My wife, son, and I recently enjoyed a family wedding in Ogunquit, Maine. We live on the coast just a couple of hours north, so it was a pleasant little drive for us to join the extended clan for a few days.
I’ve photographed weddings as a primary or side business for decades, and even when I’m just a guest I tend to fall back into that mode…standing off to the side with a Canon 5D and zooms. But no more! Since selling off the full frame gear I’m happy to be a mere spectator.
Wait…what? You really did sell off your gear, you ask? Yes, the FedEx man came by last week and picked up my entire FF kit in two boxes. Holy moly. And for anyone contemplating such a move let me recommend mpb.com. I’d never heard of them, but the entire process has been like ripping off a band-aid…quick and painless.
I approached the sale by looking at both completed auctions on eBay and current used offerings on Amazon. This helped me determine two prices for each piece of gear: The minimum I’d accept, and the likely best selling price. I totaled up both columns and had a Min and Max figure for the whole lot. I planned to post everything on eBay, but then I heard about MPB and sent the list of gear to them. Their offer was essentially my Min figure, lump sum, with no risk of returns or deadbeats, and no commission or shipping fees. Got my check in less than a week. Done and dusted.
Right, so back to the ceremony. I sat in the middle of the third row just like any guest with my tiny Lumix GX85, and only occasionally popped up to fire off a shot using the rear screen. Same during the reception. I totally enjoyed the entire day, and never felt like I should be documenting it. Just shot what I saw. Fantastic.
As for equipment, the ‘kit’ lenses did good service, and the Leica DG 15mm f1.7 [30mm-e] was terrific in lower light. However, I dislike changing lenses, especially in windy outdoor conditions. Ideally I’d like to have a ‘normal’ zoom with more reach and better speed than the kit 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 [24-64mm-e] and after the wedding I purchased a more do-it-all zoom for the Lumix: the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 12-60mm f2.8-4 ASPH [24-120mm-e]. [Note: I’ve adopted Mike Johnston’s notation for 35mm equivalent focal lengths…the ‘-e’ suffix.]
I’ve had the 12-60mm for a week or two now, and like it very much. Although, I have to say side-by-side IQ tests with the inexpensive and compact kit lens are very comparable. And, the Leica lens is noticeably heavier on the shoulder. As such, the 12-32mm isn’t going anywhere, and looks to spend more time on the slim little GX85 than I anticipated. I just rented a Lumix G9, and the larger normal zoom, as well as any longer Leica DG lenses that I may acquire down the road, could be more well suited to the larger body.
So, I didn’t bring pro gear, and didn’t stand apart from the crowd looking for my ‘go-to’ shots. Does this mean I missed some keepers? Probably. Did that hurt? A bit.
But at the end of the day, and end of a career, you realize that’s not what matters. Being there, being present, and taking home a couple of nice images is the goal.
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