Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shooting a Prom with a Manual Focus Lens

Last year I shot 2 proms, Sri Aman's and Sri Permata's proms. While they were both great experiences, I didn't have the right gear with me - Nikon D60 with Tamron 17-50 was just pathetically slow. I did however get some decent shots, some were better than I had hope. While the buzzing focusing noise made by the Tamron annoyed me, it got the job done. I tried the D60 with the 70-200mm as well, and it was painfully front-heavy. I didn't bother to mount the 50mm f/1.8 because of the manual-focus only option, and the 'too-smooth' manual focus ring.

A year has passed, and here I am with a similar situation. Though I wish I was chosen to shoot Sri Aman's prom again, to make it 2 years in a row, they weren't interested. Then again, now I can focus on doing the best I can for Assunta's Prom, which is tomorrow night!

Out with the old, in with the new

12 months on after shooting my first prom, a lot has changed in the gear department. I no longer use my D60, it is now hibernating in its box kit box. Won't be taking it out for a while, it deserves some rest after being heavily used for the last 2 years. Forward comes the D700. While this magnificent camera has been around for 2 and a half years, mine has only been around for about 5 months. And mounted on my camera is no longer the Tamron, it is now the rightful place for the Zeiss 2/35. And on the hotshoe of the D700 is still the Nikon SB-600. Sure the SB-900 is fantastic (also pricey and huge!) and the SB-700 just came out with impressive specs, but the trusty oldie in the form of the SB-600 does everything I need it to do. Having said that, I am considering on buying the SB-700, but not anytime soon. And if you have viewed my latest photo, I mentioned that my new tripod just arrived. The Jusino tripod is so flexible, seems like the legs can fold in all sorts of angles ! It is also cheap (not the materials mind you, its made of Aluminium which makes it lightweight and strong - though not as strong as some other models, I'm okay with it.), I bought it from Shashinki and its far cheaper than other brands that I checked. What I also have now is a circular polarizer for the Zeiss 35mm, but I probably won't use it much during the prom. So, 1 camera with 1 lens attached, 1 tripod, that's all that's mine.

Gear for Prom Night

Nikon D700
Carl Zeiss 2/35
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 (borrowed)
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VRII (borrowed)
Nikon SB-600
Jusino AX-253 tripod with BT-02 Ballhead

Looks like I've got it all covered, from semi wide-angle to telephoto. I wish I have another option on the wide end, my wallet doesn't allow that for now. What I have my eye on is the Carl Zeiss 2.8/21, though the lens is still far away from my reach. RM6000 a pop, might be years before I get to purchase this legendary lens. Half the price of that, the Carl Zeiss 1.4/85 is also on top of my wishlist. However the much cheaper Nikon 85mm f/1.8 is a wonderful lens for not that much, so I haven't decided which portrait lens to go with yet. Okay enough future talk, lets focus on the present and the prom itself! Basically the 6 are all I'm bringing, stuffed into a Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home, except for the tripod which came with a nice little case!

What to shoot tomorrow

Mostly I'll be taking portraits, group shots, some scenery settings, but mostly of the prom committee and the guests! So, mostly portraits really. I don't have a problem with it, though some may not appreciate it when I manually focus the 2/35 and not have the patience to wait for me to snap their photos. Hopefully not, hoping for the best! But I'm limiting the use of the Zeiss to only group shots, and the 50mm to individual portraits, so that should make my job easier. I'm also hoping I'd be strong enough to hold the 70-200mm without screaming in pain! The focus is really on the Prom committee, can't wait to meet them!

Since I'm leaving for the prom at noon, and the event lasts until midnight, and I have work almost the entire day the following day, I won't be blogging for a few days. Hopefully I'll be back with some nice prom pictures :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ihsan!Long time no see! =P
    Didn't know u are soooo talented!! Went through some of the prom's photos too,they are AWESOME!
    Anyway,I am going to shoot for my course's prom night this April, so I was googling about photography tips for prom/ what lens to use. Your blog turns out to be on the 1st page on the result, such a coincidence hahaha
    When are u coming back to Malaysia? We all miss you =D
    -Yee Seng-