Time to upgrade the gear

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by dan_lewis|1, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Hello everyone, I am wanting to upgrade my gear. I am currently using a Canon T2i along with these lenses below.
    • Canon 50 mm 1.8
    • Canon EF-S 55-200 mm 1:4-5.6 IS
    • Canon EF-S 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS
    My question: Do I need to upgrade my body to a full frame 6D or invest in L glass?
    My new setup would be:
    24-70 2.8 L or 24-105 IS 4.0 L
    70-200 4.0 L
    Upgrading to the 6D
    From my research I am leaning towards buying two lenses 24-70 2.8 L and 70-200 4.0 L instead of upgrading the body.
    What I shoot:
    • Portraits
    • Landscapes / Panoramic
    • Sports
    • Video
  2. Dan
    Let me make another suggestion: you should go out and take some more pictures with the gear you have, and focus on improving your photography skills.
    Seriously, what is the key reason pushing you yo upgrade? Because the way you asked the question doesn't' sound like you are following a specific creative goal (not to mention disregarding that upgrading to full frame will mean changing your lenses too).
    The key point to start from would be to identify what is wrong (if anything) with your current system. Then we can discuss at great length what is the best solution for that specific problem rather than jumping to buying more gear.
  3. My question: Do I need to upgrade..?​
    Don't know.
    As Daniel asks, what is it about your current gear that's letting you down?
    Also, you mention "sports" - I assume that's where the 70-200mm f/4 fits in, but "sports" is a very broad church: I know from my personal experience (living in the seemingly permanently cloudy north east of England) that f/4 is frequently not nearly fast enough for my sports photography (soccer, rugby, motor sports) - I use my 70-200mm f/2.8 at f/2.8 a lot. And what would be doubly true if I shot a lot of indoor sports.
    I also find that 200mm is often not nearly long enough for my sports - I often use my Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 with a 2x converter right out to 600mm in order to get the pictures I want.
    So - again - hard to say whether a 70-200mm f/4 is the lens for you, because we have no insight into your shooting circumstances.
  4. For the sake of the economy and Canon, you should certainly upgrade to full frame and buy all new lenses (preferably "L" series).
    For the sake of your photography I'd listen to Daniel.
    If you can afford it, there's nothing wrong with buying a boatload of expensive gear, just don't expect any of it to make an instant improvement in your photography unless you have truly hit the limits of the gear you own. In addition you should have a specific reason for buying a specific lens, not just that it's generically "better" then the ones you have.
  5. Sorry for not being specific, this is my first thread...
    The reason I would like to upgrade: My photos are lacking sharpness and vibrant color.
    Keith, I like to shoot outdoor sports like football, baseball and golf.
    I know I can get good/ decent photographs with the equipment that I have and I still have a lot to learn. I feel like its time to commit to "up my game" in photography with better tools.
    My Flickr page is below to give an idea of my work and exif's.
  6. I'd say everyone is right so far. I'll just add a different view to consider.
    First off.. I'm qualified to comment because I 1.have a lot of stuff 2. spend a lot of time with my stuff 3. tried a lot of stuff
    Which brings up a point. How do you know what we are qualified to comment on as well as how do we know what you do and what you might need. The old saying.."this thread needs pictures" comes to mind.
    That said, every piece of new equipment I've ever purchased has stimulated a bit of creativity and/or opened up a new path for me. A good macro lens takes you down a macro path not available to a lot of non-macro lenses. An excellent tele opens doors lesser lenses can't negotiate... and so on...
    I've made the following suggestion before to a similar type thread. Find someone who is making the pictures you would want to make. Find someone who has a level of maturity and can shoot a wide variety of subjects and is willing to critique your work and make honest and useful suggestions. Work with this person or persons.
    Another suggestion. Check out Kelby Training. Spend 25 dollars or so for a month and watch some videos. You might be very pleased with the results and it might help a lot.
