of events are they exactly? You don't mention anything about flash units. Without added flash, I don't think any lens is going to make a fast paced wedding event produce sharp and pleasing photos.
    On the other hand, if you are covering an event from a press stand, and all of the action will be in a defined space, like a stage, then no flash will reach anyway, and your longest lens will probably be fine if there are video lights.

    My observation would be that you would be better off using equipment you are familiar with, and are able to use without thinking in stressful situations. Before you agree to get paid for covering an event, you should test the equipment you intend to use in a comparable situation. Consider renting the equipment you mean to use and practice with it, and on the day you should probably rent a spare camera body so you won't have to make excuses to the client if your first camera conks out.
  • Hi Mgarber,
    Thanks for your detailed response. To address your questions.
    1. The events are (Indoor Birthday , Indoor pre-marriage party, outdoor marriage anniversary, indoor/outdoor marriage).
    2. I might be paid for the last one, that is if I feel comfortable to take it after the first three free engagements. All of these are for family and friends.
    3. I will be using an SB-800, Since I have only one, there is a redundancy issue that I am re-thinking. Might rent one for the marriage in October, but don’t think will need it for the first three.
    4. One is always learning, but I think I should know enough to get by. Am trying out the gear to make sure there is no last minute issue. I apologize that it may come up as a plug, but some of my documentary portraits are here http://www.flickr.com/photos/saqibz/sets/72157631096785762/
    5. I have a spare D70 body. Since sb800 works on both D70 and D7000 I should be safe for at least the free events.
    6. Back to my original un-answered question  “Is the nikkor 35-70 2.8D adequate lens to cover an event”. With emphasis on it being wide enough. I understand I can always move my legs, but any confirmations or recommendations would be nice.
    7. Since I will not be making any money, spending my own money and time to shoot for free, I don’t want to spend on anything that can be avoided.
    Thanks for helping out on this.
  • Well if the event is indoors then you cannot necessarily move your legs, and you're using a crop sensor camera, so rent a 17-55 f2.8 and an extra flash, then read Neal's posts about on camera flash.
    Good luck!
  • And your landscapes are great by the way.
  • Thanks mgarber for your feedback :)
  • By the the avatar pic is mine too :)
  • Hello,
    Just wanted to update that the event went well, considering this was my first "official" one. I ended up getting the nikkor 17-55 2.8 and 85 1.4G. My feedback on the 17-55 2.8 is, that I might have got away with my Nikkor 35-70 2.8 provided I nailed my compositions, but shooting a bit wide gave me more cropping options in post processing. As for 85 1.4g, great great great lens. But a tad too close for me on my DX body. My 50 1.8 should do reasonably good job in the future. All in all I determined that I have sufficient gear, provided I can keep on improving my skills and when the time is right I can upgrade to the one I want.
    Attaching few shots for feedback and review. The light was pretty bad. Please see my test shot for ambient light f3.5 1/100 iso 1250. By the way, the dark background is added vignetting, the originals are pretty good exposure all around. (that's how I like my pics) :)
  • Glad it worked out. Now that you have the 85mm you'll have to buy a D700 to enjoy it. So goes photography!
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