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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: EricPeeg on October 19, 2012, 04:51:50 PM

Title: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: EricPeeg on October 19, 2012, 04:51:50 PM
So, I'm a long-time lurker here on the forums. This is my first post, because I need the collective wisdom of the folks here. Here's the scenario:

A year ago, I returned to photography after several years away from it (long story), and decided it was time to make the move from film to digital. I sold all of my Pentax 645N gear and lenses, and picked up a 5D Mk II and several lenses. I knew at the time that I wasn't buying my "final" gear, but then, when is that ever true...   :D Anyhow, in the past year, I've returned to the field to find an old passion rekindled - primarily in landscape/outdoor/architecture sorts of area. Obviously this means some low light/golden light photography; however, I do have a tripod and know how to use it, so 2.8 glass isn't perhaps required, even if I lust for it. I don't do any wedding photography, relatively little wildlife/birds, only the occasional portrait, and once in a while, a sporting event.

Now, I have an opportunity to spend a bonus. I've been very busy at work of late (it's non photographic), taking on several massive projects, working long hours etc. In what is a very flattering offer, my boss has asked me what I might like as a bonus, and we've settled on a solution - the company is prepared to buy me $8000 in photographic equipment, of my choosing. I don't expect I'll ever have this opportunity again, so I'd like to do this right the first time - hence, I come here for advice.

Here's what I have


My wife allows me to use her 70-300 4.5-5.6 IS  when I need a longer lens.

Now, here's the equipment I'm lusting after (Prices are B&H):

Here’s what I’m leaning toward:


I’d dispose of:


And would end up with:


So, here are my questions:

1.   Should I spend half my funds on the upgrade to the Mark III? The images from the Mark II are lovely, and focusing speed or extreme low light hasn’t been my issue. I do find my images at 1600 ISO seem fairly noisy, but I don’t know whether the Mark III would be substantively better, often enough.
2.   What’s the best mix of overlapping zooms? The 75-300 that my wife and I have been sharing is convenient, so in some ways just replacing that with L glass seems like a good choice – in others, I wonder about a 70-200 and 100-400 combo. Or maybe a 70-200 and a 1.4x converter...)
3.   How much use will the Tilt/Shift get, really? (I know, that’s hard to quantify an answer)
4.   If I keep the 100 Macro, which I love, will I really need the 180 macro?

Thanks for reading what got much longer than I intended, and for advice and comments!
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Random Orbits on October 19, 2012, 08:01:24 PM
Because you state that you're primarily interested in landscape/outdoor/architecture, I'd suggest staying with the 5D II for now and getting another lens or two.  The 5D III has a high ISO and AF advantages over the 5D II, which you would not take advantage of with your interests.

You're comfortable using a tripod, so the TS-E 24 II is a great choice.  If you're ok with a heavier lens, the 70-200L II is a great choice.

TS-E 17 or 24 (depending on your preferred focal length)
24-70 f/2.8 II
70-200 f/2.8 IS II
1.4x III
2x III
100L or maybe a fast prime (35 or 50mm).

If you opt for the TS-E 17, then you can sell your 17-40L.  The 70-200L II works well with extenders and can get you to 400mm with pretty good IQ.  If you're happy with the 100mm macro, keep it.  The 180L gives you longer working distance, but it's larger and heavier.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Aaron78 on October 19, 2012, 08:25:21 PM
.....or wait for the big mp body, if they will let you wait for it to be announced and launched. It might be around $9,000, and will likely be a landscape/studio shooters dream machine.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: DuncS on October 19, 2012, 09:02:37 PM
Hi there

New to forums but saw ur post... figured I would chime for what its worth

Seems to me that you should keep the 5d ii as a backup camera and get the 5d iii... therefore best of both worlds.

Sell the 3 lenses you mentioned and keep the 100mm macro... IS generally doesn't help as much as a steady tripod and a  macro rail IMHO. Also keep the 17-40mm... excellent wide angle landscape lens IMHO

Have you considered the 24-105 F4... great all round lens and sells for a fraction of the price of the 24-70... and its pretty reasonable for landscape stuff too.

