|11th of September 2009 (Fri)||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Lancashire & Carmarthenshire
Onwards and upwards, 350D/Rebel XT to ...? (5D2/7D)
First post here at POTN; although I've been a lurker for a while.
This line inserted after writing the rest - my apologies for it being an epic first post too - some say I'm too detailed, some say I'm a waffler; either way, I'm sorry!
So, I guess I better get this out of the way at the top - this is another(?) 7D vs. 5D2 thread - but with a twist. I'm not trying to create all kinds of discourse and heated debate (/argument) about which one is de facto king; I'm just looking for some opinion, advice and guidance about which one is likely to be more suitable as an upgrade for me, given the type(s) of shooting I do.
As subject, I've currently got a 350D - I've had it for years, and it's my first SLR since sharing an Olympus OM10 (remember those?) with my Dad many years ago. I've got a lot of use out of my trusty 350D (using shamefully cheap glass) - and I still love it to bits. However, for a while now I've been planning an upgrade.
I got to play with a 40D for a while a few months ago, really liked it, and figured that would be my step. Then, while I was waiting for my position with my Mrs and the bank manager to be safe enough to jump-in, the 50D came along. I did a lot more reading into both, and figured out that maybe I should be looking at still other models.
I started examining models which were purported to be more for the 'pro' for various reasons, primarily absolute image quality; but also longevity of the investment (alas I can't empty my wallet on photographic gear anywhere near as often as I'd like). I read lots (think 1,000 insurance policy wording documents) about the Alpha 900, the D700, and of course the 5D Mark II.
Of the three I began to settle on the 5D2 as my ideal for a few reasons (which will likely become apparent in due course, but mainly resolving power and the range of glass available to take advantage of it); but still remained aware that there would be compromises (which might have a more pronounced impact in future) whichever one I settled for.
At the moment, it's fair to say that the majority (probably 66.67% (or two-thirds if you prefer feet and inches!)) of my photography is Landscape. I'm no expert, but recently I've been getting images I've been pretty pleased with, and others have enjoyed. I guess I should note sensity I've found myself using for the types I've shot I'm talking about, as I suppose it's pretty relevant in choice of body - ISO100.
Every now and then, I pack my gear and my Dad in the car, and we'll go and make a runway threshold look untidy - it's all a bit geeky, but what can I say, hundreds of tonnes of metal flying is pretty intruiging to us both. This type of stuff accounts for perhaps 10-15% of what I shoot. Usually ISO100, but if the weather's giving headaches, I'll reluctantly go to ISO200 - noise performane on the 350D is showing it's age a little when compared to these new machines!
The 350D has also been along to some car-club meets/track-days too, and while it's no 1D3 (/D3x) kitted out with big white lenses (I've got the kit lens, a cheap Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO, and a nifty-fifty II); it's produced for-the-web images that I've been satisfied with. This maybe 10%. Again, ISO100 for anything that doesn't move. I'll push to ISO400 if it means I've got half a chance of stopping the action with an unspritely lens (and sometimes it needs to be hand-held); often I'm not happy with the results but now and then I get a keeper. I'm sure that with pretty much any selection I (/we ) finish with out of those I'm conisdering, this will be one area that will really improve - I'm sure that I'll be able to make use of higher ISO with more confidence.
The remaining chunk of my camera-time is spent on snapshots of family and friends. I plan to get some lights in the not too distant future and begin to replace "snapshots" with portraits. Again ISO100 where I can, I'll lean towards flash before I'll reach for higher ISO; and again, I guess this is likely to change a little with a newer body - for the snaps at least.
Immediately following whatever step I take as an upgrade I don't expect those ratios to change much; but as above, I'd like to try my hand at more 'proper' portraits to complement the snaps of folk I take; I'm certain that I'll be doing more automotive/motorsport shooting 'in anger' in the not too distant future given projects planned for our website(/club). Doing the maths I guess that means that I plan to do less landscape-shooting, but unfortunately (as far as making a choice is concerned) that's probably not the case. I'm a sucker for a good-view, and the primary motivation for upgrade in the first place is finding a body with improved resolving power and glass which will compliment it so that the fleshy-bit on the outside can a) concentrate on technique and theory more closely, and b) take advantage of some of the recent technical steps forward, in order to get well-shot landscapes with top-notch IQ. And just to complicate it some more, I'd like to take the new camera to watch some Cricket next year too - but I don't see this getting 'serious' without a lot of practice, so I'd say it's much more a want than a need, but I'd like to get something that could at least cope as learning platform.
I'm fully aware that what my 'needs' dictate I require, is probably a collection of two or more bodies and a big pile of uber-expensive glass. Like a lot of folks though, I'm limited by budget - so I know I'm going to have to live with some compromises. I'm just trying to make absolutely certain (as far as possible) that I'm choosing the most suitable set of features (and compromises) for what I'm doing (and have firm plans to do).
So, when I was planning out my life in 5D2, the roadmap looked something like this...
Step 1) Obtain 5D2 & 24-105 kit, and shiny-new UV/CP/ND filters. I'd love the 24-70 as I've read all about them both, but I feel I can perhaps work with (/around) the IQ difference (such as it is) between them at first, as the extra range and IS on the 24-105 are attractive to me as a starting-point walk-around lens.
