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Author Topic: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience  (Read 16138 times)


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New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« on: July 14, 2012, 02:11:28 AM »
With all the cheap FF chatter I really started to think about upgrading from my crop sensor (T2i).  However, being somewhat of a long time reader on these forums, I am well aware that waiting for a rumoured product can be futile.

So the question:
5DIII is out for me (price), and with many still thinking highly of the the II, I was hoping to get some honest feedback of newly upgraded users of the 5D II - as this cam is coming down nicely in price (used). I understand the advantages of FF, thats why I am considering upgrading, but I want to get a feeling about frustrations/concerns, my main ones being:

> Weight - The II and the 24-105 L will probably be my 90% combo. So when travelling and lugging this around the whole day (BlackRapid strap) what are those ex-crop users feeling about managing the extra weight and did this cam make a big difference in their normal family style travel photos?
> Flash - I love using the built in flash for fill.  It sometimes just needed. Again when travelling and the light just demands you filling in those faces.  SO, new upgraders, do you sometimes get frustrated that the mark II doesn't have a built in flash?

I know about that there are many many satisfied users of the II out there, but I am hoping to get some honest feedback from those hobbyists/amateurs that recently upgraded from being long time crop users about their true experiences and, if any, frustrations.  Personally I expect that a cheap FF to be closer to a rebel than a xD which should address my 2 main concerns, but waiting is a b*tch
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New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« on: July 14, 2012, 02:11:28 AM »


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 11:15:35 AM »
The 5DII and 24-105mm will certainly heavier than a Rebel with kit lens, but the BR strap takes the weight off your neck.  I regularly carry a gripped body and 70-200/2.8 or 100-400 on a BR strap for hours.

I do know what you mean about the popup flash for fill.  You could consider a 270EX II as a relatively small replacement.  Also...if you are shooting outdoor portraits, a wide aperture is often desirable, and that means a shutter speed too fast for the popup flash - you need high-speed sync and that means an external flash anyway.

Going from a T2i to a 5DII is an all-around win (unless you're very focal length-limited such that you're substantially cropping your images). The sensor is better, better ISO performance, better build and ergonomics, and not much different in AF performance and frame rate.  The 'mistake' I made was going from a T1i to a 7D, then getting a 5DII (which was a step up in IQ but a big step down in AF and fps). 

So...I'd say go for it!
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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 11:55:54 AM »
Moved from a 7D to a 5DIII and a 1DX... will never go back. The extra weight I can carry, the jump in IQ is worth it.


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 11:58:11 AM »
5D II is a great camera for still or landscape shooting(might not be a right choice for sports, AF is terrible). The weight, including 24-105 shouldn't be a problem if you already have B.R strap.

One reason I switch to FF is to stay away from flash. IQ on 5D II is SUPER.

I agreed with Neuro on 270EX flash, for fill.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 03:21:50 PM by Dylan777 »

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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2012, 12:07:44 PM »
> Flash - I love using the built in flash for fill.  It sometimes just needed. Again when travelling and the light just demands you filling in those faces.  SO, new upgraders, do you sometimes get frustrated that the mark II doesn't have a built in flash?

I came from a 50D.  With my 5d3 and dual 600s flashes and transmitter, on-camera flash is a like a Bic lighter.  If you care enough to use a DSLR and spend the money for it, then the loss of convince of the on-camera flash is not a concern. 
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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 12:25:09 PM »
Upgraded from crop camera after 6 years to a 5D2 a few months ago.  A Black Rapid or some other strap system works well.  I got a BR to specifically lug around a 70-200 but I leave it on the camera all the time now (took off the neck strap).  The center focus point works well in low light (better than crop camera ever did).

Sometimes flash is needed, so I bring it when required, but I find that LightRoom is good for adjusting fill light, etc, in most of my cases outside.


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 12:27:48 PM »
I've never owned an SLR that wasn't FF(or film).  My GF does have a 60D that I bought her last year and I have played with a 7D from CPS, so I do have some frame of reference.  Yes, it will be somewhat bigger and heavier, BUT the jump you will make in image quality will more than make up for it.  In my experience and personnel opinion the 5DMKII blows the doors off of any 1.6x I've ever shot with, as far as just raw image quality.  And the 24-105 on it is VERY versatile.  I was amazed at how much I used that lens on there.  24mm on FF is nice and a lot wider than you think.  As far as a flash goes, yes you will have to get an external unit, but as Neuro said, there is the 270ex that is pretty small(at least compared to a 580 or the like).

