Switching to digital: need your suggestions.

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by dallalb, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Hi, after several years of rewarding film photography I think I have to switch to digital. It's not the classic "film VS digital" debate. I used a hybrid workflow, shooting film and then scanning it and perform digital corrections in PS.
    My current setup is: Canon EOS 3, Sigma 24-70 f2.8 EX Macro (not the usm version), Canon EF 70-200 f4 L, some filters, Manfrotto 055X ProB tripod and Nikon Super CoolScan 5000 ED. I enjoy landscape and nature photography and occasionally portraits in available light, with high ISO films. Please take a look at my portfolio to have an idea: http://www.photo.net/photos/dallalb
    I want to change my setup and I kindly ask your suggestions as owners and users of several piece of equipment. The budget is important for me, since I'm an amateur, and I can fix it around 2000 Euro. I've always tried to squeeze my equipment to get the best image quality, so I prefer taking less photos but working on quality.
    I have some ideas: please let me know your opinions about...
    Regarding the camera I have two models in my mind: Canon 5D Mark II and the new Canon 7D... With the first one I will reach the top of my budget, but it's fullframe and I can use my current lens setup. The second one is cheaper but I need a new wide zoom lens, as the Canon EFs 10-22.
    Another issue is that I'm not completely satisfied with the Sigma 24-70 mm, especially at the lower end which is the most used, so (speaking from a FF point of view) I'd like to sell it and buy a Canon EF 17-40 f4 L lens, with the classic Canon EF 50 mm f1.8 and maybe in the future a Canon 100 mm (f2 or the f2.8 macro) prime lens for portraits...
    What is your opinion about?
    Thank you in advance for your suggestions and your time.
    Kind regards, Alberto.
  2. Your plan is excellent. The 5D II and add the 17-40 and 50/1.8 later.
  3. Since you already have a setup based on 35mm (e.g. full-frame equivalent) and you do landscape, I think that the 5D2 is worth looking at, especially if you end up printing your landscape work at large sizes.
    The 17-40 is a fine landscape lens if you like to shoot stopped down on full-frame. It can show some soft corners if you shoot a lot wide open. (I use the lens on a 5D and 5D2 and like it quite a bit.)
    The cropped sensor 7D is an excellent camera. In terms of resolution it can certainly equal what you get from 35mm film. Its cost is less than that of the 5D2 and it does have some capabilities that aren't in the 5D2, including faster burst mode shooting and an updated AF system. To the extent that those things are important to you it could be a good alternative. (Your savings on the camera body might be offset by the need to get a somewhat different set of lenses.)
  4. "I enjoy landscape and nature photography and occasionally portraits in available light, with high ISO films."
    That's the perfect scenario for a full frame camera (5D2). Sell the film body and Sigma and get the 17-40 and 24-70 Canon lenses. Then you'll have full "L" glass coverage from 17-200 - perfect for your useage. The 50 1.8, while decent for its price, would be out of character with your setup. I'd recommend getting either the 24L or 35L lens (both are f1.4) for low light landscapes when budget allows. Perhaps an 85 1.8 or 85 1.2L lens for the portraits (the 70-200 will suffice however). I do somewhat the same shooting you do and have the 17-40, 24-70, 70-200, 35L and 85L lenses on a 1DS3 body. getting great results. Your combination would do the same.
  5. I'm just piling on, but looking at your images and preferences, I think that you need to go full-frame and that means considering the 5D MkII.
    Consider the excellent high-ISO performance as you make lens decisions. You'll find that properly exposed images at ISO 800 will display little noise. This will be one of the largest paradyme shifts you'll see in going from film to digital. Where you needed f1.4 and f1.8, now you don't, unless it's for artistic reasons.
    I own the 5D2 and the 7D. The 7D is superior for sports and wildlife, but the 5D2 is the hands down winner for landscape, having superior IQ and superio high-ISO performance, by a comfortable margin, IME.
