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Looking to update my camera


I am currently using a canon EOS Rebel XTi and I want to upddate to a newer camera. I have 2 EOS lenses. The standard kit lense and the canon 75 - 300mm. I also use the Tamron18 - 270mm F/3.5-6.3  I am an amatuer but ready to move up. Any suggestions on what canon eos to consider.


My main interests are portraits (people and animals, nature, and horses in motion. I take many action shots. I was considering the canon EOS 80D but read it was not a good choice for action shots.


Thanks to any who respond




I totally agree with Annie.


It is good to seek constructive criticism - I do not support destructive comments that crush a person's inspiration or desire to create and share.  I think it is a tragedy that Annie's asperations were derailed by the crush of cruel critics.  I am just grateful that she is engaging in her own way...


"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing" Elbert Hubbard

"Any fool can criticize, complain and condemn and most fools do"  Dale Carnegie


There is one photographer I recommend who has a YouTube channel.  He is not only a great photographer IMHO, but actually a great philosopher and wise beyond his years.  His name is Sean Tucker and HERE is a link to his channel.  I recently had reason to enjoy a couple of those videos "Protect your highlights" and "Embrace your shadows", but they are all worthy of viewing.


Sean recently took part in challenge: It's worth watching...Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera


I have engaged very little in competitions, mostly because I think that, past a certain point of technical characteristics, there are no "rules", just conventions and guides.  I often prefer images judges have rejected over the ones they lauded - no matter what, human bias and emotion play a part in every decision we make...  For me, the biggest competition was the ability to earn money with my images - which is not all about high art, but is about providing a service and product that is relevant to the client.


"To be a photographer... what you need to do is simply to look" Elliott Erwitt.

"A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera" Dorothea Lange.


One of the greatest gifts of photography is that is makes us actively observe.  In my childhood and my early military career I had drummed into me the mantra "Be aware of your surroundings"; and photography has built on that behaviour. When I am out and about I don't listen to music or stare at my phone, I am always scanning my souroundings and discussions reveal that I see far more than most of the people with whom I engage.


A US educational institute conducted an experiment to check how observant people are.  At the start and end several walks they engaged with people to find out what they had seen - there were a series of objects that had been placed along the tracks.   Photographers were, by far, the most observant, then came normal hikers.  Finally, some way behind, came the selfie-takers.



cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Trevor, thank you for sharing the link, Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera. Loved it! And really loved Sean's comment "See as the camera sees."

Hi Crew, 


I went out yesterday morning to experiment with aperture priority. I set my camera initially wide open (f4 at 100mm, to f5.6 at 400mm) for the lens I was using. I had good intentions, honest. And then this happened, and I just shot a hundred pictures on Sports preset while I held my breath.moos6.JPG

@Wayne3 wrote:

First attempt at shutter priority 1/320, ISO 3200, apterture automatically set itself, but it was f16. woodpecker2.JPG

Hi Wayne:


First, congratulations on stepping out of the SCN comfort zone and trying new methods.  Like all new experiences there is much to evaluate - as Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous photographer said " Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst."


Deciding whether to go for M, Av or Tv as a means of controlling the image is the first, and one of the biggest decisions when engaging in photographing a subject type.   The image exposure looks good with a decent amount of contrast and colour saturation, so the overall exposure settings work for me.


There are a couple of issues that bear further consideration.

1.  The amount of noise (as Bill pointed out)

2.  The movement of the head of the bird (is it a woodpecker?) is slight, but noticeable.  That may not be a bad thing, but with just the slight movement, it neither gives us the bird's eye in clear focus, nor indicates the fast movement of the head against the still body to emphasize the speed of pecking - either of which is a valid artistic effect.


Looking at the EXIF data these are the settings of your shot:

Aperture      Shutter Speed      ISO            Focal Length

f/16,             1/320sec,             3200,         400mm


Consider the principles of the exposure triangle where each change in any of the settings by one unit alters the exposure by 1 EV (exposure value).  An EV represents a doubling (+1EV) or halving (-1EV) of the the exposure, and all of the values for aperture, shutter and ISO are aligned with them. 






  • If I reduce the value of the f-number by 1 stop, I get less DoF but more light, i.e. +1 EV
  • If I increase the value of the f-number 1 stop    I get more DoF, but less light, i.e. -1 EV
  • If I increase the shutter speed by 1 stop,           I get less movement and less light i.e. -1 EV
  • If I decrease the shutter speed by 1 stop           I get more movement, and more light +1 EV
  • If I double the ISO value,                                   I get more noise, but more light sensitivity, i.e. +1 EV
  • If I halve the ISO value                                      I get less noise, but less light sensitivity, i.e. -1 EV

The point is, using EV units allows you to switch up and down the values between the three variables using the consistent units of exposure, thus you would get the same exposure but different results with the following sets of modified values.


