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Archive 2013 · First Wedding As Second Shooter
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

It's coming up in a month and a half and want to get a kit together.

I've got a D600 to build around and would like to know if the following gear is a good start as a second shooter (more like 2 primary shooters on the job). I'll be carrying myself as a primary shooter during this budget wedding.

On a tight budget, I'm thinking of:
*** = already purchased

MB-D14 grip with 2 extra batteries***
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (I have the kit 24-85mm right now that I'd probably sell to get this)
Nikon 85mm f/1.8G***
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon D7000
4x Sandisk 16GB 45mb/s***
And a bag to carry it all

I can't afford a 70-200mm right now so my longest reach would be my 85mm on a D7000 most of the time. So is a 127mm reach (on a DX body) plus zooming of my legs be quick/adequate enough to capture those important shots? I don't want to go above ISO 1600 so hopefully the 1.8 will help me there on the D7000.

The Tamron 28-75mm will be on my D600 by default. I heard it has trouble focusing in dim lighting situations, but would it be good enough in an average banquet hall? Something like this:
I'm not ready to shed some serious cash on the 24-70mm, but maybe I can save some $$$ to get it by removing some of the things I may not need on my list? If so, the question is...24-70 vs 70-200...which one first?

I would be using the 50mm as my low-light lens on the dance floor.

Another option is renting some lenses, but I'd like to hear how you think I'd do with just a small kit like this. Is there anything I'm missing? Lens/accessories, etc?

Apr 11, 2013 at 03:45 PM

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

You shouldn't have any problems getting good focus with the 28-75mm f/2.8 in a banquet hall. If the reception ends up being in a dive bar then you might have a problem, but I wouldn't worry about it too much for this situation. It does vignette quite a bit more than the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 but given the nature of the event you may not find this to be a disadvantage.

If I were doing it, I'd have a 70-200mm on hand. Even if it was just for peace of mind, but you'll probably want it for something even if that something is just making one particular shot a little easier. It's probably not going to be a crazy low light situation so the f/4 will probably do if you don't want to pay for the f/2.8 though I'm sure rental prices can't be bad on either of them.

Apr 11, 2013 at 04:37 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

You may want to rent a UWA lens. Even on FX, 28mm isn't wide enough.

Apr 11, 2013 at 05:26 PM
James R
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

You should post this on the wedding forum. They will give you a lot info on what they look for in a second shooter. Might save you a buck or two initially.

Apr 11, 2013 at 05:26 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

If you got a tight budget, just go for the Tamron 24-70VC. (not as good as the Nikon, but better than the 28-75 and it has VR!)
2 bodies is nice, but not essential for me if you only have to switch between 2 lenses (24-70 and 85 1.8). Personaly, I would even go for the Sigma 35 1.4 + 85 1.8 as a kit! (I'm using 35 + 70-200 on 1 D800E and it's amazing to work with)

Apr 11, 2013 at 05:31 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

I would just go for the 50 1.8G over the 50 1.4G and save a bit of cash theres not much in it unless you need the wider aperture. some even regard the 1.8 as being better.

As for the other lens if you really want a 70-200 or 24-70 hold off switching the 24-85 until you have the cash to get the one your after.

Apr 11, 2013 at 05:43 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

Good advice about going the the wedding forum and asking there.
I have been a second shooter for a friend for 3 yrs now so this is my 2c worth. You don't say if this is a one or few time thing or if you plan to do this (and be a main shooter) often. I'll assume you plan to keep doing this. We go with zooms, the 70-200 and 24-70. We just find them so versatile and easy to use to get the shot quickly. But there are many shooters who prefer primes and do a good job with them, so it's a personal choice. If you go with primes I'd also say get the 1.8 instead of a 1.4. The money would be better spent toward a 70-200 2.8. There are several used ones right now on the B&S forum, both VR1 and VR2. I have the VR1 and it works fine.
Since (for now) you only have one body you don't want to be constantly switching lenses so having lenses that cover the most possibilities is important IMO. So, IMO, given what you list in the op, I'd sell the 85, and get a 24 or 28 or 35, if you want to stay with primes, and get a 70-200 2.8. All used of course.
That may not be what you had in mind, but that's my advice, for what it's worth....

Apr 11, 2013 at 06:31 PM

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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

I'll be doing something similar too in a few months for my friend's wedding. I've shot small concerts before (friends as well) so this will be my first wedding. I'll be the primary (and only) and my kit is D600 + D7000 (w/ mb-d11) + 28 1.8G + 35 1.8G DX + 60 2.8G Micro + 85 1.4D, plus flashes and all other extras (whole load of batteries and cards). I've got a Fuji X-E1 w/ 35 1.4 as ultimate backup should anything happen to my Nikons (knock on wood).

I'll be renting a couple zooms (70-200 2.8 VRII and something wide) for the day just for the ceremony and the rest of the day will be covered by my primes. See if you can include cost of any rentals in what you charge - this is a good way to get extra equipment without shelling out a lot up front. I'm not charging anything but my friend offered to cover rental costs.

