Advice: New camera body or new lenses?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by lex, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. lex

    lex TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,

    I need some help/advice. I got into photography about 7 months ago. It's becoming more of a hobby and I want to start taking this a bit more serious. I've received lots of interest from my friends and family and I've been inquired to do work for them. Before I take the plunge and get into actual photography work I'm thinking that I may need to invest in a better camera and/or lenses. I just don't know what I should do. I currently own the following:

    Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D
    18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS
    85mm f/1.8 USM

    I also own a polarizer filter and extension tubes. Right now I can't really pinpoint what kind of photography I'm into. I really enjoy it all. Most of my stuff has been landscape, wildlife, abstract and people photography. I recently took some photos at a wedding and it's really opened up a new door.

    My question is, should I invest in a new camera body, perhaps the 7D, 50D, T21i? Is there much of a difference from what I currently own to those that I provided? It is worth it?

    Or should I invest in some better glass? Right now my bread and butter is my standard 85mm lens. I wouldn't mind getting rid of the others and investing in a nicer telephoto zoom lens and/or a nicer wide-angle lens.

    I really enjoy shooting in aperture priority mode using the widest possible aperture, when allowable. I love shallow depths of field. To see some of my examples of what I've done thus far you can see my blog: http://alexisaleman.com

    Any advice will be very well appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    Alexis
     
  2. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Alexis

    Remember, this is simple MY advice, use it as you may.

    before you start investing in new equipment, based on friends and family saying how good your work may be, heed this...

    Friends and family will always love your work. Okay, now my advice.



    You are not even sure what you really like to photograph. You have a decent start up camera and set of lenses. Keep shooting with that equipment, and start to refine your style and images. Then you will have better questions to ask about upgrading.

    Good luck and keep shooting.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ^^ What he said.

    Define your desires before filling your plate. ;)
     
  4. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with pbelarge as well.

    Good to see that the prime is your bread and butter, makes sense, as its the only half decent lens in your kit.

    What you upgrade really really depends on what you shoot. If you are doing weddings and indoor events alot, then you need fast glass and clean ISO bodies. Which means usually an upgrade to a 5D, 5D II or a 7D. You can also look into flashes / strobist stuff, which will be great for people portraits.

    Do not upgrade to a newer camera in the Rebel line. That will be a bandaid situation, but more often than not, a waste of money.

    If you enjoy shooting primes (they are super sharp and nice and fast), maybe look for a wide prime? Something like a 35mm? That would give you a 35 and an 85. Then maybe a 70-200 f/2.8 IS (I just got one a month ago and love it).

    Here is my situation...
    First camera in late 2007. Had an old 20-50 and 50-200 lens. Bought an XSI. Picked up a 50 1.8 (oct 07), a Canon 10-22 (jan 08), a Tamron 28-75 2.8 (jul 08) and then a 70-300 (feb 10)
    I started shooting lower light stuff, so I upgraded the body to a 7D in March 2010. I then bought a 70-200 f/2.8 IS a few weeks later.

    The 7D upgrade was great, no complaints, would do it again in an instant.

    The Tamron 28-75 was a great great purchase. I tested it against a 24-70 and I'm sticking with the Tamron. It costs $500 vs the $1500 for the Canon. While the Canon does focus faster in lower light, is silent, better built, the Tamron is sharper at 5.6 and above and MUCH lighter. The pros of the Canon didn't justify a $1000 price difference... which is why I picked up the 70-200. I will upgrade one day, probably when they upgrade the lens.
     
  5. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you really not sure what to get at this point, I will say do not get anything until you know what to get.

    When you find that your current setup cannot do what you want to do, it's time to upgrade and I bet you know what you need at that time.
     
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I always buy top class lenses before bodies, looking at your collection you only have 1 good lens 85F1.8
     
  7. KenC

    KenC Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Some of your photos are close-ups, so if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, you could consider a macro lens, preferably a 100 mm - much better than extension tubes, especially in the field where you seem to work most of the time.
     
  8. lex

    lex TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much for the feedback, guys. I really, really appreciate it.

    Even though I enjoy shooting most anything, I want to start doing more photography of people and indoor events. As most of you noted, my 85mm is my best lens. I love how fast and sharp it is, and it's pretty much the only lens that I can shoot in lower light situations. I also just ordered the 50mm f/1.8 last night since it's only $100. Shooting in low light situations is very limiting at the moment. It's one of the reasons why I was thinking of getting a new body. I also need to get an external flash to help with indoor shots.

    At the moment, would getting better/faster glass offset the the low light sensitivity that my XSi/450D is limited to? Would it be worth it in the meantime? I'm really leaning towards the 70-200mm f/2.8 to replace my 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6.

    Again, thank you so much.

    Alexis
     
  9. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Having shot with an XSI in low light and with f/2.8 and f/1.8 lenses, you are limited with the ISO of the body. That was one of my main reasons for upgrading. I found that I could only shoot clean at 400 ISO with the XSI, usable at 800 ISO and crap at 1600 ISO.

    With my 7D, I've gained 2 stops of ISO, so what I shot at 400 I shoot at 1600. 800 is like 3200 (usable, might need noise reduction), and 6400+ is like 1600 on the XSI. So it did make a difference.

    But again, it depends on what you shoot. I've done shoots in a small bar where the lighting system isn't much to write home about.

    Here is a shot from a small bar, ISO 2000 at f/2.0 and 1/100 shutter with my 50 1.8. You can see more of the low light set on my flickr The Real Deal - a set on Flickr
    [​IMG]

    So yes, getting faster glass would help, but you are still limited by your body. And remember that those nice f/2.8 zooms are heavy. You switch out the light, fast zoom for a slightly slower (1.8 vs 2.8) and much heavier lens, but with the ability to zoom.

    If you are doing portraits, zooms aren't a huge thing. If you are doing weddings and events, then the practicality of a zoom is big. So for portraits, get maybe a 35mm prime and a 50mm prime, then look at off camera strobes. Read the Lighting 101 section (and more) of the strobist site Strobist
     

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