Re: Canon Cameras

To: Alistair McKeough <>
Subject: Re: Canon Cameras
From: David Stowe <>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2010 13:08:09 +1100
Alot of excellent responses from great photographers that would listen to Dick.
It really all comes down to how much you want to spend and how fit you are. If 
you are fit and have the money, then go and buy a 1DmkIV and a 500mmf4L lens - 
you will get awesome images and not need to upgrade for a long time - either 
body or lens. (this is what i currently shoot with). But as Chris Charles 
mentioned earlier it is a fairly heavy combo. The new version of the 500mm 
won't be out for at least a few months but will likely be a bit lighter, better 
IS, but also a bit more expensive. It will be interesting to see how many 2nd 
hand lenses come onto the market when it comes out. If they drop a significant 
amount of weight from the 600mm f4L (as they did with the 400mm f2.8L) then i 
would take a serious look at that lens too. The only reason i went with the 
500mm rather than the 600mm was the EXTRA 1.5kg!
Personally if you already have a 100-400 i would lean to the longer focal 
length of the 500mm. You will find that you won't often shoot at 300mm for 
birds unless on a pelagic where the 100-400 is perfect. I regularly shoot with 
a 1.4x teleconverter on the 500. (Personally i don't think the 2x cuts the 
mustard on the 500 in terms of quality - i would rather crop more)
I agree that the lens will make the biggest difference. i have 16"x24" prints 
of birds taken with a 10D back in 2003 which look still look great because of a 
quality lens.
Buying a 500mm was the best thing i ever did and whatever body i use it on i 
will get great sharp images.
Yes there are stacks of other factors that the other Bob, Al and both Chris' 
have all articulated better so read through all the repsonses and then view 
them through your own personal needs and circumstances.
Dave Stowe

On 25/11/2010, at 4:39 AM, Alistair McKeough wrote:

Some great answers, but I have a slightly different take to everyone

The big advantage of the pro bodies is handling. Better AF, more robust.
Quite simply, you'll get shots that you might miss with a consumer body.
However, if you nail the shot on a consumer DSLR it looks just as good as
anything taken on a pro body.

If you are using a 100-400, which is a nice lens, but really in the consumer
(may "prosumer") category, and have $4K to spend, you are MUCH better of
spending it on a new lens. Seriously, I wouldn't even be thinking about a
new body until you've bought a better lens.

A new 500 f/4 can be had for around $7K now and a new 300 f/2.8 for  under
$5K. Keep your eye out for a second hand one of those. Both work very well
with teleconverters.

Improving your lens from a 100-400 to the 500 or 300 will give results that
are far more noticeable in your images than upgrading the body. They'll
allow you to get detail and contrast it's just not possible to extract with
the 100-400. And you'll still be using the lens in 10 or 15 years, when even
the most expensive body has been superseded many times over.

If you want, I can send you some photos taken with a 20D (not as good as
your 450 sensor wise) and a 500 f/4. I know Dave Stowe also has some
wonderful shots taken on the consumer bodies.

Do yourself a favour and get a better lens before you spend any money
upgrading the body.


On 24 November 2010 20:21, Robert Inglis <> wrote:

