Friday, April 3, 2009

Which Camera? Which Lens?

I've received many questions about cameras and I thought I'd try and answer some of them here. Fausto in particular wanted to know about my camera versus Ian's camera that Ian used to take the wonderful bird shots on his Picassa photo album.  We both have Canon EOS digital SLR cameras, mine the entry level Rebel series XTi and he has upgraded to the 50D. Both of these bodies are fine cameras, mine is lighter and smaller and has many of the same features as the 50D, but the 50D can shoot many more photos per second, a big plus when shooting birds. It has other fine features as well, and Ian loves his camera. For more precise reviews check out 

We both purchased our cameras online, Ian from B & H Photo and mine from I tend to keep things simple and mainly use one lens for everything, even though I have other lenses. I don't like to carry a lot of weight, and for that I sacrifice some quality, but I usually have  my camera with me.  Ian is more of a perfectionist and has 2 lenses he keeps with him most of the time, and his photos are much sharper and crisper than mine. As in other fields, there are always those darn trade offs.
Either of these camera bodies will support any other compatible lenses. I occasionally (when he lets me :-) use Ian's 24-105mm on my Rebel XTi with excellent results.

Ian's 50D body with his 2 month old, fuller range telephoto lens. L Series.
 24mm - 105mm f/4 L IS (image stabilization) and USM.  
$1059 just for the lens at B & H.
All photos of the 50D are taken with my Rebel XTi, and visa versa.

50D camera body from the back. Nice large LCD screen.
The L series Canon lenses always have a red line on the lens, you can see it from this angle at the top of the photo. Sign of distinction :-)

50D with the 24-105mm and a turned around hood cover (comes free with the lens)

My Rebel XTi body from the back.

This is the camera and lens that took most of the photos in this Ecuador blog. I also used my small point and shoot red Sony T100 camera (seldom) and I borrowed Ian's 400mm lens for one day.

My lens is by Sigma, not Canon. It has a range of 18mm to 200mm and I find it's great for landscapes or zooming in on a face far away. B & H sells it for $400. I am still looking for a Canon lens that has as large a range in an L series.

The main lens Ian uses to shoot his bird photos. Canon Telephoto fixed focus lens of 400mm. (400mm f/4 L USM) 
B & H it goes for $1140. Ian does not have IS on this lens, if it did have image stabilization it would cost around $6000.  It is an L series, note the red stripe.

This photo was taken with Ian's 50D and 24-105mm. The previous one was with my Rebel XTi and Sigma lens.

50D with the 24-105mm Canon lens.

Rebel XTi with the Sigma lens at 18mm, widest range, from our apartment balcony.

Canon 50D at it's widest range of 24mm on the 24-105 lens. If you had the 400mm lens on you would get none of the foreground, but maybe a soccer player nearly full frame.
The color is different in each of the above photos because of the way each camera processes the info. I may also have my camera set on a different internal color setting then Ian has on his. They were both shot at ISO 400, f/10 on the AV setting.

Enlargement of the 50D photo. The detail holds up better than with the Rebel and the Sigma lens.

Rebel XTi shot blown up, enlarged to show that the detail isn't very sharp. Important if you are enlarging your photos. Not so much if you are posting them on a blog at the size you took the photo :-)

Maximum zoom with the Sigma 18-200mm zoom.

Maximum zoom with the Canon 24 - 105mm lens.

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