Findings from my first big event with my current kit

Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
Every year I shoot a huge vacation bible school. Which is now by far the biggest event I shoot since retiring from cons and festivals. I've posted about all the changes I made to my kit. Gearing it towards portraits/candids, musicians performing, and events. After the second day I realized that, without realizing it, how shoot, what I prefer to shoot with, and how I carry it has gone through a lot of changes. As always, I like to post these things for discussion, feedback, and if by chance it may help someone out in figuring things out for themselves.

Today was the second day. And I think I have ironed out how I will be shooting for the rest of the week. At least for the most part. But first, the start of things. Yesterday, I arrived. Got my gear ready. I had the Think Tank speed belt on with a non gripped X-T2/23mm 1.4 in one large pouch. The 56mm 1.2 in another pouch. And the 90mmf2 mounted to a X-T2 w/battery grip slung with a Peak Design Slide strap. The standard FF equivalent 35/85/135 event prime kit.

I made it all of 10 minutes before I was running back to where my backpack was stashed and dumping the pouch and 56mm. Realizing that everything was too bulky the way I was carrying it and uncomfortable work in. How did I shoot like that with DSLRs for so many years? So off I went again. About 10ish minutes later, I was running back to my backpack. Ditching the speed belt, pouch, second body, and Slide strap. Somewhere along the line I've gotten to no longer like either big PD straps, or straps in general. Small PD pouch went onto the belt holding my shorts up with the 23mm and off I went again.

I made it 1 and a 1/2 hours before realizing that I was not really using the 23mm unless I absolutely had to. So a quick spin by the backpack and I switched out the 23mm for the 35mm 1.4. From there I shot most of the day. Occasionally trading the 90 for the 56 and back again. I seemed to really settle in shooting the 35 1.4 and either of the longer primes.

Day 2, today, I rolled with the 35/90 combo out of the gate. Swapping the 35 for the 16mm 1.4 to do some wide angle work. Then back with the 35. About halfway through I switched over to the body without the battery grip. Really enjoying the lightness of the kit. Going into tomorrow I am going to leave the battery grip at home. One body in the backpack for backup. And I will give the Peak Design leash a go in the morning. Which brings us back to me shooting the 35/90 pair the remainder of the week.

The biggest surprise for me was shooting the 35/90 pair after so many years shooting what would be the 23/56/90 kit. The images I'm getting are some I really love. Having chosen the 35 1.4 for the SiJ challenge and shooting with it so much may play a part in that. I have really become comfortable shooting the 35mm. My full event prime kit now would be 16/35/90. But the 16 would only be for anything really wide.

The other thing I have come to realize shooting this event and some local bands playing. If I am going to work with 3 lenses, I prefer to work out of smallish shoulder bag. Two lense, then a small pouch and one on the camera.
 

Matero

Top Veteran
Jan 28, 2014
104
Helsinki, Finland
I’m using Leica Q, 28mm, in SiJ and find it most of the time too wide. I don’t miss the opportunity to change lenses, but I do miss the ‘normal’ FOV, with Fuji 35/1.4, with Nikon Df Voigtländer 58/1.4 and with Oly 25/1.4 PL Summilux.

And when I need a set with multiple lenses/FOV I use Olympus M5.2 + 25/1.4 PL Summilux with Oly 75/1.8 or just the 12-40 Oly.

I could easily do my photography just with Olympus, but I really like to use of all these systems I have in hand: Leica Q and M8, Nikon Df, Olympus OM-D M5.2. Just tried to restrict the number of lenses to minimum :)
 
Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
The “nifty fifty” equivalent lenses work really well in certain environments. I used the 35 1.4 for shooting at Disney and it worked really well. I wonder if a certain “density” of people makes it work.
I was one of those people. While I did use the 35 f2 in my wedding kit for my last two weddings. It was the least used lens. Then I picked up the 1.4 variant mainly for portrait work. Then two things happened recently. I read an article by Charlene Winfred who has only shot with the 35 1.4 for 7 years. This inspired to use the 35 more and led to the second thing, using the 35 for SiJ. Now I am finding myself using the 35 for everything. And seeing in that 50mm standard view.


@Matero that has to be fun having the different gear to work with. There was a time when I would love to have all of that and more. These days, I have two identical Fuji bodies with five primes. And there are a lot of times I have trouble deciding what to grab. Which for the last couple of months has been what to grab with the 35. A lot of times I am doing something I thought odd. Grabbing the 35 and the next wider, or tighter lens. I used to think like most that you needed 25-50mm differences in focal lengths. Now I go with just a little wider or longer. Still, I am envious of all the gear you have to play with.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Interesting experience, Bobby. I'm not sure if I have the patience to use only one lens for 7 years, and if I did, it would have to be the 23mm f2. I had the 35mm f2 for a short while, and found it too narrow for the type of outdoor images I'm after. I can see where that FOV would be useful for portraiture, but I am absolutely pathetic at people pics . . . which is why I stick to waterfalls and flowers.
 
