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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-27-2016

First post - need a new camera!

Hello all, 

 

I have enjoyed perusing this forum as a visitor, and I hope to eventually contribute as I gain more knowledge. I consider myself an advanced beginner... ha ha! I have using a Rebel XSi (450D) for 8 years, out of automatic mode as much as possible (though I haven't progressed to manual focus because I mostly take pictures of my kids, who can't sit still). The camera has been fine, but I am having trouble getting focused, non-blurry shots of my kids indoors and without a flash (Sadly, my iPhone works better!). Mostly I shoot with the kit lens, EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, and I've read several times that it's not great for what I need. I also have the EFS 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS which I like better outdoors, but obviously doesn't work for indoor shots of my kids.

 

Sooo... if you made it this far....  I am not sure if I need a new lens(es) or a new camera... one with a faster fps or bigger sensor (hope I'm using the terminology correctly). Maybe the T6i? Again, it's mostly for shots of my kids, candids and just "preserve the moment/joy/emotion" etc, but it must be good in lowish light settings (not dark necessarily, just indoors). Ideally I'd like to stay under $500... For sure under $1000 for everything. So... can I just upgrade my lens, and what do you suggest? Or is the XSi just too old and I should go for a new body? Or maybe I should be able to achieve what I want just fine and I am too much of a beginner to understand how! In that case, can you point me in the direction of some helpful books or study guides?! Smiley Happy 

 

Thanks you in advance for any direction you can offer!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,218
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: First post - need a new camera!


KattyLou wrote:

Hello all, 

 

I have enjoyed perusing this forum as a visitor, and I hope to eventually contribute as I gain more knowledge. I consider myself an advanced beginner... ha ha! I have using a Rebel XSi (450D) for 8 years, out of automatic mode as much as possible (though I haven't progressed to manual focus because I mostly take pictures of my kids, who can't sit still). The camera has been fine, but I am having trouble getting focused, non-blurry shots of my kids indoors and without a flash (Sadly, my iPhone works better!). Mostly I shoot with the kit lens, EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, and I've read several times that it's not great for what I need. I also have the EFS 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS which I like better outdoors, but obviously doesn't work for indoor shots of my kids.

 

Sooo... if you made it this far....  I am not sure if I need a new lens(es) or a new camera... one with a faster fps or bigger sensor (hope I'm using the terminology correctly). Maybe the T6i? Again, it's mostly for shots of my kids, candids and just "preserve the moment/joy/emotion" etc, but it must be good in lowish light settings (not dark necessarily, just indoors). Ideally I'd like to stay under $500... For sure under $1000 for everything. So... can I just upgrade my lens, and what do you suggest? Or is the XSi just too old and I should go for a new body? Or maybe I should be able to achieve what I want just fine and I am too much of a beginner to understand how! In that case, can you point me in the direction of some helpful books or study guides?! Smiley Happy 

 

Thanks you in advance for any direction you can offer!


The least expensive improvement you could make to address your main problem is to stop avoiding the use of flash for your indoor shots. I can see why you'd consider the built-in flash inadequate, but a decent external flash is within your budget. There's a Mark III version of the 430EX that goes for about $250; it would allow you to use bounce flash, which is usually the best way to light indoor scenes. The next step, if any, would be a faster lens; the customary recommendation is the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS. To keep the price down, you might try looking for a refurb at Canon's on-line store. Only if those don't solve your immediate problem would I suggest you look for a new camera. But when you are ready to take that step, the T6i (or a successor, since new Rebels come out fairly often) would be a good choice.

Bob
Boston, Massachusetts USA
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,645
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: First post - need a new camera!

Agree with Bob. And if you sell your camera and lens to defray the cost it is do-able. 

 

Scott

Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,526
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: First post - need a new camera!

KattyLou,

"Thanks you in advance for any direction you can offer!"

 

I am going to direct you in a different direction than a flash.  I can almost guarantee you will come to hate a bigger flash.

