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October 2008

Canon DSLRS and lenses are the favoured choice of many of the world’s best wedding photographers who are shooting some astonishing images to document those special ‘happy days’ around the world. CPN spoke to three of the world’s best wedding shooters to find out which lenses they preferred – from super wideangles to zooms - and why.


Joe Buissink.

Joe Buissink

Beverley Hills-based photographer Joe Buissink’s wedding client list reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Hollywood. In a 12-year career Joe has shot the nuptials of the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Hillary Swank, Kelsey Grammer, Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis and US baseball legend Barry Bonds. He is also a regular travelling lecturer on photography and has taught in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Russia and the US.

Joe is a relatively recent convert to digital as he still enjoys using film with an EOS-1V. However, he explains: “I’m still a film shooter but I have incorporated digital as well. As soon as I got my paws on the EOS 5D and started shooting at ISO 1600, that was it. I needed something that would keep colour well, be full frame and shoot at high speeds.”

© Joe Buissink

This bridal portrait was shot by Joe Buissink using the Canon EF85mm f/1.2L II USM lens.

He approaches wedding shoots with four cameras – two EOS 5D digital SLRs and two EOS-1V film SLR cameras. The 5D he carries has the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM attached. “The 24-70mm lens is really my workhorse,” he says, “I find this zoom lens to be one of the strongest. It gives me a wideangle and a medium telephoto in one.”

Joe’s assistant carries his other 5D fitted with the EF85mm f/1.2L II USM. He adds: “Type II of this lens is a bit faster and it is my all time favourite lens. There are instances – like when I’m shooting the bride getting ready – that it comes into its own.”

His two EOS-1V cameras are fitted with the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM and the EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM respectively. “The 16-35mm allows me to get in tight on dancing and the closeness of the reception. As for the 70-200mm I love this for during the ceremony where the couple can’t see what’s being shot, so I can capture the essence of the occasion,” Joe explains.

Joe’s kitbag is rounded out with the EF14mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF50mm f/1.2L USM and the EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM prime lenses. He tells CPN: “I use the macro for details - rings, wedding cakes, all these sorts of shots. The 50mm f/1.2 I think is absolutely stunning. Once you get used to it, it’s a gorgeous lens. That’s a good set of tools – I always look for the best glass.”

© Joe Buissink

Shot with the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens Joe Buissink managed to stay inconspicuous when taking this image.

Joe recounts his shooting philosophy: “I like full frame on the 5D because I shoot film, so I don’t want to have to deal with the crop factor. I want a 24-70mm zoom to be exactly that.” He adds: “People often ask me what filters I use but if I buy a really good piece of glass the last thing I’m going to do is put a cheap piece of glass in front of it.”

“I’m more of a zoom guy for weddings as I like being inconspicuous. I shoot single shot, lock the centre focus, and never use motordrive, so I don’t need high speed shooting,” he reveals. “I’ve always fallen in love with the images files I got out of the 5D.”

© Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson.

Kevin Wilson

Widely acknowledged as one of Europe’s top wedding and portrait photographers Kevin Wilson is based in Dorset, England and thus far has scooped an amazing 17 Kodak European Gold Awards in a 17-year career. He also holds the rare distinction of being a Fellow of the Master Photographers Association, the British Institute of Professional Photography and the Royal Photographic Society.

To shoot weddings Kevin arrives armed with two EOS-1Ds Mark III bodies as he explains: “I like to have two cameras the same so that I have the same settings on each one. Shooting then becomes second nature – it’s like having a second hand.” His favourite three Canon lenses for shoots are the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM, the EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM and the EF85mm f/1.2L II USM.

© Kevin Wilson

He reveals: “In the past I used to shoot medium format and the lenses were different, but I’m trying to get something like that sort of quality from digital. I do quite like the Canon prime lenses but I have to say the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM takes a lot of bettering - that’s the lens that’s on my camera most of the time.”

He adds frankly: “I have bought other camera makes in the past but I decided to go down the Canon route and I don’t see any point in me ever having to change camera. I’ve got the tools for the job.”

Kevin explains: “ If I want to do a nice portrait I’ll put the 85mm f/1.2 lens on. I hardly ever use a flashgun – my style of photography is on location shot with available light, shot with RAW files.” When pushed for an absolute favourite Canon optic Kevin admits: “There’s no one real perfect lens but if I had to choose one it’d be the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM. It’s fairly wide and I like to include a lot of background in images.”

As for what will be his next lens choice? “I’m about to buy either the EF14mm f/2.8L II USM or the EF20mm f/2.8 USM,” replies Kevin.

© Joe Dickie

Anil Tohani.

Anil Tohani

Anil Tohani is a UK-based photographer who was recently voted fourth in a list naming the top ten wedding photographers in the UK. He specialises in a documentary-style approach to wedding photography and although based in the south east of England Anil travels worldwide to document weddings. He primarily covers Asian weddings and on his website aptly describes himself as a ‘Wedding Photojournalist’.

© Anil Tohani

Abstract behind the scenes shots often capture the culture involved in Asian weddings. This was shot by Anil Tohani with an EF85mm f/1.2L II USM lens.

Anil has switched from using an EOS 5D body to operating with two EOS-1D Mark III bodies. Although he has at least seven Canon EF lenses amongst his equipment Anil’s trio of most favoured optics in his kit bag are the EF24mm f/1.4L USM, the EF50mm f/1.2L USM and the EF85mm f/1.2L II USM. The other pieces of glass in his bag are the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM, the EF35mm f/1.4L USM, and the EF135mm f/2L USM.

In fact the 24mm is the standout optic for him: “The 24mm is my favourite, I always have it on one EOS-1D Mark III body. Really it’s just the width that it gives.” Anil adds: “I just love shooting wide. The 24mm is actually also a lovely lens on the EOS 5D because I love the full frame shooting with that camera.”

On his other EOS-1D Mark III body Anil tends to alternate between the EF50mm f/1.2L USM and the EF85mm f/1.2L II USM. He explains: “On my other EOS-1D Mark III I have used the 85mm to get close details and to take away some of the distracting backgrounds”.

© Anil Tohani

Wideangle coverage of a happy couple shot on the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

So what about the 50mm? “I use it as a general lens. In many ways I prefer it to the 85mm as it focuses faster and is lighter to use on the EOS-1D Mark III. It’s a very good lens.”

As for Anil’s next choice of lens he explains: “The EF14mm f/2.8L II USM is something I’d love to get my hands on. It’s just super wide and, as I said before, I love shooting wide. I’ve heard great things about it and would love to get shooting with it.”