Brand new to the forum. Looking forward to learn from all of you. I'm looking for some advice, and I'm sure this is hot debate!
I have been using a T2i for several years. It was my first DSLR. I mainly use it with the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and the Canon 55-250 IS (first version), and sometimes the "nifty fifty." The majority of my pictures are of our kids playing sports. I have two girls playing volleyball (indoors) and a son playing lacrosse (usually outdoors, but sometimes indoors). Obviously the indoor sports is a bit of a challenge. I typically have to shoot ISO 1600 or 3200 with shutter speeds ~1/160 to maybe 1/320 if I'm lucky. I get "decent" results. Meaning, most of the other parents are impressed with the pictures. And sure, they are a lot better than in iPhone.
However, I am noticing that I'm missing more shots. I pretty much have to guess at the timing for VB since my burst rate is only 3 fps and that's too slow. So I do my best to guess when the ball will impact or whatever. Sometimes I get lucky. I also still get some motion blur as 1/250 just isn't fast enough in several instances. I also find the camera just doesn't focus fast enough in some cases.
So, I'm looking to upgrade. I orginally had my sights on the 7D mk ii, primarily due to it's great 10 fps. It is also just a better built camera and has better image quality and much better focusing than my T2i. But then I started researching the 80D. From what I read, it probably has even better image quality than the 7D mk ii, but does not have as fast of burst rate (7 fps) and the autofocus system probably isn't as good as the 7D mk ii.
Keep this in perspective - I am not a professional! I am not selling any of my pictures. They are already good enough to impress most of the other parents and the kids. I have never done video with my camera. That's not to say I never will, but, I probably won't. I do like to take pictures of nature...landscapes, trees, leaves, water falls, etc.
So - what camera should i upgrade to? I'm wondering, since I'm not professional, will I notice the improved focus system of the 7D mk ii over the 80D? Is it that much better? If not, then is the only advantage of the 7D mk ii that of the faster burst rate? And if I then say I can live with the 7-8 fps of the 80D, but get cleaner images both now and when doing nature stuff...is that the right move? Or, in reality, is the image quality of the 80D not that much better than the 7D? so then, I should opt for the faster burst and better focus system?
Hope this make sense - I look forward to your suggestions. Seems like I can get either camera used for about the same price right now. I also plan to get the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 VC to replace my Canon 55-250. I might also get the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC to replace my Tamron 15-50 f/2.8.
Quick word about your lenses. Buy Canon lenses, whenever possible. The only non-Canon lenses that I have are lenses that have no direct Canon equivalent. Lenses that fill holes in Canon’s lineup, like a Sigma 150-600mm “C” super telephoto, for example.
I also prefer Canon lenses, simply because Canon’s DPP, Digital Photo Professional, software can perform lens correction only with Canon lenses. I prefer to shoot RAW, which allows greater flexibility in processing image, particularly in the are of noise reduction. If you shoot JPEGs, you can download lens correction to your camera. But, once again, you can only do this for Canon lenses, not third party lense.
As for your lens upgrade ideas, I like the idea upgrading the 55-250mm to a constant f/2.8 aperture, medium telephoto lens. Almost any lens in that range sold today will focus faster than the 55-250mm. Having a 70-200mm f/2.8 aperture makes it even better for shooting sports. If there was one “all-purpose sports lens”, then a 70-200mm zoom gets my vote. I would prefer any of the Canon 70-200mm over a third party 70-200mm zoom, though.
But, I think upgrading a 17-50 f/2.8 lens to 24-70 f/2.8 lens seems like you’re approaching the point of diminishing returns to me. Yes, it fills a gap between 55 and 70mm, but how often do you shoot in that range? How often do you shoot at the 17mm end of the zoom range? A 24-70 would be duplicating most of the range of your 17-55mm. I prefer that my zoom lenses have some overlap, so that i don’t get “stuck between clubs”. But, not in this case, not unless there was some problem with the 17-55mm lens.
The choice between the 80D and 7D Mark II can be a hard one. It really depends upon YOUR needs, not someone else’s priorities and preferences. The 80D is the “best buy” in the current Canon lineup, period. The 7D Mark II has long been regarded as far, and away, the best APS-C body in Canon’s lineup, period.
When it comes to AF performance, the question becomes which is better at tracking subjects in AI Servo mode. When the subjects are humans, the 80D is VERY good at tracking subjects. It is at least as good as the 7D2, and may be better in some ways. The 7D2 has only one AF point that is sensitive at f/8, while the 80D has 27 f/8 AF points. The more sensitive AF points become important in low light shooting situations.
The 7D2 has 65 AF points, to the 45 AF points in the 80D. The 7D2 many be better at tracking narrow profile subjects like birds in flight, but the 80D is just as good at tracking much larger humans. The frame rate differences are almost negligible for most sports, IMHO. It would make a difference to a professional, but not to the average consumer, or even many photo enthusiasts.
The 7D2 has a little bigger, heavier body than an 80D. While both have weather sealing, the 7D2 has a better shell, and better weather sealing. The 7D2 offers a built-in GPS, so that professionals can document where they are shooting, without going the extra step of adding it to their photos, which I rarely used because I am not a spelunker. The 80D offers built-in Wi-Fi, which i rarely used, because I shoot mainly RAW. My son loves the Wi-Fi, because he uses the 80D as a substitute for the camera in his smart phone, an iPhone 6s.
If video is a potential interest, then the 80D is the clear choice on this front. While both bodies use “Dual Pixel CMOS” sensors, the 80D has a more advanced version, which allows the camera to auto-focus when shooting video MUCH faster and more accurately than previous Canon bodies. While the 7D2 can shoot video, it is not one of the camera’s strongest feateries.
