General purpose lens for full frame

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General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:29 pm

I'm considering upgrading from my APS-C DSLR to a full-frame camera in the next two and half months. I would need new general-purpose lens(es). What would the gerbils suggest?

I've currently got the large-aperture EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, the tack-sharp EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM and the very fun EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lenses. These three lenses and my Speedlite 580EX II would work with a full-frame EOS camera, but my favorite EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM wide-normal zoom lens would not.

Should I get the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM or the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM? Is the new EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM worth $1000 more :o than the previous version? Is there another prime lens that I should buy?

...or should I just keep plugging along with the EOS 40D that I have now? :-?
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:21 am

What are your expectations and requirements for going to full frame? Do you want more DOF control? Do you want better ISO performance? Do you want better video (eg 5D Mk III). What do you want to shoot? Street? Architecture? Landscape? Portraiture? Wildlife?

Looking at your lens lineup, you are very normal to telecentric heavy. Do you intend to maintain this focus or are you intending to branch out into other areas?

One thing to be wary of with moving to full frame is to adjust your expectations. It is a lot harder to get tack-sharp corners with full frame than APS-C. Backfocus issues with fast lenses are more critical than with APS-C. You definitely get improvements in DOF control and low light, and the larger, brighter viewfinder can be a great help.

The 24-105/4L is a pretty decent performer (with the caveat of soft corners), but it's very much a sideways shift from the 17-55/2.8. It will give you the same DOF control and the slower aperture more or balances out with the higher ISO sensitivity of the larger sensor, so all you've gained from making the shift is adding cost and weight to your system.

On the other hand, going to the 24-70/2.8L would give you one stop more DOF control, again with the caveat of softer corners. This lens also suffers from moderate field curvature, so be prepared to stop down if you want things tack-sharp from corner to corner ('Wait? Why do I want to get a fast lens and then stop down to get good images?' you may ask; sadly, this is a real limitation with many lenses today). I haven't seen any reviews of the Mk II, but I find the price hike a little too rich for my blood.

You could also get a fast prime. EF has a lot more good fast glass than EF-S, especially in the wide angle department, but you don't seem too interested in wides based on your current stable (conjecture). Oh, and they're not sharp corner to corner either, even if you get the $1,600 24/1.4 L II.

So think about why you want to move to full frame and what you intend to do with it. It's not a panacea to better image quality or photographic capability. But if it suits your needs, it can be a very good fit.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:01 am

Voldenuit wrote:What are your expectations and requirements for going to full frame?
I'm using the camera for a hobby, not trying to earn a living with it. I particularly enjoy landscape and wildlife photography, but I shoot portraits and things like car shows occasionally, too.
Mostly, I want better performance at high ISO. My EOS 40D looks good at ISO 100 to 400 and is tolerable at ISO 800. A new full-frame camera would provide several more stops of usable sensitivity.
A shallower depth of field would be nice for portraits and for isolating a subject (even in telephoto) by blurring away the more distant background.
I haven't shot any video yet. I don't know if it's something that I would use all of the time or just infrequently.

Voldenuit wrote:You are very normal to telecentric heavy.
The 85/1.8 and 100/2.8 lenses don't get mounted very often. I'm hoping that the 85mm lens will provide a more useful field of view for portraits and indoor candids on a full frame camera than it does with the 1.6 crop factor that I have now. I took only the 17-55 and 100-400 to Alaska last year. I didn't feel that I missed many shots that the other two lenses would have captured. I probably would have been okay with the 100-400 and something even wider than 17mm for panoramas.

Voldenuit wrote:You could also get a fast prime. EF has a lot more good fast glass than EF-S, especially in the wide angle department, but you don't seem too interested in wides based on your current stable (conjecture).
Those same prime EF lenses work fine on my EOS 40D. They just don't provide as wide a field of view. :lol: The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM has covered my wide angle and normal requirements so far. It's such a sharp and quick-focusing lens that I haven't seen the need to get a wide-angle prime. There have been a few times that I've wished for something wider than the 27-88mm equivalent view that it provides.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:08 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Mostly, I want better performance at high ISO. My EOS 40D looks good at ISO 100 to 400 and is tolerable at ISO 800. A new full-frame camera would provide several more stops of usable sensitivity.