    Another suggestion on gear: buy used from reputable places like Lens Rentals, B and H and KEH and save some money. (you could save even more from e bay and craigs list and such but I don't like the risk)
    Back in December of 2008 I boought a 450D with a kit lens and a 50 1.8 and a 55-250. I shot a couple of days with the 55-250 and decided I needed longer sharper better for the pictures I wanted and immediately bought a 100-400L.. no regrets. I've shot less than 100 frames with the 50 1.8.. didn't like the focal length or the build and feel of the lens. I found my way to full frame and a handfull of L lenses and such and then added smaller cameras like the Fuji XE-1. Now I'm finding myself going all in on medium format film and developing black and white at home and scanning the negatives.
    I'm guessing most hobbiests really don't have a goal when it comes to photography. That's fine as along as it is fun and the family is taken care of. If you shoot a lot with your equipment and have done so a for couple of years you will see noticeable differences with the newer equipment you have mentioned. As stated however, it might not make your output any better.
    In conclusion... find a mentor.
  7. jpk


    The reason I would like to upgrade: My photos are lacking sharpness and vibrant color.​
    It seems to me, that proper developing RAW files can solve this problem without spending money...
    For sport photography I would definitely choose 70D due to cropped sensor and better continuous drive capabilities.
  8. I uploaded some photos to my portfolio for review.
  9. The EF-S lenses won't work on full frame, so if it's an either/or scenario, I'd invest in better lenses first. Otherwise you'll
    just have the 50mm to use with the 6D.
    And I don't see any lack of sharpness or color on your Flickr photos. I think some of them are quite good. So again, I'd go
    for the lenses, unless you can afford to upgrade both, or get more EF lenses sooner rather than later.
    Also, if you shoot sports, you may want to save for the 5D Mk III. Much better AF for sports than the 6D.
  10. Your images show that you can take advantage of the full-frame files of the 6D with the lenses that you mentioned. I don't think that you buy the 6D without the suggest listed lenses. BTW, I think you'll find that f/4 is plenty fast for sports with the 6D's high-ISO performance.
    I'm a wildlife photographer and most wildlife, birds in particular, move much faster than sports players and most wildlife photography is done at f/4, f/5.6 and f/8. I use the 5D MkIII with ISO 800 as my default and moving up to ISO 6400 when needed, before and after sunrise usually. The high-ISO performance of the 6D will be a revelation to you, giving you new freedom.
    As a sports body, the 6D is not ideal. Looking at your images, that's not your primary focus, but you'll feel constrained by its slow fps. If the samples shown are representative of your photography interest, then I think you'll be okay. If you want to increase your emphasis on sports photography, then you need something faster, like the 5D3.
    Your images, for the most part, seem to show that you're shooting Raw and using a competent program for Raw conversion. The sports shot is a bit weak and not well processed, but much of the other stuff is, so I'm not sure what's going on; however, emphasis shooting everything in Raw and processing it well will give you sharpness and vibrant color, assuming competent shooting technique.
  11. 6D with 24-105/4 IS at $2200 in Canada, is a steal right now. I also like my new Tamron 70-300 IS,
    a bit soft at 300, but between 70 and 200, it is sharp as Canon 70-200/4.
  12. Dan, as some others have suggested, a 6D won't give you any better color than the camera you have. It's all in how you process your photos.
    With regard to lens sharpness, that humble little 18-55 IS is already a pretty sharp little lens. What's more, when you stop most reasonable quality lenses down a bit, maybe to f/5.6 or f/8, they start looking about as sharp, differing mostly in distortion and chromatic aberration. I see from the EXIF on several shots that you do tend to stop the lens down.
    Your camera is also fairly high resolution at 18 MP. The 6D is 20. That's only 5% greater resolution, which I doubt you'd even notice. Megapixels are not your problem.
    If you are not satisfied with the sharpness of your photos, it is likely either because your expectations are unrealistic or because you need to improve your technique (or both). It's frankly hard for me to tell, because the photos in your portfolio appear fine to my eye, at least at the size on the web page. Perhaps they are soft, but it would take a much larger photo for me to see that.
    Anyway, I see no compelling reason you need to buy new gear, based on what you've stated. There might (or might not) be other good reasons, but not for the sake of color or sharpness. Just being honest... and trying to save you some money.
