Upgrade 40D to 5DMKII or Buy 'L' Lens

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by darren_sukul, May 11, 2009.

  1. Hi,

    I have to 40D with the following kit. I'm trying to decide between upgrading to 5DMK2 vs upgrading to some 'L' lenses. I'd like to get into wedding /event photography and I plan on keeping to 40D as a backup.

    Sigma 10-20mm
    Tamron 17-50mm f2.8

    Sigma 30mm f1.4
    Canon 85m f1.8


    1. Is there a huge difference in IQ between 40D and 5DMK2? Also any difference in IQ 5D + 24-70L vs 40D + 17-50.
    2. I also need to get a zoom lens. Thinking about either 70-200 f2.8 IS or 70-200 f4 IS + 135L.
    3. I'm considering getting some L primes. I'm thinking of replacing Sigma 30mm with either 35L or 24L.

    Let me know if this makes sense.

  2. "Is there a huge difference in IQ between 40D and 5DMK2?" Probably not for event photography unless you are shooing in low light conditions without a flash (which would require higher ISOs).
    Since you need a 2nd body and on a tight budget, you may want to consider a used 5D which gives basically the same IQ as the Mark II and use the money you saved towards glass. Perhaps a 2nd 40D should should be another consideration if you are fully satisfied with it since you already have decent lenses for it.
  3. If I were to stick with 40D, any lens that is must for wedding photography? Is 85L worth upgrade for the price?
  4. The biggest issue is your lenses, while very good on a 40D, most will not work with the 5D 1 or 2. I did the 40D to 5D2 upgrade and I am very happy with it but it was not out of need. Why do you think you need to upgrade? Why do you think you need L primes? the 85 and 30 are very good ( as good if not better then any L zoom )
  5. Of course the crop sensor lenses will not work on the 5D II. If you go for the new body, you will probably have to buy new glass anyway.
    It's a subjective question, but I'm going to say that there IS a huge difference between a 5D II and a 40D. Absolutely. Weddings are all about high ISO. The 5D II will give you several more stops to work with low light, even better than the 5D.
    The 5D II paired with a 24-70 f/2.8L and a 70-200 f/2.8L IS is a killer wedding combo.
    Throw in some fast primes and any light at all is enough light.
  6. Given the question you ask, it would seem that you are on a budget and given that you will not be able to upgrade to the 5D - either MKI or MKII because other than your 85 lens, none will work on a FF body. L:eek:gically you would have to invest heavily into lenses as well - and the 5Ds are pretty uncompromising with glass - you need the best you can get. I'd say stick with a crop body.
  7. Tommy, Last weekend I was trying to shoot a wedding reception with just 85 1.8. I noticed how limiting the ISO was on 40D. Maybe I should have used the flash. Few things I like about 5DMK2 is higher ISO tolerance, extra stop on shallow depth (addicted to bokeh), video capabilities.
    With regards to 'L' primes. I like my Sigma 30mm, but its not as sharp I expected it to be in 1.4. I find myself stopping down to f/2.2 or higher, in which case 17-50 would do fine in this range. I've seen some amazing shots with 35L and 24L.Wondering if I'll see any improvment even on 40D.
    For telephoto primes, I'm considering whether 85L + 40D or 135L + 5D would be a good combo>
  8. You will get much better ISO performance with the 5D2. My 40D at 800 looks about as good as my 5d2 at 3200. The background blur is also much nicer on the 5d2. I thought the 24-105 was ok on the 40D on the 5D2 I love it.
    As to primes, any lens is difficult to shoot at 1.4 ( more so on a full frame body ). the dof is very shallow so its probably not as soft as you think, its just a short focal plane.
  9. Let me dispel these really persistent claims that the 5DmkII doesn't improve upon the image quality of the 5D.
    But first of all, you're not exactly asking the right question. "5DmkII or L glass?" You are under the false assumption that just because Canon has slapped an "L" on a lens that it automatically translates into vastly improved image quality. If that's the direction of your thinking, you're going to be sorely disappointed when you buy that 24-70/2.8 L, or the 70-200/2.8 L IS and discover that neither are as tack sharp as that 85/1.8! You heard me. That 85mm prime is crazy sharp and it is on a par with its 85/1.2L big brother. I should know--I have a 5DmkII and the 85/1.8 and I just took some insane photos last night. Wide open, that lens delivered in a huge way that the 24-105/4 L IS I bought the body with never ever will.
