Fast Lenses? Really?

In today's blog, I would like to discuss what is written in many Wedding Photography books and blogs about fast lenses. I totally agree that the faster the lens the better and I also think that the emphasis is excessive. Depending on the photographer skills some adjustments can be made if you don't want to break the bank buying those fast lenses.

In my view, it is matter of strategy. After all, the defining factor will always be the photographer and not the camera or the lenses. It is the same as cooking, it doesn't matter the stove you have, or how sophisticated it is, only a skilled chef will get the most delicious plates out of it!

Today's DX cameras offer a main advantages as I see: The magnification factor which makes a lens focal distance 1.5 x. So a lens that is 200 mm will "magically" be delivering 300 mm. This happen because the sensor in this cameras are smaller. I don't want to enter in technicalities because the average photographer knows it, and the client would get bored in all the jargon. Enough to know that for less money you get a lens that's awesome to work un-obstructively.

In my case, I use zoom lenses for long focal lengths and prime lenses for portraits. I don't see a point in having a 300mm prime. It is disgustingly expensive and the use is very limited.

The lenses I use the most are the primes, they are fast and tack sharp and since I have them of different focal lengths they lift the heavy load in a wedding. Sometimes it is necessary to use a zoom. My zooms are f/3.5-5.6 which are fast enough and tack sharp at their sweet point. As a Wedding Photographer you must know your gear to get the most out of it. So  the limitation here is the speed and I work to correct it. I set my camera in ISO automatic up to 800. She will choose the best ISO in that range to a maximum of 800. At 800 the noise is not a problem yet. In addition, I always use strobes fired remotely in the room which allow for extra light. Those two measures are more than enough! You would be surprised the many times the camera set an ISO much lower than the top I set.

Are you still worried about the noise? You still have two resources: downsize your image or use a noise reduction software not to mention buying the fast zooms. In my experience, these are not necessary because you can print top quality a 8"x 12" at 800 ISO.  

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