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Author Topic: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!  (Read 7480 times)

rmfagan

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Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« on: February 17, 2013, 07:38:41 PM »
So I'm making the switch to full frame, not all at once, but over the course of this year. I could use some feedback on my choices and the order I should be purchasing to maximize utility and versatility. I currently have a 60D, 10-22, 50 1.8 II, and 70-200 f/4 IS, and 430EX II.

I shoot a lot of portraits. I quite enjoy shooting wildlife and do so on several trips a year (though I am inclined to rent for that as needed). I enjoy landscape as well and while I consider it a priority, I don't know if I do so enough to warrant the 24 TS. I've also been working on starscapes and such. I travel quite a bit and take a fair bit of street stuff as well as finding myself in dim churches, museums, etc meaning I'd like some fast glass. Also macro. Lastly, while I haven't shot a wedding, I have done some events and performances and would like to make that a larger part of my shooting. I also may be gearing toward work as a PJ at some point soon.

What I'm looking at...

(sell 60D, 10-22, 70-200, keep 50 b/c why the hell not?)

5D III (toying with the 1D IV for build and speed but perhaps as a second body next year?)

16-35 II (traveling, street, some landscape, group or environmental portraits even)
70-200 2.8 IS II (everything...weddings, events, portrait, some closer wildlife)
135L (covers my portraits, some street stuff, events/stage stuff)
24 1.4L (not as good as the TS but it's more versatile. churches, markets, lowlight, astro)
100 Macro (L or not? IS can come in handy and its only a $240 difference, weather sealing is a selling point)
50 1.4 (better bokeh than the 1.8, which I'd keep as backup or lightweight setup)

MAYBE a 600-RT but that likely comes last.

So...help me out. What would you change given my shooting tastes? Does the order of acquisition matter? I considered the 50L but I figured I'd have low light covered well and the difference in price nets me the L macro at a minimum.

Thanks in advance for all the help! If you want some degree of feel for what I shoot, visit www.rfaganphotography.com.

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Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« on: February 17, 2013, 07:38:41 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 07:45:13 PM »
Get a low cost FFbody  and invest in a good lens.  A 24-105mmL is a excellent start, so a 6D Kit might be the way to go.  I'd keep your 50mm 1.8 and 70-200 and go for a 100-400mmL for wildlife.  Those two lenses along with what you own will be a very good start. You may also get a 430 EX II flash. 
If you want to do macro, there are a lot of excellent Macro lenses, but you than can get into expensive tripoods and macro heads, it might be better to wait.

rmfagan

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 08:52:44 PM »
I may consider the 6D but given that I quite enjoy wildlife and even a lot of wide aperture portraiture where focus-recompose can be an issue, the AF worries me. I also have never been a "normal zoom" range type and so see no utility in the 24-105 for me. I don't even really care to purchase the 24-70 II, though I'd rent it, perhaps, for a wedding if needed. I'm typically a shooter who likes 50, or knows whether I want wide or tele, so the rest seems wasted on me, given the utility in the other options I mentioned. Perhaps I'm missing something...

Menace

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 09:04:00 PM »

What I'm looking at...

(sell 60D, 10-22, 70-200, keep 50 b/c why the hell not?)


5D III (toying with the 1D IV for build and speed but perhaps as a second body next year?) -YES to 5D

16-35 II (traveling, street, some landscape, group or environmental portraits even) - YES

70-200 2.8 IS II (everything...weddings, events, portrait, some closer wildlife) - YES

135L (covers my portraits, some street stuff, events/stage stuff) - NO - 70-200 will cover this range at present although you can always get it later if you think you still need it.

24 1.4L (not as good as the TS but it's more versatile. churches, markets, lowlight, astro) -YES

100 Macro (L or not? IS can come in handy and its only a $240 difference, weather sealing is a selling point) - L is excellent investment if it's within your budget. I've had both and they are excellent.

50 1.4 (better bokeh than the 1.8, which I'd keep as backup or lightweight setup) - YES

MAYBE a 600-RT but that likely comes last - Later


Hope this helps

Cheers
1Dx | 5D III
85 1.2L II | 100 2.8 | 400 2.8L IS II 
24-70 2.8L II | 70-200 2.8L IS II

chauncey

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 09:43:30 PM »
I think that I've got about every "L" lens canon makes yet 99% of the time I mount these three on my 1Ds MkIII...70-200 f/2.8, 185 macro, and a 300 f/2.8.

jdramirez

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 10:28:45 PM »

What I'm looking at...

