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Camera Upgrade Suggestions


Hello everybody! First Post here. I know this question has already been asked but frankly I don't feel like searching through all of the previous post and still not getting a clear suggestion / advice. Anyways here it goes: My wife has a T5 rebel with two entry level lenses. She has shot 2 weddings and a couple handfuls of family portraits. She is also a very talented nature photographer as that is how she spends her free time with her camera. We are looking for a new camera and I will be taking over her rebel. Currently my top choice is the 70D as it is somewhat newer and has some cool features but she would not be taking advantage of the video features. We don't have the money to upgrade to the premier line of cameras but should we consider getting a full framed body like the 7D or maybe a 6D? Getting a full framed body would mean having to purchase two lenses as well so she could still have a lot of capability which would probably be just out of budget. If we purchase a 70D we could get a nice short zoom(17-55 is usm) and use her older long zoom lense saving a little bit of money until we can upgrade the long zoom or get something new like a nice prime lense. Well that's pretty much all of the info, any suggestions or advice would be awesome!



The 6D is a full frame camera.  The 7D is not... the 7D has the same size sensor as the T5 (APS-C size sensor).  The 7D is optimized for action photography (but certainly can be used for any other type of photography -- they aren't limited.)


The 6D cannot use "EF-S" lenses (those lenses project a smaller image circle inside the camera which is large enough to cover the size of the APS-C size image sensor, but not large enough to cover the size of the 36mm x 24mm full-frame sensor.)


The 6D can focus in very little light (it can focus in less light than most cameras on the market).

The 6D is positioned as an "entry" level full-frame camera (it was originally introduced at a price under $2k whereas most full-frame bodies tend to be closer to $3k or higher.)
Note that the 6D does not have a pop-up flash (most full-frame cameras do not) and requires an external speedlite if you want flash.


The 70D has some ISO improvement over a T5, but the 6D has a much more dramatic ISO improvement (full frame sensors tend to do well at high ISO with low noise levels compared to APS-C sensor cameras.)  


If "nature photography" means "wildlife" (likely being photographed from a distance) then the 7D II might be particularly attractive due to it's very impressive focusing system (which takes a bit of learning, but it's significantly improved over what she would have had in the T5) and also the extremely fast continuous burst speed if shooting animals on-the-move.




Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da


This is all my personal opinion but is based on 50 years of photography.  Your next camera should be the 7D Mk II.  The 70D is not enough of a upgrade over the T5, IMHO, of course.  Especially since there is only about $500 dollars difference.

Either of these cameras will use your existing lenses but the 7D Mk II deserves better lenses, again IMHO.  It is a pro level camera in its build quality.

If you need to save or wait for a bit to get the extra $500 bucks, I would do it.  If you want to go FF, it will cost you well more than $500 bucks.  It woudld mean a 6D and a new lens.  This is the best buy in a Full Frame kit.<---click me


As to how or what a camera is aimed toward, it is largely meaningless to the average hobby shooter.  Yes, absolutely, each model has its strong points and weakness.  But in the end they all take picutres and very well I might add, very well indeed.

If you said I am a football sports photographer than by all means, the 7D Mk II is THE camera for you. If you said I only like to shoot landscapes than you might as well bite the bullett and go for the 6D kit.  However, being as you said you shoot differing subjects, the 7D Mk II is still the choice upgrade..


EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


Hi and welcome,


I think a 70D would be a very nice upgrade to her present camera. Especially if it leaves some money in the budget for better lenses... IMHO lenses should always be higher priority than the camera they are used upon.


But... it depends.


You mention weddings and portraits, and for that a full frame camera like 6D is an ideal choice. Especially if doing a lot of available light shooting and needing higher ISOs.


However, you also mention nature photography, which can mean a lot of things. If we're talking about scenic shots and macro, 6D wouild be fine. But if she likes to photograph active wildlife, particularly smaller, faster moving critters and birds, 70D would be a better camera for the purpose.


