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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.

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Old June 17th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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7D and cheap lenses or T2i and good lenses?

I have convinced myself to make the switch from HDV camcorders to DSLR for that sweet DOF film look.

I feel that it will be easier to tote a DSLR into the backcountry than it is lugging my XH A1, tripod and all of the little extras, plus camping gear...

I like the features of the 7D much better than the T2i but I like the price of the T2i much better

Trouble is I can only afford a 7D with the lower quality lenses or a t2i with at least one L series lens...but I can't decide which will be better for the following;

Nature, wildlife and landscape filming and photography
Time-lapse photography especially night sky

Any Ideas?

or more likely...

have I missed a thread already posted on this subject?

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Old June 17th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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probably other threads to search with a lot of info but here's why I did it the way I chose...T2i and good glass...

For shooting video, the end result is virtually the same quality-wise between the 7D and T2i. The 7D has finer controls but I have not been left "wanting" by the T2i. Photos...7D has the edge. The whole external monitoring issue is solved on the 7D as well.

Some will tell you the glass doesn't matter for video and IMHO, they don't know what they're talking about. It makes a HUGE difference. It is ultra important if you want to zoom to have a constant aperture. Otherwise you end up with weird strobing as the aperture shifts.
Also, to really start playing in the world of DOF, you want lenses in the f2.8 or lower range. (I'll tell you about an exception in a second)
Better glass will also give you better colors and clarity.

There are non-"L" series lenses that are great...my favorite is the 50mm 1.4. Practically generates it's own light and creates gorgeous bokeh. to me it was a bargain at $350.
The biggest bargain though is the 70-200 f4L at $650. It's L glass but no IS and still performs very well in low light. Some of my best stills have been with that lens and it can still do killer DOF at f4.0.
My buddy plans to get the 24-105 f2.8L and I have the 24-70 f2.8L so a comparison will be taking place soon. the 24-70 is a great all-around lens but is pricey (about $1300)
For wide, I chose the Tokina 11-16 f2.8. Not particularly cheap ($700) but great results. Only down-side is it needs to be used on the APS-C cameras like the 7D or T2i. Won't work on the 5D.

Here's the reasoning for loading up on good glass...
it will FAR outlast whatever body you plan to own...and the next one...and the next one....

End of this year I will be adding either a 7D or 5D (or whatever else is coming out) and I'll be set for lenses.

So my advice...make the investment in lenses only once.

Hope this helps!

Here's a couple of my favs with the 70-200...
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Old June 17th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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Hi Jeff,

My situations are most likely very different than yours - I need low-light shooting foremost, but if you don't rely on IS and auto-focus you can have your cake and eat it too - get the t2i and invest inexpensive, fast, manual focus lenses with iris rings. After half-a-dozen events with the T2i I'm currently making some changes in my lens collection. I'm selling one of my 70-200mm f4L IS USM (in the auction's last hour right now) and instead picked up an early 70's Nikon 180mm f2.8 for $210 that I love. I also picked up a 1980's Pentax 135mm f2.5 ($70), a Rokinon (made by Samyang) 85mm f1.4 (new-$260) and a 70's vintage Nikon 55mm f1.2 ($189) which I'm really looking forward to using - its being shipped right now. I thought my main lens for preps would be the 24-105 f4L IS but in most indoor, naturally lit situations the ISO just has to be set too high for a decent exposure at f4 so I end up reaching for fast primes. The 24-105 is perfect for outdoor shooting (with an nd filter) and dynamic processionals though, so I'm holding on to it.
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Old June 17th, 2010, 08:06 PM   #4
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Joel, where do you get your manual, old primes - eBay? Is there a good source to a list of what's available and which lenses to look for?


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Old June 17th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #5
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It's good advice to invest in good lenses because they will make a bigger difference in your end product than the different camera bodies, plus they hold their value for years. In a year, the 7D will be replaced with a better model but your quality lenses will maintain their value and provide years of use. I think it's really a no-brainer. The video quality between the 7D and T2i is nearly identical (at least for your discerning viewer) so apart from the extra 1/3 ISO stops and weatherproofing, the 7D doesn't provide that much difference to justify a 2x price tag.
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Old June 17th, 2010, 10:46 PM   #6
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I rent the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS for some jobs as owning it is too expensive as I don't use it that much.

However, for live events, my main lens is the Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 USM with IS. It's a workhorse and great general purpose lens. The IS is a bit noisy but otherwise, I can hold the camera bare (no stabilizers) and have the video come out looking extremely sharp and smooth.

I also like using the fast primes, here is my collection:

Nikon Nikkor 28mm f2.0 ($180)
Pentax Asahi Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 ($60)
Zenit Helios 44M-4 58mm f2.0 ($30)
Auto Tele-Bower 135mm f2.8 ($20)
Tokina Tele-Auto 200mm f3.5 ($35)

I'm still in the market for a fast 85mm f1.4 and a wide-zoom such as the Sigma 11-16mm, then my collection will be complete.
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Old June 17th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #7
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Hi Sam,

