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Thread: Companion for A7 on events?

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    Companion for A7 on events?

    Hi guys,

    Im starting covering events (weddings and such) and I was wondering what are people using as a companion for the A7 (I was thinking about getting the A6000 for the tele reach). Plus what lenses are you guys using? I shot a wedding recently (as a guest) and I used the A7 with a Canon FD 50mm 1.4 and a 70-210mm f2.8. The results were so good that the bride told me that if she knew she wouldnt have hired a "pro photographer" and would have hired me instead...BUT shooting manual on a wedding means risking missing crucial moments and this cannot happen, so Im thinking AF lenses only.
    What are your thoughts?

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Shooting a wedding when it's your gig and as a guest is very very different. I've retired from wedding photography and now use an A7r but I would not for a single second consider using it for wedding work where I had to get the shot, come what may.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    I get that shooting a wedding as a guest is a huge difference as you dont have the responsability not to miss all the crucial moments.

    Care to elaborate a little bit more about not using the A7R and another camera with it?

    Interesting article http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerarevie...as-on-the-job/
    Last edited by Rawfa; 8th April 2014 at 10:11.

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    Hi guys,

    Im starting covering events (weddings and such) and I was wondering what are people using as a companion for the A7 (I was thinking about getting the A6000 for the tele reach). Plus what lenses are you guys using? I shot a wedding recently (as a guest) and I used the A7 with a Canon FD 50mm 1.4 and a 70-210mm f2.8. The results were so good that the bride told me that if she knew she wouldnt have hired a "pro photographer" and would have hired me instead...BUT shooting manual on a wedding means risking missing crucial moments and this cannot happen, so Im thinking AF lenses only.
    What are your thoughts?
    I shot weddings over thirty years ago. Never had auto-exposure then, never had auto-focus then either. I shot candids with a Nikon F with either 85/1.8 or 35/2 lenses, and I shot the more formal poses with a Rolleiflex TLR and a Honeywell-Pentax potato-masher electronic flash. Those photos are just as nice now as they were then.

    Hmph*. If you can't shoot a wedding with an A7 and whatever lens you like, you're doing something wrong. ]'-)

    G

    * That's geezer speak for "Hey you kids! Get off the lawn!"
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    In my case, since Im a beginner, the idea would be to partner up with another photographer so each of us could cover specific types of shots (an similar shots during occasions like when the bride and groom kiss and such). My initial though was to have the A7S with the 35mm 2.8 and the A6000 with the FE 55mm 1.8. That is until Sony comes up with a wider and faster FE lens and the 70-20mm f4.

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    In my case, since Im a beginner, the idea would be to partner up with another photographer so each of us could cover specific types of shots (an similar shots during occasions like when the bride and groom kiss and such). My initial though was to have the A7S with the 35mm 2.8 and the A6000 with the FE 55mm 1.8. That is until Sony comes up with a wider and faster FE lens and the 70-20mm f4.
    I shot weddings at the very beginning of my involvement with doing photo jobs, when I was about 19 years old. I assisted with an established pro. Most of what I did was candids with the Nikon F, but he let me do some of the group and formal portraits too occasionally.

    For me, the best backup or 'companion' camera to use on any job is an identical twin of the primary camera, sometimes fitted with the alternative lens. Back then I couldn't afford a backup body, so I just swapped 35 and 85 mm lenses as needed on the Nikon.

    I really don't understand the need for AF or ultra-high-sensitivity for wedding events. Isn't ISO 6400 enough? Weddings are not fast moving events ... No matter how conscientious you are, how fast you are, how good the light is, etc, you will miss a bazillion possible shots. The key is to get what the clients paid for, which should be articulated clearly in your job's Terms and Conditions Agreement.

    As I meant above jokingly but with intent, if you're comfortable working with an A7 and a couple of nice manual lenses, USE THEM ... You did a casual job where someone loved your work, why change everything for a paid job? You risk more potential errors that way.

