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Thread: Tamron 70-200 or 70D?

  1. #1
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    Tamron 70-200 or 70D?

    Sorry if this is a lengthy post but...

    I have been into photography for around two and a half years now, and have made some big (for a 17 year old) investments into my equipment, and I am currently looking to make a much larger one than I have so far. I have saved up around $1200 and I have narrowed my search to two things: either a 70D, or a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 di vc usd.

    I started in the hobby when I got a T2i. I used my dad's old tamron 28-80 f3.5-f5.6 and his tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 that he used on his Elan 7E for around a year until I got a 17-40 L and I discovered my aunt's old pentax-k bayonet 50mm f1.7 (which I absolutely love). I most recently got a canon 28mm f1.8 (which I also love; contrary to Bryan's review...) but I have come to the point where I am looking to upgrade from my t2i as well as my 70-300.

    I'll start of with the reasons I feel that the t2i is not performing as well as I would like and why I feel the 70D would help:

    The 3.7 fps is a very limiting factor for me. I could often use a faster burst, especially when shooting the football games ect. at my high school. The upgraded autofocus system of the 70D would definitely be a big help as well. The improved IQ and ISO performance (albeit a small improvement, but an improvement non the less) would help since I like to shoot the plays and performances at my school, and since long exposure photography (specifically night-scapes, star trails, and steel whool) is one of my favorite things to do. A less important reason is that the 70d has many more buttons, menus, options, and customization ability. I know the amount of buttons is not a big deal, but I love pushing buttons... Anyway, I have pretty large hands, so the bigger 70d would help there as well (although my battery grip does a great job at helping that). One big upgrade is of course the dual pixel af. I primary shoot photos, but I enjoy making videos quite a lot, and since I am involved in many clubs, I am constantly making short promo videos where the autofocus would help greatly. I also am trying to shoot a short film this summer, where it would help too.

    Now why I want the 70-200:

    As I said earlier, I enjoy photographing football games (just about all of which are at night), and plays and such, and in those very low light situations and f5.6 lens simply does not cut it (partly caused by the t2i's not so great low light performance). For most of these events, I have borrowed my uncle's canon 70-200 f2.8 non IS, and I love it. The image quality is awesome, and so is the build and autofocus, and it most importantly has that f2.8 constant aperture. The added light over f5.6 is immense. Since I would love having IS, $2500 is way out of my price range, and the image quality is not much off of the canon IS version, not to mention the very comparable IQ compared to the non-IS version, I settled on the new tamron version of the 70-200. I am interested in shooting some of my friends informal senior portraits, and since I don't really have a lens that is very great for portraits, the 70-200 would fit well for me.

    Now for the downsides of upgrading to the lens rather than the camera:

    The lens is nearly $500 more (especially with the very tempting deal on the 70d that B and H has right now...), and $500 is a very substantial chunk of cash for me (I got my 17-40 for only a little more than that, and I have definitely gotten my moneys worth out of it) that might be put to better use elsewhere. Since the lens is 3rd party, there is always the risk of problems (especially with focusing) which I would prefer to not have to deal with (but I would if I had to). With this lens, my night sport photos could be improved greatly (I know the photographer is the most important part of a good photo, but when shooting sports in very dark conditions, my gear has become the limiting factor), but the camera would also help with that, and the camera would help more when shooting in daylight, where I would stop the lens down anyway.

    Downsides of the 70d compared to the 70-200:

    Since the tamron is a lens, and not a camera body, it will serve me more long term (as is evident when looking at how many years my dad's tamron lenses outlived his canon body...). Another note about long term use to keep in mind with my decision, I will be going to college in just over a year, and I am hoping to shoot the football games and other sports for the school newspaper, magazine, and whatnot.

    Now I realize that these are two very different things I am comparing, but I am looking for help with deciding which would help me make better photos the best (as a reference I shoot mostly landscapes, sports, performances, and long exposures). Also, I will (hopefully) have enough money in a year for the item that I due not choose, since I will be graduating then. (but in that case, if I get the lens, then Canon will most likely have released another camera that I could get... ahhh so many options!)), as well as in the long run. Any advice/experience is greatly appreciated. Sorry for using so many parenthesis... Thanks!!

