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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EOS Digital Cameras 
Thread started 23 Oct 2012 (Tuesday) 08:42
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Best Choice For Wildlife

 
snowyowl13
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Oct 23, 2012 08:42 |  #1

Most of what I take are pictures of birds and wildlife with the occasional landscape. I'd like to do some macro.
I have 50D but am thinking of upgrading. The possible choices are 7D, 60D, 6D or 5D mark ll. I don't think changing to a 60D would be step up, so that can probably be struck off of the list. I think that the 6D is expensive but I could swing it if the gain in image quality was sufficiently great.
The other option if not to upgrade and to put the money into a good macro lens.
I would be really interested to hear what people recommend particularly the people who are more tech savvy than I am. My work horse l;ens is Canon 100-400 IS L series with a couple of Sigmas for landscapes and misc.




  
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MCAsan
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Oct 23, 2012 09:49 |  #2

Hard to beat 5DII with 100L or 180L. You can of course put those on the 50D. Get refurbed lenses from Canon USA.




  
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snowyowl13
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Oct 23, 2012 10:00 |  #3

Thanks. The 5D Mark ll is really becoming affordable.




  
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ebiggs
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Oct 23, 2012 10:00 as a reply to  @ MCAsan's post |  #4

With what you listed, IMHO, I would go for a lens upgrade.
Nice photos on your web site!


G1x, EOS 1Dx, EOS 1D Mk IV, ef 8-15mm f4L,
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dfbovey
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Oct 23, 2012 10:35 |  #5

5D2 isn't really a great option at all for birds or anything moving with it's AF system. If you want to remain in that price range or lower, I would recommend the 1D mark III. Better IQ than the 7D, better focusing system. You'd have to find a good one used.

Best two options for you would be either the 1D3 or the 7D for nature and wild life if you are on a budget.

How I'd rate the options Canon has to offer for birds and wildlife, in order:
#1 = 1Dx
#2 = 1D4
#3 = 5D3
#4 = 1D3
#5 = 7D


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Canon 1D markIV - Canon 1D markIII - Canon 6D
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L - Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L - Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS - Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L - Canon EF 500mm f/4L

  
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archer1960
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Oct 23, 2012 10:40 |  #6

I wouldn't bother with a body change right now; just get the 100L macro lens.


Gripped 7D, gripped, full-spectrum modfied T1i (500D), SX50HS, A2E film body, Tamzooka (150-600), Tamron 90mm/2.8 VC (ver 2), Tamron 18-270 VC, Canon FD 100 f/4.0 macro, Canon 24-105 f/4L,Canon EF 200 f/2.8LII, Canon 85 f/1.8, Tamron Adaptall 2 90mmf/2.5 Macro, Tokina 11-16, Canon EX-430 flash, Vivitar DF-383 flash, Astro-Tech AT6RC and Celestron NexStar 102 GT telescopes, various other semi-crappy manual lenses and stuff.

  
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amfoto1
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Oct 23, 2012 11:52 |  #7

Like some other responses, I'm not sure a camera upgrade is the best thing for you, but in case you are determined to do that, here are some considerations.

Your first decision will be whether to stick with a crop camera or make the switch to full frame....

If wildlife is one of your favorite subjects, expecially small wildlife such as many birds.... Then a 6D, 5DII or other full frame camera most likely is not your best choice. The crop sensor cameras are generally better for that purpose. The new AF system in the 6D is an unknown at this point (more points than the 5DII, but like that camera only the center one is the better cross type). The 5DII is not up to stopping action as well as the crop cameras can. Among the full frame models, only the 5DIII, which sounds to be more than you want to spend, offers AF that can be relied upon for faster moving situations. (Again, 6D is supposed to be better than 5DII, but I'm skeptical until I see some feedback from actual users.)

Unfortunately, it's just the opposite for landscape photography... to some extent. Usually a full frame camera that captures the maximum possible fine detail is desirable. However, what you do with your images is also important. To really make best use of a full frame landscape shot, you'd have to make large prints from it. Web resolutions and for smaller prints, up to about 16x20", you won't see a lot of advantage from the FF camera.

Another advantage of crop cameras is that your lens kit can be smaller, lighter and less expensive. Crop cameras can use all the available lenses, both the EF and the EF-S/crop only. Full frame can only use full frame lenses. And, to get the same reach, particularly with telephotos, you are looking at a bigger, heavier and more expensive lens for full frame. For example, I use a 300/4 IS a lot on my crop cameras, easily handheld and portable. If I want the same reach with my 5DII, I need to get out the 500/4 IS and a tripod to put it on. Or at least a monopod. 6X the cost for the lens alone, way bigger and lots heavier.

So, first decide which you need... full frame or crop. I think it will come down to your subject priorities... if it's Wildlife, especially smaller subjects, you will probably want to stick with a cropper. If the priority were landscapes, then the full frame would probably be a better choice.

