Digital Darrell Does a Wedding...Digitally
©MMII by Darrell Young
Volume 2 - Issue 31 - Aug. 30, 2002
The bride arrived at the church at 1:30 pm, but Digital Darrell was already onsite and ready for imaging. My film-based Nikon® F5 and its digital companion, the D100, was turned on and ready for fast action. Fast action is what happened!

Those among us that have shot weddings realize the incredible speed with which events unfold before, during, and after the ceremony. Everybody in the building is stressed out of their minds on this the "happiest" day for the bride and groom.

Without a powerful combination of cameras and flash, the wedding photographer would be in trouble. As it was, my two memory capturing devices didn't let me down. The F5 was as ready as it's always been, but today a newcomer, the D100, was with us. How would it do under stress? Could it even begin to keep up with the fast-paced action like the F5 could?

At first I wasn't entirely sure, so I depended heavily on the F5. I never like to enter a live wedding situation with unfamiliar equipment, so my F5 was my friend. With it, I shot the most important shots first. Only after they were recorded, did I use the D100. I was waiting for a full D100 picture buffer, or a slow focus to give me a problem, and if so, the D100 would be retired to the camera bag quickly.

It never happened!

As I used the D100 more and more, I realized that it was very capable of performing in a wedding environment. I shot with the F5, waited a moment for a new angle and used the D100.
The F5 was slightly faster, but I had NO idea how my images were turning out with it. I was depending on my experience in shooting past weddings to make sure the images were nice. In contrast, my D100 was happy to show me any image I wanted to see, RIGHT NOW!

This was a new experience for me. I could use the D100 like a polaroid, take a picture, look to see the effect, erase it, or shoot on. After a short while, I became addicted. I found that I was shooting FIRST with the D100, then the F5. By the end of the formal portraits, which were shot just before the wedding ceremony, I realized something, and was shocked. The D100 was not only capable of shooting a wedding, but using it was easier and much more reassuring to me. I could see the results of each shot if I wanted. That means a lot!

It only takes a couple of seconds to push the little monitor button, see the picture, and start shooting again. I didn't even bother to turn the monitor off, since it shut down on its own in ten seconds. I could have set the monitor to come on by itself for a few seconds after each shot, but, I wasn't interested in seeing each shot, and did not want to waste batteries. I thought for sure that the batteries would fail at a bad moment, since digital cameras are well know for sudden battery death. I kept on shooting, and shooting, and shooting...for two days and 400+ images. The battery monitor didn't even drop to the first notch. I was delighted!

As I progressed through the ceremony, and on into the reception that lasted until 11 P.M. that night, my faithful F5 and D100 continued to perform. I ran out of film at about 10:00 pm, after shooting ten rolls of Fuji NPS, and was then forced (or freed) to use the D100 exclusively.

Everyone was dancing to beat the band. I was shooting even faster. All around me were revelers eating cake, drinking wine, dancing, laughing...a photographers dream. And here I was with one of Nikon's latest cameras. Free to shoot at will, model releases signed. And shoot I did. By the time this
reception was finished, I had polished off over 750 images. 360 were on film with the F5, and 400 were with my new, and now familiar D100.

I shoot a wedding differently than some. Instead of offering a few expected pictures, I want to capture the entire event...completely. In a few years, when the couple, or their kids are looking back, those memories are irreplaceable. I haven't broken 1000 images on a wedding yet, but it's not for trying.

Hey, guess what, I figured something out. I saved my clients over $175.00 USD in film processing costs by using the D100. (400 / 36 = 11 rolls at $16.00 each)
That doesn't even include the savings on the 11 rolls of NPS film. Whew! Digital cameras are expensive, but then you can shoot until you drop. No extra cost!

During the entire wedding, the D100 never missed a beat. It handled just like a Nikon is supposed to handle. I made some 11x14 prints from the digital group shot above. My processor used one of the
LightJet printers that writes directly on real photo paper with a laser beam, and then the image is processed chemically like a regular wet print. I was completely BLOWN AWAY, as were my clients. I, personally, have never seen a 35mm image deliver that kind of quality. Smooth, no grain, rich colors. (Sigh!)

My next wedding will be more digital than film based. Over the next few years I will phase film completely out of the picture. The digital quality is very high, every bit as good as NPS film. That's a bold statement. If you don't agree, go have some D100 digital images printed on a LightJet printer. Maybe your mind will change, after you put your eyeballs back in your head. The D100's images are that good. Find out for yourself. I will never shoot medium format in a wedding again! There is no longer any reason to do so.

If you don't have a D100 yet, go get one RIGHT NOW! You are missing out on hundreds (or thousands) of mostly free images that are higher quality and easier to work with than 35mm film based. I'll pay for my camera in only a few weeks of using it. The cost savings on processing are that great in a commerical environment. Did you get that. Read my lips, "No more tax...er, processing fees!" We are free!

Thanks for stopping by! Keep on taking digital pictures...



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