0
\$\begingroup\$

I am currently dslr-less. I had a Pentax Kr, but was infuriated with the front focus issue. I'm looking to move to Canon. My biggest priority is taking photos of my kids, so fast focus is the most important thing to me. I am on a budget, so have to make a sacrifice somewhere. I thinking of getting a good 24-70mm lens (probably Tamron SP) and a cheap body, maybe a 700D. Ideally I wanted a 60D, but it's too pricey with the lens I want.

Are there any drawbacks of putting good glass on a cheap body... Will the lens perform just as well as on a better body?

\$\endgroup\$
4
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't answer your question directly, but the fact that you were "infuriated" with a perceived issue with your camera model indicates that you're probably going to be unhappy with just about any camera, because no camera is perfect. If you spend more, you'll probably have fewer compromises, but people always find something to complain about. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Apr 3, 2015 at 13:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ What kind of photos of your kids? Interior shots at home in relatively dim lighting? Sports out side in daylight from greater distances? Other scenarios? Each shooting scenario calls for a different set of strengths and weaknesses in the best lens for the job. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 4, 2015 at 0:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm there is a known issue with the kr shooting under fluorescent lights. No ir filter led to big ff problems. I Loved the camera other than that. I only used kit lenses, so the focusing was a bit too slow. Now I'm in a position to get a new dslr-less, I want faster focusing, so want a better lens. But would have to compromise on the body \$\endgroup\$ Apr 4, 2015 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ The general case is that all cameras have some issue like that — either similar or some other annoyance — and it's kind of a random whether someone on the Internet finds it and the forums blow it up into a big issue. I'm not saying this isn't real, but pretty much all cameras have some area where a design flaw or compromise makes a certain situation less than ideal. If you let these make you "infuriated", you will always have high blood pressure, no matter what you buy. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Apr 4, 2015 at 17:45

3 Answers 3

2
\$\begingroup\$

Disregarding film and sensor type for a moment, the captured image quality is only as good as the lens the light passes through. So, in this respect, putting expensive glass on a cheap body will allow the camera to give its best. You lens is literally a window on the world, and no processing can recover detail lost by a basic lens on an expensive body.

However... Spending more on a body can bring improved AF performance (especially in low light) and in some cases offer the opportunity to micro-adjust lens focus behaviour (as you complained about front-focus issues), although features like micro-adjustment aren't necessary if you buy a lens that focuses correctly in the first place.

Your chosen focal length may be on the long side for an everyday/all-rounder lens as a 24-70mm will be roughly equivalent to 38-112mm. This may be what you want but if you need wide angles you may be better served by something like a 17-40mm EF, which will be roughly equivalent to 28-64mm when fitted to a crop-sensor body. This would be closer to your desired range and makes for a very nice wide-angle zoom on a full-frame body, if you ever go down that route. If you were to buy any lens designed for full-frame use it won't suddenly become obsolete if you decided to upgrade to a full-frame body - it will just become a lot wider. If you're not going to go full-frame you will probably get a lot more mileage from something like a 15-85mm EF-S which gives the FF equivalent of 24-136mm - a very respectable all-round focal range suitable for most situations.

It's a question of what's important to you. Some people would feel happier with a mid-range lens on a mid-range body offering more features, where others would prefer to prioritise glass first and features second. The latter isn't a bad route, and remember glass will retain more value over the years than a consumer-level camera body...

\$\endgroup\$
2
\$\begingroup\$

In a day where people are taking unbelievably good photos with their phones and even basic entry level cameras have capabilities and qualities we would have killed for a decade ago and which blow away almost all of the cameras of the film era, it's hard to say that any camera today sucks. Some have better capabilities than others, some have functionality that better fits our usage than others. But the bottom line is that a photographer that works on his craft can take anything on the market today and create images that blow you away.

