I was asked to do a couple of events recently. I haven't done events seriously in years, since the last ones I did didn't give results that were up to what I consider my standards, but these ones were tempting, so I had to ask myself a couple of questions, like: why did I take better event photos 7-8 years ago than more recently?
The most obvious thing I could think about was gear. Originally, I used the Fuji S3 with a Tamron 24-135mm and a Metz 70MZ-5, but they all developed problems, so I tried other combinations of gear, which didn't work out as well.
So I bought a vertical grip for the D700 that I have used far too little, but would give me DR nearly as good as the Fuji (the camera, not the grip). I got the Tamron lens fixed (a much better lens on the D700 than on the Fuji anyway, and they can be had for $1-200 on the great, big auction site now) and found a couple of Metz 70MZ-5 with low mileage (one actually brand new) for a couple of hundred dollars each.
Here's the result:
I'm a strong advocate for lighter gear, but at events, endless battery power, effortless shooting at ISO 1600 or higher and not least; all the flash power that can possibly be stuffed into a handheld device, are vital elements for success. For parties, being recognised as "The Photographer" is convenient too. With the rig above, there's no doubt.
It's rather heavy, must be around 3 kilograms, and lifting heavy stuff at the gym on a regular basis does help for long events. Still, I need a couple of days to get back in shape, or at least my arms do.
Here are a couple of results, both shot "right now", since "right now" is often the only opportunity that comes around, even for formal shots like the first one.
D700 with Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm and f/5.6. Flash straight ahead in TTL mode.
D700 with Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm and f/6,3. Flash at 60 degrees and in A mode.
With the Metz, I mostly prefer A mode to TTL. It tends to overexpose quite a bit that way (up to one stop), but that's easy to fix in post, and the results are very consistent.