Now for  long lens.... the question to ask is why exactly do you want a 70-200mm? If its for long lens work then I would go for the 100-400mm workhorse of a lens.  I have both but rarely use the 70-200 for long range stuff (I do use it primarily in wedding and event work where low light and speed are usually necessary ) but you don't mention that aspect.

I know nothing about the tilt shift so someone else can advise there.

TC's generally decrease ur IQ though I feel the mkiii's do a better job... I rarely use my 1.4

So to recap

5dmii
5dmiii
100mm L
a good rail mount for ur tripod (and a ring light as an after thought!!)
17-40mm L
24-105mm L
100-400mm L

approx $8000

Hope it helps and just my humble opinion

Dunc


Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: IIIHobbs on October 19, 2012, 09:04:56 PM
What a great opportunity you have. As you consider your future equipment, do not discount your current equipment too quickly.

From your, “what I have now” and “dispose of” lists, I suggest keeping everything except the 28-135 and 35; a second body is often useful, keep it.

From your, “lust” and “end up with” lists, the 24-70 coupled with the 5DIII makes an excellent base to build on. If you really find yourself wanting to control perspective then add a Tilt/Shift lens, otherwise, your 17-40 should suit you just fine. Rather than adding a telephoto zoom, I suggest adding the 135 f2L (keeping the 200 f2.8 as well). This will complement your mid range zoom very well and each of these lenses will give you stunning sharpness and bokeh that the f4 zoom cannot touch.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: neuroanatomist on October 19, 2012, 11:03:04 PM
If you shoot architecture, you should absolutely get the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II or the TS-E 17mm f/4L (use the 17-40mm to determine which would be the better focal length for you). 
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: PackLight on October 20, 2012, 01:07:55 AM
My thoughts

1, I would go for the Mark III for the improved AF system. That is the big jump the III offers.
2, You seem to have decided on the 24 x 70 II. I would get the 70 x 200mm f/2.8 II, it doesn't get any better. Then if I wanted more reach I would buy the converters. The f/2.8 of the 70-200mm opens allot of creative opportunity.
3, It is manual focus, I doubt most people that own it would say it gets used all of the time since it is such a specialty item. You would probably have your 24x70 mounted for general purpose and only use this lens when you needed the tilt shift. If landscape and architecture is your thing I would own it.
4, I have both macro's. They are really two different animals. The 180mm gives better bokeh and IQ. You just as well consider it a a MF lens it is so slow. It has no IS and using a tripod is the best way to use this lens. It is great for staking out flowers and bushes with the tripod. The results you get with it can be phenomenal. The 100mm is much more versatile as it can be hand held and the AF works nicely, but the IQ isn't as good as the 180mm. The minimum focus distance is further away on the 180mm so it is less intrusive to get close to insects and such, but it still needs to be on a tripod to shine at its best.

On your list the 70x200mm f/2.8 is the lens I would make a priority to get.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: EricPeeg on October 20, 2012, 10:07:58 AM
I'm extremely gratified by the responses - many, many thanks to all of you.

Some thoughts as I read the responses:

1. I think I'm leaning toward buying glass, rather than the Mark III, primarily because the Mark II has consistently given me images that I was happy with, not just satisfied with. I have been annoyed by the AF on the Mark II from time to time, but I've made do... I don't know that I'd necessarily be thinking of myself as waiting for the rumored "big MP" machine, but probably waiting either for the fall in the Mark III price, OR the "big MP" machine. Lord knows, however, that the camera lust is strong...  :)

2. Neuroanatomist, I appreciated the suggestion to consider my use of the 17-40 when thinking about the TS lenses. Considering that, I'm comfortable in saying that the 24 is the better choice for me - I rarely work all the way down into the 17 end on my current zoom.

3. PackLight, your discussion of the two macros was extremely helpful. Given your description, I think I'll deprioritize the 180, mostly because my wife and I have mostly used the 100 in handheld settings. I don't have a macro rail, haven't ever experimented with one - I'll have to take a look.

