equipment dilema (LONG READ)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by chammer, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    i wasnt sure where to put this as im quite new to dslr's, but this is sort of a commercial offer of sorts.

    to make a long story short, a friend of my girfriend owns a modeling agency. we gathered the other night for a pet event and i was brought along to take some pictures. long story short is that her friend presented me with an offer. they need a photographer to fill a certain role (as of yet details are limited so im not 100% sure what that role is yet), and also her son is a professional photographer who has offered his assistance in my learning as well. at this point it sounds more like a freelance position more than an actual steady paying job. im fine with that as i have a 40hr/week (or more) job currently. this would be done on the side as a hobby and a chance to grow, however, i could get paid based on if the pictures i take are purchased.

    so...i find myself here...

    my girlfriend has fallen in love with my xsi, and so i gave it to her last night along with the kit lens. since i need to replace my equipment i figured i'd take a deeper plunge into the slr, and order a 50d. i did think about the nikon d300 but that may be overkill (and a bit more than i want to spend just yet) for right now. i also thought about the 40d which everyone praises, but its only $100 less.

    cameralabs had this to say in comparison between the 40d and 50d

    to be honest, i will most likely never use the hdmi output so thats useless to me. the 5 extra megapixels is something that i also dont care about yet, but i may soon. if the pictures i take will be going to print i'd want to make sure they turn out (so i can get paid). the interface...well, im only familiar with the interface on my xsi so i'd have to learn the 40d/50d interface anyway. hasnt appeared too much different from the xsi, just more toys to play with.

    as noise levels are apparently the same, but with the 50d having an increased iso range may give me more latitude as i have no idea where i'd be shooting (when shooting for this lady's agency). although, even on the xsi i've yet to find myself needing greater than 800 even indoors with the kit lens.

    the vga screen is my biggest catch right now. the screen on the xsi is wonderful, however, there have been times when i've looked at the picture and thought "perfect!" only to get it on my pc and see it out of focus a bit or slightly blurred. the higher resolution screen would, to me, provide more accuracy so i dont have to worry as much between what i see on the lcd and what i will see on my pc once taken home.

    *takes breath*

    ok, assuming i dont get flamed too hard for my 50d choice over the 40d.... :p

    my dilema is this. lenses.

    right now, since my girlfriend has taken the kit lens, that leaves an 18-55mm hole in my already limited range as it leaves me with a 50mm as my current portrait lens, and a 75-300mm for my tele.

    im torn between two L lenses at the moment, and one non-canon. my 50mm and 75-300mm are both cheapy lenses, but im pleased with the results from them thus far. however, both were bought with being replaced at any time, but then again...the 50mm wont be for some time. the 75-300mm is one im looking to replace now.

    why 'L' lenses? well, as mentioned earlier for the freelance stuff i have no idea where i will be shooting and what the lighting will be like. i also have no idea if flashes will be allowed or not. im looking for something that will give me the flexibility of taking a non-flash indoor low lit shot...and having it turn out.

    that said, my current choices for filling my 18-55mm gap are:

    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM or Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP ZL Aspherical (IF)

    for this, however, im leaning towards the $600 more expensive canon because i figured if i ever did upgrade to a full frame body...the money i spent wont go to waste. i'll be able to re-use it.

    the tamron is extremely attractive also because it gives me a 17-50mm range, and for only $450.

    here's where my real problem comes in though. i have no idea if her freelance "job" will ever materialize, and as such i then need to look at what i personally love to shoot and what range i shoot at. my most used lens at the present is my tamron 75-300mm. its captured some absolutely priceless and wonderful puppy pictures while they're in the yard playing.

    for that i have been considering the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM as a replacement to that. the 2.8 is just too expensive for now.

    to compound my problem of knowing whether or not the position will work out or not, looking at a bunch of videos and such of "what the professionals carry in their bag" i've notice they all refer to both the 2.8L 24-70, and the 4L 70-200. so obviously at some point i want both regardless, but alas...at the present (and probably for another couple months) i only have money for a single choice.

