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Old 06-09-2017, 09:26 AM
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Nebulous (Chris)
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When and why do you upgrade your camera?

Hi all,

What criteria do you use when deciding when to upgrade your gear?

In theory, I know that I should wait until I’ve completely exhausted all the capability of my current equipment, know it all back to front, and can see exactly where and why there might be a welcome or necessary performance gain with a new camera. E.g. faster burst rate, better resolution, better AF system, or whatever.

But what I usually do is think “I haven’t had an upgrade for a while, it must be time for a new toy!”

I suspect that many people use a similar system!....


I do know that a better camera doesn’t automatically mean better pictures, and indeed a more complex camera can give you a bigger range of ways to screw up. Two of the sharpest close-ups I’ve taken were done with an inexpensive old Canon 600D body, and one of those photos (which was also very heavily cropped) used a dirt cheap Canon EF-S kit lens. So I can make a good case for simply working harder at improving my skills, getting more accurate with settings, and generally becoming quicker and more consistent.

But my wife has made an offer I can’t refuse! Every year she and a couple of girl-friends go to Bali for a week. I stay home and look after our son, and plan to take a break myself at a later date… But I just never get around to it. So Vicki said “Why not get yourself a really good new camera instead?”

Tempting.

Very tempting....

I have a small collection of Canon lenses, so it would be a Canon. Possibly a 6D Mark II - or even a 5D Mark IV. (She’s been to Bali multiple times).

Can anybody who owns similar quality cameras please tell me why they really love them, and why I should aspire to follow in their footsteps? I’m about to join a local camera club with the aim of improving my skills and knowledge, so I can tell myself that I will need really up-to-date equipment to be able to maximise my chances….

OK - It’s probably just Gear Lust rearing it’s head again…. but how do you make your upgrade decisions, and what would you go for in my place?

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:06 PM
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speach (Simon)
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I'm rather haphazard about it, I'll say "like the look of that I MIGHT have a use for it" next thing I've bought it then I can start worrying where's the money going to come from and how do I explain this to her that must be obeyed!
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:36 PM
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multiweb (Marc)
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My oldest camera OSC is going on 10 years and my mono probably half that. Never felt the need to change (yet). If I do it's probably because they'll have failed.
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:01 PM
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Nebulous (Chris)
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Oops! It seems that I asked a question about upgrading gear in the wrong place and it was moved to here. My mistake.

The question was meant to be about equipment for terrestrial photography not Astrophotography but I forgot to mention that. Perhaps I should really be asking it in a dedicated photography forum and not one whose main focus is astronomy.

But thanks to Speech and Multiweb for the replies.

I often use Simon's approach, but I suspect that, like Marc, I really don't have a pressing need to upgrade. The tricky part of decisions about new camera gear is that they are often packed with 'new' features that I'll never use, and the improvements in the areas that I could use are often pretty small in reality.

I should probably take a rain check on the chance of a new camera and keep working on the skills for a while longer.....

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:28 PM
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jenchris (Jennifer)
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There's a point where the skill level outgrows the camera and you realise that you're not getting any better pics or more satisfaction from them.
That point makes you start researching where you may improve - either by education or by investment.
Sometimes both are needed.
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:49 PM
markas (Mark)
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For terrestrial photography, I used to upgrade Canon DSLRs regularly - I was making enough money from landscape work to justify it. Since I don't do that anymore, I have been more than happy with my old 5D MkII - and the fleet of lenses I have accumulated.

The greatest recent advances in cameras IMO is in low light applications.
If this is important to you, consider the 6D MkII. (You also get full frame).

I have seen early evening shots of game taken with this camera on safari in Africa which are staggeringly good.....
Apart for the above, I think it is better to spend money on lenses than bodies!

Mark
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Old 06-09-2017, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenchris View Post
There's a point where the skill level outgrows the camera and you realise that you're not getting any better pics or more satisfaction from them.
That point makes you start researching where you may improve - either by education or by investment.
Sometimes both are needed.
I'd have to agree with your summary Jennifer. I don't think I'll ever reach the point where I can't benefit from more education (or more practice for that matter) but I'm finding it hard to put the right weighting on the investment angle. Apart from the technical gains, it's certainly motivating, and fun, to purchase new and improved gear, and sometimes that boost in renewed enthusiasm, coupled with some relatively modest technical improvements, can be enough. Going for both more education and some extra investment sounds like an attractive option.



Quote:
Originally Posted by markas View Post
For terrestrial photography, I used to upgrade Canon DSLRs regularly - I was making enough money from landscape work to justify it. Since I don't do that anymore, I have been more than happy with my old 5D MkII - and the fleet of lenses I have accumulated.

