First DSLR Advice

Bulb

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I've been spending a lot of time shooting with my EOS 650. It has helped me grasp the basics of composition, exposure, and everything else which has helped me go from taking snapshots to taking thoughtful photos.

As much as I love using film, I've decided to make the switch to digital for a few reasons:
  • Having film processed is costly and time-consuming
  • I don't know exactly what my shot looks like without having them processed, meaning I do a lot of bracketing (which uses up more film)
  • The ability to change ISO speeds (not to mention much better sensitivity with less 'grain', good for low light)
  • The resolution of film scans that my local drugstore can do, as well as my own scans, are much lower than images I can get from a DSLR
  • EXIF/GPS data (which otherwise I would have to manually put into my shot notes)
  • Raw

OK. So more than a few reasons. Right now I'm trying to decide which DSLR is right for me. Right now, the 6D seems to be the winner, but I'm not sure whether the 5DMKIII is worth the extra money. Here is my reasoning:
  • The 6D is $1900 without the lens, 5DMKIII is $3300; savings = $1400 (the price of a good lens)
  • The 6D is $2400 with the lens, 5DMKIII is $3900; savings = $1500 (the cost of the lens for the 5DMKIII is $100 more, despite being the same lens?)
  • It natively does GPS tagging, and it has wifi so a smartphone can be used for liveview (GPS is a gimmick for some, but a good feature for me)
  • The 6D blows the 5DMKIII out of the water at higher ISO speeds because of its much lower levels of noise
  • The extra pixels of the 5DMKIII won't matter: the 6D will already make 27"x18" prints at 200PPI
  • Its AF is rated to work in one stop darker environments
  • It weighs less

Is the 5DMKIII really worth the extra $1500? The only improvements seem to be slightly higher resolution and the ability to shoot HDR and multiple exposures in raw.


On that same note, is the EF24-105mm f4L IS USM lens worth buying as part of the kit? I've heard that it has major distortion problems. Would a set of primes or an alternate zoom lens be a better idea? (The lens is $500/$600 as part of the kit or $700 on its own)

I won't be buying a DSLR right away. I'm going to continue to study and hone my skills on film for a while whilst I save up for the DSLR. I'll still keep my 650 with me for those times when I find a shot that I like enough to have it on (probably ISO 50) film.
 

brunerww

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Hi bulb - and welcome to the world of digital photography! In my view, you're doing the right thing by saving up for full frame.

It sounds like you've pretty much decided already, but to be fair, you can get a new 5D Mark III for $2880 with a 1 yr Canon warranty from a reputable (100% positive) seller on eBay.

That said, if you need the 6D's GPS and wi-fi - and don't care as much for the 5D MkIII's extra resolution, CF card slot, extra focus points, 1/8000 sec shutter speed, headphone jack or video capability - when you're ready to buy, you can get a new 6D for $1590 with a 1 yr Canon warranty from a reputable (99.5% positive) seller on eBay.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
 

goodguy

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I think the 6D is a great camera and for a hobbiest is really a good choice.
Are you considering Canon only ?
Becuase Nikon has the D600 which is also a grand camera for the hobbiest.
 

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Don't forget,there are other brands out there.i hope you really have been doing your research properly.I've just switched from the canon 650d to the Nikon d7100 and bought myself a $2200 lens to go with it.Sold all my canon gear.They're all pretty close in performance but sooner or later you're going to need to upgrade due to software being outdated.Think hard about your choice and I hope you make the right one.Good luck and I'm looking forward to hearing what you buy.
 
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Bulb

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Hi bulb - and welcome to the world of digital photography! In my view, you're doing the right thing by saving up for full frame.

It sounds like you've pretty much decided already, but to be fair, you can get a new 5D Mark III for $2880 with a 1 yr Canon warranty from a reputable (100% positive) seller on eBay.

That said, if you need the 6D's GPS and wi-fi - and don't care as much for the 5D MkIII's extra resolution, CF card slot, extra focus points, 1/8000 sec shutter speed, headphone jack or video capability - when you're ready to buy, you can get a new 6D for $1590 with a 1 yr Canon warranty from a reputable (99.5% positive) seller on eBay.

I'll take that into consideration, but I tend to avoid ebay. The prices are only slightly cheaper and I won't have all of the documentation I would have from purchasing it directly.

I think the 6D is a great camera and for a hobbiest is really a good choice.
Are you considering Canon only ?
Becuase Nikon has the D600 which is also a grand camera for the hobbiest.

The D600 is definitely a rival for the 6D. 6D is rated for AF in lower light, and it also has much less noise at higher ISO speeds. The D600 has a headphone jack (why couldn't Canon add this?) and the ability to hold a second SD card. The D6 has built in Wi-Fi and GPS tagging. The D600 has a built in flash. I'd say they're closely matched, but the D600's advantages tend to be more beneficial for shooting video

I've considered buying the D600. Now would be the time to switch to Nikon before I have a lot of money tied up in Canon glass. Thankfully I have some time to think about it while I save up funds.