Yes, 7DII would be nice, especially for fast moving subjects. But if it were me I'd buy the "lesser" 70D (which is still a significant upgrade), and put the money saved toward better lenses. That will show more in her results.

I'm assuming by "entry level" you're referring to 18-55mm and 55-250mm that are often sold in kit with Rebel series models such as the T5. The 17-55/2.8 IS USM would be a very capable replacement for the 18-55mm... larger aperture, better build, better image quality, faster autofocus.


Considering her work, you also might want to lthink about a larger aperture prime for portrait purposes, such as the EF 50/1.4 USM or the new EF 50/1.8 STM (the older EF 50/1.8 II has iffy autofocus and is very lightly built). These lenses could be used on a FF body, while the EF-S 17-55mm (and current 18-55, 55-250) cannot. Those are "crop only" lenses.


The EF 28/1.8 USM, EF 35/2 IS USM and 85/1.8 USM are other reasonably affordable primes that can be great for this type of work.


The EF-S 55-250mm IS "STM", in particular, is a pretty good telephoto, if that's what she's got. The earlier non-STM is pretty good, too, though it's not got quite as good autofocus. FYI, "STM" stands for "stepper motor focusing", which is an improvement over "micro motor" that's used in Canon lenses that aren't marked either STM or USM. STM is also quiet and smooth operating, so is desirable for video (though you say that's not important). "USM" stands for "ultrasonic motor" and is the fastest and most accurate, desirable for sports and other action photography, especially when paired up with a reasonably fast focusing camera such as the 70D, USM can also help a bit on a 6D, even though it's a slower focusing/tracking camera. Where the 6D excels is in low light... it's able to focus one or two stops lower light than 70D or 7DII (or most other Canon camreas, for that matter). Only the 5D Mark III and 1DX have comparable low-light focusing capabilities (actually, the new 5Ds/5Ds-R might too... They're AF system appears to be based upon the 5DIII's.)


The most pro oriented telephotos are probably the 70-200s. Canon makes four different models and they are all good. The top of the line is the EF 70-200/2.8 IS USM Mark II. It's a superb lens. However, I always encourage checking out the f2.8 lenses in a store, because they are relatively large and heavy. The slightly older 70-200/4 IS USM is about 2/3 the size and weight of the f2.8 lens, and has nearly as good image quality, AF performance and build quality. These two lenses use a fluorite element, which makes them quite sharp. The other 70-200s (non-IS f2.8 and f4 and the first versions f2.8 IS) do not use fluorite. Neither do any of the third party or competitive 70-200s, that I'm aware of.


The new 100-400 IS USM Mark II is another very popular wildlife/birding lens. The earlier version of it has been popular too, especially for birds in flight because of it's rather unique (these days) and rapid push/pull zoom design. These are not small lenses, but really not bad considering the reach. They are a little larger and heavier than a 70-200/2.8.


It sounds as if the telephoto is going to need to wait, anyway. So you're best option in a camera might be to stick with an APS-C crop model such as 70D/7D/7DII that can use the telephoto she's got now (assuming it's one of the EF-S lenses). Of course, if she decided to go with FF instead (for the wedding/portrait "money shots"), she could always keep the T5 to shoot wildlife with the telephoto.


Have fun shopping!



Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories

Wow! Thanks for all of the information! I think we have decided on the 70D and will be getting the 17-55/2.8 IS USM lense to start with. Hopefully I will pick her up one of the prime lenses you suggested before the end of the year. We just don't have the money to upgrade to an FF body with all new lenses and the 7DII just doesn't seem necessary. I imagine down the road we will be able to afford the jump up to a 5D so I think it will be nice to have the 70D as a capable video recorder and still excellent photo camera. I might have been a little misleading with the "nature" photography, I meant more of an outdoor photographer, close up shots of bees, old houses, barns, stuff like that. Sometimes it's a little overwhelming with all of the choices out there so I am trying to set my wife up for success as she would really like to start turning her passion into a career. Thanks again everybody!

