Discussion Forum Leica S System S2 Advice need from wedding shooter
  • #1556
    GMB

    Two friends of mine getting married. Will a special one for as it is the first gay marriage I am going to attend. They did not get a professional photographer but asked me and a few other friends to shoot.

    My main issue is flash. The SF58 and I are simply not friends. Sometimes I get decent results but not because I control the thing but because I get lucky.

    I set the flash to HSS-TTL but I have no clue on how best to set the camera (P, A, or M, and if M, what M?).

    Any tips are much appreciated.

    In terms of lenses, I thought the 120 (for when I need some reach), the 70, and the 35.

    Thanks.

    Georg

  • #1559
    David Farkas

    GMB;1373 wrote: Two friends of mine getting married. Will a special one for as it is the first gay marriage I am going to attend. They did not get a professional photographer but asked me and a few other friends to shoot.

    My main issue is flash. The SF58 and I are simply not friends. Sometimes I get decent results but not because I control the thing but because I get lucky.

    I set the flash to HSS-TTL but I have no clue on how best to set the camera (P, A, or M, and if M, what M?).

    Any tips are much appreciated.

    In terms of lenses, I thought the 120 (for when I need some reach), the 70, and the 35.

    Thanks.

    Georg

    Georg,

    I'm not a wedding shooter, but here are settings that I'd recommend (assuming the event is indoors):

    SF-58 on TTL-HSS (preferably bounced if ceiling height allows)

    S2 on M, f/4 or f/5.6 @ 1/90th, ISO 320 (for more ambient available light feel, but less DOF, you could open up to f/2.8)

    I'd probably stick to the 35 and 70 lenses, and perhaps the 120 if you need more reach

  • #1560
    Pete Walentin

    David Farkas;1376 wrote: S2 on M, f/4 or f/5.6 @ 1/90th, ISO 320 (for more ambient available light feel, but less DOF, you could open up to f/2.8)

    David, my experience using this setup is that I have to push the exposure of the flash to +1 or maybe even more and of course this depending on the height of the ceiling and overall available light. But the general exposure of the picture is then much more balanced. (Think of ETTR).

    On top of this I never use the fill light indoor to avoid hard shadows.

    A funny side note: I was so clever to try out IKEA batteries at my last shooting. I never ever experienced batteries uncharging so extremly fast. A total waste of money. :p

  • #1565
    rgk

    if you plan upon remaining friends with the couple, I suggest that you hire a pro to shoot the wedding. It is not possible to please everybody and your failure to do so will net you a bruised ego or worse. I think that pros know this and build into their fees a bruised ego and pita surcharge.
    Another problem that you appear to have is that you use Leicas. An M9 catches details that nobody sees until they see the photo. An S2 has raised this famous Leica trick to a new level. It picks up blemishes and other invisible defects that a plastic surgeon needs a microscope to see.
    So if you are planning to use an S2, reconsider and use an M9. An M9 beating is less severe than an S2 beating.

  • #1576
    IceMan

    I used a rented S2 on a friends wedding recently. Absolutely amazing for outdoor shots (Bride to church, Exiting church , congratulation hugs and portraits) with the 120 and outdoor group pictures with the 35 and tripod. Stuck with the Nikon D3 for indoor shots incl inside the church, avoiding by this to having to use a flash at all except for very few exceptions (fill-flash). Covered a couple of street type situations before, during and after with the M9 and noctilux and 35 summilux.

    The couple liked the result quite a bit… especially the group shots with 120 people on a single frame (35mm) and being able to blow up every single face razor sharp 🙂 and print on a huge poster

    Liked the S2 so much, I ended up buying one … when there is lots of light, nothing beats the S2 … nothing

    When there's little light and you need that special 3D look, go with the M9

    When there's no light, go with the D3 😉 there is no substitute when you can take pictures on the dance floor with no flash …

    Can't comment on the S2 with flash though … not so sure about the added value over a D3 …

    Cheers
    Peter

  • #1581
    Jack MacD

    The SF-58 on the S2 does a fine job of flash in a difficult situation and has plenty of power for group photos.

  • #1588
    rgk

    Jack MacD;1399 wrote: The SF-58 on the S2 does a fine job of flash in a difficult situation and has plenty of power for group photos.