    I shoot with the same cameras and lenses, set up the same way, over and over and over again for my personal work as well as for any paid jobs that come along. It's practice, this way I minimize the potential for making mistakes. If my camera of choice is an A7 and a Summilux-R 50mm SLR lens, and I got good results with it, I practice and just keep using it until getting good results is the norm and I only make a mistake now and then.

    G
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    A6000 for its AF and as a backup. You'll have the same hotshoe as the a7 as well.

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    I will shoot wedding under duress and over the years have used various cameras but over the last few years I used to use 2 leica M9's mostly with 50mm on one and 28mm on the other with occasional use of a 90mm lens. Having got rid of the M9's I now have the M(240) and the A7 so I would shoot using the 28 on the leica and the 55FE on the A7. IF I didn't have the leica I would get a 2nd A7 as I feel you need to work at least in the same format (here FF) and ideally with identical cameras as this makes the workflow so much easier when changing from one camera to the other (after all you rarely see see someone shooting with a canon and a nikon at the same time). So if I were you i would probably go for 2 A7's (maybe the A7S for low light work etc when it comes out) and the FE55 on one and either the FE35 or FE24-70 on the other.
    Just to add for me the concept of 'back-up' is wrong I see it as 2 cameras being used together

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Weddings how they were shot 30 years ago are a far cry from how they are shot today. Client expectations for images are vastly different. Sorry but I have to disagree strongly with you Godfrey having worked the tail end of the traditional market and then years in the modern PJ style over the past decade. You can do it with a A7 or Fuji whatever but only, IMO, if you already know wedding photography through and through. Weddings today are shot at very fast apertures in low light and with very little posing and or pre-coordinated shots in a fast and fluid style where the photographer is capturing the moment without directing it in any way with images which will be printed as double album spreads (say 20"+ wide) being viewed from lap to eye height.

    Unless you really know this stuff and have it your bones (say like Marc/Fotografz here) then for modern weddings you want a camera with good high iso, good low light focus, good off center focus points, fast lenses and a good TTL off camera flash system. You need a system which is tried and tested and is in rental houses for when things go wrong and the clock is ticking. You really should be using a camera with a dual card system for when something goes wrong with one of the cards (been there, spent the fortune, refunded the wedding). No this stuff wasn't necessary in the past but that was the past, this is now.

    Peaking is not accurate enough at f1.4 at modern wedding shooting type speeds. I'd say questionable until f2. Using a wide lens forget it. That leaves you with AF speeds on a camera known for hunting in low light, which is slow to change AF points and without a decent (real) wide angle or portrait lens. Honestly it's not a wedding system. Not yet. Perhaps some years from now.

    I shot weddings for 10 years. I shot my sisters wedding as a guest on my A7r. Got some great pictures. But I would never use it for a wedding I was being paid to do. Period. I could probably do it, despite it's drawbacks. Important word. Despite. Horses for courses. Get a 5D3 instead. It's a camera made for the task.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 9th April 2014 at 10:30.
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Weddings how they were shot 30 years ago are a far cry from how they are shot today. Client expectations for images are vastly different. Sorry but I have to disagree strongly with you Godfrey having worked the tail end of the traditional market and then years in the modern PJ style over the past decade. You can do it with a A7 or Fuji whatever but only, IMO, if you already know wedding photography through and through. Weddings today are shot at very fast apertures in low light and with very little posing and or pre-coordinated shots in a fast and fluid style where the photographer is capturing the moment without directing it in any way with images which will be printed as double album spreads (say 20"+ wide) being viewed from lap to eye height.

    Unless you really know this stuff and have it your bones (say like Marc/Fotografz here) then for modern weddings you want a camera with good high iso, good low light focus, good off center focus points, fast lenses and a good TTL off camera flash system. You need a system which is tried and tested and is in rental houses for when things go wrong and the clock is ticking. You really should be using a camera with a dual card system for when something goes wrong with one of the cards (been there, spent the fortune, refunded the wedding). No this stuff wasn't necessary in the past but that was the past, this is now.