If your concern is IQ, get the 5DMKII and don't look back.  After looking at a few nice pix on your screen, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 12:27:48 PM »


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 12:35:08 PM »
I'd pretty much throw weight concern out the window(if you aren't "slapping" a 600mm on things).  When I first got the 100-400L I thought, crap this is kinda heavy.  Before long you get used to it is 100% not even noticeable. 

I went to 5D II from a rebel and it wasn't that long before I regretted it.  See I had the 17-40L and it is pathetic on full frame.  But I did not have the extra money needed to, after having just bought the full frame, to buy a better wide angle lens that it desperately was needing.  It was quickly apparent I could do as well with a rebel and 10-22 EF-s.  The vignetting on the 17-40L full frame was forcing it to have to be stopped down, so there went the added ISO performance and it was still bad at F7.1 and corner sharpness was an utter joke.  It wasn't long till I decided to just drop back down to crop sensors and get some money back in the process.  Of course now that I have that extra bit of money to get a better lens, I'm wishing I had a 5D II.  Nikon's Dynamic Range is really tempting me to jump ship, if I do again make the costly jump to full frame.  $2700 for a 5D II with 24-105 is really damn tempting too, but I think I'd regret not going the 24-70L route.  Fast or bust. 

Always good to use this for some full frame perspectives on vignetting and sharpness.  http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=101&Camera=9&FLI=0&API=1&LensComp=355&CameraComp=9&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

Sure vignetting is easy enough to fix in conversion, but have a high dynamic range shot and a banded noise happy canon and well it's worth not having dark ass corners not helping matters.  All I know is I was pretty shocked with how bad that was on full frame.  Was clear to go all in(plan on even more money on the best of lenses) or just wait in crop sensor land, as it's not terrible down there anyway. 

Anyway, 24mm at F4 is far better on the 24-70 with vignetting and you have the F2.8 there when you need it...fwiw.


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2012, 01:06:01 PM »
I started with T2i + 18-55; next with T2i + 18-200 (bleah  ;D); next with T2i + 24-105 + 270EX; now I have 5D2+ 24-105 + 270 EX for filling.
I will never go back to crop or to built-in flash (even the cheapest 270 is better than popup one).
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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2012, 01:54:34 PM »
I missed "full frame" since the day I went digital.  Worked my way up the ladder from one Digital Rebel to another.  Then got a 7D when it came out.  Last Christmas I finally got a good deal on a 5DII.  Have never looked back.  Love the full frame, what a beautiful sensor.  I don't even want to use the 7D anymore.  I'm a center focus point only guy, so I have no problems with the autofocus on the 5DII.  I highly recommend you go ahead and get one.  I have a fairly big collection of lenses  for it.  My favorites are the 50mm 1.4 and the 15mm 2.8.  The 24-105mm is also a surprisingly good lens.


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2012, 02:06:08 PM »
I recently upgraded from a 450D that I'd been using for years to a 5DII.  The hard part was selling off my trusty EF-S lenses.  After using the Canon 17-55 2.8 for so long I was concerned that the 24-105L wasn't fast enough, but I haven't really had an issue with it being f/4.  Moving to FF you will capture so much more light that the smaller aperture didn't make much of a difference.

You can get amazing deals on the 5DII+24-105L combo if you don't mind buying used.  I got a low shutter-count combo PLUS a battery grip for just under $2000 on ebay, and the lens and body were in great shape.

I did the same as a few others have mentioned here- and picked up a 270EXII for my travel flash needs.  Works great.

I'm still getting used to the weight.  I lugged the 5DII + 24-105L and a Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 around Europe for 3 weeks and I was really happy to put the kit down at the end of each day.  Eventually I would just go out with one lens at a time, where with my Rebel I would be willing to carry a few.  After getting the 5DII I bought a Clik Elite Probody Sport to carry my gear on the go: my old backpack wasn't ergonomic enough to be comfortable carrying that much all day.

No regrets though, I'm with FF to stay.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2012, 02:10:58 PM by lecoupdejarnac »


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2012, 02:14:13 PM »
Check the number of postings for people who have upgrade their 5D MK2 to a Fuji X-Pro 1.


