Age Old Question.. Glass or Body.

KaraElizabeth

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Okay guys. Another one of my noob questions. I want to make a few mistakes as possible in this photography journey. That's one of my faults...perfectionism. I have a Canon Rebel T3i, 50mm 1.8 and an 85mm 1.8. I shoot primarily portraits and want to go into portraiture and perhaps check out wedding photography to see if that's my type of thing.
The question is, do I make the jump to full frame... Or do I purchase a wide angle lens? Buyers remorse scares the crap out of me. I do not want to make decisions I will regret, especially when it comes to money! I can think of several reasons a full frame would be useful for me. I feel like although I could build a portfolio with a crop sensor, I couldn't really build a business on one. Thanks!
 

tirediron

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Given that you've got two decent FF lenses already, it wouldn't make sense to buy a APS-C wide-angle lens which leads you toward another FF lens; my suggestion would be a body, say a nice, used 5DII?
 

Juga

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I agree with John. Especially since you are also considering weddings where there are several situations where a full frame becomes very handy.
 
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KaraElizabeth

KaraElizabeth

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Given that you've got two decent FF lenses already, it wouldn't make sense to buy a APS-C wide-angle lens which leads you toward another FF lens; my suggestion would be a body, say a nice, used 5DII?

Glad to hear that, honestly I've really been wanting a FF. Couldn't I get a FF wide angle lens though, that would also work on my Rebel? Hesitant about buying used... have you had positive experiences doing so? Just nervous about how it was taken care of... shutter count... etc.
 

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Of course you can buy a wide-angle that will work on your body (go with me here, I'm trying to be an enabler! ;) ), but if you have three FF lenses, doesn't it make sense to have an FF body? As for buying used, I've never had a NEGATIVE experience, and I have bought at least $15K worth of used gear!
 

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Given that you've got two decent FF lenses already, it wouldn't make sense to buy a APS-C wide-angle lens which leads you toward another FF lens; my suggestion would be a body, say a nice, used 5DII?

Glad to hear that, honestly I've really been wanting a FF. Couldn't I get a FF wide angle lens though, that would also work on my Rebel? Hesitant about buying used... have you had positive experiences doing so? Just nervous about how it was taken care of... shutter count... etc.

The low light performance on a full frame is alone worth the investment. Also on a crop sensor your 50mm is more like 80mm and the 85 is more like 136mm. When I made the jump to full frame I noticed immediately that my 50mm became much more 'useful' in tighter spaces than when I had the T4i. I loved my T4i but I upgraded because I saw that a full frame is a much better tool for what I want to accomplish. Wedding photography can be demanding on low light performance when inside a church or at the reception etc. I have found myself recently taking pictures of my kids in VERY low light and shooting at 20000 ISO and still being able to produce a usable image. Something I definitely couldn't do using a crop sensor.
 
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KaraElizabeth

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Given that you've got two decent FF lenses already, it wouldn't make sense to buy a APS-C wide-angle lens which leads you toward another FF lens; my suggestion would be a body, say a nice, used 5DII?

Glad to hear that, honestly I've really been wanting a FF. Couldn't I get a FF wide angle lens though, that would also work on my Rebel? Hesitant about buying used... have you had positive experiences doing so? Just nervous about how it was taken care of... shutter count... etc.

The low light performance on a full frame is alone worth the investment. Also on a crop sensor your 50mm is more like 80mm and the 85 is more like 136mm. When I made the jump to full frame I noticed immediately that my 50mm became much more 'useful' in tighter spaces than when I had the T4i. I loved my T4i but I upgraded because I saw that a full frame is a much better tool for what I want to accomplish. Wedding photography can be demanding on low light performance when inside a church or at the reception etc. I have found myself recently taking pictures of my kids in VERY low light and shooting at 20000 ISO and still being able to produce a usable image.

Yes... I love low light photography. Portraits in low, dramatic lighting and astrophotography... Also, more AF points would be great. I have a hard time with having only like, what, 9 points? It's hard lining them up with my subject's eye and such.
 

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Glad to hear that, honestly I've really been wanting a FF. Couldn't I get a FF wide angle lens though, that would also work on my Rebel? Hesitant about buying used... have you had positive experiences doing so? Just nervous about how it was taken care of... shutter count... etc.

The low light performance on a full frame is alone worth the investment. Also on a crop sensor your 50mm is more like 80mm and the 85 is more like 136mm. When I made the jump to full frame I noticed immediately that my 50mm became much more 'useful' in tighter spaces than when I had the T4i. I loved my T4i but I upgraded because I saw that a full frame is a much better tool for what I want to accomplish. Wedding photography can be demanding on low light performance when inside a church or at the reception etc. I have found myself recently taking pictures of my kids in VERY low light and shooting at 20000 ISO and still being able to produce a usable image.

