The WorkhorseFor us it makes total sense to carry a zoom lens. We have a 28-75mm and a 24-70mm zoom lens each. Both of these are fixed aperture lenses at F2.8. These lenses don't have huge zoom capabilities, but it's just enough to give you a bit of play. The fixed aperture is a must! Nice and wide for plenty of bokeh, and it won't alter when you zoom. I don't see the point in carrying too many fixed prime lenses when the day is tiring enough without the extra weight. If you're shooting full frame, then these lenses have enough width to get some wide cutaway shots and big group shots. They are also wide enough for use on a 'steadycam'.
The extra zoom gives us the scope to focus in if something looks good in front of us, and we might be a bit far off. I really don't see the point of having to move in to position, then move back out to try and get what you want in the frame? There's enough moving about and run and gun going on without being limited to fixed lenses. The thing about weddings is that there's a lot of unpredictability. A wedding will have some elements set, but it's capturing the moments that just appear.
The Big LensThe next lens in out kit is a 70-200mm F2.8. Fixed aperture again. These lenses are just amazing. They really aren't too big, and this lens will be used for many parts of the day; The ceremony for starters. As a wedding videographer you don't want to position yourself too close to be intrusive so everyone can see you. What's more, you don't want to get in the shot of your second camera operator either. This lens gives you the scope to focus on the couple. It also has the ability to get in close for those special moments such as the rings, and the kiss.
If you position a videographer at the back then the 70-200mm has the reach to focus on the couple. Usually if I am at the front with this lens I will also have a second camera that can stay fixed a little wider. I would probably use my 24-70mm again, and why not. With every ceremony venue being different in size, these lenses make sense to give you the flexibility you need. This way there is no added pressure with how many lenses to carry about. When thinking of the next thing you'll need to shoot, you'll be thinking ahead to what lens to change.
So far both the 70-200mm F2.8, and the 24-70mm (or 28-75mm) F2.8 are in our kit for most of the day.
As The Light FadesThe duration of each wedding can differ depending on start time, and the elements in between. Sometimes by the time we get to the speeches we would like a bit more light. As well, some venues are just naturally dark, or small. Some don't have any windows so there's no natural light. We are actually considering investing in some simple, subtle LED lights. We don't want to flood everyone and spoil any mood, but if we can have one or two offset just to give some definition then this could be worthwhile.
During the speeches we may turn to 85mm F1.4. This is to open up the aperture as much as we can to allow more light in. Mostly I am fixed on the top table with two cameras, and the occasional 'reactions' shot. This element of a wedding day doesn't require me to move about, so I can afford to find a position where my fixed lens is happy. A lot depends on what space there is and where we've manage to perch ourselves. Often there isn't the luxury of the perfect position. So again I would favour the 70-200mm F2.8, should the distance and light allow. If it's a bit close then a 50mm F1.8 can be useful.
The second camera operator is focused on people reactions as well as occasionally on top table from another perspective. Occasionally this camera perspective may move. As this camera perspective requires a bit more flexibility to hunt for the reactions, the 70-200mm F2.8 is again ideal.
Ultimately when it comes to light it will depend on your camera set up. If your camera is good in low light then this gives you more scope with the lens you can use.
The FinaleWith the light gone the artificial illuminations become your friend, and the camera loves colourful lights. The lens of choice now is the 85mm F1.4 and 50mm F1.8, with the 70-200mm lenses most likely put to bed. We find that these are great for getting people shots and dancing. Of course, with the aperture wide open at F1.4, focusing on lots of movement is the challenge. There are some great auto-focus capabilities now, but depending on what you have your camera may be hunting. So, manual focusing may take over at this point. If necessary we may also use a 35mm F1.4 which can be used if anything wider is needed.
So there you have it, my opinion on the best wedding videography lenses to use. I'm not saying I wouldn't use any other lens, but with this list I am sure most weddings will work out OK.
Best Wedding Videography Lenses
24-70mm F2.8/28-75mm F2.8
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