We are Mann & Frau Schmidt, alias Heiko and Cati. We are a husband-and-wife team from Germany and mainly shoot weddings. We concentrate on one thing: we try to photograph not just how it looks, but how it feels.
To start with my wife, Cati, things are very simple here: She shoots Nikon, always has. The only thing that has changed in her kit is that she replaced her old Nikons with the amazing Nikon D750s.
If you are no gear-head and are just interested in your images, staying with one system/camera for many years is probably a very wise move.
I had been shooting with my Sony mirrorless system for 2 years, with many ups and downs, headache and sleepless nights (nearly). Recently I moved back to Nikon. Why? “You made the Sony system work for you, why go back?” Ok, it’s like this:
Is a mirrorless system like the Sony A7 series the right tool for you as a wedding photographer? This really depends on your shooting style. This is more important then any other point in this pro and contra discussion DSLR vs. mirrorless. If you are a very dynamic shooter and really like to get in close and want to react in precognition time (like Spiderman) then you might get problems with a mirrorless.
The more I focused on the emotions of the day, on the real moments, which often last only a split of a second, I made the experience that my Sonys often failed me. They are simply not fast enough.
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The more I shot, one thing got more and more important for me. My camera must not get in my way. Pity, the Sony did that often, the Nikon, so far – never. Once I realized that, my choice became easier.
Don’t get me wrong, the Sonys are fantastic cameras and many produce extraordinary work with them. It is just not the right tool for me at the moment.
So each of us go with two cameras strapped fast with a selfmate camera-holster made from saddler-leather. Then we use a small bag (an old Domke F-5XB) for a flash or two and some small stuff, like a prism or filters.
I tried hard to get by with two lenses. I really wanted to make a 28/50 combo work for me, but 28 was always a bit too wide and the 50 always a bit too tight. So I need my 35; it’s how I see the world. Problem is, then I need two more lenses, something wider and something tighter. So I have a Nikon 24mm f/2.8D and a Nikon 85mm f/1.8D with me. I go with the old D-lenses. I love the character, the feel and the tininess of these lenses. The 750 with the Nikon 35mm f/2.0D is really light and unobtrusive, but fast as lightning. Who cares about corner sharpness? Not my clients.
We quite often use off-camera-flash, at getting ready, for the formals, creative bridal portraits, at reception and the crazy dancing. The creative possibilities and the power to make something boring look extraordinary let us stand the hassle of OCF. I modified my MagMods, as I feel they were way too heavy. We love the challenge to use off-camera-flash in pure candid situations.
Oh, I nearly forgot, sorry my dear: for everything personal I still use my beaten-up Leica M9 with an old Summicron 35mm f/2.0 IV. Here emotion beats everything else.
2 Nikon D750 with Nikon 35mm f/2.0D and Nikon 85mm f/1.8D, plus the Nikon 24mm f/2.8D.
Sony A7s with Voigtländer 15mm f/4.5 and Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS
up to 4 Yongnuo 560IV flashes, Yongnuo 560TX trigger(Heiko)
Inside Mann & Frau Schmidt’s camera bags:
Hi, my name is Heiko and I am part of a husband and wife photographer-team from Germany. We call ourselves ‘Mann & Frau Schmidt’ which means husband and wife, but also Mr. and Mrs. We photograph mainly weddings, but also a bit corporate and advertising. I feel we make a good team: I am always on the lookout for special light and interesting compositions while my wife Cati is focused on capturing the little moments that make the day.
When I got serious with photography about 15 years ago I traveled the world with my two Leicas (R6 and primes), inspired by the great photojournalists of that time. I especially liked David Alan Harvey. His work about Cuba had a great influence on me.
As the time demanded I went digital with the Nikon D700 ‘s. They are some amazing cameras which are still very usable today. I also fell in love with the digital Leica M cameras, especially the Leica M9. I used it quite a lot in wedding environments.
Some months ago my holy grail came with the Sony A7. Tiny, great image quality, fullframe and usable autofocus. It has some serious drawbacks but I still feel it is the right tool for me at the moment. It is incredible how much more fun a wedding day is without lugging around big DSLRs.
So at weddings I use two Sony A7 with the Sony 35mm f/2.8 and the Sony 55mm f/1.8. In my bag I have the Voigtländer 15mm f/4.5 and the old Canon rangefinder lens Canon 50mm f/0.95 from the 60’s. This is a great lens to create something with character and I quite often use it free-lensing, lens-chimping or with a prism. Add a off-camera flash (Nikon SB-910 with Pocket Wizard) and a handful of batteries and you are ready to go. I still use my Leica M9 with a Voigtländer 35mm f/1.4 for personal work.
My wife Cati uses two Nikon D600 with the Nikon 35mm f/2D and the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D. In regards to AF two amazingly fast lenses. She loves the bokeh of the 85mm and how the old lenses feel in her hands.
We use a Domke 700-F6B F-6B bag, ballistic nylon, I took the bottom pad out, so it folds flat when there is not much in it. Love to quickly be able to grab my flash and put it back quickly.
So, this is in our bags:
Nikon SB-910 plus PocketWizard Mini TT1 & Flex TT5, which work with the Nikons with all the bells and whistles (TTL, high-sync) and can act as a normal trigger with the Leica and the Sonys.