    Lots of people don't understand what "L" means. L glass is just fancier. UD/fluorite/aspherical elements, weather sealing, wider apertures. It is Canon's way of saying "we pulled out all the stops and gave you a lens that doesn't compromise." But not all L lenses are designed with the same ultimate goal of maximizing sharpness and contrast. Each lens is made to satisfy certain design parameters. Take that 85/1.2 L for example. In order to furnish that extra wide aperture, the entire design has to be modified. More fancy elements are needed to compensate. But you would be mistaken if you thought that those fancy elements means the lens will somehow magically outperform the 85/1.8 non-L's simpler, less ambitious design. The point is that "L" in this instance buys you possibly slightly better quality in the form of less vignetting or distortion, but make no mistake you are buying the extra half-stop of aperture. The 85/1.8 is just that good.
    Now if you compared the 24-105/4 L against the 28-105/3.5-4.5, it's no contest, the L glass does outperform the non-L hands down. Sharper, less CA, better contrast. But that only goes to show that the meaning of "L" versus a similar non-L is different depending on the design!
    Now that brings me to the point I originally wanted to address. A lot of people are talking trash about the 5DmkII and saying that it doesn't really improve on the image quality of previous Canon models. I even hear nonsense about how the APS-H sensors of the 1D series outperform the 35mm sensor of the 5DmkII. Such statements, to me, violate basic principles of physics. I strongly believe that most lenses, L or otherwise, do not out-resolve the sensor across all their permitted configurations. Therefore, the lens begins to play a role in determining whether a sensor is capable of capturing the desired detail. So what some people are seeing as washed out, muddy, or otherwise poor performance is not because the 21 MP of the 5DmkII is sacrificing low noise for high detail--it is because the lens being used is now showing its limitations where before it may not have. But if you start with a really sharp prime, shoot under decent lighting conditions, there is no question that the increased sensor resolution wins.
    In summary,
    1. "L" versus non-"L" doesn't mean what you think it means. Don't waste money buying up L glass if image quality is your goal, because many non-L primes are incredible. If what you want is the red ring on your lenses, then knock yourself out but don't kid yourself about wanting to be a serious photographer.
    2. Don't listen to folks who tell you 21 MP is too much or to go out and buy an old 5D. If I'd listened to them I would have missed out on some ridiculously amazing results. And let's not forget, there are other criteria involved when choosing a body--the 5D LCD is far inferior, and the mere ability of the mkII to shoot at higher ISO regardless of noise will let you get that image when you might not have before. Photography is not about getting a perfect image under all conditions. It is, at the very core, about getting the image to begin with. Noisy image >> no image.
  10. Tommy, So you think its worth getting the 5DMk2 for those two reasons alone? I don't really need a second body as I'm backup shooter for wedding.
    I plan on eventually buying it. But would it make sense to accumulate good Lenses first?
  11. Peter, Thanks for the interesting post.
    I know L lens or 5DMk2 is not a silver bullet to somehow improving my pictures. Maybe cause I don't have any L lenses I wonder if they'd be any better the ones I have.
    I love my 85mm f/1.8. Thats one of the reasons I'm addicted to bokeh. I was curious if 85L/35L/135L will give nicer bokeh.
    I don't really care if its 'L' or not. But I just want the best quality for clients. Do you have any recommendation for any lenses for wedding/portrait photography?
  12. Darren, I love it. did I need it? no, but I was always frustrated with the crop factor on lenses and having the ability to shoot video ( great for travel ) made it an easy choice for me. that being said, the one advantage i feel made it easier for me was I already had good EF lenses so I did not have to upgrade the glass at all. In your case you will not be able to use 3 of your lenses.
    In the end I think only you can decide if its worth it for you. I still keep the 40D for the times I need its really fast frame rate or a backup, its still a very good camera.
