New lens or new camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 064629009, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. 064629009, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010

    064629009 macrumors member

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    Jan 8, 2010
    #1
    Canon Rebel XS with good glass (possibly an L)

    or

    7D with its kit lens?

    (I can only afford one right now.)

    I don't know if it makes a difference, but I shoot portraits. Also, is the 7D kit lens (something like a 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM) better than the 50mm f1.8 (in terms of image quality)? If not, and I do go the 7D route, I'll just get a body.

    Edit: Sorry, should have said this from before. I already have a 1000d/rebel XS with a 18-55mm and a 50mm f1.8 and I want to upgrade.

    and I mainly do waist-up portraits, sometimes (not often) full body, indoor and outdoor
     
  2. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Definitely the Rebel XS (I think that's 1000D in the UK) with a nice lens.

    When you say you shoot portraits, what exactly do you mean? Head-and-shoulders in studio? Full-length on beach? Environmental portraits in shady bars? The "ideal" combination of body and lens could be quite different for all of these.

    A Canon 1000D plus Sigma 30mm/1.4 lens costs about £600, and gives you another £500 to save/spend elsewhere compared to buying a 7D with no lens.

    The Canon 50/1.8 is better than the 28-135mm at 50mm without any doubt at all (at apertures wider than about f/5.6 at a rough guess), but it's not so good in the 28-35mm and 80-135mm ranges...
     
  3. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #3
    Better lenses are almost always better than better bodies. If you're shooting portraiture, have a look at the 24-70 f/2.8L or one of the 70-200mm lenses.
     
  4. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    What are you using now? What kind of portraiture are you doing?
     
  5. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    May 29, 2007
    #5
    Camera bodies come and go, and become outdated tech after a while. Lenses last ages. If you buy a really good lens you may never have to replace it.
     
  6. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Neither.

    For portraits, find a good used 5D, and add either an 85 f/1.8 or 100 f/2, and perhaps a 50 f/1.8. This would run you about what a new 7D kit would cost. I'd much rather have the (excellent and full frame) 5D than any crop body, for use in portraiture, to be honest.

    Used bodies can be had from reputable sources like KEH, B&H, or the Fred Miranda forums.
     
  7. jackerin macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I'd get the XS, skip the L glass for now, and instead invest in lights/strobes.
     
  8. iSax1234 macrumors regular

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    Virginia
    #8
    He already has the XS.

    The 7d is not going to really offer you anything that your XS doesn't now, "considering that you have good light and don't need high ISO"

    If I were you I'd pick up a 5d classic which can be found from 850-1100 dollars used. As well pick up an 85mm f/1.8 (300-350 used) and maybe a 35mm f/2. This will give you a 35mm, 50mm, 85mm prime focal lengths that are great for all types of portraits as well a Full Frame camera with creamy bokeh.

    Second option would be to buy some L glass. Honestly, on a crop body the 17-55 f/2.8 IS is better than the 24-70L. Although for portraiture I love primes. So you could go with a 50L if you like your 50mm focal length, but that gives you one lens. The 70-200L series are nice; and provide a great focal length. This really just depends on what focal length(s) you like best.

    Third option would be to keep your camera, buy some of the primes I mentioned with the 5d option and invest in some lights. Either strobes (alien bees) or just flashes with stands, either way lighting is going to really set your portraits apart and add up fast.
     
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Lenses are always a better investment than a body. I have lenses that are 15-20 years old which are in perfect working condition and also look like I could sell them in condition A. New lenses (and external flashes) will give you a lot more creative freedom and they survive quite a few bodies.

    Since you write, you do portraits and all, I assume you work in good lighting conditions. Which means you won't need a body with better high-ISO behavior. If you're shooting portraits, you could look into getting a 85 mm f/1.8, a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 or a macro lens in this focal length range (e. g. Tamron's 60 mm f/2 macro lens or Canon's 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens). If you want to get closer to your model, you could in addition get a 30 mm~35 mm prime lens. If you need anything wider, a 24 mm lens (35~40 mm on full frame) could be a useful addition. I'm mostly suggesting primes since I prefer them to zooms when doing portraits.

    BTW, I wouldn't take the red L too seriously: many of the primes I have suggested here have excellent image quality, but Canon hasn't blessed them with the L badge. There are third-party lenses that are excellent performers which rival (or in some cases best) what Canon has to offer at a typically lower price point.

    If you would like to have a good zoom, the 70-200 mm f/4 L (non-IS) offers the best bang for the buck (~€600). It's optically excellent, weights about half as much as its bigger f/2.8 brothers and as long as you have enough light, you won't miss the additional stop or IS. The 17-40 mm f/4 is also very good and ruggedly built. Another zoom would be the 17-55 mm f/2.8 Canon or, if you can get by with worse built quality, the Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 (the older and cheaper non-VC version).
     
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #10
    I 100% recommend the Sigma 50 ƒ/1.4 as a portrait lens on an APS-C body. On FF, it's a bit short for classical portraits, but still an absolutely stellar lens, provided you do your homework when buying it (test it first to make sure there are no AF issues). It has to be one of the best values for money in lenses, perhaps matched only by the new Sigma 85 f/1.4.
     
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #11
    I agree. Perhaps I should have said that explicitly, but all the focal length recommendations assume the OP keeps his 1.6x crop sensor Canon. The Sigma is definitely optically better than the 50 mm f/1.4 Canon -- which is why I've recommended it.
     
  12. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Definitely.

    The sharpness of the Sigma at f/1.4, the wonderful bokeh, and beautiful contrast and colour are just incredible.
     
  13. petjuli macrumors newbie

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #13
    No!

    Just in case this post sways you in any way, do NOT do this. If you are just starting out you want glass and expertise not flashes.
     
  14. jackerin macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    You speak as if learning lighting is a bad thing. It doesn't sound as if he's just starting out as he already has an XS and looking at L glass. Some will disagree, but I'm of the opinion that flashes will give you much more bang for the buck than lenses, because while fast glass will enable you to shoot in difficult circumstances, flashes will let you shoot in otherwise impossible circumstances.
     
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #15
    I wouldn't say that flashes give you more bang for the buck, though. It really depends on the circumstances: sometimes you want to/need to/have to use ambient light. I often prefer ambient light since I find pictures shot only with ambient light capture the mood much better than those taken using a big flash setup. In any case, YMMV.

    In any case, I would definitely recommend an external flash to the OP in addition to new lenses.
     
  16. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    #16
    A pro lens will allow for better results than a new body.

    Also, using a body with a higher pixel density with a consumer lens is a recipe for mediocrity as high resolution bodies really show the flaws in cheap glass. Also, fast pro glass lets you shoot at faster apertures letting you blur background and freeze motion.

    Yes, I am a photographer
     
  17. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Since when is learning lighting important for doing portraiture? ;)

    OP, if you don't already have some lights, go buy some and learn how to use them, and then, if you still feel like you need another camera or lens, revisit. A large aperture lens or a higher-resolution sensor will never bend or create ambient and/or focused light to a photog's whim, and unless you're going to restrict yourself to available-light portraits, investing in a good flash or strobe (and stand, umbrella, reflector etc) or two would be wise.

    If you already have lights, then definitely go for new glass, although it begs the question of what you find lacking in your current equipment.
     
  18. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I'll give a fifth vote for the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens. I use it on full-frame and love it.

    It's better than the Canon 50mm f/1.4. I had both for a while (then sold the Canon).

    You do need to be absolutely sure you've got a good copy. My first copy didn't focus correctly, but my second copy is perfect in every way.
     
  19. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #19
    +1 for lens. Build your lens collection, when you have what you want super awesome bodies will be out.
     

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