Choosing body and lens - is my thinking flawed?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by dthew, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. I have been using a Powershot SX20IS and it has been a perfectly good camera (and will continue to be) for everyday shots of family, travels etc. It has also allowed me to explore several areas of photography from macro to landscape, wildlife to sports and I now know which direction I'm interested in. As I take part in (I wouldn't say compete as I don't take it seriously enough!) duathlons and triathlons, I have found myself wanting to photograph them. I like the fact that you combine the elements of setting up a shot as you would in a landscape shot, but at the same time having to react to the action as you would whilst shooting street. However, as I have shot more, I'm really starting to realise the limitations of my camera. IQ as the sensor has 12 megapixels crammed onto a tiny sensor - it has a 5.6x crop factor! (A 5-100mm lens provides a 35mm equivalent 28-560mm) The speed is only 1fps and focussing can be troublesome. Physical size - I have big hands and they cramp up after long use with this camera.
    At present, I live in Taiwan, but will be moving to Perth (Australia not Scotland!) in three months. From research, it seems that camera equipment isn't cheap in Oz whereas its about on par with the US here for both new and used, so I'm thinking of buying before I go. There are many triathlon clubs in the Perth area and there are about two events per month in Western Australia.
    What and where will I shoot:
    Triathlons and I could see this leading into Surf-Lifesaving events as well. These events happen during the summer season, normally starting about 7/8am and running for 1-3 hours. Obviously, the Surf-Lifesaving will happen on the beach, but a lot of the Triathlons also start/take place on or near a beach.
    Output plans:
    I plan to produce photo books for triathlon clubs documenting their season with the option for individual members to buy enlarged prints (probably no bigger than 2'x3' or 60cmx90cm).
    Triathlons allow you to get fairly close to the competitors, so a two lens set up should be enough - a wide/normal and a medium zoom. I think Delly Carr is a good professional in this area and I'm inspired by his shots of the Perth International Triathlon which can be found here.
    From my limited experience already, I have found myself sitting in ditches, climbing overhanging trees etc to get a different angle. Added to this is the likelihood of being on a beach, so I need some robust equipment.
    I will be buying a monopod and 430 Speedlite (for fill-in flash) whatever option I go with.
    I am a believer in putting Canon glass on Canon bodies. I also like the idea of fixed apertures.
    I have $2,000 to spend.
    Option 1: Used 40D ($700), used 70-200 f/2.8 Non-IS ($1,100) and new 50 f/1.8 ($100)
    Option 2: Used 40D ($700), new 70-200 f/4 Non-IS ($650), used 17-40 f/4 ($650)
    Option 3: Used 1D II ($1,000), new 70-200 f/4 Non-IS ($650), new 24 f/2.8 ($330)
    I know traditional thinking is to go with the best glass you can afford and then add the body, but I am leaning towards Option 3 as I feel the 70-200 f/4 is still an excellent piece of glass and I'm shooting outdoors, so don't really need the wider aperture. The 1D II's focussing, IQ, speed and robustness might be worth spending the extra money here.
    I would love to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. 40D used ($700), Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 non VC ($470), and the 70-200mm 4.0 non IS ($650). A little left over for 8g CF cards and a slinger bag to carry it in. Good luck!
  3. Any DSLR, even a Rebel, will deliver an immense improvement in focusing speed over a P&S. The responsiveness of a DSLR is impressive in every regard. You're rarely waiting on the camera, most things happen the instant you press the button.
    Personally I would go for the 40D, because I suspect its focusing is sufficient for your needs. But I don't shoot sports, so I might be wrong. I like Option 2. Gil's suggestion is worth considering as well.
  4. I have only a fairly limited experience of sports photography but I suggest you should think about IS for the longer lens. So I suggest choose the camera body you like plus the 70-200 f4 IS L. In my experience IS makes a big difference on longer lenses and is worth giving up other things for.
  5. 50mm on a 1.6 crop will probably not be wide enough.

    That said I like both your options.

