Choosing the Best 35mm Wedding Lens

1 of 4 Female wedding photographer on Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Bay, CA

This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License Author: Mike Baird

1 of 4 Female wedding photographer on Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Bay, CA

Wedding photography is a specialized field of this art form, which is dedicated to obtaining the most memorable moments in various creative ways. A photographer can take their own approach towards this subject. While some prefer the traditional ‘posed’ ways, there are others who base their photographs purely on the actual moment. Photographers can also make these pictures fashionable with particular themes when agreed upon by the client. There are many cases where  glamorous wedding photographs are captured in the studio. Today, many people are willing to explore new ideas, which open up many new creative avenues for experts in wedding photography.

Camera Equipment:

Since each photographer has their own preferences,  let' start with the best quality first: 8x10 or 4x5 or view cameras. Those cameras are the oldest models on earth, however they are still widely used in commercial photography.

Large format

Large format cameras are stationary and must to be installed before use. The advantage of these cameras is the ability to record images on 4" x 5" or 8" x 10" negative size, which gives the ability to make huge enlargements. Images can be enlarged and mounted on billboards, buildings, freeways, etc.,. These cameras also use superb lenses, with guaranteed excellent contrast and sharpness.

Another advantage of this type of photo equipment is ability to manipulate with image during the actual shot by changing angle of the negative position therefore changing the light angle coming in. When used professionally, this equipment  creates heart-beating effects in your photographs. 4x5 cameras also known as large format cameras are rarely used for photographing weddings because of their huge sizes, installation and reloading time. They are many times less flexible than a 35mm, medium or digital camera.

A film sheet needs to be reloaded before each shot. This severely limits the use of the camera for only formal shots. The main use of this camera is in static commercial studio photography. Another disadvantage is the high cost per image shot. Imagine that every picture would cost around $20 and this is prior to any photographer fees.

Medium format

This format is smaller (2.25" x 2.25") than 4 x 5, but still produces relatively large film negatives. These type of cameras also have a wide variety of lenses available. Medium format cameras are still used by some wedding photographers.

The advantage of medium format is high resolution. Its 2.25" x 2.25" negative size is roughly three times larger than 35 mm negatives, and images up to 20 " x 30" can be made without loss of detail. Some professionals believe that the medium format creates much sharper and clearer photographs than 35mm, even when it comes to small images. Medium format cameras use twelve or twenty four exposure rolls of film. Reloading takes only a few minutes, depending on the camera model and the photographer's skills. While medium format cameras can be used in traditional wedding photography with excellent results, 35mm or 35mm DSLR equipment is now preferred by most wedding photographers.


Over the past decade, 35mm cameras have become increasingly popular among wedding photography as a result of significant improvements in film, camera and lens quality. These small, yet professional cameras are much more convenient to use and with much faster shooting.

35mm cameras are compact, fast and light, qualities that are of tremendous importance for event photography. Reloading can be done in seconds, and each roll of film holds up to 36 frames, which means that fewer shots will be missed while reloading. The lenses made for newer 35mm cameras are sharp and fast.

Detailed prints can be made up to 20" x 30" using the sharpest 35mm film, but most people never consider ordering images this large. Most photo albums accept a maximum photograph size of 8"x10". Coupled with 35mm low cost and flexibility, is the reason for the 35mm camera's use in wedding photography.


The recent and very powerful competitor in wedding photography is of course the 35mm digital camera. Just as negative size determines picture quality in film photography, size of the sensor, or number of pixels, determines the quality in digital photography. Digital camera sensor quality has improved dramatically, increasing from the 640 x 480 or 0.309 Megapixels cameras of just a few years ago to 40 Megapixels or even bigger sensor sizes today, yielding extremely sharp images that can be enlarged even to a wall sizes (depending upon the camera).

Digital photo equipment has many technological advantages over film cameras: Zero reloading time, no processing or scanning and perhaps the most important (unlike film) the photographer can set the sensitivity (ISO) on the fly.


Digital vs. non-digital photography

The same or better quality

There is virtually zero processing time (most photographers however will post process photos in Photo Shop or other image editing software).

There are no film negatives.  This means there is no chance of bad processing or damaged film. (There could be some chances of corrupted data could happen).

Time resistance - digital images stored on a hard disk drive or CD won't fade, and images can be printed over and over

Faster turnaround time (as low as immediately. Generally most photographers will post process images)

Easy to share with friends using online galleries and email

Which Lenses?

Many times you will be in a church where no flash photography is allowed. You need a fast lens of f/2.8 of faster. You can use an 17-55mm f/2.8 or 70-200mm f/2.8 for the rest. Or if flash is allowed, you could use an 18-200mm VR lens.  Basically this would give you the similar results to the two lenses.

Fast 17-55 range lenses

Fast 70-200mm Lenses

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