  6. For your style of shooting, definitely the 5d2 is the way to go. The 17-40 is a great lens. You might also consider the 24-105mm in lieu of the 24-70 but either is a great lens. Another option if you don't need all the bells and whistles on the 5D2 is to pick up a used 5D (abt $1200-1500) which is still a great full-frame camera, leaving you more money to spend on lenses.
  7. I think a lot of what you do depends on what kind of person you are (duh!). If you are the 'in for a penny, in for a pound' kind of person who makes big jumps into the deep end then by all means there has been some good advice here re getting an expensive full frame digital camera. I want to suggest a more moderate approach. Your film photography has been working for you and you know very little about digital. I suggest that you take a more modest approach to getting digital. Buy something like a Canon XSi and a Tamron 17-50mm (27.2mm - 88mm equivalent with the 1.6 factor of the APS-C sensor) and shoot 'digital with that modest outfit alongside your film work or solo. This will cost you less than 700 euros and you will learn about digital work flow and post processing making pictures with a minimum investment. If digital works for you, and I have no doubt that it will, then you will be more sophisticated about your needs and will have money saved to expand your digital kit and experience. Good luck!
  8. Alberto, I'll add my voice to the chorus of endorsements of the 5D II. But whatever you do, don't sell your EOS-3. You'll be disheartened by how little money it'll fetch, and you might want to continue to shoot the occasional roll of film.
  9. stp


    I seldom give advice like this, but looking at your photos, I'm yet another with a strong recommendation for the 5D II. If I were in your shoes (and I have been), I'd have no hesitation about that camera meeting your needs. Among the cameras currently available, it (or a used 5D if I were really pinching) are the best values out there (IMO, of course). The 17-40mm is another great value (I have the 16-35 II, but the 17-40 would have been perfectly adequate for my shooting). Consider the Canon 24-70 (or 24-105 with more IQ issues at the extremes) to replace your Sigma.
  10. Alberto,
    I hate when everybody says the same think, that is no kind of discussion :).
    Do you use the battery grip on the EOS 3? If so then I think you might be better served with a secondhand 1Ds MkII, they are much cheaper than a 5D MkII and better in many respects. The AF is much better than the 5D MkII and the image quality comparable, certainly in most situations and print sizes. If you don't use the battery grip on the 3 then I suppose I have to agree with the majority about the 5D MkII, full frame seems to make much more sense to you, but be prepared for a drop in AF performance and your " portraits in available light" will be rather hit and miss compared to your EOS 3.
  11. Alberto, I was one of the first to post in this thread and suggest the 5D2. I want to add that 9 times out of 10 I do not recommend the 5D2 to folks who ask this sort of question - but your situation seems different to me.
  12. Thank you, folks! Scott, I shot without the battery grip. If you look at the detail tab of my photos, you will see that I used to use my tripod for my landscape and nature shots....
  13. I'm not sure what the price of the 5D mkii is with VAT added in, but I too would think that with your good quality optics from 35mm shooting, you'd find the what I usually don't like to call "full-frame" body a good option. I would also suggest that if the price of a new 5D mkii is a little steep, look at a used one or even a 5D (mki). The "new" model has been out long enough to have some availabilty at established stores in used form. Even the 5D at 12MP is going to be a revelation to you compared to what can happen to film images in all the extra steps involved in processing and scanning.
  14. Alberto,
    I did look at your photos before posting but I have given up looking at the detail tabs because hardly anybody puts their info up there, it is very frustrating when I want to learn! The grip does not exclude tripod use though, indeed I have PB-E2's on my 1V's.
    You will like the quieter shutter of the new camera, mind you after using the 3 for this long you are probably deaf, it has to be the noisiest 35mm camera shutter/mirror ever :)
    Depending on how you use the AF on the 3 though it might be an idea to rent a 5D MkII before committing to one. Many 3 users love the ECF and the general AF performance is still better than most non pro cameras.
  15. "non pro cameras."
    Uh, let's not go there, OK? The whole "is the 5D2 a pro or a non-pro body" discussion is pretty pointless. If we can stick to features that one may or may not miss on the 5D2 or which were not available on the earlier cameras but are on the newer ones that would be a lot more productive .
