Wednesday 9 September 2009

Wedding lenses

My website: Wedding Photographers in Kent

For further photography-related information check out my tips for photographers.

I first posted on my lens usage at weddings about a year ago so thought it was time for an update. I now take only four lenses with me to weddings in a Lowepro Fastpack 350 rucksack. Two primes - the 35mm f/1.4 L and 85mm f/1.2 L - and two zooms - the 16-35mm f/2.8 L and 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS.

I've analysed my last 10 weddings in Adobe Lightroom. The table below indicates the percentage of shots taken with each lens.

If I could only take one lens with me to a wedding it would be the 35mm f/1.4. The optical quality is stunning, it's incredibly fast, allowing me to work with very little natural light, and it delivers shallow DOF with beautiful bokeh. Plus the AF never seems to miss. The 16-35mm f/2.8 is my second most frequently used lens. The 85mm and 70-200mm lenses require a bit more space for effective use and are therefore more venue-dependent.

It's fairly clear that I love shooting wide. I like to see people in their environments. To do this in a typically compact UK wedding venue often requires the use of a wide angle lens (and by this I mean less that 24mm). The reason for this is that field of view (measured in degrees) for a rectilinear lens drops off rapidly with focal length: FOV = 2arctan(x/2f), where x is the diagonal of the sensor in mm and f is the focal length in mm. Thus 16mm gives a FOV of 107 degrees, 17mm gives 103.5, 24mm gives 84, 35mm gives 63, 50mm gives 47, 70mm gives 34, 85mm gives 29 and 200mm gives 12. Even the difference between 16 and 17mm is visually striking.

The downside with the 16-35mm lens is perspective distortion, but a touch of vignetting can reduce this distraction.

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