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A nice dilema to have

fraser 17 631 14 Scotland
31 May 2011 3:32PM
I have recently been bequeathed a small amount of money. Enough for me to change my camera but not much else. I had always thought when I got the chance I'd opt for a FF camera so the EOS5D MkII would be top of the list. Now that I'm within touching distance I'm not so sure.

Most of my photography is landscape with wildlife when I get the opportunity, although I hope to become more involved in wildlife this year. I have lenses that cover the 10mm to 400mm range (including two L series zooms and the Canon 100f2.8 macro) and an EOS40D. Apart from the limitations of the sensor that pretty much covers the bases although a longer reach would be desirable. I can chop in the sigma 10-20 and get the canon 17-40L and an EOS5D body, but it would leave me short at the top end, or I could get an EOS7D and keep what I've got (I had thought about a 1.4 converter for my 100-400 but the combination doesn't review very well).

I know this has been done to death but any thoughts or musings would be appreciated.
BillyGoatGruff 14 191 199 England
31 May 2011 3:57PM
Despite its (relative) age, going for the 5D + 17-40 may be the better option for landscapes - a number of very notable people have used this extremely effectively (Adam Burton, Mark Adamus, Pat DiFruschia etc etc). If you do go down the FF route, you'll probably find that the Sigma 10 - 20 will vignette - I'm assuming you have the DC version, designed for APS-C sized sensors. So you would probably need to sacrifice it anyway.

Wildlife-wise, I'm given to understand that the crop factor is sometimes actually desirable because of the tighter field of view.
(I cite Thom Hogan's writings about his African wildlife trips - although a Nikon user there's a wealth of useful thoughts if you trawl through his website.)
So you may be better off sticking with the crop sensor set up and spending your inheritance on better glass?

A nice dilemma to have, though. Wish I had the same dilemma! I'm quite jealous, as I was keen to go FF from the outset but just couldn't afford to!! Wink
mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
31 May 2011 4:03PM
When using the 40D, what do you find frustrates you more - the idea you could get better tonality and dynamic range with the 5D, or that you find yourself missing too many wildlife shots because the AF is not up to scratch?

If the landscape is your main priority the 5D is reputedly the better option. I used the 100-400 on my 30D and was surprised how many keepers I actually got (OK, my new 7D gives me more keepers but if I had not been able to afford it I would not have been upset) so the 5D should be even better. But when it comes to wildlife the often-quoted advantage of the 7D is the smaller sensor = greater pixel density = greater resolution = (roughly speaking) an optical zoom. But I am not convinced that this 'zoom function' is as much as 1.4x. By which I mean the 400mm on 7D will not be as good as 560mm on 5D. I have seen some very good 'birds in flight' shots using a 5D so if you can do it with your 40D you should be OK with the 5D.
If you use the macro or close-up a lot, the 5D will give you narrower depth of field.

However, if you prefer getting the wildlife right then the 7D offers the right functionality with the superior AF, especially the expanded AF point.

In reality, I see several comments (even from 5D afficionados) that you will not see as much difference between the two bodies as some make out unless you print large or do a lot of cropping, and even then are extremely careful with all aspects of your photography (tripod, mirror lock-up etc).
I briefly toyed with the idea of 5D instead of 7D but decided the advantages for wildlife was of more interest to me.
fraser 17 631 14 Scotland
31 May 2011 4:06PM
The sigma's definately a gonner if I do go FF, as it is the DC version.

I've been frustrated by the 10MP limitations of the 40D for some time now so a body upgrade was always on the cards when I could afford it. New glass isn't really an option - anything that would substantially add to the collection would be way too expensive to justify.
fraser 17 631 14 Scotland
31 May 2011 4:18PM
The tonality bothers me (I actually think my 20d had better tonality than the 40D) but resolution is also an issue as I crop a lot of my wildlife shots because the 100-400 doesn't have the reach I'd sometimes like. I have also been frustrated by the 40D's focussing with quite a few birds in flight attempts and the 7D appeals from that point of view.

I'm leaning towards the 7D and I guess I'm just finding it difficult to let go of the FF idea because that's what I always thought I'd do. That and the fact that the vast majority of my work is landscapes.

