Switching from film to digital for weddings - seek advice/insight

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by David Bindle, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. David Bindle

    David Bindle Guest

    I'm finally going to make the switch from film to digital. My primary market
    is weddings. However, being a long time film shooter, I have been routinely
    shooting with two EOS-5 bodies, an Elan IIe body and a Konica Hexar AF body,
    using a EF28-70 2.8L, and a Sigma 70-210 2.8 (and 50 1.8 and the 35mm lens
    of the Hexar). My main flash set-up has been the Sunpak 120J-TTL on a
    Stroboframe Pro-RL bracket (parabolic flash with camera flipping bracket).
    I'm very used to this set-up and couples are very happy with the results.
    Other flashes are 420ex and 430 EZ

    However, I would like to shoot digital for the savings in film and
    processing costs(whether I give them 8X10 proof sheets, proof prints or
    small or large file CD's hasn't quite been decided), not having to load
    film, usable 800 or 1600 ISO on demand - low light no flash candids)
    I would also like to try using a service like Pictage or Smugmug. (With
    Pictage, I could still shoot film but it would seem like an extra and
    unnecessary expense)

    I've always felt that a wedding photographer needs at least one backup
    system but 2 EOS 20D's seem out of the question for price.
    I've thought about:
    1 EOS-20D and...

    EOS-350D (XT) as second body to use (or emergency backup should the 20D
    or the new Panasonic FZ30 as the 2nd body to use and be emergency back up)

    As far as flash goes... I've really enjoyed the parabolic flash of the
    Sunpak 120JTTL, but it won't work with the digital stuff except in manual or
    aperture priority on the camera and Auto mode on the flash. I really do
    want TTL metering and by buying the new 580ex flash I can get the new E-TTL
    II metering which incorporates distance and reflectivity in the TTL readings
    which I see is a bonus (if it really works!) But the 580ex doesn't really
    work with the Pro-RL bracket because the flash remains horizontal
    (stationary) when the camera flips to vertical (not a problem with round
    parabolic flash reflectors).

    My other flash possibilities would be the Quantum Q flash T4D (with E-TTLII)
    but price.... yikes! (What I liked about the Sunpak is that I could take the
    whole system off my tripod, leave the battery attached to the tripod and use
    the 4 AA's inside the flash for a few shots... that's handy!, but I don't
    think the Q flash can do this.

    Lens wise: I think I might I would have to sell my 28-70 2.8L to buy a
    Sigma 70-200 2.8. I love my 70-210 2.8 but it's old and won't work with the
    new EOS bodies (too old to be re-chipped!) I'd probably replace my 28-70
    2.8 L with the EF 17-85 IS lens. Maybe I'll spring also for an 85 1.8 or
    a 100 f2.

    Sorry for the long post. If you have any insights to share on any aspect of
    this post, they would be appreciated.

    Perhaps I should simplify and lighten my load and shoot with two Leica M7's
    or Bessa R or Hexar RF's with a wide and a telephoto and let the film lab
    deal with the images. That's kind of appealing as well. (I should try
    making up my mind about this right??!!)

    Thanks for any thoughtful advice.
    David Bindle, Aug 18, 2005
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  2. David Bindle

    wavelength Guest

    The only thing I'd suggest it that instead of the Panasonic Fz30, get a
    Konica Minolta A2 or A200. They are both compatible with all of th
    Konica flash system accessories I believe. One thing to note though.
    All the cameras in this class so far have high image noice above
    ISO400. Actually, the FZ20 only goes up to 400, and the FZ30 has been
    spec'd out the same.
    wavelength, Aug 18, 2005
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  3. David Bindle

    MitchAlsup Guest

    A 20D and a 350D backup is a reasonable comprimize, but so is a pair of
    350Ds. Wedings don't need the 5 fps 20D speed, so the 350D would have
    few disadvantages. ISO on demand is a very valuable tool in a dSLR, I
    manipulate my ISO about every 5-10 images with my 20D.

    Expect to invest 300 hours of time in learning how to do image and
    color manipulations (and redevelop your style) to complete the
    tranistion to digital. Make sure you get lots of CF cards (and rather
    big ones) and lots of disk space on the computer. 200 images of 8
    MBytes each is 16 GBytes/weding (5*512MB CF cards)! and you will need
    another 16-50 GB of free space to do all the digital manipulations to
    the intermediate files. Right now, the 300G-400G range has the best
    cost structure in the disk drive market.

    trading in the 28-70 F/2.8 for a 17-85 (for a weding photog) will be a
    mistake (speed)
    MitchAlsup, Aug 18, 2005
  4. David Bindle

    wilt Guest

    trading in the 28-70 F/2.8 for a 17-85 (for a weding photog) will be a
    Well, sorta. The 17-85mm image stabilization makes up for loss in max
    f/stop, so the loss of 1.5EV in max aperture at the long end of the
    zoom range is offset by the improved ability to handhold at slower
    shutter speeds. So if you drag the shutter with the flash anyway, the
    background is less likely motion blurred. On the other hand, shooting
    with flash at f/2.8 gets you out to longer flash distances, that IS
    cannot possibly compensate for the falloff due to inverse square law of
    light output from flash.

