New Body or new lens?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by joseph_hermann, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Hello,

    I've been thinking about investing in some new grear for some time now. After quite some time spent browsing I'm still undecided. I would
    like to buy either a new body the 7D, or a new lens. The lens is very likley going to be a macro lens (maybe the mp-e 65). Im on a budget
    at around 1000€. Which one do you think I should get (or if this is a completly horrible idea).

    Current kit: Eos 1100d, stock 18-55mm (non IS), canon 50mm 1.8, and a Tamron SP 70-300MM F/4-5.6 Di VC USD.
    I mainly do macro and bird/animal photography.

    Thanks Joseph
  2. Canon 50 2.5 macro. It's relatively cheap, well under your limit, giving you something like 80+mm full frame equivalent; if you decide to go for full frame later on, it's a full frame lens.
    It's better built than the 1.8 but heavier at 280g and longer. I have both, and the 1.8 is my fast, light lens, but like most true macros the 2.5 will go from infinity to half life size.
    Are you happy with the 1100D?
  3. The non-IS 18~55 is a relatively poor performer, and replacing that would probably have the biggest impact on your photography. The IS (original or II) version is apparently considerably better, and the IS STM version received a rave review from PhotoZone. Probably the best move for you at this point would be to buy a 70D kit with the 18~55STM and sell your 1100D with its kit lens. Then take stock of your finances and think about what to do next. That should almost certainly not include considering the MP-E 65mm macro lens, which is a highly specialised lens that you should only consider if you are already experienced in macro work and have a specific need for it. If you want to think about a macro lens then within the Canon range by far the best choice for a crop body is the excellent EF-S 60/2.8.
  4. Thankyou for the replies so far, have been doing macrophotography for a good 2-3 years now so thats where the new
    lens would come in. Preferabley at around 50/100mm. The new camera would definatley be the 7d, not the 70d.

    James Elwing, the eos 1100d is working out fine although AF can be slow and low light preformance is horrible.

    If budget alows it I'm considering getting a flash, probably a 4(30?) ex (with a DIY diffuser) or a ring flash.

    P.S. incase I ever get the mp-e 65mm is a full frame a must or not? Have seen it in use on non full frame. Any experiences with it?
  5. You'll have to do the prioritizing, since only you know what you want to do the most.
    Since you already have tried Tamron lenses, you might want to look at their excellent 90mm f/2.8 macro (link and other lenses tested at that site).
    It would give you a little more distance from the subject in true (1:1) macro work. I'd certainly not move directly to a specialized lens like the MP-E 65mm, until you find out that one of the 50-100mm true macro lenses won't do what you want.
    The incredibly handy EF-S 15-85mm IS can sometimes be got with a kit with an APS-C model body, and it does have a so-called "macro" (actually, technically 'close focus' mode that will do for flowers and such like). It's both a better range, and (I think) better optically than the cheaper kit lens.
    I have the older version (17-85) on my old EOS 20D and hardly ever take it off.
  6. the eos 1100d is working out fine although AF can be slow and low light preformance is horrible.​
    Joseph, when upgrading a body, listing your 'problems' with a body is really the first step to take. And next, see if the body you think of getting actually fixes that. Now, even not being a Canon user, it's well documented the 7D has excellent AF, the lower end EOS bodies a lot less - so yes, that ought to be better. But for macro photography, more often than not AF turns out to be a complete waste of time - get used to manual focussing. This is where the 60D/70D with fold-out screen actually might be worth considering (as that can make things a lot easier working at awkward angles).
    As for low-light performance, using the comparison tool on the DPRreview pages of the EOS1100D, at ISO 3200 compared to 7D, 60D and 700D RAW files, I do not see vast differences in noise. So I doubt if you're going to get massively better low light performance.
    Not saying the 7D would be the wrong choice at the moment, but given you can spend money only once, I think you should first think to which extend a 7D would increase your creative options. From what you told so far - sounds to me an upgrade that doesn't bring you all that much.
    Chosing between 50mm or 100mm macro-lenses (or even longer - the Tamron 180mm macro fits your budget too) is first and foremost about working distance. For living insects a 180mm lens is much nicer than a 50mm. For plants/flowers, it matters a lot less. So it would help understanding what your (usual) subjects are. Without knowing more, most people opt for the ~100mm lenses which are quite versatile. A Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro and 430EX flash together should fit your budget.
  7. Note, the 65 mm macro does macros only. The least magnification is 1:1. If you're really keen on shooting eyeballs of insects such as flies, this is the lens to get. Otherwise, get a regular macro lens which will focus from 1:1 to infinity. A regular macro lens also doubles up nicely as a portrait lens.

