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Questions re: upgrading to T5i from Powershot SX40


I currently have a Canon Powershot SX40 and have taken thousands of photos with it. While the results are good, I want them better. I have been taking some photography classes and reading articles online to try and get the most out of my current camera. I typically shoot in P mode and not Auto. I have been researching Canon DSLR cameras and think I have settled on the T5i which has good features and in my budget. However, I am torn between these two options: Getting the T5i with the 18-55 STM lens in a kit with the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens, or for the same price, getting the T5i with the 18-135 STM lens only (which is close to the range of the lens on the SX40). I shoot a lot of nature and landscape photography, so want to be able to zoom in from a distance. Otherwise, I am shooting family photos at a close range (a few feet at most). I also do a lot of macro photography. I would appreciate some recommendations on the best option for me to start with.


Also, one concern I have is shooting in damp or wet weather. We were just on a Rhine River Cruise, and most days were damp with drizzly rain. I still shot a lot of photos and just did my best to try and keep my camera wiped off and dry. Would the T5i be more sensitive in this kind of weather than my SX40? If I'm on a trip and the weather is wet, I don't want that to keep me from taking photos. What do those of you with the T5i (or similar) do in damp weather?


Thank you. 



The image quality from the T5i and the ability to change lenses for different purposes would make it a significant upgrade from your current camera. With respect to the kit lenses, the 18-55 and 55-250 combo would give you a much wider range than the 18-135, but the latter might be a bit better made lens (especially compared to the 18-55). In all three lenses, look for the latest "STM" models, which give better AF performance and in some cases have been improved optically.


Note that STM lenses are particularly useful if you want to be able to shoot video with your DSLR. The focus is designed to be quiet and smooth. (Note, too, that not all Canon cameras support AF in video mode... But I'm a still photographer. I ain't no videographer, so really can't offer much more useful info on this... hopefully someone else can, if it's important to you.)


A  more "premium" general purpose lens might be the EF-S 15-85mm IS USM, offering top image quality and the best AF performance, as well as an unusually wide angle of view for this type lens. It would be more expensive than any of the kit lenses, though. In general, USM lenses offer the fastest, most accurate focus.


Other key features are IS or Image Stabilization... which can especially be helpful with longer focal lengths, but is nice to have on any lens.


Canon's L series lenses are their premium quality and among the best made by any manufacturer.


If you like to shoot wildlife, birds, etc., you'll want as much reach with as lon a telephoto as possible. You might even want a 70-300mm, or if you have more to spend and are willing to carry a larger, heavier lens, an EF 100-400L IS or Sigma 120-400 OS.


For landscape, wider is often desirable. The Canon EF-S 10-22mm is a premium lens for this purpose. The Tokina 12-24mm is also a very good lens.


None of the above are macro lenses and you won't have a "macro mode" like you do with your current camera. To shoot high magnification, close-up images you can either add Macro Extension Rings to one or the other of the above lenses, or get a true macro lens. The Canon EF-S 60/2.8 USM is an excellent macro lens. I'm currently trying out a Tamron SP 60/2.0 macro lens... it's a full stop faster than the Canon, so might be better doublng as a short telephoto/portrait lens, but it's AF is slower (so it's not very usable for sports/action shooting).


Canon only sells individual Macro Extension Tubes: 12mm and 25mm. They are high quality, but end up being rather expensive. The Kenko macro ring set is also high quality and not too terribly expensive (about $200). There are cheaper Opteka and Zeikos macro rings ($50 to $75 US) that are more plasticky, but still can work. I'd try to avoid using them with heavier lenses, but they might be fine for lighter ones. (Note: the Zeikos sell under a whole bunch of different brand names - Vivitar, Bower, ProOptic, etc. - they are all the same tho.) Do not waste your money on the really cheap Macro Extension Ring Sets (under $25 US). They don't have the electronic contacts so you lose both AF and control over the lens aperture (there is a work around, but it's a pain in the arse).