I keep an eye on ebay with saved searches that notify you via email what's new. keh.com is also a great resource - any rating on a lens of bargain or better will have artifact-free glass. Taking a chance on lenses with 'ugly' ratings can pay off too - I have a Sigma 28mm f1.8 that looks brand new that was rated 'UG'. I couldn't figure out why, even after shooting video with the T2i with it. It worked perfectly. It wasn't until I tried to take a still image that I knew - it was an older lens (1999-2000) and the firmware wasn't able to communicate with the camera to the extent that there was an error every time you took a picture. It forces you to turn the camera off and on again. The picture is saved, but that ruled out the camera being used for stills. For video it was a great deal for $56. You also have 14 days to return a lens, even ugly-rated ones, for a full refund. As for what lenses to look for it comes down to doing a little research, which I've actually been enjoying doing. The history of lens manufacturing and the way people have obsessed over the minutia of differences between one lens version and another is amazing. Serial numbers for most lenses are tracked in data bases so you can see when a lens was designed, sold, how many were made and even which serial numbers were on the parts given to repairmen. That last information can explain why a lens will have characteristics of two different versions of a lens' manufacturing run. I've learned about the benefits and attributes of aspherical properties, the coatings, the number of aperture blades, etc. Very interesting in a nerdy way. It can pay off though. I'm waiting on the shipment of a Vivitar 24mm f2.0 that I was lucky to find. There were two versions of the lens, one made by Kiron and one by Komine. There is a difference in the quality of the lens, with the Kiron version being better wide open, which is what matters most to me. The Kiron has a 55mm filter diameter and the Komine's is 52mm, so identifying the better lens was possible. Reviews, forums and people writing about their lens collections are full of information that can tell you if a lens is soft wide-open, for example, or displays good contrast and color. I've listed some resource links below I visit often. The lenses I've been shopping for that work with the inexpensive eos adapters are Pentax k-mount and any Nikon mount. Pentax M42 screw mounts work too, though I don't have any of those (yet). When I started looking at lenses in March to outfit my T2i's I was just like everyone else getting into DSLR video for the first time - I thought I could have three lenses that worked for all needs, so I went with relatively slow zooms. I think everyone has to go through that stage to learn that fast primes, while not as versatile and convenient, really improve your image quality by allowing lower ISO settings.The tradeoff is that the fast primes have a very narrow depth of field which makes focusing difficult, so maybe its a good idea for everyone to start off with a slower zoom so they can learn basic camera operation first before getting discouraged about how hard it is to keep the subject in focus.

Photography in Malaysia
Rolands Nikon Pages
PentaxForums.com - The Largest Pentax-Dedicated Photography Forum Community- Home
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Old June 18th, 2010, 06:21 AM   #8
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I've said it many times, but I'm very much with Joel on this one. If you want smooth focus, manual aperture, solid build, and the best value for fast lenses, you can't beat legacy manual primes.

Sometimes you also get contrast and colour rendering to rival or eclipse modern fixed zooms for very little money. What is certain is that old lenses have real character, and it's a joy to start a collection and find all their strengths and weaknesses.

You can mount, among others, OM, PK, m42 and various Nikons to the T2i with an adapter, so here is a search of used primes to get you started.

Oh, I'm a big Takumar fan. Did I mention that several times before?

prime OM,m42,PK,Nikon items - Get great deals on For 35mm SLR, For Digital SLR items on eBay UK!
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Old June 18th, 2010, 08:12 AM   #9
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Absolutely T2i with good lenses.
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Old June 18th, 2010, 09:45 AM   #10
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Yup, T2i with better lenses vs. 7D if you are on a budget. I went that way and bought a T2i and a mix of new Zeiss and older Sigma lenses (all Nikon mount with $15 EOS>Nikon adapter) because I wanted a manual iris ring so I can use the lenses on other brand cameras. I figure the follow focus, shoulder support, mattebox, etc, will hopefully carry over to the next big camera which could easily be Panasonic, or even Nikon. Who knows? I think investing in the peripherals will prove wiser since they can be used on different bodies down the road, and that T2i is cheap enough that it can be a B-Cam or vacation camera when it happens.

For what it is worth, here is a link to some rough footage I just posted using the "cheap" T2i w/ decent glass.
Hercule Iron T2i Footage

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Old June 18th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #11
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You mentioned "toting" gear into the backcountry, filming nature, wildlife, etc. So I'm going to go against some of the advice above.

7D and EF 70-200 f4L USM (non IS version) will give you fairly good weather sealing (a good UV filter completes the weather sealing). A previous poster has already praised the virtues of that lens and I love mine.

If you will have a need for a general purpose wide angle to portrait perspective lens look on ebay for a recent EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-f5.6 IS lens sold as the "kit" lens with the T2i. The latest version is not a bad lens, is sharper than previous versions and the IS is good. Can be found for $150 or LESS and will get you by for a lot of things. In the field it will fit in a 1 gallon ziplock bag for protection in the elements but you'll most likely be using the 70-200 and you won't have to "flinch" in most rain.

Then later on you can add lenses you need or want as you can.

My 7D is usually packed with the EF 17-40mm f4L and the EF 70-200 f4L, both fitted with Hoya SMC UV filters to complete weather sealing, and sometimes also toss in an EF 24mm f2.8 for close in low light work.

My T2i "runs around" with the EF-S 18-55mm "kit" lens when I just want to have something with me. I have an EF-S 55-250mm that tested out pretty good but it's up for sale since I have the 70-200.

But I feel like your primary uses point towards the 7D and the 70-200 f4L for starters. The weather sealing will be appreciated at times. I don't know if I'd want to expose mine in a downpour but I've had out in heavy snow and light rain. Just wiped it off when I got in.
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Old June 18th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #12
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I really appreciate the advice from everyone...I think Bruce has me convinced on the 7d due to it's weatherproof body. If I go with the 70-200 l series zoom and a fast wide angle lens I might be able to swing it.

But I'm still thinking about it and still vacillating between the two bodies

thanks for all the info
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