The latest round of APS-C cameras have better noise characteristics than the last gen of FF. You can easily shoot ISO 1600 or higher in good light and get outstanding results.

Edit: eh, I see Canon has fallen down a bit wrt APS-C high-ISO performance. Oh well.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:03 pm

Yeats wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:Mostly, I want better performance at high ISO. My EOS 40D looks good at ISO 100 to 400 and is tolerable at ISO 800. A new full-frame camera would provide several more stops of usable sensitivity.


The latest round of APS-C cameras have better noise characteristics than the last gen of FF. You can easily shoot ISO 1600 or higher in good light and get outstanding results.

Edit: eh, I see Canon has fallen down a bit wrt APS-C high-ISO performance. Oh well.


Canon is not at the forefront of APS-C high ISO performance. But the noise performance of the 7D is not far off the D7000 (D7000 has better black level noise, but otherwise they are very close). And the 7D is only about 0.5-1 stop behind the 5D Mk II. 5D Mk III would be even better, but also much more expensive. Any of these cameras are a lot better than the ageing 40D at high ISO.

My recommendation would be to get a 7D ($1600) and a 10-22/3.5-4.5 ($800) for about the same price as a 5D Mk II body. And you wouldn't need to get rid of any of your old lenses or buy an expensive FF L lens.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:15 pm

FF cameras have inherently better ISO tolerance than crop cameras, because of their size. Any advantages the current crop cameras are irrelevant because of the new FF camera (5d mkIII) coming out. Granted it's largely been optimized for video, we have every reason to believe that it is still a VERY competent for stills. As far as the lens question, I'd favor the 24-105L. If i'm not mistaken, it's the kit lens that canon has matched with the 5d mkII for most of its life. I haven't had the privileged to use it, but it seems like a solid walk around lens.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:12 pm

For a walkaround lense, the 24-105 is pretty darn good on the 5D if you only can have one lense. Compared to the 24-70 it's also lighter by a fair bit.

I used it a whole lot on my 20D, but always with the addon of a 10-22 for the wideangle. With the 5D mk2 I got for my trip to New Zeeland, I rarely used the 17-40 at all. I got that one to replace the 10-22. And while I often used the 10-22 at 10, for some reason, I find that the 24-105 on 24 works well enough in most cases. I dont know how the 40D compares in Iso, my 20D was kindof bad on higher isos, while the 5Dmk2 works fine to 1600 and even 3200. Thats also why the 24-105 works well with 5D mk2 compared to the 24-70. Same thing with the longer zoom's too. Enough so I sold my 70-200/2.8L IS and stepped down to a 70-200/4L IS, mostly because of weight for the trip actually, but shallow dof is not an issue if I want it.

That said, the 24-105 have a problem when doing portraits. You will need primes if you do portraits with shallow dof in any way. It wont be at its best wide open either. And as has already been said, it could be sharper in the corners, but it not that much of a slouch if you step it down a tad.

But unless theres a special reason you want full frame, Voldenuit has a good point that 7D with 10-22 is a pretty good combination. But still... 5D mk2 with the 135/2L is pretty hard to match for a APS-C camera when doing portraits. :P And the 5D mk3 is droolworthy. I actually wanted to wait for the 5D mk3, but spending 4 weeks in New Zeeland 2010-2011 with a 20D wasnt exactly what I could call optimal, so I caved willingly on the mk2, and it has served me very well for the last 1.5 years. Although I havent shoot much video with it. If you can wait A bit it'll probably fall from "new" price a tad too. And I would say that the differences between the mk2 and mk3 is worth getting the new one. But thats me...YMMV
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:43 pm

Those are good points, Aphasia. I have quite literally had a pain in the neck after 7+ hours of hand-held shooting with the 100-400 lens. It weighs 1380 g. The 24-105 weighs 670 g while the 24-70 is 950 g and the 24-70 II is 805 g.

One gentleman on the whale-watching boat brought along his AF-S 400mm f/2.8G ED VR mounted on a Bush Hawk (or similar) stock with trigger. The lens alone weighs 4.6 kg. :o
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:46 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Those are good points, Aphasia. I have quite literally had a pain in the neck after 7+ hours of hand-held shooting with the 100-400 lens. It weighs 1380 g. The 24-105 weighs 670 g while the 24-70 is 950 g and the 24-70 II is 805 g.


