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Yet another DSLR thread!

Discussion in 'The Front Room' started by caLLous, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. caLLous

    caLLous FH is my second home FH Subscriber

    OK, so from jokingly saying "I want the Canon EOS 7D" earlier today, I now really want the 7D. :\

    If I go for that rather than the 50D I will have to compromise on lenses somewhat, I've been saving for this for a while and want to get a good selection of lenses from the off. I was looking at a nice L lens or two for the 50d but those will have to wait now. :)

    At the moment I'm looking at:

    Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS - This lens (also announced today) is in one of the 7D bundles.

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM - I want to learn and become proficient (and even good, hopefully) at photography and have read in many places (including here, in another thread) that a good 50mm prime is a great way to do this. A good article that made my mind up totally on prime lenses is here. BUT at the bottom of said article there's a section "What If I Have A Digital SLR?" that goes on to talk about 50mm lenses getting best results on full frame cameras whereas I would be better off with a 35mm lens for a 1.6x crop 50D or 7D. It says a 50mm lens is "quite useful" on a 1.6x crop body. I'm looking for a bit more than "quite useful". :) Thoughts?

    Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM - I also want a nice macro lens for flowers and orchids and stuff next season and also insects and general close-up goodness. To be fair I haven't looked outside Canon's range for this, this one is in the middle between the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens (reasonably priced) and the Canon EF 180mm f3.5 L USM Macro Lens (ridiculously priced but awesome too).

    Now, is it clever to have two prime lenses that both fall within the range of 1 zoom? I get the feeling the zoom would be the everday walkaround lens, and the 50mm and 100mm primes would be for fun and learning (when I have time to think about a shot and set it up etc). Does that sound like a likely scenario?

    Before I fell for the 7D I was looking at that Sigma wide-angle that Tom's just bought but the 18-135 (approx. 29-216mm equivalent focal length) does a passable wide-angle, doesn't it? That Sigma will have to wait. :) And wide-angle isn't really high on my list of priorities. At most I'd like to be able to take some nice pictures of rooms in a house that I just get with a compact. I can't get back enough into the wall so the rooms invariably come out looking like shoeboxes.

    If I preorder on Warehouse Express I get a "free" 2nd battery and 8gb super fast UDMA CF card which is a bit of a bargain. At some point down the road the vertical grip might come into play if I have two batteries already but not yet. :)

    I don't have any more questions! Thank you for reading all of that (if you did :eek:) and any advice or guidance greatly appreciated. :D
  2. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

    Woah horsey :).

    Firstly before talking about any equipment, can I ask some basic things first:

    - What is you current photography experience?
    - What DSLR setup are you currently on?
    - What sort of photography are you wanting to get into?
  3. Chilly

    Chilly Balls of steel

    big g you rational bastard. let him spunk his cash up the wall!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. caLLous

    caLLous FH is my second home FH Subscriber

    Yeah what Chilly said! :)

    But seriously:
    - Experience not much recently, had a Nikon D40 and have abused a friendship and liberally borrowed a Canon 40D more recently
    - I'm currently not, I am currently sans equipment. Starting from scratch.
    - Macro (flowers and insects specifically), some portrait work and landscapes (not stitched images with wonky horizons ;)) mostly. And I like the idea of the 1080p video.

    That's it. :)
  5. Trem

    Trem That there, that's not me. Moderator

    Cally treats this place like a hotel :(
  6. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.


    Some things I would say upfront: no matter which camera you buy (40D, 50D, 7D or 5D MK2), you're going to be limited by yourself and your own skill :), which by your own admission is next to zero (no offence). All of them are excellent cameras and will take excellent photos.

    Secondly, when you buy into a camera, you buy into the entire camera system (flashes, lenses etc.). I would take some time to read through the foibles of different brands because there are certain things you may love about one brand and not another. Things like ergonomics of the camera, weight, size, how does it feel to hold, build quality and even shutter noise might make you choose one camera over another. Also, what does that brand offer for the future? With Canon and Nikon, there isn't much worry here, but for brands like Pentax and Olympus (I'm with Pentax) they have commited to APS-C and four thirds formats respectively for the forseeable future.

    Thirdly, if you want to spunk cash, then spunk cash :).

    However, In my opinion, buying a 7D now would be a biblical waste of money, given you could save a fortune by getting the 50D which is a superb APS-C camera and have another £800 in your pocket to spunk on lenses. You won't even scratch the surface of the 50D in terms of its capability. If you buy into Canon lenses, providing you don't get APS-C only lenses, then you could move into a much better body down the line (such as 5D MK2). Believe me when I say that if you get a 50D, you won't suddenly decide two weeks later "damn, this camera sucks ass, I should have bought a 7D all along!". The photographer takes the picture.

    To answer your questions:

    Don't know much about macro photography, can't help you here. I'd point out that if you buy an EF-S lens now, you won't be able to use it on a full-frame body.