    Also, since this is about both a camera and a lens, I put it in the lens section due to the larger amount of traffic.

  2. #2
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    jrw, you need to be careful going APS-H, espcially if wide is your goal. For super wide, Canon offers the 16-35. For APS-C bodies, Canon offers the EF-S 10-22, which is effectively 16-35 as well. The 1DIII can't use the EF-S lenses, leaving you with a 1.3x crop factor on the 16-35, effectively 20-45mm. So, while it can make EF lenses appear wider than his T2i, if wide is the goal, it's not the right camera. On the plus side, you'll have 1D weather sealing and auto focus, and a bit less noise.

    maylemay, it really depends on your immediate needs... and don't forget you can sell your T2i to fund your 70D, or your old 70-300 lens to fund your new one. To me, now isn't the right time to buy a crop body, unless you really need the features of the body. Canon recently found a way to get quite a low-light/high-ISO quality boost, and applied that to the 1DX, 5D3, and 6D. I haven't followed the 70D vs. 60D improvements closely, but I don't think Canon new sensor technologies have made it to their crop sensor line-up yet. I would expect a 7D2 with improved high-ISO, followed by those improvements making it to the 80D, or 90D. I have no idea if Canon is working on bringing this technology to crop sensors, but I can't imagine why they wouldn't. If you were to invest in a crop body now, and within a year Canon releases a new lineup with amazing high-ISO capabilities, you'd be kicking yourself.

    3.7FPS is plenty. Yes, more would be nice. There are a few occasions where I prefer the 7D's 8FPS over the 1Ds2's 4FPS, but professionals were using the 1Ds2 for years at 4FPS, and got nice shots. It's more a matter of learning to time the shutter than blindly pressing and hoping something in the fast burst works out. Frame rate is nice, but alone, it's not a good reason to upgrade.

    Body size might be a valid reason to upgrade though, if you are finding the T2i small. You can save a few pennies and get a used body or lens from B&H or Adorama. Perhaps used you can get yourself both the lens AND a body. Because you're not paying full price on the body, it won't be so bad when the new crop sensors do arrive. You can sell the camera again, for nearly as much as you paid, essentially turning the body into a year or two rental for $100-$200, while waiting for the camera that you really want.
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  3. #3
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    maylemay, I am impressed you have definitely done your homework on the options you have.

    I recently upgraded to the 7D for reasons very similar to what you state, the T2i is extremely frustrating when you want a pic and the screen says "BUSY". Actually it is not so much the 3.7 FPS as much as processing speed, the T2i just can't handle too many photos at once. The 7D with dual processors makes a BIG DIFFERENCE and I am extremely happy with it, I gave up on the 7DII myth. It's been around for too many years. I use the 7D in the slower continuous mode so probably close the 4 FPS and prefer that, but I don't get "BUSY" after 3 or 4 shots due to the processing power of the 7D.

    With that said though you are on a budget and once you make a decision it will likely take quite a while to save up for the next item. I believe in your case the lens may be the better option. I say this because the "Tamron 70-200 f2.8 DI VC USD" is reviewed to be equal or better to the Canon 70-200 MKII which is reviewed as the best zoom lens available (at $2500). I believe the new Tamron lens will give you the shots you want until you can save for a full frame or better crop frame camera. The lens will do more for you now and not leave you with buyers remorse when the new cameras come out. Either way you go I believe you will be happy with the decision but I believe the lens may be better in the long run until Camera rumors have settled down.

    When you get ready to look at cameras don't be afraid to look used or refurbished. I got my 7D refurbished for almost half the cost ($950) of new and it came in very much like new. I couldn't tell it wasn't.

    At this time I am looking to replace my 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM with a lens known for a Higher IQ. The Canon and Tamron 70-200 keep me going back and forth. The Tamron is third party which makes me nervous but is $1000 less in cost as you say. The reviews show the Tamron to be as good if not better than the Canon, DxoMark rates it better when used on the 7D, so I am in need of getting past the "name" thing.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    For night photography a 70-200 f/2.8 or prime lens in that range would offer more advantages than a new body.

    How far away are your shots and how often do you zoom? Canon has some low cost prime options as well -- 100 f/2 or 135mm f/2.8 soft focus for example if the focal length were right for you. I haven't used either, but would think the image quality would be competitive with modern zooms.

