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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:09 pm 
Hello all. My sister in law has asked me to do the photos for her wedding so I am in the market for some new equipment - if she doesn't take my advice and use someone else! I currently own a Canon PowerShot A80 which is okay but I (perhaps incorrectly) believe I need something with the followig features:

1. Long zoom (12X +) to catch natural photos and action without people knowing. Needs to be stabalised.

2. Minimal shutter delay to catch impromptu stuff (something that is hard with my slow A80).

3. Shoe for a very bright external flash.

I'd also prefer to set things with real knbos and switches rather than going into a menu e.g. switches for iso/shutter/appature instead of a burried menu setting. I am a computer scientist so I'm not scared of technology I just prefer something a bit quicker!

I was looking at the superzooms but they all seem to have comprimises. I'm not sure I can live with poor image quality at ISO400+. Perhaps I would be better going for a cheap DSLR but I'd miss the live preview and video capabilities? Would a DSLR have a better or worse shutter lag?

Any advice?

Thanks in advance.

Tim.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:56 pm 
A fellow computer scientist :) I have some experince with the PowerShot S3 which I think is very good, but wouldn't take wedding shots with it. I would probably not think about long zoom either, instead a short wide to middle zoom (18-70mm) that can give you a nice out of focus effect (bokeh) on the background of pictures. If money is an object I can recommend buying used gear (not ebay though).

I would think something like Canon 17-55/2.8, Nikon 17-55/2.8, Sigma 17-50/2.8 or personal choice a cheaper zoom (kit lens) and a cheap fast prime I would guess 28mm or 35mm. Aperture at f2.8 will let you shoot at low light condition without a flash, and at f4 you can get nice portraits with good bokeh. That's my personal choice because I'm not good with a flash (leaves big shadows) so some might disagree. Sigma lets you choose whatever brand of body you feel is best. And if live preview does it you have that option with Olympus.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 7:37 pm 
Thanks for the info. I have three times zoom and never find it enough. So 70mm probably wouldn't cut it. A low f prime for potraits without flash isn't a bad idea though.

Thanks,

Tim.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:33 pm 
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Hi Tim, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

A DSLR is much quicker to handle than a superzoom in every respect - shutter lag, focusing, continuous shooting, startup etc. They also have MUCH better performance at high sensitivities and unlike most superzooms, all DSLRs have flash hotshoes.

Even though I agree with Rune about annoying shadows from flashes, you're still right to think about a flashgun for this kind of event - and if you're going for a superzoom, that kinda limits you to models like the Panasonic FZ50 and the Canon G7 (not really a superzoom, but still 6x) or the forthcoming Canon S5 IS. Trouble is none of these handles like a DSLR and there's noise issues at higher sensitivities.

I personally don't think switching from a live view screen to the optical viewfinder of a DSLR is that big a deal, although you may want to try looking through a DSLR viewfinder first to see if it's going to be a deal breaker. Alternatively you could consider an Olympus E-410 or E-510 DSLR which both have live view facilities, although in use this facility is not as smooth or quick to use as a consumer compact - see our E-410 video tour for a demo.

Ultimately I'd go for a DSLR with an external flashgun and whatever lens you can afford. I hear what you're saying about a 3x not being powerful enough, but there's no point in a 12x zoom at this kind of event if it's not quick enough to grab the shot. You may just end up with a load of blurred people.

Rune's right, the f2.8 lenses are pricey, but give you great flexibility in low light and are generally super-quick focusers too. The Canon 17-55 f2.8 or 24-70 f2.8 would be my choice for weddings if I had the money.

As you're no doubt gathering, you could end up spending a lot of money. Being the main photographer at a wedding also holds great responsibility and can be an enormous pressure - I'd always recommend this is undertaken by a pro, leaving guests to enjoy themselves and take candid shots to compliment the pro photos. I therefore hope your sister in law takes your advice!

But if not, or you still end up wanting some nice new equipment, we'll help you get the right stuff!

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:14 pm 
Thanks for the info. It is looking like a DSLR. Which budget DSLR most matches my button requirements in my initial post?