  16. Alberto - Very nice portfolio. Some questions: Do you sell any of your work? If so, do you base your spending on equipment on the ability to get a return on investment? Are you looking for a camera to improve your photography or just your work flow?
  17. Another good camera body, which I'm frankly surprised hasn't been mentioned yet, is the 5d original. It's the camera of choice for a lot of very good photographers who put out professional work and large prints. Just sayin'.
    The 17-40 is nice. If you can swing a 16-35 f/2.8, you can use it for available light portraits (if wide is your thing) better than f/4. It gets old quick to not have even f/2.8 on a wide, personally.

    I don't care much for 3rd party lenses, after having used a handful, including professional versions. You'd like the Canon 24-70 a lot better.
    For classic available light portraits I can't recommend the 50mm f/1.4 enough. The OOF blur is sublime, in my admittedly limited experience judging bokeh. The f/1.8 is USD$89 as of 12/09, and is very handy, but the OOF blur is much less appealing with a 5-blade aperture compared to 8 blades in the f/1.4
  18. G Dan,
    Didn't mean to use inflammatory language, sorry.
    Many many pros use 5D MkII's that is not in question, for out right IQ the 5D MkII is probably Canon's best camera at the moment. But the EOS 3 is built like the proverbial tank and back in the film days Canon used to test the water with interesting technology in the, for want of a better wording, "prosumer or enthusiast" market, hence the ECF in the 3 but not in the 1V. The EOS 3 does not have a comparable equal in the digital realm yet, the closest would be the 7D with its weatherproofing, I know the 3 is not truly weather rated but it won't let you down in a shower like a 5D MkII has been known to, build quality, AF performance etc are all comparable though, but it is a crop camera and despite what a few vocal owners might say it does not a full frame make (and the physics of the thing will always be that way).
    So we all agree that Alberto would seem to be best served by sticking to the format size he has always used and I thought, if AF is an important point, then he might be better looking at a camera with better AF performance. Even the biggest fans of the 5D MkII can't claim that the camera is blessed with a top notch AF, IQ is beyond question, but AF is not. Personally I would rather have fewer megapixels, 16 as opposed to 21 (how big do you honestly want to print?) top quality build and AF and $1,000 in my pocket! You get all that with a secondhand 1Ds MkII.
    The 5D MkII is not the only FF camera for Alberto to consider.
  19. let's see, you want the best image quality. Alberto, be sure to follow the advice given to you in this thread, but be sure to keep your film camera's.
  20. let's see, you want the best image quality. Alberto, be sure to follow the advice given to you in this thread, but be sure to keep your film camera's.
    Both the 7D and 5D2 can produce files superior to 35mm film scans. After working with either one Alberto may very well lose interest in film, or find that he needs to move to larger formats.
  21. what's a file got to do with photography, and how do you define superior?
    no harm in trying digital, just don't make the mistake that many have made, and offload your equipment because you're under the assumption that newer is better.
  22. I'll add to the recomendation to buy the 5DMKII....you need full frame for both your landscape and nighttime stuff. Landscape requires the large files (more resolution in image) and the nighttime stuff needs the high ISOs (and in the full frame cams the noise is dead minimal). For ref I own the 20D and 5D (original).
    Yeah, sell the sigma 24-70. I too made the unfortunate mistake of buying that lens, and within a year bought the Canon 24-70 f/2.8. But I also own the 17-40 f/4....and I use both a lot, so I really cant recomend one over the other. If lens "speed" is anywhere near a concern to you, than buy the 24-70.....cause my 17-40 gets put away after dusk (except if I use the tripod with it).....but, during the daylight hours I usually opt for the 17-40.
    Now one thing.....with the 5D and the Canon 24-70 f/2.8....that's a HEAVY combo....well worth the weight, but it does get tiring handheld. So I also own some fast primes in that focal length range when I'm going light.
    don't sell your film equipment......as a matter of fact, buy some medium format film equipment. That's where i seem to be satisfied the most. Full frame digital for color, and medium format for film black & white. Beautiful combo!
