August 28, 2014, 07:07:31 AM

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Messages - jrista

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1
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors sell the Camera?
« on: Today at 01:37:05 AM »
How do those touting Exmor advantages demonstrate them?  They underexpose by 4-5 stops then push the shadows back up.  While there are valid reasons to do that, it's an 'advantage' that's totally useless to the vast majority of dSLR buyers.

A lot of people do just that, yes. However, I have been showing examples where underexposing was a necessity. I'm an "afternoon landscaper"...I can never get up early enough in the morning (which is really early, like 3:30am), in order to be able to drive out to the kinds of beautiful landscapes I want to photograph, but get there in time to set up and be ready to go by the time the rising sun lights the clouds afire with color.

So, I'm stuck taking my photos in the afternoon, when the setting sun washes the clouds in color. Problem is, all the mountains are to my west, same direction as the sun. Even if I keep the sun itself out of my frame, I'm still trying to photograph scenes with MASSIVE dynamic range. It isn't under-exposing if your trying to avoid clipping the highlights.

I was just out again today, trying to find some good mountains with colorful sunset clouds (largely a bust...the clouds just never got colorful). Anyway, it's always the same problem for me...every landscape has massive amounts of dynamic range. Even WITH stacking three GND filters (Lee 0.9, 0.6, and 0.3, or 3, 2, and 1 stop...that's SIX STOPS of GND filtration, and it still isn't enough!!) When you stack that much filtration, if the clouds are still bright enough, or if you have any kind of uneven horizon (usually the case with mountains), you end up with an inverse gradient to shadow...the mountains get darker and darker as they get higher.

I haven't done landscapes in a while...but nothing's changed now that I'm shooting them again with the 5D III. I'm not underexposing my shots by 4-5 stops....I'm exposing for the highlights. I always bracket, of course...but, all the problems still exist...the inverse mountain gradients when using GNDs, the massive amounts of scene DR.  These are real-world situations where I'm encountering too much DR for Canon sensors to handle, and it's proving to be a hell of a lot of work to merge an HDR that doesn't have posterization problems around the bright areas, doesn't have motion ghosting problems around wind-blown grass and trees, etc.

With two more stops of sensor DR, or to be more specific...with two more stops of shadow-lifting ability, with a sensor that has read noise in the deep shadows that has a nice random appearance without any banding of any kind, I could probably get away with my GND filters, some hefty shadow lifting, and one single shot...instead of bracketing 5, 7, 9 shots and having to deal with some frustrating HDR mergers. Things aren't quite as bad when I'm west facing east at sunset, or east facing west at sunrise...however, even in those circumstances, many of my older shots, taking with my 450D and 7D, still have problems with detail in the shadows...those cameras still have 11 stops or less of DR. Having two extra stops would have meant I could pull out much cleaner, more colorful detail from the shadows.

I'd really be curious to know, how many people run into the same situation? I've been spending a lot of time browsing through landscapes at 500px. There are a LOT of people who photograph landscapes. I think landscapes might be 500px's largest category.

2
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: Today at 01:22:02 AM »
Quote
The 5D III can be used for landscapes. It's just a lot more work to clean up each image in post than I had expected it to be. Based on the raving reviews and everyone who said the 5D III noise was much better, I expected the 5D III low ISO noise to be a lot better than it is. Even a +3 stop shadow recovery is actually asking a bit much of the 5D III...you still get vertical banding when you do that, and the 5D III banding does not seem to clean up as well as the 7D did. I put off landscapes for a while, as I did not like dealing with the shadows on the 7D at ISO 100 (and, because the frame size in the 7D is just not large enough for the kinds of landscapes I like to do.) Now that I have the 5D III, it's still not capable of doing quite what I want to do...so I'm considering buying a D810 and a 14-24mm f/2.8.

If the 5D III is not cleaning up as well as your 7D, there is something very wrong with your 5D III, or there's a setting off in your software. I use Lightroom for processing, and with the most recent version, the difference between Canon FF and 7D detail recovery is massive.

Although I will say the shadow recovery on my 6D is quite good. Maybe not Nikon/Sony level, but certainly superior to APS-C.

