Shooting weddings with a Canon 300D

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. Hey,

    Disclaimer - I don't intend to replace the pro at the wedding. I am
    doing it for my own satisfaction. The B&G are in no way dependant on
    the results of my shooting.

    I recently shot two weddings with my Canon 300D and the kit lens. The
    things that became painfully clear to me were:
    - I need a good external flash
    - I need lens with a bigger aperture than the kit lens (18-55mm
    F3.5-5.6)

    Let me give you a bit of background. Indian weddings are very different
    than in the west. Weddings extend from day to night, the kind of
    clothing people wear is very colourful (for eg. the bride wears bright
    red) and the buildings where the wedding is held nowhere has high
    ceilings like in a church. Also, you need to shoot as it happens - that
    means getting people/bride-groom to pose again is next to impossible
    for the important ceremonies.

    Because I am new to the camera and didn't have much time to compose
    before a shot, I ended up using the Green mode mostly. Needless to say,
    I am far from satisfied with the results. I also realised that AF is
    mostly useless in high contrast situations - it always picks up the
    wrong AF point. Ofcourse, one can switch the AF point in "P" mode but
    manual focussing seems faster than pressing the AF-selection button and
    rotating the dial. MF isn't all that fun with the kit lens because you
    have to rotate the front element to focus.

    So what I am looking at is lens, flash and technique recommendations.
    - Lens: MF is ok but should have a broad grip for focus and bigger
    aperture. A large zoom range isn't important as the kit lens' zoom
    range seemed pretty adequate.
    - Flash: Preferably non-Canon and self-adjusting to take care of flash
    compensation etc. I can't spend time setting the camera and the flash.
    - Technique - whatever you think is essential to deal with low-light,
    high-contrast and fast changing scenes (not action).
    Thanks,

    Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #1
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  2. Siddhartha Jain

    Jon Pike Guest

    (aka, digital rebel?)
    Yes, absolutely.
    What for? If you get a flash, you won't need the larger apertures that
    would allow a slower faster speed.
    Once you get a flash, I think you'll find that you do not actually need a
    different lense. You ought to be able to use f/8-f/16 at 1/125, or even
    1/200(for your camera).

    Why do you specifically want a non-canon flash?
     
    Jon Pike, Dec 8, 2004
    #2
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  3. Siddhartha Jain

    Skip M Guest

    The best short zoom is the Canon 24-70 f2.8L at about $1200. Tamron, Tokina
    and Sigma make equivalents, but they're not as good, sort of in that order,
    from best to less so, in that order. But with a good external flash, the
    speed of the kit lens should be adequate. I use the 28-135 IS f4-5.6 for
    weddings with no problem, but I use a powerful external flash, the Quantum
    T4D, about $1000 with battery pack, at a store near you...(We rent ours.)
    Don't know why you'd want a non Canon flash, unless it's because of the
    expense, the Canon 580EX is your best bet, others that work with the Canon
    digitals are pretty much just as expensive, except for the Sigma 500 Super
    (less than $300) and a Sunpak that I can't remember the model number for.
    Technique? Never, ever use the "Green mode." Repeat this to yourself until
    convinced. Use Program if you don't want to fiddle with settings, set the
    center focus point. With the camera in P, you can set custom functions and
    have more control over your metering. But without the "hack" I've heard
    about, the 300D may be a little limited for the purpose. Someone else, with
    a 300D, may be able to tell you about how to access the so-called "Wasia
    hack." It fires up some of the functions that the 10D has but the 300D
    lacks.
     
    Skip M, Dec 8, 2004
    #3
  4. Photographed a few weddings in my time, doesn't matter what camera you have,
    how do you deal with the mother and mother-in-law?
    Chill-pill please!
    -tom
     
    Tom Nakashima, Dec 8, 2004
    #4
  5. Siddhartha Jain

    Todd H. Guest

    Hi Siddhartha,

    I've shot weddings with my digital rebel. A wedding gig for a friend
    is in fact what I was able to use to justify its purchase. My rig
    consists of the rebel, the kit lens and the 550EX flash.
    Previously, I shot weddings with my EOS Elan setup with 430EZ flash
    and a pair of sigma f/2.8 zooms and Fuji NPH 400 speed film.

