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Adding fast lenses to your setup

jahernjahern Member
edited March 2011 in wedding photography

I'm in my third year of wedding photography, and at the moment only do a couple of weddings a year as I build the business up. I use Nikon and have the 3 f/2.8 lenses, 14-24, 24-70 & 70-200.
I'm conscious of having a f/1.4 lens in the bag for when light is low and flash is not allowed. I'm wondering what would be the best plan going forward for the weddings coming up.
I can rent lenses like the 24mm f/1.4 for €85 each per wedding, or I can buy the 50mm f/1.4G for €325.

Do you think a beginner like myself should just rent the higher end lenses like the 24mm & 85mm, enjoying the benefit of using lenses like these, or is it more sensible to just add the cheaper 50mm f/1.4G for low light emergency and concentrate on using the zooms.
Or am I overstating the need for a fast lens in the bag, and I should save my money and work away with the f/2.8 zooms?

To date I've used the 85mm f/1.4D and 24mm f/1.4 at weddings by renting them, and I love the look I get from these lenses and use quite a few images from these lenses in albums.
However given my newness to the market, and the few weddings per year I have the moment I can't justify buying these lenses.

If you were starting out again, how would you build up your kit?



  • If you do not use a fast lens on a regular basis I would buy the 50mm f/1.4. It is not an expensive lens and it a good lens to have in your bag for those low light situations. The f/2.8 lenses can work too, but you will have to turn up your ISO. Adding faster lenses to a kit is great if you have the budget. If you find yourself using and liking the 24 and 85 you should continue to rent them while you save up to buy one or both. If I were starting out I would go with the 3 zooms that you have first. They give you the most versatility. Then add more specialized lenses. I am in a similar position to you. I have the 3 zooms and will be getting a 50 f/1.4 next. I have an 85 f/1.8 (Canon) because it was inexpensive but still a great lens. I will be adding a 24 f/1.4 later this year but that is more for some video use. Right now I cannot merit spending the $1800 for it. Good luck.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I'd also just go for the 50mm f1.4 at this point if your budget is limited.
    I'm assuming your 70-200 is a VR version? That should easily bring your shutter speed with the f2.8 aperture in the same useful region as your 85mm f1.4 would. (I hope this explanation makes sense.)
  • Thanks for the advice Neil, I've just upgraded to the 70-200 VRII.
    I'm going to hire the Sigma 50mm for the next wedding, it is a lot cheaper than the 24mm or 85mm to hire, and after the wedding I will have a better idea how the various focal lenghts fit with me.
    I also feel I need to concentrate on getting the most of the zoom, it is fun to get to use lenses like the f/1.4 lenses but with my experience, I feel it can cause a lot of second guessing about what lenses to use, rather than just getting on with the job of recording the wedding.
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