The problem isn't noise in general. The 5D III photon shot noise cleans up VERY well, much better than my 7D. The noise I was referring to was the read noise. I knew it, theoretically, that it was worse on the 5D III...35e- vs. 8e- on the 7D. I was just surprised at how bad it really was. The 7D has vertical banding when lifted, but it was never quite so, intrusive, as with the 5D III. The 7D's banding was also VERY patterned, every eight pixel columns...so cleaning it up with Topaz DeNoise 5 was a lot more successful. The 5D III's banding has actually proven to be pretty difficult to clean up with DeNoise...and it does not seem to be very consistent...the banding changes a bit from frame to frame...as if it is a mix of fixed and semi-random patterns.

Anyway, lifting deep shadows out of the 7D was better, although cleaning up poisson noise was harder. Cleaning up poisson noise with the 5D III is easier, however it's ISO 100 and 200 read noise in the deep shadows is really, truly hideous.

Quote
I could wait for Canon to do something with the 5D IV...but, I don't really think they will. I think the 5D IV will arrive with the same old kind of read noise, they will still be losing two stops of dynamic range...and I don't think it's worth waiting any longer.

Yeah, I think it's clear Canon is going to sit tight with their conservative designs. More and more they are becoming like Toyota, competent and comfortable, but living off their peak of 2001-2005.

That would be a really sad outcome. Toyota is another example of a phenomenal company that has lost their edge, and isn't fairing as well in the modern environment. They used to make flawless cars, and were cranking out new car models faster than anyone. Now, they have had recalls recently, and their newer car designs aren't all that great.

I really hope Canon doesn't become another relic in a museum of companies that failed to compete, or worse, failed outright because they weren't competitive enough when and where it mattered. (I know that there is no market evidence yet to show a shift...however, I was looking around, and the last concrete DSLR market details we have are from 2010. We have a little bit from 2011 and 2012, but there is no real concrete, detailed, full market analysis from 2012 or 2013...so we really don't know how the fundamentals of the market, specifically the DSLR market, have fared since the introductions of the 5D III, D800, 1D X, etc.)

3
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 27, 2014, 01:15:30 PM »
The thing your missing is that detail buried in "shadow" isn't the problem. It's detail buried in READ NOISE that's the problem. "Shadows" extend for hundreds to thousands of levels...read noise usually only intrudes a dozen or so levels into the deepest of shadows. It's those very deep shadows that mark the difference between a Canon sensor and an Exmor.

The image you edited is more along the lines of this:

Your Nikon example is also more along those lines. Your sunflower shot with all the color noise is pitch black before being pushed. The bedroom scene, night scene, and sunflower shot without all the color noise are not pitch black. You can see some shadow detail in all of them.

Honest questions...not trying to pick a fight after the last thread...what RAW converter are you using on the sunflowers? What NR settings did you set in the converter itself (not in post)? Are you willing to provide the "pitch black" RAW file for others to try their hand at?

The Nikon image has pitch black shadows. It's the back sides of the bed, the back side of the desk, and the back side of the curtain. It was over a +5 stop lift, according to the guy who made the images.

As for my file, have at it:

http://1drv.ms/1vmTXXq

4
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 27, 2014, 12:10:09 AM »
@jrista: Spending hours in post sounds downright painful. If high dynamic range landscapes were my bread and butter, but my loyalty was to Canon, I'd be frustrated, too. Perhaps a good ND grad filter might be preferable to hours of post between now and when you either pick up a D800/810 or Canon unveils a comparable alternative?

Also, on the sunflowers -- one thing I've always loved about them at sunset is how because the petals aren't opaque, they glow when back-lit. Just my taste, but I would probably leave them in shadow enough that the petals that glow have contrast to those that are in shadow. That might give more overall contrast to the scene and help it feel more realistic. Just a thought. Glad to see you're out shooting...

I actually have a full set of ND Grads and the Lee filter system. I ended up with only my soft grads the day I took the sunflower shots, and only one weak hard grad (I'm not really sure where all my hard grads are...I've been doing landscapes so seldom lately, they could be anywhere). I don't like the way soft grads darken the background part of the foreground when used with harsh brightness transitions, and the 0.3 Hard GND was simply not enough to be worth hassling with the filter system. So I went with HDR instead (which is still not perfect itself, with so much DR in a scene, and a glaringly bright sun, it's difficult not to encounter problems with posterization and improper blending.)

The images I shared a while back were just quick and dirty preliminary edits...I've edited several more much more extensively now, and I've tweaked the contrast to do just that...allow the sunlight shining through some of the petals to show.

5
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 04:42:49 PM »
and that means the split pixels it does not improve the file quality.

