I currently have a Canon EOS 60D but looking to upgrade to a full frame camera.. But I also need to purchase an all around lens (24-105L).. I have the budget for only 1 of 2 items. What should I do??

Thanks all and looking forward to your answers~

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    It would help to know what kind of photography you do and what lenses you currently have. As it stands now your question is awful vague.
    – Michael C
    Jun 17 '13 at 16:49
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    "Looking to upgrade to a full frame camera" is not enough information for anyone to make an informed recommendation based on. Why you are upgrading to full frame would be necessary here. If you can't afford a camera + lens, don't buy either, as they won't do much of anything without each other. Buy a car without tires? Or tires without a car?
    – dpollitt
    Jun 17 '13 at 17:06
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    do you have any EF lenses to use with the 5D? Jun 17 '13 at 17:17
  • @ Michael Nielson Yes, I have 70-200 F4 L.. @Micheal Clark I do portraits and nature photography Jun 17 '13 at 18:06
  • The biggest advantage of FF over APS-C is dynamic range and low light performance. If your portraits are studio shoots where you have complete control of the light so you don't have to fight the dynamic range, get the lens. If you are finding high dynamic range situations or low light often, get the FF body. If you go to FF, what will you use below 70mm? Or do you never shoot wider than about 50mm on your 60D?
    – Michael C
    Jun 18 '13 at 5:41
  • EF-S lenses (the ones for APS-C cameras) will not go on full frame cameras
  • EF lenses (the ones for Full frame cameras) will go on APS-C cameras

So you can use your existing APS-C lenses and any Full-Frame lenses on your 60d, but can only use full-frame lenses on full frame canon cameras (at least, in a nutshell : I can be wrong! Please double check!)

So I'd recommend you to first buy the lens, if you definitely have a use for it. Otherwise, in addition to the body, you'll need also full-frame lenses (such as the 25-105 !) ...

It's a beautiful lens (L series, very sharp and with good colors, solidity, coating, etc), that will also go well with your future full frame camera, once you get it (having a full frame camera entitles you to the best L-Series lenses of canon, which are needed to get the most out of the better body/sensors of those cameras)

But remember the cropping factor: on your 60d, the 24-105 will be having the 1.6x cropping factor (or "multiplying factor") : Only a smaller part of the lens will end up on your smaller sensor, so it becomes a 38-168 equivalent (so, no longer really a wide angle, but on the other end a bit more zoom). It's still an ok choice, but less flexible (no shooting of many people in a small room...) : you definitely have to TRY it first

  • Please take into account jrista's answer as well: maybe for a bit more than just the lens price (actually, for just a bit more than the 5d's price) you can have both! So you can start using the 5d as well, and see how it differs (it's a beautiful camera! And in low light, quite good (but the mark iii is definitely better, and the 1dx even far better in that area... for a price) Jun 18 '13 at 7:33

I am not sure why you think you cannot get both the lens and the body at the same time. The EF 24-105 L has always been the kit lens for the 5D II. At the moment, you can pick up the Canon 5D II body only on Amazon for $2649, but on B&H you can pick up the full kit (5D II + 24-105L) for a mere $2699. I would be particularly surprised if an extra $50 was really out of your budget.

It should also be pointed out that the Canon 6D, the true replacement for the 5D II, is only $1899 brand new, and in a kit with the 24-105L is $2399. The differences between the 5D II and 6D are small, and there are some ways that the 5D II is a better camera...but you can't really go wrong with either.

If you are intending to go with used equipment, you should be able to pick up the 5D II + 24-105L for cheaper than either the 5D II or 6D kits...possibly below the $2000 mark out the door.

My recommendation? Go to B&H and buy the full 5D II kit, or go to Amazon and pick up the 6D kit, and be happy owning BOTH items! :)

  • maybe the best of both worlds indeed : and keep the 60d as a backup camera (or when the cropping factor's boost is needed) Jun 17 '13 at 17:04
  • I'd still recommend he reads my answer as well : his current ef-s lenses (if any) will NOT be useable on the full frame 5d II ... so it could have a side-cost anyway ... Jun 17 '13 at 17:05
  • Sure, not trying to diminish your answer...it is entirely valid to point out the lack of viability of EF-S on FF cameras. That said, I think the underlying concern of the asker is unwarranted when he can pick up the full kit with both the body and lens for $50 more than just the body itself. ;)
    – jrista
    Jun 17 '13 at 17:14
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    body only is 1200$ on ebay (around the same price as the lens alone), and they usually keep that lens for themselves. So 1200 vs 2700 is a pretty big budget jump. Jun 17 '13 at 17:15
  • Assuming the OP is willing to buy used. In which case, it is still possible to pick up the lens used as well, and pay less than $2700 for the whole package...IF that is what the OP wishes to do. Either way, it is not difficult to get both the lens and the body for quite cheap in the grand scheme of things.
    – jrista
    Jun 17 '13 at 17:16

My general philosophy has been to build up lenses with cheaper bodies and then switch up to bodies since APS-C can take EF lenses but full frame bodies can't use EF-s lenses. For getting the lenses you need cheaply, EF-s lenses require less of an initial investment and as you replace them with better EF lenses, you can build up a full set of the lenses you need and then move to a full frame camera without losing any capability.

It isn't the right solution for everyone, but in general, your image quality is going to improve on just about any camera body with better optics and your image quality will also improve on just about any lens with a better camera body. You'll get improvements either way, so it really comes down to which way gives you the most benefit at any one time.

Optics also tend to stay current longer than bodies. A new version of each camera line is released every couple years or less. Lenses can stay current for 5 to 10 years+ depending on the lens and improvements are often far more incremental than bodies. Thus, if you invest in glass, you lose the investment slower than if you invest in bodies. That and the cheaper lens coverage are my main reason for going glass first.

That said, the main reason to go body first is if you need some feature that isn't supported by a cheaper body. If you need narrower depth of field for example, then upgrading to a full frame body before a complete set of EF lenses might be worth it if you need it more than having more complete lens coverage. Similarly, if you need the low light performance or AF performance of a higher end body, it might make it worth going body first.

So my advice is to first get a body that has the features you need, then invest in glass till you have the optics you want in EF mounts and then get the body you want. You can switch that to having the optics you need in EF if you have a stronger desire to have the camera body features than to have some particular lenses available to you.


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