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Discussion Starter #1
I'm shooting weddings using a Sony HDR CX900 and a Sony FDR-AX100

I want to achieve a shallow depth of field effect -

Because it is a live event, I have no control over lighting, and position of subjects.

I often times have to place my camera 20-40 feet away from the subjects (especially during the ceremony)

Any suggestions on getting a shallow depth of field?

Or should I get a different camera that is specifically for this purpose? If so, what would I buy?

Thanks for your feedback.
 

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If you really want thin DoF at that range a cheapest combo you need would be one of the Canon DSLRs or full frame Sony A7 series plus either a high speed prime (f1.4 - f2.0) or highspeed portrait range zoom (f2.8). These are very popular with wedding videographers who want flattering blurred backgrounds in their footage but also cost quite a lot of money. A step down in terms of cost but at the expense of DoF control is a camera and lens in the APS-C or Micro 4/3 category, maybe workable depending on how tight your framing is at those distances.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
that's great information, thanks! The sony A7 is within my price range. Can you tell me a bit more about lens choice? do you have any specific suggestions?

thank again!
 

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I don't have much experience shooting with prime lenses in the portrait range but remember manual focus only Rokinon 85mm f1.4 (or Samyang, same lens) showing very good sharpness and no objectionable aberrations at the max aperture. This is your cheapest option as far as I know. There appears to be a few other FE mount lenses that are not too expensive in this range such as the Sony FE AF85mm f1.8 and manual focus only Laowa (Venus Optics in the US) 100mm f2.0 with aperture independent defocus control. The latter one has gotten rave reviews from users who are nitpicking about the quality of the bokeh as much as the rendition of the focused subject. Other options would be either very expensive or require a lens mount adapter.

There are only two effective native Sony FE zooms IMO. The 70-200mm f4.0 and 70-200mm f2.8. The 70-200mm f4.0 is both sigficantly lighter and cheaper. You may have to try for yourself to see if the tradeoff of the rather small aperture of f4.0 for the convenience of zooming with AF and image stabilization is worth it. Oh, don't forget to budget for a bottom-mounted extended battery grip too if you decide to go for the f2.8 zoom. The balance is very bad for the naked A-series bodies unless you already have all the rods and rails to support the combo.
 
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