    Peaking is not accurate enough at f1.4 at modern wedding shooting type speeds. I'd say questionable until f2. Using a wide lens forget it. That leaves you with AF speeds on a camera known for hunting in low light, which is slow to change AF points and without a decent (real) wide angle or portrait lens. Honestly it's not a wedding system. Not yet. Perhaps some years from now.

    I shot weddings for 10 years. I shot my sisters wedding as a guest on my A7r. Got some great pictures. But I would never use it for a wedding I was being paid to do. Period. I could probably do it, despite it's drawbacks. Important word. Despite. Horses for courses.
    I don't care about how weddings used to be shot or how they're shot now. I shoot weddings, when I do (EXTREMELY infrequently ... they're not my thing), the way I want to. Regardless of how others do. That's why people ask me to shoot them ... They're asking for my style if they do. I usually ask them what kinds of photos they want to see, and if they point at a wedding book on-line, I suggest they go to the "wedding photography factory" companies and just hire one of the photographers they list. I'm not interested in doing that kind of stuff.

    I don't use AF very often, and I rarely use peaking when I'm focusing manually. Sometimes I just set a distance on the focusing scale ... fastest way to get a sharp image if you have fifty+ years of setting distance behind you. I rarely use higher than ISO 800, usually ISO 200-400. I pick my "photographic moments", and ignore the rest. Those whom I've done jobs for seem to like what I have done. That's all that matters to me.

    I'm heading off on travel for a week and will be attending the wedding of a friend of mine. It will be fun. I'm sure I'll take some pictures, and likely with the A7 and a Leica R lens. If I have anything that looks worthwhile, I'll give it to them. Well, I'll give them what I get regardless... ;-)

    I agree: if you want to be part of the current wedding photography milieu, outfit yourself with the usual camera armament and go in there to do battle. Align yourself with one of the big national wedding houses and do business. Bleck.

    Not my job, thank you.

    G
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I don't care about how weddings used to be shot or how they're shot now.
    OK just as long as someone looking to get into the market realises that this is your context for giving advice to someone thinking of wedding photography as a profession or offering it as a professional service.
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    OK just as long as someone looking to get into the market realises that this is your context for giving advice to someone thinking of wedding photography as a profession or offering it as a professional service.
    I didn't realize that this was a professional photographer business counseling center, Ben. My apologies.

    I never asked advice of this or any other forum when I was running my photo business. I asked advice of professional services when needed. And did what I thought was right. I did many jobs for many clients and never had a negative review of my work. Not everyone has to kowtow to the current market trends to run a fine business in photography, but everyone has to make the business decisions for themselves.

    The last thing I'd recommend anyone do is go into wedding photography without working with/for an established wedding photographer for a time. Certainly not "go out and buy a bunch of equipment you need to do weddings" ... that would be the last thing I'd recommend.

    G
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Going back to the OP's original question about auto focus or manual lenses on the A7 for this sort of work I would definitely recommend going for auto focus. Focus peaking is fine if you are shooting wide open but once you stop down or with wider or slower lenses it is really hard to be accurate. So for weddings or PR work I really think that if you want to use manual lenses you need a system that is really built to deal with manual focussing such as RF system (leica) or a proper optical viewfinder with focus confirmation. I also find that the focus peaking can be distracting as unlike the fuji system it doesn't turn off with a hot press of the shutter. For me the whole point of the A7 system is it's auto-focus capabilities otherwise I stick to the leica
    All this being said I would probably carry my CV35/1.2 as I love it's rendering and wide open I find it easier to hit focus with peaking than on the leica!!! So there is the contradiction.
    To add I have recently asked to do 2 weddings because they like my so called 'style' but will probably turn them down as weddings are just too stressful and I don't use flash etc
    Last edited by Viramati; 9th April 2014 at 13:14.

