Should I spend 2k on lenses?

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Julius Radu
Registered: Aug 02, 2007
Total Posts: 18
Country: United States

I'm on the fence about spending more on photo gear , but I have 2k stashed away for just such an occasion.
The current rebates are very appealing.
My line up: 5DMK1, 20D, 17-40 L, 50 1.8 MK2, 24-70 2.8 L , 70-200 F4 L, 70-200 F 2.8 IS,
100-400 L.
A newer body like the 5DMK2 or the 7D would be nice, but I look at what my 20D is worth now and I start to use language not fit for minors.
I can see a day in the future, when my shiny new body now, will make a nice paper weight then.
The 85 F1.2 MK2 , and the 70-200 MK2 also are appealing. I would have to sell the MK1 after the rebates are over of course.
The 100 F 2.8 IS macro would be another pick, but I don't know if macro is for me.

I am just an amateur, I shoot mostly landscape on my hiking/climbing trips, and also shoot a 6 year old, that my current camera setup has a hard time focusing on, due to" ants in pants" syndrome on the part of my daughter.

The third option, save the cash until I have enough for a used 300 2.8 IS MK1.

Forth and final option, just save the cash. According to the Fed. there is no inflation so I have nothing to loose, right?


Jeff Nolten
Registered: Sep 06, 2006
Total Posts: 2282
Country: United States

You have a pretty nice kit so anything you add would be an improvement but not a revolution. Lens selection is personal and you have 17-400 covered and 24-200 covered at f2.8. You'll have to consider what, exactly a new lens would accomplish for you. The 20D is getting old by forum standards, but as you said... The 5D1 is in no way obsolete, keep it. So a 5D2 would give you quite a few features like video, live view, more MP, and the same 1.6 crop resolution as your 20D. OTOH, a 5D1 7D combination would be nice too and give you the same new features in a more action oriented camera. Its a tough decision, but not one you have to make right away. Enjoy the agony

Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 8738
Country: United States

I would keep the camera bodies you have right now, with an eye to a 5D3 or 5D2 after the new lens comes out, whenever.

Yes to the 100/2.8 L IS. Even if you hardly shoot macro, it is a great all-around lens.

Additionally, I recommend the Samyang (under various brand names) 14/2.8 and 35/1.4.

All three of those lenses can be had with enough left over to also buy the Canon 50/2.5 Macro!

Why not get rid of your slower 70-200L?

Registered: Jul 16, 2009
Total Posts: 1277
Country: United States

Gunzorro wrote:
I would keep the camera bodies you have right now, with an eye to a 5D3 or 5D2 after the new lens comes out, whenever.

Yes to the 100/2.8 L IS. Even if you hardly shoot macro, it is a great all-around lens.

Additionally, I recommend the Samyang (under various brand names) 14/2.8 and 35/1.4.

All three of those lenses can be had with enough left over to also buy the Canon 50/2.5 Macro!

Why not get rid of your slower 70-200L?

^^sound advice

another option : you could get the 35L, 85/1.8 and the 50cm, sell the 70-200 and use that to upgrade the body if you still think that's the best move.

Registered: Jun 23, 2006
Total Posts: 3536
Country: United States

If you want to spend money, I'd suggest a flash (580EX version I or II).
If you can hold out for six months or one year more, I expect a 5DII to be
significantly cheaper than the $2000 they are going for now. Still, the 5DII is
worth that much to me.

But before worrying about a body upgrade, get a flash and enjoy the fine 5D body
you have now.

Registered: Jan 06, 2002
Total Posts: 4087
Country: United States

Julius, your lens setup is fine. It covers 17-400mm. Packing a 300 for a hike, hmm... Not my first suggestion. It would be great for the kid if soccer gets in their blood. Speaking of which, if sports does happen you need a faster fps body either a 7D or a used 1D Mk IIn.


Registered: Feb 18, 2007
Total Posts: 13635
Country: United Kingdom

Gunzorro wrote:

Why not get rid of your slower 70-200L?

That's a good point. But there are times when the 70-200 2.8's are just to big and heavy .
Selling both could probably net enough (or close) to the mk2 . Personally I would add a general long zoom as well, which I would probably go for the Tamron 70-300 VC .

