Last weekend I had the honor of photographing John and Laura’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding in the beautiful setting of their private family home. I hope to go back and photograph their family’s home and feature it here on my blog. The many years of personalization and exquisite decor resulted in a set full of texture rich backdrops everywhere I pointed my lens. The beautiful couple also made it hard not to get a good shot. They were very photogenic and easy to work with.
Where this assignment proved very challenging was the extremely low light setting. All main lights were dimmed down and they relied heavily on the festive and decorative holiday lighting. This set a very personal and private mood but was exceedingly hard to get a good clear shot. Add to that the fact that the turnout was more than expected which left little or no room to maneuver. Off camera flash was out of the question for most of the key shots because of the varying white balance from one spot to the next, and it just added another unpredictable variable as I moved and photographed the action in real time.
There were some hard calls I had to make. The hardest of which I made mid-way through the ceremony – to ditch my 5D Mark III and continue with the 7D Mark II. It seemed like a counter intuitive call but I was between a rock and hard place. Faced with the pressure and need to capture some beautiful moments in constant motion and given the challenging situations, the 7D Mark II was clearly excelling beyond the capabilities of the 5D Mark III. For portraits and still life, the 5D Mark III makes the best images, hands down, especially in low light. However once the situation becomes dynamic, people moving, things changing, and all you have is but split second to get your shot and get it right, the 7D Mark II very quickly pulls ahead in all scenarios. The fast shutter speed, excess processing power of the dual DIGIC6 processors and incredibly effective AF in an almost dark room, metering all trumped whatever the 5D Mark III had to offer. It was eyeopening to experience like this. Over 80% of the shots were taken with the 7D Mark II. Most of those were with the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens.
I had a matter of seconds to get the three shots above. I bumped my ISO as high as I could tolerate and shot +/-2 HDR brackets with a fast enough shutter to get the full 10fps. I figured this would give me enough insurance and some options to fall back on in post processing in case any one of them didn’t work out. To my surprise, the camera was able to snag all three fast enough to compose some acceptable shots. More importantly I had untold creative flexibility in post processing. There were many more scenarios where the 7D Mark II just left the 5D Mark III in the dust in terms of versatility and capturing the action that evening with minimal fuss.
I am still confused why anyone would pay almost twice as much for the 5D Mark III. The improvements in image quality and trade offs are not worth it in my humble opinion. It must be Canon’s sick twisted joke on those hell bent having a full frame 35mm sensor…LOL.