Thursday, 15 January 2015

Canon 50D Gear Update

My last post in November outlined my intention to get together a Canon 50D kit instead of my previously opted for Canon 1D. Given that it's been two months since then (tisk, tisk), how did it go?

It went very well, actually. I eventually managed to sell my Pentax outfit (two K10D bodies with various lenses, accessories, flash etc), and began looking around for their Canon equivalents. The 'newer' 50D body was my first acquisition (I already have a beat up 50D body on permanent loan), followed closely by a Canon 24-85mm f3.5/4.5 as my 'general' all-purpose lens.

The 50D on loan also came with a Canon 10-22mm ultra-wide, so I have that as my landscape and large groups wedding lens. Hence I didn't feel the need to go for an "18 to something" lens as my standard. Yes, the new batch of mid-range EF-S lenses have image stabilization etc, but they also sacrifice build quality and larger apertures in the process. I actually prefer the early 90s 'consumer' lenses that Canon produced, since they tend to be more solid, better constructed, and have faster apertures than the newer wave of techno-whizz-bang lenses. I'd sacrifice image stabilization for better build quality and a faster lens any day of the week. Oh, and yeah, the 'older' lenses tend to be cheaper too! Bonus :-)

My next purchase was an absolute steal! I've always wanted a Canon 50mm f1.8 Mk1 - the metal mount version of the nifty fifty. But they are as rare as hens teeth, were discontinued in the early 90s, and are three times the price of other 50mm 1.8's if you do happen to find one. BUT, surfing the web one night I saw a 50mm f1.8 Mk1 pop up on my local internet auction site at a ridiculously cheap price! I couldn't believe my luck, and nabbed it immediately (fortunately they had a 'Buy Now' price and I was the first to see the auction). So I finally own the much sought after 50mm f1.8 Mk1.

When I sold my Pentax gear, I let go of the Yongnuo flash to sweeten the deal. So I needed to get a new flash for my 50D kit. I 'ummed and arred' about just replacing it with another cheapo flash, but in the end waited until a good value second-hand Canon 580EX came up for auction. I'm glad I went the Canon way; flash is a mystery at the best of times - but the 580EX just works... no issues. Especially in TTL mode (although I'm not adverse to switching over to full manual when I need to either).

And last, but not least, I had just enough money left over to get a telephoto (all be it a 'cheap' one). Surprisingly - since I don't use a telephoto all that often - this ended up being the hardest decision. I was tossing up between a Canon 100-300mm, a Tamron 70-300mm, and the lens I eventually ended up getting, the Canon 70-210mm f3.5/4.5. Once again, build quality and speed won out - the 70-210mm being the better built and 'faster' of the three I was considering. No, it doesn't have IS - but gone are the days when we had to stick to just one ISO, and good technique should take care of the rest - right?

So that's the kit. I got a chance to use all of it last weekend when I shot a wedding (more on that soon), and to cut a long story short, I think I've made the right decisions.

One final word. Of course with all of this, price has been my defining (and limiting) factor. Would I have bought the same lenses if Id just won lotto and money was no object? Of course not! Given a limitless budget I'd probably be shooting full-frame (either the 5D Mk3 or 6D - probably both), with a series of f2.8 'L' lenses :-)

Oh well, we can but dream....

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