5DIII or 500mm 4.0 IS

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by df, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. df


    My current equipment is 50D (15mp) with 50 1.4, 15-40 4.0, 70-200 4.0 and 300 4.0 plus 1.4X. I process with PSE and print with Epson Photo R2880.
    I shoot just about everything from landscapes to birds. 300mm with 1.4 just does not have the reach or sharpness with either handheld and IS or with tripod. I just don't see a 500mm in my future due to cost.
    I am really getting into birds. Which would best suit this app--a new 5Diii with rumored 30mp and my current 300mm 4.0 or my current 50D with a 500mm 4.0. It can only be one or the other as buying both would put me out in the cold.
  2. Tough question, a 500mm on the 50D would give you the equivalent of 800mm which is a little tough to handle even on a tripod. While a 300mm is "only" 300mm on the 5D II. You could buy an extension which would give you the equivalent of 480mm. That would be just about barely enough. A 500mm f4 is a nice lens to have though, but unless you do this for a living how much use do you see getting out of it ?
  3. Buy the glass. Don't waits for a camera that's currently not even being produced. I'll be dissappointed if they bump up the pixel count, which will likely add more noise.
    Also, I don't think "more pixels" is going to get you closer to the birds.
  4. Probably call it the 5DIIDP, trumpeting the return of the dedicated Direct Print button.
  5. If you need it now (and the only choice is either a 500/4 or a 5Diii) then the 500mm will be the better choice because the 5Diii won't be around for a while.
    That said, most of the time my 5Dii pixels are sharper than my 50D's. Plus I can use higher ISO's with less degradation. (And the difference is not that much, 15MP crop vs 21MP full frame. It's 4.7 um versus 6.4 um so on a certain area you'll get 36% more pixels per side. Say a birds head occupies 500 pixels to the side on a 5Dii, that same bird using the same lens will occupy 680 pixels to the side on a 50D.)
    You might want to experiment with your 300/4 plus 1.4 extender and a 5Dii to see whether sharpness improves.
    Oh well, not the answer you were looking for. Sorry. I hope it did some good.
  6. Does anybody have anything really solid about a 5D mkiii?
    I just Googled™ it earlier today, and all just rumors and speculation that I could see.
  7. zml