Don't forget,there are other brands out there.i hope you really have been doing your research properly.I've just switched from the canon 650d to the Nikon d7100 and bought myself a $2200 lens to go with it.Sold all my canon gear.They're all pretty close in performance but sooner or later you're going to need to upgrade due to software being outdated.Think hard about your choice and I hope you make the right one.Good luck and I'm looking forward to hearing what you buy.

I have been considering Nikon. Canon's DSLRs seem to have better image quality and ergonomics. Canon also seems to have a wider lens selection and better performance at higher ISO. Especially the full-frame cameras I've been focusing on.

Nikon isn't out of the question. I'm just leaning towards Canon at the moment because of these advantages. If someone can point me in the direction of a superior Nikon for the same price (or less than) the 6D then I'll definitely think about it.
 

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I've been spending a lot of time shooting with my EOS 650. It has helped me grasp the basics of composition, exposure, and everything else which has helped me go from taking snapshots to taking thoughtful photos.

As much as I love using film, I've decided to make the switch to digital for a few reasons:
  • Having film processed is costly and time-consuming
  • I don't know exactly what my shot looks like without having them processed, meaning I do a lot of bracketing (which uses up more film)
  • The ability to change ISO speeds (not to mention much better sensitivity with less 'grain', good for low light)
  • The resolution of film scans that my local drugstore can do, as well as my own scans, are much lower than images I can get from a DSLR
  • EXIF/GPS data (which otherwise I would have to manually put into my shot notes)
  • Raw

OK. So more than a few reasons. Right now I'm trying to decide which DSLR is right for me. Right now, the 6D seems to be the winner, but I'm not sure whether the 5DMKIII is worth the extra money. Here is my reasoning:
  • The 6D is $1900 without the lens, 5DMKIII is $3300; savings = $1400 (the price of a good lens)
  • The 6D is $2400 with the lens, 5DMKIII is $3900; savings = $1500 (the cost of the lens for the 5DMKIII is $100 more, despite being the same lens?)
  • It natively does GPS tagging, and it has wifi so a smartphone can be used for liveview (GPS is a gimmick for some, but a good feature for me)
  • The 6D blows the 5DMKIII out of the water at higher ISO speeds because of its much lower levels of noise
  • The extra pixels of the 5DMKIII won't matter: the 6D will already make 27"x18" prints at 200PPI
  • Its AF is rated to work in one stop darker environments
  • It weighs less

Is the 5DMKIII really worth the extra $1500? The only improvements seem to be slightly higher resolution and the ability to shoot HDR and multiple exposures in raw.


On that same note, is the EF24-105mm f4L IS USM lens worth buying as part of the kit? I've heard that it has major distortion problems. Would a set of primes or an alternate zoom lens be a better idea? (The lens is $500/$600 as part of the kit or $700 on its own)

I won't be buying a DSLR right away. I'm going to continue to study and hone my skills on film for a while whilst I save up for the DSLR. I'll still keep my 650 with me for those times when I find a shot that I like enough to have it on (probably ISO 50) film.


I have the 6D with the 24-105mm lens. I've used the combination a lot shooting several thousand photos. I like the camera quite a bit. I shoot museums which are dark and the 6D is excellent at high ISOs when it comes to noise handling. I don't care much for the lens. It does have barreling at wide angles and for L glass I've noticed it's not always sharp at the corners. I find it's zoom range completely inadequate. My previous gear was the 7D with a Sigma 18-250mm macro which I pine for for every time I use that Canon 24-105mm. I bought a Tamron 28-300mm but it doesn't like to focus in low light, just what I need inside dimly lit museums. :grumpy: So I find the biggest issue is a selection of lenses that equals what I had with 7D. Unfortunately the 7D gave very noisy images in low light. BTW, you will need a flash with the 6D. I chose the 320EX mainly because it's the only one that includes a video light and I like to shoot video.
 

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The D600 is definitely a rival for the 6D. 6D is rated for AF in lower light, and it also has much less noise at higher ISO speeds. The D600 has a headphone jack (why couldn't Canon add this?) and the ability to hold a second SD card. The D6 has built in Wi-Fi and GPS tagging. The D600 has a built in flash. I'd say they're closely matched, but the D600's advantages tend to be more beneficial for shooting video

I've considered buying the D600. Now would be the time to switch to Nikon before I have a lot of money tied up in Canon glass. Thankfully I have some time to think about it while I save up funds.

