New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

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AndyO'Connor
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New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by AndyO'Connor » January 23rd, 2013, 7:49 pm

I am buying a Canon 7d soon and already more or less know which lenses I'll be buying, but suggestions or experience are appreciated.
-I am going with the Canon 100 f/2.8 L macro lens for macro, portraits, general use.

-I will be going with either the Canon 300 f/4 IS L or the 100-400 f/4-5.6 L depending on price, and feedback, such as size, weight, if the extra length is needed, etc.

-I also want a wide angle, wondering if there is any difference between the Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 or the Tamron 10-24 f/3.5-4.5? There is a big price difference, wondering if anyone has used one or the other and has suggestions or if a different wide angle would be better.

-I am also planning on getting the side grip that has the extra batteries in it.

-Where I start to get lost is what to do for flash and filters. I'm open for suggestions. Is it safe to assume I should just go with the Canon 580EX II as it seems to be the most commonly used among canon herpers? as for filters, I don't know if they are necessary for anything besides insurance for the lens they are on in case of an accidental drop, etc?

My main goals here are versatility and still being able to carry most if not all of it with the rest of my stuff, I don't want to carry around soft boxes and all of that, but if I am out on a hike and see a lizard or turtle far off, I want to be able to take a great shot, and if 10 minutes later, I see a snake a few feet from me, same goes, and if 10 minutes later, I see a beautiful wide scenery, I want to take that too. Let me know if more info will help with giving me advice. There is some decent sales on some of the above items and I plan on making my purchase by 1/31/13 I don't need it all at once, the body, one lens, and MAYBE the battery grip will probably be first and all at once, but I plan on getting the rest by May of this year.

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Soopaman
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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Soopaman » January 23rd, 2013, 8:01 pm

AndyO'Connor wrote:
-I also want a wide angle, wondering if there is any difference between the Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 or the Tamron 10-24 f/3.5-4.5? There is a big price difference, wondering if anyone has used one or the other and has suggestions or if a different wide angle would be better.
I'll be able to answer this one as I'm still looking into good wide angle lenses. I would avoid the Canon 10-22, I've honestly heard nothing but bad about it. I'm not sure about the Tamron, but I believe the Tokina 11-16 is superior quality.

I personally own the Canon 17-40L. I like this lens, but it does have some chromatic aberration in the corners, even at smaller apertures. I believe, in this category, the Canon 16-35L is a far superior lens in both reduced chromatic aberrations as well as the larger maximum aperture.

Additionally, if you have the money for it, the Canon TS-E 24mm has gotten some rave reviews and gives you the opportunity to do some neat wide angle photographs.

-Kyle

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by fvachss » January 23rd, 2013, 8:31 pm

I have a 7D and a pretty wide variety of Canon equipment. I would suggest not getting to caught up in getting all the perfect equipment right off the bat. Get the 7D and either the 300/4IS or 100-400 for herping. I have the former and am very happy with it, but the 100-400 will work fine in this application as well.

Any of the ultrawide lenses mentioned (10-22, 10-24, 11-16) are decent on the 7D. I had a 10-22 for a while and found it decently sharp, but not fabulous at the edges unless stopped way down. Some say the 11-16 is sharper, some don't. My advice would be to get whichever of these you can find a good deal on and get used to shooting with it. Only then can you evaluate what qualities you feel it lacks and, if necessary, trade for something better. Just in passing I wouldn't recommend the 17-40 or 16-35 Canon lenses on a 7D. While very high quality they are designed for full frame bodies and just aren't very wide on a crop body like a 7D.

I'd give similar advice for a flash. Buy something relatively inexpensive (like a 430EX or used 580EX) and learn on it. The 580EXII is a fine flash, but it may or may not be what you want. It has a lot of power and controllability, but it's a pretty big unit and you might not need all of that - or after shooting for a while you might decide you'd prefer more specialized equipment like a macro flash.

Again, buy equipment for its specific capabilities once you figure out what you really want/need for the sort of shooting you do. Buying a whole bunch of gear at the start is OK if you have money to burn, but since you're likely to decide to trade much of it in as your shooting style emerges you might as well start with cheaper gear as you work your way through this.

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Norman D
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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Norman D » January 23rd, 2013, 9:02 pm

Look on craigslist and try stuff out there. I've seen used Canon 7ds range in the $800-1000 pretty often in my area.

I got a barely used Canon 7d with Canon battery grip and 10-22mm for $1100. The 10-22mm ef-s lens was nice because it is a true 10-22 on a crop sensor body, but I never used it. Sold the battery grip, because the extra weight and I never run out of juice on my single battery. I love my Canon 580exii. The 430exii is an ok alternative, but I would recommend the 580exii for versatility. I don't like the 430ex and 580ex because of their plastic base. I hike a lot so I would rather pay a little more for equipment that is more durable. There are cheap third-party flash alternatives as well.