    First, yes, you absolutely need an external flash. Bigger guide
    numbers, and the ability to use bounce flash techniques or shoot into
    a Lumiquest pocket bouncer are must have features to avoid the harsh
    shadows and blasted look of on camera flash just an inch above the
    lens. I sometimes will use a stroboframe and an external flash
    cord to get the flash unit higher above the camera (regardless of
    vertical or horizontal composition) to push the shadows down in th
    picture.

    As for settings, the primary reason green mode blows for the use you
    gave it is the ISO 100 that green mode I believe uses. That low ISO
    setting leaves you needing an awful lot of light. P mode using the
    lowest ISO that doesn't need the sun itself as your conspirator is the
    best way to go. It also solves the focus point problem. I never use
    green mode as I will change ISO's on teh rebel often on a shot to shot
    basis if light conditions are varying (as they would in an all day
    wedding).

    I shot the wedding with the kit lens, and I agree that you can get
    more mileage out of a larger apertured lens. My digital rebel wedding
    photos (using the kit lens, and a 550EX flash unit) just didn't have
    the same light quality about them as I'm used to use with my tried and
    true EOS Elan setup with sigma f/2.8 lenses and the 430EZ flash.

    Typically on the Elan, I overexpose the main exposure compensation in P
    mode by 1 stop and underexpose the flash exposure compensation by 1
    stop to give a richer available light balance. With the relatively
    slow kit lens, this same technique was not as effective with the
    digital rebel since the larger apertures simply weren't available for
    the camera to select to bring in additional ambient light. At least
    not at ISO 400 anyway.

    Hope this helps for your next wedding shoot!

    Best Regards,
     
    Todd H., Dec 8, 2004
    #5
  6. Yes, the Canon Digital Rebel or the Digital Kiss in Japan.

    Ok, I'll feed that in. But I prefer not using flash as much as possible
    so was wondering what lens could help towards that?
    Because I can't afford a Canon flash :)

    Btw, the wedding season has almost come to an end here so no more
    friends/relatives getting married. I guess my experimentation will have
    to wait for about another 10 months now!! :(


    Thanks,

    Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #6
  7. for.

    Yep, can't afford the Canon 580EX. Looks like its going to be either
    Sigma EF500 Super or the Sunpak PZ5000.

    Already got the wasia hack loaded. What features of the hack are
    especially useful in this condition. I can count one - FEC. Others?
    Thanks,

    Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #7
  8. Siddhartha Jain

    Jon Pike Guest

    If you're shooting down towards sunset, then you're going to -need- more
    than just a big fat lense.

    That'll especially be a problem if, as you say, the scene changes
    quickly.

    Not to mention, even if you -could- get a f/1 lense, your dof(depth of
    field) would be sts(shot to shit).

    And if you're shooting indoors, your colour could end up being off if not
    using a flash as well. Then you have to muddle with the white balance.
    And then muddle it again if you go outdoors. and still muddle some more
    if the light level outdoors changes through-out the day... etc etc etc.
    Hehe. Fair 'nuff!
    Naw, just have them all play dress-up!
     
    Jon Pike, Dec 8, 2004
    #8
  9. Ok, point taken. Basically, wedding shoot == BIG flash
    etc.

    + shoot RAW to have control over white balance.

    - Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #9
  10. Thanks for those pointers.
    Surprise surprise!! I viewed the photos' EXIF info in an EXIF viewer
    and most of my shots taken in the "Green" mode are at ISO400.

    Another interesting thing I noted is that in the "Green" mode,
    regardless of the focal length, the camera has used shutter speeds of
    1/50 and 1/60 consistently and has varied the aperture between 4 and
    5.6.

    Anyways, thanks for the tips.

    - Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #10
  11. Siddhartha Jain

    Skip M Guest

    FEC was the only one I knew absolutely of. Can you change your metering
    independent of shooting mode, now? I.e. average instead of evaluative in
    Program?
    I use the 20D, I found the RebelD too limiting for what I do. As it is, I
    miss the spot meter of my film cameras, but can't justify $4000 for the 1D
    mkII for just that one feature.
     
    Skip M, Dec 8, 2004
    #11
  12. You don't ;-)
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #12
  13. Unfortunately, no. For all the wonders that the hack opens up, metering
    control isn't one of them. I guess once I am comfortable with all the
    controls I'll be able to quickly shoot in the "M" mode (centre weighted
    metering).