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viramati View Post
    Going back to the OP's original question about auto focus or manual lenses on the A7 for this sort of work I would definitely recommend going for auto focus. Focus peaking is fine if you are shooting wide open but once you stop down or with wider or slower lenses it is really hard to be accurate. So for weddings or PR work I really think that if you want to use manual lenses you need a system that is really built to deal with manual focussing such as RF system (leica) or a proper optical viewfinder with focus confirmation. I also find that the focus peaking can be distracting as unlike the fuji system it doesn't turn off with a hot press of the shutter. For me the whole point of the A7 system is it's auto-focus capabilities otherwise I stick to the leica
    All this being said I would probably carry my CV35/1.2 as I love it's rendering and wide open I find it easier to hit focus with peaking than on the leica!!! So there is the contradiction.
    To add I have recently asked to do 2 weddings because they like my so called 'style' but will probably turn them down as wedding are just too stressful and I don't use flash etc
    I've found that on the A7 (all manual lenses for me), I almost never use peaking. The focus magnification is much faster, more accurate, and it does disable with a touch of the shutter release. And it works reliably all the time; peaking doesn't.

    Frankly, all the ballyhoo about focus peaking seems a bit overblown to me. I use the A7 exactly the same way I used my film SLRs ... with a few extra, and useful, capabilities like focus magnification, heads-up level, and live histogram to help ensure I've got the right focus, the right exposure, and I haven't tilted the camera too outrageously to correct.

    ... but will probably turn them down as wedding are just too stressful ...
    I hear ya there.

    G
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Thanks everybody for all the good advice. I think the most obvious and valid one is to start working with a more experienced pro photographer.
    As for the equipment I know it can be a bit subjective up to some point (depending on your style), but Im aiming for the photojournalism style, which does call for some speed. At the moment buying new expenssive equipment is really out of the question. I love Sonys mirrorless system and I dont plan to change soon and this will be a good oportunity to test my skills some more.

    BTW, here is the wedding I shot with the A7 + Canon FD 50mm 1.4 + Canon FD 70-210mm 2.8 : http://www.getdpi.com/forum/sony/50435-wedding-a7.html

    For my own surprise I found my self using the 70-210mm like 75%. I found it just perfect because it was not too intrusive. I only took out the 50mm 1.4 once it started getting dark. I think it was a great very combo (I felt I needed a wide angle though), but I have a lot of out of focus stuff.

    I think to begin with the A7 and the A6000 could be a good option. I could swap FE 55mm 1.8 between both cameras, use the 16mm ff2.8 for very wides...BUT I would still need a good AF zoom. The new FE 70-200mm f4 could be a good option but its really expenssive.

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Rawfa, if you are going to do this, just do it the way you want to, and see how it shakes out.

    The only thing I'd council is to do it responsibly, and don't experiment with someone's important day. Be perfectly clear up front what your intentions are with any given client clients can say they LOVE what you do, but some, maybe even most, have expectations they assume you know and understand and if those aren't met, it can suddenly get uh difficult. "My way or the highway" should be articulated upfront so there are no surprises later.

    Frankly, that's the way I started out. Art directors, writers, designers and even photographers saw my candid B&W Leica M street photography and began asking me to shoot their weddings in that manner, which I REALLY didn't want to do. So, I did most of those weddings with the caveat that I would shoot what I wanted, when I wanted, and afterwards I would select the images.

    It all snowballed from there.

    Most of my wedding stuff now is done with an assortment cameras pre-selected for the specific wedding: Leica MM, Leica S2-P, newly added A7R, and the work-horse Sony A99. Why the A99? Because it shoots to two cards, handles flash better, has IBIS, and already has a full array of ZA AF lenses to meet any challenge.

    Oh, BTW, get good commercial insurance.

    - Marc
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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Marc, that is sound advice. I've been reading in a bunch of different places about showing the bride and groom your work, your style and the way you do things so there are no misunderstandings.