The 7D2 offers dual card slots, including a slot for CF cards, which can be faster than SD cards. The faster slot plays a role in the higher 7D2 having a higher frame rate. Having the ability to automatically backup shots to a second card is more desireable to a professional than the average consumer.
Overall, pound for pound, the 7D2 is probably the better choice for professional photographers. The 80D is probably the better choice for consumers, especially if you have any potential interests in shooting video. My choice is the 80D, which I think has slightly better performance at ISO settings between 1600-6400. However, both camera bodies benefit from shooting RAW, and post processing the images. The 80D just produces better looking JPEGs, IMHO.
I was surprised to see the price difference is only $250.00 though you can find 80d discounted another 100 bucks.
I dont see weathersealing applying much to your uses and in any event your lenses are not weathersealed so that would at least partially defeat the point of body weathersealing.
I upgraded from my T6S to the 80D because of the really fine deals offered at Canon's online refurb store. I had already concluded that the 80D offered me all I needed for the types of photography I do, and when they listed the 80D with an 18-55mm STM kit lens for $779.95, that clinched the deal for me.
I do some BIF, and lots of wildlife photography, and have been very happy with this camera's overall performance. I shoot mostly RAW, but have been pleasantly surprised at how good OOC jpeg files look. Size and weight are about as big as I want to carry, so the 80D, for me, has been a very good choice.
Thank you all for this great information so far! Couple comments to your comments. First, the WiFi doesn't do anything for me (from what I hear, it allows you to transfer files to your mobile device...these files are too big. I have not heard that you can transfer files to your computer/NAS drive...that I might use...but still not a big deal to me). The GPS stuff is of no value to me either. The weather sealing...well, nice I guess. But truely, I doubt I would ever be out in the rain or blowing dust. If it means the camera is just plain more robust and might last longer, that's fine...but again, I'm not a professional and if it's raining, the camera stays inside.
Your comments about the AF systems was very helpful. Yes, I am tracking humans. Whether it's my kids dancing or playing, or bigger kids playing sports. I am not typically tracking birds in the sky (although a random shot of an eagle is always cool, it's the rare exception for me). So, if you are saying the AF system on the 80D is as good or better than the 7D2, that means a lot to me.
The touchscreen - my gut says I wouldn't use it much. However, nearly every review I read says the same thing - that they didn't think they would use/like it, and then find out how much they do. Is this a deal-breaker...probably not. If I end up chosing the 80D, then I guess it's a bonus.
Today I don't do much (any?) video...I can appreciate that the flip-out screen (and touchscreen) would be great for that - but I just don't do it today anyway.
Of course there is always just wanting to take nice portraits, or landscape shots too. Which camera would give me the better image quality for that?
Your comment that the 80D gives better jpeg is interesting. Honestly (don't hate me), I shoot 99% jpeg. Why? I just can't imagine how much time it woudl take to go through 100-300 pictures from a tournament and open each one and make adjustments and then save as jpeg to be able to share them with friends. It already takes me quite a bit of time to go through them, delete the blurry/bad ones, and do some simple cropping of others. Maybe I'm just dumb and there are easy ways and I just need to learn? There is also the considerable amount of storage space required...
“ Honestly (don't hate me), I shoot 99% jpeg. Why? I just can't imagine how much time it woudl take to go through 100-300 pictures from a tournament and open each one and make adjustments and then save as jpeg to be able to share them with friends. It already takes me quite a bit of time to go through them, delete the blurry/bad ones, and do some simple cropping of others. Maybe I'm just dumb and there are easy ways and I just need to learn? There is also the considerable amount of storage space required...”
RAW versus JPEG is an endless discussion. I shoot JPEG when I want quick and easy images that will likely wind up on FaceBook or as smaller prints. However, you can recover more detail in blown highlights with the additional data in a RAW file. These larger files also seem to hold up better to cropping and retention of fine detail is also better. The processing can be simple or elaborate, and I often find that nothing more than simple adjustments in a native program like Apple's Photo is fine. I also use Polarr, as well as DPP, and you really can set your own level of complexity as far as how far you want to go with post processing. Having said that, Canon does very well with its in camera JPEG processing and they really can look great. I find I do better if I reduce sharpening in camera, because Canon's sharpening can produce halo effects if overdone. I also back off on contrast to help preserve highlights. Then, you can adjust sharpening and light in pp to suit your own taste.
There is no right or wrong way ... just what works for you and gives you the results you're looking for.
"RAW versus JPEG is an endless discussion."
Yes it is and the only answer is, if you are satisfied with what you are getting from your jpg, than stay with them. If you want more, than go Raw. The truth of the matter is, Raw can make better photos but not necessarily. Do you prefer to do your settings in the camera or in post? That is the question.
Which is better, 80D or 7D2, at taking portraits and landscape shots?
It’s a tie, for the vast majority of those shooting scenarios. For arguments’ sake I am going to say at least 90% of the time, you would not tell a difference. Landscapes, without any people moving around, are quite easy to do, but deceptively difficult to do well.
However, portraits can be a different story. There are just as many ways to shoot portraits as there are grains of sand on a beach. Both camera bodies can shoot still subjects very well. When it comes to portraits, the biggest differences will come down to how much available light do you have. IMHO, the newer 80D bests the older 7D2, when it comes to noise.
"... what camera should i upgrade to?"
The only answer to your question on either the 80D or the 7D Mk II is build. Do you want a pro-level built camera or are you OK with an enthusiasts camera with less build quality. Either is going to make gorgeous pictures.