(sell 60D, 10-22, 70-200, keep 50 b/c why the hell not?)


5D III (toying with the 1D IV for build and speed but perhaps as a second body next year?) - I understand there is a value to the 1 series, but I think the 5d will suffice and exceed your needs.

16-35 II (traveling, street, some landscape, group or environmental portraits even) - I've heard from others, and I personally have no experience with the lens, that it is a bit disappointing and it doesn't really have quite the POP of other L lenses.  I think it is a fine option and much better than the 17-40 (which should go without saying), but I'd lean towards no.  Maybe considering some wide angle primes as an alternative...

70-200 2.8 IS II (everything...weddings, events, portrait, some closer wildlife) - I've been disappointed with the 70-200mm f/4L USM and the f/2.8L USM... but I know the 70-200 f/2.8L IS ii is king... and for your needs, I would think it would be a great addition.

135L (covers my portraits, some street stuff, events/stage stuff) - I want it... I don't have it... I know it is better than the 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS for portraiture.  And while the 70-200mm f/2.8L is II covers the focal length, I think the 135 is a hard to put into words, but worth getting because it is individually worth it.

24 1.4L (not as good as the TS but it's more versatile. churches, markets, lowlight, astro) -  I don't have an opinion, but I did suggest a complement of primes rather than the 16-35... so sure.

100 Macro (L or not? IS can come in handy and its only a $240 difference, weather sealing is a selling point) - I have this lens and I'm in love with it... I don't do much macro, but I really like have that as an option when the situation arises.  Having said that, I want the 135 and I have a difficult time rationalizing have both lenses in my bag.  I think if I get the 135L I'll wind up selling the 100. 

50 1.4 (better bokeh than the 1.8, which I'd keep as backup or lightweight setup) - That should be a no brainer.  I know there are some who like the f/1.2 but put a hood on the 50mm and don't drop it and it should be fine for you for a long time.  The f/1.4 is sharper than the f/1.2 and it is just a great value.  I owned the f/1.8 and I really like that lens and while I don't like admitting it, the f/1.4 is much better.

MAYBE a 600-RT but that likely comes last - Get a 2nd 430 and a few umbrellas.  Then you can play with the light in different ways to really bring out the detail of your shots.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100 f/2.8L->85mm f/1.8 USM->135L -> 8mm ->100L

LostArk

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 10:50:39 PM »
My advice:

70-200 f/2.8 IS II
135L

Having both of these is redundant and HEAVY. I'd imagine 99% of the time you'd only be taking one or the other, so you might as well only invest in one or the other. You don't shoot sports so the zoom isn't necessary, so I wouldn't bother with it. The 135 is much better for portraits, though you may find it a hair long, or that f/2 nukes backgrounds too much. For landscapes the 70-200 f/4 you already have is perfect, so I suggest you keep that and get an 85mm instead. The 85 1.2 destroys the 85 1.8 in all areas and is the finest portrait and low light lens currently available anywhere. It's worth it to me to lug it around, and really it's not that heavy - about 50% lighter than the 70-200 IS II. It's also better than the 135 for street stuff and events/stage stuff.

16-35 II
24 1.4

Again, carrying both of these would be redundant and heavy. The 24L sucks for astrophotography, as it suffers from major coma. For this application, the Rokinon 14mm is the best value, and it's small / light. That being said, I think the 24 1.4 is the better choice, as it blows the 16-35 out of the water in terms of sharpness and of course can go to f/1.4. What can the 16-35 do? Take massive filters and turn the corners of the frame into mush? For landscape and weight / versatility considerations, I might also think about getting a 17-40 to complement your 70-200.

100 Macro

Get the L version, but not because of weather sealing unless you decide to get a 1DX. This is a great lens choice especially if you go with the 85 1.2 instead of the 135L, as the macro can do double duty as a portrait lens, rendering the 135L redundant.

50 1.4

No brainer on this one. Might as well scoop one up before it's replaced with a new $800 version.