Yes... I love low light photography. Portraits in low, dramatic lighting and astrophotography... Also, more AF points would be great. I have a hard time with having only like, what, 9 points? It's hard lining them up with my subject's eye and such.

Put the AF on one shot, focus, then recompose. The 6D has 11 points and I usually only use the center point for shooting still subjects.
 

bratkinson

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KaraElizabeth - You neglected to indicate budget.

Regardless, if full frame is on your mind (I knew I was going full frame sooner rather than later, and did), then do it! Depending on your budget, I'd go with a 5D2 (refurb or used -see B&H and Adorama) if money is tight. If you can swing it, the 6D would be a better choice, both for low light ISO speeds and focusing improvements over the 5D2. I saved up and used my entire tax refund and more and went with the 5D3. I couldn't be happier with the 5D3.

If you're buying new, I'd also consider making it a 'kit' and go with the 24-105 f4L. While many pooh-pooh the f4 as being too slow, with my 24-105, I only had too-slow shutter speeds for church events without flash on my 60D. But the higher ISOs available on the 5D3 removed those issues. The 6D also handles high ISOs without problem as well. Why the 24-105? It's wide enough to be 'wide enough' (my 16-35 sees significantly less use since going to the 5D3) and long enough to have the extra reach when needed. As I shoot everything from church events to trains and city-scapes, the 24-105 is easily my most-used lens, being used for perhaps 80% or more of my shots.

Also, if you don't already have one, an external flash would be a major step forward in both portraiture as well as wedding photography.
 

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It's hard lining them up with my subject's eye and such.
?

If you are manually choosing them, then you don't really need more than 1. The usual usage of many AF points is for when the action is fast and furious and you want to trust the camera to pick the best AF point for you. For example, tracking a small bird in flight across the sky, it might shake around from one AF point to another every half of a second. You couldn't manually adjust for that, so you just use all AF points and automatic choosing.

If you are manually lining up AF points with specific parts of the shot, ones that the camera would have a hard time picking out itself (like one specific eye), then just use the center point and then re-angle your lens to get your desired composition, and then you only need one.

If you are working with very shallow depth of field, then you should also lean back a little bit after recomposing your shot, since you tilted the plane of focus a tiny bit behind where it was by turning. The more you turn to recompose your shot, the more you should lean back. Somewhere between about 1-4 inches. If you have a broad depth of field, don't worry about it.
 

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Gavjenks above is giving some advice to overcome the inherent inaccuracy of the focus and recompose method that Canon 5D and 5D-II shooters got pretty dependent upon. At close distances, and with very wide-aperture lenses shot at wide apertures, FOCUSING is more-complicated, and much more critical, than it is with slow-aperture lenses, or lenses shot at distances beyond 12 feet or so. AS he points out, at close distances, a discrepancy of from 1 to 4 inches is common; the EDGES of the frame are actually FARTHER away than the center of the frame is. You can test this yourself by taping 3 Post-It notes on a wall and setting your camera up on a tripod, and then using a steel tape to measure the distances to a Post-It note that lies under the Center AF bracket, and then one each, stuck on the wall out to the sides of the field of view. TRY THIS at 10 feet, and just see how far off the corners are....I have done this...it's an eye-opener. Google the article "Why Focus And Recompose Sucks".

Full-frame cameras make prime lenses more-useful indoors. Juga mentions what FF does to the 50mm lens; the effect of suddenly increased utility and overall useability of the 85mm focal length is even MORE staggering when you move to FF from APS-C and use an 85mm prime.

Please try and control the buyer's remorse fears; just BUY USED bodies...that way there's almost no cash lost if you bail out.

In the age-old question T3i body or glass? the winner is not really glass...it's a better, more-capable body.
 

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I went full frame (5D Mark I) from a T3i and picked up at 24-105 at the same time and couldn't be happier. If you want to build a business out of it, I would guess you'll want something a little more capable than what I went with. I'm generally of the opinion that you can only build a great system if you start with a great body. I'd say 5D Mark II at least, assuming you want to stay with Canon. You can find pretty good deals on Used 6D and 5DII bodies, and I wouldn't hesitate buying used. At the very least you may have to replace the shutter sooner rather than later, but it's not that expensive compared to a new camera, and once you do, it's good to go for a very long time. Another upside to the full frame bodies is that they are built to a much higher standard than the consumer models, and resist use and abuse very well.
 

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I've heard FF is a game changer especially with the stuff you're interested in shooting. I just picked up a used 5D II with 4k clicks for 1200 bucks. I do sacrifice warranty for a year but if I don't have any issues I saved myself almost a grand and if I do the money I saved should more then cover the cost of repair. Fingers crossed I don't have any issues! Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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I use an EF 28mm f/2.8 for most of my wider portrait shots and find it ideal; it's also great on a crop body as a walkaround lens (street photography etc.).

However if your budget allows you to stretch to a full-frame body, you won't regret it.
 

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