    That said, if you feel compelled to buy something, Devon's advice is spot-on. However, if I were you I would consider that your sports photography needs might be better served with a crop frame camera like the 7D (e.g. for its 8 FPS burst rate). There's nothing inferior about the APS-C format. It has its uses, which is why I use that format in addition to full frame, depending on what I'm shooting.
    Finally, I'll leave you with an article I wrote to help people decide between formats:
  13. Like Richard, I have a lot of stuff and spend a lot of time with it, so I'm asserting my qualification to advise.
    Having looked at your Flickr portfolio, I don't see any lack of vibrant colour. And they look adequately sharp. From
    personal experience, lack of sharpness is more to do with technique than equipment and colour more to do with lighting,
    or perhaps processing.
    There are two reasons to upgrade; either your gear is no longer able to deliver the results you want, or money is burning
    a hole in your pocket. Both are valid, but if the first is your reason, have a good look at your technique and workflow
    before spending the cash.
    It would be helpful to to see your unsuccessful output to get an idea of what has gone "wrong."
  14. Hi Dan
    Thanks for getting back with more information. The pictures in your link actually show you can make very good use of your camera and your results are by no means bad.
    Color-wise I don't see anything wrong. Outside of harsh light situations where there's not much you can do (and there's not many of those in your stream) it looks OK to me. A different camera won't change anything. Perhaps an L lens may improve contrast or color vibrancy a bit but the changes will be very subtle, if any. And similarly achievable via careful post-processing. Balanced flash can help with difficult/harsh light in portrait situations.
    Sharpness-wise, I can comment on some examples:
    1. the second "Family portrait". Great framing and exposure. Sharpness is low due to bad focusing - the branch in front of the group is in focus but the faces of the people are not. This is also due to the very wide aperture used (which was good, but requires very, very careful focusing).
    2. "Run puppy" - focus is right on the money there, and actually to me the picture looks about as sharp as it could be. I wonder if the RAW image contains a bit more detail, particularly if you turn off the noise reduction. Probably an L lens might give you just a hint more resolution there, but the same could be achieved by framing the puppy a bit tighter.
    3. "Mt Rush" (stitched panorama) - The pixel-level sharpness is a bit low, but I would blame that on some minor depth of field issues. Don't think other EOS camera/lens will do a lot better than that without very careful technique. But you can print this at poster size and not have much to complain about
    4. "Mt Rushmore" (framed through the rocks). Another focus error - the pins (!) on the right rock are sharp, nothing else in the picture is. Given the wide aperture used this is to be expected.
    I would keep saying that there is nothing wrong with your equipment and better results can be obtained simply by improving the technique through very careful focusing and perhaps better pixel-level processing from RAW.
    That being said I know that controlling focusing on a rebel is slightly more difficult due to the poor viewfinder and not-so-easy button layout. And I also sometimes have the feeling the 55-250 is not the most accurate focusing lens either. My grab-as-they-come shots suffer from the same problems. It's possible a higher end camera (a 7D for instance) may help you control focus better, if you use it properly. Might also help on the sports side.
    I have the feeling looking at your shots that you may well be able to make use and exploit more professional equipment if that would also give you more confidence to shoot more and explore. Based on your shots I would recommend going for the 7D with a 70-200 f/2.8 but that investment will only pay off with good technique.
    Sorry if my post sounds a bit patronizing, but I liked your shots and hope this helps.
  15. New gear won't give you appreciably better colors, and the difference in sharpness--when the gear is used optimally--won't be large. Daniel D's advice about improving sharpness by gaining better control of focus points and depth of field are spot on.
    There are reasons for upgrading, but you haven't given a specific enough reason to provide good advice. My advice is always this: before you buy anything, be specific about how your current gear is holding you back and how different gear would alleviate those problems. For example, if a person is unable to track high-speed sports, that suggests one option; if a person needs to shoot in very low light but doesn't need fast autofocus, that suggests another. Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is usually pointless and can end up with a purchase of the wrong equipment.
    As someone who has both formats, I agree with Sarah: there is no reason to avoid crop-sensor cameras. Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages. Which is better for you (and whether FF is worth either much more money or fewer other features) will depend on what you do.
  16. Thanks everyone for the advice. I am going to rule out the FF body for now and focus on upgrading my lenses.
    What 3 lenses would be best for a FF camera?