If you decide to stick with crop cameras, you're down to two choices.

50D > 60D.... You'd be getting about one stop higher usable ISO, video, articulated LCD screen, lighter weight, minimal difference in overall image quality, slightly higher resolution (18MP vs 15MP). No significant change in AF performance. You'd be giving up Micro Focus Adjust feature, getting a slower top frame rate and more plastic construction, and some of the controls of the 60D are laid out differently.

50D > 7D... Very similar IQ and ISO performance to 60D (one stop higher ISO than 50D & minimal difference in overall IQ, slightly higher resolution). Faster and fancier AF. Heavier weight. 100% viewfinder.

Actually you have a third choice.... Stick with your 50D and put your money into lenses instead. Frankly, if I were you that's what I'd do.... Unless you really, really need video, or the AF performance of 7D, and/or the add'l stop of usable high ISO that either 60D or 7D would give you.

Some lens upgrades would make a much, much bigger difference in your images, than changing cameras will. And your 50D is still quite capable. You'd only see marginal gains with a newer model.

If you stick with crop cameras, consider getting a Canon 10-22 or Tokina 12-24 for those landscape shots. For the mid range, a Canon 17-55/2.8 would be a great upgrade over your kit lens. A single lens that might serve both purposes and is very compact, consider the EF-S 15-85mm IS. It's not quite as wide and not an f2.8 lens, but the 15-85 delivers top image quality... and still is compact, with fast USM and IS. You're pretty well set with your 100-400, unless you feel the need for even more reach (Sigma 150-500 OS?).

As to the macro lens... again you have a lot of possibilities. Canon makes a number of very good ones, and when it comes image quality, there are many excellent third party options, too. It comes down to features of the lenses that best meet your needs.

IQ aside (it's not a concern, they are all good), size is an important factor. How big and heavy a lens are you willing to tuck in your camera bag for occasional macro shooting. If you want a more compact lens and plan to stick with a crop camera, Canon offers the 50/2.5 "Compact" macro, but I'd recommend 60mm to have a little more working distance and because the Canon 50mm macro isn't a USM lens and isn't 1:1 capable without additional accessories. Canon EF-S 60mm macro is excellent and can do full 1:1. And Tamron offers a 60/2 1:1 macro, which ia a full stop faster aperture than any other macro lens and can double nicely for portraiture, but gives up some focus speed to the Canon USM lenses. In either case 60mm still puts you a little close to some subjects, but is a bit smaller and easier to tuck into a camera bag. Sigma offers 50/2.8 and 70/2.8 macro lenses, both 1:1 lenses.

Personally I prefer a 90mm to 105mm focal length, on crop cameras. This gives more working distance, often useful for certain subjects. And it's not so long that it's hard to get a steady shot... To get enough depth of field with a longer lens, it's often necessary to stop down quite a bit and that leads to slower shutter speeds.

In this range, it's hard to go wrong with either of the Canon 100mm lenses. Personally I see little need for IS on a macro lens, so I use the non-L, non-IS 100mm. There is also the Tamron 90/2.8, an excellent model that's been around since the days of film and manual focus and has just kept getting better over the years. Tokina offers a 100/2.8. And Sigma offers a 105/2.8 OS (and just recently discontinued a non-OS version). All are excellent optically, but differ in features and price.

Other things to look for in macro lenses....

Tripod mounting options. Both the Canon 100mm lenses can optionally be fitted with a tripod mounting ring, which is very convenient and handy (most of the third party macros around this range do not provide means of fitting a t'pod ring). The Canon t'pod rings are rather pricey... but there are considerably cheaper third party clones on eBay and elsewhere that might serve. (Shorter focal lengths are small enough that a t'pod ring is less necessary and most longer focal lengths come with a t'pod ring.) AFAIK, none of the third party lenses in the 90 to 105mm focal length range can be fitted with tripod mounting rings.

Focus speed: The Canon 60mm and both the 100s are USM lenses. Because a macro lens has to move it's focusing group a long, long way, they can be slow focusing. Some third party lenses have similar (Sigma HSM), but most don't (I don't think Tamron has put their new and similar USD on a macro lens yet).

Internal focusing design of the Canon 100s is another factor... makes for a bigger lens to start with, but they don't change length when focusing. Some macro lenses double or triple in size, when focused to their closest. This can effect working distance and balance. Likely it also effects focus speed to some degree. An IF lens might be a little faster focusing. On the other hand, an IF lens design effectively changes focal length as it's focused closer. The Canon 100mm lenses end up about effective 70mm at their closest, 1:1 magnification setting.

A focus limiter is another nice feature, mostly pertaining to focus speed. The Canon 100/2.8 USM (non-L/IS) has a two step limiter. The more expensive 100L has a three step limiter. Some third party lenses have a limiter, others don't. I should note, a lot of macro shooting is done with manual focus... it's just easier at higher magnifications. So focus speed might be more of a consideration for secondary usages of the lens... such as portraiture or any other short telephoto purpose.

