November 27, 2014, 05:55:04 AM

Author Topic: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS  (Read 2348 times)

tevscale

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Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« on: May 11, 2014, 11:36:44 AM »
Let me start by explaining my situation:  I'm relatively new to photography (have been using a DSLR for about 2 years) and primarily shoot my kids at their various activities and outdoor/nature scenes (with a preference for individual plants or animals rather than landscapes). 

My current equipment consists of a Rebel XS with 18-55 EF-S kit lens, 50mm 1/8, 80-200 2.8 L, and 430 EX II flash.  For well over 90% of what I want to do, this is just fine, and has provided some shots that I'll treasure for the rest of my life (most of the shots I miss are due to me, not the gear).  But remaining few % is irritating!  Most of my problems are in low light (indoor event for the kids where flash isn't allowed or I'm too far away to use it) where I could benefit from better high ISO performance than the Rebel can offer.  The other issue is catching the "key moment" when action is occurring, where the Rebel's frame rate isn't up to the task (I shoot RAW since I don't think the JPEGs from the Rebel are particularly good, and that reduces the frame rate to about 1-2Hz).

I'm aware that a 5D III would fix all my problems.  But that's expensive, made more so by the need for a replacement for my EF-S lens.  So I'd like opinions on the more budget-friendly options, in order:

7D or 70D: these are fast enough, but do they do well enough in low light?  I'll define "well enough" as having at least the same image quality at ISO 3200 as the Rebel does at 800.

6D: fixes the low-light issues, but is the frame rate fast enough to have a decent shot at capturing action?

I'd appreciate any advice on this.  Should I go for one of the above options, or just bide my time and save up for the 5D III?

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Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« on: May 11, 2014, 11:36:44 AM »

ajfotofilmagem

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2014, 11:55:24 AM »
Unfortunately, there is currently a camera that is much better than a Rebel XS, both in low light and in fast action. The Canon 7D has been superseded by the 70D in high ISO performance, but not enough to ISO 3200 looks like 800 of your old Rebel. In fact, there is no APS-C camera has achieved this level of performance.

Canon 6D will show improvement in high ISO you want, but do not get too many pictures per second, perfectly focused. The focus points are not very sensitive and efficient, with the exception of the central point.

Remember that to achieve the potential quality of 6D, you will need modern high quality lenses that cost more than the 6D own.
The 70D has the option kit with 18-55 lens STM great, which makes it quick and silent focus, and is a significant upgrade over your old XS.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 11:57:21 AM by ajfotofilmagem »

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2014, 12:27:48 PM »
primarily shoot my kids at their various activities and outdoor/nature scenes (with a preference for individual plants or animals rather than landscapes). 

My current equipment consists of a Rebel XS with 18-55 EF-S kit lens, 50mm 1/8, 80-200 2.8 L, and 430 EX II flash.  For well over 90% of what I want to do, this is just fine, and has provided some shots that I'll treasure for the rest of my life (most of the shots I miss are due to me, not the gear).  But remaining few % is irritating!  Most of my problems are in low light (indoor event for the kids where flash isn't allowed or I'm too far away to use it) where I could benefit from better high ISO performance than the Rebel can offer.  The other issue is catching the "key moment" when action is occurring, where the Rebel's frame rate isn't up to the task (I shoot RAW since I don't think the JPEGs from the Rebel are particularly good, and that reduces the frame rate to about 1-2Hz).

  Should I go for one of the above options, or just bide my time and save up for the 5D III?

Since you are using raw right now, the sensors on the 70D and 7D are not much more capable if any than what you have.  You gain features and faster processors and video features.
 
Have you considered a 6D?  Its in the same price range as a 70D, and you can get a refurb right now for $1300.
 
You will get low light capability, and better extreme low light AF than the 5D MK III.
 
I'm not a fan of machine gunning thousands of frames just to get the right moment, I find its possible 99% of the time with one shot, and I do not have time to sort thru thousands of raw images looking for the best of the best.  I've done it with my 1D MK IV, and its no fun.
 
I currently have a 5D MK III, its wonderful, but I'd be very happy with a 6D as well, I virtually never use fast frame rates unless its a very unusual circumstance, like trying to capture a arrow in flight, the tip of a bull whip when it snaps the object out of the holders fingers.  It could also be useful for a BIF, but even there, I use one shot.
 
There are lots of good choices, and each has benefits and drawbacks.
 
If you upgrade your glass, that will stay with you thru generations of bodies.
 