I have a 5D MK3 and a bunch of brand new L glass and I have a Fuji X-Pro 1 with only the 35mm F/1.4.

The camera that I reach for and goes everywhere with me is not the 5D MK3 ;)



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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2012, 02:38:14 PM »
I am on the same boat you are. When I first got a DSLR was to do macro in a studio setting and it was only a couple of years ago that I started to take the camera outside as I became more aware of the limitations of even the most advanced P&S. I currently own a T3i with a EF-s 15-85, EF-s 17-55, EF 70-300 (non L), and a couple of macro lenses. The IQ am getting from the T3i + these lenses is actually pretty good but the current 5DII price got me the itch for a FF, so I rented a 5D II + 24-105 (as the mkIII is out the question in terms of cost).

In terms of weight, it did not really make much of a difference (the EF-S 17-55 which I am used to carry is already a pretty hefty lens). The bulk on the other hand was more of a problem for packing -and even sometimes moving around- and I guess it will take me longer to adapt to.

When started shooting, one of the first things I noticed is how much better the -much maligned- AF system of the 5D II + 24-100 worked when compared to the T3i. AF was accurate much more often, and the ability to do AFMA could probably improve things even more (my 70-300 tends to back focus a tad).

In terms of handling, the 5DII and T3i are two completely different animals and even after reading the manual I didn't feel I really got a good handle of it (granted I had only a weekend for this  testing adventure).  I am sure one gets used to it, but there is a learning curve that may take some time and practice to climb.

Now, in terms of IQ, under good light, the 5D II + 24-105 images where not significantly better than the T3i + 17-55 (or even 15-85). At 100% crops you could tell them apart, but for practical purposes I did not think the difference was meaningful. I could not really compare the bookeh because I only had the 24-105 but this is an area for which I would expect a difference.

But then the lights went down... and, oh boy, that was a completely different story. I loved it. With the T3i I cannot go over ISO 800 (and even that is kind of pushing it if the images are going to be seen full-screen on a computer monitor). The 5DII could go 1600 and higher and was beautiful. I could get indoor shoots with the 24-105 (not an especially fast lens) that I could not even dream to get with the T3i and the somewhat equivalent 15-85 and perhaps not even with the faster 17-55. Indoors or in low light the 5DII opens a completely new world of possibilities.

For my macro work I could only compare the cameras with an MPE-65  because my beloved EF-S 60 macro doesn't work in FF. Here it becomes a megapixel game as I tend to crop these images quite a bit. The improvement the 5DII 21Mp sensor brings over the -very good- 18 MP T3i is actually significant (at least for my kind of macro shooting). I don't know if this difference will translate to a more normal macro lens (e.g. EF 100 macro), but the results with the MPE-65 are promising. Not that the T3i produces bad images, actually the quality is quite good, but the 5DII was better.

So, in conclusion:

In good light, the difference (with a good crop lens) in my opinion does not justify the extra expense/bulk/weight. However, the 5DII shines when shooting in low light or indoors and the extra detail captured by the sensor helps if you need to crop. AF (and having AFMA) is a big improvement over a rebel although I gather it may not be so over a 7D as others here pointed out. After this short experience I am certain of one thing: I am not going to spend 3K (or 4K+ taking into account lenses) to get a 5DIII (I do not shot sports and rarely shot rapid moving objects -this may change as the kids grow up!-). At <2K the 5DII is very, very tempting, but I am not in a hurry so I decided am better off waiting to see whether the D600 materializes and how Canon responds to it (from a business perspective Canon has to respond to the D600 or they will otherwise risk loosing upgraders like you and I to Nikon -as moving from crop to FF implies buying new lenses anyways-).

Renting the camera/lens from my local store was less that $200 for the weekend and it was well worth it. I highly recommend it because the hands-on feeling cannot be replaced by what you read on a forum.

Hope this helps.

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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2012, 02:38:14 PM »


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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2012, 07:21:54 PM »
I've only been playing with dslrs for c 20 months, and with Canon's for only 4, so my comments may be worthless; but I was recently in a situation not entirely dissimilar to yours, so here goes.  I started out with a Nikon D3100 and while it seemed like a good camera, I always got the impression that I could be getting better results (for reasons in addition to my inexperience) - plus, I wasn't entirely pleased when the autofocus mechanism in the camera died after four months (Nikon promptly fixed it, but still...).  So I started reading more, looked at lots of comparison sites online, etc. and ended up with a Pentax K-5 which, at least in terms of sensor quality, is probably as good as crop-sensor dslrs get (it doesn't hurt IS is in the body either).  I could see easily enough that FF cameras could give better results, but at the time I decided they were beyond what I wanted to spend, so I ruled them out.  The K-5 proved to be a good buy, and obviously better than the D3100 in every way.

