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Thread: Even more confused now: 5D, 450D & L-series lens purchase

  1. #1

    Even more confused now: 5D, 450D & L-series lens purchase

    Following on from my thread below where I ask if I should buy the canon 16-35 0r 17-40 L lenses I find I'm even more confused today.

    Original plan was to then go FF at some point (from my current 300D) so one of these lenses would be ideal for my type of landscape photography. However, today I've found myself looking at a lot of excellent images taken on the Sigma 10-20 which at under 300 pound is 170 less than the 17-40. I could then put the differenc etowards a 12 MP 450D.

    So is it better to wait longer (maybe a full year) to get a s/h 5D to go with the 17-40 or get the Sigma 10-20 and a 450D quicker?? Will the FF images be worth waiting for????

    Thanks,

    David

  2. #2

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    Re: Even more confused now

    I suspect that there's no "wrong or right" answers to questions like these - some people swear by Sigma lenses, whereas others (myself included) swear at them.

    From a personal perspective - after getting poor results with certain types of lenses - I made a promise to myself that if it's not a Canon L-Series lens then it won't be going anywhere near my camera. To this day I've stuck to that promise, and would do it exactly the same way all over again given the chance.

    However, people often misunderstand L-Series lenses. They seem to have this thought that "because it's ten times the price then it must be 10 times as good" or more precicely, "produce an image that's 10 times as good" - and that's when the big debates start. Are L-Series lenses 10 times as good? In my opinion, yes. Do they produce images that are 10 times as good? In my opinion, no.

    So - what makes an L-Series lens worth the extra $$$. For me, a number of things.

    - For starters, optically, pound-for-pound thay'll never be worse than a consumer-grade lens, and often will be considerably better. If you're concerned about ultimate image quality - and you're using the appropriate L-Series lens for the job - then it's one less thing you have to worry about.

    - Most of the newer revisions have full weather sealing - so when you get them caught in the mist of a waterfall - get caught in the rain - or (as I did the other day) fall over in the sea (twice) and momentarily submerge (twice) 2 camera bags then it's probably not going to bother it too much (lenses and camera doing fine by the way, but cell phone a write-off and garage door opener remote playing up).

    - Build quality is far superior - as they're designed for professional use they have to be.

    - They contain special types of glass that minimise visual issues - especially in extreme / high-contrast lighting.

    - They come complete with hood and protective case - again - one less thing to worry about.

    - Often they're faster (wth F2.8 and faster varients being able to utilise more precise AF points in selected cameras).

    - They hold their value well, and can often be resold without significant loss.

    Hope this gives you a little food for thought. Keep in mind though that I'm a self-confessed "L-coholic" as they say - and I can afford them, so it's not a hard decision for me.

    To answer your 2nd question "Will the FF images be worth waiting for"?

    Although I now shoot FF exclusively, I've also shot a lot of 1.6x and 1.3x crop-factor images - and I can tell you that FF can be a blessing - or a curse - or make no difference what-so-ever. If you're shooting long then the increase in apparent focal length afforded by a crop-factor camera is a definate plus. For a given lens, shooting FF gives you a wider perspective - but with lenses like the 16-35/2.8L on a FF camera they're so wide that landscapes run the real risk of being so panoramic that light falloff becomes an issue and horizon details end up being so small they fade into almost insignificance (even complete mountain ranges) - and they end up not being the "ducks n*ts" after all. Wider isn't always better. Or - if you have the lenses to compensate then it can end up being no difference what-so-ever; a 10-22 zoom on a 1.6x crop factor camera will give you the same field of view as a 16-35 on a FF camera. The only advantage to a FF camera in this situation is that you can add a 14mm lens to go 2mm wider, but it ends up being so ridiculously wide that it's hard to find a use for it (I don't think I've even taken 20 shots with mine).

    So it's a tough one. In the past a lot of Sigma lenses have had compatability issues with Canon cameras. In many cases Sigma will rechip the lens for a small fee, and although it's not an issue with current lenses (that I'm aware of), I can't guarantee that it won't be an issue with future bodies. Sigma have reverse engineered Canon's proprietary serial lens communication protocol, and you can bet that Canon don't like this one little bit - and going by past experience, if they can tweak something in the name of progress that breaks 3rd-party lenses but still works with Canon lenses then you can bet your last dollar that they'll do just that. Additionally, I'm not sure if the microadjustment feature of newer Canon bodies will work with a Sigma lens.

    The decision with regards to cameras is also about as murky. As a rule, absolute pixel counts don't mean a heck of a lot (with the possible exception of being able to crop more agressively - which usually isn't needed with landscape). As one who does a lot of low-light work, personally, I'd favour a camera with low noise characteristics (like the 5D) over something like a 450D - but that's just my opinion (I shoot with a 1Ds3). I started my digital photography with a xxxD series camera, but almost immediately traded up to a 20D - and never looked back. Even today I still sell 44" x 22" canvas prints taken with that 20D - so something in the 20D / 30D / 40D / or even 50D might be another avenue for you to explore (2nd hand isn't likely to be a problem for the earlier models - they're cheap, reliable, and produce good image quality) (if you take a look in my photo.net gallery, the Yachts at Dawn, Water Wheel, Miyazu Gardens shots were all taken with a 20D and a 24-70/2.8L lens - and probably others).