    Also as to wedding lenses, I have seen photographers do the entire night with a 40D and 28-135 with direct flash, I have seen one who used all primes on a 5D: 28 1.8, 50 1.8 and 85 1.8 and kept switching lenses all night. A lot depends on your style. You should be able to do pretty well with the lenses you have now. Peter is right on about the L's. Its not just about the better image quality and that an L lens magically makes you a good photographer.
  13. Tommy, I agree. One thing that bothers me is that most good canon primes are geared towards FF. Such as 135L or 35L.
  14. I'm addicted to bokeh.​
    That makes the two of us! After you've had a taste of shallow DOF, it changes you.
    In that case you will generally get the most pleasing bokeh out of telephoto primes. Don't overlook the 100/2 macro, that is one of the sharpest lenses Canon makes, but also with nice bokeh that really shows at macro distances. But I can't really say which one(s) would be best. I will say that with the exception of the 70-200/2.8 L, most zooms just don't cut it in the bokeh department. Many of them will give ring-like, uneven bokeh due to their design complexity. Remember, the primary criterion of the usefulness of a lens design is sharpness across its functional parameters, not its ability to produce pleasing bokeh. The latter is often at odds with the former.
    If you are truly obsessed, I suggest you check out the Wikipedia article on depth of field, and use the DOF equations as a starting point to compare how DOF changes as a function of focal length, subject distance, and f-ratio. Use 0.02mm for your circle of confusion. So if you want to, say, compare DOF at 15 feet between 135/2 and 85/1.8, you just plug in the numbers. Careful! Use the same units of distance throughout your calculations, so if you want your DOF in inches, convert 15 feet = 180 inches, 135mm = 53.1496 inches, and 0.02mm = 0.0007874 inches. Since f-ratio is a dimensionless quantity, no conversion is needed. Do the same for 85mm @ f/1.8, and you can get a comparison of which lens/aperture setting will permit shallower DOF.
    If you are really good with math, then you can even estimate how quickly the DOF drops off for a fixed lens/aperture/subject distance setting by plotting circle of confusion diameter as a function of the subject distance. That is to say, if you are focused at 15 feet @ 85mm @ f/1.8, the circle of confusion is (theoretically) 0mm @ 15 feet. This CoC value increases as you move away from 15 feet in either direction. Beyond 0.03mm on a 35mm sensor format, things start to appear noticeably blurry. How blurry, then, is roughly represented by the CoC value. The plot looks like a V shape, with the vertex of the V at precisely 15 feet. I've attached the graph below. Please note, this is not the DOF plot! The DOF plot shows DOF within the acceptable CoC at a variety of subject distances; that is to say, focusing distance s is plotted on the x-axis, and the near and far DOF for a fixed CoC minus s is plotted on the y-axis.
    If you truly love bokeh, you'll need to become familiar with calculating DOF, as it will help you decide which lenses to buy.
  15. Grrrr. Here's the attachment. Apparently I've got to save this thing as JPEG.
  16. Peter, Are u saying that you can get the same bokeh as 135L and 85L with 100mm f2.8 Macro or 85mm 1.8 by changing subject distance and f-ratio?
  17. No. Okay, so you mentioned four lenses:
    1. 135/2 L
    2. 85/1.2 L
    3. 100/2.8 Macro
    4. 85/1.8
    How do you compare these? Well, only talking about bokeh, all of these will produce pleasing bokeh. How choosy you are about the particular look of the bokeh, combined with the overall look (sharpness, perspective) of the resulting image, will determine which one you might want to use.
    Since I don't have all of these lenses, and since individual preferences and shooting styles vary, all I can feel qualified to comment on is the mathematics of the DOF of each lens. Let's try 15 feet at each lens' maximum aperture, with a CoC of 0.029mm, which is about right for 35mm format. Values are in inches offset from 15 feet = 180 inches (so for example a negative value of -2 inches means the near DOF is 178 inches):
    1. 135/2 L: -2.51", 2.58"
    2. 85/1.2 L: -3.81", 3.98"
    3. 100/2.8: -6.31", 6.78"
    4. 85/1.8: -5.65", 6.03"
