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The Full Frame conundrum


James_H 7 7
19 Jul 2014 9:19AM
Hi all,

Well its nearly been a year since I shy'd away from buying a canon 5D Mk3. Like all of us its a bloody expensive investment when its just a hobby.

At the time I was doing a landscape photography course, Using my 50D. The Tutor had a Nikon D800, some of the others had 5D Mk2's. Overall I've never really been pleased with my 50D images under scrutiny never seemed that sharp (soft or just out of focus), until I played around with the picture style feature and increased the sharpness. Now I'm getting what I always wanted from the 50D.

Well as i said i was ready to part with my money and upgrade to a 5D Mk3, but the tutor also was carrying a Fuji X100S. Had not really paid any attention to these small range finder & CCS cameras until then. Well it sparked my curiosity and i did some research. Going on holiday with my camera was a right pain as we all know. the thought of having a small camera, fully manual controls that can take handle low light and produce quality images as well as being really light. Well i spent my money (not all) and purchased the FujiFilm XE2 with the OIS 18-55 lens. (since then i have also purchased the 10-24mm & the oh so sharp 35mm 1.4)

I rarely pick up the 50D because i feel that the XE2 image quality is just as good, and its so convenient because of its size and weight.

As an individual i do realise that the XE2 is not perfect. for me its a great travel camera and the Fuji lenses are superb. But its auto focus system is not as refined and the CCS cameras are expectational menu driven, which i have found can slow you down and possibly lose the shot.

I'm looking to pursue landscape & studio photography and possibly on occasion take some sports shots.

Right back to the question at hand. I am now looking at full frame cameras again (Keeping with Canon as i have invested in a number of EF lenses or my be persuaded to look at alternative brands).

I'm Torn between the 5DMK2 , the 6D & of course the 5DMK3.

At this moment I'm looking at second hand 5DMk2's and the 6D as prices seem to be fairly similar.

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19 Jul 2014 10:01AM
You start by saying photography is a hobby for you and imply a limited budget. Is that still the case?
I own a D800 and a D7100. While the D800 comes into it's own when I want to print images 30 inches wide (few do this) and the D7100 comes into its own when I want to do bird shots without being able to afford an 800 mm prime.
Put another way no camera or format is perfect for everything and most cameras are good for most things - as you discovered when learning to control your camera to a better standard.
For studio and landscape a "top pro sports camera" designed for AF speed and large buffer can be a limitation - so you do not need one of those.
You ideally need a good tripod, to be in the right place when the light is right for landscapes, and ability to communicate with the subject if by studio you mean portraits. I have not mentioned which camera because it is relatively unimportant.
Some only achieve 10% of what their equipment can deliver, others regularly achieve 90% - which may lie behind why you are surprised your tutor produced results which were good enough to amaze you with what you had previously discounted as not meeting your needs.
In my view you do not need "full frame" because at low ISO's on a tripod normal for the types of work you like, it offers no advantage MP for MP and in camera technology for in camera technology other than occasional nit-picking with occasionally a smaller format having an advantage. Going further recent 4:3 at low ISO's is close to crop and full sensor DSLR's, and ofter better than crop and full frame sensors were 5 years ago.
Speaking Nikon because it is the system I use the best of current 4:3 can beat a D300 or D3 for image quality by a useful margin, though of course the best current Nikon and Canon cameras have also improved.
I have avoided a direct answer because there are now more camera systems which meet your needs.
If a good 4:3 system best meets your all round needs - buy it.
James_H 7 7
19 Jul 2014 11:12AM
Thanks for your comments Len. Not quite what i was asking (most probably me not explaining myself).
Budget is not limited in anyway. I am looking at the eternal triangle of value for money vs quality and functionality. Does that make sense?

I also understand that no one camera is perfect for all types of photography. Its kind of a technical query vs cost
Please Please I have no manufacture preference or do i want to get into the semantics of Brands.

I understand the differences between Full Frame & APSC sized sensors. I have always aspired to having a Full Frame Sensor DSLR.
I may look at Nikon D800 but i don't think i need the File & Image size that it can produce. I feel the Canon is a good balance between performance and functionality.

I would class myself as a seasoned amateur photographer, with an open mind to learning and improving on my skills.