    A 50mm prime is a great lens to own, it really teaches you about depth of field, circle of confusion, aperture control, bokeh, portraiture, lens sweet spots etc. Flick off the autofocus mechanism and get dirty with it in manual focus. Additionally, use it in manual mode to get a feel for aperture / shutter speed / ISO interoperability and how they all relate. Regarding your article, it probably says "quite useful" because 50mm on a 1.6x crop will give you an effective 80mm lens. 50mm to 80mm is an ideal portrait length. If you want to get as close to 50mm in the 35mm format, then yes a 35mm lens with the 1.6x factor will give you that.

    It really just depends on your requirements. I have a 17mm-70mm zoom for a walkaround lens, but it's barrel distortion at 17mm makes it unsuitable for landscape photography, so I use a Sigma 10mm-20mm. The Sigma has next to zero barrel distortion at 17mm. Zooms are much more flexible and you might find them better to use as you learn. Personally, I would find myself tied down too much by only having two primes - my 50mm prime stays in my bag most of the time, I'm either a) landscaping with a 10mm-20mm b) taking pictures of people / still life with the 50mm or c) using the telephoto. If I only had a 50mm and a 100mm, I'd be pretty screwed.

    This gets back to my earlier point of "what photography do you want to get into". I learned pretty quickly that one or two lenses weren't going to cut it, I've got four now and I could really use another one. That said, my first camera only had a kit lens which was an 18-55mm (it was ropey). As I got more experienced and more comfortable, then I started to grow my lens collection one by one (instead of just blowing cash on a list of lenses up front). I started off with a higher quality "walk around" lens with a constant f/4 aperture which made quite a difference to my shots. Then I got a 50mm prime because I wanted to get into portraits and experiment with large apertures and creamy bokeh pictures. I just expanded from there.

    There is so much more to it than just "does the focal length cover it" - this is why I think you should hang fire a bit. A lot of these super zooms are compromises; how sharp is it at both ends of that focal range? How good is it with regards to the level of light fall off and chromatic aberration? What are the distortions like through the focal range? The Sigma 10mm-20mm is optimised for that focal range and as such is sharp corner to corner at 10mm with minimal aberration and distortion. That's not to say the 18mm-135mm won't do the job for wide angle, of course it will, but it's worth pointing these things out now :). I've not read a review yet, so my comments here might be out of line, but I'm basing my advice on what i've read about a lot of the existing super zoom lenses which quite frankly are only ever average performers.

    Now, if you don't care much for good glass or good optical performance and you're buying mid-range lenses, not only will you waste your time and cash with a 7D, but the 50D may also be a bit of a waste.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Rubber Bullets

    Rubber Bullets Part of the furniture

    That really is a fine looking camera, and this coming from the Nikon camp (though as just a user not a fan boy :) ).

    One thing to bear in mind when choosing which way to go would be to look at residual value. If you buy a 7D now you will be buying at early adopters money, the price will fall. The value of lenses doesn't really fall very far at all, there is always a demand for them and they hold their prices very well, even low end ones, unless in poor shape.

    As a rough example, in 3 years the lens value might drop maybe 20% but the camera bit will be down 50% (OK these are only for example, but are probably not too far off) If you spend 50% of your budget on camera and 50% on lenses then in that time your stuff will have a 45% residual value. If you spend 75% on lenses now and just 25% on a camera then you could have just over 70% left, and better quality glass will keep it's value better.

    Next you have to weigh up exactly what it is that the better camera could do that the old one couldn't and decide whether that improvement is worth the cost. They will both be capable of taking excellent photos after all.

    As an example I currently have a Nikon D200 and would quite like to upgrade to a D300 (not that I have the money), normally just 1 generation upgrade is not sensible but, the D300 has much better high iso image quality which would help me keep higher shutter speeds with my wildlife and child shots. Secondly it also has live view meaning that you can compose a shot using the rear screen. Not normally great on an SLR, I like the view finder, but for some macro shots it would be very useful as you can zoom in on the live view and chck critical focus very accurately (OK useless for bugs, but great for flowers etc.). These 2 things together mean that I could justify the upgrade to myself, if I had the money :) all the other bells and whistles, though nice, wouldn't come into it.

    The 7D for instance will take 8fps, this is fantastic, but would it ever make a difference to your ability to get the shot you want? Only you could answer this.

    In terms of macro lenses do not discount the 3rd party offerings. Tamron and Sigma both make great macro lenses, I have a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro and it is one of the best lenses I have.

    I have an 18-200 Nikon zoom lens, it is great at what it does and is invaluable on holiday and for family snaps. If you want a lens for this purpose then go for your zoom or similar.

    If you are looking for lenses to learn the art of photography then I would suggest a wide angle zoom, the Sigma 10-20 is a popular choice as it is a good balance of price to quality, it's not fantastic quality, but it's not stupid money. Then 50mm and 100mm (ish) prime lenses with large apertures, especially if the 100mm is a macro, will really help you learn. Personally I would then add a good medium telephoto, I have a Nikon 80-200 f2.8 that I use for kids and animals, I love it, but am not sure that it fits with what you want to do so it could wait.

    Hope that makes sense, and if so I hope it helps.