A 135mm f/2L is fantastic for low light when you are away from the subject.  A 85mm f/1.8 will also capture low light images that are a bit further away than the 50mm can handle.
 
Which lens do you use most?  A 17-55mm IS will replace the 18-55 and be worlds better.  A 15-85mm will give more flexability, and will also be a big improvement.
 
Try borrowing or renting a 6D and a 70D (Pass on the 7D, its not very good in low light).  Try them both a ISO 25600.
 
The bottom line is that you pay a lot of $$ for a incremental improvement in the APS-C line, which is why jumping to a 6D may be attractive for low light use, and almost everything else.
 
 
 
 
 

sagittariansrock

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2014, 12:52:00 PM »
Let me start by explaining my situation:  I'm relatively new to photography (have been using a DSLR for about 2 years) and primarily shoot my kids at their various activities and outdoor/nature scenes (with a preference for individual plants or animals rather than landscapes). 

My current equipment consists of a Rebel XS with 18-55 EF-S kit lens, 50mm 1/8, 80-200 2.8 L, and 430 EX II flash.  For well over 90% of what I want to do, this is just fine, and has provided some shots that I'll treasure for the rest of my life (most of the shots I miss are due to me, not the gear).  But remaining few % is irritating!  Most of my problems are in low light (indoor event for the kids where flash isn't allowed or I'm too far away to use it) where I could benefit from better high ISO performance than the Rebel can offer.  The other issue is catching the "key moment" when action is occurring, where the Rebel's frame rate isn't up to the task (I shoot RAW since I don't think the JPEGs from the Rebel are particularly good, and that reduces the frame rate to about 1-2Hz).

I'm aware that a 5D III would fix all my problems.  But that's expensive, made more so by the need for a replacement for my EF-S lens.  So I'd like opinions on the more budget-friendly options, in order:

7D or 70D: these are fast enough, but do they do well enough in low light?  I'll define "well enough" as having at least the same image quality at ISO 3200 as the Rebel does at 800.

6D: fixes the low-light issues, but is the frame rate fast enough to have a decent shot at capturing action?

I'd appreciate any advice on this.  Should I go for one of the above options, or just bide my time and save up for the 5D III?

I think you will do yourself a favor by switching to faster lenses for now. A f/1.4 lens will make more difference to your images than a switch to 7D or 70D, IMO.

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2014, 12:56:54 PM »
7D or 70D: these are fast enough, but do they do well enough in low light?  I'll define "well enough" as having at least the same image quality at ISO 3200 as the Rebel does at 800.

6D: fixes the low-light issues, but is the frame rate fast enough to have a decent shot at capturing action?

I'd appreciate any advice on this.  Should I go for one of the above options, or just bide my time and save up for the 5D III?

Fundamentally, ISO/noise performance is a factor of two things: Real sensitivity (quantum efficiency) and total sensor area. Assuming you frame your subject the same, the only way to really reduce noise is to use a larger sensor. Pixel size does not really play a role unless your only putting the same number of pixels on the subject (which means you are not necessarily framing the same). With the same number of pixels on subject, then pixel size matters, and larger pixels do better.

Given these facts, it's highly unlikely that you will ever see an APS-C camera that has ISO 800-level performance at ISO 3200. Even if Q.E. reached 100%, your still not going to see that much of an improvement. I think the XS had around 25-30% Q.E. The 7D has 41% and the 70D has 45%. That is not even a factor of two improvement over the XS, let alone a factor of four improvement. You will see an improvement in high ISO IQ, but no where near enough that ISO 3200 looked like ISO 800. ISO 1600 will look a lot better, almost as good as ISO 800 on your XS, but still not quite as good.

The only real way you are going to get a significant improvement in high ISO performance is to move up to a full-frame camera. The 6D has about 50% Q.E., so just from a real sensitivity standpoint, it's about twice as sensitive as your XS. On top of that, it's got 2.6 times the sensor area. So you'll gain almost two stops of improvement in high ISO performance...indeed, ISO 3200 would look a lot like ISO 800 on your XS. Because of the greater pixel count, if you frame the same, ISO 3200 should look quite a bit better than ISO 800 on your XS for a given output size. These same fundamental facts apply to the 5D III as well. It has 49% Q.E. and the same total sensor area.

