upgrade the body or buy new lens?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jmorian, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone-I bought my Canon Xsi 3 years ago as my first SLR and have learned a ton with it since then. I have added several lenses as I learned what I shot most and what I needed in a lens. I now have a 50mm 1.8, a 85mm 1.8, the kit lens 18-55mm and the 55-250mm IS. I shoot a lot of sports, mainly basketball and soccer, but also general photography. I find I am frequently limited by low light and reach in gyms or on soccer fields. I am unsure whether it would be better for me to upgrade the body to a 7D for the increased ISO capability or buy a 70-200mm 2.8. I know it's usually better to invest in the glass, but given what I have, what do you think?
  2. I think 70-200/2.8 would be a good move.
  3. I'd agree with Arie. Unless there is something the 7D has that the XSi doesn't (MP aside...), and you really need that, get the lens now, and upgrade the body later. Letting more light in is almost always better than trying to "turn up the wick" on the sensor, even though the 7D can probably perform better at higher ISOs than can the XSi at its maximum ISO.
    And, if you still find yourself limited in reach, the $400 (each) 1.4x or 2x extenders will help you there.
  4. Jan I agree with Arie and Larry. Lenses are forever - well you know what I mean.
    Bodies do come and go but I find that selected new lenses allow me to learn more from developing my technique. You say that you are specifically limited by "low light and reach". That sounds more like lens limitation to me than stuff a new body can address. Of course a 7D will have better AF but more reach may offer you the chance to improve your skills faster than a newer body. I'm always informed by the wise advice here from the many notable contributors. To paraphrase, when you find the limiting link in your process, address it. This of course involves everything from shooting technique to choice of printer.
  5. Duplicate - sorry.
  6. Lens. The 70-200 F2.8 non IS is great for indoor sports. This is what I use for ice hockey. The faster AF better high
    ISO performance of the 7D is useful however but I have no idea how much better it is than the 7D since I have not
    used the T2i. The 7D is good at ISO800, very usable at 1600 and can be used with care at 3200. Check your images
    to see what you were shooting at and then you can see what the F2.8 lens will get you I find I do not need IS for
    sports and when I tested them found the non IS lens was sharper than the MkI IS lens (the Digital Picture test shots
    show the same thing)
  7. If it was me I would get a Canon 60D with the same higher ISO as the 7D and look for a good used 70-200mm 2.8 IS model 1 lens. You should be able to put that together for just over $2k for both. You need a faster standard zoom. The 17-50mm 2.8 Tamron non vc lens is sharp, fast, light weight and relatively inexpensive; a real winner for available light photography. Keep your XSi for a backup and you should be set for event photography. Good luck!
  8. Are you using the 85mm f1.8 for sports, because if you are and you feel you still need to boost up the ISO, then I would upgrade to a 7D.
  9. As great a temptation as it maybe to get the 7D I too say the lens comes first. The speed and reach of that lens is a bigger difference maker than an upgrade of any camera body. Some may suggest a tele-converter for your 85mm f1.8 but you will sacrifice a stop and still not have the zoom ability which is real nice in a gym setting. Hope this helps.
  10. Yes, for the price of the 70-200/2.8 IS II you could get a used (maybe even new) 70-200/2.8 non-IS and a 7D!
  11. I'm not convinced that going from 250mm f/5.6 to a 200mm f/2.8 is going to help you that much...it's only two stops, and you're losing some reach...and you're already saying you don't have the reach you need. If you have to use a tele extender, then you're going to lose a stop or two, depending on which one you use.
    For the price of the 70-200 f/2.8 IS Mk I, you can get the 300mm f/4 IS and a 1.4x tele extender. Without the extender, you'll gain a stop of light and 50mm of reach; with the extender, you don't gain any light, but you gain nearly 200mm of reach. Of course, you lose the ability to zoom when the action comes close to you, but you could always switch lenses at that point.
    If you need more light than reach, a body upgrade to the 7D seems more practical; you'll gain more than two stops of usable ISO for the same spend. If you need reach, the prime + tele extender may be a better choice.
  12. Jan, I recommend to go for the lens and do a body later if you must. If you go for a new body you will be shooting with the same old lenses. Don't expect the body to improve your shots. But a new lens will give you more shooting options and probably be more fun for the buck.
    If the body really has something you want that you can't do now, like higher ISO and you are dreaming of better low light capability then do the body. But basically most of the DSLR bodies that have come out in the last few years are all good cameras, yes there are minor differences like resolution and ISO, build quality or durability but basically they all just take pictures. But lenses change what the body can do, different zooms, how fast they are, DOF, bokeh... I am not knocking the 60D or 7D, I would love to have one now. But if you don't have money to blow for no real good reason and you are already using a very capable body now, I think you'll find lenses are where you should be thinking. Good fast glass isn't a bad choice.
    Happy shooting. - Mark
  13. isa


    70-200 NON is -- You need upgrade for indoor minimum 7D.
  14. High Jan. The first question you need to answer is: "is there enough light in these venues to take photographs?" You can test this with your present equipment. Using your XSi and the 85mm set to 2.8 (to get some Depth of Field) and winding the ISO up as far as it will go, 1600 I think, take some photographs that are typical of what you want. Can you get a well exposed photo with a reasonable shutter speed, at least 1/500th, in the venues with these settings? Don't worry about noise. If you can't get a blur free shot, well, sadly, there just isn't enough light and throwing more money at the problem will not get you there.
    If you find the the photo has a good shutter speed and the players are sharp then a 7D will improve things for you, it will be capable of taking a reasonable photo up to ISO 3200.
    I can understand the 55-250 being limiting as it is f5.6 at the long end where I guess you are trying to use it. A 70-300mm will get you more reach, but not address the low light.
    A 70-200 2.8 will help with the light but not the reach. The lowest cost option here is the Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX, and second hand ones should be relatively cheap. Be aware that they are heavy and there is a learning curve to develop a technique to keep everything steady.
    You are not alone with this quandry of taking action shots in dim gyms and under lights on sports fields.
    Providing the test above is successful, I'm going to break with the others here and suggest you first get a 7D. With the 85mm 1.8 that should sort out all your basketball problems. If you find its low light high ISO capabilities inadequate for night soccer with the 55-250 then purchasing a second hand Sigma EX 70-200 will be the lowest cost next best thing, options after these are all very expensive. Good luck.
  15. have you considered getting a flash? I have the canon 580ex ii speedlite, it works great for bounce photography and such, and has an incredibly fast re-charge rate, (great for sports). The xsi really is a good camera, no need to upgrade unless you need the MP's

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