    I really like my Tamron 90/2.8 macro. I have the old non-VC version. The new VC version is also supposed to be pretty good. Other good choices are Sigma70/2.8, Canon 100/2.8 and Canon100/2.8L IS.
  8. +1 to Wouter's comments.
  9. I think that until you specify more which priorities you have, you will get inconsistent advice.
    I mainly do macro and bird/animal photography.​
    IF macro is your priority, your first step should be a macro lens. I agree with Robin: definitely not the MP-E 65, which is a real specialty lens designed for magnification greater than 1:1. And as someone who does more macro than anything else, I would say definitely not the Canon 50mm, which is only 1:2 and will soon frustrate you for that reason. Beyond that, it depends on what you intend to shoot. For flowers and other things that don't run away, the EF-S 60mm is a great lens (crop sensor only) and a real bargain. If you want to chase bugs, I would opt for around 100mm. Personally, I like internal focusing and full-time manual focusing on macro lenses, so I would probably recommend the non-L Canon 100mm. Your second priority should be lighting, although probably not a ring flash. For most macro work, particularly for still stuff like flowers, you don't really need a new body.
    However, this stuff is useless for bird and animal photography. For that, I would say that you probably would want long lenses and the best AF you can afford.
  10. Wouter Willemse, ahh, sorry for the lack of info. First of I really like bird and nature photography, alot, thats where the AF
    comes in. In macro, as I tend to use Ext. tubes with my kit lens, I'm aware that manual is usally the only way to go.
    At the moment my main focus is nature, mainly animals, an I think that wont change too much over the next few years.
    With light preformance I think the main thing that would improve it would be a faster tele lens or a full format dslr, sadly
    most cameras/lenses in that area are out of my price range (dont earn to much as a student).
  11. Sorry this is my first time on any forum so I'm not to sure on what I'm doing :(. Can anyone provide me with a list of what I
    need to provide to get more consisten awnsers?
  12. You're not going to get "consistent answers" when asking a disparate group of other people for their opinion of what you should do, Joseph.
  13. The 7D has excellent AF on static subjects, but in AI Servo mode, such as when tracking birds in flight, it's pretty hit and miss. In comparison, when I moved from the 7D to the 5D MkIII, my keeper rate for BIF more than doubled.
    Also, the 7D is long in the tooth. Given that, I'd suggest getting a good macro lens now and waiting on the 7D MKII or something with improved AI Servo mode. The 7D is a very fine macro body, with high resolution and decent high-ISO performance up to ISO 800. Working in good light, the files are incredible. (I own the 5D MKIII and the 7D and the 7D is the one that I grab for macros).
  14. Out of chaos emerges more chaos...
    You're doing just fine, Joseph, this sort of "brainstorming" is how things get worked out, and you are not being criticized, just queried for more detail about what you do.
    That old 18-55 is a lot better than many people admit, but you can definitely do much better for not very much more money.
    The 7D is a dandy, but -depending on what you are doing - the 50D thru the 70D are also good. I started out to get a 7D about a year ago (BTW, they are available used for good prices), and finally decided that for my personal needs the 50D was plenty good. I saved so much money that I went out and spent it right away on lenses ;)
  15. [[Can anyone provide me with a list of what I need to provide to get more consisten awnsers?]]
    You won't get consistent answers because there are so many different ways to solve the problem. People solve the problem for their own needs and can offer advise based on their own experiences, but those experiences are not your experiences and their needs are not your needs. There is no "tab A to slot B" instruction sheet.
    If you wish to concentrate on having better AF with your existing lenses and the 7D is within your budget (don't forget the refurbished route, which can save considerable money) then that may be the best route. It will be better than your current 1100D regardless of what out-of-budget full-frame cameras are available. But if you want to focus on improving your macros, then what about your current setup is not working for you?
  16. Joseph, no need to apologize (least of all to me), and you're doing fine. Frankly, consistent answers are rare... the best we can do is point out the options that exist, and indicate a bit how you can get your own priorities clear and make a decision that is as informed as possible. In the end, it's going to be your decision, obviously.
    It all comes down to setting your own priorities. You will have to make choices first of what matters most to you (macro, or wildlife?), and then read up better what will and will not matter to you. This also means investigating what features really mean, and learning to understand how that translates into real life photo-shooting. In the end, that is the only way to make educated decisions.
    Start with a clear choice: macrolens, or body.
    Next: if macrolens, what kind of subjects do you shoot? Read up what are the ideal lenses for that. If body: list the features you actually really need, and start checking which body has those while costing the least (so no, do not yet say: it will be 7D, not the 70D - you may sell yourself short that way).
    And so on.
    Obviously, I didn't reason my purchases so well in the beginning, and ended with a lot of gear I do not actually need and use sparingly. So trying to save you a few $$ here ;-)
  17. I have a 70D and a 7d. The 7d is more rugged than the 70D. The 70D has much better live view which may be good for macro.. I have started to become used to live view in certain situations. The 70d has touch screen, and mobile lcd. I like those features. I will use the 7D to shoot a large upcoming swim meet as I shoot from the deck and get wet sometimes. The 70D is a no brainer if you shoot movies at all. Other than that and a few minor control differences the pictures come out about the same IMO. The 70D has the 7D focusing system except it has fewer on screen options. Your choice but I would suggest the 70D because it is new and has Wi-fi which could be very useful. I have seen good used 7ds going for around USD 900. I don't think you can go wrong either way. A 70D new is 1200 as that is what I paid.
  18. I bought the 70d because I thought it held a lot of attributes for what I consider a very good price. What makes the 70d is that it has a new sensor that focuses much faster in live view stills and video than say my 7D.
  19. I am sure the 7D II will be much better but I am not sure that I need much better as my current 7d and/or my 70D do that right now. Nothing seems to help my keeper rate particularly when I catch a swimmer head down butt up. Both the 7D and 70D have adequate frame rates.
  20. I think that the 70D will be a great macro body, but it'll be marginal for wildlife and birds in flight.
  21. Until you've used the AF system of the 5D MkIII/1D X bodies, you have no idea how good the AF system can be. The 7D is not in the same league.
  22. BTW, if you do end up buying a 7D, go with used or reconditioned so that you can recover your investment when the MkII comes out.
  23. Thank you so far.
    About the camera, I've dont quite a bit of research on 7d vs 70d, and think that it either the 7d or, if it will ever come, the
    7d mkII.

