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Equipment Upgrade from 40D to a 5DII... or not?

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by Azmat, 7 Jan 2010.

  1. Azmat

    Azmat What's a Dremel?

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    Hi all, a lurking buddy here :)
    For about a year and a half i've been using my 40D now, after hitting the limitations on a couple of compacts/bridges. Since then i've been trying out different things with it, like shooting some wildlife/birds, architecture and landscapes, sports, people... the lot.
    For a while now, i've realised that i really like shooting landscapes. I'm not much of a sports person, nor a people person, and rarely shot them. Wildlife hasn't been much of a succes either, i'd need camp out for a while to catch the birds, and i can barely motivate myself to do that.
    It's now been a long time my tokina has been practically glued to the camera, i rarely take it off, and when i do, the 70-200 comes on. UWA has been treating me well, i love the wide view i can get with it. Last year when i was in San Francisco, those have been the only 2 lenses i used, and i think i got some good results with them. It was easy to take shots of the streets and views, and i liked it more and more ever since.
    With that in mind, i've been eyeing up the 5dII. It's not that i dislike the pictures i took with the 40d, but when it comes to landscapes, i've felt IQ could be better.
    When i take a look at the shots i took of SF, i think the sensor could really do with picking up more detail when using the UWA (better resolving, i think is the English term). The stitched landscape taken with the 70-200 pics of the same scape, are simply a lot more enjoyable than when i look at the UWA shots, but even then, it couldn't totally satisfy me. But it did work out better with a mountain panorama... But overall, i get good shots with the Tokina (1, 2). It's when a lot of detail comes into play that i find the gear falls short, like shooting the urban sprawl.
    Now, i don't think my solution would be to always take a series of pictures with the 70-200 and stitch, but a camera upgrade makes more sense to me.
    All that said and done, i would need a new lens to go with a FF camera. Since i like shooting UWA, and usually do this at 11mm on the 40d, i'd like a similar angle on FF. I'm considering the 16-35 II to be up to that.

    So, looking for some advice. Should i be considering upgrading the body/lens, do i myself need some upgrade :dremel:, or am i imagining i could use an upgrade and just stick to my guns for now ?

    My current gear:
    Canon 40D
    Tokina 11-16
    Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5
    70-200 f4L IS
    300 f4L IS
    1.4 extender
    Sigma 150mm

    My flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29108580@N08/
    (I probably do need to spend a little more time managing my 'graphs now and then. I've still got some i haven't edited/uploaded yet, but i digress :))

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Sounds like you need a better wide angle lens before you need a new body.

    My first question would be: why do you need the resolution? Just because? Are your prints not showing the IQ? Or only when look at them zoomed in to 200%. Or do you want a new camera and think this is a good justification? I ask because if you are printing up to A4, I doubt you'll see any difference in just changing the body.
     
  3. Azmat

    Azmat What's a Dremel?

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    Thank you for your reply, Johnny.
    Admittedly, I don't do a lot of prints, i'm not selling my work or taking jobs on, it's all hobby (still. Not much ambition to take on jobs). So if i print, it's for me personally. So no, i suppose i don't need the resolution.
    Maybe i just think i need the res, because i often enough dare to pixelpeep. Or i zoom in and start to 'worry' about the zoomed part, instead of the whole pic; even though i know i'm not printing.
    So yes, if talking about prints, i probably don't need the body upgrade. I mainly take my pictures to enjoy/look at them myself.
    Why i think i need the resolution ? More pixels make good pics no ? :p
    I'm not overly happy with the shots taken with the UWA. Usually when i take shots of say a grassland, or a place with shrubs and/or trees, it just seems sharpness falls short faster than i'd expect. I'd partly blame the tokina, partly the sensor. I'd sometimes blame myself, but it happens that i take a shot and know it should be good, and turns out less sharp than i'd expect it to be. I thought the newer sensors would be better on resolving, but then again, i'd need a new uwa anyway.

    I'd also add that i would like better iso-performance, because i'm not fond of going over 4-500 with the 40D. I'm no big fan of flashes, and even though i have an ex580 and it has shown its uses, i'd rather not use them. Instead, i've not shot things because i don't want to crank up the iso higher, or have used a flash and afterwards not been too happy about it. Mainly things indoors, or lowlight situations.
    But i don't necessarily want to splash cash on the body. I like new goodies and sure, i like to play around with a new cam, but not if it is not for a good reason.

    So maybe i should be looking at a new uwa then. However, i think i'd made a good decision with the Tokina at the time, and did enough research. Would a Canon 10-22 be that much better? And going the 16/17mm or up route on the 40d wouldn't be what i like. Those couple mm's are too precious to me.
     
  4. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    I think JJ makes a good point.

    Since you're not making huge prints, you're not going to gain much with the increased resolution. In addition, you've mentioned that your main focus is landscapes. In that case, not only should you consider a new lens instead of a new body, you should also consider a decent tripod (I didn't see one listed in your gear).

    With a decent tripod, you won't have much need to use a high ISO to get your shot. Since the landscape isn't going anywhere, and since the camera is locked down, you can feel free to shoot at lower ISO.

    I very much doubt that the 40D's sensor is ever to blame for your missed shot. If the sharpness is falling off, it's likely the lens, or you missed the focus for some reason.

    For what it's worth, I sometimes shoot at ISO 800 or 1600 on my 40D, and I don't think there is much of a problem with noise. If processed correctly, you should be able to mask enough of it to get a good image.