You should be using a shoulder strap, not a neck strap. :)
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:19 pm

Aphasia wrote:But still... 5D mk2 with the 135/2L is pretty hard to match for a APS-C camera when doing portraits. :P And the 5D mk3 is droolworthy.


The OP's 85/1.8 with an APS-C camera is pretty close, it would be the equivalent of a 136mm f/2.8 on FF. It also has pretty good bokeh and sharpness.

I agree that the 5D Mk III is droolworthy (especially with the new DIGIC 5+ processor for video, and the much improved AF), but it *is* a lot of money. If the 5D Mk III was out of the OP's budget, I'd actually pick the 7D over the 5D Mk II, because the 7D has very close ISO performance with the addition of a better AF system (more points, better tracking, more graceful fallback with slow lenses) and faster processor.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:12 pm

Yeats wrote:You should be using a shoulder strap, not a neck strap. :)
Can you recommend one?
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:55 pm

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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:02 pm

I came to this same question with my 40D and ended up staying on APS-C with the Canon 7D. 18MP for larger printing sizes; passable shooting at 3200 ISO and noisy but usable images at 6400; 8fps rapid shooting option for capturing children and wildlife in-motion; and HD video capability. No need to be locked into a narrower range of much more expensive lenses, either. Granted, there is some very nice "L" glass out there I would love to have, but since my photography is not making money and I also own two cars and a DIY audio hobby, my resources are spread too thin to justify $2k+ photography investments more than once every couple years.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:03 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Yeats wrote:You should be using a shoulder strap, not a neck strap. :)
Can you recommend one?


What w00tstock said. :)
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:28 pm

ludi wrote:Justify $2k+ photography investments.
The new EOS 5D Mark III is $3.5k. :o The older Mark II version is $2.2k. The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is $0.8k when purchased in a kit with either body. The new EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is $2.3k. :o The older EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is $1.3k.

That doesn't include the opportunity to find deals on pre-owned copies of the older versions as folks upgrade to the latest thing. On the other hand, sticking with APS-C, the EOS 7D is only $1.6k (or $1.23k refurbished) and it would work fine with my EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:13 pm

New 'round here, but I'd like to step into the discussion.

I switched to a FF DSLR a couple of summers ago [Sony A900] and haven't looked back since. It helped that with it came a 17-35, 24-70/2.8, 85/1.4, and a 70-200/2.8, but besides the glass, the huge upgrade in viewfinder and massive increase in dynamic range made it so I barely looked at my APS-C bodies again [doing so brought about a good bit of disdain]. I did notice that picking up an A55 [Sony's toyish translucent-mirror cam] how much of an advance was made in the crop-frame space; dynamic range matched my FF cam, it handled noise better even though it packed more pixels and lost light due to the mirror, and shot stupidly fast. For work, it didn't fit the bill as it's a consumer camera, but it made be believe in smaller sensors again.

The question is, do you really need another camera? If the 40D is serving you fine, then hanging onto it and awaiting a 7D [shudder] successor or watching the price slide further on the MK2 might be more worthwhile. That $3.5K price tag on the MK3 probably means less people will be throwing money at it than they did when the MK2 was released, but it might be fun watching the market for the next six months to see how it shapes up.

Also, BlackRapid straps are amazing, haven't had camera related neck pain in years.

[edit]

24-105 is my vote. Noise being quelled as well as its been, the extra range and being lighter are big pluses.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:08 pm

@JustAnEngineer

If you want another zoom lens to cover the wider end to standard telephoto, the 24-70mm 2.8L II is a good choice. If you are looking for a prime, I suggest getting the 35mm L (or the soon to be released 35mm L II). I have the 35mm L and I like it on my 5Dii as I prefer the focal length (not too wide like a 24mm and not too telephoto like a 50mm). It suits my style and preference.

I also have a 16-35mm 2.8L ii and I find myself grabbing that lens nowadays more than any other ones. Loads of fun to use! Its is wonderful wide angle zoom lens that has wonderful IQ and I just love the convenience of having a 16mm and 35mm focal length in one lens.