Maybe borrow or rent some gear. I've tried out lots of lenses, but I found that I am happy with my two lenses, 7d, and 580exii (though I do have a 430exii laying around). I don't like having a whole backpack full of camera gear

The crop sensor body 7d is good for me because I photograph crotes and it is durable for my hiking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCT-YMgjm9k


Good luck!

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by chrish » January 24th, 2013, 5:55 am

I don't shoot Canon gear, but I do own the equivalent lenses to the Canon 300 f/4 L or the 100-400 f/4-5.6 L. Before I owned the 100-400, the 300 was my "go-to" lens that I kept on my camera most of the time while I was out and about (I shoot a lot of bird and mammal shots). When I got the 100-400, my 300 ended up on the shelf and hasn't seen much time on the camera since.

It isn't really the added length of the 100-400 but rather the added flexibility. My 100-400 also will magnify down to 1:3.7 which is more than I can achieve with my 300. The minimum focus distance is a bit longer than I like (5 feet), but I can still get some capable herp shots with it.

The Canon 300 f/4 does have higher magnification capabilities than the Canon 100-400, but I would still prefer the flexibility of a pro-quality 100-400 to a 300 f/4.

As for the battery grip, other than the convenience of being able to use AA batteries, I don't see the reason to stick that giant appendage on your camera. Two or three extra batteries for the main body are cheaper and fit in your pocket.

Filters - all of my good lenses have filters on them, except my Tamron 90 macro. I don't put a filter on it because the front lens element is so recessed that it would be hard to scratch it. If you ever damage the front element of a $1K+ lens, you will wish you had a filter on it.
The other thing I like about having a filter on my long lenses is that I can feel comfortable wiping them off in the field. When you don't have a filter on there and you are about to wipe mud off your $1800 lens element with your shirt sleeve, you tend to find yourself hesitant. With a filter, I just wipe/rinse it off and get back to shooting.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Matt Buckingham » January 24th, 2013, 8:10 am

I have a 7D and it is far and away the best body I have owned. You won't be disappointed.

I would strongly recommend the Canon 100mm macro. I would also say you can save yourself the $$ and go with the non-image stabilized. If you have a steady hand the image stabilization probably won't come in handy unless shooting at 1/50 or slower. The stabilized version is weather sealed as well, but I've had my non weather sealed macro through some rough conditions but never had an issue. Definitely put a good UV filter on it.

RE: the telephoto lenses, there is definitely a trade off. The 300 f/4 will be sharper and will let you work with less light. The 100-400 is versatile but the sharpness is unreliable. I had images that I thought were reasonably sharp, but after using the 100mm macro I realized how soft they really were. The lens is definitely hit or miss, and frequently produces very sharp images, but often times will disappoint with soft images under conditions you would expect it to be sharp.

As far as the flash, I don't see any reason for you to get a 580 ex ii unless you really need the extra power. The big draw for that flash is really it's capability to act as a wireless master, but the 7D has this capability built in, so you can remotely trigger one or multiple 430 ex flashes with the body.

I really don't see an advantage to the battery grip. The 7D is a chunky camera already with good ergonomics, I don't see why you would need it. The batteries have good life too, just get a few of those bad boys.

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Norman D
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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Norman D » January 24th, 2013, 9:26 am

I love my 100mm L IS. It is twice as much though. Weathersealing is a big thing for me (even though I live in the desert), because monsoons and tropical travelling. I have had equipment fail in Costa Rica. I like having IS because I use my 100mm macro for a lot of in-situ photos of rattlesnakes. After hiking for miles, a lot of times I am not as steady at holding my camera as I would be roadcruising.
If I were trying to get more for my money, I would get the regular 100mm macro or the Tamron 90mm macro - they are both super lenses at a lot cheaper prices. You can use the leftover money for other gear
Matt Buckingham wrote: I had images that I thought were reasonably sharp, but after using the 100mm macro I realized how soft they really were.
Not fair to compare a telephoto to a macro lens. haha
Matt Buckingham wrote: As far as the flash, I don't see any reason for you to get a 580 ex ii unless you really need the extra power. The big draw for that flash is really it's capability to act as a wireless master, but the 7D has this capability built in, so you can remotely trigger one or multiple 430 ex flashes with the body.
I like the wheel on the 580exii and also it is supposed to be more weatherproof. I like that it has a bigger flash surface. Also, it is nice to light up wide angle and farther away. It recycles faster than the 430exii if you aren't shooting at full power (which you rarely ever will). Also, having the extra power is nice for softboxes. It just depends on what you are shooting. Just single reptiles - 430exii. If you shoot all sorts of stuff, get the 580exii. Bouncing flash off ceilings and walls. lighting up night subjects, etc.