3. Based on the feedback and my own considerations, my current list looks like (I think):


There's another week or so before the bonus is completed, so I guess I'll spend some more time in the delicious torture of anticipation and uncertainty... ;D
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Zv on October 20, 2012, 10:37:48 AM
Get rid of the 28-135, 35 and 200. (Whenever no rush really now you got money). Get TS-24 or 17  depending on which will be better (see neuro's comment). Deffo get a 5D mk III and use the mk II as a back-up or second body. That will future proof u for another 4yrs at least! 24-70 II (hopefully a good copy!), 70-200 II for sure. Get the 1.4 extender III. Wait how much is that altogether?

Update - Just counted it and that's over 10k, sorry! So maybe just the 5d iii , 24-70 ii, and 70-200 ii! you can do a lot of good things with that!
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Kernuak on October 20, 2012, 12:22:11 PM
For your stated photography insterests, the MkIII doesn't offer much over the MkII, as you'd be mostly shooting at low ISO and focusing either manually or on static subjects. I upgraded because I also shoot wildlife and want low light options, so the improved AF was the key factor for me, along with the increases in useable ISO (even if fairly modest). If you decided to do more action photography, then the much improved AF would be invaluable and worth the upgrade price on its own, so that is something to consider.
I would therefore be inclined to go for good glass. I wasn't happy with the 24-105 for landscapes, as it is very soft in the corners at 24mm, although it is handy as a general purpose lens. When I was looking for something better, I considered the 24mm f/1.4 L MkII, 24mm TS/E f/3.5 L MkII and the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8. I went for the 24mm f/1.4 because I was looking for a wider aperture for Aurora photography, but as you will also be shooting architecture, I think your choice of the TS/E is the best option. While I haven't used it, the 70-200 MkII would be ideal as a longer landscape lens, due to its sharpness and with a 2x extender (especially the MkIII), it is probably just as sharp (or very close) as the 100-400, so you could save money (and overall weight) there. If the 24-70 is as good as it should be, then that is possibly worth getting for the times when you need a bit more flexibility than the TS/E gives you or if you need something a little longer. I would also budget for good quality filters, as they are vital for landscapes in my opinion and would suggest sacrificing a lens for some high quality ones if you have to.
On the subject of your 17-40, I also found it too wide for my style on full frame and recently sold mine. I might get a Zeiss 18mm one day, but it's low priority. I would like to get the 180mm macro too, but at the moment, I make do with the non-IS 100mm macro, which focuses pretty quickly and can double up as a poortrait lens (although I also have the 135mm f/2). A 50mm is also worth having in your bag for those times you need it; the f/1.4 version, while old is pretty good value and light, even if you don't use it much.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: natureshots on October 20, 2012, 12:54:20 PM
I'm extremely gratified by the responses - many, many thanks to all of you.

Some thoughts as I read the responses:

1. I think I'm leaning toward buying glass, rather than the Mark III, primarily because the Mark II has consistently given me images that I was happy with, not just satisfied with. I have been annoyed by the AF on the Mark II from time to time, but I've made do... I don't know that I'd necessarily be thinking of myself as waiting for the rumored "big MP" machine, but probably waiting either for the fall in the Mark III price, OR the "big MP" machine. Lord knows, however, that the camera lust is strong...  :)

2. Neuroanatomist, I appreciated the suggestion to consider my use of the 17-40 when thinking about the TS lenses. Considering that, I'm comfortable in saying that the 24 is the better choice for me - I rarely work all the way down into the 17 end on my current zoom.

3. PackLight, your discussion of the two macros was extremely helpful. Given your description, I think I'll deprioritize the 180, mostly because my wife and I have mostly used the 100 in handheld settings. I don't have a macro rail, haven't ever experimented with one - I'll have to take a look.

