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FORUMS General Gear Talk Camera Vs. Camera
Thread started 12 Sep 2017 (Tuesday) 02:54
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Been out of it too long. Help me choose new gear please?

 
Eurogranada
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Sep 12, 2017 02:54 |  #1

As life often does it somehow got the better of me and took over somewhat. Starting a family, rasing kids, then fighting cancer in one of them and all accompanied by working, caring for my chronically ill wife and maintaining at least one hobby as not to go insane...meant I had slipped into a survival mode. Well I came down from that hard one day...

With life now in calmer waters I would like to put more focus on my photography. But I need new gear... I've been out of it so long that I'm having trouble deciding what would be best for me.

I currently use a Canon EOS 550D, which I've always loved. I almost exclusively use it with my 18-200 f3.5-5.6 IS lens. Usually my speedlite 580EXII is on top for fill in flash. But the 550D is now seven years old and I'm looking to up the image quality a bit.

My subjects are most often my kids and wife in play and portraits. Also cars and landscape/scenery/natu​re/animals. Pretty much all round I think. Focus is on portraits as a hobby within the hobby. Landscape and nature are things I like to try hard at but usually during holidays or a day out to the zoo for instance. I have a love hate relationship with the preset modes like portrait and landscape. Yes they have the right basic settings for the task, but they also apply picture styles etc. So when switching between P, Av, Tv and those presets, there's always a noticable difference in the results as in some mode picture styles are added in others they are not. Maybe that is down to me not using the camera to its full potential.

Another area I like to explore is flash use. Give those portraits just the little extra even in tougher lighting conditions.

There are two things I've been fighting from time to time with my 550D:
- photographing fast moving objects like our dog, especially as it's coming towards me. The focus can't seem to keep up or I can't seem to find the right approach.
- getting the camera to quickly focus where I want it to. The AF is always looking for the closest thing it can focus on. Using manual focus point selection takes precious time and is available in only some modes.

So with that in mind, I'm thinking of going EOS 7DmkII for a body. They say it is up in IQ on the EOS 550D-800D range and it benefits from fast AF. It's also the one that is at the top end of the body budget. What I'd like to get confirmed is how easy it is to manipulate the focus point. As there now are 65. Also is it necessary to change it as much since the advance in AF tech? Also I do not seem to see so many preset modes as on the 550-800D models. This I can see as a benefit with regards to different modes applying different picture styles automatically. But I'm also wondering if it makes taking the perfect portrait or landscape shot harder. I know the theory for both shots, but the camera puts a lot more intelligence into those preset modes.

I'm also having a hard time however comparing the 7d2 to for instance the 800D, 77D or 80D etc. I just know that the 7D2 is a crop sensored body in the higher end productline. Also that it has less gimmicks then an 800D for instance.

Also when comparing new 7D2's to second hand 5D3's, they are pretty close together. The 5D3 being FF meaning I would need new lenses for sure. And I'm not there yet. Is this an avenue I should persue? The 5D3 is a level up in professionality, but in all realism, I'm a decent amateur, by no means a pro. I do sometimes feel held back by my camera.

And talking about lenses... given my earlier statement of having trouble with two types of shots, what would be best to do lenswise? On a 7D2 I can keep my 18-200. But if that is part of my focus problem as it is just too slow, what would be the alternatives. I really liked having this pretty great all-round lens. I hardly ever felt the need to change lenses. And if I did it would be because 200mm is not enough of a tele in some cases.

But will that 18-200 IS lens still make the best of the 7D2's fast AF? The lens itself is still sold new and some companies even do these as a kit. If I need newer lenses to make the most of the quick AF, which would you choose? I'd like to stick to no more then two.

I myself seem to get drawn to the EF-S 18-135 USM nano and EF 70-300 IS II USM. But mostly because of the USM system. A brand like tamron offers a 18-400 and 16-300 lens even. But I don't knwo how good they would be.

Primes are great to have, but for my kind of photography I think I should stick to zooms.

Well you can see I've given it a lot of thought, but with my current knowledge of the product lines I'm just not reaching a final conclusion.

Maybe your collective input can help steer my in the right direction.

Thanks,

Alex




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john ­ crossley
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Sep 12, 2017 04:45 |  #2

I would say that you should learn to use the camera that you already have.

Eurogranada wrote in post #18449966 (external link)
I have a love hate relationship with the preset modes like portrait and landscape. Yes they have the right basic settings for the task, but they also apply picture styles etc. So when switching between P, Av, Tv and those presets, there's always a noticable difference in the results as in some mode picture styles are added in others they are not. Maybe that is down to me not using the camera to its full potential.

You only need three modes: Manual, TV and AV, all the rest are a waste of time. Although the purists will tell you that you actually only need to use Manual.

