best lens for wedding photography

Today, we will be taking a look at what we feel is the best lens for wedding photography when using a Nikon d5300 camera. Before getting into the article, we would like to point out that the d5300 is an entry level camera but we would not feel comfortable recommending entry-level lenses for paid client work such as wedding photography.

Due to this, we have avoided entry-level lenses and specifically chosen lenses that are still relatively budget friendly while also offering some excellent bang for your buck. We will also be featuring two different lenses in the article rather than one to cover the two main styles of wedding photography that the vast majority of wedding photographers utilize during a wedding. Both are excellent bits of kit and great investments that will help improve your wedding photography performance for many years to come.

Best Camera For Photography Under 50000

The Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S

In our opinion, the best lens for wedding photography when using a Nikon d5300 is the Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S (Click here to check for product prices and availability). It really is an excellent lens that will serve you, your d5300, and your paying clients well when it comes to wedding photography. It has an excellent build quality, offers some of the best performance for its price point in the market, and its functionality is ideal for photographing weddings.

This has made it a very popular lens that has plenty of reviews (click here to read some of them) that have been posted by independent wedding photographers. We would highly recommend that you read some of those reviews as the give a direct insight into the performance of the lens from independent wedding photographers posting their honest opinions.

The 28-70mm focal length of this lens is perfect for weddings. It allows you to use this lens in a large number of wedding situations and capture photographs without issue. The lower levels of its zoom are perfect for group photographs or for when you are wanting to capture a large amount of the background in addition to your subject with great image quality.

A photograph captured within the focal length of the Nikon 28-70mm giving an idea of the type of image quality you can get with your Nikon d7200.
A photograph captured within the focal length of the Nikon 28-70mm giving an idea of the type of image quality you can get with your Nikon d5300.

You can then work your way up through the zoom range of the lens and utilize it for a number of different portrait styles and then its higher zoom levels are ideal for close-ups of things like the rings or the seating placements. All of this in one single lens helps to reduce the amount of kit you have to carry with you for the gig while still being able to capture excellent photographs.

Another strong selling point for the Nikon 28-70mm for a wedding photographer is its low light performance. As many wedding ceremony and wedding reception venues often have poor lighting, you need something that is still going to perform well and allow you to capture high-quality images. The f/2.8 aperture of the lens is perfect for this and allows you to keep going no matter what.

If you are looking for a great lens for your Nikon d5300 that is going to massively up your wedding photography game then we would highly recommend that you check out the Nikon 28-70mm further.

The Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF

Depending on your style, another option that some consider to be the best lens for wedding photography for a Nikon d5300 camera is the Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF (Click here to check for product prices and availability). It is a great lens that comes with a very fair price tag considering all of the functionality that it provides you and is a very popular choice for wedding photographers with many choosing to post their own independent reviews (click here to read some of them) of the lens.

The 70-200mm focal length of the lens is perfect for a more hands-off approach to capturing the wedding as it allows you to hang around the edges of the ceremony and reception while capturing photographs without people knowing. This offers a much more natural style of wedding photography that is rapidly increasing in popularity due to the added authenticity of the photo.

A wedding photograph captured using the Tamron 70-200mm showing the type of image quality that you can get out of the lens.
A wedding photograph captured using the Tamron 70-200mm showing the type of image quality that you can get out of the lens.

Both the low light and variable light performance of the lens is excellent allowing you to keep capturing photographs in poorly lit locations of the venue without having to swap your lens out. The build quality of the lens is excellent with its manual zoom and manual focus rings performing perfectly without issue.

One thing that may be a drawback for the lens is its lower zoom level being 70mm. This can be a pain if you are wanting to capture any wide-angle photographs but that’s where the Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S (Click here to check for product prices and availability) covered above comes in.

How to Buy a Digital Camera

1. Determine what you need

A mistake I see some digital camera buyers making is that they get sucked into buying cameras that are beyond what they really need. Some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

  • What do you need the camera for?
  • What type of photography will you be doing? (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
  • What conditions will you be largely photographing in? (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light)
  • Will you largely stay in auto mode or do you want to learn the art of photography?
  • What experience level do you have with cameras?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (long zoom, image stabilization, large LCD display etc)
  • How important is size and portability to you?
  • What is your budget?