    As for the rest I think that I'm going to go with the lens, although a body is bound to follow as soon as funds alow it. Now
    as for macro shots I'm mainly shooting insects (butterflies, beetles etc.) flowers or other objects only ocasionaly. From
    what I've looked at possible choices include 90mm tamron, both 100mm canon (L&nonL), the (sigma?) 150? Lens, on
    which I've generally only done little research (read 1 or 2 reviews, thats about it). Im tending towards the tamron as it
    seems to be a reasonable and cheaper solution wich would in turn mean that I've got a few bucks to spare on a flash and
    some DIY diffusers.

    There are also 1 or 2 tele zooms which I've been thinking about a bit, the 400mm f5.6 and 300mm f4, which would just
    about fit the budget. But as said im not too sure about those two. In my oppinoin I'll stock up on those once I have the
    body, maybe even the more expensive f2.8 options.
  24. Ok, since you're going macro, will your 70-300mm accept an Extension Tube? I use ETs on my 70-200mm f/4L IS and my 500/f4. Combined with Teleconverters, these become excellent macro lenses with magnification up to 1 times. For butterflies, flowers, the extra working distance makes for easier shooting.
    The combination of a short minimum focus distance, an ET and a TC can make many lenses into very useful close up lenses (true macro is 1x and higher maginfication).
    Here's a shot taken with a 7D, EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, EF25ET, EF 1.4x TC and hand held at 263mm:
  25. Get a reversing mount adapter and play. You can also get a filter ring reversing mount, so you can mount another lens on the front of your lens. You can get some very old lenses (of any type that lets you adjust the aperture when the lens is not mounted on a camera) here:
    That is but one example of a very inexpensive lens you could use. If I were you I would try a reversing mount too.
    You can find various adapters, including this one here:
    I used electrical tape to mount my 50mm f1.4 Canon autofocus lens on the front of my Sony R1 (which has a zoom lens permanently mounted on it), and I was able to shoot photos that are far greater than 1:1 magnification, which is what you are after with that expensive Canon lens. It was a much cheaper solution for me, of course, because I didn't have to buy anything, and it gave me some experience shooting extreme macro photos, which I had never had before.
    I've found that macro is all about manual focus and moving the camera in and out. Auto-focus is really not necessary. It's an expensive convenience. More often than not I end up setting my lens to manual focus and move the camera around or manually focus the lens. You might also take a good hard look at getting a 180mm or 150mm lens. I'm sure that Canon makes a good one, but you might take a look at this one too. It's quite amazing, and with enough extension tubes you will be able to shoot stellar photos of super small creatures.
    I also recommend the new Canon 70 D, since you like to shoot macro, and you may end up wanting to shoot stuff from odd angles, like I did with my Sony A55 and my 30mm macro lens (a focal length that I found much too short for most of the things I wanted to shoot). That is, of course, if you really don't care about having weather seals in your camera, which is something neither your current camera has nor the new 70 D has. The 7 D, on the other hand, does have weather seals, and it is a very good camera too . . . just not as good (image-wise) as the new 70 D. The 70 D produces stellar quality images with NO noise at ISO 100.
    Check out this forum for more and great macro information:
    Particularly check out this thread there, which shows what some other macro shooters use:
    Check out this video too:
    The longer focal length lenses (150mm and 180mm) will not give you more magnification. Instead they allow you to shoot things that are further away. That translates into the ability to put more extension tubes, so you CAN get more magnification, while retaining some sort of distance from your subject (such as 1 or 2 inches from the front of the lens - normally a 180mm lens allows you to focus about 6 inches from the lens, but when you use extension tubes, you will be able to get the lens much closer, so you can get much more magnification).