    Best of luck
    Dave

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    Thank you all for the great advice.

    To jrw, I like the suggestion, and I would sure love to have a 1D series body, but I definitely need video functions in the camera. And while I am completely open to buying used gear, as I bought both my 17-40 and 28mm used on ebay, and I have been very happy with both, I am slightly more weary of buying a used camera body, at least without being able to see and test it out in person, and due to my location, I don't have any places to buy used gear in person.

    To DavidEccleston and Lumens, I completely agree that within a short amount of time a new and improved camera will be out that will leave me sad that I didn't wait, while lenses take years to be replaced. This is what is really holding me back from the new camera. But then again, if I am always thinking that way, I might never get a new body...

    Dave Throgmartin, I have thought about primes, but due to the versatility a zoom lens offers, and the sharpness that more recent models have been delivering, I think that it is better to get a zoom at this point. But I would love to have a full arsenal of primes some time in the future...

    So at this point, I am definitely leaning toward the lens since it is a much more long term investment, but the Tamron is a few hundred dollars over budget, which is of concern to me. I could get a part time job this summer to earn the cash, but I will be gone on trips for over half of the summer. So the price is something of an equalizer, making my decision even harder

  6. #6
    Hi maylemay,

    Tough choice. I'll throw out a curve. What about the refurbished 6D at the Canon store? The AF and fps aren't quite up to the 70d, but are better than your T2i, and it will be significantly better in low light situations. Moving for aps-c to full frame will give you about 2 stops of ISO noise advantage, the same as moving from f5.6 to f2.8. If you are still able to borrow your uncle's 70-200 you will have a setup that will give you pretty amazing low light and portrait performance.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by maylemay View Post
    Thank you all for the great advice., and I would sure love to have a 1D series body, but I definitely need video functions in the camera. And while I am completely open to buying used gear, as I bought both my 17-40 and 28mm used on ebay, and I have been very happy with both, I am slightly more weary of buying a used camera body, at least without being able to see and test it out in person, and due to my location, I don't have any places to buy used gear in person.
    I might agree with you regarding a used body on Ebay but I have purchased used camera bodies from Adorama....they will accept returned merchandise if you are not satisfied and I'm confident they would not put a "lemon" up for sale.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maylemay View Post
    Thank you all for the great advice.

    To jrw, I like the suggestion, and I would sure love to have a 1D series body, but I definitely need video functions in the camera. And while I am completely open to buying used gear, as I bought both my 17-40 and 28mm used on ebay, and I have been very happy with both, I am slightly more weary of buying a used camera body, at least without being able to see and test it out in person, and due to my location, I don't have any places to buy used gear in person.

    To DavidEccleston and Lumens, I completely agree that within a short amount of time a new and improved camera will be out that will leave me sad that I didn't wait, while lenses take years to be replaced. This is what is really holding me back from the new camera. But then again, if I am always thinking that way, I might never get a new body...

    Dave Throgmartin, I have thought about primes, but due to the versatility a zoom lens offers, and the sharpness that more recent models have been delivering, I think that it is better to get a zoom at this point. But I would love to have a full arsenal of primes some time in the future...

    So at this point, I am definitely leaning toward the lens since it is a much more long term investment, but the Tamron is a few hundred dollars over budget, which is of concern to me. I could get a part time job this summer to earn the cash, but I will be gone on trips for over half of the summer. So the price is something of an equalizer, making my decision even harder
    My main suggestion was to maybe save you some cash. If money and size were no object I think the 2.8 zoom would be preferable to primes.

    Dave

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    Glass has a longer life before it gets overtaken by a new model/tech.
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    I would like to thank all of you for replying with great suggestions, and I would also like to apologize for not posting for a while (exams. ugh). Now I am very excited to say that I decided on the 70D, which is currently in transit, and I took advantage of a great deal that Sean posted. The main thing that caused me to get the camera over the lens was (other than the $500 + saved) that whichever I bought will only help me while I am actually using it. And since every time I take photographs, I use a camera, I felt that the improvements from the camera would be much more helpful than those of the lens. I am very excited to get it!

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