 There are many ways to set up a lens (and accessory) kit for use on your DSLR. For example, I use a pair of 7Ds (essentially the same sensor as the T5i) and my "premium"/work lens kit is 10-22mm, 24-70/2.8L, 70-200/2.8L IS, 100/2.8 USM macro and 300/2.8L IS with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters. When I need to hike some distance and want to carry a much lighter kit, I more often use 10-22mm (or Tokina 12-24), 28-135 IS USM, Tamron 60/2.0 macro, and 300/4 IS with 1.4X teleconverter. Sometimes I'll carry 70-200/4L IS instead of or in addition to the 300mm. I've been shooting with Canon gear for over 12 years now, so also have a number of other lenses acquired over time for various purposes including more macro choices and some lenses that I use mostly on a full frame 5D Mark II camera. But what works for me might not work for you.


There are many other possibilities for lenses and useful accessories. The beauty of a DSLR is that you can configure it as needed for your particular pusposes. It sounds as if you are interested in expanding your skills as a photographer, so I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of the book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. This might be the best $20 you ever spend on your photography! It is not specific to any particular brand or model of camera, but can help people transition from being a "snapshooter" to being a "real" photographer.


Also consider getting one of the guide books for whatever camera model you end up buying... These sort of pick up where the included user manual leaves off, give you a better overview of the system as a whole to help you build up a kit that meets your particular needs well, and  give you a lot of hands-on, real world use examples. Even though I've been shooting for 30+ years and have used a wide variety of cameras, I always make a point of getting a guide book for any new model. I can recommend the guides written by Michael Guncheon, Charlotte Lowrie and David Busch, tho I'd bet there are some other good ones from other authors, too.  


For whatever lenses you get, be sure to also get the matching lens hood (comes with some lenses, but a lot of Canon in the price range being discussed it's sold separately). You don't really need "protection" filters. A Circular Polarizer might be really helpful.


You also might want to consider a tripod and an accessory flash, maybe later if not right now. A tripod helps you steady your shots, of course. But it also forces a photographer to slow down, study and think about their shots. So it's a great learning tool, too. The T5i has a built-in, pop-up flash, which might serve for occasional, emergency use. But an accessory flash has a lot of advantages and can be nearly essential for thing such as macro photography and portraiture. An accessory flash is much more powerful and has it's own power supply, so doesn't hasten the drain on the camera's battery. It's also positioned farther from the lens axis, especially if used on a flash bracket with an off-camera-shoe-cord, which helps minimize redeye and ugly shadow effects.


You don't have to get everything right now. But lay out a plan for what you will need to shoot what you want to shoot. Prioritize and start building your kit a bit at a time.


Rainy weather is always tricky. I doubt the T5i is any better or worse than your present camera. Very few point n shoots or DSLRs are truly waterproof. I'd suggest you get some accessories to help protect your camera, lens and all your gear. It can be as simple as plastic bags, gaffer tape and rubber bands... and perhaps a plastic rain poncho that will cover up you and your camera bag. Or there are more sophisticated and tailored rain sleeves.... and even actually watertight underwater cases that allow you to dive to 100 meters or more with your gear. You can spend as little or as much as you wish. Just use some common sense. Cameras are electronic items... essentially specialized computers now... and one drop of water in the wrong place at the wrong time can short them out and ruin your day in a very expensive way!  Even tho I live in N. Calif. where it doesn't rain about 9 months of the year, I've been caught out in downpours and had my gear soaked (no harm done... I shut everything down, removed all the batteries and gave things several days to dry out before powering things back up). Now I have camera bags that have waterproof covers built in, a few plastic bags, gaffer tape, rubber bands and OpTech sleeves, as well as some cheap plastic ponchos, in my car and in my camera bags... Cheap insurance, just in case. Even for my gear that's stated to be "weather resistant".