5D3

I don't see any reason why you'd need a 5D3 except for spray-and-pray capability. Unless you need FPS or AI-Servo performance, the 6D is the better camera. A better plan than 5D3 > 1D4 would be 6D (or even 5D2) > 1DX. Also, if you plan on using lenses with fast apertures, the 5D3's viewfinder only shows depth of field down to what, f/3.5-4? Coming from crop you might not notice right away, since your fastest lens (the nifty fifty) has an equivalent DOF vs FF with the same framing as an f/4 lens on full frame. The only Canon cameras currently in production that take focusing screens are the 6D and 1DX (and the discontinued 5D2). This is also a consideration if you ever buy a tilt shift lens.

600-EX-RT is a huge boon for photographers and if I were you this would be at the top of my list, not the bottom. Being able to control an off camera flash directly from the camera's menu using radio without having to use proprietary transceivers is SICK. I'm finally no longer jealous of Nikon's flash system, and with the exception of sync speed, I'd say the Canon system is now superior.

So in the end:

Sell:

60D, 10-22

Keep:

70-200 f/4

Acquire:

24L
85L
100L
50 1.4
17-40L

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 10:50:39 PM »

extremeinstability

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2013, 11:04:50 PM »
I just made a similar jump and wound up with these and a couple in there I didn't keep...  http://www.extremeinstability.com/topic-14-21-50-lenses.htm

24L for astro I'd probably rethink that one.  Stars will have huge ol wings on full frame well in from corners and even stopped down some. 

SiliconVoid

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 01:08:56 AM »
Seeing as you are wanting to upgrade your body, and taking into consideration your shooting style, I would also dump the 60D an 10-22 for obvious reasons - keep everything else. I would suggest putting the difference between the 6D and 5DmkIII towards one or more of those lens purchases.

I would not worry too much about the AF on the 6D. Primarily because I did not see anything in your gallery that would require even fast focusing, much less worrying about cross-type/tracking border points. I have used a 5DmkII since the day it was available, and its AF system is merely serviceable when it is on - and unfortunately pure crap the rest of the time. (Coming from manual focus days though it is not that big of a deal for me.) The 6D may only have two more AF points but make no mistake it is a different creature, not a recycled AF, it is an improvement in every way - quite accurate and quick at the corners on the one I rented. Unless you need higher fps and best quality video, I do not see the point in spending the extra on the 5DmkIII - though it is a fabulous body in its own right.
(The recommendation of the 6D and savings is also because you mentioned the 1DmkIV being something you have considered adding later for its speed and durability.)

I propose a little deeper consideration of some factors in your specific transition in regard to new lens acquisition and upgrade. In going from the 60D to some current full frame body you will find your lenses perform a little differently (exposure, dof, and fov) so I would break your list into two sections. One being lenses you may want to get at the same time or as soon as you can to meet a demand not currently served - and the other section is lenses that you wait to see how your current lenses perform.

In the 'get now' section:
16-35mm (L)
100 Macro (L)
50mm/1.4 (but only because of build and higher blade count aperture)
85mm/1.2 (L)

As you mentioned not being a fan of standard zooms (24-70mm) I would get the 85mm instead of the 135mm. 85mm is still a premier portrait range, and that specific lens is just insane. Your 70-200 can/will cover the same range as the 135mm for everything else.

In the 'wait and see' section:
70-200mm/2.8

I think you will find new life in the 70-200mm/4 on the likes of a 6D or 5DmkIII. I would wait to see what you get regarding aperture and exposure compared to your current body. You will also be getting closer to your subject to achieve the same 60D framing and will notice that you get different dof at f/4 than you were getting before.

I would not worry about the 24mm/1.4 at all because you are likely to find the 16-35mm serves that same purpose just fine.
As you stated you were not able to completely justify the 24mmTS I would skip that range completely as a separate lens and just use the 16-35mm until you find that justification.

Oh - and pick up a wireless commander or master capable flash unit to go with your 430 as the 6D has no remote capability.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 01:15:55 AM by SiliconVoid »
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robbymack

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 01:39:33 AM »
Id probably keep the 70-200 f4 IS, personally this is one lens you would have to pry from my cold dead hands. the 2.8 IS ii is really great, but heavy and IMHO that kills the deal for me. Id caution you against what seems to be rather grandiose gear plans.  You basically outlined a near top of the line kit most gear heads would drool over (save maybe a 24-70ii and a 85L), many a photo business has been consumed by overly high start up costs to fund the gear itch that doesn't translate into paying gigs.  I looked through your website, there are some nice images there, but I didn't get the feeling this is paying all your bills right now (just an opinion, don't flame me for it).  so be careful chasing gear, you're better off shooting, and shooting some more, and when you don't feel like it continue shooting.  A pro photog friend of mine is known to say of a difficult/new shoot anyone has embarked on, "s**t I get that shot right first time because I've f-ed it up a thousand times more than they have." 

rmfagan

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 09:16:02 AM »
First off, I'm tremendously grateful for such a number of insightful posts. Thank you all so much!