Step 2) Shortly after, add a 17-40 L - primary use super wide-angle landscapes.
Step 3) Add a 70-200 f/4 IS, or if I can push the boat out, 70-200 f/2.8 IS. There might also be a case for the 100-400 L IS.
Step 4) Consider exchanging 24-105 for 24-70 or swapping the 17-40 for a 16-35 - whichever is priority.
Step 5) Swap the other out.
Step 6) Sell the (company) car, mortgage everything, and start buying primes.
Of course I'm faced with the (almost synonymous) Pros and Cons...
* Resolving power/IQ
How much that is absolutely dependent upon it being 35mm sensor is obviously what all this worry will ultimately end-up being about
* ISO performance
Although I'd doubt that I'd get much beyond ISO800 for a while regardless of what I end up with - I'm conditioned to using the absolute lowest possible! (I'll even shoot wide-open with a soft (/cheap) lens before bumping it up at the moment! :s)
I can cover all the range I can see myself needing relatively simply with really good glass, with a straightforward upgrade path to excellent glass.
* AF Speed/Accuracy
Not really an issue for the majority of what I shoot, but until (and of course if ever) I'm good enough to start taking photos that go at least some way to paying for themselves, it'll be a while before I can commit serious funds to an upgrade again. As above, I know I'm going to have to compromise, I just want to ensure I can live with the compromises for as long as possible. - Or am I worrying too much, can the 5D2 focus well enough for some use with cars and Cricket?
As above, not so crucial now, but with the 5D2, it's a compromise I may have to consider further down the line. I suppose I might not even find myself lusting after much more than 3.9fps, or even at all - but it's something to think about.
Anyway, 5D2's came back in stock here in blighty, and I was just about to pounce. Then I started reading rumours that an announcement from Canon about the 7D was imminent in a week or so. Since then I've been in turmoil (how dramatic!)...
7D (Possible/Likely) Pros:
* AF Speed/Accuracy/Control
If it works like (we hope) it should, this could be very useful shooting cars and Cricket.
Again, potentially a plus with cars and Cricket.
These are more 'cute' advantages, which would be nice to have, but much less important than AF/FPS would ever likely be:
* New metering system
As mentioned in other threads, you could be brutally simple and say this is close to Nikon's, which is commonly held to be very good, and possibly (/probably) more robust/consistent than Canon's thus far - as I say, not crucial - I understand *some* of the responsibility for shutter/aperture/sensitivity etc. should lie with the fleshy bit
* Built-in wireless flash trigger
This could be very handy with my plan to explore portraiture some more; but not a deal breaker, at the end of the day it's only a matter of an extra 580 EX II to give similar (and better in some respects) functionality to a 5D2.
* Digital level
Again not a deal breaker, and I suppose when you throw a 3-way hot-shoe bubble-level into the arena the only real advantage is being able to look at it, and the image in viewfinder/live-view simultaneously - but again it could be handy.
7D (Possible/Likely) Cons:
* That '1.6 crop' bit (maybe?)
As far as I can work out, buying really good glass to cover the range I want for the 7D's 1.6 crop is going to be a) a PITA b) probably more expensive than it would be for a 5D2 (given that I'd likely need more of it), and at ultra-wide angle I might really struggle.
I don't know what to think about image quality differences as a direct result of it being a 1.6 crop. Pixel density and Diffraction Limited Aperture would lean me toward listing this in the 'cons' - but as most are so concerned with four and five digit ISO settings, I don't know what to think about noise at the range I'm likely to use - ISO100-200 most of the time, and perhaps ISO400/800 in 'extreme' circumstances. There's also the issue of dynamic range to consider, as mentioned in another thread, there may very well be the case that this is surprisingly good on the 7D - and potentially with more headroom before any pattern noise sets-in (although I will say at this point, I was reading the 'other' thread with great interest until I looked at a 'default' processing of the RAW - OK, some cameras might pick some more detail out of those shadows (/pitch black patch) with less noise than others, I (speaking for myself only) would never have even dreamed of pulling anything other than black out of there).
I guess one final thing to say, applicable to both cameras, is about video functionality. At first I was very much a nay-sayer of this on a DSLR. I thought "If I want video, I'll go and buy a video camera, or even a P&S with something on board - I don't want to pay for it in my DSLR". I quickly shifted from that after a little thought. It looks like this will come to a lot of DSLRs going forwards (and regardless of whether or not I approve); and while I'm never going to shoot feature-films with it, actually having the ability capture HD video clips of family and friends, or shoot some little things for the car club site built-in to a machine I carry with me EVERYWHERE anyway is pretty cool - and something I think I'm likely to make reasonable use of. In terms of 5D2 video vs. 7D video, I'm not concerned about cinematic frame-rates and absolute manual control at this point, and don't see that being a factor any time in the near future.
So, my most sincere apologies for this being such a lengthy (first) post - but I wanted to make sure the bleedin' mess in my head was 'on paper' as concisely as possible, so that perhaps some of you learned folks might be able to venture informed opinions/advice in assistance...
Many and sincere thanks for reading, and in advance for any help you might be able to offer...
Last edited by FactionOne : 11th of September 2009 (Fri) at 13:25. Reason: Typos - I'm sure there'll be more...
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