    Hope this helps

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern


    A final thought is that nothings ever cast in concrete - notings to stop you taking the cheaper options - using them as a stepping stone - and then trading up when the time is right
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:24 AM.

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    I agree with Colin...

    I agree with all of what Colin posted, especially, "For a given lens, shooting FF gives you a wider perspective - but with lenses like the 16-35/2.8L on a FF camera they're so wide that landscapes run the real risk of being so panoramic that light falloff becomes an issue and horizon details end up being so small they fade into almost insignificance (even complete mountain ranges) - and they end up not being the "ducks n*ts" after all. Wider isn't always better."

    IMO, UWA lenses for landscape photography are over used and are seldom used correctly. A 10mm or 12mm lens gives you the same coverage on a 1.6x format as the 16mm or 17mm lenses do on full frame equipment and will reduce horizon details so small that they "fade into almost insignificance" (as Colin so aptly states). The photographer ends up with a lot of uninteresting sky and foreground. IMO, the way to shoot a landscape with an UWA lens is to include a prominent foreground subject in the image. However, other than that, panos with a longer focal length (especially panos shot in the portrait or vertical position) are the better way to shoot a landscape.

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=17572474

    However, if you seriously desire a wide lens for landscapes, the Tokina 12-24mm f/4 ATX is a wonderful well-made and relatively inexpensive lens. Although it is designed for 1.6x format cameras, it is not an EFS lens. The Tokina 11-16mm is another great (but slightly more costly) lens which has a constant f/2.8 aperture. I shoot with the 12-24mm and I absolutely love it. I would select the 12-24mm over the 11-16mm for a lot of general purpose shooting because of its wider focal range.

    I agonized regarding a full frame system for a while. If I were still shooting professionally and routinely making very large prints, I would go the full frame route. However, since I am retired and shooting for my own pleasure, I have opted to stay with the 1.6x system for the following reasons.

    ... Lower cost. I shoot with at least two cameras all the time and my 30D and 40D, which provide excellent imagery, are less than the cost of a 5D and certainly a LOT LESS than a 5D II.

    ... Weight. A pair of full frame bodies would be much heavier than my 30d and 40D cameras.

    ... 1.6x factor using long lenses. This is great and you end up with a better image than cropping a full-frame image.

    ... 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. I absolutely LOVE this lens. There is nothing like it for the full frame system.

    ... The 30D and 40D cameras with excellent lenses (not the kit glass) are perfectly capably of producing images which will stand up to large blow-ups.

    I shoot with the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens on one camera around my neck and a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens in a holster case with a hand strap. I LOVE the VERSATILITY of this combination and don't miss the 55mm to 70mm gap.

    If I were in your position, I would not consider the 450D or any xxxD camera. I would keep the present camera and use it as a second body to augment a 40D. IMO, the xxD family of cameras is heads and shoulders above the xxxD family. I am not sure I would go with a 50D (JUST YET) because of some bad press. Where there is smoke regarding new Canon equipment, there is usually fire.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 15th December 2008 at 05:29 AM.

  4. #4

    Re: Even more confused now

    Thanks guys that's very imformative as usual and has helped me make my mind up. I have decided that in the first instance (for Xmas) I'm going to get the 17-40 mm L because:-

    - it's the best lens I can afford....should there need to be any other reasons???
    - it will allow me to get back into photography seriously, check what I really want to take pictures of, and take it from there. By not buying the sigma lens I can keep my options open for FF or not, if I don't want to go for it, the 40D might be the best bet as my wife's 450D is too small to be comfortable in my hands (next time I'm in a camera shop I'll try to handle one). I can get the Sigma later (or a Tokina or equivalent) if I really need wider or I can get a 5D and then maybe the 24-70 or 105 L.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Colin, after helping me out on a couple of occasions I feel I owe you a few beers. If I ever get down your way I'll drop you a line!!

    Best wishes,

    David

  5. #5

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    Re: Even more confused now

    You're very welcome David

    Just holler if you need any more help - usually WA lenses & landscape is followed shortly thereafter by GND filters - can possibly help you there too.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:24 AM.

  6. #6

    Re: Even more confused now: 5D, 450D & L-series lens purchase

    Thanks.
    I have set of cokins (X-pro??) which I used to use on my Mamiya 7II - hope they'll last a while before I convert to Lee. Might even check out the cost of some Singh-Rays (??) at some point but if the cokins are ok and I get on well with the 17-40 then a used 40D might be next.

    That seems to be all my spare money for 2009 spoken for!!