    Just a thought. Depending the scene's exposure, can different parts of
    the CCD/CMOS be set to different ISO levels? That would give a nice
    exposure. No?

    - Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #13
  14. Siddhartha Jain

    Todd H. Guest

    No.

    It wouldn't be practical to implement on a sensor either, I wouldn't
    think. You'd need to design in the ability to hve independent
    amplifier gains for the sensor columns, and it'd waste die space, add
    cost, almost certainly add more visual artifact problems than it would
    ever solve.

    Best Regards,
     
    Todd H., Dec 8, 2004
    #14
  15. Siddhartha Jain

    Todd H. Guest

    Good datapoint--I think I pooched this based on my G2 experience where
    everything in Green mode seems to be at ISO100. Honestly hadn't tried
    it on the Rebel.

    Green mode then didn't cause you the problems then, I'm guessing a
    combo of a slow lens and (more importantly) a horribly inadequate
    flash. And of course if you weren't getting the focus point you
    wanted, certainly that's a problem.
    That's not uncommon in flash photos for a couple reasons. One, the
    max shutter the camera can flash sync at is limited by the camera.
    I'm not sure what the REbel is, but perhaps it's just 1/125. But 1/50
    and 1/60 are far more convention, and let more ambient light in.
    Second, in a primarily flash exposure, camera shake is not a big worry
    since the thousands of a second duration of a strobe flash is what
    stops the action/shake, not the actual shutter duration. The more
    you bias the exposure to fill versus flash though, camera shake will
    become an issue. This can be used for artful effect though, in
    concert with leading vs trailing curtain flash sync. For instance,
    taking some dance floor shots on shutter priority at, oh 1/8 of a
    second using leading curtain flash sync can give you some nice
    blurred motion shots. Note that the default on many cameras is
    trailing curtain sync, and your blurs might make folks look like
    they've going backwards if you don't override that. I haven't tried
    this yet with the rebel, though.

    Best Regards,
     
    Todd H., Dec 8, 2004
    #15
  16. Siddhartha Jain

    Harvey Guest

    [...]
    In a round about way - that's what Fuji are doing with their SuperCD SR
    sensors - each photosite has two active sensing element; one for bright
    parts of the image and one for the darker parts. See here
    http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_s20_pro-review/

    Does it make any significant difference I here you ask.....?

    ....basically....

    No. At least not as much as Fuji would have you believe.

    ....
     
    Harvey, Dec 8, 2004
    #16
  17. Siddhartha Jain

    S. Guest


    If you showed up at my wedding with an amateur camera I would kick you out.

    S.
     
    S., Dec 8, 2004
    #17
  18. Yes, other than the flash and a slow lens the green mode wasn't so bad.
    Metering in high contrast but well-lit situations was handled well. For
    eg., a fire altar right in the middle of the frame did not upset the
    metering to underexpose the entire frame. Also, the background sky was
    over-exposed to allow the subjects in the front to be properly exposed.
    Even in flash lit frames, the flash did not over-illuminate the
    subjects thus indicating that auto FEC worked well.

    So the "Green" mode wasn't a total write off. Too bad I can't post some
    of the pics since they don't really belong to me :(

    One more question I have is how do I handle an external flash with
    non-Canon lens? Does the E-TTL2 capability or lack of it in the flash
    affect the usage of non-Canon lens?

    By non-Canon, I mean non-EOS lens. I recently acquired a Pentax Super
    Takumar 50mm 1.4, getting a M42 mount 28mm f2.8, Jupiter 200mm 21m and
    will later also order the zenitar 16mm. Since these lens won't tell the
    body anything about aperture or distance to subject, how is the flash
    to be used with these lenses?

    Thanks,

    Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Dec 8, 2004
    #18
  19. Siddhartha Jain

    Jon Pike Guest

    *sigh*
    what a helpful reply.
     
    Jon Pike, Dec 8, 2004
    #19
  20. Siddhartha Jain

    Jon Pike Guest

    No? Did you give them the impression that they would all be their sole
    property? I remember you mentioned they weren't 'depending' on you for
    their pictures (or something to that effect) so they probably don't think
    they've got the only rights to them.
     
    Jon Pike, Dec 8, 2004
    #20
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