    The SF-58 notwithstanding, this photo is truly excellent compared to most other wedding photos that I have seen. The people here are happily gathered rather than the usual forced herd. Most pro wedding photographers probably learned their trade in the military as machine gunners. They just keep on shooting until they get lucky.

  • #1591
    Paratom

    Hi Georg,
    I agree that I would probably also bring the M9 with 2 fast lenses and use it for low light shots (except maybe the formal ones). I am much a fan of natural light.
    If I was shooting in an environment where the light doesnt change much I would also set the eposure manual and put the flash on Ittl to get the right mix between flash light and natural light.
    I have only shot on some wedding and I admit the one time when I was asked by a friend to be the “main” photographer I took a Nikon for its foolproff exp metering and flash. If one is the main photographer IMO the most important goal is to catch the moments without any risks.
    If one is “addtional” photographer I feel more compfortable and there is more room to experiment.
    In your case I would decide for some flash setting and really check it out a couple of times at home to make sure it really works reliably.
    Regards,Tom

  • #1593
    fotografz

    I AM a wedding photographer and use a M9, S2 and a Sony A900. I try to not “herd” people or “machine gun” them … LOL!

    Advising you isn't easy because I don't know where this is, or what timings you will be facing at this wedding. Outdoors/indoors, all indoors, big venue or small, very low light, big group shots or more casual and intimate? And whether you have any other camera to use besides the S2? (I'm NOT assuming you have a M9 and fast M optics).

    Using the SF58 isn't much different from using any flash system on-camera.

    The technique described by David is called “dragging the shutter”, meaning you can lower the shutter speed in dark conditions like indoors at a reception to capture more ambient background.

    This is possible because the foreground subject is being primarily lit by the flash, and the very short duration of the burst freezes the subject … up to a point. A good starting place in dark conditions is all manual camera and TTL/HSS flash “dragging the shutter” is ISO 640, 1/50th using the 35mm @ f/4.

    If you are not using one, I suggest adding a simple bounce diffuser like the Lumiquest version made for Metz flashes (B&H). You don't need this as much outdoors, but indoors it broadens and softens the light thrown forward while bouncing some light off the ceilings. Personally, I shoot the S2 with off-camera strobe and the SF58 in the hot-shoe for fill.

    BTW, if faced with very dark conditions, the main issue won't be just flash, it'll be focusing the M9 or S2 on rapidly moving subjects.

    Hopefully, you can do any group shots with the S2 outdoors in a shady area, or in a brightly lit area indoors … and use the SF58 for fill. If I can also suggest, remember to use the location as part of your images … the subjects need not fill the frame, especially with the S2.

    Or if they fill the frame, use the location as a meaningful prop … the group shot in front of the barn below was important to the Bride because it was a bird sanctuary she volunteered at.

    Also, while the S2 optics are indeed retina slicing sharp, the lighting will play a much larger role in rendering complexions … go for soft light … and if the light is good both in quality and direction just shoot available light.

    Lastly, look for ideas that stand out and are a bit different for the ordinary … it is easy to get caught up in the flurry and forget this.

    Attached files

  • #1594
    Roger

    Keep in mind that to use the approach that Marc uses ..you will need a skill level of 12 on a scale of ten . Using three systems provides real precision in picking the best equipment for each situation …but it also requires that you know your stuff. You can see he does but that takes years of experience and great familiarity with your equipment .

    I had my own wedding photography business and it paid my way thru graduate school. I used Hasselblad s not so much because they were MF and produced great quality but as much because they were bullet proof . Requirements have changed and digital if anything is less forgiving .

    Last year I shot 3 weddings ….and I used my Nikon s for each of them (I have the S2 and M9 systems ) . But I wanted a bullet proof system with on camera flash on a bracket (I know the benefits of getting the flash off the camera and Marc s approach is to be envied ) .

    So I got a domed diffuser (good old Gary Fong) ,bought a RRS bracket , set up the Sb900 and made sure I had a complete redundant system . I carried a D3/24-70/2.8 AF and D700/28/2 ZF . The D700 was set up to use just the on camera flash as fill. And I tested ,practiced and triple checked everything . Plus I visited the venue at the same time as the wedding the day before (late afternoon summer). I used two friends as back up photographers . You can t be in two places at once .

