Help me spend my windfall! New Body, Lenses or other?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Beccy, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Beccy

    Beccy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hi Everyone,

    I don't post that often, more of a lurker really, but you guys always seem so knowledgable and friendly when it comes to advice that I thought I would check out your words of wisdom on my dilemma... and what a nice one it is!

    I've recently had a bit of an unexpected windfall, and while the practical side of me is saying stash the cash away in savings for a rainy day, the photographer side of me (and my husband too suprisingly!) is saying you didn't know you would get this money, spend it on something that makes you happy and makes even the rainy days fun! So I'm thinking about upgrading or expanding my photographic equipment...

    The windfall is a lovely £1750 (approx $2700 I believe), so there's a fair amount of cash to play with...

    A bit of background on my current kit and shooting habits: I own a Canon 400D with 18-55mm kit lens and a Sigma f3.5 70-300mm lens, I guess I'm what you would term an enthuiastic amateur - have a good grasp of the camera's functions, have been on numerous courses (most recently a city & guilds) and understand a good deal about photography techniques etc although I am still learning and improving with practice. I don't get a chance to shoot as often as I would like, being a full time employee for someone else! When I do shoot it tends to be mainly people (some portrait, some candid, family occasions & events etc) or detail shots. Landscapes don't inspire me greatly although the camera accompanies me on my travels and holidays...

    I also have a Canon AE-1 Program film camera with f1.8 50mm lens & a f2.8 75-200mm lens, which I occasionally use to shoot black & white film to process in my home darkroom. I also have a flash unit for this camera that I can use limitedly on my D-SLR as well but I don't tend to use it that often. I prefer using available natural light for the most part, although I had the use of a studio during my C&G course and was really impressed with the possibilities of studio work.

    So my dilemma is, what do I spend the money on... current thoughts are leaning towards upgrading the camera body - particularly I'm keen to get a full-frame sensor and a larger range of ISO to cope with low light conditions (currently limited to a very noisy 1600 on the 400D) so am leaning towards the 5D MkII although I may have to put some extra money in.

    Other thoughts are should I invest in a lens, or perhaps upgrade my bog standard tripod (although I tend to handhold most of the time anyway), buy some extras (better camera bag, perhaps a flash?), or even venture into the realms of a small studio setup?

    I've only just starting considering what to spend out on, so am completely open to suggestions. I'd really love to hear what you would do with this opportunity, or if you were in a similar situation at a point in your photography journey what did you buy that made a difference or that now you couldn't live without?
     
  2. Tighearnach

    Tighearnach TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well its hard to know what someone else should do with the money but if I had the cash I would do this (i shoot with 400d)

    Sell the 400d and lenses.

    Then Id either buy the 40 or 50D

    Canon 17-55 f/2.8
    70-200 f4 or 2.8 if u can afford.

    If you go full frame i would go for a 2nd hand 5D as you will need some cash for good glass to justify that quality body......
     
  3. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I would say that getting some nice lenses would be a good idea....but upgrading the body would be fun as well.

    As nice as full frame is, do you really need it? I'd suggest that an upgrade to something like a 50D or 7D would be a significant enough upgrade and maybe leave you some money left over for a good lens or a better tripod etc.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,331
    Likes Received:
    10,644
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Glass before body. Always. My recommendation would be to start with a better quality "everyday" lens; a 24-70 2.8, which will eat up probably half, if not more of your budget. Put the rest in the bank and keep saving 'til you've got enough for that 5D Mk II.
     
  5. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,240
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    definitely glass before body. The lenses you have are all pretty much consumer level lenses, so I would suggest upgrading the lenses. The current lenses you have are not built to work on full frame bodies, so if you decided you had to upgrade to full frame I would go with a 5D classic, and spend the rest upgrading your lenses.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,795
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well, I would suggest that since you brought it up when you said, "I'm keen to get a full-frame sensor and a larger range of ISO to cope with low light conditions", I would suggest that you look for a clean, low-actuations,used 5D, the original one. Why? Well, the casual user is probably not going to enjoy processing 20+ megapixel files, the Mark II is unfortunately a bit of a disappointment to many who had the 5D, and the Mk II really offers the same AF system and the same metering systems as the original 5D.

