Lens or Body


TPF Noob!
Jun 25, 2007
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New York City
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I have a 3 yr old Canon 20D with a 24-70mm 2.8 SIGMA lens. I have the opportunity to purchase a 5D body OR a CANON 24-70mm 2.8 lens.

What should I get and why?

Thanks so much.

Do you shoot professionally? Like weddings for instance.. It would be good to have a backup body...use the 5D as your main and your 20D as the backup.
The Sigma lens is not a bad lens, however it's weaknesses are rather obvious when compared to the Canon L lens.
I would be tempted to get the lens.

But then again the 20 D is quite an old body by now, and I have used the 5D with the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, not a bad combination. With a bit of RAW-processing to get rid of the chromatic abberation of that lens, it is quite a good combination. You will enjoy the true 24mm wide angle at the 5D full frame sensor.
Neither the 20D nor the Sigma lens are "bad".. in fact they are both very good even by today's standards.

Do you find anything limiting about the camera?
Do you find anything limiting about the lens?

Me personally.... I'd stick with the combo and spend the money on some nice primes. You have a fast lens when you need the convenience of a zoom. A set of primes will give you "uncompromised" image quality and even faster aperture.
get the L. The 20D is perfectly capable...

I have the 4.0 version, and it's awesome...but as soon as I can I want to invest in Canon's flagship zoom...the 70-200 2.8L. I'm positive you won't be disappointed. It's super sharp, great contrast...everything.

The focal length is also very usable on a crop camera.
I don't shoot weddings, but I do shoot an advanced amateurl level, if that's possible. I photography children as my second "job." I do get some abberation with the sigma and it just doesn't seem very sharp unless I'm doing something wrong, which is entirely possible.

I have no real problems with the 20D, I've just heard how beneficial the full frame sensor is. I look at a ton of my competitors in the area and I check the file info from a photo they took (off a blog) and of course..it's a 5D.

Also, novice question: what's the benefit of using a 50mm lens instead of a zoom?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

An OK body with a great lens will get you better results than a great body with an OK lens.

However best results come when you put a great lens on a great body.
What makes the 50mm 'better' than most zooms is that it is a prime lens. That sounds sort of redundant, but let me get there.. :) The fact that it is a prime lens (no zoom) makes it easier to manufacture well - the only moving part is the focus, no worrying about multiple pieces lining up just right without getting distortion, etc. They put the glass in the right spot, and leave it.

But when you start talking about Canon L glass, that's a whole other ballgame. :)
L glass is not a whole other ballgame.... L zooms are still inferior to L primes. Hell.. some of canon's regular consumer primes will give an L zoom a run for its money.

It is all about simplicity.. designing a group of glass lenses to zoom requires a bit of sacrifice. Some will even claim that the 70-200m f2.8 IS is slightly inferior in image quality to the 70-200 f2.8 non-IS due to the fact that the non-IS version is more simple in design ( more elements /groups).
hm, looks like all said :)
I would go with the lens as well.

But if it was me I would be tempted to add some other lenses to my arsenal as someone else suggested. If thats all you need or want though it makes it kind of simple.
Buy the Canon lens, sell the Sigma then buy another good lens... because I don't see any point of having two 24-70mm lens...

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