Using the Sony A7II + Mitakon 50mm f0.95 For Wedding Photography

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About Will Chao

"Please follow through to read a bit more about me, a bit more about how I work and why I do so, your wedding is one of the most important events of your life, and I am dedicated to capturing the natural beauty, happiness and joy of your day, working tirelessly to bring you the very best in photographic quality.
My cameras will constantly be firing throughout your day, expertly capturing everything from your doting bridesmaids helping you get ready, to the eye contact you make with your partner during the ceremony, to the laughs and excitement during the reception.
My goal is to make you look your best on your Wedding Day – whether this involves our distinctly photojournalistic capture of your ceremony and reception, or whether it means our expert directions during group photos and bridal party photos, I guarantee that you will cherish your beautiful Wedding photos for the Rest of your Lives."

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A little about me

First, I’m a wedding photographer based in Melbourne, Australia.
Second, I’m a HUGE fan of large aperture lenses. I shoot every lens almost 100% of the time at the maximum aperture possible. At any given wedding, over 90% of my photos are taken with 35mm F1.4, 85mm F1.2, and 200mm F2.0, each at its widest aperture setting. I’m also one of the few people who use F1.2/F1.4 for group shots.

I also have a Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art lens, beautiful, beautiful piece of glass, image quality is extraordinary, but I still find the aperture a bit tiny. That’s why I bought the A7 II + Mitakon 50mm F0.95 combo, because I just simply have to have the largest aperture possible that is within my wallet depth.

I get criticised for this a lot: “What if you want to vary the DOF?”, “What if you want multiple subjects in focus?” “You’re one of those newbs who think aperture is everything” etc. blah blah

Do I run into depth of field issues? Well not necessarily. Of course, stopping down the aperture is an easy way to increase the depth of field, but where’s the fun in that! I always say, if I buy a 85mm F1.2L and use it at F2.8 most of the time, it’s literally worse than simply using a 70-200 F2.8 IS.

Instead, stopping down is the last thing I do to get multiple subjects in focus. I frequently adjust my distance, adjust my position, adjust my altitude in order to align subjects within the same focal plane, this not only adds a bit of challenge to an otherwise boring setup, it also helps me creatively by thinking outside the box. After awhile, it really becomes second nature and I don’t really think about it when I’m shooting anymore.
Anyway, enough about that, because you’re here to see how the 50mm F0.95 holds up in the real world!

Reason I’m doing this article/review is, well, we’ve all see tons of specialty lens reviews, but when it comes to large aperture, there’s something that always makes me cringe:
WHY DO EVERYONE REVIEW 1.2/0.95/1.4 LENSES ON CLOSE UP SUBJECTS, then comment on how unusable the shallow DOF is.

I honestly don’t know anyone who would buy a F0.95 lens just to shoot leaves or a pencil case, at that distance of course the DOF is 1mm and the resulting image will look no better than a F5.6 lens.

I’m rambling again, so here we go
Firstly, I am truly impressed with this camera, it is everything my trusty 5D Mark III is not, it has no focus inaccuracy issues (when using AF lenses), it has a true what-you-see-is-what-you-get viewfinder, and the lightness is just the cherry on top. I am also a proud owner of a 50,000 mAh powerbank so I can charge the camera in the car as I move from location to location. There is no EVF lag what-so-ever with a F0.95 lens, no matter how dark it is. By the way, did I tell you I can shoot in almost pitch darkness with the combination of such an extreme aperture, great high ISO performance and the 5-axis in-body stabilisation?

Sharpness is not great, as expected from a F0.95 lens. But it’s not terrible either.

As far as multiple people go, there’s no reason you can’t get everyone in focus with F0.95
The key to aligning the focal plane is don’t just think on the x-axis, think on the y and z-axis as well.

Of course, trying to manual focus at a wedding is no easy feat. Tracking is even harder but is made easier with the EVF, focus peaking also gives you a great starting point but it can be inaccurate sometimes.

Summary
The Mitakon 50mm F0.95 is a very welcome addition to my line-up of fast primes. The Sony A7 II also pleasantly surprised me in ways more than one, and the quality of the Sony sensor really is in another class compared to my 5D Mark III. Yeah I said it!

Now I just need to wait for the new A7r II and hope it can deliver the expectations of fast AF’ing Canon glass, by then I probably have no need for the Canon bodies.

So yeah I hope you enjoyed these photos, I will be doing a A7r II review once it’s out (If Sony is reading this, feel free to send me a review copy :P), and thanks so much for visiting! Feel free to comment down below any thoughts or questions you may have.

Credits
First wedding venue: Montsalvat
Second wedding venue: Butleigh Wootton
First wedding photographed in conjunction with Clarte Photography


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