No doubt the 5DmkIII when it comes out will have the whizz-bang focussing system of the 7D but the price is going to stretch it out beyond my means again AND I'd still have the problem with lack of reach.

The point is moot at the moment anyway because there's hardly a 7D to be had in the country.
JackAllTog Plus
12 6.2k 58 United Kingdom
31 May 2011 4:34PM
The 60D is priced quite cheaply now as well, so that's an option - leaving dosh for glass and still getting a new sensor.
But, FF with the dynamic range and ISO is a strong draw for me if ever i get the chance.
Note the FF also loses the popup flash!
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
31 May 2011 4:38PM
Well you have a dilema. I have a 5D2 but my main subjects are landscape, portraits, architecture and general photography so the 5D2 is ideal. However, I do sometimes take wildlife and sport so it can do it. Last week I spent 6 hours photographing birds in flight and the focussing was fine with the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS. These birds are close enough that 200mm is all that is needed and the f2.8 helps with fast focussing. However, I had the impression that some of the other photographers with good Nikon cameras had a better focussing system. We were at a bird centre where the birds are flown for photographers, if we were in the wild it would be a lot more difficult. To be honest, if I did a lot more wild life photography, I would consider buying a 7D as well but not instead of my 5D2.

I have always been very patient about selecting a new camera (just because I have the funds I do not need to spend right now). The rumours do suggest that the 5D3 will have improved focussing and there is a currently a shortage of 5D2's and 7D's anyway so it may be best to wait and see what happens in a few months.

fraser 17 631 14 Scotland
31 May 2011 5:22PM
The pop up flash is handy but not really an issue for me.

Dave you make some interesting points. I was asked recently if I'd consider doing architectural photography and I have done in the past. Maybe it's another thing I should bear in mind.

5D2's are avaialable in the shops but 7D's aren't at the moment. I suspect a 5D3 would be out of my budget by some margin.
31 May 2011 8:25PM
I went from a 40D to a 7D and was a little disappointed by the relatively small jump in image quality (although I recognise the AF gave me more keepers for wildlife shots). I then got a 5D (Mark I) and was blown away by the step change in image quality to the point that my 7D was only ever used for long reach wildlife shots. It impressed me so much that I have scrimped and saved to get the 5D Mark II which I now have. If it were me, knowing what I know now I'd keep the 40D for wildlife where reach is important and get a 5D with the newly acquired money.
fraser 17 631 14 Scotland
31 May 2011 8:49PM

Quote: I'd keep the 40D for wildlife where reach is important and get a 5D with the newly acquired money.

I like the sound of that but the 40D's got to go to top up the fund.
fraser 17 631 14 Scotland
1 Jun 2011 9:32AM
As an aside - I noticed Jessops put the price of the 7D up 80 on their website last night. I guess a symptom of the shortages due to the earthquake.
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
1 Jun 2011 10:39AM
A few months ago I went to see the Wildlife photographer of the Year at Nature in Art where there was over 100 of the best entries from round the world. The first couple of shots I saw were taken with high end Nikon's D300, D700 so I was quite surprised when I saw that so many shots were taken by Canon's. A quick count showed that the Canon EOS 5D Mkii was the single most popular camera amongst the displayed photographs. However, it was a broad selection of nature so not all shots were moving animals/birds.

Comparing notes with other photographers on the last two birds in flight shoots. The experienced photographers did best and those with Nikon D300 and D700 never seemed to complain about their kit (praising their 3D tracking but possibly winding us up). Two photographers with Sony's had great difficulty focussing as did the photographer with a 5D Mki. The focussing on the 5D Mkii is a significant improvement on the Mki but using an f2.8 lens really helps focussing. One of the Photographers used an EOS 40D and seemed to have results similar to me for focussing though clearly the image quality is rather better on the 5D2.

fraser 17 631 14 Scotland
1 Jun 2011 2:31PM
Well, that's the deed done. EOS7D body ordered from Warehouse Express (just received new stock). Jessops lost the sale because they put their price up.
mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2011 5:41PM
Have fun Grin
I have been through the manual twice and am just getting to grips with the AF and the three personalised settings.

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