    Ultimately, since you've stated that this is just a casual hobby, and since you have no ambitions to do anything professional with your photos, I wouldn't worry much about new gear at the moment. Check out some books on photography - get to know your existing gear intimately, and emphasize increasing your skills rather than relying on expensive gear. I use the 40D with the kit lens, and I've yet to encounter a situation in which the camera body held me back.
     
  5. Vers

    Vers ...

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    A better wide angle than the Tokina 11-16? I don't think the issue is the lens, at all in fact. The 11-16 is one of the best WA lenses for APS-C. If anything I think you need to work on your processing and shooting techniques. Do you shoot RAW? Do you own a tripod? Do you own any filters? Have you researched or read up on general photography techniques? Honestly, for your use a 5DII+16-35 isn't going to get you better images than your 40D+11-16.
     
  6. Azmat

    Azmat What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the cents.
    A usual case of trying to throw money at a non-existing problem then. Well, i should've known tbh, but it's good being talked out of it, you know :duh: I kinda knew, but still wanted to post about it :rolleyes:

    @Vers: Yes, i shoot raw, own a tripod, and have a polarizer and uv filter that fit the tokina. I've shot with and without the uv filter, but haven't really noticed some apparent drawbacks.
    The tripod, i sometimes lug along, but more often than not i really don't want to take it along, it weighs and it's, well, large.
    I haven't taken many long exposure pictures with it, i have taken some pics where exposure was 1/15, but usually it's shorter. As for aperture i usually stop down to f8, or thereabout, mostly depending on the amount of light. I don't think i've created much motion blurring yet.
    I do think i know the general techniques, and i think i apply them well. Not saying i do it all perfect, but i'd say i do that okay generally.
    Probably as you suggest, my PP needs some work. What i do atm is import the raws to Lightroom, and process them there. Crop it a bit, remove fringing, spot removal, recover from blacks/overexposure, some colour adjustments. I'm not a PS wiz though, and usually (read: like never) put my pictures through there, as it's been too long i've played around in it, and i've been breaking more than improving when i give something a whirl.
     
  7. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    Actually, the quantity of post processing you do is much less important than the quality of post processing. Given your description above, you may not need to do anything more to your photos. Depending on the end result that you're aiming for, basic exposure adjustment, cropping, and sharpening may be all you need to do.

    You've admitted a couple of times that you might need to work on your technique a bit. Would you mind posting a few examples of your work? There are a lot of very creative and knowledgeable here, and someone might be able to provide some really good advice for a specific area.
     
  8. Thaifood

    Thaifood Minimodder

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    great shots btw :)
     
  9. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    First and foremost, I'm a 5D Mark II owner and I love my camera to bits - if you have a need for it, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. I came from a 450D and the biggest thing I noticed was low-light performance. The second thing I noticed was that it brought the best out of my lenses.

    You have to think wider than that though and it's going to end up costing you more than just a 5DII body. Your UWA will vignette even at its longest focal length (if it even works on the EF mount, as the 5D doesn't support EF-S lenses), so you'll probably want to buy a new UWA lens (the 17-40 F4L is a great lens and I don't think it's worth paying twice as much for the extra stop of aperture on the 16-35 if you're only going to be using it in the landscape, as you're unlikely to use it at F/2.8).

    With that in mind, the first thing I'd recommend is buying a decent slot-in filter system so that you can start to control the high contrast of a typical landscape. I'd argue that they're one of the most essential pieces of kit to successful landscape photography - especially if you're shooting a lot of vistas, which it sounds like you are doing given the 11-16 UWA lens. They're so important to me, in fact, that if I'm limited for space, I'll carry my filter pouch instead of a second lens.

    In my photos, I tend to do very minimal post processing (I tend to only go into Photoshop to run a few fairly standard actions I've got, otherwise it's all done in Lightroom) and instead focus on getting the image right in camera.

    A few other questions about your landscape photography:
    - Are you using auto-focus, manual focus 1/3 of the way into the scene or, even better, working out hyperfocal distances?
    - How are you metering a scene?
    - Do you evaluate your histograms and continue making adjustments until you've got a histogram you're happy with?
    - Have you experimented with F-stops? You'll achieve the best depth of field at F/11, F/16 or F/22, but beware of just whacking up to F/22 and forgetting about it because I find that can often lead to a very slight softening of the final image due to diffraction.

    I'll have a look through some of your work and come back. :)

    EDIT: This would really benefit from a slot-in filter system so that you can brighten the foreground up to give it a bit more impact. I like the composition, but it's a little lost in darkness. There looks to be an orange tint on the snow, too, which would become a much more powerful feature of the photo if you had, say, a 0.9 ND grad to reduce the contrast in the sky.
     
  10. Draxin

    Draxin Seeker of Photons

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    if your worried about prints i can say i just printed a 20" x 30" that i took with my 40D 50mm F1.2L (shot in RAW and processed to very high quality JPG) and its really clean.

    even at a 100 ISO and 20 second exposure at 4:30am

    I have found that alot of my irritations with image quality come from the lenses i was using. My kit lens seemed ok untill a friend loaned me a few of her higher end lenses and 1 of her L series lenses.

    If you have the 40D upgrade your lenses. the 40D will take EF and EFS lenses so if you get any EF mounts you can use them till you reach the limits of the 40D and take them with you when you move up to the 5D
     

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