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




Alan, very nicely wrote & also quite informative. One very minor mistake though and it relates to the underwater housing side of things. 100 Meters is much deeper than we dive as recreational divers. I think the cheaper cases like Canon, Olympus & Nikon sell are rated to about 130 feet & some of the more expensive ones may go to 200 feet but even that's deeper than we're supposed to go unless specially trained & using mixed gas vs regular compressed air. Recreational divers aren't "supposed" to go deeper than 140 feet with 155 being the suggested limit.

I also don't shoot video & can't comment on using a DSLR for it but I will offer a different opinion on a start up package & point out that many people get satisfactory results by buying a body only & one of the common superzooms currently available (Canon 18-200 thru the Tamron 18-270). They are a compromise in image quality but until you've used high end lenses / learned what range you need most, they can get you up & shooting without breaking the budget. Fortunately I've never had any of my gear get very damp but I always make sure I have some form of protection in my bag even if it's just a big plastic bag. I got caught in a big storm last year at an air show but I had a rain poncho with me that protected me & my gear. It cost me 99 cents back in the early 90's & finally saw use.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Thanks for replying to my post. Not planning on diving with the camera, but good to know. Good idea to always keep a plastic bag or poncho with your camera bag. I have some ideas now of what I want and can make out my Christmas list accordingly.

Mrs. Batch if I were you, from what you have stated, I would consider the Canon 7D. Although the T5i is a grand body, the 7D is in the "pro" level of durability and is weather proofed. It is not water proof but it will take considerable foul weather, probably more than you are willing to endure.

Even a good used one is a good buy. Smiley Happy


The "kit" lenses are generally a good value and suit most people but you sound like perhaps you have surpassed the entry level period?

While not a weather proof design the Canon 24-105mm f4 is a wonderful buy. They can also be found on the used market at very good prices and even new ones from other Canon kits.

Check one out.

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

Even the 60D and 70D have weather sealing.  


I always throw out some cautions about this... weather sealing involves using gaskets and o-rings on all body seams and dials.  The seals do not protect against "pressure" -- the moment a camera is submerged it is subject to "pressure" and the seals _will_ leak.  A weather-sealed camera body would handle light rain, drizzle, snow, etc.  I would probably not expose it to severe weather (e.g. in the hard driving rain of, say, a hurricane... water gets driven through cracks and into amazing spaces where you'd think water leaks wouldn't normally be a problem -- bottom line is that it's protection is "pretty good" but not intended to be comprehensive for all situations.  Use reasonable caution.


Also... just because a body might be weather sealed, doesn't mean the lens is weather sealed.  Some lenses are (most but not all "L" series lenses are sealed and even with those you have to read the docs for each lens... some will indicate that a protective filter is needed on the front such as a clear or UV filter to "complete" the weather seal.


You would not want to open the camera while exposed to weather.  If you need to swap batteries, memory cards, or lenses, get it out of the weather and towel off the body first to remove moisture.


There are many camera rain-jackets and rain-sleeves on the market that can provide good protection.  These usually have elastic to go around the lens or lens hood, cover the body in plastic (or a waterproof fabric) with holes in the back through which you can insert your hands to hold and control the camera.  Some of these are _very_ inexpensive (intended as disposables) and others are quite rugged/durable and intended for multi-use (but more expensive.)


A waterproof housing is, of course, truely "water proof" (even to substantial pressure and depth)... but real water proof housings are fairly expensive and usually cost more than the camera body itself.


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

Not recommending anybody try this but me and my Canon survived Ivan. A real testament to the durability of Canon pro level bodies. I had on a rain poncho and was soaked to my underwear and yet my Canon worked flawlessly. Again not recommending anyone subject their equipment or themselves to this extreme weather but circumstance, not design, directed my path. Sometimes it just is not possibile to avoid.

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

Doubt I will be photographing in any hurricanes, but am certainly glad to know you and your camera survived Ivan!

I never thought I would either but you just never know. It's all about getting the shot. isn't it? Smiley LOL

Enjoy your soon to be Canon 70D. You will love it as it has lots of great features.

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

Chech this out.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
click here to view the press release