The greatest recent advances in cameras IMO is in low light applications.
If this is important to you, consider the 6D MkII. (You also get full frame).

I have seen early evening shots of game taken with this camera on safari in Africa which are staggeringly good.....
Apart for the above, I think it is better to spend money on lenses than bodies!

Mark
Thanks Mark - that's very useful information.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on your 5D MkII. I once had the chance to talk to Richard Woldendorp, a much published photographer, who had a similar camera, and a similar opinion (our crew were in the process of putting out a bushfire that was threatening his house at the time, but like a true pro he still had time to talk about photography! ). He said that the camera was a gem and that it did more than he felt he'd ever need, and would probably never outgrow it. http://www.richardwoldendorp.com/ric...com/Books.html

Low light is definitely important to me. I enjoy going out in the morning and trying to get shots of the birds on our block, especially in flight or interacting with each other.

I know some of the theory - the earlier hours are best for bird activity; fast shutter speeds are required to stop the wing movement; a reasonable depth of field is needed to catch enough detail across the body; and low ISO is preferable. The problem being that's there's never enough to go round! One setting or another is always less than ideal, especially on our block where there are a lot of trees that interfere with the light.

So it's good to hear about those good early evening shots of game with the 6D Mk2, as that's exactly the sort of improvement that I think could be useful.

I'm also taking note of your thoughts about lenses. At lower focal lengths I only had cheap kit lenses, so yesterday I bought a 24-70mm f/4 EF L lens and the results were gratifyingly good (see the fly below, at about a 50% crop) but that was in strong midday light conditions, and the old 600D was only using 100 ISO, so not much of a demand in that regard.

And I've never owned a full frame camera, so that's appealing to try too. I suspect that blowing it all on a 5D might be putting too many eggs in the one basket, and paying for things I wonít ever use (like 4k video). Buying a 6D Mk2 and leaving a few hundred to seed the saving for another lens could well be a better bet.

Thanks for your post.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 06-09-2017, 05:50 PM
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Chris I have been fortunate to upgrade many of my toys and have far too many cameras all which have there uses.If i was to keep one it would be the Canon 1dx mk2 which I realise is far to expensive for most people to justify. Based on all the others the Canon 5Dmk 4 is probably the best pick for all round or perhaps a new 5DMk3 if you can still get one..The 6Ds are good but not as robust as the 5Ds and all my older ones have many hot pixels from long exposures and lots of work.I was not overly impressed with the 6DMk2 compared with the original on picture quality.
As you do a multitude of different photo scenarios the 5DMk4 covers nearly all bases.
Back to your original question though I chose the 1Dx Mk 2 because I predominately shoot in low light and I have a life long afflction to birds and this camera has exceptional ability in those areas.My number of keepers is higher all thing being equal.If I did not get this I would have gone for the 5Dmk4.I don,t have one as I also have a 5Ds for high resolution work but you have to get everything perfect to take full advantage of those 50mp.
Hope this helps . Derek
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:06 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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If you are satisfied with your current camera(s) is there any other hardware or software, even for Astro work you'd like to get. Rather than replace, something additional might be an option. A top end lens maybe. There is certainly a few of those I drool over in the shop window.
Tripod, Traveller .... keep thinking ...
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:29 PM
JA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebulous View Post
Hi all,

What criteria do you use when deciding when to upgrade your gear?

............

OK - It’s probably just Gear Lust rearing it’s head again…. but how do you make your upgrade decisions, and what would you go for in my place?

Cheers,

Chris
Chris, there is only one thing to ask yourself: What do you need in a camera that your Canon 600D does not give you? Is it a question of image quality or a question of certain features?

You mentioned that you had a collection of Canon lenses, whether these are EF-S lenses (to support the Canon APS-C image circle) or EF lenses (to support a full frame image circle) will determine, along with the lens model/ Image Quality/performance, whether your lens collection should or should not be used as a determinant in the path you take, i.e: maybe even decide to switch brands, if the lenses aren't what you want them to be, if for instance wanting to move to full frame and not having any EF lenses.

The Canon 600D is a wonderful camera, to see how much better OR NOT you can get I would suggest you pick a hand full of hopeful contenders to replace it and go to the dpreview Studio Scence Image and compare this standard test image, across the various brands, at different ISO, JPEG/RAW, etc settings and decide. If you want more info let me know and I'll point the way to the widget with some suggestions on how best to use it. Or alternatively, borrow the cameras and make your own test images (Much harder).

