Canon 70D (sold) – this was my initial upgrade purchase after the 1100D. At this point i didn’t have a huge appreciation about what to look for on a camera, i’m not certain i even understood the difference between crop and full frame. What attracted to me about the 70D was it was a new kid on the block at the time – it had an upgraded autofocus, which made the 1100D focusing system look very sedate. It also had 20mp and an articulating rear screen which someone at work had convinced me would be a good idea. Ironically this articulating screen was the clincher, i’d convinced myself that with the 70D’s revolutionary video focusing system i really needed this in order to take home movies, in fact the most if ever filmed was someone at work doing the ice bucket challenge. I mostly did familiy portraits and wildlife on the camera. The nifty 50mm 1.8 was pretty good for taking portraits (the crop factor makes it effectively 80mm) and i bought a Tamron 70-300 zoom (non stability) this combo worked for a while before wanting to go both wider and longer. My solution to going longer was purchasing a Sigma 150-500 OS – i’ll go into that lens separately. For wider i purchased the newly released Canon 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS – this was a pretty good lens, it certainly allowed the crop sensor to go pretty wide and for large and closeup subjects like cars it was pretty good, but i always felt this in combination with the 70D lacked detail in landscapes.
Canon 6D (sold) – Very soon after the 70D purchase i decided to go full frame, again it seemed like a no brainier to go Canon. They had not long released the 6D which felt like a scaled down version of the 5D, with the main compromises in autofocus and speed. Both of these things didn’t really matter to me and still in a way dont, for speed i think i still prefer the 70D or 7DMk2. So for landscapes and portraits, having a FF system that was a bit slower focusing, didn’t have many focus points or speed didn’t seem like a huge issue and to be fair it wasn’t. The 6D came from the states – www.slrhut.co.uk to be precise – having originally tried to order the super cheap non-wifi model, i somehow got talked into taking the wi-fi model together with the 24-105 kits lens (again mentioned later in more detail). The 6D really opened up my landscape world, with the 24-105 it still wasn’t as wide as the 10-18mm on the 70D but the 6D started to give the detail in the picture that i desired. To get my width fix i soon got a Canon 17-40L which was really good (I intend to do a 17-40 vs 16-35L comparison – but the long and short of it is the latter has better sharpness at the edges, is slightly sharper overall and has IS for handheld shooting)
Canon 5DS – In about May 2015 i had a huge rush of blood to the head and purchased the 5DS, i couldn’t resist it! The things that sold it to me were the same focusing system as the 7DmkII, better weather sealing than the 6D, its was a little faster and well those 50mp! It has to be said megapixels aren’t everything i did think long and hard about dynamic range and trading all my Canon gear for a Nikon, but shooting RAW and using my workflow of shooting bracketed shots for landscape meant that in a single raw file i could trade some resolution for dynamic range and using photoshop i can pull lots more dynamic range. I have to say i haven’t in the least been disappointed with the 5DS, i possibly would if i picked up a D810 or Sony A7rII for a short while, but what the 5DS does it does really well, the detail is mind blowing.
Canon 1DS mkII – a bit of a retro purchase, i managed to pickup the 16.7mp full frame 1Ds for a few hundred pounds. It looks like its been through World War 3, but has only got a shutter count of 46,000 of its theoretical 300,000. It still makes some good images and i’d put it on a par with a current crop sensor camera, however its rear LCD and menu system are small and clunky, whilst the menu system is similar to later Canons, navigating it is not.
Canon 1DS mkIII – a big jump forwards was my other retro 1Ds3 – this is much more refined than the 1DS2, the image output is more on a par with a Canon 5Dmk2 at 21mp but with the robustness of the 1D series – I have to say, i really like it, all it is except for the fact they made the autofocus overly complicated to navigate
Sony A7 – I got the Sony as a more compact camera after reading various reviews. My main influence in purchasing came from reading Philip Reeve’s reviews and writings about using manual focus lenses with the A7 plus its ability to use an adapter and use just about any SLR lens ever made. I have to confess i’d intended to make much more use of my existing Canon lenses, however carrying the 16-35 or 24-70 around on the front of the A7 would be a bit like hitching a large lorry trailer to a rickshaw. I still have plans to do a camera body shoot out using the Canon lenses as a common denominator, however my main interest has now been drawn to manual focus photography using the A7 which in itself has come as quite a revelation.
Sony A7mkII – Following the hopefully temporary demise of my Sony a7 due to Water damage (its not as weather proof as you would think) I invested in a Sony A7 mk2. I had to think long and hard about getting a A7r mk2 but realistically the main purpose of of the Sony has been as a more portable walk-around type unit, i hadn’t liked some of the settings for the way i shoot landscape on the A7 and i’m not about to invest in Sony lenses, carrying around a Canon 24-70 f2.8 mkII would just look like a lawnmower trying to tow an articulated lorry – so sticking to the ethos of small manual focus lenses and the idea of getting back in touch with manual focus, framing and composition . The Sony A7mkII thus far has proved fantastic in this area. In initial testing I was able to drop 2-3 stop or from 500ISO to 100ISO and still make sharp images with the internal stability turned on over a benchmark where it was acceptable turned off. There are lots of test around showing this and i’ll probably get around to publishing a more scientific test in the future.
My current A7 manual lens collection consists of the following
- Minolta MD 28mm f2.8
- Minolta MD 50mm f1.8
- Minolta MC Rokkor 50mm f1.2
- Minolta MC Rokkor 55mm f1.7
- Minolta MD Rokkor 58mm f1.2
- Minolta MC Rokkor 85mm f1.7
- Minolta MD Rokkor 135mm f3.5
- Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm 2.8
- Leica Summicron 50mm f2
- Leica Elmarit 90mm f2.8
- Minolta 35-70 f3.5
Last updated: January 17, 2016 at 5:14 am