    My equipment is not ALL insured, but the most expensive and important things are.

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    Marc, that is sound advice. I've been reading in a bunch of different places about showing the bride and groom your work, your style and the way you do things so there are no misunderstandings.

    My equipment is not ALL insured, but the most expensive and important things are.
    Not equipment insurance Commercial business insurance, including liability. Best to form a LLC also depending on where you are located.

    Fly by night wedding photographers are gambling that nothing will ever happen just like any uninsured person or company. The "what ifs" can rain down a world of hurt on you personally if you do not protect yourself at least to some degree.

    One has to factor in all the costs of doing business IF it is supposed to be a business.

    It's up to you.

    - Marc

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    On travel ... Visiting my friends on the Isle of Man and attended on of their son's wedding yesterday. The A7 outfit with Leica R 24/50/90 mm lenses did a very nice job of it capturing guest casual photos and videos. (I suppose for this gig, the 28-90 mm would have been more sensible, but I don't own one of those.)

    Although I didn't nail focus perfectly on every shot, I wasn't shooting critically or as a paid photographer would. Mostly opportunistic shots of friends and family without any subject direction. And what's come out of the camera is not far off the mark anyway. I'd have no qualms taking on jobs with just this kit, maybe adding the 180/4 and a grip for more stability. The video is good enough to extract clips and assemble a nice presentation too, although I missed the Olympus E-M1's IBIS.

    Modern cameras are just so darn good...

    G

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    I had my mind set on getting an A6000 and the 18-105mm constant f4...until I read that zooming cannot be done "manually" (you need to press the Wide and Tele bottoms...nonsense!).

    So back to the drawing board with my second camera.

    I love Sonys e-mount system, but lacking some specific lenses is starting to really take its toll. They have more cameras than they do lenses >

    I was thinking about getting the LAEA4 but Ive read its not very fast.
    Last edited by Rawfa; 14th April 2014 at 11:05.

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Not equipment insurance Commercial business insurance, including liability. Best to form a LLC also depending on where you are located.

    Fly by night wedding photographers are gambling that nothing will ever happen just like any uninsured person or company. The "what ifs" can rain down a world of hurt on you personally if you do not protect yourself at least to some degree.

    One has to factor in all the costs of doing business IF it is supposed to be a business.

    It's up to you.

    - Marc
    I was thinking this the other day. What IF Im shooting a wedding and all of the sudden a tropical rain storm starts? The wedding will go on, but Im not so sure about the equipment. This is the type of situation where one might end sued!

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Seriously I am hearing stories of suing for no other reason than they got a quick divorce and want to try and get there money back saying the work was bad. People are assholes and will sue for anything. Don't be naive when it comes to this market segment, its a sue happy one. Why I pretty much stayed out of it and I could make a small fortune doing it as i got a lot of connections in the industry here in town. My ex-wife alone is a huge wedding planner and she would be happy to promote me. But I keep staying out of it and only do it for people I know well.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Ive been posting in a couple of brazilian forums and most people here use a standard government contract for this type of service. Im sure that doesnt stop people from trying to sue, but its the first step to protect one self.

    Another question while were at it, do you guys get paid before or after delivering the work? Or do you guys get half before and half after?

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    Question Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    I had my mind set on getting an A6000 and the 18-105mm constant f4...until I read that zooming cannot be done "manually" (you need to press the Wide and Tele bottoms...nonsense!).

    So back to the drawing board with my second camera.

    I love Sonys e-mount system, but lacking some specific lenses is starting to really take its toll. They have more cameras than they do lenses >

    I was thinking about getting the LAEA4 but Ive read its not very fast.
    why not the zeiss 16-70/4?

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    Re: Companion for A7 on events?

    I'll be using the 55mm 1.8 with the A7 and I wanted a long zoom with the A6000. The Canon FD 50mm and 70-210mm worked perfectly with the A7.

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