Eurogranada wrote in post #18449966 (external link)
- getting the camera to quickly focus where I want it to. The AF is always looking for the closest thing it can focus on. Using manual focus point selection takes precious time and is available in only some modes.

You SHOULD be manually selecting the focus point, otherwise how does the camera know where you want to focus.


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Eurogranada
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Sep 12, 2017 08:37 as a reply to john crossley's post |  #3

Thanks for that. Not exactly what I'm looking for, but still a valid comment that certainly will hold some truth. So I'm not offended or anything. I'm sure I'm a bit rusty with the 550D as compared to before and practice will help. Maybe some tips on focal point selection would also do a lot. Still I'm looking to update my 7 year old camera to something a bit more of this time. And no I do not expect to suddenly take only perfect pictures as I buy a new fancy camera. I know I have to develop myself as well, put the time in so to say. But I know a lot about photography and do pretty well in general. It's just time to step it up a notch.

Because of the limits on the preset modes I do mostly use Tv or Av mode. In my case Av more often as I'm into portraits. I'm not so much a full manual user yet. So I guess where these presets are concerned your opinion is duely noted an mostly shared. And I also get where the manual only comment comes from.

On the manual focus point selection. I agree that it is what I should do. But I guess I find the method to doing so causes me to miss shots. It takes me to much time to change focal point between shots. Whether that is me or the camera, well, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.

Let me just say I miss my old analog EOS 5 eye control system, where my eye pointed the camera focussed.

Anyway, thanks for your comments.




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ksbal
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Post has been last edited 3 months ago by ksbal. 2 edits done in total.
Sep 12, 2017 09:10 |  #4

either the 7D2 or the 80D will work for your needs pretty well.

Rather than move the af point around all over during a shot, I select an AF point I know I can keep over the target for the fastest AF response time, and then crop later to taste in post. single point or 4 point expansion on servo seems to work the best for me on moving targets.

Letting the Camera decide the focus point always leaves me wanting to toss the thing in the ditch.. so I don't do that. I'd rather miss the occasional shot and have the rest sharp than have the camera decide what should be in focus (which it is generally not what I want 50% of the time or more)

There is an option on the 7D2 to turn off non cross af points, and I do that immediately. After dealing with the AF points on the 5D2 and Xsi, I know I have zero desire to rely on anything that is less than a cross point for focus.

While you could go to FF, I don't see the need in what you shoot, and I think it may be better spent on some nice lenses (and keeping in mind they should be compatible with FF in the future) and there is a whole series of 70-200's to choose from.. usually (for me) I'm either in a telephoto situation, or a wide angle situation, so I have separate zooms for each. a 50 stm f1.8 is cheap&sharp and always good to have in the bag for low light indoor situations.

As far as the sensor, I know with my 7D2 I can shoot in pretty darn dark conditions, and with proper exposure, get decent smaller prints.

I have to stress that getting proper exposure is key for the 7D2 - it hates being under exposed and turns soft and muddy if you do at higher isos.
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TeamSpeed
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Sep 12, 2017 09:17 |  #5

80D or 7D2 will be fine for what you are looking at, huge improvements over the 550D IMO. No real need to go down the FF lane just yet. The large splash on the flash front for your lighting needs are the Flashpoint/Godox units. An AD200 and 860II set of flashes are very, very nice, and give you wireless freedom. If you want more power, look at the AD360 or AD600 units.


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saea501
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Sep 12, 2017 09:21 |  #6

Eurogranada wrote in post #18450157 (external link)
......... and practice will help. Maybe some tips on focal point selection would also do a lot. Still I'm looking to update my 7 year old camera to something a bit more of this time. And no I do not expect to suddenly take only perfect pictures as I buy a new fancy camera. I know I have to develop myself as well, put the time in so to say. But I know a lot about photography and do pretty well in general. It's just time to step it up a notch.

Because of the limits on the preset modes I do mostly use Tv or Av mode. In my case Av more often as I'm into portraits. I'm not so much a full manual user yet. So I guess where these presets are concerned your opinion is duely noted an mostly shared. And I also get where the manual only comment comes from.

On the manual focus point selection. I agree that it is what I should do. But I guess I find the method to doing so causes me to miss shots. It takes me to much time to change focal point between shots. Whether that is me or the camera, well, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.

John has summed your situation very well. I too think that you don't need to buy a new camera. If you want to rationalized a new camera purchase, then this could easily be done. But know that when you get your new hardware that not much will change. You will still be faced with the problems that you have now.

The equipment you have now is perfectly capable of returning the results that you seek, but it sounds like the shortcomings in fact lie not in your equipment.

I used to shoot with a 500D, which was destroyed in an accident and I replaced it with a 600D. With either of these I was able to capture some great portraits, action, landscape, regardless. And.....my most used lens with those cameras was the 18-200....like yours.