    Get a Canon 1D mk. IV. You'll get EFOV of 390 mm (with your current 300 mm) and more with a 1.4x extender. Plus superb AF and many other nice things no other camera offers.
    Canon "5D Mk. III" is at present just a figment of adolescent imagination.
  8. If you'll use it, then the glass will do more for you bird shots than a 5D Mkx. I own the 5D MkII and the 7D and the 500/f4 and the lens is the key to getting great bird and wildlife shots.
  9. Start with the lens and then move up to a 7D if you later want a better body for shooting birds and you don't want to spring for a 1D MkIV.
  10. I'd wait for the 5D3. That way while you are cursing about the problems you have now, and continue to have to deal with for the next 9-12 months (at a minimum) before you can expect to see an actual 5D3 (much less actually buy one), you'll be able to blame all your problems on those jerks @ Canon.
    If you aren't getting sharp images out of your 50D @ 480mm eff. (the 300/4 on the crop), or 672mm eff. (480 w/ 1.4x) what makes you think you'll be able to get good IQ out of a 500/4 (800mm on the crop, 1120mm w/ the 1.4x)? I think that you may need to revisit your skills. While it won't help w/ the reach (though I can't fathom why you'd think a FF camera would help there), getting satisfactory IQ is a completely different beast. Learn to use the equipment properly, because a 50D (w/ MFA) and a 300/4 should be sharp enough to cut glass. If not, than somethings wrong w/ your equip or your technique.
  11. Marcus, obtaining consistently sharp images isn't necessarily a function of user error when we're talking about bird photography. They almost never sit "still", and birds in flight are a real challenge to even the most experienced photographers. The reason the 7D and 1DmkIV are so good at this is their state of the art (for Canon) AF systems. Anything wrt fast action will result in a signifigantly poorer keeper rate when shot with earlier systems. I'm not sure why you took this tone, but it doesn't seem helpful.
    My suggestion echoes another, take a look at the 7D-while it's not the beast that the 1DMK4 is, it may allow your budget to afford both an appropriate body for sports/birding, and the better glass. It is my experience that upgrading to a body designed for the type of photography that you do will improve your keeper rate substantially. (IE: Birds in flight are an exercise in futility with my 60D).
  12. Or just rent the glass and see if you really like it - image quality, carrying it around, etc. etc.
  13. The 500/4 will make a much more significant difference than the increase in megapixels. As someone else pointed out the 7D would likely be a better match for the lens and your needs.
  14. Or you could get the 400mm f5.6 L if cash is an issue - great lens for birds and those in flight
  15. 300mm with 1.4 just does not have the reach or sharpness with either handheld and IS or with tripod.
    300 x 1.4 x 1.6 = 672mm. If that's not enough reach, then 500mm on a full frame will also leave you wanting. And if that combo (300 + 1.4) isn't sharp enough then there is some other problem at play which will likely follow you after you've spent your money. You need to figure out what that problem is before spending thousands of dollars, especially since FF loses any advantage once you're reach limited and cropping the image.
    3rd party teleconverter? Get the latest Canon model.
    Focusing? Then you need a 7D or 1D mkIV.
    Post processing? This is a cheap thing to fix. So is exposure: are your shutter speeds high enough, and is your aperture wide enough so that you don't hit diffraction?
    Cheap front filter(s)? Dump them.
    Flimsy tripod? Put your money in support.
    Without more info nobody here can give you a good answer, but I doubt the answer is thousands of more dollars. I have pixel sharp 16x20 prints of surfers from 9 MP crops out of the center of 18 MP 7D + 300 f/4L IS shots. I don't own the Canon 1.4x II yet, but I have had the chance to borrow one and it performs very well, basically requiring just a bit more post sharpening. I'm not saying a 500mm isn't a very useful birding tool, but you should be able to produce good shots with what you have. And if you're going to spend thousands more for birding, it would make more sense to mate the 500L with either a 7D or a 1D mkIV.
  16. I agree with Harry's assessment that the 500mm is "a little tough to handle even on a tripod". But look at Tm J's (PN Member) bird shots with his hand held 500mm lens. No tripod. Excellent detail. At 8.5 pounds + camera, it's bulky but trying to chase a bird while connected to a tripod will result in lost shots too. I don't think the 50 will focus fast enough for birds. Mt 5Dii won't.
  17. Or you could get the 400mm f5.6 L if cash is an issue - great lens for birds and those in flight
    This is a little sharper than the 300 f/4L IS + 1.4 II, but not by much. The difference is within the range of post processing to eliminate, and you lose IS with the 400mm lens. If you slap the 1.4x on the 400mm lens then you lose AF unless you're shooting a 1D, so David wouldn't really gain either way.
  18. The 400/5.6 gets you nowhere beyond where you already are.
    Going with the 500/f4 handheld is the way to go, IF you're strong enough. I'm a linebacker build (in my 60s) and it took me several months to build the strength, but my keeper rate went through the roof when I stopped using the tripod for BIF.
    The bald eagle juvenile in the image below was almost straight over me. I couldn't have gotten the shot on the tripod:
  19. If the image is soft it is either not quite in focus, camera shake or soft lens. I own and shoot the 300F4L IS and the
    1.4x but at F4 with the TC you get very soft images. You really need to shoot this combo at F5.6 (effectively F8). If
    you need reach then the 500 F4 is the way to go. But make sure you know which of the three problems you want to
  20. Agreed with David, though my experience is with air shows. I pulled out the monopod once to support my lens and immediately put the monopod away. I was only able to track wide ranging and unpredictable flight pattern by hand and body motion.
  21. Get the glass. I shoot with a 500f4 (bought used, then sent to Canon for refurb for about $200, and the lens is perfect...I have won awards, and the lens is something I will probably have for many, many years. I use a 7D, which cannot be beat for focus on flying birds (after you take the time to learn how to use it.) BUT, I also use it with my 40 D and get fantastic pix as well. For birds, it is all about the reach, and the cropped body provides extra reach. As for glass, it lasts for a long time...camera bodies continually change. Bottom line, in my opinion, is that the 50, the 7D, the 5D mark 2 and 3 are all great bodies, but the 500 f4 is a lifetime piece of glass...Take a look at my bird pictures at photodiscoveries.com.
  22. Another strong vote for the glass!
    The 5D won't help you get BIF photos, you need the long lens. I found the 500mm to be pretty easily hand-holdable; it balances very nicely.
  23. - lens is good investment, and something to attach -can be used in whole amount -plus update much often than....go with lens
  24. df