    Best wishes,

    David

  7. #7

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    Re: Even more confused now: 5D, 450D & L-series lens purchase

    Hi David,

    If you've already geared up for Cokin then it sounds like you're all set. To be honest, I've never been overly impressed with the quality of Cokin holders (I've found Lee holders to be more robust). I've pretty much standardised on Singh-Ray (for ND, GND, and Variable ND) & Heliopan filters (UV, CP).

    Looking forward to seeing some of the results you're getting with your new lens

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:24 AM.

  8. #8

    Re: Even more confused now: 5D, 450D & L-series lens purchase

    Ordered the 17-40 mm L this afternoon. Should be a good Xmas!!

    Thanks again guys,

    David

  9. #9

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    Re: Even more confused now: 5D, 450D & L-series lens purchase

    "Ordered the 17-40 mm L this afternoon. Should be a good Xmas!!"

    Congratulations on your purchase David - I'm sure it'll serve you well.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:25 AM.

  10. #10

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    Re: I agree with Colin...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I .

    ... 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. I absolutely LOVE this lens. There is nothing like it for the full frame system.

    ... The 30D and 40D cameras with excellent lenses (not the kit glass) are perfectly capably of producing images which will stand up to large blow-ups.

    I shoot with the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens on one camera around my neck and a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens in a holster case with a hand strap. I LOVE the VERSATILITY of this combination and don't miss the 55mm to 70mm gap.
    I am interested in your comments re the 17 to 55 mm 2.8. I have as a kit lens for my 40D the 17-85 f 4.5.6 IS. I am looking for a 2.8 and was thinking of the L lens 28-70 but since most of my images are taken when travelling I think I prefer the 17mm for those narrow streets and the IS for the interior shots. I also use an L series 70-200 F4. I do not want to purchase the 17- 55 and find that I am disappointed in the quality of my prints. I note that you used to do large prints.

    Do you find that the 17-55 lens allows you to print qood quality 8x10 or 11x14 ? Would you expect to get better prints from an L series lens?

    I do not expect to ever buy a ff camera so that is not an issue. All other things being relatively equal I am leaning towards the 17-55. Any thoughts? Thanks,

    Derek
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 15th February 2009 at 02:10 AM. Reason: Add closing quotes

  11. #11

    Re: I agree with Colin...

    HI guys, I think I am about as confused as ever about the implications of FF to 1.6X.. I have an Xsi -- wish that I had waited, but maybe a reasonable chance to upgrade to FF in a couple of years... so my question is whether we are taking a hit on aperture as well as focal length with the 1.6X smaller chip? I guess the answer is that we are..
    I really want to get the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, but is it a total waste for the 1.6X Xsi?
    somebody suggested the new Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX SML DC ..?PE instead.. which seems overpriced to me.. and probably not remotely in the same league build-level as the Canon...
    leaving for Italy soon on a great tour.. any help greatly appreciated!
    Bruce

  12. #12

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    Re: I agree with Colin...

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce aronow View Post
    HI guys, I think I am about as confused as ever about the implications of FF to 1.6X.. I have an Xsi -- wish that I had waited, but maybe a reasonable chance to upgrade to FF in a couple of years... so my question is whether we are taking a hit on aperture as well as focal length with the 1.6X smaller chip? I guess the answer is that we are..
    Hi Bruce, great to have you with us

    FF can be a blessing - a curse - or make no difference, depending on what you're shooting. If you need to shoot wide then the FF camera is going to give you the wider field of view if you swap lenses between the two - but the crop-factor cameras can take EF-S lenses which are wider than what's available in the EF lineup - and it works out exactly the same in terms of width.

    If you shoot long (eg telephoto) then the crop-factor camera wins out against a similar MP FF camera - You might shoot with a 400mm lens on your crop-factor camera whereas I'm going to need a far more expensive 600mm lens (and I'd still be a bit behind you).

    On the other hand if you have a 50mm lens on your crop-factor camera and I have an 85mm on my FF camera then in terms of field of view we're pretty much identical.

    So it's pretty much horses for courses.

    In terms of Depth of Field, it's narrower by about a stop on a FF camera - which can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing.

    To finally answer your question about giving away aperture as well as focal length - short answer is - No. I'll let someone else explain the long answer

    Would the EF16-35mm F2.8L USM II be wasted on a crop-factor camera? Not at all - been there - done that - got the Tee shirt to prove it! It's fine - it's just not as wide as it would be on a FF camera - BUT - wide-angle lenses aren't normally used to get extreme wide angles per sec - they're used to get more agressive perspectives; if you point one at the horizon you'll just end up with 100 miles of mountain range in the background that's so small you really can't make much out (and getting the lighting even becomes another challenge) - what makes winning shots is the ability to get REALLY close to foreground objects whilst maintaining your background - and that's not a problem with the 16-35/2.8 on a crop factor camera.

    Does this help?

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