With regard to focus point selection....I cannot imagine trying to make a focus point selection while you're trying to shoot. Of course your going to miss shots as most time when shooting any kind of action you simply don't have the luxury of stopping to change anything other than maybe your shutter speed. And, in fairness to you, know that I shoot entirely using center point. If there were no other focus points at all, it wouldn't bother me. I tell the camera where to focus. However, I realized that most use many or all of the points available on their particular camera which, of course, is up to you.

If you replace your current hardware, your pictures are not going to improve....at least not immediately. They will, certainly, but not because of the new camera. They will improve because you are going to improve. And this will happen regardless of what you are holding in your hands. The improvement will come, but buying a new camera will only delay it some as there will be some degree of learning the new piece.

Know too, that most of the posts that follow, and there will probably be many, are going to tell you that you do indeed need a new camera and that John and I are full of potential fertilizer. What I stated above is simply my own experience.....get better at using what you now own. Buy new hardware when your current kit begins to limit your capabilities.


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Eurogranada
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Sep 12, 2017 09:29 |  #7

saea501 wrote in post #18450190 (external link)
John has summed your situation very well. I too think that you don't need to buy a new camera. If you want to rationalized a new camera purchase, then this could easily be done. But know that when you get your new hardware that not much will change. You will still be faced with the problems that you have now.

The equipment you have now is perfectly capable of returning the results that you seek, but it sounds like the shortcomings in fact lie not in your equipment.

I used to shoot with a 500D, which was destroyed in an accident and I replaced it with a 600D. With either of these I was able to capture some great portraits, action, landscape, regardless. And.....my most used lens with those cameras was the 18-200....like yours.

With regard to focus point selection....I cannot imagine trying to make a focus point selection while you're trying to shoot. Of course your going to miss shots as most time when shooting any kind of action you simply don't have the luxury of stopping to change anything other than maybe your shutter speed. And, in fairness to you, know that I shoot entirely using center point. If there were no other focus points at all, it wouldn't bother me. I tell the camera where to focus. However, I realized that most use many or all of the points available on their particular camera which, of course, is up to you.

If you replace your current hardware, your pictures are not going to improve....at least not immediately. They will, certainly, but not because of the new camera. They will improve because you are going to improve. And this will happen regardless of what you are holding in your hands. The improvement will come, but buying a new camera will only delay it some as there will be some degree of learning the new piece.

Know too, that most of the posts that follow, and there will probably be many, are going to tell you that you do indeed need a new camera and that John and I are full of potential fertilizer. What I stated above is simply my own experience.....get better at using what you now own. Buy new hardware when your current kit begins to limit your capabilities.

Thanks, rest assured thart I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I said so in response to John as well: I know I'll have to improve myself and I also know that just buying better/newer gear is not the answer.

For me it's about two problems really. One is me needing to improve which I totally do not doubt, two is that I do want to give myself a better shot at this by updating my old gear. Is there some justification of a cool new purchase going on, probably after seven years loving my 550D.

And your type of response is exactly why I included the areas I run into trouble. To get the best possible advice.




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FarmerTed1971
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Sep 12, 2017 09:33 |  #8

7D2/80D would be a great choice. Ditch your slow super zoom and get a 70-200 f4 IS.


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TeamSpeed
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Sep 12, 2017 09:47 |  #9

Here are the reasons to upgrade that a couple of folks are missing, given the fact that it sounds like JPG results are being used out of the 550D. I didn't want to get into all the details, but I guess I will. :D

- Better ISO management, both at the low end, and at the high end.

- The 80D has even more availability at low ISO due to its higher DR capabilities over the 7D2.

- Both cameras have a much better NR and JPG engine, so the JPG results are cleaner and better than the older bodies. The 7D/60D/550D, etc all employed the older JPG engine that is inferior to the newer models. I think the SL1 and 6D and 5D3 were some of the first to employ the new JPG engine.

- Both have much better AF systems, and both have DPAF which is outstanding for family shots and events, especially if you want video snippets, but DPAF is also great for live view stills for kids. Family/kid events ALWAYS benefit from better AF systems over older systems, it simply gives you a better keeper rate.

- Both focus so much better in low light, which is pretty common for family life around the house, during drama and school events, etc.

- Flicker control is great for home life with artificial lights, as well as kids events.

- 80D (and the 7D2 with a $40 card) have wifi support, and again this is great for home life, setting up a quick family portrait using your phone as a compose and trigger, etc.

- Battery life is better, means longer shooting times and less hassles of battery switches and spares.

- 80D flip out and touch screen very versatile, and with pinch zoom of image review, etc makes it easier for the spouse and kids to use the camera.

- Using 3rd party lenses means you have a higher likelihood of needing to adjust focus, and AFMA comes in very handy in those times.

The 80D and 7D2 are just all around better cameras for home life IMO.