    so, after reading this extremely long and boring post (i thank you much if you've made it this far!), assuming no one has any counters to my choice of body....what lens would you get first knowing that it could be a bit of time before you could get the other? go with the one that gives you the range you shoot with the most (but purely for personal pictures), or do you go with the one based on a "job" offer, and one that fills a current gap in your range, but may end up not being used all that much if the job doesnt pan out?

    i guess another way i can look at the 24-70 also, is that i could use that over my 50mm for portraits (as that seems to be a common use for the 24-70 as well). portraits are something that i do a lot, so in that regard it would get use.

    i guess also that it all comes down to a simple fact: if im spending $1200 on a lens...it had better get used. lol :)

    my apologies for the long post, but i just wanted to provide enough information so that i may get informed replies as to helping in my time of a major dilema.

    option b is to buy the L that i know would get used the most offhand, the 4L 70-200, and then do the tamron 17-50. that way i have a good 2.8 lens for the freelance stuff, but not too much invested if it doesnt and still be able to fill that gap i missing. im not sure, however, if the tamron can be used on a full frame body...or what the aftermarket is like for trying to sell an off brand lens in the event i go full frame and need to replace the 17-50 (if i hadnt done so before that point).

    thanks again for reading, and i look forward to hearing opinions on how you'd handle this situation. everything is being ordered through amazon prime so i can get everything here tomorrow, and only 4hrs left to decide...so im in a time crunch!
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My opinion: If you can't wait to purchase the glass until you have more details, then look to the Canon 24-70. This is probably the most widely used focal length of any by serious photographers, and you will never regret buying quality glass.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Wow, that's so much better than all the post just asking 'what camera should I get?'

    I agree with your getting the 50D rather than the 40D. You may not want/need the upgrades right now, but it's not going to hurt you and it's probably better to have the option.

    As for lenses...I'm really torn about the 24-70mm F 2.8 L. Many people consider it a fantastic lens and it's a workhorse for many professionals. That being said, I know a couple very picky pros who have had trouble finding a 24-70mm that is actually as sharp as it's supposed to be. On a crop body, I personally find it a weird focal range. 24mm just isn't wide enough and 70mm can be covered by a 70-200mm lens. Another option is the EF 24-105 F4 L IS.

    So, for general shooting, I would really recommend something more along the lines of 17-50mm. There are several good options here. The EF 16-35mm F2.8 L, the EF 17-40mm F4L, the EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS and then the F2.8 lenses from either Tamron or Sigma. The two L lenses are both great, and would be compatible with full frame, should you go there in the future. But the EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS does have the image quality that is on par with the L lenses. Most crop body wedding shooters that I know, absolutely love this lens for it's image quality (but you have to baby the IS system).

    I have the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 that you mentioned. It's a great lens, especially for the price. I don't think it's quite as good as the Canon lenses I mentioned, but at half the price (or less) than the 17-55mm F2.8 IS, it's a great deal.

    Now for a telephoto. I'm leary about recommending the 70-200mm F4. By all accounts, it's a great lens. One of the sharpest zoom lenses that you will ever find. But before long, you will wish that you had bought the F2.8 version, or the IS version...or the F2.8 IS version. This is one big reason why I bit the bullet and went with the big daddy, 70-200mm F2.8 L IS. It was expensive, but I'll always know that I got the best one, and I won't have to wonder if I could have done better, if only I hadn't cheaped out.
    I'm not sure if you can swing it, but I would recommend considering it. Although, having said that, the great ISO performance of the 50D can easily make up for the loss of one stop of light....but the shallow DOF from the F2.8 is pretty sweet.
    And just to confuse the issue a little more, Sigma and Tamron also make 70-200mm F2.8 lenses that are pretty good. Not L good...but still good and a fair bit cheaper.
    I will say that you will probably find that you end up using your 70-200mm most often for shooting models. I know that I do, and many other photographers find the same thing.

