Sunday, 8 June 2008

Backup for Weddings

Winter is here, and I've decided to get serious about the coming wedding season. That gives me about three months to get ready, although I've started my advertising campaign now. There are good signs already. I have flyers up advertising the business in a local jewelers, and had an engaged couple in on the first day they were on display. No contacts yet, but the jewelry store wants to work in with me even more to offer 'package deals'. So I'm encouraged.

So with a 5D, 17-40mm f4, 24-105mm f4 and 70-200mm f4, and Canon Speedlite, I figure I'm pretty set. But if I'm really serious about shooting weddings again, I really needed a backup camera. I could look at a 40/30/20D - or even earlier 10D as a digital solution - I certainly can't afford another 5D (haven't even started paying for the first one yet). But I don't really want to go back to the cropped sensor again. A quick flick around Trademe (a NZ internet auction site similar to ebay) is usually good for inspiration - and it was there that I saw it... at a price I couldn't believe!

I started out with film cameras, way back when digital wasn't even science fiction, let alone science fact. And back then, as a Canon devotee, the EOS 1 was King. Oh, what I wouldn't have given to have owned an EOS 1.

Then, a few years ago, I did own one (a pretty bunged up, well used one - but an EOS 1 nonetheless), just before digital hit the mainstream. I think I owned it for about three months, and then I 'went digital' with a Nikon D70. So in a strange twist of fate, the camera I had wanted to own all my life was mine very briefly, and then the world moved on and I was swept away with it all. Now digital was King - and it still is. Film is dead (saw a great catchphrase for a group recently that said "film isn't dead, it just smells funny") and those amazing professional film cameras are now going for a song.

Which gets me back to what I saw on Trademe. A mint condition Canon EOS 1N (an 'upgraded' EOS 1) complete with battery grip, for NZ$350.00. That's just a crazy price for originally a $2k+ pro series camera - and I couldn't resist. And hey, guess what - it also happens to be full-frame :-)

It arrived about a week ago, and the weather has been consistently miserable since then. I have taken some shots with it, but have yet to finish the first roll of film. Seems to be functioning as it aught, although I have noticed that the 'L'ow drive setting flashes when it's set, as if something is wrong. It still releases the shutter, even with the flashing, so I'm presuming nothing is actually wrong and it's working as it should. If it bugs me too much I will change it to 'S'ingle frame drive mode, and hopefully the flashing will go away? Anyway, for $350 bucks for an EOS 1N if that's all I've got to worry about then I'm definitely up on the deal!

So my plan is to use the 5D as my main camera at the wedding, probably switching between the 24-105mm f4, and 17-40mm f4. I will attach the 70-200mm f4 to the EOS 1N and maybe use it during the service if there's enough light, and for some nice tight head and shoulder bride images during the bridal party shoot.

That's the plan at this stage anyway.

I am also thinking I might need a 'low light' lens option - and will opt for either the 50mm f1.8 or the 85mm f1.8 - or both. That will probably complete the kit. And then all I need is some weddings to use it all on!

I haven't quite discounted the 10D backup option yet either. They are also coming up for auction at ridiculous prices - and you can always use a back up for the back up - right?


  1. Thanks for a clean perspective on photography topics. I am researching cameras (my first digital) to fuel my photography passion. I do however have a film SLR and it happens to be an EOS Rebel. It survived several years in the United States Marine Corps including a trip to Iraq and I love it.

  2. Hi Wayne,

    You'll love the 85 1.8. I get wonderful portraits that look 3D with mine. I love that lens.

  3. Hi Darby W.

    Thanks for the comment. These blogs can be a lonely experience, and after posting for a couple of years without any feedback it's nice to see that there is actually someone out there who has read some of it!

    You must have some great photos from Iraq. Are you allowed to share some on the blog?

    Good luck with hunting for your first digital. It can be fairly daunting, but you can't go too far wrong if you stick with Canon. I don't know about the States, but Canon's 10D is going for crazy prices on internet auction sites here in NZ, and I would pick one of those up before going to a Digital Rebel. Although if the budget stretches to a 40D (or even a 5D then you would be getting in at the top end.

    Good luck and happy hunting.

    And thanks too to Don for the vote for the 85mm f1.8

    I've owned the Nikon version when I used a D70, although I didn't like the 'crop' factor involved with the D70's smaller sensor. I'm thinking I will 'love' the 85mm on the full frame 5D better, so am definitely heading in that direction.
    Thanks Don.


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