    I know its not popular but neither the M9 or the S2 are the ideal equipment choices unless you really know your equipment and you are used to shooting a lot of candid people shots .

    While the S2 would produce really stunning IQ as already pointed out ..it is unforgiving . I used my M9 at daughters wedding without flash ..great fun ..but I couldn t nail the focus around the dance floor . But nobody cared because we hired a professional who did a great job. I could shoot the people and situations that interested me ..no must get the shot stuff.

    So if you are shooting for the couple ..its different than shooting for yourself . And I would look for the easiest system to use first . And then I would practice with the flash until I was relaxed about it .

  • #1596
    GMB

    Dear all,

    First of all, a big THANK YOU for the very helpful advice and your time. I very much appreciate that.

    I have played around with the S2 and the SF58 this weekend, using David's advice of manual setting, and was quite pleased with the results. Will try next weekend with even lower shutter speeds. Also, I am about to order the Garry Feng diffuser and this should improve matters even further. So I am planning to use the S2 as my prime camera (shooting will be mostly indoors–the weather in Brussels in early December is unlikely inviting for outdoor shooting). I am using the system nor since February and feel reasonable comfortable, but will keep things simple.

    I will also take the M9 with a 50 lux and a 35 or 28 cron, as these lenses for me produces the best comprise between speed and focusing. I probably leave at home the 75 lux or the 50 f1, as I am likely to miss too many shots–less than perfect eyesight and bad light do not go together well. (OTOH, some shots may look good even if a bit soft).

    The main objective of the shooting will be to capture a few shots of the ceremony, and then candids during reception, lunch, and the party, something I feel quite comfortable shooting. And I am not the only shooter anyway.

    As regards razor sharpness, the good thing is that this time the bride wears a beard :D.

    Again, many thanks for the helpful advice!

    Georg

  • #1598
    fotografz

    GMB;1415 wrote: Dear all,

    First of all, a big THANK YOU for the very helpful advice and your time. I very much appreciate that.

    I have played around with the S2 and the SF58 this weekend, using David's advice of manual setting, and was quite pleased with the results. Will try next weekend with even lower shutter speeds. Also, I am about to order the Garry Feng diffuser and this should improve matters even further. So I am planning to use the S2 as my prime camera (shooting will be mostly indoors–the weather in Brussels in early December is unlikely inviting for outdoor shooting). I am using the system nor since February and feel reasonable comfortable, but will keep things simple.

    I will also take the M9 with a 50 lux and a 35 or 28 cron, as these lenses for me produces the best comprise between speed and focusing. I probably leave at home the 75 lux or the 50 f1, as I am likely to miss too many shots–less than perfect eyesight and bad light do not go together well. (OTOH, some shots may look good even if a bit soft).

    The main objective of the shooting will be to capture a few shots of the ceremony, and then candids during reception, lunch, and the party, something I feel quite comfortable shooting. And I am not the only shooter anyway.

    As regards razor sharpness, the good thing is that this time the bride wears a beard :D.

    Again, many thanks for the helpful advice!

    Georg

    Georg, my advice based on a lot of experience would be to be careful with the Fong diffuser. The SF58 will constantly flop forward due to the weight of that diffuser and it likes to fall off at the most inopportune times. Plus, it really wastes a lot of light by scattering it all over the place including behind you … okay in very tight quarters, but wasteful otherwise. You can add accessories to throw more light forward, but it adds even more weight to the unit.

    With the S2 you cannot afford to waste any light from the SF58.

    A couple of additional considerations:

    The Metz bounce for shooting landscape oriented group shots that I mentioned above:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/706726-REG/Metz_MZ_58235_Bounce_Diffuser.html

    And for general shooting indoors with Tungsten lighting where you just tilt the flash head at 45º and shoot. It helps with the color balance issue using daylight flash in a Tungsten environment … not great for long distance shots, but excellent at normal and close distances like at a reception and dancing shots.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/567736-REG/Sto_Fen_OC_MZ80GL_OC_MZ80GL_Gold_Omni_Bounce_for.html

    Personally, I find all these to be compromises for shooting people and now use a 12″ softbox on my SF58 when ever I can … either directly on-camera, or using a Nikon cord and Lowel grip to provide directional quality to the light:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/621560-REG/Interfit_STR104_STR104_Strobies_White_Interior.html

    Speaking of off-camera … that is the single most productive thing you can do creatively … I frequently use a radio controlled set-up with the SF58 set on A, and shoot one-handed which requires the use of a hand-strap. (see attached).