There's way too much "if I just buy this camera then it'll make me a good photographer" and not enough "if I learn how to use the camera then I'll know how to get good pictures with it" in the camera world today, and I'm hearing that in the frustration within this question. Cameras are tools and to get the most out of tools you can't just set them to auto and push buttons.

This is a long-winded way of suggesting you reset your expectations. We have all (and I was guilty of it early in my digital photo life, too) get into the mindset of "if I just buy this new more expensive thing it'll solve me problem" and far too often, no, it doesn't. You need to learn how to use the gear well, you need to understand what it can't do so you don't fight its limitations, and you need to practice your camera and post-processing to learn how to get the camera to give you the images you want. It's not as simple as "point and click", no matter what the camera manufacturer marketing hype wants you to believe.

That said, here's some suggestions: when I recommend gear to new photographers or (as increasingly is true today) people wanting to move from their phone to more serious gear, I almost always recommend the basic entry level body like a Canon T5i. The more powerful bodies have more features but are more expensive and many of those features are useless unless you have a good sense how to take advantage of them, so it can be wasted money. By the time someone needs that capability they're usually ready for a body upgrade anyway.

Lenses are a different matter. A lower quality lens on a great body makes good images more difficult. A lower quality lens on an inexpensive does the same. The entry level body and kit lens combo is inexpensive for a reason -- but that lens is still a pretty good lens, especially compared to lenses that were sold like that 10 or 15 years ago. You can do really nice, photography that way.

But if there's a choice between spending money on a body or a lens, I almost always tell people to spend it on the lens. Better glass will improve a basic body more than a more powerful body will improve a basic lens. You are also less likely to need to upgrade lenses as often as the body, so that's a good place to invest. When I graduated from the kit camera setup I bought a top-end lens that cost 2X my body, and I kept it for about a decade and upgraded the body behind it three times before selling it so I could buy really nice (and expensive) L glass lenses. I didn't do that until I was a good enough photography to be able to look at images taken on L glass and see the difference they gave me within the image.

In your case, wanting to shoot your kids (and, it sounds, not trying to become a "pro" photographer, but interested in getting good images for yourself), a good entry level body should do fine -- I love the Canon T5i. you don't need a more expensive body and I think you're wasting money that can be used on other things if you try. For a lens, think about one of the third party lenses -- something like the Sigma 18-250 or the Tamron 18-270. Those are good value lenses with better quality than the kit lens and more flexibility in their zoom range and will give you the ability to get closer shots on the soccer field but still get good shots in the living room with one lens at a good price.

And then learn how to use them. Learn to shoot raw instead of JPEG so you can work the images later. Get a copy of Lightroom and learn to use it. Don't just put everything into auto and assume the camera will work miracles, because that's how you'll end up disappointed, because it needs your help to go from generic pictures to great ones.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with much of what you say, but I don't consider any 12-15x zoom ratio lens to be good glass. There are way too many optical compromises made to get that wide to long focal length range, and speed is usually at the top of the list. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 4, 2015 at 0:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ The new Tamron and Sigma lenses are surprisingly good. Are they as good as the 100-400 II? Nope. Are they better than the Canon kit lens? Definitely. For a casual photographer who doesn't want to spend the money or hassle of two lenses but wants the reach? I think it's a nice compromise. So for this situation, I'll hold to calling them good glass. \$\endgroup\$
    – chuqui
    Apr 4, 2015 at 1:29
0
\$\begingroup\$

No and it will always help. The better the lens, the better image-quality reaches the sensor and this is more important than ever because cameras have such high-resolution. What was good enough for a mid-range DSLR 5 years just does not cut it anymore.

A good lens will be sharper from wide-open so you will be able to shoot at lower ISO and faster shutter-speeds which improves image-quality with lower noise and less motion blur. With a poor lens, you can high amount of blur until 2 stops down from wide-open which means a quarter of the light reaches the sensor.

AF is always performed with the lens at maximum aperture. This means that the AF system has much more light to work with when using a brighter lens, even if the shooting aperture is the same.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.