    Do you already have a strobe and a hot-shoe cord? I would invest money in an inexpensive, but powerful, handy, battery-powered strobe (flash unit) and some form of remote actuator, such as a hot-shoe cord or wireless remote trigger. I've found it is very important to have a strobe, because you don't always have sunlight available, for shooting macro stuff with the tiny apertures you will find you want to use, such as f11 and f16. I normally shoot at f11, because that gives me a good image sharpness and bokeh, while making the depth of field as deep as possible.
    Here are some examples of my pathetic efforts in the world of macro photography:
    Notice that the photo of the center part of the tiny pink flower is a flower that is no more than 1/2 an inch across, and the area in the photo is about 1/4 of an inch across. THAT is way more than 1:1 magnification (probably about three times the usual macro lens magnification). That shot was from the Sony with the Canon lens taped on front. So is the wasp eye photo.
  26. Forget a new body. Replace the 18-55 and get a dedicated macro lens. I'd get the macro first. My preference would be
    either of the USM 100/2.8 models. My non-L 100 macro is probably the second most mounted lens on my cameras,
    coming only a very close second to my 17-40. The latter replaced my 18-55 (the lousy earlier model, but still capable of
    decent photos if you try hard enough). Once you have a lens kit you are happy with, then consider a new body, otherwise
    you probably won't notice much difference.
  27. The Canon 50 macro does max 1:2 magnification on full frame only, considerably higher on 1.6 factor sensor. Not as much of a restriction as perceived.
    the 18-55 USM has a non revolving filter mount, making it a better bet for polarising filter, and is a better lens all round than the old 18-55 you have.
  28. Joseph, I would probably opt to upgrade your camera body first. I might also consider the FD 50mm f/2.5 as the next move, rather than the MP-E 65mm. I use the MP-E 65mm, and it is a great lens, but it really requires a tripod and macro rail to get the most out of it. It can be hand-held, but I wouldn't want to. Also, the FD 50mm f/2.5 can be used as a replacement for your FD 50mm f/1.8...with a bit of light loss, of course.
  29. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I would like to buy either a new body the 7D, or a new lens. The lens is very likley going to be a macro lens.​
    To answer this statement and the title of this thread: I suggest that save enough and you work towards buying the 7D - AND - the EF-S 60 F/2.8 Macro Lens. I would buy the 7D, first.
    The maximum magnification of the EF 50 F/2.5 remains the same on both APS-C and 135 Format Cameras.
    The sensor size on and APS-C Camera is smaller and therefore any same sized object will fill more of that sensor size at any given magnification.
    There is probably a typo above - considering buying any FD series lens would be a poor choice.
  30. Thank you for all the replies!

    I think that I made up my mind on buying a lens first! Probably a macro lens in the range 100-180mm. I'll probably wait
    with the body till summer at which time I'll (hopefuly) racked up enough money to buy a decent body.

    Thanks again for all the replies and help, it helped ALOT!
  31. Thanks for the conclusion. Tell us about your lens when you get it.
  32. A new lens is always a good way to go!
  33. Lots of good advice here. I can only add that you should also be looking at where you want to end up with your equipment. While the EF-S 60mm macro is a good lens I think you will be better served by any one of the excellent 90 or 100mm macros. Such a lens will leave open more options when you next come up for a gear upgrade in that you can consider both crop and FF cameras. I agree that a 7D, as good as it is, will not be a great improvement on your present camera, a 5D? or 6D or 7D? might be a better jump in IQ when that time comes.
  34. Sorry, I meant to specify EF lenses, not FD. I've been using adapted FD lenses on Sony cameras lately...possibly the reason for the mix
  35. I own the 5D3 and the 7D. At lower ISOs, the 7D is more than a match for the 5D3, given the lower pixel-pitch and resulting higher resolution, with more pixels on the subject. If you can reasonably control the light in your macro shooting, then you'll find the 7D preferable. I grab my 7D when it's time for macros.

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