Both the 6D and D600 are good cameras and you cant go wrong with either.
I know many times people will say this on lots of compared stuff but I really think both these cameras are amazing and would be happy to own either.
In different reviews the D600 got the upper hand but it is true the 6D is better in low light situations but honestly the D600 is already raising the bar in this issue to places that I would be more then satisfy.

Read the reviews comparing the cameras, see what each camera has to offer and then choose which one will be your next camera.
 

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but I'm not sure whether the 5DMKIII is worth the extra money.
The answer is pretty much no. Unless you specifically NEED one of the few random features that is slightly better on the 5DMKIII (focus points are really the only thing I can imagine being a reasonable sticking point for anybody in this regard).

In fact, I am personally of the opinion that the 5DMKIII is not even $1 better than the 6D overall. It gains some features (like AF), but also loses others (like not as good low light performance). Even if they were both priced the same, it would be a tough call, and would depend on what you wanted to do with it most often. But given the ridiculous price difference, the 5DMKIII has been pretty much made obsolete, IMO.
 
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Bulb

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I have the 6D with the 24-105mm lens. I've used the combination a lot shooting several thousand photos. I like the camera quite a bit. I shoot museums which are dark and the 6D is excellent at high ISOs when it comes to noise handling. I don't care much for the lens. It does have barreling at wide angles and for L glass I've noticed it's not always sharp at the corners. I find it's zoom range completely inadequate. My previous gear was the 7D with a Sigma 18-250mm macro which I pine for for every time I use that Canon 24-105mm. I bought a Tamron 28-300mm but it doesn't like to focus in low light, just what I need inside dimly lit museums. :grumpy: So I find the biggest issue is a selection of lenses that equals what I had with 7D. Unfortunately the 7D gave very noisy images in low light. BTW, you will need a flash with the 6D. I chose the 320EX mainly because it's the only one that includes a video light and I like to shoot video.

I had heard about the distortion in the kit lens. If I decide to get the 6D then I may buy it without the lens. It doesn't get enough praise for what is supposed to be a luxury lens.

Both the 6D and D600 are good cameras and you cant go wrong with either.
I know many times people will say this on lots of compared stuff but I really think both these cameras are amazing and would be happy to own either.
In different reviews the D600 got the upper hand but it is true the 6D is better in low light situations but honestly the D600 is already raising the bar in this issue to places that I would be more then satisfy.

Read the reviews comparing the cameras, see what each camera has to offer and then choose which one will be your next camera.

That's really the toughest part of equipment selection. It's easy to pick when one product is much better than the other, or if the prices are vastly different. The 6D and D600 are so evenly matched in my mind that it really comes down to whether I prefer Canon or Nikon's lens selection.

but I'm not sure whether the 5DMKIII is worth the extra money.
The answer is pretty much no. Unless you specifically NEED one of the few random features that is slightly better on the 5DMKIII (focus points are really the only thing I can imagine being a reasonable sticking point for anybody in this regard).

In fact, I am personally of the opinion that the 5DMKIII is not even $1 better than the 6D overall. It gains some features (like AF), but also loses others (like not as good low light performance). Even if they were both priced the same, it would be a tough call, and would depend on what you wanted to do with it most often. But given the ridiculous price difference, the 5DMKIII has been pretty much made obsolete, IMO.

The AF points aren't an important feature to me. Really, how many do you need?

Thanks for the input. I've pretty much ruled out the 5DMKIII. It's not worth the extra money which could be spent on a better lens.

I am still considering the D600, though. They're pretty evenly matched it seems.
 
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Bulb

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Just a quick update for anyone making the same decision as I am:

Today I stopped by Best Buy and spent a bit of time testing out the full-frame DSLR that they sell. Here's a few things I noticed that aren't apparent from reading the specs.

Canon 6D (with Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM):
  • The best button layout. Almost every button is on the right side.
  • Noticeably lighter than the others.
  • Feels very comfortable in my hands.
  • By far, quietest shutter in silent mode

Canon 5D3 (with Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM):
  • Much heftier. You can feel the build quality, but it is heavy.
  • Still pretty comfortable to hold, despite the weight
  • There are buttons that do more than one thing. Important things that I would like to have done quickly like ISO, WB, metering, shooting mode, etc. Controls weren't intuitive enough for me to even figure out which button I could use to access the secondary function. It may sound like I'm making a big deal out of this, but I'm someone who expects that professional equipment would NOT obfuscate the use of some of its most-used controls.

Nikon D600 (Not sure of lens):
  • Felt very uncomfortable in my hand. The grip was not very ergonomic.
  • Had a second mode ring for special shooting modes (Continuous shooting, quiet mode, etc.) which was actually pretty useful
  • Speedy auto-focus, nearly on-par with the 5D3 (may have just been the lens which was a wide-normal zoom)
  • Button layout was not very logical (but I'm more accustomed to Canon, so take this with a grain of salt)
  • I didn't get oil on the sensor! Not even once!