I used to say just get the 430exii, but when I had the 430exii I rarely used it. Once I got a 580exii, I tend to use the flash more. Also, I wish I had my 580exii when I saw a couple bears at night.

If you are on a tight budget, I would skip the 430exii or 580exii and pick up a cheap aftermarket alternative for $50-100 on amazon. Those work fine too

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Nshepard » January 24th, 2013, 9:36 am

As far as flashes, the only real difference between the 580EX ii and 430EX ii is that the 580 can be a master and while the 480 can only be a slave. So, if you are only planning on buying one flash then get the 430, the only reason you need the 580 is to be able to use more than one flash....might as well start with the 430 (cheaper) and if you want more flashes in the future get the 580 then. Newer cameras like the 7D are coming with internal flash transmitters, which in the case of the 7D your pop-up flash can trigger slave flashes....SO, you don't really need a 580...save money for lenses and filters, get the 430...I've used it for years (since 2007) and it still works great, and I beat the hell out of mine in the field and it has been rained on numerous times.

As far as filters, don't bother with the UV filters, they are an artifact from our film days when UV would mess up film. Their only practical purpose today is to prevent the lens from damage, but they severely limit sharpness, I don't bother. I would advise you to invest in a nice polarizer; B-W and Hoya are the best brands, I own the latter. Mine cost around $90, it is multicoated and of better quality glass than the cheaper options (I wouldn't buy anything less).

Polarizers are the basic filter everyone needs that is going to shoot any form of landscapes, herp in habitat, etc. You can graduate from there to more expensive and advanced graduated neutral density filters, but they can be expensive, great for landscape photography.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Nshepard » January 24th, 2013, 9:43 am

Oh yeah, lenses....

I would save money and go with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 non-L...only because the difference between the non-L and L is not worth the double in price, but eventually I will upgrade...after I get some better glass at other ranges.

I've looked long and hard at the Canon 300 prime f/4 but to me I'm leaning on the new 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/7 ... 6L_IS.html), it has gotten some great reviews! And, has a bit more range, but the 300 prime is a great lens, too!

As far as wide angle I am leaning between the sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, as for the price it packs a hell of a bunch. Though the Tokina 11-16 gets consistently the best reviews in this wide angle crop sensor class (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5 ... X_116.html). ALSO, the Tokina has a fixed aperature of f/2.8...this is what you want for video!

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by chrish » January 24th, 2013, 10:12 am

Norman D wrote:I like having IS because I use my 100mm macro for a lot of in-situ photos of rattlesnakes.
If you do end up deciding IS is a necessity, both Sigma and Tamron make excellent macros that have stabilization IS/OS/VC and they are a bit cheaper than the Canon version.

The Tamron 90mm macro is a forum favorite. I've had one for years and would buy another one if it was lost or damaged. It isn't weather sealed, but I've used it on 4 different camera bodies over the last ~8 years and shot tens of thousands of shots with it in deserts, rainforests, swamps, etc. in humidity, rain, dust, etc. in the US, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Fiji, Rarotonga, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc., and not once in all that time have I thought "man I wish this lens was weather sealed.".

Of course, if weather sealing was free and came with it, I wouldn't turn it down, but I wouldn't pay a lot extra for it.
RE: the telephoto lenses, there is definitely a trade off. The 300 f/4 will be sharper and will let you work with less light. The 100-400 is versatile but the sharpness is unreliable.
Matt,
I've experience the same thing with the equivalent Sony/Minolta lenses, but I don't know that it is necessarily the optics. I find getting a sharp picture with a 300 f/4 is easier than with a 400 f/5.6 simply because of the increased weight and slower lens.
The Canon 500 f/4 L is an amazingly sharp lens, but you would get more sharp keepers with the 300 f/4 probably.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by fvachss » January 24th, 2013, 10:43 am

The 300/4 vs. 100-400 debate is one of those that is endlessly hashed out on various Canon forums. Sorting through the opinions can be a bit of a chore, but from what I've seen good copies of either lens will be very sharp. The 300 allows for greater magnification, particularly with a 1.4x extender attached and can be used at f/4 in lower light. However with the 100-400 you won't miss a shot while juggling lenses. It comes down to whether zooms or primes better suit your shooting style. I've been happy with my 300/4IS for about 8 years now, but both choices are good ones.

FWIW I also have a 70-300L (and used to own the non-L version of this lens). These are also fine lenses, but I wouldn't recommend them as highly for herp applications simply because they don't go to 400mm (while one can mount a 1.4x extender, the results are much less satisfying than on the 300 prime). Again though, this choice is more a question of shooting preferences than of absolute lens quality.