    17mm on 350XT/20D is equivalent to shooting with 27mm FF, which is a
    nice limit to wide angle without too much subject distortion (that you
    could encounter with 24mm lens on FF). The 28mm focal length on 20D is
    like shooting wedding with 45mm lens, not wide enough! If you keep the
    28-70 f/2.8, you could supplement with a 17-40mm f/4 L lens to get out
    wide enough for a single lens for most shooting at the reception. (My
    experience with Medium Format has 55-90mm is a nice single zoom for a
    lot of 645 wedding reception coverage -- 30mm-50mm range on 35mm FF.)
    wilt, Aug 19, 2005
  5. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    This is what we use:
    Canon 20D (2)
    Canon D30 (1)
    Canon 1N (1)
    Canon Elan II (1)
    Quantum T4d/battery pack (2)
    Stroboframe Pro-T flash brackets (2)
    Canon 24-70 f2.8L (2)
    Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS (2)
    Canon 16-35 f2.8 L (1)
    Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L IS (1) (Depending on need.)
    100 f2 (1) (ditto)
    15mm f2.8 fisheye (1) (ditto)
    We've found that the 420EX doesn't have the "throw weight" to get consistent
    results, nor does the 580EX, at least in all situations.

    Why won't the 70-210 work? As far as I know, any lens that works with the
    EOS 5s will work with any other EOS body...
    You probably will be disappointed with the image quality from the 17-85 IS
    as compared to the 28-70 L, I know there's a big difference between the
    24-70 and the 28-135 IS.
    We give our clients a CD of proofs, and what we call a "proof catalogue," a
    set of 8x10 proof sheets.
    Skip M, Aug 19, 2005
  6. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    At the long end of the zoom range, that's more than 1.5 stops, that's more
    like 3 stops, the maximum that IS is supposed to compensate for. And like
    you say, the flash distance weighs in at that point. We had terrible
    problems with the 20d and our 28-135 IS lenses coupled with 580EX flashes.
    There's just not enough available aperture to get a good exposure in some
    lighting situations at less than f2.8.
    Also, there is a drop off in image quality between the 28-70 and the 17-85,
    or at least there is between the 24-70 and the 28-135, lenses of similar
    repute and ability.
    Skip M, Aug 19, 2005
  7. Can't we get past the word "proof?"
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 19, 2005
  8. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    Why? The only other commonly used alternative would be "contact sheet,"
    which is wildly inaccurate in this application...
    Skip M, Aug 19, 2005
  9. "Proof" carries negative connotations with the public. Of course, most
    people alive these days have never seen the old style proofs which
    darken with age. But it's still an unprofessional term to be using.
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 19, 2005
  10. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    "Unprofessional?" Hmmm, there's a lot of unprofessional professionals out
    there, then. I've never seen a negative reaction to the term, it just seems
    to be what the item is called, no more, no less.
    What term do you suggest as an alternative?
    Skip M, Aug 19, 2005
  11. David Bindle

    pixby Guest

    I'd just love to see the camera bag you carry this lot around in!
    pixby, Aug 19, 2005
  12. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    Don't forget, that's for two people! <G> but it's usually spread among
    three bags, we plan out what we'll need for the ceremony, for instance, and
    load a bag accordingly. Then reload it for the reception, if necessary.
    Skip M, Aug 19, 2005
  13. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    Sorry about the top post...
    Skip M, Aug 20, 2005
  14. no, it's not. why would you say it's "unprofessional"?
    Dennis P. Harris, Aug 21, 2005
  15. "Proof" harkens back to the days of the old B&W process that would fade
    after a couple weeks. In the backs of their minds, people still
    consider proofs to be worthless. It's tough to sell something that
    people consider to be worthless. In 20+ years of professional
    photography, every seminar I went to the instructors would preach using
    a different word.

    It just has negative connotations.
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 21, 2005
  16. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    You still haven't suggested an alternative. And most of my clients are way
    too young to remember the connection between the images you are talking
    about and the work "proof." I don't even really remember those, and I'm 52.
    Skip M, Aug 22, 2005
  17. Everybody I know in the biz uses "preview", which I also used in my
    studio days. (And I'm 55).
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 22, 2005
  18. David Bindle

    Bill Funk Guest

    I remember proofs.
    The people who thought negative of them were the people who were
    trying to get over on the photographer by taking the proofs (to look
    over in their leisure, of course) and never going back, thinking the
    proofs were good enough.
    When they didn't last, they thought they'd been had by the
    This wasn't a feeling that was widespread, just among the cheats.
    Among honest folks, who understood the concept of proofs, there was
    (and remains) no negative feelings that I can find.
    Bill Funk, Aug 23, 2005
  19. David Bindle

    Skip M Guest

    The only previews I've run into are the ones on a laptop or monitor...
    Skip M, Aug 23, 2005
  20. I have a proof or two that's fifty years old, and the full prints made
    from the same negative. The most distinguishing difference is the word
    PROOF on the Proof, and it's rather more sepia than the final.

    I am sure some studios didn't wash 'em, or washed the prints only
    briefly in order for the Proofs to not last. Or were there other
    John McWilliams, Aug 23, 2005
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