Registered: Jan 05, 2008
Total Posts: 12158
Country: United States

I'd look at selling the f4 70-200, and then saving for a 300. Then you'll have it, and you'll never really lose money with it.

Registered: Apr 25, 2006
Total Posts: 429
Country: United States

Personal choices... in your shoes, I'd sell both 70-200's and the 100-400 and get 70-200 mk2 and 1.4x (if 280 aint enough then get a 2x too). Then get flash and maybe 100 macro IS or samyang 14 depending on interests. Cash outlay would be minimal.

Richard Nye
Registered: May 30, 2007
Total Posts: 2424
Country: United States

One thing you could consider, and it's what I do, is to upgrade some of the lenses you currently have with a newer version. It costs money, but you don't loose money like you do with camera bodies.

For instance, upgrade your 70-200 f/4 to a 70-200 f/4 IS (it has much better IQ and of course IS), upgrade your 70-200 f/2.8 IS to the version 2, upgrade your 50 f/1.8 II to a Sigma 50 f/1.4 (or Canon), etc.

You've got some nice lenses, but I do think if you upgrade them you will get better IQ. The camera bodies you have are a bit tired, but still produce nice photos. If you need better AF for your kid, then the 7D would be a good addition (but I wouldn't sell the 5D).

When I bought my 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, I sold my 70-200 f/4 IS to help finance it. I do miss the smaller zoom. It's a good lens to take on hiking trips.

Registered: Jun 23, 2005
Total Posts: 1224
Country: United States

- Well the fed knows nothing about inflation that I see cause it's been out of control for a while from where I sit :roll:
- Where is the 300 f2.8 coming from? That is a serious lens and for a kid and landscapes not something that jumps out at me. There is a great 300 f4 if you want a prime in that range but you have that range pretty much covered.
- The 20D is still a capable body but as for losing value... get used to it - the moment they wired the sensor into the camera and made it a computer that is the result - it will not change now IMO. The 7D is a great body and a big noticeable step from both the 5D and 20D.

- The 7D makes the most sense along with the 5D to me. Gets you the video and a very responsive body with the 5D for that FF thing. Your lenses do a little double duty with that as well.
- I second the flash comment as that would be a nice addition.
- You could also swap that 50f1.8 out for the 1.4 to play with really thin DOF on the 5D.... but it's not a fast focusing lens.
- You could do an 85f1.8 which IS a fast focusing lens and thin DOF as well.
- Hell with that budget you could go with the 135f2 in addition to the 50 and 85 :-)

Registered: Sep 20, 2010
Total Posts: 513
Country: United States

Get the 5D 2 and 1D Mark IV, a great pair. The 1D Mark IV has 10fps and great ISO
performance. 5D2 is lighter and easier to hold, great iso performance, and 21mp.

Those two cameras match the lenses you considering much better than one of the

Canon 1.6 crops such as the 7D.

Registered: Sep 24, 2011
Total Posts: 255
Country: Canada

If I were in your shoes, I would definitely sell the 70-200 2.8 to get the 70-200 2.8 II IS. You could also consider selling the 70-200 f4 as well.

If your 20D is only for emergency backup, why not just keep that... If you're using it more than that, then yes maybe upgrade for a 7D or 5d2...

You could also consider swapping your 24-70 for a 24-105 f4. All depends on whether you need the 2.8 or if you could do with an f4 (longer reach and IS)

85mm 1.2 costs so much more than the 85mm 1.8... The difference in price doesn't justify the 3X + price ratio IMO. I have the 1.8 and it's wonderful. You should get that.

100L Macro could also be a nice addition in your kit, you only have 1 prime, the 100L would give you another focal range in the primes department.

If you don't already own a flash, I absolutely second that you should get either a 430EXII or 580EXII, unless you shoot outdoor 100% of the time.

Registered: May 20, 2009
Total Posts: 438
Country: United States

Keep the 20D for your hiking body and get the 7D.
Hard not to recommend a 580EXII first followed by a 480EXII.
I'd also sell the 70-200/2.8 and get the MK II,and keep saving for the 300/2.8.

