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Old Sep 22, 2004, 4:56 PM   #1
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Hello all you experts out there. I'm lookin' for some advice! I currently shoot with a Canon Digital Rebel and a Canon 70-200mmF4 "L" lens and I'm thinking about upgrading.

The short story of this email is this: Should I upgrade my Canon 70-700mm F4 "L" to the Canon 70-700mm F2.8 "L" IS, or shoud l upgrade to the new Canon SLR, the 20D? I'm strapped for cash, and can only do one or the other (yes, I'm taking the resale $$ for the equipment I'll sell into consideration). Now, here's my longwinded explanation:

I do a lot of equestrian photography (i.e.,sports stuff), and find myself struggling with my lens (I think). Don't get me wrong; I love mycurrent lens, but I feel like it's not sufficient (or I'm not skilled enough, it's one of the two. Tellme if you think that's it). This is my first SLR of any kind - I shot with a Canon digital elph and then a G2for the 3 years prior to the Rebel, and it's been quite a learning curve. I've really enjoyed both my lens and the Rebel.


I usually shoot in shutter speed priority, and find myself pushing the ISO up sometimes to compensate forlow light (if it's even just overcast outside, sometimes I feel like the F4 isn't really cutting it). I shot for 3 days at Rolex this spring (a very swanky equestrian event - olympic level athletes), and it rained a lot and I really struggled. Also, I shoot at around 1/500 often, and I believe I'm getting some camera shake/out of focus issues going on. Isometimes shoot at a faster speed, but again, light becomes more of an issue then. (or is my understanding of how this all works flawed?)

I originally bought the F4 for the usual reasons: $$ and weight. But now that I've shot with it, I realize that the F2.8 IS "L" lens wouldn't be so difficult to haul around since I only use the zoom when I'm pretty much just taking pictures; it's not like iI use it for travelling snapshots. Also, I'm kind of excited about the possibility of putting a tele-converter on the F2.8 - that would make it an F5.6, yes? That would be very fun to play with.

As for the Rebel, I'm an inexperienced SLR user, and it's served me very well. Are the focus issues me, or the camera? (I use the center focus point only, and sometimes it focuses just behind my subject when the background is close, and sometimes the entire photos is just slightly out of focus - camera shake, I think.) I would very much like to have the extra resolution (for cropping and enlarging) on the 20D, and it sounds like a pretty cool camera.

I guess I'm leaning towards the new lens, but I thought I'd ask you guys to see what you think. I've been shooting with a local professional event photographer this summer, and my F4 lens has paid for itself, which is very cool.

Another thing about my rebel - some of the fake rubber coating on the grip is peeling off, I think from sunscreen on my hands. It's just cosmetic, but it's annoying. Has this happened to anyone else?

thanks for your advice!

Kf

p.s. - a note for the rest of the newbies out there - I LOVE my F4 L lens! When I started to shoot with it, I just could not believe how much better the pics were when compared to the kit lens pics! Go for the good glass! It makes all the difference in the world.

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Old Sep 22, 2004, 11:29 PM   #2
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I had several through while reading this:
1) The lens will last you longer than the new camera body. Good glass (which the f2.8 is) will last you 10+ years if you treat it well. So if you care about such things, that might make your choice easier.

2) I've read subjective testing which says that the 20D's noise is better than the 10D. But I've seen good quality testing which says that it has a different shape/characteristics but appears in the same amount as the 10D. I think that makes it the same as the DRebel. To my eye, the noise is the same in the sample pictures (look at the forums on www.dpreview.com and decide yourself. 20D 800ISO isn't as good as 10D 400ISO, so I'd still use the 20D at 400ISO. So you won't gain a stop of light (higher shutter or more DOF) by switching to the 20D.

3) Focusing issues. This is a difficult one. It could be your camera body. Some are defective, it happens. It could also be the small DOF that f4 gives you, but that depends on distance among other things (and the problem will be worse with f2.8.) Are you sure it isn't camera shake or insufficient shutter speed (so the DOF isn't really behind the horse)?

4) The coping/enlarging argument is real. If you really need that, then it helps guide your choice. Enlarging/interpolation is not a substitute for more sensor resolution.

5) If you're finding f4 difficult in the lower light, then you'll need twice as much light at f5.6. So you'll be able to use the TC some times but certainly not all the time. It is appealying, though. I would not recommend the 2xTC, though. It will drop image quality... but that is subjective. It might not be enough to matter to you, or it might be too much... only you can decide.

6) Good glass is amazing, isn't it? The lens you got is one of the good ones so I'm not surprised you're getting good results with it. It costs money but it lasts a long time so (at least to me) its worth the extra money up front to not have to replace it later 'cause its holding me back.

My closing statement is that unless the camera is really holding you back (there is one with better ISO noise, or the AF will get you pictures that you otherwise miss) then get better glass.

I hope that helps.

Eric
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 11:18 AM   #3
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You should post some shots so peopel can give a better opinion. F4 should be more than enough for outdoor shots but then again I am in california and don't know the weather in your part of the world.