If you don't have a micro/macro already, I'd recommend one of those too for the detail shots. Also, get a backup flash (or 2), even if it's an all-manual flash. I've got a Nissin Di866 MK2 that will go on the D600, a Nikon SB-28 for the D7000, and 2 Nikon SB-24s that will go on stands. I'll pickup more a couple more SB-24s if I can before the wedding (they go for cheap at KEH).

Good luck and have fun shooting!

Apr 11, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Jammy Straub
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

Given this is a budget wedding and the probable returns vs how many future weddings you may be doing in the next 3 years you're likely looking at overspending on your budget.

You can shoot a wedding with 2x bodies, 2x ~'normal' FL lenses, and 2x flashes.

The D600 is dandy. I highly recommend spending money on having two identical bodies with identical 'looking' sensor. There is nothing quite as frustrating as editing 3,000 photos and having half of them look very different tonally and from a noise perspective.

Renting a second D600 or any other gear you don't have should be seriously considered.

2x D600

28-70m f/2.8 Tamron
85mm Nikon
2x SB-xxx flashes
24-85 kit lens as a backup.

Done. You can shoot a wedding easily and competently with that kit. When I was shooting 20 weddings a year I never shot anything wider than 24mm FOV and for 95% of my shots was under 70mm FOV. The more extreme FL's are nice to have, but you can get shots you need without them in the majority of situations. If you don't have FL's you just make do.

Good luck!!!

Apr 12, 2013 at 12:41 AM
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

+1 on renting a duplicate body. Makes processing the pics to match a piece of cake, vs a nightmare if a different camera's rendering is off too much. Even a lens with a color cast can cause headaches (been there, done that). Not to mention, if one of your bodies acts up, having a second is a complete life saver. Also, remember to use the second card slot as a backup instead of adding to your total storage, since even cards die now and then.

I've shot a few weddings with 2x D7000 (one rented) and SB600s + my Nikon 17-55 2.8 and 80-200mm 2.8, and didn't feel the need for anything else, indoors or outdoors. Didn't even miss VR. Things tend to move so fast sometimes, you won't have time to switch around lenses on a single body. That, and a telephoto zoom will allow you to get in close without having to jump into the action yourself. Great for candid moments.

After your first wedding, you'll start to understand your own style of shooting. Review your keeper pics, and if you're in software that allows you to sort images by focal length, you'll find out what you shoot at most, and have a direction to shoot for when adding lenses to your collection (or renting for the next wedding).

In the end, weddings are a lot of work, but they can also be a lot of fun. If you don't fall into a fountain. I'm primarily a sports photographer, and at times, weddings can be just as action packed. I've had a great time at the weddings I've shot, and hope to have the chance to do a bunch more in the future with my D7100 and beyond!

Apr 12, 2013 at 02:25 AM
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

So much advice; spend, spend and spend even more money. I have been to 1,500 weddings. Here is my take on this topic. My current lens array is; Nikon 85mm F1.8G, 50mm F1.8G and 24mm F2.8D. I am a prime lens fan. Two bodies is essential, unless you are a backup shooter. Then, you just use the pros backup body if yours fails. Extra batteries=yes. Two flash units=yes. As a second shooter, if you will be right near the pro as the pro is posing them, then I recommend the 70-200 F2.8 to pick off pictures that the pro is not getting because the angles will be different and you won't be in the pros pics. Otherwise, the 85mm lens is nice on a crop body. If this is a once in a while thing, just shoot with what you are usually fond of using and don't waste money on it.

Apr 15, 2013 at 02:41 AM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

I agree with what William said. If this is just a once in awhile thing, just shoot with what you got (at most, rent a lens you'd like to use). If you want to get into wedding photography, here's what I find useful...

2 camera bodies
A 35 prime
An 85 prime (you can substitute a 2.8 zoom for both primes... possibly. I prefer the extra 1~2 stops I can get with primes)
A 70-200 2.8 stabilized zoom (this is mostly used during the ceremony... you need the reach. If this isn't available, a cheaper 70-300 might be ok if there's enough light)
1-2 Flashes

Enough memory cards for ~2000+ pictures
Extra batteries

Apr 16, 2013 at 06:26 PM
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

I would rent a 70-200. With your current array, you don't have the reach you need.

Apr 16, 2013 at 07:04 PM
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · First Wedding As Second Shooter

Having used both SB-700 and SB-900 at weddings, my experience is that while an SB-700 can do a lot of things, no way I'd want it as my only flash. Just didn't have enough power for me. You'd likely be better off with a D7100 and a better flash and f2.8 zoom than what you have. Keep SB-700 as a back up, look for a used SB-900/910 at some point. I take three camera batteries and two sets of batteries for each flash and have never had to panic. For weddings I've found this to work very well at reasonable cost: D7100, back up body, Nikon 17-55mm f2.8, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR, x2 Nikon SB-900, Sigma 30mm f1.4 (rarely used,) Canon 500D macro attachment (for the "ring shot,") and I have three White Lightning X3200 monolights on 13 ft. stands for the formals, with x3 Nikon SB-28 flash (CyberSync triggers) as my "travel" or back up lighting kit. I have yet to be in a situation where the above won't deliver first class results. I find that I usually end up shooting about 2,000 shots and take enough memory cards for double that (since I'm using the double card slot in the D7100 in back up mode.)

Kent in SD

Apr 16, 2013 at 09:50 PM

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