    Thanks to all for you great comments.
  25. I have the 500mm and could not agree more with the contributors saying get this glass first. I use this lens for bird photography all of the time and you will love it, regardless of the body you attach to it. I also second the vote for the 7D. You will capture so much more with the 8fps with the 500mm on a good tripod and gimbal head. The 5d at roughly 4fps is just not suited as well for this type of photography. If you can squeeze in a 1D Mark IV instead of a 7D, all the better. Good luck.
  26. If you are having problems with sharpness with the 300mm then I seriously doubt that the 500mm will be the answer to your problems. I have the 500mm, the 300mm and the 1.4 extension. I was getting good pictures out of my 300 w/1.4 but moving up to the 500 required a lot of practice and a new tripod to get back to the level of quality I wanted. Normally my advise is "lens first-then camera"but in this case I think a move up to the 7D might be the better answer. I moved up to the 7D from the 30D and was amazed at the speed, accuracy and versitility of the 7D focusing and metering. Bear in mind that lifting a 500mm plus camera is not difficult but holding it steady enough to squeeze the shutter is not. It sounds like you might need to analyze your current problems before moving up in equipment.
  27. Two questions, for which I do not know the answers...
    Does a 1DmkIV autofocus at f/8.0? If so, you can use the 2x teleconverter.
    How is the image quality with a 300mm/2.8 + 2x teleconverter? If it's good enough (I've read many places that it is), then you can get those two used AND a 7D.
  28. The 1D Mark IV will center point auto focus with the 2x teleconverter. The image quality of a 300m f/2.8 and a 2x converter is good, but the 500mm remains in my view the superior choice in the framework of this question.
  29. I'd say get the lens. A full frame camera would only shorten your reach. If you really want to shoot birds, that is the best way to go. A lens is usually a better investment anyway.
  30. In my experience all TCs slow down AF. I also find that I almost never use my 2x TC as it degrades quality much
    more than the 1.4x ( both my EF TCs are mark II models). Ihave always found Canon's 1.4x to be much better than
    the 2x - even in the FD days when we had two 2x TCs to choose from. If you do not need the reach then the 300
    F2.8 is an amazing lens and much handier than the 500. This is whyi suggest that you understand what problem(s)
    you are trying to solve this means understanding the cause(s)
  31. Another strong vote for the glass!​
    And another. I'd only suggest you buy used, as the depreciation from the year's end - when the 500/4 IS II will start selling - will get steeper.
    Happy shooting,
  32. Yakim said:
    And another. I'd only suggest you buy used, as the depreciation from the year's end - when the 500/4 IS II will start selling - will get steeper.​
    Given that the replacement is almost 10-grand, I doubt that the used series I will take any substantial hit. Still, if you don't want to pay 10-grand, then 5 to 6-grand for a used lens doesn't look quite as bad.
  33. Current 500/4 IS is 7K. New 500/4 IS II is 9.5K. Personally, I have no doubt that used prices of 500/4 IS will get much lower when the 500/4 IS II will start to sell but how significant will the hit be is anybody's guess.
    Happy shooting,
  34. Just a year ago a new 500/4 IS was $6100 and the stock of mint used examples is actually pretty low. Although most of us that own the series I would like the II, the percentage that will move up at a 3 to $4000 premium is likely to be fairly small. If you want a series I and can find a good used example, buy it now. Basic economic analysis predict little, if any advantage to waiting.
    The historical drop in used prices were in environments where the yen had been relatively stable for a good while and the new model was more expensive, but not 50% higher than recent prices. This go round won't be like the past, per my estimate.
  35. My vote is for 7D and IS zoom telephoto lenses, I have here few hummingbirds.

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