The Canon 500 f/4 L is an amazingly sharp lens, but you would get more sharp keepers with the 300 f/4 probably.
PS. I have also, on rare occasions, dragged the Canon 500/4IS along while herping, but wouldn't recommend that to anyone but Goliath. The other lenses listed here are much smaller and lighter and quite compatible with the extended hikes over varied terrain we often perform while herping.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by AndyO'Connor » January 24th, 2013, 12:44 pm

OK, thanks for all the great advice so far. I've decided against the grip and will just buy an extra battery or two for the body.

I've also decided a 430exii will work for now, I don't need the extra power the 580 offers in 99% of the herping shots I'd take anyways.

I would like to know if there is a significant difference in IQ between the tamron 90 macro and the canon 100 (both models).

The 300 f/4 with an extender might end up being my tele choice, but I am still undecided on the wide angle.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Nshepard » January 24th, 2013, 1:05 pm

AndyO'Connor wrote:...I would like to know if there is a significant difference in IQ between the tamron 90 macro and the canon 100 (both models)....
Don't know a difference between IQ but Canon offers much better build quality.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Dalton Lund » January 24th, 2013, 5:39 pm

I read up on the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Pro AT-X Macro, and it seems to be amazing. Granted it doesn't have IS (VR/OS/etc) but with 2.8 you can compensate. I read up on the Nikon mount, but I don't see how the Canon mount lens would differ glass-wise.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by AndyO'Connor » February 12th, 2013, 1:03 pm

I got the 7d, 100mm 2.8L and a 16GB highspeed card. Getting used to it still but I still plan on getting a tokina 11-16, Canon 300mm f/4, 1.4tc, and my new question will be what lens are people using for field guide type shots? I noticed the 100 will work, if I'm like 8-10 feet away from an average sized NA reptile, but if I'm alone, I'd like a lens that will allow posing and quick shooting, I'm guessing something like a 24-105L or something similar in midrange? I prefer weather sealed stuff and plan on getting L lenses whenever possible.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Nshepard » February 13th, 2013, 10:58 am

AndyO'Connor wrote:I got the 7d, 100mm 2.8L and a 16GB highspeed card. Getting used to it still but I still plan on getting a tokina 11-16, Canon 300mm f/4, 1.4tc, and my new question will be what lens are people using for field guide type shots? I noticed the 100 will work, if I'm like 8-10 feet away from an average sized NA reptile, but if I'm alone, I'd like a lens that will allow posing and quick shooting, I'm guessing something like a 24-105L or something similar in midrange? I prefer weather sealed stuff and plan on getting L lenses whenever possible.
I use two main lenses for field guide shots. The Canon 100mm macro for frogs, salamanders, and smaller snakes and lizards.

Image

Image

And, I use my 28-135 (used to use a 17-85) for my field guide shots of larger (mid-sized to large snakes). However, ideally I would like the Canon 24-105L (perhaps someday).

Image

Image

I do however, try and put my 100mm macro back on for larger venomous, so I stay out of that danger zone.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by AndyO'Connor » February 13th, 2013, 1:10 pm

thanks for the shots too. I am looking at shots taken with the 17-40L and like what I see, but was hoping some herpers have experience with that lens.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Nshepard » February 13th, 2013, 3:30 pm

No problem. The Canon 17-40L is a beast of a lens. The lens gets good reviews and I've seen it used in person and viewed the results, great lens. I would side more with the Canon 24-105L only because I think its a slightly better focal range for field guide shots, that said the wider aspect is great for herp and habitat shots or herper in action shots.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by justinm » February 13th, 2013, 7:51 pm

Congrats buddy, sounds like you're making a big jump here. Give me a call I haven't talked to you since before the Holidays. I hope everything is good with you.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by Soopaman » February 13th, 2013, 8:27 pm

AndyO'Connor wrote:thanks for the shots too. I am looking at shots taken with the 17-40L and like what I see, but was hoping some herpers have experience with that lens.
This lens has crappy chromatic aberrations on the corners, but I don't think it's noticeable on a crop body. Overall I like the lens, it's pretty darn sharp, but at some point I'd like a prime wide angle instead.

This was taken with the 17-40L on a Rebel XSI (1.6 crop body)

Image
Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

And this was done with the same lens on a full frame 5d Mark II:
Image
Crotalus atrox (Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

The crop body shot didn't show any chromatic aberration, and there wasn't really anything to cause that effect in the second photo on the full frame 5dII. Now if you'll click this link you can see an original size photo of a lake I shot. If you look in the upper right corner you can see some significant CA on the tree limbs, and a little bit less in the upper left. I never seem to see any in the lower corners, but that doesn't mean you'll never get it.

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Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

Post by AndyO'Connor » February 14th, 2013, 8:50 am

Thanks for the responses guys. The 7D is a crop sensor, so I believe the 17-40 may be my next target instead of the Tokina 11-16 just because I can probably get herp in habitat shots with the 17-40 and would really only use the 11-16 for ultra wide landscapes, as I can do landscapes at 17 instead of 11-16. Justin, I will call you soon.

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