When I originally posted, the only two things I felt sure about on that list (besides the unanimously approved decision for the 50 1.4) was that the 5d III was for me and the 70-200 upgrade was a no brainer. So it is interesting to me that it appears that these two items are the least supported for my uses. I'll admit my very first thoughts were to save the difference with the 6D, but comments about its AF scared me off. I sorted my catalog and indeed found the reduction of SS would have factored into less that 1% of any shots I've taken. Also the build quality was of slight concern, though I suppose I haven't broken my 60D yet, so...

As for lenses, I had never considered the fact that the FF jump would breathe new life into the 70-200/4. That's a great point, so thanks SiliconVoid and all. I can always rent is I NEED the 2.8 and buying later is still on the table, but for now, that potentially saves $2k from the camera upgrades. Anyone want to offer a counter point on why I should still jump to the 2.8? I will say that weight doesn't bother me.

On a secondary note, I could see forgoing the 2.8 to buy a 300/2.8 IS I at a later date as well. Compressed portraits, wildlife, etc. At ~3k used, thats not terrible.

I had no idea on the 24L II...glad I posted. I don't play with star field much, but I'd like to. I've now seen the samples illustrating the coma. I wonder can that be PP at all? It would also appear that EVERY Canon UW or wide has coma or sharpness issues that preclude it, yet I see some great examples even with these so-called tainted lenses. Is this a case of good enough is good?

Regarding the 85... it is such a great piece of glass. Pricey. I'm surprised nearly everyone has told me to forgo the 135 for one thing or the other, given that arguably my greatest focus is on portraiture, yet I'm looking for versatility to branch out. My biggest nudges towards the 135L were focus speed (just how bad is the 85, really?) and price. Talk me into this...

Lastly, those that looked at that site, which admittedly needs some work. Any constructive critiques? You're dead right in that photography does not yet pay all the bills, though it does a few. I'd love to hear what I might improve.

Thanks so much for all the help. Just one of many reasons CR is a daily read for me.

Random Orbits

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 10:33:24 AM »
Some food for thought:

The thing that you should determine is how accurate the 6D's non-center focus points work with fast glass.  Coming from a 5D II, the non-center focus points were horrible when compared to the 5D III, where the majority of the f/2.8 points work very well.  Accurate non-center points give you a lot more creative freedom.  I haven't tried a 6D, but if the outer points aren't as accurate, then I'd still suggest a 5D III for the AF alone, even if it is used mainly for portraiture.  Try one in a store with a f/1.2 or f/1.4 lens and see which one works better for you.

If you are comfortable without a mid-range zoom as you stated, then it might be worth considering the 24L II and a TS-E 17 in place of a wide angle zoom.  The TS-E 17 can also take the 1.4x.  That would give you the option between fast glass and perspective correction.  Plus, the TS-E will put the 16-35 to shame, but it is manual everything.  I'd suggest renting it to see if it suits your style.  Landscapes aren't limited to any particular focal length, so it is nice to have a wide range to choose from.

I'd start with getting the camera body first, with the 24L II and the 100L.  Take your time with the rest.  It'll take some time to determine whether or not a 70-200L II or a 135L or a 85L II will work better for you.