    Not trying to get complicated, just sharing alternative thoughts beyond just the OPs request, just in case anyone is interested in the possibilities with the Lighting and the S2,

    -Marc

    Attached files

  • #1600
    stephan

    Speaking of off-camera … that is the single most productive thing you can do creatively … I frequently use a radio controlled set-up with the SF58 set on A, and shoot one-handed which requires the use of a hand-strap. (see attached).

    I use this setup also with my pocket wizzards and flashes in M-mode. Will try this once with A-mode as well. The charme of the radio controls is that you don't need a specific flash, so I use my Nikon SB900.

  • #1602
    David Duffin

    fotografz;1417 wrote: Georg, my advice based on a lot of experience would be to be careful with the Fong diffuser. The SF58 will constantly flop forward due to the weight of that diffuser and it likes to fall off at the most inopportune times. Plus, it really wastes a lot of light by scattering it all over the place including behind you … okay in very tight quarters, but wasteful otherwise. You can add accessories to throw more light forward, but it adds even more weight to the unit.

    With the S2 you cannot afford to waste any light from the SF58.

    A couple of additional considerations:

    The Metz bounce for shooting landscape oriented group shots that I mentioned above:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/706726-REG/Metz_MZ_58235_Bounce_Diffuser.html

    And for general shooting indoors with Tungsten lighting where you just tilt the flash head at 45º and shoot. It helps with the color balance issue using daylight flash in a Tungsten environment … not great for long distance shots, but excellent at normal and close distances like at a reception and dancing shots.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/567736-REG/Sto_Fen_OC_MZ80GL_OC_MZ80GL_Gold_Omni_Bounce_for.html

    Personally, I find all these to be compromises for shooting people and now use a 12″ softbox on my SF58 when ever I can … either directly on-camera, or using a Nikon cord and Lowel grip to provide directional quality to the light:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/621560-REG/Interfit_STR104_STR104_Strobies_White_Interior.html

    Speaking of off-camera … that is the single most productive thing you can do creatively … I frequently use a radio controlled set-up with the SF58 set on A, and shoot one-handed which requires the use of a hand-strap. (see attached).

    Not trying to get complicated, just sharing alternative thoughts beyond just the OPs request, just in case anyone is interested in the possibilities with the Lighting and the S2,

    -Marc

    Marc,

    I'd like to get a handheld setup for the S2/SF58 combo similar to yours. Which radio remote do you use? Is the handstrap a Leica model?

    Thanks!

  • #1607
    David Duffin

    David Duffin;1421 wrote: Marc,

    I'd like to get a handheld setup for the S2/SF58 combo similar to yours. Which radio remote do you use? Is the handstrap a Leica model?

    Thanks!

    Marc,

    No need to reply — I found the details on one of your prior posts on l-camera forum…

    David

  • #1622
    vintola

    fotografz;1417 wrote: Georg, my advice based on a lot of experience would be to be careful with the Fong diffuser. The SF58 will constantly flop forward due to the weight of that diffuser and it likes to fall off at the most inopportune times. Plus, it really wastes a lot of light by scattering it all over the place including behind you … okay in very tight quarters, but wasteful otherwise. You can add accessories to throw more light forward, but it adds even more weight to the unit.

    With the S2 you cannot afford to waste any light from the SF58.

    A couple of additional considerations:

    The Metz bounce for shooting landscape oriented group shots that I mentioned above:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/706726-REG/Metz_MZ_58235_Bounce_Diffuser.html

    And for general shooting indoors with Tungsten lighting where you just tilt the flash head at 45º and shoot. It helps with the color balance issue using daylight flash in a Tungsten environment … not great for long distance shots, but excellent at normal and close distances like at a reception and dancing shots.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/567736-REG/Sto_Fen_OC_MZ80GL_OC_MZ80GL_Gold_Omni_Bounce_for.html

    Personally, I find all these to be compromises for shooting people and now use a 12″ softbox on my SF58 when ever I can … either directly on-camera, or using a Nikon cord and Lowel grip to provide directional quality to the light:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/621560-REG/Interfit_STR104_STR104_Strobies_White_Interior.html

    Speaking of off-camera … that is the single most productive thing you can do creatively … I frequently use a radio controlled set-up with the SF58 set on A, and shoot one-handed which requires the use of a hand-strap. (see attached).