That's not what he was getting at. He's saying (I believe) they already have a finer process, and citing DPAF as proof, even though they currently are using it for something other than IQ.

Well, to be fair, he is still speculating about the 70D being made with a 180nm process. The 70D has only a few extra gates to handle the ability to read the two separate photodiodes in each pixel separately, as well as to bin them for a full pixel read. There isn't even a 10% increase in pixel FWC...if they had moved to 180nm, that means the border of wiring and transistors around each pixel would shrink by 320nm each side. That would lead to an increase in photodiode area of nearly 43%. Even assuming the independent read and binning logic takes up more space, I would still have expected more than a 9% increase in FWC if the 70D had moved to a 180nm process.
If they had done DPAF on the 500nM process, I would have expected the FWC to have dropped... yet, as you point out, it has slightly gone up...

of course, all this is speculation..... I have no inside information and am just guessing at a possible scenario....

I think it depends on whether they could fit all teh transistors in that 500nm border around the photodiodes or not. If there was room in that space not dedicated to photodiode area, then it's possible.

I wonder if they moved to some intermediary process first...320nm, 250nm?

6
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 04:33:02 PM »
and that means the split pixels it does not improve the file quality.

That's not what he was getting at. He's saying (I believe) they already have a finer process, and citing DPAF as proof, even though they currently are using it for something other than IQ.

Well, to be fair, he is still speculating about the 70D being made with a 180nm process. The 70D has only a few extra gates to handle the ability to read the two separate photodiodes in each pixel separately, as well as to bin them for a full pixel read. There isn't even a 10% increase in pixel FWC...if they had moved to 180nm, that means the border of wiring and transistors around each pixel would shrink by 320nm each side. That would lead to an increase in photodiode area of nearly 43%. Even assuming the independent read and binning logic takes up more space, I would still have expected more than a 9% increase in FWC if the 70D had moved to a 180nm process.

7
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 26, 2014, 03:23:30 PM »
For those who addressed my question on on-sensor ADC, thanks. Concerning heat dissipation, why not a Peltier unit affixed to the sensor assembly?

Sth. around 3 Amps @ 5 Volts means 15 Watts of power consumption for the peltier element* + a fan to remove heat from the hot side of the peltier element.

A LP-E6 (if 1800 mAh and 7.6 Volts are correct) would run the peltier element for nearly 1 hour without the camera!

Sorry, but that is the cruel thing with physics ...

* added later for better readability

FWIW, several of my scientific cameras use Peltier cooling in sealed units.  This Peltier-cooled Zeiss camera draws 5 W max (via a FireWire bus).



Aye, peltiers do not need to draw a lot of power. Most astro CCD cameras are cooled, and they are designed to be pretty energy efficient. Most have a fan, but not all. The peltiers used in these kinds of cameras, however, are usually quite small. Heat production in a peltier grows exponentially with area. I have a bunch of 40x40mm peltiers sitting around, ranging from 65W to over 100W. These suckers draw a LOT of power, however, they are generally much too large to directly cool a sensor. When the sensor is about the size of a fingernail or smaller, you can get away with a very tiny peltier that can draw less than 10W. You can also go with a dual stage peltier cooler, which uses a very small peltier attached to the sensor assembly, and a larger one attached to that. The cooling is much greater, however the power usage is still no higher than, and can be lower than, a single large peltier.

8
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 03:20:08 PM »
Why is a cooperation like Canon not making a new sensor fabrication?

A new CMOS production line worth at least twenty million dollars. Without enough motivation, a old school cooperation is very unlikely to spend this kind of money on things like that. Therefore, the company decided to work the engineers' buds off to push the limit for the old 500nm sensor because it is cheaper.

The best reason that I can think of as to why they are not buying a new CMOS production line is because with the downturn in P/S camera sales, production capacity is opening up on their existing production line for small sensors, which is a finer line than that used for FF and APS-C (Non DPAF) sensors.

The second point to make is that the complexity of circuitry required to make a DPAF 70D sensor is beyond that which can be fabricated on the 500nM line... therefore, it must be fabricated on something else and that means the existing fabrication line for P/S sensors.... This means that they are now in the process of switching over to a finer line and when that is done, they can shut down the 500nM line and save money..... because it costs more to keep 2 lines running than 1 line.

