Past wedding I gave myself a challenge. The one lens challenge. I had a Sony A7 mark III with the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4.0G OSS at my disposal to create some magic. Although I’m used to having 2 camera body’s with me and a whole bunch of lenses, I wasn’t too concerned about having only one camera body and one lens. That is, because of the dual card slot that Sony finally has implemented in their camera bodies, and the versatility of the 24-105 lens. Would I do it again? Probably not.. But did it pass the test? It certainly did!
“Did it pass the test? It certainly did!”
I remember the first few weddings I did, all that gear I took with me. I took 2 camera’s, a whole bunch of batteries, a few lenses, a few flashes, and a lot of accessories with me, to make sure I was prepared for anything. Still, I thought I didn’t have enough to cover everything I want. But during my years of photography I have learned that having as much gear as possible, is less important then mastering the gear you own. Knowing the capabilities and the limitations of your gear. And far more important, know your own capabilities and limitations. If you master the art of photography, and master your own craft, you naturally need less gear to fulfill your needs. I’m not saying I’m a master of photography, but I like to think that I know what I’m doing.
The gear I dragged with me back in 2016
The only gear I had with me past wedding, was an Sony A7iii, the Sony 24-105 f/4 G lens, 2 flashes, SD cards, 2 extra batteries and a Takumar 50mm f/1.4 just in case. I cheated by using the Takumar with macro tubes for the ring shot, but I could’ve used the 24-105. I covered all shots that I needed to take, and I’m not dissapointed with the results (the clients aren’t either). I just had a small backpack to fit everything in, and I must say, it felt good. No need to switch lenses all the time, no need to drag big bags with me. The more I take with me, the more I feel the urge to use it all. And with this minimal gear, I felt free. I could concentrate to make some art, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I took better pictures because of that.
“I took better pictures because of that”
That being said, I do like having an extra camera body with me just in case, or to switch lenses quicker, and I do like to have some extra lenses with me to give different looks to my pictures. The 24-105 gives very nice compression and pleasing background seperation on the longer end, but offcourse a faster lens will give more background seperation, more pleasing bokeh and will probably be sharper too. The 24-105 can focus pretty close to small object, but offcourse a a macrolens would be much better and sharper. The 24-105 in combination with the A7iii can still make beautiful pictures in darker environments, but offcourse a faster prime or zoom will be cleaner. The 24-105 can go pretty wide, but offcourse a dedicated wide-angle prime or zoom will be wider.
“There’s always better gear out there”
All in all, there’s always better gear out there for the job, but if you’re on a budget and can only affort one camera and one lens, or if your space is tight to be packing, I would highly recommend this combination. The lens is not cheap, but because of the longer end of 105mm, it’s more versatile then a 24-70. It’s only f/4, but it’s sharp wide open, and with the low-light capabilities of the Sony camera’s, you can mostly get away with it.
Would I do this again? Probably not. I would take some specialised lenses with me like primes, in combination with a faster zoom. My clients pay a lot of money for their wedding to be captured, so I want to deliver them the best pictures possible. But again, if you want to travel lighter or cheaper, this is your combination.
I’m curious though, if YOU could only take ONE lens with you, to a wedding, to travel, to anything really, which one would you take with you, and why? Leave it in the comments below.