Aperture      Shutter Speed     ISO            Change                                                     Result                                                     

f/16             1/320 sec             3200          Original settings

f/8               1/640 sec             3200          Av +1EV, SS  -1EV  & ISO - 0EV:            shallower DoF, faster shutter, same ISO

f/8               1/320 sec             1600          Av +1EV, SS   0EV  & ISO - 1EV:            shallower DoF, same shutter, lower ISO - less noise

f/5.6            1/640 sec             1600          Av +2EV, SS - 1EV  & ISO - 1EV:            shallower DoF, faster shutter, lower ISO - less noise


Gauging Aperture and DoF:

Making sure your subject is in focus, but with just the right DoF is all about the aperture.  Since you were taking your shot at some distance with a long telephoto three things come into play when considering your DoF: 

a)  The further the subject, the deeper the DoF

b)  The longer the focal length, the shallower the DoF

c)  The smaller the f-value, the shallower the DoF

The trick here is to decide (often quickly) how these things will impact on your choice of settings.


Like Waddizzle, by an large, I shoot wildlife in Av mode: even birds.   This may seem counter-intuitive as one wants to control the movement of the bird, but very often, as in this case, you want to give some separation between the subject and its surroundings.  (That is where using spot focus becomes helpful, so you can isolate the subject from the clutter.) However, the following will hopefully make sense, even if you choose Tv mode.


Unlike Bill, (and I respect his choice there) I personally let the camera choose the ISO, but I keep it in a conservative range - normally no higher than 800, especially considering this is an older camera with a less sophisticated sensor, however for this exercise we will stick with a maximum ISO of 1600. 


What that does is allow me to consider just two setting in my viewfinder: Tv and Av.  I can change either one (so this could work for Av and Tv mode too), but being immediately aware of the effect on the other. 


At f/16 you are going to have quite a deep DoF, some of which you do not necessarily need, my first reaction would be to have reduced the f-value to f/8 (+1EV) or f/5.6 (+2EV).  That leaves flexibility to improve shutter speed and/or ISO.


In this case, if I had an ISO set to a maximum of 1600, then I could select either of the following combinations:

f/16             1/320 sec             3200          Original settings

f/8               1/320 sec             1600          Av +1EV, SS   0EV  & ISO -1EV:  shallower DoF, same SS but less noise

f/5.6            1/640 sec             1600          Av +2EV, SS -1EV   & ISO -1EV:   shallow DoF, stop movement, less noise


If I was shooting in M mode I could set both aperture and SS and let the camera sort out the ISO, e.g.

f/5.6            1/160 sec               400          Av +2EV, SS +1EV   & ISO -3EV:  shallow DoF, increase movement, v low noise

f/8               1/160 sec               800          Av +1EV, SS +1EV   & ISO -2EV:  shallow DoF, increase movement, less noise


As you can see there are many choices, and practise and experience will help you make the operation simpler over time. 


The trick now is take a lot of photos and experiment, then evaluate your images.

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Sorry, I had to make a slew of changes as I got distracted and had some input errors. That should all be sorted now!

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Thanks for the very detailed responses Trevor!


Yes, I will experiment.  With great naivity, I think what I was going for would have been better met with the f5.6, 1/640, 1600. I wanted to freeze the action.  I haven't looked closely at the original but I hadn't noticed a ton of noise despite an ISO of 3200, but I always think lower is better. (The only time I am totally on manual is the few starry night pictures I've done, and I used an ISO of 3200 for those. So like I said to Waddizzle and Annie, I probably over did the ISO). It was a good first experiment. 



Hi Wayne:


I have read both your thread on macro photography and contributions to this thread with interest. 


In my previous post you may have read my link to the questions that underly a decision to purchase camera gear - as you say yourself, this can be a mind-bending challenge as one navigates the plethora of options while dealing with issues of one's own preferences and comfort zones and getting a wide range of advice from seasons users - each with their own preferences based on their personal experience.  


An excellent point  you raise is on your comfort with the SCN modes in the Rebel series. I think we all live our lives within what I call comfort zones: patterns of behaviour that require little effort or stress.  When we are young and continually learning, our comfort zones are flexibile: just try and stop children from pushing their boundaries!   We continue to expand them in a structured sense as we are formally educated.  For most people, once they have stopped that, their exploration reduces dramatically.  What happens then is that their comfort zone hardens and it become a trap, because without the continual stimulus of learning success exceeding that of the stress of the unfamiliar, it easily becomes traumatic and our comfort zone traps us in a shell that is stressful to break.


A significant percentage of my work has been with wildlife photography - originally in Australia, then through Asia and finally in North America.  There my interest was mainly in macro mammals - such as bison, bears, moose and wolves - animals one must be wary of approaching too closely, yet could move very quickly.  Now, in New Zealand, there are very few large mammals - introduced deer and tar that are very hard to find, but the country is rich in a wide diversity of unique birdlife.  These produce their own challanges as, by and large, they inhabit the dim reaches of the dense NZ bush and flit about.