3. Based on the feedback and my own considerations, my current list looks like (I think):

  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift - $2000 - (I'm very interested in learning to correct perspective in my architecture work)
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II - $2300 - (This is a range I work in a lot. I'm appreciative of DuncS's suggestion of the 24-105. I'm unsure what to do here... there seems to be general acclaim for this lens's IQ)
  • 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II - $2130 - (I do work through this range as well - not too often needing 2.8, but I'm swayed by the general praise for the 2.8 lens's IQ)
  • 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS - $1530 - (This is my least certain choice. I think I'd go for it because my wife likes chasing birds, more than I do, and of the lenses we're working with right now, I like her 75-300 the least... but whether she'll take to the push-pull isn't clear to me.)

There's another week or so before the bonus is completed, so I guess I'll spend some more time in the delicious torture of anticipation and uncertainty... ;D

Looks like you did a really good job picking out the good advice and not so good advice. One issue is the 100-400mm.  You're a ton better off getting a 2x mkIII TC and using it with the 70-200mm II and here's why: if you're out in the woods a 70-200 and a 100-400 are going to require more bag space and the switching between a 70-200 and the 100-400 takes longer and is far more annoying in my opinion.  Less time enjoying the woods and more time fumbling with camera equipment=bad.  As far as IQ and autofocus the 70-200mm + 2xIII is a near perfect match for the 100-400mm performance except the IS is 2-stops better which will obviously come in very handy at 400mm. Pro bird photographers are not really using the 100-400mm for these reasons. Most are using the 2x and 70-200 II for their medium telephoto/backup combo. The 100-400mm is obviously cheaper but you've already spent the money one the 70-200, why not use this amazing lens?
Also, the only reason anyone should buy the 1.4x III is if they have one of the big whites for the improved AF otherwise, save the $200+ and get a 1.4x II or 1.4x kenko (I love mine!).
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: sandymandy on October 20, 2012, 01:10:55 PM
U mind gifting me the 35 f/2 ? :D Im not wealthy so i keep asking around on this forum (not always!!) and maybe i will be lucky one day :P But i also post other stuff too. Oh, and my b-day is next thursday, I just remembered! :D I will cover the shipping too  8)

p.s. mark 2 is fine too :P but more unrealistic
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: natureshots on October 20, 2012, 01:34:16 PM
Pro bird photographers are not really using the 100-400mm for these reasons.
I don't disagree with you that carrying two 3-lb lenses and switching them out is no fun.  However, Art Morris (Birds as Art) praised the 100-400's versatility.
He did but now he uses his 70-200mm IS II with a specially marked 2x TC III exclusively.  The 100-400mm is not a bad lens but if you have a lot of money or already have a 70-200 IS II its a complete waste of bag space and time. Real world experience is far more important than ISO41-2354-8712 charts.
Another thought why not get the tamron 24-70mm and get another TS lens, those seem like so much fun! My wife is going crazy about TS lenses once I showed her what they can do. I'm only half serious but damn do those lenses look like fun! Tamron seems like a decent lens too as long as you can deal with the vignetting and don't plan on reselling. I've heard the resale value drops like a stone.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: felipey on October 20, 2012, 01:36:28 PM
There are other reasons besides low light IQ and AF to get the 5D Mark III for landscapes, such as the amazing new screen. It's only slightly larger but it makes a big difference in previewing your shots out in the field because it's also much brighter and has less glare. I used to have to cover the screen with my hand all the time outdoors. Another reason is the improved weather sealing to protect your camera from unexpected conditions.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: natureshots on October 20, 2012, 01:57:53 PM
There are other reasons besides low light IQ and AF to get the 5D Mark III for landscapes, such as the amazing new screen. It's only slightly larger but it makes a big difference in previewing your shots out in the field because it's also much brighter and has less glare. I used to have to cover the screen with my hand all the time outdoors. Another reason is the improved weather sealing to protect your camera from unexpected conditions.
True, it's also $3500 and 95% of the time your fun per dollar and IQ per dollar are better spent with new glass. When reselling lenses the drop in value is pretty minor over 5 years; cameras are bricks after 5 years. Camera manufacturers know this and love people blowing money on incrementally better cameras. My theory is that they are spending part of the money they get from the megapixel/ISO race on making better glass.  Its certainly the reason canon is doing so damn well in the market despite buthurt pixel-peepers who keep on complaining about DR this and that. In the end the pixel peeper is still getting better pics because he has better glass, the camera company rakes in the dough by recycling old sensor tech and the pixel peepers have tons of stuff to complain about on internet forums.  Everybody wins!!!!
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: jhpeterson on October 20, 2012, 02:09:28 PM
So, here are my questions:

