Sony Full Frame Lenses For Weddings
Sony Full Frame Lenses For Weddings – I’ve just completed the edits on my latest wedding (my 80th since switching from Nikon to Sony!) which left me with a spare afternoon to do some blogging! I was scanning through videos on the FStoppers YouTube channel and stumbled across an old one where Lee was discussing lenses commonly used at weddings. A light bulb moment followed and there was my reason to blog!
My techy blog posts seem to get lots of hits (obviously oodles of camera geeks out there!), so here goes my round up of the six lenses found in my kitbag together with details of when they come out to play at each wedding and a handful of examples for each piece of glass.
From left to right – Sony 55 1.8 ZA, Zeiss Batis 18 2.8, Zeiss Batis 85 1.8, Zeiss Batis 135 2.8, Sony 35 1.4 Distagon, Tamron 28-75 f2.8 RXD
The Zeiss Batis 18 is the lens that generally takes the first and last photos of the wedding day. I use it for the venue establishing shots; including the wide angle exteriors of the building, ceremony room, table decor, etc.
Once I’ve captured these images, the lens will enjoy a break before it reappears for some dancing pics later on in the evening! It’s a great lens to use on a packed dance floor, getting in close to the action. It’s always best to be mindful when shooting images of people using this lens though; with any super wide angle glass the frame will be stretched at the edges the closer you get to a subject which could be unflattering if an arm is wafting around to the music!
The Sony 35 1.4 is the lens that finds itself sat on the left hand side of my spider holster for the first half of the day. It’s there to capture the slightly wider angle shots during bridal prep including detailed pics of the dress, flowers, shoes, etc and for those moments where I want a greater field of view of the bride and bridesmaids getting ready.
Depending on the wedding venue; if the aisle in the ceremony room is fairly short, I will use the 35 to capture the bridal party entering the room together with a handful of shots during the ring exchanges (the 55 usually does the brunt of the work during the ceremony). However, it will perform the crucial role of capturing the first kiss!
As soon as the exit walk and confetti run are complete, nine times out of ten the 35 will be retired to the kitbag for the rest of the day ready for the next wedding! However, it can make an appearance again if there happens to be an epic sunset brewing in the skies!
The Sony 55 1.8 has become my workhorse. A quick look at my Lightroom stats shows that it takes around two thirds of all my photos during the day. Given the fact this piece of kit is in my hands for the majority of the day it’s a relief that this lens is the smallest in my arsenal, weighing in at just 280 grammes!
If you ever listen to a photographer talking about their kit, you’ll no doubt hear a conversation about sharpness crop up at some point. Well, this lens is without any shadow of a doubt the sharpness piece of glass I’ve ever owned. Coupled together with the focussing accuracy of the Sony A9’s Eye-AF system, this lens will produce some wonderful portraits wide open at f1.8, crisp on the eyes with a really nice fall off.
As I mentioned with the comments during the previous section, the 55 takes the brunt of the workload; for me it’s just the perfect focal length for my candid approach during prep, the ceremony and for the portrait shots. In my opinion the A9 + 55 combination is ideal for any photographer wanting to keep a low profile/shoot unobtrusively during prep/ceremonies because is has such small footprint.
Prior to the purchase of my Sony 55, the Zeiss Batis 85 was my go to lens. It’s fantastic for portraiture, the 1.8 aperture is perfect for the way I shoot; I opted for the Batis over the Sony 85 1.4 GM because I don’t need the extra stop and there was a noticeable difference in weight, size and focussing speed.
The 55 has edged out the 85 as my main lens for prep and ceremony shooting as I found the 85 was just a tad too long to get the shots I wanted, particularly in tight spaces. It will still make an appearance during portrait shots depending on the backdrop and what sort of bokeh I’m looking for.
The Batis 85 is one of two lenses I use during the speeches (the 135mm being the other), it also functions as my walk around lens during the drinks reception.
The combination of IBIS on the Sony A9 and the optical stabiliser in the lens comes in very handy during low light scenarios and I can easily drop the shutter to ridiculously silly speeds in order to keep the ISO down.
The Zeiss Batis 135 is the lens that teams up with my 85 for the speeches. I love shooting through the gaps in between people to isolate subjects and the 135 is really good at allowing me to do that. Without wishing to sound like a broken record; the Eye-AF really helps hit the target whilst shooting through tight spaces at these focal lengths, it latches on without fuss allowing me to compose the shot I want.
As with the other lenses in the Batis line up, the 135 is small and light; it comes in at just over 600 grammes compared to the Sigma 135 1.8 which weighs a whopping 1.13 kilograms! Yes, the Sigma has an extra stop of light but the Batis has on board stabilisation. There are examples on my blog of images taken at 1/30th of a second that still produce tack sharp photos!
The 135 is one of the key lenses I use during church ceremonies. A lot of couples are unaware of the strict rules imposed by many of the clergy at churches in the UK. Photographers are rarely permitted anywhere near the front of the church once the ceremony has commenced and as a result we’re usually relegated to the back of the aisle (or in the worst case scenario we’re told to turn our cameras off!). This is where a long lens becomes a useful tool and the 135 is the perfect length for many medium to large churches. The ability to shoot silently with mirrorless cameras also allows me to keep a low profile whilst firing off a volley of shots to ensure the key pics are nailed!
The Tamron is a real dark horse!
I was one of those shooters who told myself I would only shoot with fixed focal length prime lenses, which for the vast majority of the day is absolutely fine. However, when it came to capturing the dancfloor action I kept finding myself witnessing some funky moves happening on the other side of the room whilst holding the 35, by the time I’d either switched cameras to the 85 or dashed to get a better composition the moment had gone; and vice versa there would be granny doing the caterpillar move right under my nose when I had an 85 in my hand, by the time I’d switched back to a wide angle granny would be done and heading off to the bar.
It was time for a zoom lens to ensure I had all bases covered but the thought of picking up at 24-70 GM (a heavy, big and expensive lens) was a little uncomfortable for me. Then, in a puff of smoke, the Tamron 28-75 appeared on the scene with camera bloggers lauding the lenses attributes, so I pre-ordered one!
It was the first Sony lens I’d purchased without trialling it first so I was a bit nervous. I had no need to worry. It’s a fantastic lens! It now sits on my camera and captures the vast majority of dancelfoor action. It has absolutely no trouble keeping up with fast paced action such a ceilidh dancing in a dark barn!
It’s also replaced the 35 as the main lens that shoots the formal group photos. I use the zoom to capture one wide angle group shot (heads and feet) and zoom in snap second head shots of the same group with a background slightly more out of focus. It’s such a good lens that it may start appearing a little more throughout other parts of the day when I don’t need a prime aperture of 1.8.
I really hoped you enjoyed looking through these examples and didn’t fall asleep during the process! If you have any questions about any of the lenses mentioned above then drop me a line and we can get all geeky!