I started off in photography back in the film days of around 1980 when camera electronics were relatively primitive.  The Nikon F3's I bought had just manual and aperture priority settings.  I also used the Canon A-1's, a model which was ahead of its time by offering P, Av, Tv and M options, yet almost all of my photography has been done in Av mode: for me, isolating the subject from its surroundings or encompassing a panorama with the Depth of Field is the key to the statements I want my photographs to make - and that is my personal choice. These days, with digital technology I have the luxury of setting auto-ISO to offer me more flexibility to get the shot I want by dictating aperture, but not risking too slow a shutter speed.


It is automatic for me to check the shutter speed in the viewfinder as I change settings to know if I am going to suffer subject movement (if that is what I want to avoid) or camera shake.  One of the best things you can do for your photography is to become comfortable with using Av, Tv and M modes, they appear on any DSLR or MILC and mastering them frees you to being able to become familiar with, and effectively use any camera from any manufacturer.  I use Canon predominently, but also use Nikon, Olympus and Sony gear - at that level they all work on the same principles.  Stepping up your game involves more than equipment upgrades, it means putting in the study and practice to make the most of whatever gear you use and once you have stepped out of that constrictive comfort zone you will rediscover that is a very empowering and liberating thing...


In your case you seem very comfortable with the Rebel series because of their SCN mode and they are capable of producing excellent images.   The next step up in capability, the Canon 80D and 90D, or the older but more wildlife oriented 7DMkII have definite advantages in the frame rate, focusing, dynamic range and the fact that the 7DII offers a degree of weather resistance, and still probably has the best subject tracking of any Canon APS-C DSLR: something that can be very valuable when out on a wildlife shoot.


What will fall within your choices depends on the budget, something that only you know.  I will say this: if you have limited funds (and most of us do), then consider that the investment in lenses is more significant.  I say this for two reasons.  Poor glass will degrade every photo and lenses represent a much longer-term investment than camera bodies, which change with frequency, especially at the lower end of the market.  Rebels used to change almost annually, while the XXD bodies would last 3-4 years and the XD bodies perhaps 5 years.  There are great lenses out there that are 20+ years old.  When I chose a main supplier for my gear I did so on the basis of the glass even though other brands had bodies that offered better dynamic range and even focusing - I have not regretted that.


You indicate that you currently use the Canon EF 75-300 lens.  This is arguably Canon's poorest performer.  If you are shooting long telephoto then you really want image stabilization which this model does not have, and the optics of the 75-300 series have always been less than stellar (to put it mildly).  So I would suggest considering investing in glass as a priority and again we come back to the budget.  If you want really long telephoto work there are some good lenses from Tamron and Sigma in the 150-600mm focal length range but getting one of those will leave with a big hole in the lower end of the range.


What I would suggest is considering two lens ranges:

For general purpose photography: The Canon EF-S 18-135 IS USM  or STM versions are excellent lenses and there are tons of them out there in the market from people who got one as part of a kit and want something else.  An alternative is the EF-S 17-55 IS USM lens.  A much older unit and heavier but offers a constant aperture of f/2.8 which is significantly better than pretty much any other lens from Canon in this range.


At the telephoto end: I would recommend considering the Canon EF 70-300 IS USM lenses.  I have written a lengthy article exploring the performance of these units HERE.  You can likely pick up a good one second hand or, better still, refurbished by Canon with a warranty for a reasonable price.


I've written a lot for you to digest, but for me it is important that people get the best value from their upgrades and when you are going to invest in new gear there is more to consider than may at first meet the eye.  Absolutely, you must feel comfortable with the technology, but don't be afraid to embrace new techniques that will empower you and allow you much more choice that will, in the end, offer the best investments.


cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Thanks so much for the very detailed response Tronhard!


A couple things really resonated. First your comments on my comfort with the SCN modes, and maybe I should spend more time out of that comfort zone.  That I can do immediately. I think the responses on my macro post already has me mucking around more the AV mode, actually getting a deeper depth of field for me. However I have never in my life used the TV mode and you said you are very careful with shutter speed. I'm not. I've assumed in SCN Sports the shutter speed is as fast as possible so I've ignored that so much I don't even know what a fast shutter speed is, I just assumed whatever it is, SCN Sports probably is using it, and well birds move quickly so that is what I want. I'll experiment with that a bit. 


You've mentioned I probably should get better lenses. I think I'm ok with the telephoto lens. I must of mistyped. I don't have a 75-300.  I have the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM (oops, pasting that made everything bold. I'm not yelling I swear). I'm really happy with that. But you mention for a general purpose lens I may want to consider the EF-S 18-135 IS USM.  That has me interested. Is it just me, or does the 18-55mm kit lens that I received as a kit lense for the T4i focus waaayy slower than the 100-400. I'm finding I don't use the 18-55mm hardly at all now, I literally will try walking farther away from my animals rather than change the lens LOL. 


Finally, in terms of budget, I think I'm in the middle. I suspect I may be looking at divorce court if I spent $10,000 on those fancy f1.4 prime lenses. But I'd spend a thousand.  To me, that is still a lot of change.


You are right, you have given me a ton to digest, but for right now, I will try TV out on my camera. 





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