> Dick Jenkins asked some specific questions about a couple of specific Canon
> cameras and a couple of specific Canon lenses.
> Dick, It is always tempting to make quick and superficial answers to such
> question as the ones you ask but I think
> you deserve a more considered response.
> I have been using a Canon EOS 7D DSLR for about a year now (an upgrade from
> the 40D which was an upgrade from the 20D which was an
> upgrade from the 300D); I had the use of a Canon EOS 1DMk4 for several
> hours recently; I have witnessed several 1DMk4s being used in
> the field and have compared the images from both types of cameras.
> I own and use a canon EF 300 mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens as well as an EF 500 mm
> f/4 L IS USM super telephoto lens (my main lens). I
> haven't used a Canon EF 100 - 400 mm L zoom lens but I know a few people
> who do.
> Having the 300 mm f/2.8 L and the 500 mm f/4 L lenses I have no desire to
> get a 100 - 400 mm L lens, most bird-photographers I know with this lens
> seem to always use it at a focal length over 300 mm.
> If you want a totally subjective and biased opinion................
> The 7D is a great camera and the 1DMk4 is a fantastic camera. The 1DMk4 is
> actually an older design than the 7D and the 7D is,
> perhaps, slightly more advanced in some aspects of the auto-focus system
> but it is marginal. The 7D is more advanced in its video
> capabilities.
> It is difficult to judge the two cameras on their relative costs. The 1DMk4
> is a much more robust camera than the 7D (which is a
> much more robust camera than the EOS 450D) and probably uses much more
> expensive mechanical and electronic bits and software. The 7D
> is capable of taking great images but the 1DMk4 is capable of taking
> amazing quality images.
> The 1DMk4 has a larger sensor than that of the 7D but the 7D's sensor has
> more pixels. This means that the 1DMk4's sensor pixels are larger than those
> of the 7D. The result is that the 1DMk4 produces what most people will
> recognise as better quality images but the 7D images will have more detail.
> Overall the differences are minor but, honestly, I think the 1DMk4 images
> are better looking.
> My brief experience with the 1DMk4 suggests that the 1DMk4 is more
> consistent in producing high quality images.
> The 7D is sometimes called a 'mini 1D'.
> I hate saying this but........if you want and can afford the best, then,
> the 1DMk4 is the way to go. If your budget is a little less
> ambitious but you still want an exceptional camera then the 7D is the
> answer.
> Either way, an upgrade from anything you have had before to either of those
> cameras is a huge leap. It may take a little while to
> fully come to grips with using them but the effort is worth it.
> I can't afford a 1DMk4 at the moment but that is the camera I want.
> The 100 - 400 mm L lens is a very capable and versatile lens. Its great
> virtues are its zoom range and its very short close-focus
> distance. It is a good lens for subjects such as birds and butterflies. It
> is relatively light when compared to the 300 mm f/2.8 L
> lens and the 500 mm f/4 L lens.
> The EF 300 mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens is possibly the best lens Canon makes but
> the EF 500 mm f/4 L IS USM is not far behind.
> The 300 mm f/2.8 L will auto-focus with both the 1.4x and 2x Canon
> Extenders (teleconverters) when fitted to both cameras.
> The 500 mm f/4 L will auto-focus with both Extenders when fitted to the
> 1DMk4 but will only auto-focus with the 1.4x Extender when
> fitted to the 7D.
> Canon has deliberately programmed the Extenders to slow the speed of the
> auto-focus of the lenses they are fitted to but, generally
> speaking, those lenses will still auto-focus very quickly when fitted with
> either Extender. Image quality from both cameras does not
> drop noticeably with either lens when the 1.4x Extender is fitted. The
> image quality can drop a bit when the 2x Extender is used on
> the 500 MM f/4 L lens but it is still quite good. Both lenses can produce
> extremely sharp images so a slight drop in image quality may not cause you
> any
> heartache. Under any circumstances the image quality produced from those
> lenses will usually be better than that from the 100 - 400
> MM L zoom lens.
> Both lenses are not light. The 300 MM lens can be used handheld even with
> an Extender fitted but normal people general tire after a short time.
> The 500 mm can be handheld by some people but I can only manage a few
> minutes.
> The 500 mm lens is best used on a tripod and especially one fitted with a
> gimbal head (Contact me if you want more details on that.)
> Canon is about to release Mk 2 versions of the 300 MM f/2.8 L and the 500
> MM f/4 L lenses. The new versions will probably be a
> little dearer and better but there might be a few good second hand Mk 1
> lenses around next year.
> Would the jump from the 450D to a 7D be enough?
> Only you can work that one out but you would probably have to use both
> cameras (7D and 1DMk4) for a while before you could be sure.
> What I would say is that if you do decide to settle for the 7D (and that
> would not necessarily be a mistake) don't under any circumstances be tempted
> to try a 1DMk4!
> Something which should be kept in mind when considering either of these
> cameras is the image file sizes.
> The file size will depend on whether you record in RAW format or JPEG; I
> always use RAW format because that gives the maximum amount of image data so
> allowing the best final results after post-processing. But then, I am
> retired so, of course, I have nothing to do and I can afford to spend hours
> processing digital images.
> For the 7D the largest RAW files (without the embedded JPEG - that's
> another story) is approx 25 MB - huge!
> The max size JPEG from the 7D is approx 6.6 MB.
> For the 1DMk4 the largest RAW file (without the embedded JPEG) is approx 22
> MB - still huge!
> The max size JPEG from the 1DMk4 is approx 5.7 MB.
> What this means is that you will need lots of storage space to store the
> images from either of these cameras.
> And you will want to keep lots of images from either of these cameras.
> If you record RAW image files you will need to process the images in your
> computer and, with files that big, you will need a fair amount of processing
> power from your computer and lots of RAM.
> If you are used to using Photoshop you will probably have to upgrade to the
> latest versions (CS4 or CS5) because the RAW converters compatible with
> earlier versions will not recognise the RAW files from these cameras. There
> are ways around this but it does make life that bit more difficult.
> At the moment it is difficult to buy fully compatible third-party batteries
> for these cameras and the genuine Canon batteries are relatively expensive.
> These cameras also need fast media cards to get the best out of them,
> faster cards than the 450D is capable of using. I suggest something like 8
> GB SanDisk Extreme as a minimum (Extreme Pro cards are probably overkill).
> If that's not enough info contact me directly.
> Bob Inglis
> Sandstone Point
> Qld
> Australia
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