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Author Topic: Help me spend a one-time windfall!  (Read 6798 times)

EricPeeg

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Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« 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

  • 5d Mark II
  • 100 2.8 macro, non-IS
  • 17-40mm f/4L Lens
  • 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
  • 35 f2 (left over from a former career as a journalist)
  • 200 f/2.8L (also from journalism, not the newest version - the version with the built-in hood

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):
  • 5D Mark III - $3460
  • 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II - $2130
  • 70-200mm f/4L IS - $1200
  • 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS - $1400
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II - $2300
  • 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS - $1530
  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift - $2000
  • 180mm f/3.5L Macro - $1430

Here’s what I’m leaning toward:

  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift - $2000
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II - $2300
  • 70-200mm f/4L IS - $1200
  • 5D Mark III - $3460

I’d dispose of:

  • 5d Mark II
  • EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM 
  • EF 35 f2)
  • EF 200mm f/2.8L

And would end up with:

  • 5d Mark IIi
  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift
  • EF 100 2.8 macro
  • EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens 
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II
  • 70-200mm f/4L IS

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!

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Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« on: October 19, 2012, 04:51:50 PM »

Random Orbits

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #1 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.

Aaron78

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #2 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.

DuncS

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #3 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



IIIHobbs

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #4 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.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #5 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). 
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PackLight

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #6 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.

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2012, 01:07:55 AM »

EricPeeg

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #7 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):

  • 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

Zv

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #8 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!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 10:52:35 AM by Zv »
6D | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 f4L IS | 135L | SY 14 2.8 | Sigma 50 1.4

EOS M | 11-22 IS STM | 22 STM | FD 50 1.4

Kernuak

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #9 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.
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natureshots

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #10 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!).

sandymandy

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #11 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
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 01:17:36 PM by sandymandy »

natureshots

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #12 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.

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2012, 01:34:16 PM »

felipey

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #13 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.
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natureshots

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #14 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!!!!

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Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2012, 01:57:53 PM »