Best
JA
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:42 PM
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Nebulous (Chris)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Klepp View Post
Chris I have been fortunate to upgrade many of my toys and have far too many cameras all which have there uses.If i was to keep one it would be the Canon 1dx mk2 which I realise is far to expensive for most people to justify. Based on all the others the Canon 5Dmk 4 is probably the best pick for all round or perhaps a new 5DMk3 if you can still get one..The 6Ds are good but not as robust as the 5Ds and all my older ones have many hot pixels from long exposures and lots of work.I was not overly impressed with the 6DMk2 compared with the original on picture quality.
As you do a multitude of different photo scenarios the 5DMk4 covers nearly all bases.
Back to your original question though I chose the 1Dx Mk 2 because I predominately shoot in low light and I have a life long afflction to birds and this camera has exceptional ability in those areas.My number of keepers is higher all thing being equal.If I did not get this I would have gone for the 5Dmk4.I don,t have one as I also have a 5Ds for high resolution work but you have to get everything perfect to take full advantage of those 50mp.
Hope this helps . Derek
Thanks very much Derek - thatís definitely helpful.


Good to know that some of the excellent shots you have posted in the terrestrial section would have been shot on a 1DX Mk2. Friends of ours used to shoot gymnastics professionally with a pair of 1Dxs and the results were superb. Not only were they able to stop the action impeccably well but they had to cope with some fairly awkward and variable light conditions in the gyms too. They had older model 5Ds as backups. All very good cameras.

I havenít rushed out to get a 1DX partly because theyíre a fair bit heavier than the others Iím looking at and - as you mentioned - they are a lot more expensive. Iím not really comfortable about shelling out that much as photography is one of several hobbies rather than The One Grand Passion!. Although, Iím in my 70s now, and you canít take it with youÖ

Some of the reviewers Iíve read in the last day or two were, like you, a little bit lukewarm about the 6D Mk2. When compared with the 7D Mk2, there were what sounded like relatively modest gains in some areas, set against losses in others. And I already own a 7D Mk2, which does a very good job on the moving birds. On the few occasions when I get my part of the deal right anyway!

At this stage, your suggestion of a 5D is looking good. Thanks for your post.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:52 PM
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Chris the 7dmk2 is excellent it's focus hunts a lot more in low light compared to the 1dxmk2 but I have some great bird shots with it.And you are right the 1dx is built like a tank but is good in the hand.I think sometimes two lighter cameras with the lenses ready is a good alternative.
Derek
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:43 PM
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Chris, there is only one thing to ask yourself: What do you need in a camera that your Canon 600D does not give you? Is it a question of image quality or a question of certain features?

.....

Best
JA
Thanks for all your useful tips and suggestions JA. I've bookmarked the Studio Scene comparison site.

"ll try and answer the question about what I think a new camera might give me that the 600D doesn't. It's been proving a harder question than I initially thought.

Better image quality would be good. Although it might be better to say more consistently good image quality. I've seen some surprisingly good results with the 600D, just not consistently. Much of that is my own fault, but I do feel that a better model would help increase my hit rate. I also own a 7D Mark II and I certainly get better results with that, more often, than with the 600D. It’s more versatile across a wider range.

As I already own two reasonable cameras I clearly don’t really “need” a new one. So why would I “want” one? (Apart from not wanting to waste my wife’s suggestion that I buy a new one…. )

It’s probably a bit like owning cars. I’ve owned a number of modestly priced cars and a few very good ones. The cheap ones all did the legal speed limit, were safe, carried the same number of passengers in relative comfort, and did the jobs that were asked of them. However, the expensive ones were just better all round, often in small but noticeable and enjoyable ways.

And I now realise that’s what I’d like in my next camera. Not a "good value" model or even a specialist ‘sports car’ type of camera but a good quality solid all rounder. I know that I can take reasonably good shots with the two I have, but I also know that if I search for examples of pictures that I will be able to find examples of even better quality shots taken with the 5D Mark IV, especially in particular circumstances. There are also some interesting and desirable features on that model that I’d like to try.

After spending a day or two thinking about it, and both reading and replying to the posts above, I’m now a lot clearer about the biggest reason to buy a 5D - basically, I just want one! I’m sure that I can find technical support for that decision (and already have done in some areas) but the truth is that I’ve admired (and apparently desired) 5Ds pretty much since they first came out. I seem to have been circling round coming to that decision, but it now feels like the right one.

I remember being told years ago of a method for making a choice. You take two candidates and flip a coin to choose a “winner”. Then you wait for a minute or two and decide whether that decision made you happy or sad! If, in your heart of hearts, you felt disappointed then the coin made the wrong choice and you buy the other one! I've been smiling every time the coin says "5D Mark IV".

Perhaps next time I’ll save pestering everybody with all the waffle and just toss the coin.

Cheers,

Chris
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