  23. medium format for film black & white. Beautiful combo!​
    Yes, it's true, but the main reason, even on 6x6 that I shoot B&W film any more is because I can process it at home. If I am seriously shooting B&W for that end product, its hard to beat shooting in color on either film or digital. The choices you can make in conversion from color to B&W in software like Photoshop are so incredible. It's like having shot the image with B&W film in a thousand different combinations of film and filters. Just Adobe Camera Raw alone has so many sliders to tweak, and you can go still farther after you're done with that.
  24. "...The choices you can make in conversion from color to B&W in software like Photoshop are so incredible..."...no arguement there JDM. I am a solid advocate of converting color digital to B&W in Lightroom (or ACR)...the choices of "contrast controlling" when converting the colors to B&W are limitless.
    But on the other hand......I still like a home processed (like you) B&W negative from my Mamiya 7. The resolution is amazing! Sometimes the decision is extremely hard to make a choice..........then, it's just grab what ever comes to mind first.
    Of course, I compare that to the original 5D....I hope to some day have (hehe) to make that comparison to the 5DMKII.
  25. Thank you for your interesting and useful suggestions! I'm glad that my post didn't deviate to the boring "digital vs film" debate. I agree with many of you looking at 5D Mark II or an intermediate step with the "old" 5D (which I could buy from a friend of mine). I've always loved the "full camera" aspect ratio. Maybe the only thing I will miss is the unique way of color rendering each type of film has....
    I'm aware that the Canon EOS 3 camera is a wonderful piece of equipment, with some powerful features difficult to find in many newer digital cameras. And I'm aware that I can get very few money selling it, so I will keep this fully working camera!
    Tom Purvis, good question. I'd like to improve my photography to be able to sell my works in the near future. But now I first need a new camera to speed up my digital workflow, since I already use a "hybrid workflow"...
  26. Looking at your current setup and your images and stated preference, I'd vote for the 5D2 as the best match for you. The IQ is excellent. It gives up some fps and slower AF to the 7D, but the full-frame and superior high-ISO performance will serve your better with your subjects.
    I use both the 7D and the 5D2, with the 7D used for birds, wildlife and action photography and the 5D2 for scenics and about everything else.
  27. Agreed - 5D Mark II all the way. I have the 5D2 and 17-40 and love them both. Welcome to the Full Frame, L-series family :).
    PS - I also shoot film with a Canon 7NE. I would recommend keeping your film camera as a backup / alternative. I love switching back and forth or shooting film as a reference for my digital work.
  28. Wonderful work, Alberto. There is good reason why so many are recommending you get a 5D2. It would certainly allow you the flexibility you now enjoy with your current lens setup, not to mention the inherent ability of digital photography to change ISOs on the fly. Much as its build quality is often downplayed and berated on the wonderful internet, it is a finely built machine and will allow you plenty of creative freedom even in poorer weather. Just have a look at this thread: http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00VBrc
    <p>I recently shifted to one after years of shooting film and then a stint with a crop-sensor dSLR. It's just not the same as a full frame like the 5D2 :) I kid you not, you will get amazing results even at ISO 3200 for example. Go for it!
    <p>Did I already say I love your work? :)
  29. Alberto - You should know by now that your work is good enough to sell. This discussion should shift to one of "How will a digital work flow help me sell my work?" and "How do I find my market?". I am fortunate to sell my work in a city far removed from my subjects, to people that either will never visit Europe or came home void of images worth framing. I find your images technically superior to mine, truly finding art in your surroundings and would make room on my walls for any one of them. That said, I don't think you would sell in OKC. Sadly, missing a recognizable iconic image from the Old Country, most of my customers would pass. I sell more grainy, BW images if the Eiffel tower than any other subject.