Feb 6, 2015
124
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
It's funny how we change over time. I wonder if it is a similar experience with food. About every 7 years our palettes change and we may like or dislike foods we did/didn't in the past.

I started out with zooms and have flip flopped back and forth between primes and zooms. The Fuji X series seems to pull me toward the life of primes more, where as my Nikon kit sees me favor the zooms.

I'm not sure why that is, but perhaps I need to sit back and analyze it more. Not for any particular reason other than utter curiosity.
 

bluzcity

Top Veteran
Jul 24, 2013
104
Memphis, TN
Brent
It's funny how we change over time. I wonder if it is a similar experience with food.
Interesting you should mention. About 6 months ago I suddenly had an aversion to meat. It isn't something into which I've looked or researched. I just, for now, don't want meat and I have no idea why. And I'm a lifer meat and potatoes guy, go figure.

I confess I have too much camera equipment which doesn't bother me on most days, but when I'm taking a trip it is a nightmare deciding what I want to take. I'm hoping an urge to purge strikes me soon. I need to sell some stuff to make room for different stuff. :coco:
 
Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
@gryphon1911 there are a lot of foods I no longer like to eat. And new ones constantly taking their place.

My lens experience was reverse of yours. I was all primes to the Fuji switch. Then zooms for a couple of years before returning to primes. At this point my brain is minimalist about gear. But I have five primes due to needing them for different purposes.
 
Feb 6, 2015
124
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
Interesting you should mention. About 6 months ago I suddenly had an aversion to meat. It isn't something into which I've looked or researched. I just, for now, don't want meat and I have no idea why. And I'm a lifer meat and potatoes guy, go figure.

I confess I have too much camera equipment which doesn't bother me on most days, but when I'm taking a trip it is a nightmare deciding what I want to take. I'm hoping an urge to purge strikes me soon. I need to sell some stuff to make room for different stuff. :coco:
I've paired down my camera gear a bit and now my biggest struggle is do I take the Nikon or Fuji kit. It mostly comes down to whether or not I want to shoot with the Fuji film simulations and SOOC JPG, or if I'll need that blazing speed and reliability of the Nikon.

It can still be a struggle, though.
 

Matero

Top Veteran
Jan 28, 2014
104
Helsinki, Finland
@Matero that has to be fun having the different gear to work with. ... Still, I am envious of all the gear you have to play with.
I’m lucky to be able to grab these kind of toys in the first place. And I needed to wait patiently for good pre-owned to play with. But now I’ve realised, finally one could argue, that I don’t need anything more. Just time to spend with my hobby. I’ve carefully selected gear which fulfils my need for aesthetics, real or imaginary technical features and are fun to use. Happy bunny now!
 

Matero

Top Veteran
Jan 28, 2014
104
Helsinki, Finland
I've paired down my camera gear a bit and now my biggest struggle is do I take the Nikon or Fuji kit. It mostly comes down to whether or not I want to shoot with the Fuji film simulations and SOOC JPG, or if I'll need that blazing speed and reliability of the Nikon.

It can still be a struggle, though.
Only thing I miss from Fuji kit is the easiness to shoot SOOC JPG. It is something I haven’t been able to reproduce with other systems. And I’ve given up on that. Just shoot raw and luckily Leica and Nikon needs only subtle development and for Olympus I’ve found good setups to clone.
 

davidzvi

Top Veteran
Apr 18, 2014
104
Boston Burbs
David
When I was working, I used zooms most of the time. The main exception was actually the Nikon 180mm f/2.8, it is just so much smaller and lighter than any of the zoom telephotos. But it was always two bodies, two lenses to cover the range, with two flashes; and a bag in the room for backups, batteries, etc.

But I don't shoot events anymore. I'm still mainly a zoom shooter, but I mainly use one body and only a few lenses in a smallish shoulder bag. My current collection of smaller bag are the Domke F-9, the ONA Bowery, and the Think Tank Speed Change v2.0 (they removed the loops for the shoulder strap on v3.0 :coco:).
 
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KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
"The other thing I have come to realize shooting this event and some local bands playing. If I am going to work with 3 lenses, I prefer to work out of smallish shoulder bag. Two lenses, then a small pouch and one on the camera."


--You’ve just described my event setup, almost exactly. Domke F5 shoulder bag (slung diagonally, resting to the rear of my right hip) and one lens pouch strung on its strap up against it, 2 bodies in the bag, and a 3rd lens in the lens pouch. I like having just the 2 cameras/lenses in the Domke, because it’s not a huge bag, and I don’t like hitting a 3rd lens when the cameras go in and out. Most venues, I have the Rokinon 12 (which takes all of ~15 shots a day, but when you need WIDE, you need wide), the 35 f1.4, and either the 56 or the 50-230. If I owned the 90, I’d have that over the 56. The 35 is non-negotiable. It would be the last lens I kept, if I had to sell everything else. 35 for moving around amongst people or shooting groups as they talk, longer lenses for speakers.