But of course I kept reading about the superiority of FF, along with arguments to the contrary, and decided I needed to find out for myself.  The D800 and 5DIII had just been announced but wouldn't be available for a while, and being impatient I decided to rent a 5DII, telling myself that if I couldn't produce better results with a 5DII than I could with the K-5 I would stick with the K-5 and forget about FF altogether; how much better would the D800 or 5DIII be?

A few days later a 5DII plus 24-105L showed up and after an afternoon spent comparing the 5DII and the K-5 it seemed pretty clear to me that I "needed" FF.  It became even more obvious when I took photos indoors outside that night (I like low-light photography).  Shortly thereafter I bought that 5DII/24-105 combination, followed by a few primes, a 17-40L and 70-200 f/4 L IS, and a flash, along with a Rebel as back-up, have almost finished selling off my Pentax gear to help pay for it all, and haven't looked back. 

(By the way, those who complain that switching brands is expensive overstate the problem, I think - where I had bought Pentax equipment new, I didn't lose much, and where I had bought it used I *gained* overall, so I ended up having paid very little for a year's use of an extremely good camera.)

Of course, comparing a K-5 to a 5DII wasn't quite the same as comparing a crop-sensor Canon to a 5DII since I didn't have the same lens on each camera, but now that I own a 5DII and Rebel T3i I'm pretty sure the differences are similar (I also suspect that the Canon lenses I've ended up with are better than the lenses I was using on the Pentax, but that's another matter), and all in favor of the 5DII except size/weight.

As for Daniemare's questions, they're hard to answer because it's all rather subjective.  Yes, this stuff's all heavier than most of what I used to carry around.   I took most of my Canon items to Paris with me in May and often carried around a bag containing the 5DII plus 17-40 + 70-200 or just the 24-105 and must confess that by the end of the day I sometimes felt like tossing the whole lot into the Seine.  But (1) I have a back which tends to tire easily and I used to sometimes feel like that carrying around the lighter Nikon and Pentax gear; and (2) when I got back to the hotel and looked at the photos I decided they made it worth the effort.  When I'm not in tourist mode, carrying equipment around all day isn't an issue and I've discovered that by far the easiest way to carry the 5DII is to hold it by the grip without a strap attached; no matter what lens is attached, the balance is excellent and it doesn't seem heavy at all, even when carrying it for hours (I've long since gotten over the fear of dropping it).  Your experience, of course, may be quite different - for all I know, your back is much better than mine, for one thing.

The flash issue is subjective too.  I much prefer natural light to flash and on the rare occasions when I do need to use flash I'll use an external flash; I don't like using built-in flashes - sure they're convenient, but to these eyes nothing looks good hit with the light they provide.  So no, I don't miss it at all on the 5DII!  You might, though.

Most important for me is whether I can notice a significant (to me, obviously) improvement in the photos I want to take in the manner I want to take them (e.g., I never do video, use center-point focus only, and don't care how many shots per second a camera can take, so all sorts of features that plainly matter a lot to other people don't matter to me at all).  I was able to answer that question pretty quickly when I rented a 5DII.  If, like my father, you aren't at all interested in low-light photography and dislike shallow depth of focus, your answer might well be the opposite of mine. 

So I can only echo Marshall's advice: if you don't know anyone who owns a 5DII and is willing to lend it to you for a few days, and if it's an option (it's easy to do online in the USA), rent one - it's the only way you can really discover whether it will do a better job of what you want a camera to do, whether it's inconvenient to carry around, and whether any improvements you notice make that inconvenience worth while.  No, it's not free, but who knows - you may end up saving a lot of money!   




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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2012, 07:56:00 PM »
I still have my 350D which now only gets used for time lapses. I'm probably in a minority in preferring the size and particularly the weight of a Rebel, despite having large hands. I'd be really pleased if Canon released a full-frame Rebel.

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Re: New Upgraders (to FF) - what is your experience
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2012, 07:56:00 PM »