1.   Should I spend half my funds on the upgrade to the Mark III? The images from the Mark II are lovely, and focusing speed or extreme low light hasn’t been my issue. I do find my images at 1600 ISO seem fairly noisy, but I don’t know whether the Mark III would be substantively better, often enough.
2.   What’s the best mix of overlapping zooms? The 75-300 that my wife and I have been sharing is convenient, so in some ways just replacing that with L glass seems like a good choice – in others, I wonder about a 70-200 and 100-400 combo. Or maybe a 70-200 and a 1.4x converter...)
3.   How much use will the Tilt/Shift get, really? (I know, that’s hard to quantify an answer)
4.   If I keep the 100 Macro, which I love, will I really need the 180 macro?

Thanks for reading what got much longer than I intended, and for advice and comments!
I'd definitely get the 5D Mark III (keep the 5D2 as backup), the 24-70 II and the 70-200 II. That pretty much uses up all the bonus, but you now have both a top-notch body and glass. Besides, can always sell off a few items you already have to get one or two others.

I think the 24 Tilt-Shift is a fantastic lens, but unless you plan to do architecture and interior photography you'll almost never use it's functions. I'm told the new 24-70 is just as sharp as the latest 24 TS, which is saying a great deal. Of course, if you need the shifts and tilts a lot (otherwise, you are probably better off renting for the few times you'd use it), this is what I'd get next, or perhaps get the 17 TS and sell your 17-40.

There's no question I would get rid of the 28-135, as well as the 200, since your 70-200 would make the latter redundant. Perhaps, the 35 should go as well, unless you want to use this in place of the 24-70 as a walkaround lens. Put the money towards 1.4  and 2x converters for the 70-200, or a tilt shift if that's your preference.

I'd talk you out of the 100-400. It's not that bad a lens, but it's been outclassed by more recent arrivals, especially with regard to autofocus and stabilization. And, at f:5.6, it's slow for so many situations. You're just as well off with the latest 2x converter on the 70-200, and if you don't need the full 400mm, get the 1.4x and you come out a step and stop ahead. I'd get both if it was in the budget.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Kernuak on October 20, 2012, 03:49:26 PM

I think the 24 Tilt-Shift is a fantastic lens, but unless you plan to do architecture and interior photography you'll almost never use it's functions. I'm told the new 24-70 is just as sharp as the latest 24 TS, which is saying a great deal. Of course, if you need the shifts and tilts a lot (otherwise, you are probably better off renting for the few times you'd use it), this is what I'd get next, or perhaps get the 17 TS and sell your 17-40.

The OP did state that he mostly does landscapes and architecture, both of which are suited to the TS/E.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: neuroanatomist on October 20, 2012, 07:09:36 PM
Pro bird photographers are not really using the 100-400mm for these reasons.
I don't disagree with you that carrying two 3-lb lenses and switching them out is no fun.  However, Art Morris (Birds as Art) praised the 100-400's versatility.

+1

I would never carry both.  If the intent of the outing was birds/wildlife, I'd bring only the 100-400mm.  If the outing was for other purposes where I'd usually be using a shorter lens, but opportunistically want more reach (e.g., a trip with the kids to a zoo), I'd take the 70-200 II + 2x. 

One thing to consider - the collapsed 100-400 is shorter than the 70-200 II + 2x.  I use a Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW, and while either the 100-400 or 70-200 II are a perfect fit, with the 2x mounted it's too long. The 2x can fit in the side pocket (along with the 40/2.8 pancake, actually), but then to use 201-400mm you have to fiddle with mounting the TC.  So, the 100-400 wins for convenience,  IMO.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: natureshots on October 20, 2012, 07:12:01 PM

I think the 24 Tilt-Shift is a fantastic lens, but unless you plan to do architecture and interior photography you'll almost never use it's functions. I'm told the new 24-70 is just as sharp as the latest 24 TS, which is saying a great deal. Of course, if you need the shifts and tilts a lot (otherwise, you are probably better off renting for the few times you'd use it), this is what I'd get next, or perhaps get the 17 TS and sell your 17-40.