Whether you choose the 6D or 5D III is really up to you. The AF performance is indeed much superior on the 5D III, and for action, that will certainly be better. The 6D's 11pt AF system is not bad, though, and at least for kids  and for some lower action wildlife, it should suffice quite nicely. The 5D III's AF system is going to be able to lock onto active subjects, like kids running around or wildlife in action, a lot better than the 6D's. For action, frame rate is pretty important as well, and I'm not sure the 4.5fps of the 6D is really quite up to snuff. Personally, my limit, having used 3.4fps, 3.7fps, 6fps and 8fps cameras, is about 6fps. Anything lower than that, and I really feel I'm missing the right moments. At 8fps the frame rate feels really good, and you definitely see an improvement in small changes in subject pose and orientation that give you the option of picking a really ideal frame. The 7D, which I own, has an AF jitter problem that causes some frames to become very slightly out of focus, which basically negates some frames for all but the smallest reproduction ratio online. My average "keeper rate" is about 5-6fps at best, which is part of the reason I feel the 6fps of the 5D III, with it's much better AF system, is acceptable for action. I say acceptable, however ideally I'd say 8-20fps is probably where the sweet spot is, and I think 10-12fps, maybe 15fps is really quite ideal (assuming the AF system can keep up.)

At the very least, given that you've stated high ISO performance is one of your biggest concerns, that you should really move up to a full frame camera. The 6D is a very nice camera, and for certain applications, like landscapes, low light photography, and still scenes (like floral macros), and even astrophotography, it is a very, very good camera. For action, it's maybe middle ground at best. The AF system is capable enough, but the 4.5fps frame rate may just not quite be up to snuff. Whether you choose the 5D III or not would really have to be up to you. If you do choose the 6D, I honestly think you will find it to be a truly MASSIVE improvement over your XS...despite the shortcomings of the 6D vs. the 5D III, it really is a vastly superior device compared to your XS, and once you get it in your hands, you'll understand what I mean.

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2014, 03:18:51 PM »
I have a 5d mkiii and when I had the xs I would spray and pray.

Now that I have the mkiii... I time the action and I depress when it is time to take the shot... then I hold a few extra beats and then look after.

I'd suggest a 6d for improved low light, use the center point, crop in post, and then time and blast... your results should be more than adequate.

While the 7d and 70 will be fine... full frame is the better choice...
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->100L-> 85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm -> 85mm f/1.2L mkii

tevscale

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2014, 01:04:53 AM »
Thanks to all who took the time to respond!  The detailed information is extremely helpful.  It looks like the 6D with 24-105 kit lens (to replace the field of view range of my 18-55 EF-S), and upgrading my 50mm to an f/1.4 would meet essentially all my needs.  Of course that opens the door to the Sigma vs. Canon debate regarding the 50mm f/1.4, but I'm thinking that the Canon would be good enough, even if not as sharp as the Sigma.

I do have one more question, if you'll bear with me: does ISO performance really depend solely on the total area and Q.E. of the sensor?  If there really nothing (or only a small amount) to be gained due to better noise reduction algorithms?  I know that Canon advertises the DIGIC model in their bodies, so I had thought that going from the DIGIC 3 to the 5+ might be of some help at low light -- or is that all just marketing hoopla?

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2014, 01:04:53 AM »

sagittariansrock

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2014, 03:29:53 AM »
Thanks to all who took the time to respond!  The detailed information is extremely helpful.  It looks like the 6D with 24-105 kit lens (to replace the field of view range of my 18-55 EF-S), and upgrading my 50mm to an f/1.4 would meet essentially all my needs.  Of course that opens the door to the Sigma vs. Canon debate regarding the 50mm f/1.4, but I'm thinking that the Canon would be good enough, even if not as sharp as the Sigma.

I do have one more question, if you'll bear with me: does ISO performance really depend solely on the total area and Q.E. of the sensor?  If there really nothing (or only a small amount) to be gained due to better noise reduction algorithms?  I know that Canon advertises the DIGIC model in their bodies, so I had thought that going from the DIGIC 3 to the 5+ might be of some help at low light -- or is that all just marketing hoopla?


I think the newer crop sensors are much better, for example the 70D>>7D.
However, they can't come anywhere near the FF sensors.
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bholliman

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2014, 06:39:52 AM »

Try borrowing or renting a 6D and a 70D (Pass on the 7D, its not very good in low light).  Try them both a ISO 25600.
 
The bottom line is that you pay a lot of $$ for a incremental improvement in the APS-C line, which is why jumping to a 6D may be attractive for low light use, and almost everything else.