    BTW pimping my macro stuff again, just cos I can.
  8. milou

    milou Part of the furniture

    Spend cash on lenses. I had a 17-40 a 300D for ages. It was glued on. As RB says "...better quality glass will keep it's value better".
  9. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

    I would say the 10-20mm is very well made indeed - I'm very impressed with it, my camera fell from the height of 6 onto stones (mostly lens cap first) and other than a scuffed and scratched lens cover, everything is perfectly fine.
  10. Rubber Bullets

    Rubber Bullets Part of the furniture

    I like mine, don't get me wrong, it is well designed and made from good quality materials. I don't think that Sigma's quality control is as good as Nikon's, I had to replace my first after a day as the focus motor died, and the second one didn't have quite as good corner sharpness as the first!

    That said the image quality is perfectly good enough for my requirements, and you really need to spend a lot more to get pro sort of quality (Nikon 12-24 f4 £800 or 14-24 f2.8 for £1280).

    I have just noticed that Sigma now do 2 10-20s, an f4-5.6 that I have and a significantly more expensive f3.5. This could be very good.

  11. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

    Yeah that's the one I have. It's cracking!
  12. caLLous

    caLLous FH is my second home FH Subscriber

    Thank you everybody! Especially Big G and RB (it did make sense and it helped) for your long informative responses. :) I have some thinking to do! I still <3 that 7D but am realising how wrong it would be to buy it now. :p We shall see, I saw the 50D dropped by 15 whole pounds on Warehouse Express yesterday (£809 -> £794), I hope that wasn't the "through the floor" you were talking about G. ;)

    Was this it for Canon announcements in September? There's the 60D as well but I don't know anything about that, really. "The 60D will be moved back to a 18 month product cycle and will be released with a 1D4 upgrade in February", says

    And nice macro stuff RB. :)
  13. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

    Just to mix things up slightly Callous, but are you set on Canon? The reason I ask is that Nikon have equally awesome offerings in the way of:

    Nikon D300s Digital SLR Camera Body (VBA260AB) - Warehouse Express

    If I was in the market for a top spec APS-C camera from scratch, I would be going for the D300S. The main driver for me is the 51 point autofocus and 3D tracking (as per the D300) which makes it fantastic for sports and wildlife work. It has arguably the fastest and most accurate autofocus going, coupled with 7 fps makes it a good weapon. I know that's not in your own list of requirements, but felt I should mention it.
  14. caLLous

    caLLous FH is my second home FH Subscriber

    I'm not really set on Canon at all. I mean from an interface pov I preferred the Canon 40D to the Nikon D40 which is probably why I'm leaning towards Canons now. And I was only highlighting upcoming Canon announcements to see how the 50D price would be affected. :)

    Buuuuut one of the things I REALLY <3 about the 7D is the full HD video capabilities. The D300S does look mighty tasty though... :)

    Oh I don't know!!
  15. Bodhi

    Bodhi Resident Freddy

    I saw on one of the reviews you posted Cal they mentioned a Sony model that was pretty uber. I rekon you should get that.
  16. DaGaffer

    DaGaffer Down With That Sorta Thing

    LOL. Do you actually get paid by Sony for this?
  17. Chilly

    Chilly Balls of steel

    and without so much as a PM. fucking nazi *****
  18. Jupitus

    Jupitus Old and short, no wonder I'm grumpy! Staff member Moderator

    That's me :)
  19. Chilly

    Chilly Balls of steel

    but the italics made it funny !
  20. Jupitus

    Jupitus Old and short, no wonder I'm grumpy! Staff member Moderator

    Just behave, you norty chilly pepper!
  21. Tom

    Tom FH is my second home

    Chatting at work the other day with another photography enthusiast, he seemed to think that in reviews the Sony had compared rather poorly with the efforts of other manufacturers, and that it wasn't worth it (even considering the differences in price).

    I've just been paid rather a lot of money that's been outstanding for months, and I can't tell you how powerful the temptation is to go out and spend some of it on that 5D Mk2.
  22. caLLous

    caLLous FH is my second home FH Subscriber

    Woo and the 50D is down to £739. :)
  23. Bodhi

    Bodhi Resident Freddy

    Irony detector fail?
  24. DaGaffer

    DaGaffer Down With That Sorta Thing

    Yes. You've broken it.
  25. Bodhi

    Bodhi Resident Freddy

    Shoulda bought a Sony one.
    • Like Like x 2
  26. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

    Yeah, the Sony models all seem to have a huge amount of potential, but on reading the review of the latest full-frame Sony a850 and finding that once again Sony have fucked up the ISO noise is very disappointing. The review states that the high resolution is wasted because noise becomes such a big issue at anything over ISO 200. When you consider that the already proven-to-be-awesome 5D Mk2 costs exactly the fucking same (in the UK only, I might add) I don't get why anyone would buy the Sony which is technically worse in just about every way (no movie mode, no live view, shit higher ISO noise).
  27. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

  28. Tom

    Tom FH is my second home

    So you can compose a shot G, now you have to learn how to tell a story :) Don't take tips from whoever shot that cigar thing :D
  29. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

    Surely it's down to personal taste though, much like photography? (other than obvious pish)

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