    Maybe 40D plus 18-55/IS plus best 70-200 you can afford?
  6. @Gil - Thanks, and just when I thought I had narrowed it down to three options! ;-)
    @Colin - Unless panning for cyclists, my sports shots are normally taken using fast shutter speeds (usually above 1/500), so on a medium telephoto zoom IS is not really necessary. Thus, I feel, there is little point paying for it. I'd rather spend money on f/2.8 than IS.
    50mm on a 1.6 crop will probably not be wide enough.​
    I agree, which put me off this option. Unfortunately, with only $200 left in the budget, I can't really afford anything else, although I did see a BGN (bargain) 24 f/2.8 on KEH for $205, but I don't know if I can find a used one here in Taiwan.
  7. The EOS 40D is a good choice. Probably the best bargain in terms of value.
    Instead of the 70-200mm zooms, consider the EF 200mm f/2.8 L USM prime. Excellent AF, fast aperture, stellar image quality. If you think you can live without the flexibility of the zoom (like you expect to use it at the long end most of the time anyway), this might be a good alternative. Buy a second-hand Mk 1 version, it is one of the least expensive L lenses.
    This leaves money for a lens like the EF-S 15-85mm IS USM zoom which covers a lot of useful focal length range. If you really want to save money just get EF-S 18-55mm kit zoom as a second lens (the 24mm prime is not that useful on APS-C). But also get a fast 50mm prime for portraiture and the like.
    If you can, check out your upcoming gear in person. Check how you like the operation and ergonomics, the weight and weight distribution. For example, the 70-200/2.8 is a pretty heavy lens that is no fun to carry around for hours in Australian climate.
  8. I would spend the $2000 on a new or "refurbished" 7D or 50D and a Tamron 17-50 2.8 non-vc
  9. I would go with Gil's suggestion. The Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 can replace both the 17-40 f/4 and the 50 f/1.8 and would be good for the "in close" type shots.
    I own the Tamron and it's AF is quite fast, and I seem to get some pretty crisp images through the entire focal lengths. I use a 50D, but think that the 40D would be fine, and an excellent choice.
    I personally find IS invaluable for any hand held shots, especially "while on the move." But that just a personal preference.
  10. You can also consider the Sigma 70-200 f2.8. I have the first version, and have been pleased with it. From what I understand, the II version is better, and still around $800. Resale won't be as good as with the Canon, but it will still deliver excellent images. I would also suggest for sports, buy a cheap monopod.
  11. David,
    I would go with any opiton that has the 70-200 4 non IS lens. I owned this lens and really loved shooting with it. And for that price you can't go wrong!
  12. I'll second the 40D. But for that format you will need something in the 15 to 18-50 to 85 zoom range. I would not hesitate to use a good used 17-85 Canon, but I do hear good things about the 17-50 Tamron. Combine that with the less expensive 70-200 of either Tamron or Sigma and you will have enough left over for those memory cards and a good monopod--hopefully.
  13. David. I did sports for a newspaper for several years. I regularly shoot swimming now. I have had a 70-200 2.8L for thirteen years. It is overwhelmingly my most used lens for sports. It works well in low light. I do not need IS, as I have demonstrated to myself over these years of publishing pictures, The 70-200 looks and operates today as well as the day I bought it after thousands of pictures. I have had poor luck with AF and reliability of less expensive third party lenses. I have used a lot of equipment as I had my own photo business. The 70-200 2.8 paid for itself a long time ago. If it were me I would get the 1D II for weatherproofing, frame rate, and ruggedness. The 200 f4 sounds fine for your use. I have lost a non-weather proof body shooting soccer in a driving rain. It does rain during triathlons. I would use a UV filter on the L lenses in wet weather just to insure water does not intrude. Otherwise I don't use filters. I do have a 100-400 4.5-5.6 which is great in good light. It has IS but I don't use it much for moving objects. I have a 24-105 f4L where I do find IS useful. High shutter speeds as you say are better if you can get them. I have a full frame body that I can shoot swimming with at ISO 3200 and get usable pictures. I am not sure about the high ISO performance of the 1DII but it is probably better than the 40D. A lot, obviously, depends upon the condition of the bodies you are looking at. I would go for frame rate, weather resistance, ruggedness, and reliability. I have found through expensive experience it is better to buy quality in build and performance. It is less expensive in the long run. In swimming it takes a thousandth or better, if I can get it, to fully stop arm motion. Blurred is nice for effect but there are time when I really want to stop action.
  14. The 40D is a great camera, I really wanted some features of the 5D2 or I would still be using. Even when it was new I always thought it was the best bargain in a camera body.

    I also say go for the Non IS 70-200 If your shooting that fast of a shutter. Like Dick Arnold I have had a 70-200 2.8 for years as well that I picked up used and its a sensational lens. It still wows me when I see the results. I would assume from what I have read the F4 version is equally good.