+1  As a 6D owner and father of an active 2-year-old, I strongly recommend it.  I purchased a 6D last year and almost never used my 7D after that, and eventually sold it.  The 6D produces very nice images at ISO 3200 and even 6400.  I prefer flash photography when it's an option, but there are places it's not allowed or would be disruptive.  For example if you want to get some candid shots of kids interacting, you really don't want to distract them with flash.

Regarding the 6D's AF and frame rate for moving kids or other things moving, I find it to be good enough.  We recently attended a birthday party with lots of under 5 kids and I was pleased with the number of good, in-focus shots I came home with.  I'm sure a 5D3 or 1Dx would have captured more good shots (higher FPS, better AF), but personally I can't justify the difference in price.  I feel like my current equipment exceeds my skill as a photographer anyway.
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Maximilian

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2014, 07:03:19 AM »
I do have one more question, if you'll bear with me: does ISO performance really depend solely on the total area and Q.E. of the sensor?  If there really nothing (or only a small amount) to be gained due to better noise reduction algorithms?  I know that Canon advertises the DIGIC model in their bodies, so I had thought that going from the DIGIC 3 to the 5+ might be of some help at low light -- or is that all just marketing hoopla?
Hi tevscale!
And welcome to this forum.

As you have stated in your original post, you prefer to use RAW files instead of JPEGs out of the camera.
(This I always would recommend with the only exception of storage space needed)
The DIGIC processors are mostly responsible for higher speeds of in-camera processing. So they are therefore increasing the frames per second and maybe calculating more complex algorithms in the same time.
If you use RAW the processing and algorithms depend on your RAW converter SW on your pc.

Back to your original question:
Depending on how much money you are willing to spend I wouldn’t directly point to FF. (although I also have and love to use FF). Of course it is very often delivering a better IQ but maybe APS-C is still enough for you. And if it is so, you wouldn’t have to spend so much money on lenses a FF camera is demanding for.
You could lend a 70D. And then you can try out if the IQ fits to your demands. But then I would consider the new STM kit lens, because its IQ should be much better than that of your 18-55.
Let us know about your choice.
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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2014, 01:24:34 PM »
Let me start by explaining my situation:  I'm relatively new to photography (have been using a DSLR for about 2 years) and primarily shoot my kids at their various activities and outdoor/nature scenes (with a preference for individual plants or animals rather than landscapes). 

My current equipment consists of a Rebel XS with 18-55 EF-S kit lens, 50mm 1/8, 80-200 2.8 L, and 430 EX II flash.  For well over 90% of what I want to do, this is just fine, and has provided some shots that I'll treasure for the rest of my life (most of the shots I miss are due to me, not the gear).  But remaining few % is irritating!  Most of my problems are in low light (indoor event for the kids where flash isn't allowed or I'm too far away to use it) where I could benefit from better high ISO performance than the Rebel can offer.  The other issue is catching the "key moment" when action is occurring, where the Rebel's frame rate isn't up to the task (I shoot RAW since I don't think the JPEGs from the Rebel are particularly good, and that reduces the frame rate to about 1-2Hz).

I'm aware that a 5D III would fix all my problems.  But that's expensive, made more so by the need for a replacement for my EF-S lens.  So I'd like opinions on the more budget-friendly options, in order:

7D or 70D: these are fast enough, but do they do well enough in low light?  I'll define "well enough" as having at least the same image quality at ISO 3200 as the Rebel does at 800.

6D: fixes the low-light issues, but is the frame rate fast enough to have a decent shot at capturing action?

I'd appreciate any advice on this.  Should I go for one of the above options, or just bide my time and save up for the 5D III?

If you want ISO3200 to look like ISO800 on your Rebel, there is no APS-C option out there. The 7D and 70D are "better" then the XS in ISO performance, but not 2 stops, I'd say 1 stop is pushing it.

I still shoot with my XS, so I've very familiar with what it can do.

To battle low light then you have 2 options: get a full frame camera or get a faster lens. The Sigma 18-35 1.8 will do the latter, so that's an option. So are primes.

As for frame rate, first off try a faster SD card, that might get you a little more speed with the XS. But if you really want frame rate you'll have to go for either the 7D, 70D or 5DIII.

As for going full frame and replacing your 18-55, you don't need to go L, or even IS. There are many cheaper full frame regular zoom options that don't break the bank, especially on the used market. Yes, they won't have the amazing sharpness of L glass, but if you're up at 3200ISO it's not going to make that much difference anyways. There is always the 24-105L which is often sold grey box for really good prices.

