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Thread: Upgrade or stick to what I have for now?

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    Member Cocoajam's Avatar
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    Upgrade or stick to what I have for now?

    Hi guys, just looking for a little advice.

    I bought my 550D a year and a half ago and have done a few classes and joined a camera club. I am looking at stepping it up a little, moving on to the avid enthusiast, and am wondering about an upgrade. Currently I have only the 550D with 2 kit telephoto lenses and I bought the 50 mm fixed lens (great for portraits on my cropped sensor). I like taking abstract and people shots, along with the occasional landscape when I can get away.

    I am wondering if I should look at upgrading to a second-hand 50D if I can get it at a reasonable price, and I also want to upgrade my lenses. On both counts I was wondering if it is worth it. Also looking for a shoe-flash - would be great to be able to bounce the flash for some portraits...
    Choice, not chance, determines destiny.

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    Personally I would look upgrading your lenses/flash before the body. I doubt for portrait/landscape shots you would notice a huge difference from the 550D to the 50D...
    Cheers, Brad




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    In my opinion, in some ways it would be a backward step. Sure, 50D has better ergonomics, better build and is better overall quality, but I think you would find the photos would be no upgrade and perhaps a downgrade. Low light performance in particular would be a downgrade, as would resolution (18 to 15). There may not be much of a difference, but there is no point upgrading for littlt/no result in your photos is there?

    I just sold my 550D after 2 years, and it was an awesome bang-for-buck camera. I looked at a 7D and a 60D, but neither of them were a decent enough reason to upgrade as far as the final image they would deliver (again, ergonomics, build and also AF are definite upgrades, but sensor/processor not so), so I waited patiently until I could make the jump to full-frame. I am glad I waited, and it would be my advice to you. If your 550D is still going strong, I see no reason to upgrade to anything less than a 5D2.

    So I would recommend looking at other lenses before anything, check out a wide angle, a better telephoto, more primes etc.

    Just my 2c
    Last edited by kobeson; 06-06-2012 at 10:37am.
    Cheers, Daniel
    5D III | 35L | 85Σ| 100L | 50/1.8 | 600EX-RT | Di622 II

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    I agree with the other two guys. The biggest difference between pro's and amateurs is the quality of the lenses. Try and spring for pro lenses - fixed aperture over the full zoom plus the glass is much, much sharper. I don't really know the 550D, but I'd say if it allows full manual control then stick with it. If it doesn't, then upgrade to a camera that does. Again, the difference between a pro photographer and an amateur is that a pro takes full control over the image he/she is creating. Shooting on auto means the camera has control, not you. Likewise with lenses. For my photography, I would rather have a high quality manual focus lens than a lower quality auto focus. My essential lenses are the 35mm and 85mm PC lenses - nothing else gives that control.

    My 2c worth - YMMV

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    550D -> 50D is a sensor downgrade. The 550D already has the newer and better sensor that it shares with 60D and 7D.
    Get some good lenses. A good zoom lens is expensive (at least 2x-3x the 550D body), heavy, and not very fast (f/2.8 at best) whereas you can get very decent primes (= same or better IQ as the best zooms) for reasonable prices (300-600): Sigma 30 1.4, Canon or Sigma 50 1.4, Canon 85 1.8, Canon 100 2.0, ...

    For flashes, the Nissin 622 and 866 are a very good bang for buck.
    Last edited by patrickv; 06-06-2012 at 11:10am.

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    Thanks for all the great input so far guys. I think it just confirms a little of what I was thinking anyway, but then also gives me another quandary... if I stick to the 550D with the idea that in the future (fairly distant given current financial outlook) I upgrade to a full sensor (ahhh... we can all dream right?), should I just buy the best lenses I can afford now (ie work on cropped sensor), or should I also look at saving for ones that could be used in the future with a full-sensor body?

    Silly me for picking such a pricey hobby

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    Go for quality lenses and save up to get the best lenses you can - the EF series lenses (and the "L" models are the better ones) will fit on both full-frame and cropped bodies - the EF-S lenses will NOT fit on the full-frame bodies.
    Last edited by bushbikie; 06-06-2012 at 11:48am.
    5D MkII Gripped | EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II | EF 24-70mm f/2.8L | EF 50mm f/1.4 USM | EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro | Extender 2x II | 580EX II & 430EX II Speedlites
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocoajam View Post
    Thanks for all the great input so far guys. I think it just confirms a little of what I was thinking anyway, but then also gives me another quandary... if I stick to the 550D with the idea that in the future (fairly distant given current financial outlook) I upgrade to a full sensor (ahhh... we can all dream right?), should I just buy the best lenses I can afford now (ie work on cropped sensor), or should I also look at saving for ones that could be used in the future with a full-sensor body?

    Silly me for picking such a pricey hobby

    I owned: 550D, Canon 10-22, Sigma 30, Canon 18-55, 55-250, Canon 100L macro

    I bought: 5D3, Sigma 50.