 

 Your problem is not enough light.  We all agree on that.  Another way to get the required light is either a faster lens or a higher ISO.  The reason your cell phone does a better job is, it has a higher ISO than your Rebel does.  If you compare your camera to a T6i for instance, you will gain a more than 3 stop advantage in ISO.  That just might do the trick.  Your cell phone uses 'Auto ISO',  You can set your Rebel and/or a newer model to Auto ISO, too.

 

 

KattyLou said, "I'd like to stay under $500... For sure under $1000 for everything."  Unfortunately KattyLou, this comes at a high price.  There is no free lunch in photography.  I work professionally.  I sell my photos.  I rarely use a flash and I have a 1/2 dozen or so, of them.  Of course the gear I have is the best I can get and it is expensive.  But your kids are your little kids for a short time.  Is it worth a $500 or a $1000?

I think a Rebel T6i is around $750.  Also an upgrade in your lens such as a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon is a possibility.  I think they are in the same $700/$800 price range.  I know that combo is well above what you said was your budget but for $1400/$1500 you would gain around 6 full f-stops.  And the best part, you don't have that stinking flash to deal with.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,645
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: First post - need a new camera!

[ Edited ]

I should have elaborated. Primarily, I meant to agree with the 17-55 f/2.8 lens recommendation.  Ernie's suggestion of the amazing 18-35 f/1.8 is another, even brighter choice.  Even just a cheap-o 50mm f/1.8 for $100.00 will help if that is all you have to spend, but the other choices are better. 

 

You can sell sell your existing equipment on Craigslist or eBay to defray the cost. 

 

Flash can be an affordable addition to your equipment, but it takes skill to use effectively.  Even then it can sometimes fall short of ideal, either looking fake or unevenly lighting the scene, or simply missing the proper power level, or not firing at all due to recharge delay.  

 

Your biggest bang is normally going to be getting a brighter lens.  Going from a kit lens to a bright prime or that Sigma will give you 2-3 stops of light, which is powerful indeed.  A camera upgrade typically gives a more modest boost but if your body is quite old like yours is, then you will see a couple or better stop boost in low light performance there too. 

Scott

Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-27-2016

Re: First post - need a new camera!

Thank you for your comments and advice. I very much appreciate those that took time to share their thoughts.

 

I think I will look for a faster lens, focusing on those that have been mentioned here. I originally brought up the T6i, but someone commented that the Rebels are updated fairly frequently. If I were to up my budget a bit, is there a better camera for what I want? Is the 70/80D too much camera for an "advanced beginner"? I enjoy photography as a hobby and would like to come away with stellar photos of my kids and our travels, but I'm not looking to break the bank as of yet. Smiley Happy  I do want one that is going to last several years and not become obsolete, and I don't want to "outgrow" it as I become more knowledgeable.

 

Also, when I am ready to buy either lens or body, from where do you recommend I purchase? I see the Canon refurbs mentioned often, but I also imagine that places like Amazon, B&H or camera stores are an option. Any reason to shop one more than the others (besides price)? 

 

I have lots of reading and researching to do. Thank you again for your help... and thank you to the person who reminded me that my babies are only little once. So true, and it will help to remind my husband that when I try to convince him of this purchase! Smiley Wink 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,218
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: First post - need a new camera!


KattyLou wrote:

Thank you for your comments and advice. I very much appreciate those that took time to share their thoughts.

 

I think I will look for a faster lens, focusing on those that have been mentioned here. I originally brought up the T6i, but someone commented that the Rebels are updated fairly frequently. If I were to up my budget a bit, is there a better camera for what I want? Is the 70/80D too much camera for an "advanced beginner"? I enjoy photography as a hobby and would like to come away with stellar photos of my kids and our travels, but I'm not looking to break the bank as of yet. Smiley Happy  I do want one that is going to last several years and not become obsolete, and I don't want to "outgrow" it as I become more knowledgeable. ...