    So here is my proposed recommendation:
    Tamron 17-50mm F2.8
    Canon 50mm F1.4
    Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L IS (or F4 L IS)

    If you do someday move up to full frame, you can just give your Tamron to your girlfriend or sell it etc.
     
  4. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    thank you both for your replies.

    the 24-70mm i was looking at based more on that seems to be every one elses go to lens. it may very well turn out, at least for some time, that it wont be my go to lens. the quality control issues i've been made aware of as well in several customer reviews on amazon, b&h, etc...so it did concern me a bit to spend that much and end up with a bad copy.

    bigmike: i appreciate your explanation greatly.

    i agree about the camera choice. even though its not something i need now, or see myself using ever (hdmi port)...who knows what i will say a year from now? it may be something i end up using all the time. especially since this is a body purchase i dont see upgrading for a long time....or at least no plans to.

    the 16-35, 17-40, and ef-s 17-55 i've looked at as well. the 16-35 i thought may be too wide for what i'd be using it for, but i may be wrong. the 17-55 ef-s seemed perfect, and all the reviews say its 'L' quality and one of the most perfect lenses you will ever find for a cropped body sensor. i dont know why, but i feel a bit apprehensive even with all the great reviews about spending $1000 on a non-L labeled lens.

    the tamron 17-50 seems like a good compromise right now based on price and focal point. i found myself the other day having to use the kit lens at 18mm to get a group portrait. neither of my other two lenses were wide enough. i agree that i can always give it to my girlfriend later, or sell it to someone else perhaps.

    another point for the tamron... the 16-35, 17-40, and 24-70 all appear to be out of stock. so my only two choices left are the $450 tamron or the $976 (over $1k by time i add the lens hood) ef-s 17-55.

    i do want to add a battery grip, extra battery, two 8gb extreme iii cf cards, and a more solid tripod than what i have now to the mix. i guess i should have mentioned my budget earlier of $2500. so with the camera and lens being $1k each...that leaves little room.

    thanks also for the note about the f4L vs f2.8L 70-200mm. another point for the 2.8 is that i shoot dog shows (my gf shows bulldogs) and those are indoors a lot. the 70-200 2.8 would be a good go-to lens for that as well.

    i think with your nod to the tamron, albeit not being as good as the canon's, i will go with that for now as its use at this point in time is a bit limited for my personal use, and then save for the 70-200 2.8! i think the tamron's quality will be sharp enough for its intended purpose.

    the camera body has already been ordered since i posted, and im putting together the rest now. looks like i'll have room for a speedlight, but i'll save that for another time here soon. can only learn but so much at a time! :)

    thanks again for your insight. i guess my mind was already made up, i just needed to talk it out and hear someone else say it too!

    will definitely look forward to the 70-200mm 2.8 as well!
     
  5. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    for those that responded and were curious, the final purchase list in the end was:

    Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP ZL Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
    SanDisk 8 GB Extreme III CF Card SDCFX3-008G-A31 (Retail Package)
    Sigma EX DG 67mm Multi-Coated UV Filter (sigma filter on a tamron lens..should be interesting! *grin*)
    Canon BP511A 1390mAh Lithium Ion Battery Pack
    Canon BG-E2N Battery Grip for Canon 20D, 30D, 40D & 50D Digital SLR Cameras
    Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head

    ...and:
    Canon EOS 50D DIGITAL CAMERA

    the 70-200mm 2.8L IS will be next on the agenda of things to get. i guess depending on how good the tamron ends up being i'll then look at replacing it with the 17-40L or getting the 24-70L as originally planned. :)

    thanks again for the input!
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    70-200, so much better than the 24-70 for models if you have room.
     
  7. BAmereihn

    BAmereihn TPF Noob!

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    how is the dolica tripod working out?
     

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