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Thread: Lens upgrade for my 7D

  1. #1
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    Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Goood day everybody, I'm new here...


    I'm writing to you gather some ideas on what would you do in my place.


    I've bought my 7D bundled with the 18-135 and I have to say it's a whole new world compared to my old gear (won't tell you what it was because you'd laugh at me[] ). But I'm experiencing some issues which disappoint me - all are due to the lens, or so I suppose.


    1. Sometimes I get front focused pictures, even in full daylight, portraying a standing still person wearing colorful clothes. Those should be the best conditions for the AF, right?


    2. That lens lacks detail. My old gear gave me sharper results, at 10.1 MPx vs. the 7D's 18 MPx. I know the 7D is soft by itself, but I set sharpness to 3 as suggested in this site review. And if I shrink down the 7D's image to 10 MPX I get satisfying sharpness but insufficient image size. One of my main concerns is fine detail. A soft image is sometimes welcome, but it's a rare happening.


    3. Shooting conditions. Which are various: I shoot mostly at people, often at landscapes, sometimes at flowers. Flowers and landscapes in daylight and (surprisingly) outdoors. People in every light condition: full daylight, rainy daylight, before dawn and after dusk, indoors and outdoors, tungsten light, neon tube light, halogen light, whatever you may think off except candlelight for now (but it's not uncommon for me to get a campfire as main light source). That's one thing: I need to be able to shoot in low light. The 7D's high ISO range is fantastic in this regard, but still, lower ISO is better (unless you need to stop motion) and it's no good to own that option alone. Another concern is distance from the subject. If I want natural behaviour I have to go unnoticed most of the times, so I can't get too close. That's why I chose the 18-135 over the 15-85: extended tele range. But I need a decent wide end too for indoors group photos. I need something portable (2 lens is ok, but no more. It's a matter of where to put things and being ready to shoot, not of weight, I'm strong[H] ).


    That's why I'm going to buy something else to put on that camera and after some thoughts I narrowed my choice to the 17-55 or the 15-85. Both are very high quality lenses, but none of them satisfies all my needs. I was thinking of adding a 580ex II, which would be mandatory on the 15-85 in the evening and anyway useful as a fill for campfire even on the 17-55. About the flash, I'd ask you about a good small diffusor.


    Bottom line: which lens would you pick in my place? And which diffusor?


    Thank you all in advance for sharing your opinion!



  2. #2
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Hello, and welcome to the TDP Forums!


    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni
    Sometimes I get front focused pictures, even in full daylight, portraying a standing still person wearing colorful clothes. Those should be the best conditions for the AF, right?

    Should be good conditions for AF, yes. Have you performed AF testing and if needed, AF Microadjustment. That's one great feature of the 7D - the ability to calibrate the AF of each lens. See Roger's article,[url="http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.12.22/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths]"This[/url][i][url="http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.12.22/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths]lens is soft[/url][/i][url="http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.12.22/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths]" and[/url][i][url="http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.12.22/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths]other myths.[/url][/i][i][/i]


    [quote=Gustaftoni]That lens lacks detail. [/quote]
    <div>Well, the optical quality of the EF-S 18-135mm is not stellar. It's a consumer-level zoom lens, meaning the optics are mediocre. The above AF issue may be a part of the problem - a slightly OOF image lacks sharpness. But you've got a mediocre lens, too.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>[quote=Gustaftoni]I need to be able to shoot in low light[/quote]</div>


    Then you need a faster lens (i.e. wider maximum aperture). The EF-S 18-135mm has a variable aperture - the longer the focal length, the narrower the max aperture. The constant f/2.8 of the EF-S 17-55mm is a big advantage.


    If you really want to shoot by candlelight or a campfire (without flash), even f/2.8 is not enough. Consider a fast prime, e.g. the 50mm f/1.4. I can shoot by candlelight alone with my 7D andEF 85mm f/1.2<span style="color: red;"]LII, and the 50mm f/1.4 is nearly as fast (and much, much cheaper).


    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni


    Bottom line: which lens would you pick in my place? And which diffusor?


    IMO, theEF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is the best general purpose zoom lens for a 1.6x crop body like the 7D. Paired with a faster prime like the EF 85mm f/1.8 for portraits, you'll have a great combo.


    You can get nice flash results with a 430EX II or 580EX II and a Sto-Fen OmniBounce, angled up to bounce off the ceiling.

  3. #3
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni
    compared to my old gear (won't tell you what it was because you'd laugh at me[img]/emoticons/emotion-2.gif[/img] )

    Must be Nikon then [6][:P]


    +1 on John's advice. The 17-55 is just great! It would also suit your needs for portraiture far better than the 15-85. Mostly due to the constant aperture.



  4. #4
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    A little update: I micro adjusted the AF, but really little adjustment was needed: +1. The out of focus problem I'm experiencing happens sometimes, not in all shoots, and is far worse than +1. It's not frequent, but it can happen when you least expect it (good AF conditions) and the moment is gone. But - here's the good news - +1 gave a nice improvement to the fine details. It's not a mega difference, but it's noticeable. So, big thanks for giving me this advice.


    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist
    you've got a mediocre lens

    That's rude! I'm offended! (joking, I know that's true...)