Recommending the use of a tripod for landscape photography as well as suggesting communication to my studio subject is always important. This was not what i was expecting to hear. As was the "Some only achieve 10% of what their equipment can deliver, others regularly achieve 90% - which may lie behind why you are surprised.........." What are you going on about?

I fully understand that there are people out there who purchase the top of the range and the leave it all on auto. I don't perceive i am one of those individuals. nor do i suffer from GAS.

My question , is which would you choose. A second hand 5DmkII , A new 6D (which currently has a 150 C/Back Offer) or Look at the 5DMk3.

Please don't take this as me being rude. Some times i just have to be direct.

Regards James
NeilS e2
7 936 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2014 11:40AM
Depends what your preference is for, if it's for high ISO then maybe the 6d, if it's for the best AF, then the 5dm3

I have owned a 5d m3 and coming from a 1dm3 of 6 years all I can say is wow, sold 1d after acquiring it, the 5dm3 is in my view a perfect all rounder, however I now shoot with a 1dx for the frame rate

I can't speak for the other two bodies but if you can afford the 5dm3 it won't leave you wanting in comparison to your other two options
James_H 7 7
19 Jul 2014 11:54AM
Thanks Neil,

That's exactly what i am after. End users providing me with their handling and overall experience of these models.

Many Thanks.

Like all Canon's there seems to be a balancing act between frame rate, focus systems etc. Sports shooting is a low priority. I know even if i end up with the 5Dmk3 my old 50D frame rate is quicker. But then the focus should be a lot more accurate. But like always it depends on who is driving it as well.

Overall i will most probably using for landscape including low light photography as well. Looking to shoot Northern Lights at some time. Do you think the 6d has better low light handling then?

I'm being a bit tight with myself as i know there may be an upgrade to the 5D mk3 (don't get me wrong but the update may be quite considerable this time around) That's kinda why i looking at the other two.
RobboB e2
8 88 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2014 4:39PM
I would consider getting some wonderful Zeiss Tuit lenses for the excellent XE2 instead
Cheers
Rob
NeilS e2
7 936 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2014 11:28PM
If you are unsure about what's going to come out going forward, and you can wait until the beginning of September, when Photokina show is on, it is possible that canon may offer a new body then or even announce it slightly earlier than the show

Possibly a replacement for the 7D but who knows,(rumour sites are full of rumours surprise surprise) the important thing though is that if a new body is announced then the sensor technology may be an indicator to what's coming with regard to the next 5D and 1D, this may help you with that decision

As regards the 6D 5D2 comparators, this might be of use
Snapper 9 3.8k 3 United States Outlying Islands
20 Jul 2014 12:26AM
Apart from the link in Neil's post, there is a comparison of the 6D & 5dMk 111 on ePhotozine.
Coast e2
6 1.5k 292 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2014 7:28AM
I have been a Canon user for many years starting way back with film. Like you, I always wanted the best kit I could afford and spent a number of years adding L lenses to my kit and finally adding the 5D mk1 as my camera body. This was upgraded last year to the mk3.

The camera is an absolute joy to use and the results are bitingly sharp. High ISO images retain detail and the AF is quick and accurate.

There are many times however when I found I wouldn't have a camera other than a camera phone on me. This was due to the bulk of the DSLR kit. So I invested in a Panasonic GF1 m4/3rds along with the 14mm, 20mm and 45-200mm lenses. I found the portability of the kit and the better IQ than camera phone or compact got me out taking more pictures. I've since swapped the GF1 for the Olympus OMD 10.

The handling and IQ of the OMD had me seriously questioning whether I should sell all the Canon kit and go and get an OMD 1. For the output I generally use; web uploads, digital projection and prints up to 14"x11", the IQ was on a par up to ISO 400. This is not about pixel peeping comparisons but viewed at normal distances.

As it is the 5D III is so good and along with the investment in lenses I've decided to keep it. Using the Canon for specific photographic expeditions/projects such as Cycle racing (my other passion), landscape and portraiture. Some macro too although the OMD and 60mm Zuiko lens is blowing me away too for close-up and the lighter kit is so much easier to handhold in those situations where you can't get a tripod in. The OMD is used for carrying around for travel and street images.

I can't comment on the 6D as I've never used one other than handling briefly although a friend who has one is pleased with it. A choice between the 5d mkII and mkIII is a simple choice for me. The mkIII every time. The newer body is a massive advancement over the mkII in handling for a number of reasons but primarily the AF and IQ at higher ISO.