Jeff Nolten
Registered: Sep 06, 2006
Total Posts: 2282
Country: United States

Confused yet? These are all great suggestions, but they are all over the place. So consider what, if anything, in your current system is lacking. The 100L macro is a wonderful lens and I love mine but if macro is not that important would the f2.8 prime add that much IQ to the 70-200 f2.8 at 100? Or, for that matter, the upgrade to the 70-200 II. If you're really fussy about IQ it might be worth it. Do you find 8 MP limiting on your 20D, or the AF? Just trying to play devils advocate here.

I upgraded my 70-200 f4 to the IS version for the IS which I find improved my keeper rate and motion blur significantly - I rarely use a tripod. My amateur kit uses f4 zooms so a few fast primes are useful. Hence the 100L in the middle of my focal range. I like the 35f2 and 85f1.8 but these may not make as much sense with your f2.8 zooms. The L primes have much faster maximum apertures, but are much more expensive if you wouldn't regularly use the narrow DOF.

For lens choices, I recommend using the ISO 12233 Chart comparison tool at the Digital Picture .com. I find as a very general rule of thumb that for IQ, the expensive primes lead the non-L primes and L zooms by about 1 stop, i.e. they catch up about one stop slower. There are exceptions. Also remember you are pixel peeping differences with these lens charts. My 35f2 looks pretty bad at f2 in the comparator tool but images I've taken at f2 don't look bad at all. Cheers.

Pixel Perfect
Registered: Aug 16, 2004
Total Posts: 21251
Country: Australia

Ok, sell the 70-200 f/4L as others have suggested, convert your 20D to an IR camera or by an underwater housing for it and get into marine photography, anything so you don't have to give it away. Ditch the 50 f/1.8 and get the Sigma 50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.4, which are both superb lenses IQ wise. Seeing some people have issues just check the focus consistency on them. I've never had an issue so wholeheartedly recommend both lenses. I don't hink you lose much with the 85 f/1.4 over the more than 2x as expensive 85L. DOF at f/1.4 is still razor thin and the Sigma has much faster AF and smaller mfd not that it's still that small, but every bit helps.

The other option. Sell the 5D and 20D and both 70-200L's and grab a 5D II + 70-200 f/2.8L IS mk II. You will be in heaven, the new zoom is sensational. Play with that for a while and then progressively swap you 50 for the Sigma and if you like fast glass, look into the 85 f/1.4.

Julius Radu
Registered: Aug 02, 2007
Total Posts: 18
Country: United States

I did not expect this many great suggestions
For all of you that suggested a flash, I do have the 580 EX II. I use it all the time indoors and outdoor as fill in.
The 300 2.8 IS would be for future sports events of my daughter, I would never think of taking it hiking.

It is hard for me to use the 20D after having the 5D. The noise level above 200 ISO unacceptable at times, also the smaller viewfinder is a pain.
I use the 24-70 2.8 most of the time, and will keep that, indoor shots and low light.
I would not sell any lenses until the rebates are gone.

My ideal kit
17-40, 70-200 f4 IS for landscape/ hiking
24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8 MKII, 300 2.8 IS MK1, 1.4 extender MKIII
85 1.2 for still portrait, with way out of focus background
or the 135 f2
I understand the price penalty for the 85 f1.2 but I think that long term will be a good investment, it may become a classic. And is a great looking glass!

Registered: Feb 09, 2006
Total Posts: 1123
Country: United States

Two suggestions:

1. Rent any lens you are thinking of buying. It is a great way to test things out for not a lot of cash.

2. Don't buy a lens, buy a 1DMIII. I have a pretty similar kit to yours, and as some say, after you try a 1D you'll never go back.

Registered: Jan 09, 2003
Total Posts: 28281
Country: United States

A 5D II will give you the most improvement without getting new glass.


mark petri
Registered: Oct 25, 2006
Total Posts: 1006
Country: United States

You've got plenty of gear already, in fact too much (70-200). Trim the stuff your not using/duplicate focal length. When you repeatedly don't have a lens for a shot/type of shooting you want to do, then you'll know what to buy next.

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