Have fun shopping!


Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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watt100
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Oct 24, 2012 05:02 |  #8

snowyowl13 wrote in post #15158329 (external link)
Most of what I take are pictures of birds and wildlife with the occasional landscape. I'd like to do some macro.
I have 50D but am thinking of upgrading. The possible choices are 7D, 60D, 6D or 5D mark ll. I don't think changing to a 60D would be step up, so that can probably be struck off of the list. I think that the 6D is expensive but I could swing it if the gain in image quality was sufficiently great.
The other option if not to upgrade and to put the money into a good macro lens.
I would be really interested to hear what people recommend particularly the people who are more tech savvy than I am. My work horse l;ens is Canon 100-400 IS L series with a couple of Sigmas for landscapes and misc.

I agree with the others, spending on lens instead of a body upgrade makes more sense for birds, wildlife and macro shooting




  
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jaomul
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Oct 24, 2012 05:15 |  #9

Nice macro would complement what you have nicely


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Olympus EM5,Nikon d7200,
Olympus 12-50mm, 40-150mm,17mm f2.8,Nikon 50mm F1.8, Tamron 90mm vc, 18-105mmVR, Sigma 18-35 f1.8

  
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alazgr8
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Oct 24, 2012 05:28 as a reply to  @ jaomul's post |  #10

If you are looking to get into macro, then get the 100 f/2.8L Macro lens, and a set of Kenko extension tubes, and keep your 50D. Most of the hardcore macro guys are using crop body 40 and 50d's. If you want to upgrade bodies just to upgrade, go for it, but you don't need to upgrade to get into macro. Good luck making your decosion. -rick


Rick S.
My Gear = Canon 50d ~ EF 100 f/2.8L IS USM Macro ~ EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM ~ EF-S 17-55 IS USM f/2.8 IS ~ EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM ~ EF 28-135 IS f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

  
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hollis_f
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Oct 24, 2012 06:41 |  #11

watt100 wrote in post #15162316 (external link)
I agree with the others, spending on lens instead of a body upgrade makes more sense for birds, wildlife and macro shooting

Absolutely. I'd sell the 7x-300 lenses and take the money from them plus the money I would have spent upgrading and put it all towards a nice 100mm macro.


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snowyowl13
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Oct 24, 2012 07:19 |  #12

ebiggs wrote in post #15158634 (external link)
With what you listed, IMHO, I would go for a lens upgrade.
Nice photos on your web site!

Thank you!




  
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snowyowl13
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Oct 24, 2012 07:27 |  #13

Thanks everyone! That was really helpful and confirmed what I think I knew in my heart. I'm getting quite decent pictures with my 50D and I will stay with it and add a macro, probably the Canon 100. I'll be spending the winter in Florida and will search for a deal down there. I think that by bird shots may be starting to bore me a bit and need to move into something new - macro photography seems the obvious choice.




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Oct 24, 2012 10:30 |  #14

I use a 50D almost eclusively for wildlife. I have often thought of upgrading, but I don't think anything would be an improvement, short of a 1D4. So, I have elected to forego the typical 7D upgrade. And I've never regretted it.

I did look at the gear list in your signature line. If what you shoot most really is wildlife and birds, then I think that you would benefit most by getting some big white glass. I know it's expensive, but it will make more difference in this type of shooting than you can imagine. Even a 300 f2.8 IS (with both teleconverters, and a really stable tripod and head) would open up a whole new world to you. And a 500 f4 would be even better.

I think a lens like one of those would do far, far more for your type of photography than a body upgrade. This I know from personal experience, as I shoot the same stuff . . . still with the lowly 50D!


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Rich ­ Smith
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Oct 24, 2012 11:00 |  #15

No doubt the 50D is great for macro and the 100 2.8 is almost a no brainer, unless you want to go crazy and get the 180! As far as a 300 2.8 0r 400 f/4, those are dream lenses for most wildlife photographers..The 100-400 does have some limitations, but it is what it is, still a great lens for those that can't afford or justify anything faster the 5.6 at 400mm. Anything upwards is 4 times the money! Keep that lens unless you land a job with NatGeo.
I took a 50D and the 100-400 all the way to Africa with no regrets, low light was a challenge, but I got some great pics and being able to zoom is in my opinion very usefull..Also had a 70-200 f/4 IS, not a whole lot faster, but still came in handy when the light was fading.
All that said, one day out on a ride my battery went dead (limited elec at the camp) and the guide happened to have a spare 1D3..After getting home and looking at my files I have no doubt the 1D was superior..So close to taking the plunge a few times, but 7Ds dropped a few bucks through the CLP program last week and I have one now for 2 days..so far so good, need to test a bit more and if I don't find it more usefull for the things I shoot, I will send it back and get a 1D3 and keep my 50D for a 2nd body.




  
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