So from a fellow photographer using both a compact and FF system I would heartily recommend the mkIII if budget is not an over-riding factor.
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2014 10:24AM

Quote:Thanks for your comments Len. Not quite what i was asking (most probably me not explaining myself).
Budget is not limited in anyway. I am looking at the eternal triangle of value for money vs quality and functionality. Does that make sense?




If budget is genuinely not an issue, get the 5D3. It does everything the 6D does and more and both of those models do everything better than the 5D2.
If you want value for money it depends on what you want to do and it does not sound like you made a final decisoin on that yet. You seem to mention the frame rate as a downside of the 5D3 but if (as I read it) your main interest is studio and landscape surely the frame rate is a minor consideration. On the other hand if frame rate is one of your criteria the 6D and 5D2 will both bug you.
The 5D3 v Nikon D800 is an interesting one - the D800 (not that I have used one!) was the first of its kind and still has a level of kudos about it but the 5D3 seems to have quietly snuck up on the inside and is proving just as capable.



Quote:my 50D images under scrutiny never seemed that sharp (soft or just out of focus), until I played around with the picture style feature

I'm puzzled by this. Picture styles affect only the jpegs. Are you shooting raw?
ChrisV 8 886 26 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2014 2:17PM
The 6d does have something the other cameras lack - wireless control via iPad/iPhone/android device. Very useful in studio situations as I've found with the current crop of m43 cameras - much more so than shooting tethered, less fuss, more convenient and if anything like those cameras, offering a great deal of control.

I have a 5dII and from what I read, the update improves on it in just about every respect, but it isn't improvement to the same degree as from the mk1.

I too rarely use my Canon gear now, because I know for the vast majority of the time I can get satisfactory results from my smaller kit. Even if I want to limit DoF I now have recourse to some excellent primes, which whilst obviously not giving the same degree of fine control over focus depth as 35mm format are in practical use, more than sufficient. I was shooting small groups (awards evening) the other night and used the Panny/Leica 25 1.4 mostly stopped to around f2. Super sharp, just the right amount of subject isolation and lovely bokeh. I doubt many people would be able to say they were smaller format shots. I would also say my EM1 does not lag far behind the 5dII at higher ISOs either. I know I could gain a bit more by going for newer/ lower pixel density 35mm, but that sort of chasing of 'ultimate quality' is an endless pursuit. And as others have sagely pointed out, no camera does it all.
f11digital 11 98 1 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2014 7:57PM
You're one of the 10% then Len :-P
f11digital 11 98 1 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2014 9:19PM
I moved from APS-C to FF 18 months ago and from Nikon to Canon as I shoot landscapes and sport. The AF on the 5DMkIII is superb but there is a learning curve to it. I've used it recently with the Canon 70-300 f4 and it rarely misses a beat.

I've also been using the Nikon D810 in the last few days. My other half has just upgraded from her D700. It's AF is up there with the 5DMkIII and the IQ as you would expect is first rate, but it pushes my 2yr old pc to its limits due to the file size and my pc spec is beefy to say the least.

So my recommendation is the 5DMkIII as a good all round camera. You will not be disappointed.

John
28 Jul 2014 8:05AM

Quote:Thanks for your comments Len. Not quite what i was asking (most probably me not explaining myself).
Budget is not limited in anyway


As you say you did not explain yourself as well as you might have done, enthusing over EX2 quality and saying "I'm looking to pursue landscape & studio photography and possibly on occasion take some sports shots", said you had been undecided for a year and did not mention a collection of EOS lenses.
I did qualify my reply with "You start by saying photography is a hobby for you and imply a limited budget. Is that still the case?"
Sorry but based on your original information I presumed you were at a different stage in your photographic development.
Now we know more about what you wanted to know it is easy for Canon specialists to answer.
My only extra comment is, with Photokina in September, we should know about any new Canon models within 6 weeks.
f11digital 11 98 1 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2014 4:45PM
Len
Quote: . . . . and you did not mention a collection of EOS lenses

OP
Quote: . . . .(Keeping with Canon as i have invested in a number of EF lenses


Canon are unlikely to announce any new FF cameras at Photokina, although the 7D MkII may be revealed at last.

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