    Instead of a 17-40 or wide prime you may consider many of the options in the 15 + zoom range. I used the Tamron 17-50 and it is an excellent lens that is very small and compact for a 2.8 lens. I also hear good things about the new 15-85 which would perform similar to a 24-105 on full frame which I love.
  15. I think you're on the right track (pun intended) with the 40D and 70-200/4. Great combo. This will be killer for swimming shots and selective focus shots of runners and cyclists.
    However I suggest rethinking the shorter focal lengths. 50/1.8 is a nice thing to have, but you'll want something shorter. Full-frame ultrawide primes (24/2.8) or zooms (17-40/4) will work okay, but you get more bang for your buck with a crop-factor lens. If you're hesitant about spending money on a crop lens, at least pick up the 18-55 IS kit lens which can be had used for a song.
    Gill's suggestion of Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a good one. I own this lens I can tell you it's very very good, and for bang-for-the-buck you can do no better.
    Canon 15-85 IS would fit the bill as well. I hear nice things about it. However it is variable aperture. Canon 17-55/2.8 IS is the Caddilac, with a price tag to match. I have this lens and it's very very good.
  16. At the risk of being a heretic, I would consider one of the ultrazooms.. the Canon 18-200 or even the Tamron 18-270. Where you're shooting is exactly where I would not want to be changing lenses all the time, blowing sand and salt spray. Plus, why be caught flat-footed mid-change when action is happenning fast? If you don't like the lens speed, crank up the ISO a bit.
    Just a thought.
  17. buy pentax and few stars with 77mm filters,it just work like pentium -that how sensors made
  18. I've competed in and shot triathlons. For me, the best option would be 40D, 70-200 for the swim-bike legs. In most cases, you can be far enough away to get nice shots with these focal lengths, even full body portrait on the bike leg if you can position yourself on a straight piece of road. For the run, you will need something much shorter and preferrably the flexability of a zoom, especially if you want full body portraits.
    So, for me, I would go with option 2 or Gil's suggestion above.
    Note: Best IQ in the 17-55 range on a crop body will be Canon 17-55 F2.8 IS, but this might be a stretch with your budget. I use 7D, 70-200 F4L and 17-55 f2.8.
  19. talk prime to advice ower young Fedirico Felliny on the frame,he got all cand of zoom-zoom-zoom from 20 to 500 mm in one peace,if I know how read from the start?
  20. You are best to get a 70-200 as you suggest. I have the F4 IS and the F2.8 non IS, you really only need the F2.8 if you plan to work in low light (evenings or indoors) I can quite happily shoot ski racing at 400 - 800 ISO with the F4 lens and the speeds are higher. If you do shoot indoors the F2.8 lens is a must. I do not miss IS for sports shooting on the F2.8 lens and would not miss it for sports use on the F4 lens as I am usually at 1/400 to 1/1000. For low light sports use a camera with good performance at high ISO is more use than IS as it allows faster shutter speeds.
    I cannot comment on the EOS 40D as I have not used this body. You will need a wider angle lens for some shots as the 70-200 on an APS-C body is quite long. You will probably find that you cannot change lenses but in a Triathlon you will probably have time between legs.
    Of the kits you suggest the 40D, 17-40 and 70-200 F4 looks like the best compromise. The 1DII is a good body (I have the 1DIIN) but getting rather old and you need to be careful what you buy as many have had a hard life. For a few dollars more you might want to look at a new 50D.
  21. Thanks for all your replies. I was slightly surprised by the overwhelming favour towards the 40D rather than the 1D II. I thought its robustness, 45 point AF system, speed and larger sensor would have had more supporters. It seems the 40D and 70-200 f/4 combo is the way to go with a little more thought on what to use for the wider angles, but a variation on my second option. Thanks again.
  22. If you can get the framing you need in-camera I would propose the 1DII, if you need to crop because of the distance then maybe the 40D. Another reason for the 1D2 woul dbe the conditions and environment - climbing through ditches and up trees and sitting on beaches means the ruggedness would be an advantage; and triathlons are run in all sorts of weather and I think that will get you a lot of memorable shots in those conditions. And having tried one out in the conformtable environment of a shop, the solidity of the autofocus locking on feels like someone has kicked the camera compared to my 30D.
    I am starting to see in the UK some low-use 1DII and even 1DIII models so I think if you buy from a reputable dealer you could end up with a bargain.
  23. Whatever the rest of your kit, the EF 70-200 f/4L IS will produce stunning shots and be a HUGE step forward from your current setup. The 40D and the 1D II are both fine bodies, but the crop-sensor of the 40D or even the latest Rebel, will prove useful in your sports shooting, giving your 70-200 a little more effective reach.
  24. 1D MkII, there are many many good ones out there, and save for the 70-200 f2.8IS, there are a few more out there now the MkII is in the shops in numbers and the price is easing. The first time the 40D misses the shots you'll wish you had the 1D MkII and you'll end up getting a 70-200 f2.8 IS sooner or later anyway.

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