I think this is probably the most reasonable line of reasoning as to why Canon hasn't moved to a finer fabrication process. It's very logical and simple. Let's just hope they wind down P&D production quickly, so their next DSLR cameras can start putting a finer lithography to use.

9
Landscape / Re: Beautiful sunsets
« on: August 26, 2014, 01:14:19 PM »
I have sunflowers right outside my office.

In very rough terms, this is how I think your image should look, compared to yours.  I didn't mess with the sky or colors, just the tonality.



I agree that my image should probably have a slightly darker foreground, but I do think that your version is much too dark in the shadows. I like to replicate what I see, and what I saw wasn't so contrasty. I think contrast is often largely a matter of taste, so I understand not everyone will like every photo. I'm working on some other HDR photos from this same field...when I'm done with them, I'll touch up this one, and share them all.

10
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 01:01:49 PM »
jrista,
Have you considered a 6D?  For the type of photography posted it would be an upgrade from the 5D3... Though maybe Canon will announce a new alternative at Photokina this year.

I have, but the majority of my photography is birds and wildlife. That's all high ISO, high frame rate, heavy AF based work, and the 5D III is a much, much better camera for that than the 6D. The frame rate of the 5D III is actually a bit slow...I could really use the 8fps of the 7D combined with all the 5D III features and larger frame.

The 5D III can be used for landscapes. It's just a lot more work to clean up each image in post than I had expected it to be. Based on the raving reviews and everyone who said the 5D III noise was much better, I expected the 5D III low ISO noise to be a lot better than it is. Even a +3 stop shadow recovery is actually asking a bit much of the 5D III...you still get vertical banding when you do that, and the 5D III banding does not seem to clean up as well as the 7D did. I put off landscapes for a while, as I did not like dealing with the shadows on the 7D at ISO 100 (and, because the frame size in the 7D is just not large enough for the kinds of landscapes I like to do.) Now that I have the 5D III, it's still not capable of doing quite what I want to do...so I'm considering buying a D810 and a 14-24mm f/2.8.

I could wait for Canon to do something with the 5D IV...but, I don't really think they will. I think the 5D IV will arrive with the same old kind of read noise, they will still be losing two stops of dynamic range...and I don't think it's worth waiting any longer.

11
Landscape / Re: Beautiful sunsets
« on: August 26, 2014, 12:49:17 PM »
@Jack and Lee Jay: You guys should go stand out in a sunflower field some time, and tell me how bright the foreground looks compared to the sky and sun. The sunflowers, despite facing away from the sun, don't look dark and deeply shaded...they are much brighter. I may have them just a little too bright in this photo...but I think you guys are looking for a photo that is not actually representative of reality when you ask for the foreground to be so much darker.

I remember the shading of the foreground...there were no deep black shadows at all...the ground underneath the flowers was clearly visible. There were no very dark shadows underneath the upper leaves, etc. The only real major difference here is that the sky to my eyes was not nearly as colorful. It was more washed out in reality, however I prefer the more colorful version I have in my photos.

Anyway, I don't expect everyone to like these photos. I haven't finished processing them yet...I have about half a dozen and I have to do HDR on all of them. I'll post them all when I'm done, as I'd like to hear your thoughts. However I think you should try to photograph sunflowers into a sunset sometime, and let me know what you think. You might be surprised at what your eyes see vs. what the camera sees. ;)

12
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 03:09:52 AM »
Here is how I see it these days. The camera is a tool. That's all it is. Some people will say, it's 99% the photographer, 1% the camera. I personally don't believe that. The photographer can't do anything without a camera. Similarly, a better camera in the hands of a skilled photographer will free that photographer from potential limitations, giving them the ability to create better photography.

So here is how I look at it. Is the camera you have now limiting you in some way? If so, you might want to figure out which camera out there will free you from those limitations. Are you limited by the AF system? Canon currently has the best on the market, and the 7D II might be coming with an even better one than the 5D III and 1D X have. Are you limited by the sensor? Canon sensors are good, and at high ISO it generally doesn't matter who's sensor your using, but if you need the best low ISO IQ, then Sony sensors are better. Are the lenses you have resolving the kind of detail you expect? Entry-level kit lenses only take you so far. Upgrading to any L-series Canon prime, and most of their longer zoom lenses, will give you some of the best IQ on the planet. For wide angle zoom lenses, you might want to look to Sigma, or if you need that low ISO DR, a Nikon D800/810/600 and their ultra wide angle zooms will serve you best.