The OP did state that he mostly does landscapes and architecture, both of which are suited to the TS/E.
Not only that but the TS/Es look like so much fun! Much more fun than a new camera and cheaper. The new camera high wears off after about 1 hour or so while the TS/Es seem like they'll bring much more long lasting entertainment value. People are not reading the OP or not caring what he says and arguing about the sharpest lens for a professional or someone who spends hours looking at 100:1 magnifications at ISO-15837109486750196478 charts on a 32" 4K monitor. While that second group constitutes a good portion of the posters the OP does not seem like he belongs in that group.  He states he's not professional and seems to spend too much time working and not enough time out playing with his camera. Consequently bleeding edge sharpness is not as important. A ton of the readers (like me) and the OP (I assume) of the site come hear to get summaries of what the pixel peepers are saying but use our cameras differently: as a serious hobby. We want the best of course but we're not going to do what we see as wasting time posting stuff on the forum. We'd rather spend time outside taking pictures with the sweet gear you guys spend hours arguing about. Why am I posting in this thread? Well, I've thought about this stuff for a long time and lurked on this site but unfortunately I am very sick and can't spend much time outside so I decided to play the canonrumors.com game and flame people on the internet  :D.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: EricPeeg on October 21, 2012, 08:53:21 AM
I laughed at Natureshot's last post :) I do, in fact, spend too much time at work and too little time with the cameras! As for the "flaming"... well, I've enjoyed the give and take. And given that some of my other internet diversions include lurking (and I do mean LURKING) in some political websites, the discourse here seems positively cordial.... (well, mostly...)

I will say that I'm increasingly convinced by the 70-200/teleconverter suggestion instead of the 70-200/100-400 combo, partially because of cost savings, and partially because of how my current photographic habits play themselves out. As part of fitness resolutions, my wife and I have become disciplined about taking daily walks through our Boston neighborhoods, and so we tend to travel relatively lightly - I carry a camera/lens, and a belt pouch with several smaller lenses, and my wife carries a camera/lens. A second large lens would probably get left at home: a TC might not... (Obviously, when I go out to do more extensive and intentional landscape or architectural work, I've got a tripod and backpack with everything and the bathroom sink.)

Last thought (and not to incite an additional flame war), but Kernuak suggests I should consider filters as part of this. I'm intrigued to hear more on this, Kernuak, if you read this - what filters are you using. I have, in the past, used some graduated ND filters, and when I was a student using Tri-X and Pan-X, some red and yellow filters for the Ansel Adams-like B&W landscape effects. That said, I've also seen considerable passion expended on the "don't put any crappy filters in front of our very expensive glass" position. What filters are you using, and how do you integrate them into your work, instead of digital post-processing?

Again, many thanks to all who've commented. Oh, and feel better soon, Natureshots...
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: 7enderbender on October 21, 2012, 09:46:02 AM
First thing that comes to my mind: why would the company offer you to buy equipment instead of just giving you cash?

If that was the case I could think of a bunch of options. Having a second body is always nice. That could be a 5dIII or even a second 5DII given how cheap they are right now. Then add the tilt-shif lens of your choice and invest the rest of the money. If you're leaning towards a 5dIII I would wait until prices come down a little further.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Kernuak on October 21, 2012, 10:14:51 AM
I laughed at Natureshot's last post :) I do, in fact, spend too much time at work and too little time with the cameras! As for the "flaming"... well, I've enjoyed the give and take. And given that some of my other internet diversions include lurking (and I do mean LURKING) in some political websites, the discourse here seems positively cordial.... (well, mostly...)