I also use these two little leather strap things (one per camera on the right strap lug) that I’ve probably talked about a long time ago. They’re 3 inches long exactly, and they’re a loop with a rivet in the center, making the actually two separate spaces inside the loop, if that makes sense. They’re off an old 70s leather camera strap that came with a Craigslist Minolta. The little 3” leads were meant to be left attached to the cam lugs, and the long main strap portion would clip on and off quickly. I can put my right pinky through the outer loop, and still hold the camera perfectly, but now I can’t accidentally drop the camera. And when someone goes to shake my hand, I just drop the camera, it dangles from my pinky, their eyes shoot open thinking I’m about to break my gear, but it dangles there and I shake their hand, etc. So as I’m walking around, whatever my main body is, it’s in my right hand, with that strap around my pinky. That leaves not too much weight on my shoulder.
 
Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
Tried the PD leash strap for the day. It worked out really well. I'm guessing it's the larger straps which are becoming annoying to me. The smaller, lighter Leash strap kind of disappeared and was un noticable. Did some of the shots witht he 56 in place of the 90. And it to be really good for compositions in the classrooms where all of the crafts and activities are done. I may experiment with a 23 or 16/35/56 kit tomorrow. One of the great things about a 5 day event is being able to try different set ups.

"The other thing I have come to realize shooting this event and some local bands playing. If I am going to work with 3 lenses, I prefer to work out of smallish shoulder bag. Two lenses, then a small pouch and one on the camera."


--You’ve just described my event setup, almost exactly. Domke F5 shoulder bag (slung diagonally, resting to the rear of my right hip) and one lens pouch strung on its strap up against it, 2 bodies in the bag, and a 3rd lens in the lens pouch. I like having just the 2 cameras/lenses in the Domke, because it’s not a huge bag, and I don’t like hitting a 3rd lens when the cameras go in and out. Most venues, I have the Rokinon 12 (which takes all of ~15 shots a day, but when you need WIDE, you need wide), the 35 f1.4, and either the 56 or the 50-230. If I owned the 90, I’d have that over the 56. The 35 is non-negotiable. It would be the last lens I kept, if I had to sell everything else. 35 for moving around amongst people or shooting groups as they talk, longer lenses for speakers.
I have a couple of Think Tank bags perfect for this.

Agreed about the ultra wide. Which is why I've been experimenting with just a two lens kit. To see if I can just live without those couple of wide shots. Today I only had one time where I missed having something wider than 35mm. But, I may run a bag tomorrow and carry it with me. And maybe give the two camera rig another try.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
In my usual cases, an establishing wide shot or 3 is pretty much mandatory. I have to have "set the scene" shots to put the detail shots into context. I could do it with the 18-55, but the 12 is so much more .... interesting... and it's an honest 90 degree FOV, so backing into a corner = the Whole Room.
 
Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
In my usual cases, an establishing wide shot or 3 is pretty much mandatory. I have to have "set the scene" shots to put the detail shots into context. I could do it with the 18-55, but the 12 is so much more .... interesting... and it's an honest 90 degree FOV, so backing into a corner = the Whole Room.
I love that you work like you're making a film by taking establishing shots. I've gotten out of that practice because the events I shoot now are well established. So it's not really necessary. But there are always some good wide shots to be had.
 
Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
After the discussion with Kyle(@KillRamsey). It got me to thinking that maybe I shouldn't be ignoring the few wide shots I would take by running a two lens kit and leaving the ultra wide out. Also about trying one more configuration in my lineup. So I dug out my Think Tank Storyteller 8 bag. Although I ran just one body to keep everything carried in the bag.

So, today I ran with a 16/35/56 kit, one X-T2 without a battery grip. With my other T2 and lenses in a Think Tank Citywalker bag for backup purposes. This wound up working even better than the 35/90 I had been running most of the week. It was more comfortable having everything in a bag than on a camera strap and belt pouches. Also, I made my best set of images so far this week. Adding the ultra wide back into the mix made for a more complete set of photos. And the 56mm allowed for a lot more composition options than the 90mm does in that space.

The 35mm 1.4 has remained my core lens in every configuration. Now I know which kit gives the best overall results. But that the 56 and 90 are interchangeable depending on the venue I'm shooting in.

Being a still part time gear whore. This leaves me pondering keeping the 23mm 1.4. Or selling it and getting a 23 or 35/50 f2 pair. For when I want either small or weather sealed, or both.
 

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