We generally try to avoid advising users to buy more camera than they need. But if you're going to buy a new camera, keep it as long as you've kept your current camera, and not outgrow it, I think I'd have to suggest that you get the 80D. As you learn, you can use the 80D as though it were a lesser camera. But that doesn't work in reverse.

Bob
Boston, Massachusetts USA
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,526
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: First post - need a new camera!

KattyLou,

Upgrading your camera, in your situation is a good idea.  Anything electronic will become obsolete almost as fast as you get it home!  I think you are aware of that?  Take your cell phone as an example.  What are we up to now, I-7 ?

 

But there are two things to consider.  The first one is your choice of lens.  Best part lenses go obsolete much more slowly than the camera does.  Choose a good one and it will serve you for years.  Possibly for decades!  Don't consider any lens slower than f2.8 for instance.  The kit lens is severely limited in many ways and is designed for the basic beginner.

 

That brings us to the second part.  You now say you may be more interested in photography.  You may want to extend your skills.  Correct?  A Rebel t6I will certainly help you accomplish that goal.  Is there a better choice?  Possibly and maybe not.

A camera needs to be and should be considered as a whole and not just one spec.  Make sense?

 

If you purchase either a new lens or camera alone, I doubt you will satisfy your original goal.  It will require both as simply one or the other doesn't up your game enough.  All photographic gear has its limit.  No matter how much it costs.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,533
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: First post - need a new camera!

I would advise one these four cameras: T6i and the T6s, or the 70D and 80D.  The "T" cameras are Rebels, which are great starter cameras, but have some limitations.  If you want a true camera body upgrade, pick a 70D, or the even better 80D.

 

I suspect that your EF-S 18-55mm lens model does not end with "STM".  There have been several versions of that particular kit lens over the years.  I'm guessing that you have one of the early models.  The most recent release is pretty good.  It employs the "STM" aufto-focus drive motors, which are more accurate, faster, smoother, quieter.  All of that adds up to better and more consistently accurate focus performance. 

 

If you want to shoot indoors, you are going to need fast lenses, which means f/2.8 or faster.  If you use lenses much larger than your 18-55mm, then you will likely need an external flash.  Because your built-in flash doesn't raise up high enough over the lens, such that the lens doesn't block some the light and casting a shadow into your shot.

 

Canon offers three lenses for people on tight budgets:  EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, EF 40mm f/2.8 STM, and the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM.  The last two lenses are very low profile, "pancake" body lenses.  The 50mm lens would be portrait length on your current camera, as well as the camera bodies that I suggested above.  Portrait length means it will good for taking head and shoulder shots, but will probably be a little long [too much focal length] for most indoor shots in a home. 

 

However, the 50mm is currently being offered in 2 lens kit, with a good wide angle lens, the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens.  The current sale price of the kit make it a really good deal.  You will get a fast lens in the 50mm, as well as nice wide angle lens to use indoors, which most likely will not cast a shadow with the internal flash.  This kit would be a good compliment with any of the cameras that I suggested above and the EF-S 18-55mm STM lens. 

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,533
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: First post - need a new camera!

[ Edited ]

Finally, one option, which surprisingly has not already been raised, is the post processing software that you use.  I use Adobe Lightroom 6, which is not the subscription version.  Adobe LR6 wouldd a serious upgrade over Canon's DPP, Digital Photo Professional, photo processing software package. 

 

The best part is that Adobe LR6, with the perpetual license, costs less than a quality flash unit would cost.  The shot just below of a dry river bed is more or less straight out the camera.

 

IMG_6852-2.jpg

 

This next shot is the same photo, but with White Balance correction, and modest Noise Reduction, and Contrast and Exposure Corrections.

 

IMG_6852.jpg

 

The difference post-processing in a digital darkroom can make are significant.  The Canon DPP package is good, but Adobe LR6 is on an entirely different level. 

 

IMG_6853.jpg

 

Besides, LR6 runs about four times faster the DPP when processing RAW to JPEG files.  And, LR6 loads large [30MB] files in a second, while DPP can take up to a minute for some reason.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
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