  17. Dan asked:
    What 3 lenses would be best for a FF camera?
    I like the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, combined with the EF 1.4x TC-III on the longer one. The third lens might be a prime or a zoom, depending on priorities. I love my ultra-wide EF 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, but other options in that range that I like a lot are the EF 14mm f/2.8L and the 16-35mm L.
    If you're not going full-frame right now, then you'll need an ultra-wide or ultra-wide zoom to get truly wide on a crop-sensor camera. I'd make that the third, temporary lens. You might buy a used EF-S to use until you do buy a full-frame body.
  18. My suggestion is that you focus on which lenses will help you now. If they happen to work with FF too, that's a bonus. For example, I own the 70-200 f/4 IS, and that is a superb lens on either format, although it functions differently on FF than on a crop. However, some lenses that are great for FF are not so good for a crop. E.g., I use the 24-105 that David suggested as my main walk around on my FF camera, but IMHO, it is a lousy focal length range for a crop. My similar lens on a crop was the EF-S 15-85.
    If you are not certain you are going to stay with a crop long term, then one option is to buy lenses that are ideal for the crop either used or as refurbs. Buying from a reputable vendor that guarantees everything they sell can take the stress out of buying used, and if you wait for occasional specials, you can get good deals on refurbs. That way, if you do switch and have to sell some lenses, you won't loose as much money.
  19. "What 3 lenses would be best for a FF camera?"
    Wow... wide open.. but here is my opinion.
    16-35 2.8 L (I own one)
    24-70 2.8 L (I own version I... want version II.. consider Tamronn with IS)
    70-200 2.8 L IS Version II (I've used it for various occasions... rented)
    Those are the lenses I would go out and get today if I had no lenses for my FF Canon for the type of shooting I do. They are all excellent and not likely to be improved upon for years to come.
  20. OBTW... all are available right now used... you could have all three of my picks for about 4K used. I''ve bought about 4 used lenses from LensRentals and have no regrets.. a bit higher priced than e bay and craigs list but I have confidence I'll get a lens as described from a company backing up what they sell...
  21. Unless the OP has special needs, for shooting action in low light, concerts, etc., I'd suggest the f/4 version of the 70-200mm rather than the f/2.8. The 6D is an excellent high-ISO, low-light shooter, that would allow using the much lighter f/4 lens. Some people need the f/2.8 and should go for it.
  22. Hi Dan
    The reason I would like to upgrade: My photos are lacking sharpness and vibrant color.​
    Looking at your shots on the link you gave, your shots look vibrant and sharp. The vibrancy can easily be adjusted in post production and to some extent sharpness. Shoot in RAW mode, learn to use Digital Photo Professional making adjustments in the RAW menu will help you get the most from what you are shooting. Picking up Adobe Lightroom and learning to use it, if you do not already use it, may make you happier with your finished shots. Lightroom has been going on sale lately, around $100, so you may get a nice bang for the buck in making your images pop.
    Practicing with your camera and really getting to know what you can achieve with different lenses and settings, learning to shoot in manual mode and at times manual focus, not relying on auto focus all the time, master the camera and use it as a tool to create what you want, will help you get the most out of your gear.
    Having said this I will continue. Shooting with L glass lenses can be a step up in getting those sharp images. But they are not magic, they are just great tools, it is still up to you to use them. I would invest is good glass first after having really mastered the camera.
    Do you need a new 6D, only if you really want it. It will have a lot of great features, faster auto focus, great low light to noise...but you may find that you just spend a bunch of money and you are not getting better shots, only wider ones. Avoid the dreaded buyers regret not that that is that likely. If you are going to shoot professionally for weddings and such, then I would say yes get a full frame sensor camera and you probably should go with a 5D Mark III and not the 6D. If you really just love photography as a serious hobby and really want that step up in gear, a 70D, 7D or 6D will be great, but you do not need to upgrade the body until you really have out grown the capabilities of your current camera body and feel it is holding you back from doing things you want.
    I suggest better lenses first, better body second. In the end, there are no wrong choices. Have fun and enjoy what ever you choose.

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