IS is not going to help you for action shots, you need higher shutter speed where IS is useless. So if you think you need f2.8, then go for the non-IS lens (as you say money is tight). Non-IS is much lighter than the IS-version.

I don't kow rebel but you should try the AI servo mode with aperture priority. Take multiple shots in sequence using continuous mode. I never use shutter priority. Set the aperture to the max on your lens (f4) and shoot wide open, camera will select the fastest shutter speed. This way you not fiddling with high enough shutter speed for any given shot.

Putting 1.4x on the f2.8 will make it f4 lens. If you put 2x, then it is f5.6 so it will still AF on rebel, 10D, and 20D.

Hope it helps.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 11:41 AM   #4
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bobbyz wrote:
Quote:
IS is not going to help you for action shots, you need higher shutter speed where IS is useless. So if you think you need f2.8, then go for the non-IS lens (as you say money is tight). Non-IS is much lighter than the IS-version.

I don't kow rebel but you should try the AI servo mode with aperture priority. Take multiple shots in sequence using continuous mode. I never use shutter priority. Set the aperture to the max on your lens (f4) and shoot wide open, camera will select the fastest shutter speed. This way you not fiddling with high enough shutter speed for any given shot.

Putting 1.4x on the f2.8 will make it f4 lens. If you put 2x, then it is f5.6 so it will still AF on rebel, 10D, and 20D.

Hope it helps.
The 70-200 F2.8L IS has two IS modes. The first is for handheld shots and the second is for panning. I find the second mode to be VERY useful when shooting action shoots (I shoot soccer and footbal). I also find AI Servo mode to be VERY useful. The digital rebel only has that mode in Sports or via a firmware hack.

In my opinion the 70-200 F4 on a 20D is a better choice than a 70-200 F2.8 IS on a DRebel.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 5:10 PM   #5
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Good points all around. One that seems to be missing so far:

The 20D has a larger, and faster, image buffer. That is important for action shots.

Barthold
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 5:32 PM   #6
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barthold wrote:
Quote:
Good points all around. One that seems to be missing so far:

The 20D has a larger, and faster, image buffer. That is important for action shots.

Barthold
Larger if you shoot jpeg, but once you get used to RAW, you don'twant to go back tojpegs. I am still trying to find more info about how fast the buffer works with RAW assuming the faster write time of 20D. From what I am reading the AF on 20D is much better than 10D in AI servo mode even with slower lenses.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 6:32 PM   #7
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You guys - this discussion is so helpful! After reading what you said, I remembered that I had tried the sports mode on my Rebel, but decided not to use it because it uses only ISO 400 (correct me if I'm wrong).

One thing I continually work on with shooting horses is my timing, so the buffer size isn't really an issue, actually. Just holding down the button and firing away just doesn't seem to be an adequate way to capturethe moment, since the moment I"m trying to capture is so short (i.e., a specific point in the jump, or in the horse's stride). So the only time I fill up the Rebel buffer is when I'm shooting with a slow CF card.

Here are two shots I took with the Rebel (I know the nose is cut off on the first one, but I like it anyway):

http://www.hoofers.org/riding/archiv...ehall_6695.jpg

and

http://www.hoofers.org/riding/archiv...ssage_6231.jpg

I think that most of my focus issues are from camera shake, actually, and that's why I was thinking that the IS would be good. But there are other times that I can see that the center point was where I wanted itto focus, but thecamera focused on the background, 4-8 feet behind the subject (and not in the center of the image). That almost never happens when the background is more distant.

In good daylight the F4 is perfectly adequate, but when it's overcast, it gets a little tougher. Of course, pushing the ISO up helps... But it sounds like the 20Dmight bebetter in this respect too.

Now I'm starting to think about the 20D more seriously..I looked at a couple of reviews, and it's kind of daunting because it has many more features than the Rebel. But I'm starting to sell some photos, and want to learn more about the craft. I can get the new lens next year - the horse show season is pretty much over here now for the year anyway. I'll think on it some more.

thanks again!

x



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Old Sep 23, 2004, 10:48 PM   #8
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Focus magic, http://www.focusmagic.com/can improve pictures with camera shake substantially. It takes time of course, but if you have a blurry picture that you think would be worth the effort, it's worth trying.

Are you using a monopod? That could give you added stability like IS, and help you support the big lenses to boot. Some tradeoffs with mobility of course.

The 20D is supposed to have better focusing capability, esp. with f/2.8 or faster lenses.

The 20D also has nice RAW performance compared to the 300D, and crazy! (tm)JPEG performance. Don't try it if you want to be happy with the 300D (which isa decent camera after all.)

The 300D replacement is going to be coming out in the new year. Who knows what's in store for it. I think that that category (entry DSLR) is strategically important to Canon, so there should be some great value / competitiveness in that product. (Or just massive price-cutting, but I don't think that Canon can afford to have a bottom-of-the-barrel price/product reputation/experience.)
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