What's the best budget DSLR at the moment? Everyone seems to like the D80 but canon seem to have shorter lag.

Thanks again,

Tim


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:20 pm 
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Hi Tim!

Nice opportunity to invest in some state of the art camera gear!
My decision would be to:
(1) Go for DSLR. You'll see the difference in image quality (I.Q.) vs. compacts. They're also faster. But you don't have to think about the diff between Canon/Nikon/etc. shutter lag.
(2) Go for great quality at high ISO levels (around 800 or so). Because you will inevitable not have the best light. Nikon D80/D40x is recommended here
(3) Invest in a powerfull external flash too. Because the built in flash is weak and the external light sources will not be enough!
(4) Think of taking a super-zoom with you like the famous Nikkor 18-200mm VR because it let's you take wide shots of groups of people and portraits within a second. NO OTHER GEAR can do this for you. Canon doesn't have it but Nikon. And it's stabilized - which is esp. important in available light photography!

So all in all that is 750EUR for the D80 body, 700EUR for the Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens and 250-350EUR for a decent slave flash: 1700-1800EUR.

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


Last edited by Thomas on Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:16 am 
tombomba2 wrote:
Canon doesn't have it but Nikon.

Not for long... The Sigma 18-200 OS will hopefully hit the stores sometime this year; Tamron has a 18-250mm Macro, but no IS. How good are they compared to the Nikon 18-200 remains to be seen...

Darrin


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:55 am 
The Tamron should be pretty good can’t wait to see a review here :) Both of them let you choose Pentax, Sony, Canon and Nikon, but it seems in the CL review that the Nikkor lens is the better choice of current tested Tamron and Sigmas.

Still I wouldn’t prefer such lens alone since it’s not fast enough for lowlight situations (f3.5-5.6). I would probably also get a prime for those extra sharp portraits that at the same time is very fast (f2.8 or less).

Regarding body; I can only say that I am very satified with the ergonomics, manual control and most important of all in-body antishake of my Minolta 5D (which is now the smaller/older model of Sone A100).


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 Post subject: Ouch
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:07 am 
Thanks for the info guys.
That is a lot of money.
Short of a new job or winning a competition I can't see me:
1. Being able to afford it!
2. Getting it past the wife!

Still it's good to know what to go for should I want to...


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 Post subject: The Superzoom Route
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:15 am 
Okay let's suppose I don't have piles of cash and I go for a superzoom. It looks like my only choice is the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50 since it is the only one that has a hot shoe? I guess the others (without hot shoes) can't support external flashes?

Would I be able to get a flash powerful enough to bring the ISO setting down into the reasonable quality range (100-200)? Any recommendations on the flash?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:42 am 
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Personally I wouldn't use a superzoom to take the main photos. A wedding should be a one time only event and the photos have to be right first time. This is a real skill. I know my wife and I were very happy with the results produced by the professional who photographed our wedding. I wouldn't have trusted it to a guest and I certainly wouldn't want to have the responsibility to photograph someone else's wedding.

I think you should tell your sister-in-law straight that you don't have the equipment or experience to take the photos at her wedding and that she should employ a professional.

_________________
Nikon D80, Nikkor lenses: 35mm f1.8 G AF-S DX, 50mm f/1.8 AF D, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR, SB800 flash
My photos on SmugMug


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 2:06 pm 
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Hi, milstead!

Tell us about your approx. budget! Perhaps there is something in-between.
You might even do at a wedding without having a super long tele-range on your zoom, because other than in a zoo or on a safari you can always walk closer to people. So e.g. a Nikon D40 plus 18-135mm could also be a viable alternative.

As to the flash, let me give you some warning: For good lighting, the main flash should not sit on your camera, because that gives a dull look to faces. And I'm not sure whether a FZ-50 can trigger remote flash(es). And than it's not so easy to set up (different indoors vs. outdoors).
But the more you tend to available light photos, the more the DSLR becomes mandatory due to it's much higher sensitivity without being too grainy!

_________________
Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


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