Ask yourself these questions before you go to buy a camera and you’ll be in a much better position to make a decision when you see what’s on offer. You’ll probably find the sales person asks you this question anyway – so to have thought about it before hand will help them help you get the right digital camera.

2. Megapixels are NOT everything

One of the features that you’ll see used to sell digital cameras is how many megapixels a digital camera has.

When I first got into digital photography, a few years back, the megapixel rating of cameras was actually quite important as most cameras were at the lower end of today’s modern day range and even a 1 megapixel increase was significant.

These days, with most new cameras coming out with at least 5 megapixels, it isn’t so crucial. In fact at the upper end of the range it can actually be a disadvantage to have images that are so large that they take up enormous amounts of space on memory cards and computers.

One of the main questions to ask when it comes to megapixels is ‘Will you be printing shots’? If so – how large will you be going with them? If you’re only printing images at a normal size then anything over 4 or so megapixels will be fine. If you’re going to start blowing your images up you might want to pay the extra money for something at the upper end of what’s on offer today.

3. Keep in mind the ‘extras’


Keep in mind as you look at cameras that the price quoted may not be the final outlay that you need to make as there are a variety of other extras that you might want (or need) to fork out for including:

  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries/Recharger
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors

Some retailers will bundle such extras with cameras or will at least give a discount when buying more than one item at once. Keep in mind though that what they offer in bundles might not meet you needs. For example it’s common to get a 16 or 32 megabyte memory card with cameras – however these days you’ll probably want something at least of 500 megabytes (if not a gigabyte or two).

4. Do you already own any potentially compatible gear?

Talking of extra gear – one way to save yourself some cash is if you have accessories from previous digital cameras that are compatible with your new one.

For example memory cards, batteries, lenses (remember that many film camera lenses are actually compatible with digital SLRs from the same manufacturers), flashes, filters etc.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

Dslr-Point-And-ShootWhile digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

If you’re trying to make a decision between a point and shoot and DSLR you might want to read my previous posts titled Should you buy a DSLR or a Point and Shoot Digital Camera? and it’s companion piece How to Choose a DSLR.

6. Optical Zooms are King

Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.

I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length – ie they’ll make your subject three times as big – with an increasing array of ‘super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Read reviews

Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market – use this wonderful and free resource.

A little self promotion here – one such site is my Digital Photography Blog which is a site that collates the reviews of many sites from around the web. To use it best enter the camera’s model name that you’re looking for a review on in the search feature in the top right side bar. It’ll give you a link to a central page that has information on the camera as well as links to any reviews published online on that camera from around the web.

8. Hands On Experience

Photo by erinmariepage

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of cameras head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them. There’s nothing like having the camera in your hands to work out whether it suits your needs.

When I shop for a camera I generally use the web to find reviews, then I head into a street in my city with 4 camera shops side by side and I go from shop to shop asking for recommendations and seeing the cameras live in the flash. In doing this I generally find the same camera or two are recommended in most shops and I get to see them demonstrated by different people (this gives a more well rounded demo). I also get to play with it and get a feel for which one I could see myself using.

9. Negotiate

After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Once again, I generally start online (on a site like our store) and do some searches to find the most competitive prices on the models I’m interested in. With these in hand I’m in a good position to be able to negotiate in person with local stores and/or with online stores. I generally find that retail stores will negotiate on price and will often throw in freebies. Online stores are more difficult – most bigger ones don’t give you the ability to negotiate but smaller ones often will if you email them.

Don’t forget to ask for free or discounted bonuses including camera cases, memory cards, extra batteries, filters, free prints, cases etc. I even know of a couple of stores that offer camera lessons that you can ask to be included. Some stores will also consider giving you a trade in on older gear.

I generally do negotiating from home on the phone and only go into a store to pick up the camera after a price is agreed upon.

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