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2014, 01:28:46 PM »
I do have one more question, if you'll bear with me: does ISO performance really depend solely on the total area and Q.E. of the sensor?  If there really nothing (or only a small amount) to be gained due to better noise reduction algorithms?  I know that Canon advertises the DIGIC model in their bodies, so I had thought that going from the DIGIC 3 to the 5+ might be of some help at low light -- or is that all just marketing hoopla?

If you are shooting RAW then what the DIGIC does with your image from the point of PP is pretty much moot. When you shoot RAW your RAW converter is doing all that work. Lightroom/Aperture will almost always be better at getting what you want since you have nearly infinite control. DIGIC bakes things into the JPG based on a very small range of selections.

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 01:44:38 PM »
I'm in agreement with those who are recommending the 6D camera.  I do not have one myself, but given the types of photo's you will be taking (per your description), I think that the 6D would solve your low light concerns.  It's tough to think of it this way, but the 6D is the "rebel" of the FF product line, meaning that the learning curve between the two families may not be as great as would be if you were to upgrade to a 5D.   This may, or may not be of concern to you.  But, you can't have it all with a "budget" FF - you will sacrifice frame rate. 

I myself am waiting on this elusive unicorn called 7DMkII to see what it can do.   Most of my photography is family event oriented so having a slight bit of noise in my low light images is fine with me.  Actually, I find that my rebel does pretty well for a crop camera up to ISO 1600.   If I'm printing the image out though, I won't go above 800.  If I can get ISO 800 quality from a 1600 setting on a 7DMkII, I'd be happy.

Here's a link that you can use to compare the noise qualities between a few crop cameras and a single full frame.   I wish there was a tool on this website to do a direct noise compare between reviewed cameras, but this should paint a picture for you.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Comparisons/Canon-EOS-Rebel-T2i-550D-Digital-SLR-Camera.aspx
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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 01:44:38 PM »

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2014, 05:49:00 PM »

I do have one more question, if you'll bear with me: does ISO performance really depend solely on the total area and Q.E. of the sensor?  If there really nothing (or only a small amount) to be gained due to better noise reduction algorithms? 

The Digic processor converts raw data to jpeg, and does a better looking job in newer cameras when compared to older ones. When using raw, digic plays no part in high ISO performance, its based on your software.  Any improvements in algorithms (and there have been a lot in the past 5 years) will be applied to images from your XS or any other raw image.  Thus, I can process raw images from a 20D or 40d and get a essential upgrade in high ISO performance.  Jpeg on the older cameras is limited by the old processing firmware in the camera body, but raw is not, so your raw images can be upgraded.  I used to think that raw images at ISO 1600 on my 40D were awful, but I reprocess them with newer software and they now look great.  You can not do that with jpegs, since the raw to jpeg conversion is burned in.
 
One thing that newer camera bodies do have is slightly better noise reduction circuitry on the sensor chip.  That's why you see a slightly better high ISO performance.
 
Getting lenses that add 1/2 stop or 1 stop is the way to go.  Instead of the 24-105mmL, get a 24070mm f/2.8.  You are limiting performance gained with FF by getting a f/4 lens.  You can use the 24-70 at full aperture.
 
The other option is to get fast primes, f/2 to f/1.2.  I'd not bother to upgrade your 50mm f/1.8 to f/1.4, you will not like images taken at f/1.4, there is a noticible decrease in performance.  Spend your $$ on a better zoom, or high quality fast prime.

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2014, 02:23:11 AM »
Canon 6D will show improvement in high ISO you want, but do not get too many pictures per second, perfectly focused. The focus points are not very sensitive and efficient, with the exception of the central point.

Compared with an XS?  The focusing system in the 6D is still a step up, I think, with 11 points instead of 7, and pretty much all other attributes being similar, AFAIK.

I moved from an XTi (same sensor as the XS, but with the older, 9-point, non-cross focusing system, no live view, but otherwise very similar to the XS).  The 6D (with a 24-105L) is night and day better in every way.  Focusing is more consistent, and the high ISO makes it possible to take shots that were just unimaginable with the XTi.  I've often quipped that the 6D does a better job taking photographs in an auditorium with the house lights off (using stage bleed) than the XTi did with the lights on....

If you really want a low-light upgrade, wait until you can get either a 6D or a 5Dmk3.  Either one will be a truly jaw dropping experience the first time you take it into low light.  :)

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Re: Advice on a upgrade from the Rebel XS
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2014, 02:23:11 AM »