You might also want to take a look at the "Refurbished" camera bodies at USA Shop Canon. It has been my experience that the refurbished equipment, all of which comes with a one year warranty, is indistinguishable from new equipment. The only difference seems to be the box that it comes in. The stuff even has that "new gear smell" to it. If you want to make a bigger leap, like the others have suggested, then saving up for a refurbished camera body might be a viable option. It has been for me. Watch the pages for sales on different models. The 6D was just recently selling for $1099, but has gone back up to $1199. The 6D would pair well with the EF 24-105 f/4L, which was selling refurbished last week for 25% off the regular price of $799. The lens costs $999 brand new.
"The right mouse button is your friend."

Thanks for the tip! I will check out what Canon has to offer in the refurb shop for sure. You mentioned the EF 24-105 f/4L lense which I have actually been looking at. While I am still pretty sure we are going to end up getting the 70D, I am not certain on the lense I want to get with it. I'm looking at three different ones: EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 is usm, EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM, or the EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM. If we do indeed get the 70D then the EF-S is still an option and I like the f/2.8 but is the L series upgrade worth settling for the f/4? Also what is the difference between the 24-70 and 24-105?

Although we don't agree on your choice of the next upgrade, I recommended the 7D Mk II, so you may not like my reasoning on lenses either.  If you are considering the 24-105mm f4 as a next purchase, the others are not worth considering, IMHO, of course.


First the 24-105mm f4 is just one stop slower than the 17-55mm f2.8.  It is a little wider but way shorter on the other end.  It is also a prosummer model and the 24-105 is a full pro model.


Comparing the 24-105 vs the 24-70mm, why?  35mm more reach, same f ratio, same quality. Both have IS. So to me the obivious choice is the 24-105mm.  The 24-105mm can also be found, brand new, easily, in white box versions.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

While the 24-105mm f/4L is a nice a lens, on a full-frame body a 24mm lens provides a wide angle view.  But the 70D is a crop-frame (APS-C size) sensor body.  On that body, the 24mm end of the lens doesn't provide much of a wide angle view at all (a 28mm focal length is fairly close to "normal") meaning that the 24mm end of the 24-105 wont be good if you're shooting groups indoors (anything where you need a wider angle perspective.)


I do prefer using long focal lengths for portraits (the 105mm focal length is nice for this) -- but this does require having the space to back away from the subject to compose the shot.


Here are some links to (they index photos uploaded to Flickr which have EXIF data so they can tell specifically which camera and lens was used).


This first link are photos taken with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM -- but I've restricted it to show only photos taken with that lens on an APS-C body:


This next link are photos taken with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.  That lens only fits APS-C bodies so there's no need to resrict body type:


You can also restrict the aperture or focal length (e.g. if you want to see images taken with the 17-55 but only at f/2.8 ... or images taken with the 24-105 but only at f/4, etc. you can do that.)


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

"I'm looking at three different ones: EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 is usm, EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM, or the EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM. If we do indeed get the 70D then the EF-S is still an option and I like the f/2.8 but is the L series upgrade worth settling for the f/4? Also what is the difference between the 24-70 and 24-105?" ............... I agree with the opinions that say the 70D would be a disappointing upgrade. Seeing how you do not yet have a significant investment in EF-S lenses, don't rule out the full-frame 6D, which has excellent low light performance. The L lenses are a cut above EF-S 17-55 on an APS-C sensor camera, without a doubt. If you wish to stick with APS-C sensor camera, then the 7D Mk II would be an excellent choice, and it sells for nearly the same price as a 6D. I chose a 6D over the 7D Mk II because it had built-in WiFi and GPS, as well as having a full frame sensor. I've long heard the talk about the superior image quality of a full frame over a cropped sensor, and now [wow] I can see the difference.
"The right mouse button is your friend."