Nikon D800 (Not sure of lens):
  • More comfortable than the D600, but not on par with the Canons
  • No mode wheel. Why? I don't know. All it has is a mode button and a small LCD screen icon that says what mode it's in. My EOS 650 (a 1987 camera) has the same thing, but the mode symbols are more readable. I kid you not. It looks better on a camera from 1987.
  • Auto-focus seems to be very quick. It surpasses the 5D3.(may have just been the lens which was a wide-normal zoom)
  • Button layout was not very logical (but I'm more accustomed to Canon, so take this with a grain of salt)

Of course, these are just my first impressions from testing each one out for 10-15 minutes. I have not used any of these extensively so you may want to get the opinion of someone who has used this camera a lot before you decide which one is the winner.
 

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I noticed you said you weren't in as big hurry to make a purchase. I don't know how important having a full frame camera is to you. As I have discovered and I think you are beginning to suspect, the lens selection for full frame is limited compared to APSC cameras. Canon is rumored to be coming out with a 7D Mk II sometime within the next several months. If it has the low noise handling capabilities of the 6D then that would be ideal. APSC size cameras have an enormous selection of lenses.
 

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Is Maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 important to you? 5D is 1/8000 while 1/4000 in 6D. Just in case you need to shoot at 1/8000 often. (flash x-sync speed are a little faster in 5D as well, 1/200 vs 1/180)

D800 is 1/8000 for max shutter speed and 1/250 for x-sync speed.
 

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Is Maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 important to you? 5D is 1/8000 while 1/4000 in 6D. Just in case you need to shoot at 1/8000 often. (flash x-sync speed are a little faster in 5D as well, 1/200 vs 1/180)

D800 is 1/8000 for max shutter speed and 1/250 for x-sync speed.

I don't know if the d800 is the same with the d300/700/7000 but if it is- you can get away with 1/320 depending on your triggers.
 
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Bulb

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I noticed you said you weren't in as big hurry to make a purchase. I don't know how important having a full frame camera is to you. As I have discovered and I think you are beginning to suspect, the lens selection for full frame is limited compared to APSC cameras. Canon is rumored to be coming out with a 7D Mk II sometime within the next several months. If it has the low noise handling capabilities of the 6D then that would be ideal. APSC size cameras have an enormous selection of lenses.

I would enjoy having the image quality of a full frame. I'm not sure if an APSC, even a newer one, would be able to deliver the same noise handling.

The lens selection is more limited, but I would like to buy lenses which are still compatible with my EOS 650. If I see an image that I really like then I would like to capture it on ISO 100 film as well as digital. Switching back and forth with the crop factor to take into account would just add another layer of complexity.

It would also mean that my SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 (which I like more for its character than its image quality) would become a telephoto. Which is OK in itself, but I use it more as an up close an personal lens for taking pictures of interesting objects.

Is Maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 important to you? 5D is 1/8000 while 1/4000 in 6D. Just in case you need to shoot at 1/8000 often. (flash x-sync speed are a little faster in 5D as well, 1/200 vs 1/180)

D800 is 1/8000 for max shutter speed and 1/250 for x-sync speed.

I just can't think of a reason to have a shutter speed that quick. My EOS 650 maxes out its shutter speed at 1/2000 and it only hits that point when I use a film that's too fast for what I'm shooting. I don't shoot a lot of fast action, but am I incorrect in assuming that 1/4000 is enough to freeze just about any action anyway?

Is Maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 important to you? 5D is 1/8000 while 1/4000 in 6D. Just in case you need to shoot at 1/8000 often. (flash x-sync speed are a little faster in 5D as well, 1/200 vs 1/180)

D800 is 1/8000 for max shutter speed and 1/250 for x-sync speed.

I don't know if the d800 is the same with the d300/700/7000 but if it is- you can get away with 1/320 depending on your triggers.

I don't really shoot with a flash. To be honest, I don't even have a flash yet. I may be speaking from inexperience, but even 1/180 vs 1/250 doesn't seem to be a major difference.

I did a quick search just now and it seems that it's possible to pull the 6D to 1/250 sync speed if certain triggers are used as well. I can't think of any situations where I would need a flash quicker than that.
 

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For a variety of technical reasons that I don't claim to understand but I'm sure many folks here are very knowledgeable about, top quality photos are difficult to obtain on digital cameras with lenses meant for film cameras. So if you are thinking about using your old film camera lenses with a new digital camera you may be disappointed. Lenses designed for digital cameras are much preferred. Regarding freezing action, I often shoot handheld 1000mm lenses at wildlife (Sigma 50-500mm and Sigma 150-500mm with a Sigma doubler). Typically a shutter speed of 2000 is adequate however the lens has an excellent stabilizer. Shutter speed of 1000 is used for 500mm shots.
 

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