    When you look at the quality of the images, the 5D's 12.8 MP sensor delivers a slightly better,more acute image than the Nikon D700 or Nikon D3 at the per-pixel level. In other words, the original 5D offers "professional level" low-light and high-ISO images with relatively large pixels that do not noise-up at elevated ISO settings. AND, there will be money left over for quality lenses.

    I don't want to annoy those who think I am bashing the 5D MkII, but a number of owners of the original 5D have openly commented that they were not as thrilled with the new camera as they had hoped; it is not really a significant body upgrade,but a Mk II refresh of one of the most successful d-slr cameras of the past 10 years. I don't go with the glass before body argument,because with a FF Canon, the absolute best glass they have is much more useful indoors,and outdoors, for people photography, than on 1.6x. With a used 5D, you'd have $1,000 to $1,200 left over to buy the 35/2, 50/1.4 USM,and 85mm 1.8 and one other reasonable lens like a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 as an all-around indoor/outdoor lens with just a bit of extra cash thrown in. WIth the 5D Mark II, you have to put in cash, and have no quality lenses to go with the camera.
     
  7. cfusionpm

    cfusionpm TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yeah, if you don't go full frame, the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS is a wonderful lens. It has a more crop-friendly zoom range than the 24-70 2.8L, and has about the same quality glass (just not the same exterior build quality). I also agree with glass before body. Though, a 40D or 50D would be a significant upgrade to a 400D, and would still leave money for lenses.
     
  8. Mikedotephoto

    Mikedotephoto TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Get yourself a used 5d classic($1100), 24-105(950). Sell your rebel and kit lens and you can afford an additional lens- either a 17-40 if you want to get real wide or a 70-200f4 if you want to go long
     
  9. Beccy

    Beccy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you all for your advice, there's definitely some food for thought there.

    I definitely need to consider better glass as my current lenses are not what I would buy if I had the choice now. I made the rookie mistake of buying lenses without understanding them thoroughly enough the first time round, so if I can sell on the 400D and lenses then it will add some money into the pot to get an upgrade to the body and some decent lenses to go with it.

    As some of you mentioned, I need to consider whether I really need full frame as while it's always a nice thought perhaps I'm pinning too much on it. I'm still keen to progress to a body with better ISO capabilities as I've really found this limiting on the 400. I'm going to hop off and research some of the bodies and lenses you guys have mentioned above and check out the options. Might pop in to the camera shops later on to get a feel for them as well.

    I'm interested in recommendations of a 5d classic - my old tutor tried to drum into us that sensor size was more important than higher MP's but I must admit to getting slightly confused on the issue (I blame all the marketing that tells us higher MP is an improvement). I understand that lower MP means the pixels are larger, capture more light and are less prone to noise as the pixels don't 'bleed' into each other so to speak... but still can't seem to accept in my head that more pixels don't equal more detail, more resolution... so on a full frame sensor is the higher MP of the 5d Mk2 really an improvement?
     
  10. phocus78

    phocus78 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Congratulations on your windfall..spend wisely :)
     
  11. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Messages:
    508
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Exeter, England
    From what you said about your shooting, my personal opinion would be to get a decent home studio set up - at least a couple of strobes, and either umbrellas, softboxes or beauty dish depending on your taste.

    If you do prefer natural light, one of the newer low-end canons (e.g. 450D) would hit your wish for better low-light/high-ISO, as well as adding a few new tricks. Pair it with a fast lens (like the modern version of your 50 / f1.8)

    If it was me, I'd be tempted to spend a reasonable proportion on a trip to somewhere very photogenic!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  12. Beccy

    Beccy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have to admit, this has crossed my mind!!
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

how i spent my windfall