Pick the tool that will eliminate the thing that is limiting you, that is preventing you from progressing and improving the quality of your work. If you don't know what's limiting you, then your probably not limited. Stick with what you have, and keep pushing the envelope until you know without question that something with your current kit is holding you back.

That's always been my approach. I started with a 450D, the 18-55 kit, and a 100mm macro. I first "graduated" to a 16-35mm L II for landscapes. Then I "graduated" again to a 100-400mm L and 7D for birds and wildlife. I then made a quantum leap to the EF 600mm f/4 L II to remove the 100-400 L as a limiting factor. I recently moved to a 5D III and a 1.4x and 2x TC III, along with the 600/4, to remove the 7D as a limiting factor. For my landscapes, I've recently found the 5D III to be very wanting in the low ISO IQ department, and my next upgrade will probably be a Nikon D810 and 14-24mm f/2.8 (unless, by some miracle, Canon releases a camera with some incredible improvements in low ISO DR and a nice big boost to total megapixel count within the next few months here...if they do, I'd prefer to stick within the brand; I don't really expect that to happen, and Nikon has what I need right now...so I see no reason to let the brand difference hold me back).

Far and away the best 4 paragraphs I've seen on here in a very long time.

Balanced, broadly accurate (IMHO) and I'd challenge anyone to argue with it, who is familiar and experienced with more than just one system.

Thanks. Glad I could help.

The only question is, what on earth is it doing on this forum?

Only joking  ;)

Stick around here long enough...and you'll realize how apt that question is.  :o I'm beginning to wonder why I write these things on these forums myself...

13
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 03:07:19 AM »
The 6D is much more capable when it comes to dynamic range than the Crop canons I have used.

The croppers are better than they're being given credit for.

This is a random 160 ISO 70D CR2 I picked up off the web somewhere.

And this is how it looks (white balance not addressed) with the shadows slider pushed to 100 and a stop of +ve EC added in Capture One - about 5 stops in total on the shadows. Default NR, no other changes made.

Looks OK, doesn't it? All the detail that was hidden in shadow is there.

Here is a 100% before crop; and here's after.

Nothing much wrong with this. Yes, there's a little bit of "texture" where the shadows were darkest; but the detail is all there and there's no pattern noise.

Pointedly, it's not at all far from what the "magic" Sony sensors are capable of...

The thing your missing is that detail buried in "shadow" isn't the problem. It's detail buried in READ NOISE that's the problem. "Shadows" extend for hundreds to thousands of levels...read noise usually only intrudes a dozen or so levels into the deepest of shadows. It's those very deep shadows that mark the difference between a Canon sensor and an Exmor.

The image you edited is more along the lines of this:



Being lifted to this with a +3 stop pull:



The "shadows" are not totally buried in the read noise...so they are nearly fully "recoverable". Which is a very far cry from this:



Being lifted to this with a +5 stop pull:



The detail here is not just "in shadow"...the detail is completely buried well into the noise floor on my 5D III sensor. It's near impossible to recover...it's riddled with red banding, and the noise level in the deeper shadows is two or three times what it is anywhere photon shot noise limited, as it'c compounded with dark current and various forms of noise caused by readout. It's these extra two stops...which, when you get right down to it, don't actually represent a ton of tonal levels...maybe 10-30 at most, if that...it's these deep shadow levels where the read noise exists that mark the difference between a Canon sensor and an Exmor.

The inevitable question that comes after I try to make this clarification (either when defending Canon, or when defending Exmor...these days it doesn't seem to matter), is: Why would you ever need those extra two stops? or How often do you actually have detail buried that deeply?

Sure, this isn't an every-day case. Some types of photography NEVER encounter a situation like this because they are always shot at higher ISO where DR is limited by physics. That said...even if the situation is a niche situation, it doesn't change the facts. The facts are...Canon sensors currently suffer about a two stop disadvantage or handicap compared to Exmor, and a one to two stop disadvantage compared to many other sensors on the market, such as the Toshiba sensors used in Nikon's D5000 line.

The next statement that is usually made is, the detail buried way down near the read noise floor in a Nikon RAW file can't possibly be clean, low noise, high color fidelity detail. Here are two images I downloaded way back around the time the D800 was released (shortly after the 5D III was released...about the time Fred Miranda wrote his review of both...I was looking for some real evidence to prove, either way, whether Exmor had better low ISO DR):




These two images, which are large (click on them for full size) show the exceptional quality of detail you can recover out of deep, black shadows.