So it isn't just a matter of becoming better acquainted with the 550D, because there are some very nice improvements on the newer bodies, and why waste time on doing relearning on the 550D if there is any chance of an upgrade in the future? Why not upgrade now, if funds allow, and then learn the new bodies with the new features/improvements? Time is short, and you cannot take your money with you... The older I get, the less time I worry about whether I should or shouldn't upgrade, I just do it, and I haven't regretted it once.

Regarding lenses, be very wary of superzooms. There are some good ones (almost all, if not all, are soft at different focal lengths), and if you just want to create 5x7 or smaller family memoirs, then superzooms are okay. If you want to get more into the artistry and creative side of the equation, you will want better, faster aperture lenses, to give you that DOF control and creative flare that often accommodates such lenses.


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WMS
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Sep 12, 2017 16:40 |  #10

It is good to read this thread as my old 40D just seems to have given up the ghost and is not turning on. After a lot of consideration between the 7D2, 80D and the 77D I ordered a 80D and expect it to arrive tomorrow. From what has been posted it seems that I made a good choice.


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Bassat
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Sep 12, 2017 17:20 |  #11

I see a large contradiction in your post. You state that you want to upgrade the image quality you are getting from your 550D. All well and good. But then you follow that by posting that you are considering some relatively mediocre lenses. The 18-135 STM is pretty good, but you can get better, if you are willing to spend some money for EF lenses. The 70-300 II has the same glass as the 70-300 parent lens. The new one focuses faster, but not as fast as ring-USM, and has the same long-end deficits as the original.

Keep the camera you have; there is no point in upgrading the camera to put some of Canon's lesser lenses in front of it. I also don't see the point of buying a camera with absolutely killer auto-focus (80D/7D2), then mounting slow-focusing STM/nano-USM lenses on it. If you don't NEED the AF at that level, why upgrade the body at all?


Tom

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TeamSpeed
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Sep 12, 2017 19:27 |  #12

Some of the STM lenses focus faster than some of the USM lenses. I am quite happy with the focusing on the 55-250 STM for example when you place a 7D2 or 80D behind it, powering that AF. The 550D won't power through the AF and lock on as fast as the 80D/7D2.

So there is some logic in getting better glass, the 50 1.8 old plastic mount can be improved upon, as can the old 18-55 II (not STM). IQ won't be a huge improvement, and AF will be moderately faster, both being better with the lenses mentioned than what is currently owned.


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DreDaze
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Sep 12, 2017 20:32 |  #13

how old are the kids? are they doing sports or anything? i feel like the 7DII AF may be overkill...most of what you described isn't required a super fast AF body...honestly i'd look at a 6DMKI...it seems like the majority of emphasis is on portraits...i'd rather have the 6D for that than the 7DII...also you mention not wanting primes, but have you tried one yet? i'd definitely grab one, i think you'd find you'd use it more than you think

but as with everything, it comes down to how much you want to spend


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Bassat
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Sep 12, 2017 22:20 |  #14

TeamSpeed wrote in post #18450725 (external link)
Some of the STM lenses focus faster than some of the USM lenses. I am quite happy with the focusing on the 55-250 STM for example when you place a 7D2 or 80D behind it, powering that AF. The 550D won't power through the AF and lock on as fast as the 80D/7D2.

So there is some logic in getting better glass, the 50 1.8 old plastic mount can be improved upon, as can the old 18-55 II (not STM). IQ won't be a huge improvement, and AF will be moderately faster, both being better with the lenses mentioned than what is currently owned.

Perhaps I commented too broadly. I had a 55-250 STM for a short while. It was good enough on 60D/70D to tracks squirrels in the park. And my goto full frame lens is the 24-105 STM. I've never had an AF-speed issue with that.


Tom

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Eurogranada
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Sep 13, 2017 01:04 |  #15

Bassat wrote in post #18450612 (external link)
I see a large contradiction in your post. You state that you want to upgrade the image quality you are getting from your 550D. All well and good. But then you follow that by posting that you are considering some relatively mediocre lenses. The 18-135 STM is pretty good, but you can get better, if you are willing to spend some money for EF lenses. The 70-300 II has the same glass as the 70-300 parent lens. The new one focuses faster, but not as fast as ring-USM, and has the same long-end deficits as the original.

Keep the camera you have; there is no point in upgrading the camera to put some of Canon's lesser lenses in front of it. I also don't see the point of buying a camera with absolutely killer auto-focus (80D/7D2), then mounting slow-focusing STM/nano-USM lenses on it. If you don't NEED the AF at that level, why upgrade the body at all?

Ok, now this baffles me. All I read about nano usm is that it is the best and fastest off all canon focus methods? That is (combined with price) one big reason why I mentioned the lenses I mentioned. I thought those would be the best focus match to the fast AF system of a 7D2 for instance.

So what should I be looking at then?




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