I personally would stay away from the 24-105mm F4 L (5dii kit lens). Although I found it very light and overall a good carry around lens; I only find it really useful during the DAYTIME only.

Also, get the 5D3 as the 5Dii prices has gone back up. The best time to get the 5Dii was a few weeks ago when the prices were super low + canon rebates.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:03 am

There are two main advantages for buying a 7D over a 5Dmk2. The first, as mentioned by voldenuit, is the 7D's vastly superior AF system. If you enjoy nature photography, the more modern AF system for the 7D will be a big advantage. I have a 5D for work and the AF system works fine but it is limited compared to that in a 7D. You can focus slower lenses over a bigger part of the frame with the 7D. The smaller APS-C sensor in the 7D means that the AF sensor covers more of the frame, which is handy if your'e tracking a moving target.

The other advantage relavent to someone who enjoys nature photography is the 7D's much higher shooting rate. It can handle 8fps RAW bursts whereas the 5D can do 3.9fps (buffer for the 7D is 15 and 8 for the 5D).

Another thing I have noticed is the difference in shutter lag. I don't have any numbers to compare (you can google) but it feels like the 7D is at least a third faster in responding. Of course there is always the greater DOF for any equivalent focal length, something that is always helpful for the nature/sports photographer.

I would personally recommend a 7D and 10-22mm lens, as said by others. The 50mm f1.4 lens is nice if you want something resembling an 85mm on a FF camera, though it may be a little redundant since you have an 85mm.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:22 am

imtheunknown176 wrote:I would personally recommend a 7D and 10-22mm lens, as said by others. The 50mm f1.4 lens is nice if you want something resembling an 85mm on a FF camera, though it may be a little redundant since you have an 85mm.


Well, he doesn't have a 85mm equivalent since he's on a crop sensor (atm). Having owned both a 40D and the 50/1.4, I found the lens to be a little soft and low contrast wide-open. I would go for the sigma 50/1.4 EX HSM for a little more, although the lens is known to have quite a bit of sample variance, so it's worth shopping samples. Personally, my pick for a versatile lens on EF-S is the Tamron 60/2 macro. Great for portraits, great for macro, clutch-style MF override. Only real weakness I can think of is some LoCA in macro shots wide open.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:35 am

Voldenuit wrote:
imtheunknown176 wrote:I would personally recommend a 7D and 10-22mm lens, as said by others. The 50mm f1.4 lens is nice if you want something resembling an 85mm on a FF camera, though it may be a little redundant since you have an 85mm.


Well, he doesn't have a 85mm equivalent since he's on a crop sensor (atm).


Heh. I didn't word that well. I meant the 50mm could be his 85mm equivalent and by redundant, I meant the 85 and 50mm are close enough to not make a *huge* difference in FOV. It will definitely be wider, though not so much so to make it a must buy right now. You're right about the Canon 50mm being soft wide open; the sigma sounds like a good choice, though I don't have any third party expereince to go by.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:10 am

When in doubt, go rent some gear and try it out yourself. You should be able to find a place locally to rent gear and if not, then there are a number of places online that you can rent from too.
///_-)
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:16 pm

5DMkIII studio samples out.

I must say I'm a bit disappointed. There's not much perceptible improvement over the MkII. And coupled with the lack of improvement in video, it seems the only thing the extra $1000 buys you is a more modern AF system.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:25 am

it seems the only thing the extra $1000 buys you is a more modern AF system.

Chromatic aberration correction with some lenses, too.
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Re: General purpose lens for full frame

Postposted on Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:22 pm

Voldenuit wrote:5DMkIII studio samples out.

I must say I'm a bit disappointed. There's not much perceptible improvement over the MkII. And coupled with the lack of improvement in video, it seems the only thing the extra $1000 buys you is a more modern AF system.

And a 100% viewfinder and better high iso. Start looking at 6400 and upwards.

I would agree with the other stuff, either a 5D mk3 or a 7d, because there are more things then only the sensor to worry about. Still, I'm really happy with the 5D mk2 over the 7D, while at the same time lamenting the differences in AF, 100% viewfinder, and video. Not to mention a few great lenses like the 17-55/2.8 IS.
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