    After some considerations, if you agree, I'm going to pick the 17-55. But on the telephoto side, I'd consider the 70-200 f/4. The f/2.8 is way too big to carry around ready for a lens exchange. Do you recommend the IS version? I'd use it outdoors in sunny and cloudy days, nothing more. For sure a fast prime would help in "extreme" conditions - if there was a 35mm f/1.4 non-L I'd go for it, because of the price: I won't be using it so much. 50mm is a bit narrow, but much more affordable than the 35L, so I'm going for it. And it's small, so I can carry 3 lenses (although I'd use the 50 in opposite conditions to the 70-200: campfire and low light indoors)


    So the shopping cart should look as follows:


    EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM


    EF 70-200mm f/4 USM


    EF 50mm f/1.4 USM


    That's quite a large amount of bucks. I wonder if I really need the 580ex II if I get those lenses.


    Thanks for your advice...

  5. #5
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni
    I'm going to pick the 17-55.

    Good choice!


    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni
    But on the telephoto side, I'd consider the 70-200 f/4. The f/2.8 is way too big to carry around ready for a lens exchange. Do you recommend the IS version?

    Depends a lot on what you shoot. If you're shooting sports, IS is not necessary. Else it could be handy in some occasions. Low-shutterspeeds. Low-light outside shots. You need to make sure when you don't have IS that you must have a shutterspeed high enough to eliminate your movement. General rule is 1/320 @ 200mm. It's also weathersealed which is nice. But it's far more expensive and the image quality is about the same: excellent! For the campfire shots it can achieve lower shutterspeeds than a 50mm prime would need to eliminate any camera-movement.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni
    For sure a fast prime would help in "extreme" conditions - if there was a 35mm f/1.4 non-L I'd go for it

    There's a Sigma 30mm 1.4....A friend of mine has it and he's very happy with it. I personally don't like a 50mm prime on a crop-body. So see what you like or not. Put your current lens to 50, 30 and or 85 and see what suits you the best. Also if you want to do some portraits, I think most people would recommend the 85mm 1.8 over the 50 mm 1.4 on a crop-body.


    Good luck!



  6. #6
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Well I own a 17-55 now... and it's a big improvement indeed! I get the detail I was looking for and I can take nice pictures in low light without a tripod (a very useful object that I hate to carry around, displace, fold... it's too slow). I get almost no errors on focus (I got one this evening out of 361 photos).


    When I exchanged the lens on my 7D, I felt the ensemble was much heavier with the 17-55, and it obviously was all front weight. I tought my camera was unbalanced with this lens, but my sensation turned into high-quality-feeling (and good comfort) as soon as I began shooting. AF is really fast and quiet. On the other hand, the IS start and stop noise is noticeable and not very pleasant. The focal length range is good for my own general purpose use but not enough for everything I'd do, but I knew this already.


    I'm going to use the 17-55 extensively in the next two weeks and I'll try to understand what I'm not getting from it, then I'll ask you again for a friendly advice.


    Thank you for now


    See you soon!

  7. #7
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Good idea!


    Stay in touch and enjoy your time here [Y]

  8. #8
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni


    That's why I'm going to buy something else to put on that camera and after some thoughts I narrowed my choice to the 17-55 or the 15-85. Both are very high quality lenses [snip]


    I disagree - I don't consider the 15-85 to be a "very high quality" lens. It ought to be less expensive than what it is.
    We're a Canon/Profoto family: five cameras, sixteen lenses, fifteen Profoto lights, too many modifiers.

  9. #9
    Senior Member thekingb's Avatar
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Quote Originally Posted by Gustaftoni


    So the shopping cart should look as follows:


    EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM


    EF 70-200mm f/4 USM


    EF 50mm f/1.4 USM



    I own the 70-200 f/4 IS and 50 f/1.4 with a 7d that I recently acquired. Both have been excellent on the body, especially the 70-200. This IS is very helpful, especially when shooting at 200mm on a crop body.


    If you don't need the f/2.8 on the general purpose lens, I'd go for the 24-105 f/4L....


    Here's a shot I got at ISO 1600, f/1.8, 1/160s, handheld with the EF 50 f/1.4 on the7d body.


    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.45.77/nk.jpg[/img]

  10. #10
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    Re: Lens upgrade for my 7D



    Hi to everybody!


    Well, I'm back from my trips and experiments. I have to say, the 17-55 is really a good good lens. When I saw the first image from my journey at 100% size on my PC, I just said "What the...". The picture was nothing special, just a road with streetlamps in full daylight, but the sharpness and detail were astonishing, from the asphalt texture to the tip of the streetlamps. After about 1800 photos, I can tell this lens is superb, at least if coupled with a 7D. Detail is, as said, really fine. Fast aperture allows for decent (not excellent) pictures in the worst light conditions (including campfire and candlelight - yes, I finally shot in candlelight). With a monopod, you can shoot sharp images using a cheap torchlight as main light. You can catch stars' circular movement (you see bright short stripes) and shooting stars with a 30 secs exposure and a tripod. The 7D and the 17-55 can see many more stars than your eye. Hair and eyes are very detaliled and shiny. Colours are lifelike and there's no chromatic aberration. Halation is easily obtainable if you want it and often adds to your picture. Background blur is really nice even when stopped down (not to f/16 or you'll see eptagons). You sometimes get one or two flare artifacts in really bright daylight. The 7D balances well with this lens. It's not easy to go unnoticed using the 7D and a &Oslash;77mm lens. AF is very fast and accurate, and silent. Zoom range is fine for almost anything - cropping is a viable option with so sharp images. The 70-200 will do for distant subjects: the question is: which 70-200?

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