Upgrade - 5D Mk II, MkIII or MkIV??

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by travisball, May 3, 2017.

  1. Hey all,

    I've been out of the equipment game for at least a few years for financial and other reasons. I would really like to get out and start shooting again and wanted to come back here for the advice of those in the know.

    My current body is a 7-year old 7D which I upgrade to from a rebel way back when. I have some good glass and would like the canon line but want to upgrade to a full-frame camera. I do NOT shoot professionally. I have shoot on occasion here and there for a small side income and would like to start doing so again. I do mainly event and travel type stuff such as conferences, panels, and the rare wedding or production still gig. This does include concert/festival photography so I need something good in a low light situation. However, since I'm not shooting full time, I don't know that I can justify the expense of a Mark IV.

    I've read through some of the threads on here already, but the discussion I've seen on upgrading is old or discusses a push from the 3 to the 4. I don't even have a 2.

    Would love to get thoughts from the galley to incorporate into my purchase plan.

    Thanks in advance!

    - Travis
  2. As you are currently shooting w/ a 7D, I suspect you may find the AF system of the mk2 a bit limiting - as well as it's substantially slower speed (even though FPS isn't usually a big deal for the stuff you state you regularly (or 'on 'ocasion'' ;) ) do). While the high ISO difference between a mk2 and mk3 output is minimal (perhaps a bit more than that, but NOT huge regardless) as far as noise goes, the mk3 has the ability to AF at -2EV (whereas the mk2 can only reliably focus at -0.5EV - and that's somewhat optimistic IME), so working concerts/festivals is easier - as well as dark receptions. For weddings, I have found myself becoming a fan of the 'quiet shutter' mode... especially in ultra-conservative locations... Those are the reasons I chose to not replace my old mk2s w/ newer mk2s, and went w/ mk3s instead. So far the move has added to my photographic capabilities...
    drw.photo and travisball like this.
  3. Great info to think about! Thanks Marcus!

  4. The AF system made a huge leap forward from the MkII to the MkIII. The MkIV improved that even further, but mainly to the advantage of us that shoot birds and wildlife. For me, that was a huge difference maker, but, I suspect, for most, that'll be unrealized gain. The sensor moving up to 30+mp is, indeed, big for almost all users. The image quality, particularly at high-iSO is much improved and, of course, the resolution is rouoghly 50% higher. If you do any type of photography where that's important, then it'll a move up to consider.

    We don't know your specific needs. Given that, I'd say that the MkIII is very likely to tick all your boxes, at a very fair price. I'm assuming that video is not a high priority, but, if it is, the dual-pixel sensor does make that much more enjoyable and you get 4k.
  5. Also be sure to consider the 6D or the forthcoming 6DII. Personally I don't think you need a 5D III or IV for this kind of work. The 6D in particular is a great camera for what you want to do, and probably slightly better image quality than the 5DII and III too.
    travisball likes this.
  6. Hadn't considered that. Will add that to my comparison shopping. Thanks!

    - Travis
  7. I would agree with the 6D assessment. I have used the 6D, 5D2, 3 and 4 and for what you seek to do, I think the 6D would perform pretty solidly for you.
  8. Unless the hypothetical 6D2 includes a substantially improved AF system (which might be a bit of a stretch given Canon's extensive history of product differentiation), you will likely be feeling like you took a step backwards in time from using your 7D. It's sole redeeming feature is it's ability to successfully focus (center point only) in -3EV. Else, it's, essentially, the same as that on the 5D/5D2 - which is (of course) perfectly functional, but not in the same league as even your 7yr old 7D. As someone who used the 5D then 5D2 for many years, I could use it just fine - and with great results. However, once I upgraded to the 5D3, the difference became clear to me in practice, and the camera (and my use of it) became insanely more flexible. While I'm certain I could still pick up a 5D2 and make it do most of what I wanted it to do, it would be a jarring, and disruptive transition - which could (hypothetically) impact my work. There is no doubt a 6D (or 6D2 6+ months down the road) would produce high quality output, but an OOF picture is very hard to PS back into functional shape ...and if your subject is moving? then it's an OOF picture ;)

    However, I also would never advocate waiting around for the next generation of equipment - especially one not even announced. It will be announced (supposedly) in July, so likely available in Aug/Sep? but who knows... and the availability may be limited for the first few months. It's certainly going to cost more than a good condition used 5D3. It's not my decision to make (obv.) but if you are constantly waiting for the next gen, that entails a huge opportunity cost - all the time you could be shooting with a substantially improved system you've wasted waiting around for Canon to make a decision about the market conditions and competition, and rest of the line - all in relation to when to both announce, and make available a new product (so, essentially twiddling your thumbs). Just a silly waste IMO.
  9. The 7D, aside from being APS-C format, is not so much "out-of-date" as merely lacking some newer features.

    I personally shoot older models by choice - a 50D for telephoto lenses, mostly, and a 5Dii for a mid-range (24-105) zoom and some specialty lenses (TSE). I look at the newer models and the only temptation I have is pixel envy for the 50+ models.
    If I were buying new right now, I'd probably get a 7Dii and a 50Ds R, but I get along fine with the older models so will wait out still more revisions before I upgrade. Many of the added features are for things I don't do a lot of.
  10. Good point about the 5DS-R. It's been out for a good while now and reasonable used bargains should be available; however, I own one and don't find it near as good as the 5D4 in low light and higher ISOs. Given the OP's interest in concert photography, the 5D4 can't be beat.

    I'm wondering if he made up his mind.
  11. Roger Clark, who is a professional astronomer, and whose main photographic interests are astrophotography, nightscapes, and wildlife, reviewed the Canon 7D II and praises it highly for low noise and autofocus ability. See his review at: Canon 7DII Review Clarkvision.com: Camera Review and Sensor Analysis Series, Canon 7D Mark II

    Personally, I still use my 5D II, which satisfies most of my requirements. If I do update in the near future, it will be with a full-frame body, since I do a lot of wide-angle landscape photography. I will probably wait for the updated 6D II before I decide.
  12. Roger Clark, a great guy, did that review several years ago. Both sensor technology and AF technology has moved forward considerably. My 5D4 blows my 7D2 in the weeds, in both regards.
  13. I upgraded from a 5D2 to a 5D4 and had every plan of selling my 5D2. However, I just couldn't do it and decided to keep it as a backup. Reason why? the 5D2 still take fabulous pictures and very few if any of my customers can tell which pictures I took with which camera. If you want a full frame camera a used 5D2 or 5D3 will do just fine. Full frame cameras are more for portrait work or other static objects so focusing speed is generally not the main concern. I shoot with 85 1.2L and other fast primes wide open generally on a tripod, with that being said I just can't tell the difference in new vs old camera if I am using the same lens on both and shooting on a tripod.
  14. Full frame, these days, is for everything. Here's one, full-frame, handheld, 20-fps with superior AF capacity:

    [​IMG]Eyes Closed! by David Stephens, on Flickr

    You can't do this with a 5D MkII. Body selection will depend on how you intend to use it.
  15. The 5D MkIII and IV are the way to go now. My 5D MkII still shoots beautiful photos, but the AF is nothing compared to just about any Canon DLSR made within the last few years. It is a big enough difference to be THE determining factor to not buy a 5D MkII in 2018.

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