    Not trying to get complicated, just sharing alternative thoughts beyond just the OPs request, just in case anyone is interested in the possibilities with the Lighting and the S2,

    -Marc

    Fotografz, I didn't find the answer about the handstrap. I am probably going to buy S2 and very interested about this handstrap. Is it Leica's or some third parties strap? – vintola –

  • #1637
    fotografz

    vintola;1441 wrote: Fotografz, I didn't find the answer about the handstrap. I am probably going to buy S2 and very interested about this handstrap. Is it Leica's or some third parties strap? – vintola –

    It is a Camdapter handstrap:

    http://camdapter.com

    I use one on each different camera I have. They come in basic black leather as shown on my S2 above, or a choice of some fun finishes (I use a Python Grey one on my Hasselblad H camera, which is also grey :-).

    The base I use is the Arca Neoprene Adapter … a Quick-Release base plate that fits an Arca QR system. It has a “dual Lug” design that allows you to have a hand strap AND a shoulder strap. The Arca base allows use on any Arca based tripod or Mono-Pod head.

    If you use a Really Right Stuff lever clamp for your QR, then the one to use is the Arca Plus Adapter.

    Also available in Standard and Manfroto base plates.

    -Marc

  • #1638
    vintola

    fotografz;1456 wrote: It is a Camdapter handstrap:

    http://camdapter.com

    I use one on each different camera I have. They come in basic black leather as shown on my S2 above, or a choice of some fun finishes (I use a Python Grey one on my Hasselblad H camera, which is also grey :-).

    The base I use is the Arca Neoprene Adapter … a Quick-Release base plate that fits an Arca QR system. It has a “dual Lug” design that allows you to have a hand strap AND a shoulder strap. The Arca base allows use on any Arca based tripod or Mono-Pod head.

    If you use a Really Right Stuff lever clamp for your QR, then the one to use is the Arca Plus Adapter.

    Also available in Standard and Manfroto base plates.

    -Marc

    Thank You fotografz. Probably the Leica's own handstrap is suitable only if using the additional handgrip/battery compartment. – vintola –

  • #1645
    Paratom

    fotografz;1456 wrote: It is a Camdapter handstrap:

    http://camdapter.com

    I use one on each different camera I have. They come in basic black leather as shown on my S2 above, or a choice of some fun finishes (I use a Python Grey one on my Hasselblad H camera, which is also grey :-).

    The base I use is the Arca Neoprene Adapter … a Quick-Release base plate that fits an Arca QR system. It has a “dual Lug” design that allows you to have a hand strap AND a shoulder strap. The Arca base allows use on any Arca based tripod or Mono-Pod head.

    If you use a Really Right Stuff lever clamp for your QR, then the one to use is the Arca Plus Adapter.

    Also available in Standard and Manfroto base plates.

    -Marc

    Hi Marc,
    by the way thanks for the tip – I have that strap on my camera for some months now and it works really good. Tom

  • #1738
    Jheroun

    Marc,

    That's a very smart set-up. I've tried to locate the grip you have on the SF58, but no luck. Where did you get it?

    Thanks,

    Joe

  • #1744
    fotografz

    B&H Joe,

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/605593-REG/Kirk_AG_1_AG_1_Action_Grip_for.html

    You'll need a ARCA type quick release plate in the camera … or the dual lug ARCA version available on the Camadapter site.

    -Marc

  • #1748
    GMB

    All–A belated thank you for the helpful advice I received. Not everything went as planned but I got many good shots and the couple was very happy with the results. In particular, I go a group shot of the 50+ guests with the sun coming from front right (so not ideal). It looked ok on the screen, but was quite spectacular when printed 60×25 cm. I did the print in the time between the late lunch and the evening reception and folks were quite impressed :D. It demonstrated that where the S2 really shines is when you print the files.

    Merry Christmas to all of you!

    Georg

  • #1788
    Jheroun

    It's on the way. Already have the strap in place and it's great. Many thanks!

    Joe

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