So I've had my t3i for a while and I think I'm hitting the limitations in the t3i in terms of what I'm doing now. I've had the camera for about 1-2 years (was given to me as a xmas gift) and up until now, I've done automotive photography, nature photography, as well as portrait photography. I thought that the T3i was already a good enough camera for me to suit my needs but I realized I might need more now but I'm not sure. One night, I was doing rolling shots with a few buddies of mine and noticed in post processing, that there was a ton of grain in most of the pictures if I turned up the shadows (was shooting in betwen 1/10-1/20th of a second at F8.0 at 3200ISO. What are the benefits of upgrading from a T3i or do I just need a better lens? I was thinking of going to either a T4i or a T5i but at the same time, I want to go for a full frame sensored camera but I don't know if the types of photography I'm doing right now require such an advanced camera such as the 5D MkII or if the t4i/t5i will be good enough. Also, do the lenses for the T3i work for the 5D MKII or do I have to purchase new lenses for it? I'm guessing the lenses for the T3i are compatible with the T4i and the T5i. Thanks!
The reason why I had my ISO up at 3200 is because I typically do rolling shots anywhere from F8-F16 at ISO 100-400, depending on the time of day as well as what my shutter speed is set at. This was at around 8 at night so if I was shooting at anywhere below F8, I don't think I would have gotten the results I wanted. With all the other types of photography that I do, true I could use my 50mm and been shooting at anywhere below ISO 3200 but this won't be the only time I will be doing rolling shots at night haha. I also don't feel safe with mounting my DSLR on the outside of my car, otherwise I could be doing like a one second long exposure or longer.
T4i or T5i will do you no good. They have essentially the same sensor and high ISO performance as the T3i. 7D and 60d use the same 18MP sensor, too.
70D and 7D Mark II have a slightly newer 20MP sensor that might be slightyl more high ISO capable.
The T6i or T6S is the latest and greatest model, with a new 24MP sensor and a one or two generation newer processor. I haven't used it, so can't really say if it delivers more usable high ISOs.
Your best bet would be a full frame camera, which can be used at one to two stops higher ISO successfully... plus their images don't need as much enlargement, so any noise remains less apparent. The 6D is said to be the high ISO king of Canon models right now. It's able to autofocus (center point only) in considerably lower light than any of the above models, too.
Larger aperture lenses, either on your current camera or on an upgrade camera also would help. I don't know why you were using f8 for that shot you descibed... you could have used ISO 1600 and f5.6... or ISO 800 and f4. Or you could have used 2X as fast shutter speed, ISO 3200 and f4. Some lenses have f2.8, f2 and even f1.4 apertures. But one concern is that larger apertures also will mean shallower depth of field, which may or may not work, depending upon what you were shooting.
I have to say, though, that I use 18MP 7D (same sensor and processor as your camera) to ISO 3200 and even 6400 at times. I shoot RAW, am very careful to avoid underexposure and apply some noise reduction in post-processing. I use a Noiseware plug-in with Photoshop, but know there are several other good NR s'wares too. I will sometimes do separate and stronger noise reduction in shadow areas, too.
And I know folks who have managed even higher ISOs with 7D... They do even more extensive and careful noise reduction work than me... applying it separately in each color channel, for example.
One mistake a lot of people make is being overly critical of their images. If you're looking at an image at 100% on your computer monitor, that's equivalent to making a five foot wide print and then viewing it from about 18" away. Of course you'll see noise (among other things)! Back off to 25% for more reasonable evaluation of things like noise, sharpness, and focus. That's still equivalent to a fairly large print... say an 11x14.
"... not even a 7d2, are very much better in this regard."
Yes it is.
The new 7D Mk II has significantly netter high ISO than you Rebel. The T6i is going to be somewhat better.
The biggest problem with high ISO is people severely under-expose the shot. Understandable because it isn't often used unless the scene is very dark. It is going to be difficult for any camera to do a great job. There are just certain limits where nothing will work well.
I don't know exactly what you are shooting but faster lenses will help. Plus constant apertures are better. I assume you just have the kit lenses with your Rebel? I will say they are not worthy to use on a new 7D Mk II if you want the most it can provide. So whether you decide to go 6D (FF, a great high ISO camera) or not, you will need new lenses.
But do keep in mind all cameras have a limit to what is possibile.
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