    I sold my 550D, 18-55, 55-250 and Sigma 30. I still have the 10-22 to sell off, but my point is I spent money on EF-S lenses and have sold them when making the FF move. It's not as if any money you spend now will be wasted - granted, Canon's L lenses do hold their value better than EF-S lenses do, but you should still be able to re-coup a fair chunk back if you look after all your gear.

    My advice is, if you can afford some quality L lenses now, then yes it might be a wise investment for the long run. But if you can't afford too much right now, the EF-S lenses are great value for money and can be sold once you upgrade.

    It all boils down to how soon you think you might be able to jump to full frame, and if indeed you definitelt intend to or not - you don't HAVE to move to full frame, no need to buy into that theory. I am studying photography with a plan on making more $$ out of it, so that is why I made the move. But for a hobby, YMMV.

    I can recommend the lenses I owned highly - Canon 10-22 and Sigma 30 f1.4, they taught me a lot about photography.

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    L lenses whilst it costs a whole lot more... has better IQ generally and you won't suffer on the resale value that much. I've been through 11 lenses in the span of 2 years+. Trust me when i say this, the lens makes whole more of a difference rather than a body. If staying within the crop range, go for the lens.

    On the 7 lenses i've sold, i've prolly lost about the price of a 17-40L or more. I don't see it as a real loss as i've learnt a lot using those lenses and it all leads to my understanding today. It's a journey for me.

    But whilst that said, there are some lenses i highly recommend to pick up whilst you're still on the crop sensor, one of which is the Sigma 30 f1.4 (crop only). Amazing lens for the price and much more usable than the 50 1.8. 11-16 f2.8 tokina. Great for indoors when you need it. 17-50 f2.8 non vc Tamron or if you an shell out the extra cash 17-55 f2.8 IS. Great all round lenses. The lenses i've mentioned are optically fantastic and is close to or if not matches that of L lenses.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Jeez I wish I had more money than I have (sure I'm not alone there ).
    Lens, lens, lens, in your stated circumstance Cocoajam.
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
    Canon 80D, 60D, Canon 28-105, Sigma 150-600S.

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    Think about where your photography is going. If it is going to be a lifelong passion, consider saving up and getting high quality lenses as you progess. Lenses last your entire life (unless you damage them). Also consider if you might eventually get a full-frame sensored camera and thus avoid getting any of the EF-S lenses, as they will not work on your FF camera (they are designed specifically for crop sensors).
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Good advice from many above. Quite a lot say they are never going full frame, surround themselves with good EF-s lenses then go full frame. Me included. You don't lose a truckload of cash but you still lose and it is also a lot of mucking around. Now I have come full circle again and have both, I have a crop body as a backup. The good part is I don't need to go out buying any EF-S lenses because all my EF gear fits it.

    You already have that little voice in your head whispering full frame - trust me, once it starts it will never stop. So the choice you have is do you buy EF-s lenses and lose a bit when you eventually go full frame, or bite the bullet and buy good L glass now. The way to lose less money if you want EF-s gear is to buy second hand. The price does not fall that much so your losses would be minimal compared to buying new. You could sell for pretty close to what you buy for and it is not a bad option because it works out cheaper now. The other option of course is to buy good L glass now. For most of the photography you mention in your original post fixed aperture F4 L glass would be OK, but for candid people shots or portraits you are better off going one step further and buying wide aperture L glass, or wide aperture primes.

    Trust me, great glass is great glass on either a full frame or a crop body. I have primes that deliver stunning quality straight out of the camera on both bodies and your 550D has a better sensor than my 40D backup. You would be blown away by how good images are with better glass. Just remember that on your crop body your field of view is different and most L glass is slanted towards full frame usage. By this I mean my most used lens on the 5D2 is my 24-105, yet I find it that bit too long on the crop as a walkaround, so the 17-40 is a better fit. My Sigma 50 F1.4 prime gives me roughly the same field of view as my Sigma 85 F1.4 does on my 5D2. Get my drift with this?

    Anyway, buying good glass is an investment in your photography future and the better glass you get now the longer it will serve your needs. Buying F2.8 or wider now means you probably won't ever need or want to upgrade later, where buying F4 now may mean in a while you will lust for a wider aperture. Good luck with your decision, it is not an easy one when good gear costs so much money. Above all, don't get disheartened by it all and just enjoy your photography.
    Lloyd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocoajam View Post
    Higuys, just looking for a little advice.

    I bought my 550D a year and a half ago and have done a few classes and joined acamera club. I am looking at stepping it up a little, moving on to the avidenthusiast, and am wondering about an upgrade. Currently I have only the 550Dwith 2 kit telephoto lenses and I bought the 50 mm fixed lens (great forportraits on my cropped sensor). I like taking abstract and people shots, alongwith the occasional landscape when I can get away.

    I am wondering if I should look at upgrading to a second-hand 50D if I can getit at a reasonable price, and I also want to upgrade my lenses. On both countsI was wondering if it is worth it. Also looking for a shoe-flash - would begreat to be able to bounce the flash for some portraits...