    As you can see, the shallowest DOF obtained at max aperture and focused at 15 feet is with the 135/2, which makes sense. Although the f/2 is 1.5 stops smaller than f/1.2, the longer focal length at the same subject distance results in a shallower DOF. But you will also see a corresponding increase in subject magnification! If you want the same field of view--meaning you would vary the distance to the subject accordingly--then the 85/1.2 L wins with narrowest DOF.
    The situation gets even more complicated, however. Suppose we were able to adjust the subject distance to achieve the same field of view for each lens. The rate at which objects not in the DOF become blurry is in general NOT the same across each lens, despite the fact that the field of view is the same. For example, the 135/2 L will drop off and become blurry more rapidly than the 85/1.8 with the same field of view. This is a property of the longer focal length of the lens, not the f-ratio.
    Finally, just talking about the DOF and the rate of sharpness drop-off is not enough to characterize bokeh. The circularity of the aperture, the optical characteristics of the glass used, and above all, the sharpness of the lens at the focusing distance, are important factors to consider. After all, what good is having beautiful bokeh if the subject at the focusing distance is rendered soft? Then the photo just looks like it is out of focus. The trick to bokeh is the contrast of sharp and blurry, not just how blurry the image gets. That's why I like the 85/1.8, because it has such a simple design that when you use it wide open, it renders subjects in tack-sharp focus while giving background objects beautiful bokeh. The only way to evaluate this is to take each lens for a test run--you can't get a sense of this from charts or graphs. That's why my answer to your question is "no," because even when you modify subject distance, f-ratio, aperture, and focal length, you still haven't really gotten an idea of what the overall result will look like. The math is just a tool for you to help estimate and compare which lenses will have certain desirable characteristics. It also helps when you are doing a shoot and you want to know which lenses to bring.
  18. Peter, you need to start charging $ for your advice.
    The comments about the 5D2 showing up lenses that previously were fine, is true. My friend who is one of our papps, is sticking to his 40D's because he gets a better match with his present L lenses. Lots of pros are now realising that. Its an interesting problem for Canon. I dare say it will also be true of Nikon as they expand their 20+ mp range.
    BTW, buy the 85/1.8. Its the ONE lens for portraits.
  19. I am not so sure I believe that the 5D2 making your lenses not perform as well. I think everything performs better then it did on my 40D ( 2 L's and 2 primes ) . I don't bother with side by side tests. If it looks good, its good. The 24-105 is way better on the 5D2
  20. Peter Wang makes some very good points. I have the 5DII and all three of the F2.8 zooms plus an 85 F1.8 and 35 F2. I also have most of the old FD lenses so I am familar with the 85 F1.2, 135 F2 etc... I have to agree that the 85 F1.8 is sharper than any of the zooms but I would add that the 24-70 F2.8 is much better on full frame than the 24-105 F4 IS. I know because I sold the 24-105 to buy the 24-70.
    In terms of image quality I would like to echo the responses of others and say that the 5DII is excellent - especially at high ISO. The 5DII also has a very high dynamic range compared to older camera designs which is important for weddings. Your issue will be the total cost of switching to full frame given your lens collection will be very high
  21. My recommendation is to get another 40D and 430EX (same ergonomics will make your life easier) and fit one with the 17-50 and the other with 70-200/2.8 IS. You can cover events very well with this setup.
    Happy shooting,
  22. Darren, if you want to get into wedding photography, then I would suggest you upgrade both your camera and lenses. The 40d is just fine, but you do need at least two cameras, two flash units (if flash is your thing), and some fast glass (f2 or f1.4). You can get away with a medium speed of f2.8, but that is about as slow as you want to go IMHO.
  23. Yakim makes a good point, and I second what he says. You have good glass for a crop sensor. Use it. Maybe with time, if you start to feel really limited by crop sensor you could move to full frame. Perhaps by then you'll have a few weddings/events under your belt and can justify the expense. The 40D is a very capable camera in the right hands...

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