So I have been searching for my next camera set up and thought I should share what I have learned over the course of my research. There have been a few questions I’ve had to ask myself – which I am sure every other photographer must answer – before laying down a few grand on this next ‘investment’.
1. Full Frame or Cropped?
Full-Frame sensors provide a true value of what your lenses were meant to shoot, so if you’ve got a 50 mm, your photo will be shot at 50 mm. With cropped sensors, such as those found in the Canon Rebel line, a 50 mm lens will actually shoot at 80 mm; a multiple of 1.6x.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems; Full-frame gives beautiful results, especially with super-wide lenses; and cropped provides extra reach due to the multiplication factor, so a 400 mm actually shoots at 640 mm! One disadvantage with full-frame is that you must invest in really good lenses, as you will be using more than just the ‘sweet spot’ to record the photograph; and cropped typically suffers from lack of low-light capabilities, as well as never using the lenses to their complete advantage.
The question that you should ask yourself is “What will I be primarily using this camera for?”
If your answer is wedding photography where you will be investing in nice lenses and shooting in multipe lighting scenarios, including dimly-lit venues: full-frame. If your answer is sitting on a beach with a long zoom catching wind-surfers in a flight sequence, a cropped sensor typically has the ability to shoot at higher frame rates and can come in a lighter, more transportable, package.
2. How much am I willing to spend?
A Canon 6D, the newly introduced ‘budget’ full-frame body released in December 2012 costs roughly $2,200; the Canon 7D, an 8 fps cropped sensor, weather-sealed body, and which was released in 2009, is on sale at $1,300; a Canon 1Dx, regarded as one of the most advanced professional DSLR’s on the market, is $7,000; and the Canon 5D mkiii, probably the most popular all-around professional full-frame cameras on the market, is $3,600.
As you can probably tell, I’ve invested my time and money into the Canon system, and the above are my options, kind of; I would have to leave the 1Dx out..
The remaining bodies I have studied carefully and here are my thoughts:
5D mk iii: The most obvious and exciting body on the market as it is quite up-to-date, incorporating one of the most advanced, 61-point, Autofocus systems that never seems to miss what you are looking for, is weather-sealed for those wanting to use it outdoors, and is full-frame. If you’re a wedding photographer relying on your camera for the best possible images, then fantastic, don’t look anywhere else, but it’s high price tag is a deal-breaker for a lot of prosumers, especially as it’s predecessor, the mk II, had an MSRP of $2,700.
7D: When it was released in 2009, it stepped into a game that no one was ready for; consumers were raging why Canon had created such a technical masterpiece while not providing it with a full-frame sensor, but those consumers Canon did not build it for. The 7D had a purpose, and that was to be the most well-built, fastest sports shooter availabe, while retaining a base-price under $2,000. It is nearly 4-years since the 7D was released, and it’s time is coming to an end. New tech has allowed aps-c sensors to deal with low-light quite well and incorporate even better video quality.
6D: Three and a half years after releasing the 7D, Canon announced the most inexpensive full-frame digital camera to ever be brought to market. This lovely little gem has been designed, like the 7D before it, with purpose, and therefore it let’s some people down while providing others with exactly what they wished for. For the photographer who mainly shoots landscapes or stills, this body will provide images as beautiful as the 5D mk iii, and with WiFi and GPS built in, connecting to smartphones and laptops opens up so many shooting options; but, if you need a high fps for fast-moving objects, or weather sealing, or an autofocus system with more than 1 crosstype point, look elsewhere.
3. Speed vs. Low-Light Awesomeness
I was still confused about what my purchase should be, even after watching hundreds of youtube video reviews, mostly of the awesome Kai from DigitalRev.com, because I was left wanting something more; something that maybe doesn’t exist yet? On the one hand, a lot of my shots are based around landscape photography, and I LOVE to capture the World in all of it’s wide-open beauty, but what do I want for my future in photography? I kind of want to move towards sports, and event photography, where speed is critical. A 5D mk iii does the trick for both, almost, but the 7D outperforms it in terms of raw speed, while still retaining the same build quality and with a much lower price tag, allowing me to invest in new and awesome lenses. Hmm?
So, what is my decision then?
I’m waiting for the upcoming announcement of the 7D mkii, slated for between February and April, that’s what.
So, how about you guys; what has your decision been, and for what reason? Are you also waiting for the mk ii?