    It appears that you are wondering about an upgrade of lenses or camera or both, without any solid reasons.

    The only solid, outcome motivated reason you provide, is for buying a Flash Unit.

    Your tag is: “Choice, not chance, determines destiny.

    It occurs to me that your present path of ‘wondering’, is wandering toward ‘chance’and not ‘choice’.


    My suggestion is that you give yourself realistic choices, by first listing what actual limitations your current kit presents to you – and be as specific, as you can.

    And then prioritize that list, on the top list what aggravates you the most.

    For example:
    Problem - My most frustrating problem I find is when I am using the 18 to 55– it is very limiting because even though it is a very sharp lens at F/8 I have found that I regularly would rather be using the lens at a larger aperture for candid portraiture and street photography.

    Question – can that be solved by increasing the ISO and still using the lens at F/8.

    Answer – no, what I meant was I want to have access to a larger F/stop across the zoom range, mainly to get a shallower DoF.

    Question – then considering as you also like Landscape Photography AND you want to better explore Shallow DoF would it be also an idea to consider a used 5D or a used 5DMkII, instead of the 50D, as the larger format intrinsically has a better disposition for Shallow DoF - and you could use the 50/1.8 and maybe buy the 35/2 for your candid and street portraiture?

    Answer – Um I don’t know, I didn’t think of those possibilities . . .

    Etc

    Sure that is a make believe conversation and might not be at all applicable to you, but the point is it has a more substantial base for a constructive and productive conversion, than a conversation of an upgrade predicted on: doing a few classes; joining a camera club and stepping it up to the avid enthusiasts level.

    What are your kit's limitations?

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 07-06-2012 at 1:47pm. Reason: correcting typos

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    havent read all the posts so i am prolly echoing whats already said wheni say upgrade the glass.

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    My thoughts are to treat it a little like a business, make a plan, an upgrade path. That is closer to your choice not chance. If for example you're looking at 5 years until full frame plan your purchases around that.

    If you're thinking of upgrading your body, make a list of how your 550d is holding you back and which bodies would be able to do what you want to do. I'm shooting with a 450d and this is holding me back with its max (albeit unusable) ISO of 1600.

    A flash can make a bad lens look good, and a good lens look great. Go with flash, learn how to use it. Then look at new lenses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
    I'm shooting with a 450d and this is holding me backwith its max (albeit unusable) ISO of 1600.
    Why is your 450D's ISO1600 'unusable'?

    Underexposure renders the noise floor higher and the result is often the conclusion is the high ISO is 'unusable': could underexpsoure be an issue?

    Certainly the 450D is pushing at ISO1600, but for non competition prints to7x5, even 10 x 8, you should be able to get good to very good quality at ISO1600.


    WW




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    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post


    could underexpsoure be an issue?
    Yes it probably could. Often with ISO 1600 I can get 'usable' images out of lightroom but the NR is pushed so hard they look like paintings.
    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post

    Certainly the 450D is pushing at ISO1600, but for non competition prints to7x5, even 10 x 8, you should be able to get good to very good quality at ISO1600.
    Shots taken and printed at these sizes may be fine, I conceed your point but I didn't buy L glass to have the end result chewed up in NR. Maybe I'm being to picky?
    1600 is fine for 'family' snaps. It should have a little red break glass alarm with Emergency Use Only on it.




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    Wow! Thanks for all the great advice guys, you have given me a lot to think about, and to be honest I guess I already knew what you guys are saying. I think I will try to get a flash, maybe pick up a used 580 Ex level or so. I hear you all about the the lenses. Although William W may have over-thought my question a little (and somehow thought it was associated with my tag line), he had some good points. Just so he knows, I have thought about it all a little bit more than my original question implied, and I don't have enough money just to choose lenses willy-nilly just because it might be "cool" or "nice". I think I might just stick to the EF or maybe a prime L lens....might have to save a little.

    Doesn't help that my husband has an expensive hobby in computers though - we're competing for funds!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocoajam View Post
    Although . . . may have over-thought my question alittle (and somehow thought it was associated with my tag line), he had somegood points. Just so he knows, I have thought about it all a little bit morethan my original question implied, and I don't have enough money just to chooselenses willy-nilly just because it might be "cool" or"nice". I think I might just stick to the EF or maybe a prime L lens....mighthave to save a little

    No, not over-thinking at all.

    It is good that you have given this a lot of thought.
    The commentary was explaining how the question occurred to me.
    The example dialogue was an introduction and to better explain why I asked and also requested an answer to the question, at the end.


    WW



    - - - Updated - - -

    @ Lantern:

    You should be as picky as you want to be.

    Also it depends what the end result is to be: Prints will show less noise than on the screen.

    Also, I think if you are pushing the NR so hard you are getting oil paintings, you are very likely underexposed: this means that the ISO ceiling on the camera, is indeed a limiting factor - which was your original point: I understand that.


    WW
    Last edited by William W; 09-06-2012 at 5:05pm.

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