Ok, I admit it. I’m a bit of a lens snob. I love quality glass, and I carry a slew of lenses to each wedding. I don’t pack a ton of lenses with for no reason. I use them ALL. One day I’ll post a blog about each, but today I want to give a shout out to my F4 Nikkor lenses that allow me to shed some weight for SOME parts of the wedding day without sacrificing performance or sharpness. I NEVER thought I’d own any F4 lenses. I begin each day with my Nikkor 85mm F1.4G on one D4S, and my Nikkor 35mm F1.4G on another D4S. I also carry a Nikkor 28mm 1.4D, and an assortment of other goodies as well. It’s a large kit, and I use everything in the bag.
The wedding day is long. I mean, really long at times. I bust my ass for my clients, and I can’t ever let a moment pass without making sure I’ve done everything I can to capture those moments in the most creative way possible. I’ve been shooting professionally now for 33 years. Yeah, insert age joke here….. At 52, or heck, at any age, it’s physically draining to carry any amount of equipment all day long, let alone flagship cameras with fast glass. While I tend to shoot with the most shallow depth of field possible for much of a wedding day, I also recognize when I need a bit more depth as well. Enter my Nikkor F4G lenses. The Nikkor 70-200 F4G, Nikkor 24-120mm F4G, and the Nikkor 16-35mm F4G have been in my bag now for a few months. My neck, shoulders, arms, and my entire body thank them. These lightweight tools have allowed me to shed weight without giving up a thing. I shoot the first dance, parent dances, and many other elements of the reception at F4 to allow some room for error, so why not shoot them with lighter gear? They focus well in low light, and unless I need to open up wider than F4, they’re ideal for wedding receptions, family formals, and anything else I don’t need a shallow depth of field for.
If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d use F4 glass- I’d have said “no way”. To me, they were generally considered “amateur” lenses. Today, there’s no way I’d do without them given how much fresher I feel after a grueling wedding day shoot. These lenses are built to last, focus fast, and they’re as sharp as anything Nikkor produces. Many may say, “why in the world does anyone carry that much gear to a wedding?” Fortunately, I don’t. I have amazing assistants who help me with all of my gear, and we pack everything in a tidy Tamrac rolling strongbox. My assistants and I are symbiotic on the wedding day, and they often know what I need before I need it. All of my gear is incorporated into my workflow seamlessly.
I’m often asked what I bring to a wedding. Here’s a fairly comprehensive list of what’s in my bag.
2- Nikon D4S’s
1- Nikon D4
Nikkor 28mm F1.4D
AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.4G
AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G
AF-S-Micro Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED
AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8G ED
AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR
AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8G
AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8G ED VRII
AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR
AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR
3 Nikon SD-9’s (incredibly efficient)
2-AC3 zone controllers
The handy power cable that attaches to the camera body(really cool)
Rogue Flash Benders-modifiers
Small, medium and large for various needs
Bogen carbon fiber monopod
wescott Ice Light
Granola bars…. chocolate…. valium…(kidding!}
I also have A Nikon D3S and a Nikkor 70-200 VRI in my car for backup.
This was shot with the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G VR and was racked at 30mm
The next shot was with the same lens at 100mm. The versatility is really stellar.