The images were originally downloaded from here (although the link seems to be dead now):

http://www.3mille.com/docs/nikon-d800-raw-nef-samples-wide-tonal-range.zip



The difference between current Canon sensors, and an Exmor, is not "you can lift shadows". We've been lifting shadows for years. The difference between the two is that you can lift ultra deep shadows that would otherwise be buried in red-banded read noise on a Canon, by 5-6 stops on an Exmor...and STILL have decent color fidelity and clean, random noise.

If you need that kind of shadow recovery capability...and I stress IF, I still believe a majority of photographers tend to shoot some kind of action at higher ISO, in which case Canon sensors have a very small edge over Exmor sensors at higher ISO...then don't hold yourself back. Canon may release something that can do what a D800 could do over two years ago at some point...but why wait until that unknown future time, when you could solve your problem now with a Nikon, Sony, or Pentax (or any number of other cameras that use Exmor sensors)?

14
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors sell the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 01:29:59 AM »
People will want something that gives them a better image than their mobile phone.
The choice is Canon, Nikon and Sony. Two of those three are now providing substantially better images.

There you have it, folks.  Canon dSLRs don't provide images substantially better than a cell phone.  That deserves an award!



I'd say that was a well-deserved award. :D

15
EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 01:27:25 AM »
1. Has anyone seen an actual tech report on the 6D sensor? What makes it different from the 5DIII? 
2. We know Canon makes it own sensors. The 6D and other Canons have already had Electronic First Curtain Shutter. The pictures produced by Canon sensors have long made Canons the choice of some of the highest paid commercial photographers in the world such as Gilled Bensimon, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino; please note I wrote "commercial" and their success is measured by how much money they make and how many spreads they get in the most prestigeous publications. Sports photogs chose Canon at the last World Cup. More award winning pix were done with Canon at the last 3 Windland-Smith nature photography awards I saw personally at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Yet Nikon's are better because DxO says so? I don't get it.
3. The smears on the Hassleblad Lunar is that it is a dressed-up Sony. So why isn't a Nikon D810 smeared for being a dressed-up Sony?

Here is how I see it these days. The camera is a tool. That's all it is. Some people will say, it's 99% the photographer, 1% the camera. I personally don't believe that. The photographer can't do anything without a camera. Similarly, a better camera in the hands of a skilled photographer will free that photographer from potential limitations, giving them the ability to create better photography.

So here is how I look at it. Is the camera you have now limiting you in some way? If so, you might want to figure out which camera out there will free you from those limitations. Are you limited by the AF system? Canon currently has the best on the market, and the 7D II might be coming with an even better one than the 5D III and 1D X have. Are you limited by the sensor? Canon sensors are good, and at high ISO it generally doesn't matter who's sensor your using, but if you need the best low ISO IQ, then Sony sensors are better. Are the lenses you have resolving the kind of detail you expect? Entry-level kit lenses only take you so far. Upgrading to any L-series Canon prime, and most of their longer zoom lenses, will give you some of the best IQ on the planet. For wide angle zoom lenses, you might want to look to Sigma, or if you need that low ISO DR, a Nikon D800/810/600 and their ultra wide angle zooms will serve you best.

Pick the tool that will eliminate the thing that is limiting you, that is preventing you from progressing and improving the quality of your work. If you don't know what's limiting you, then your probably not limited. Stick with what you have, and keep pushing the envelope until you know without question that something with your current kit is holding you back.

That's always been my approach. I started with a 450D, the 18-55 kit, and a 100mm macro. I first "graduated" to a 16-35mm L II for landscapes. Then I "graduated" again to a 100-400mm L and 7D for birds and wildlife. I then made a quantum leap to the EF 600mm f/4 L II to remove the 100-400 L as a limiting factor. I recently moved to a 5D III and a 1.4x and 2x TC III, along with the 600/4, to remove the 7D as a limiting factor. For my landscapes, I've recently found the 5D III to be very wanting in the low ISO IQ department, and my next upgrade will probably be a Nikon D810 and 14-24mm f/2.8 (unless, by some miracle, Canon releases a camera with some incredible improvements in low ISO DR and a nice big boost to total megapixel count within the next few months here...if they do, I'd prefer to stick within the brand; I don't really expect that to happen, and Nikon has what I need right now...so I see no reason to let the brand difference hold me back).

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