I ran safaris using a Canon EOS20D, and a clutch of what are now "L" lenses and not "L II", e.g. "EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM" and "EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM". Had to quit, but kept all my gear. Clearly, i need to ease into a more advanced camera body. The Canon Mark 5D III model seems along what I'd eventually like to get back to, and would be something that seems to be one I could hold onto as a second body hopefully. I'm curious if the first edition Canon L lenses are going to hold up, quality-wise. I was familiar with the limits of the IS in the L zoom models when I was using them. I don't mind upgrading way in the future, but assuming that my eventual goal would be along the lines of what's speculated about the potential release of a Canon 5D V later this year, do 1st edition Canon L IS lenses seem reasonable to work with for a while?

  • \$\begingroup\$ There's far too much that's down to individual requirements/expectations/style/goals. However, personally I would recommend either the 7D Mark II (yes, it's a crop sensor, but in my experience it works great with EF L lenses, and even gives you the illusion of a little extra telephoto reach; not the best in low light, though) or a 5D Mark IV (you could do the Mark III if you want, but make sure you examine all the improvements made in the Mark IV). You could even look at one of the new mirrorless models with the EF adapter... \$\endgroup\$
    – twalberg
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why do you "clearly... need to ease into a more advanced camera body"? Have you considered mirrorless with electronic adapter? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks so much for the quick responses. Yeah, I was avoided a crop sensor. And I've completely missed the mirrorless arrival other than just picking up an ELPH (please don't snicker, it's for concerts). I like being able to have my fingers on knobs and buttons that click so everything is in my head and not on a screen. I know they seem to be the way forward with plenty of advanced tech, but I think for what I did, the joy was in adjusting on the fly and never leaving that eyepiece. That took years of practice, hence needed to ease back into old skills and new options. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Willis
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 17:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, you should be able to get the 5D III used for a good price, why not just go for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robin
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Am just on that tipping point, and I think sums it up pretty well. It was much easier when starting the business and money was available for new tech! Cheers \$\endgroup\$
    – Willis
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 9:03

2 Answers 2


Those L lenses age very well. Meaning, there is almost no reason to quickly upgrade to the newer models. It is very reasonable to keep your "old" lenses. Yes, the IS is better now but that's really small differences in really high end products.

So I'd start with getting a current body and start shooting. The "old" lenses won't hinder you in any way. IF you think you are resticted by the lenses, you can still upgrade at a later time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So good to hear. I was really worried that the tech had somehow changed between the bodies and II lenses making more responsive or something. It seemed plausible after not touching a camera for 14 years and the last time I did was when mine was RAPIDLY going out of date. Thanks. I was hoping to hear news along those lines as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Willis
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 17:08

Since you've set down photography and are revisiting it now, it's my guess that the question is less about the camera, but how you'll feel getting back into it, and what the activity will mean for you/how you'll use it. (If you know this, sharing would help the recommendation.) For that reason, I'd suggest the best value-buy in the ballpark of your skill.

The Canon 6D has been very good to me, as an 'entry level' full frame that should be more than sufficient to get you warmed back up. I picked up a 6D Mark ii refurbished (by Canon) for $800 a few months ago.

Then, once you've got a camera in hand that you're not afraid to use (it takes less to justify going out for pictures with a $3000 body vs $800, in my opinion), you can start to answer the more personal question about which technology is worth my money, these days.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was asking and have been appreciating the answers because it's not so much a revisiting as it would be a return to a major hobby. I'm not looking to get anything new now, just trying to refamilarize myself with the new bodys, knobs, buttons, and seeing if or how quickly it comes back. Thanks for the suggestion on the 6D Mark ii, will look into it! \$\endgroup\$
    – Willis
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 8:53

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