robbymack

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 12:30:33 PM »
I'd definitely say the 6d is probably more than adequate for general portraiture, landscapes, etc and the savings over the 5diii is no laughing matter. Id even suggest just getting the kit 24-105 to start, its a screaming deal in the kit then you have lots of time to figure out what youd really want in new lenses. Unless you were into full time sports or wildlife the 6d is by and large a better camera than a 5diii. Sure the outer focus points aren't as good, but people have been getting along just fine without super accurate outer focus points for a very long time. In any case my feeling is that most portraiture isn't really done totally wide open and if it is you're far better off using live view and MF on a tripod than hoping the af nails it and too much caffiene doesnt throw the focus with a jittery hand (just an opinion I'm sure others feel different). I've never owned the 85L only rented a few times. I'd much rather shoot my 85 1.8 that that beast simply because I don't want to carry it all day. The af "slowness" is blown way out of proportion, there is a lot of glass of move so it takes time and since I don't see many folks using it to shoot sports I don't really see it as a problem. I do love the 135L but sometimes the working distance can be a annoyance hence I always have an 85 in the bag. As for constructive critique of your photos, about the only thing I would say is to start working on your off camera lighting techniques. I'd honestly get a speedlight here pretty soon (the 600 is overkill to start with, get a 430) and an umbrella and flash cord (no need to go wireless when you first start). Start reading strobist.blogspot.com.

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 12:30:33 PM »

GMCPhotographics

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 06:47:45 AM »

5D III (toying with the 1D IV for build and speed but perhaps as a second body next year?)

16-35 II (traveling, street, some landscape, group or environmental portraits even)
70-200 2.8 IS II (everything...weddings, events, portrait, some closer wildlife)
135L (covers my portraits, some street stuff, events/stage stuff)
24 1.4L (not as good as the TS but it's more versatile. churches, markets, lowlight, astro)
100 Macro (L or not? IS can come in handy and its only a $240 difference, weather sealing is a selling point)
50 1.4 (better bokeh than the 1.8, which I'd keep as backup or lightweight setup)

MAYBE a 600-RT but that likely comes last.

Thanks in advance for all the help! If you want some degree of feel for what I shoot, visit www.rfaganphotography.com.


I would choose a 5DIII over a 1D4 any day. Higher rez, better iso ability....a quiet mode which is spookily quiet and a build quality which is very close to a 1D series. It's AF system is better than the 1D4 too. It's not like any previous 5D series cameras. If you are shooting weddings then a pair of 5DIII's are probably the most perfect fit from any brand....those cameras were designed to shoot weddings.

16-35IIL is probably the most versatile ultra wide currently available. Sure it could do with an improvement...but it's a great all round package and does what it says on the box very well.

You won't need a 70-200 f2.8 and a 135L...they are very close in range and application. Either sell your zoom and replace with a prime or stick with your current zoom.

I personally prefer the 35L over the 24IIL, but both are optical gems and great performers. If I was using a 16-35IIL, I would choose a 35L. But the best thing to do is rent them both and see which one floats your boat. Your making long term investments...so it's wise to make informed choices.

The 100L macro is sharper than any 100mm USM macro I've tried and the IS is great for handheld wide open shots. It has better contrast and colours too.

If I was buying a 35L, I wouldn't bother with the 50mm f1.4...they are very close together in range...just half a foot step closer. Optically, the 35L is in a different league...as well as build.

The 600RT is a great flash, but it's radio options need further units and triggers to have a working system. If this is an area you wish to explore later by adding further units, then it's the model to go for. If not, then a 580 would probably be a better fit for you and a bit cheaper too.

Your welcome :D

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 08:04:58 AM »
When I read the title "Help Me Build My Lens Stable!", I thought you were asking us to donate our lenses so you could build a collection of your own ... just kidding ;D
Your selection is brillitant, I wouldn't really change anything
About the order of which lens to get first is a difficult one ... but if I were you, I'd get them in the follwing order:
i) 16-35 f/2.8 L II & 70-200 f/2.8 L II IS
ii) 600 EX-RT (x2) & ST-E3-RT
iii)100 f/2.8 L IS
iv) 24 f/1.4 L
v) 135 f/2 L
v1) 50 f/1.4
Canon 5DMK3 70D | Nikon D610 | Sony a7 a6000 | RX100M3 | 16-35/2.8LII | 70-200/2.8LISII | 100/2.8LIS | 100-400LIS | 40/2.8 | 50/1.4 | 85/1.8 | 600EX-RTx2 | ST-E3-RT | 24/3.5 T-S | 10-18/4 OSS 16-50 | 24-70/4OSS | 55/1.8 | 55-210 OSS | 70-200/4 OSS | 28-300VR | HVL-F43M | GoPro Black 3+ & DJI Phantom

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Re: Help Me Build My Lens Stable!
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 08:04:58 AM »