    Who do you feel would be your market? Is there a large tourist trade in your area? I have seen, and even purchased, photos of Alaska in Alaska. You also need to ask yourself if you want to start looking at your work and wondering "will this sell?" or continue taking great photos. Good luck and I look forward to following your progress.
  30. This may not change your decision, but...
    * The 5D2 has no IQ advantage over the 7D at low to mid ISO. It only pulls ahead at ISOs you're not likely to use from a tripod (i.e. 1600 and higher).
    * The 7D does have an IQ advantage over the original 5D at all ISOs. Considering features, age, use, etc., I would not recommend an original 5D unless you get a great deal on one.
    * To get equal WA lens performance on a 5D2 you must spend considerably more than on a 7D. With a 7D you can use Tokina's corner-to-corner sharp 11-16. On a FF you would need the Canon 16-35 II to match. (The 17-40L doesn't have good corner performance on FF.)
    I'm of the opinion that the standard "FF is for landscapes" reaction to these types of questions is wrong when looking at the 7D. IMHO there are two good reasons for choosing a 5D2: you regularly print large from high ISO (i.e. 16x24 from ISO 1600). Or you own and use lenses which really don't make sense on a crop body (i.e. T/S; fast, wide primes; focal lengths <16mm). Outside of those categories, the features and lower cost of the 7D make it the better buy. The 7D will easily handle the type of work that's in your portfolio, and produce large prints to match the 5D2.
    That said, there's one more wrinkle in your situation: you're keeping your EOS 3. Some of the best lens options for the 7D (Tokina 11-16; Canon 17-55) won't even mount on your EOS 3. You may want to keep the same frame size so that you can use all lenses on both film and digital, and have those lenses behave the same exact way.
  31. Thank you, Tom for your kind words and your interesting questions. I think you are right about selling photos and you are right thinking that taking shots for selling or taking shots for creating art from our feelings are two very different point of views. I live in Italy, in the large flat surrounding the Po river and there's no important tourist trade in this area, unless the stunning art of Mantova town... I try to convey the feelings I get from the simple landscapes and elements of my surroundings, so my subjects or my locations are often not so recognizable... But your comment demonstrates that someone can appreciate my work and could be a potential buyer... So, I thing I prefer this second approach.
    Daniel, thank you for your useful "out of chorus" suggestions: I will keep them in minds!
  32. Hi Alberto,
    Just before going digital, I upgraded to the EOS 3 - great camera - and one which does not have a digital equivalent yet. So, as a bit of a warning, while the 5D Mark II is a good camera, as bodies go, you will be downgrading a bit. I have spent a couple of days with the Mark II and didn't find it a "wow" camera in terms of shooting experience. I like to work at street photography, and still think (subjective opinion here) the Eos 3 is better for that than the Mark II. And if you like the 45 point focussing system, you can't get that in any non EOS 1D type camera.
    The 5D Mark II is the best affordable Canon full frame out there - but I'd be aware that as a body, it is (IMHO) a downgrade from the EOS 3.
  33. As somebody here once said (or to the effect)
    I love the smell of fixer in the evening,
    It smells like,..., photography!
  34. "Switching to digital"
    I was thinking about selling my 5D and going all film. hehe. But i'm keeping the 5D because it's handy for events, i mainly shoot fashion and portrait ( as a part time photographer ). Are you selling your supercoolscan ?
    I find film far more satisfying in terms of depth of colour and takes less ps work than digital for me. Anyway - You could get a decent second hand 5D and you'll have enough funds for all those lenses you would like.
    If you'd like to email me - andrew@andrewrmoore.com
    take care and good luck with your decision!
  35. p.s i regulary shoot film with an eos3 and mamiya 645 ( medium format great quality and good for large prints ) & to mail me if your thinking of selling your scanner :)
  36. I had a 50d for about a year and went to the 5DMKII. I've never looked back. I like shooting full frame and there are so many pluses to the 5DMkII that few minuses (cost, slower frames per second in rapid shooting) are significantly outweighed. Both are great cameras but if you are used to shooting 35mm and can handle the cost, you will love the 5DMKII.

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