I will say that I'm increasingly convinced by the 70-200/teleconverter suggestion instead of the 70-200/100-400 combo, partially because of cost savings, and partially because of how my current photographic habits play themselves out. As part of fitness resolutions, my wife and I have become disciplined about taking daily walks through our Boston neighborhoods, and so we tend to travel relatively lightly - I carry a camera/lens, and a belt pouch with several smaller lenses, and my wife carries a camera/lens. A second large lens would probably get left at home: a TC might not... (Obviously, when I go out to do more extensive and intentional landscape or architectural work, I've got a tripod and backpack with everything and the bathroom sink.)

Last thought (and not to incite an additional flame war), but Kernuak suggests I should consider filters as part of this. I'm intrigued to hear more on this, Kernuak, if you read this - what filters are you using. I have, in the past, used some graduated ND filters, and when I was a student using Tri-X and Pan-X, some red and yellow filters for the Ansel Adams-like B&W landscape effects. That said, I've also seen considerable passion expended on the "don't put any crappy filters in front of our very expensive glass" position. What filters are you using, and how do you integrate them into your work, instead of digital post-processing?

Again, many thanks to all who've commented. Oh, and feel better soon, Natureshots...
For me, anyone who is remotely enthusiatic about landscape photography should have filters. I started off with a Cokin P mount adaptor, with a set of Hi-Tech ND grad filters, plus a circular polariser for each lens. I then added a Singh-Ray reverse grad (for sunsets) and a Singh-Ray warming CPL. Hi-Tech filters are probably about the best value, no colour cast and higher quality than Cokin grads, without breaking the bank. However, when I moved to full frame, the Cokin P system wasn't really large enough for wideangle use, plus I was finding I was using the Singh-Ray reverse grad when I shouldn't, because it was higher quality than the Hi-Tech filters. I then decided to go for the Lee system (with a 9 month wait :P). Unfortunately, I can no longer easily use the reverse grad and I do miss it for sunsets. I have a set of hard grads and a 3 stop soft grad, plus a Lee square CPL and square Lee 2 stop solid ND filter. I currently also have professional grade Hoya CPL filters (one Pro-X1 77mm and a 72mm HD), but others are just as good/better. I do have a cheap Hoya 58mm CPL, for occasional use on my 50mm f/1.4 and 100mm macro, but I can of course use the Lee square CPL instead, with the adaptor for all of my lenses (well except for the 300mm f/2.8 IS).
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Kernuak on October 21, 2012, 10:21:28 AM
Btw, if you only want to get a small range of filters, then for grads, choose either a 2 and 3 stop (hard/soft, depending on the type of landscapes you shoot) or a 3 stop hard and a 3 stop soft, plus some polarising filters, either a square one to use with your filter system or one for each filter size on your lenses. Many Canon lenses have a similar filter size, which makes it easier, for example, many L lenses are 77mm (with some recent and past exceptions).
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: rocketdesigner on October 21, 2012, 11:12:27 AM
You are budgeting regular street price fir the MK III.

This can be had for much less from authorized Canon dealers if you can time your purchase. Beach just had a $2899 sale last weekend, which would save you $600 which you could free up additional funds for your purchases.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: sanj on October 21, 2012, 11:24:15 AM
Buy tilt shift last. Buy only if you sure you will use it to its full potential.

Mine is NOT used as much as I would like but students often rent it for their DSLR movie projects.

I was also away from photography (I concentrated on cinematography) and know how you feel. :)
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: PhyloGuy on October 21, 2012, 11:25:41 AM
I enjoyed reading the thoughtful responses to EricPeeg's question on how to spend a one-time windfall. EricPeeg is leaning to the following list of equipment,

   24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift
   24-70mm f/2.8L II
   70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
   100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS,

all of which are great lenses. For the most part, this list also corresponds to the philosophy I've been trying to adhere to in adding to my lens set. The idea is to cover with zooms the focal range that you are interested in. In my case, I have

   EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
   EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
   EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
   EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro

which are all zooms, except for the 100 macro. The zoom lenses cover the range from 16-200 with minimal overlap (i.e., I have overlap from 24-35) and are all fairly fast. In the future, I plan to add a few prime lenses to my set, starting with the 50 f/1.2L (so I have a really fast lens for low-light situations) and a TS-24 (which should be a hoot to shoot with).

I note that in the list EricPeeg settled on, that the 100-400 zoom telephoto is the only one with significant overlap in focal range with the other lenses. Would he be better off sticking with the 70-200 and buying a 2X extender?

It's also possible that my approach isn't sensible. However, when I first got into photography as a hobby, I was bewildered by the variety of lenses Canon offers. After getting my first L lens, I became convinced that quality glass really matters and I gave some thought to how I should prioritize my purchases.

As an aside, I really enjoy this site. I've learned a lot from reading the posts. Thanks!
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: EricPeeg on October 21, 2012, 12:52:38 PM
I will say that I'm increasingly convinced by the 70-200/teleconverter suggestion instead of the 70-200/100-400 combo...
Although I recommended the 70-200 + 100-400, I think the 70-200 + extenders makes sense.  I forgot that your wife already has a 70-300.  If your wife is like mine, she may take over your 70-200 too.  :)

You mean, perhaps, like how I have to beg to use the 100 Macro? Like that? (Yeah, I'm prepared for it. I'm betting, however, that she's going to say "it's TOO HEAVY..." and I'm going to encourage that response!  :o )
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: FOB2009 on October 21, 2012, 01:42:36 PM
I know you have a tripod, but it is nice sometimes not to have to use it for low light situations. I couldn't imagine being w/o my 35/1.4L nor my Zeiss 21/2.8. I use B+W MRC UV filters for all lenses, and for landscapes often a circ pol. You say you don't often do portraits, but I love my Zeiss 100/2.0 for portraits (and macro) -- give the Canon macro to your wife. Good luck, and have fun!
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Wrathwilde on October 21, 2012, 02:51:39 PM
First thing that comes to my mind: why would the company offer you to buy equipment instead of just giving you cash?

Probably for tax reasons, since it's his employer giving it to him, the money would be taxable. However, if the company bought $8000 of camera equipment, and decided "they didn't need it", and gave it to an employee, the employee wouldn't be liable for taxes on $8000.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: TexPhoto on October 21, 2012, 03:01:50 PM
If your income is tied to your photography, you need to have 2 bodies.  You like the 5D II, keep it. 

Your lens choices sound great.
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: jimjamesjimmy on October 21, 2012, 04:23:13 PM
go medium format
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: natureshots on October 22, 2012, 02:32:38 PM
If your income is tied to your photography, you need to have 2 bodies.  You like the 5D II, keep it. 

Your lens choices sound great.

+5000 and +15 internets to you
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: tron on October 22, 2012, 02:47:22 PM
So, here are my questions:

1.   Should I spend half my funds on the upgrade to the Mark III? The images from the Mark II are lovely, and focusing speed or extreme low light hasn’t been my issue. I do find my images at 1600 ISO seem fairly noisy, but I don’t know whether the Mark III would be substantively better, often enough.
You do not spend half of the funds considering this buy allows you to sell your 5DMkII which you couldn't otherwise

2.   What’s the best mix of overlapping zooms? The 75-300 that my wife and I have been sharing is convenient, so in some ways just replacing that with L glass seems like a good choice – in others, I wonder about a 70-200 and 100-400 combo. Or maybe a 70-200 and a 1.4x converter...)
All L choices are good: 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, 70-200 f/4L IS, 70-300 L. The last 2 are great traveler lenses.

3.   How much use will the Tilt/Shift get, really? (I know, that’s hard to quantify an answer)
IT IS A VERY GOOD CHOICE: Suitable for Architectural Photography, Landscapes. Has Very high quality.

4.   If I keep the 100 Macro, which I love, will I really need the 180 macro?
The 100 doubles as a portrait lens. Keep it. You love it!

Thanks for reading what got much longer than I intended, and for advice and comments!
Title: Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
Post by: Bosman on October 22, 2012, 10:55:24 PM
5dM3 + 70-200 2.8LII Winning!  ;D