Since my 40D died at the Australian GP in March, I’ve been without a SLR. This really did not bother me too much as it just so happened to coincidentally time in with a very hectic time at work, so I had limited opportunities to use it anyway!
However, at the end of this month, I’m going away on a 2 week journey to the centre of Australia -to Uluru, so I definitely need a SLR of some kind to take photos.
Over the past few months, I’ve been looking at what I could get. Do I get the newly released 70D with the next-gen phase detection AF, which makes AF for videos using a SLR an absolute breeze? Do I jump the fence to Nikon, who, in my opinion have much more to offer at similar, if not better prices than Canon at the moment (sure, a 5D MkIII is good, but look at the specs of the D800 (and D800E) which goes for approx $400AUD cheaper and you realise that there could be merits in swapping brands. Not to mention that the Nikon AF in the prosumer ranges seems to kick the arse of any Canon equivalent.
Of course, that would mean buying new lenses, speedlites, accessories etc. But in the long term, if Nikon keep delivering great bodies, wouldn’t it be worth it?
So first question: Do I want/need a full-frame camera? I’ve used my brother’s 5D MkII plenty of times now and the quality of images that you get, especially the low levels of noise at higher ISOs is incredible. Plus, but going away from a crop sensor device, you then can actually use the top of the line ‘L’ lenses such as the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 IS USM L without having to sacrifice too much in the wide-angle department.
As I’m starting to take more video as well, the video quality of full frames, particularly again the flexibility of being able to use high ISO settings for low light shooting with low noise levels is highly appetising.
But they are more expensive and typically heavier than the crop frames. The cheapest FF out there would be models such as the EOS 6D and the D610. Whilst the 6D has GPS and wifi on board, the D610 has a 39 point AF system (9 cross type) (vs 11 point, 1 cross type on the 6D) and has slightly higher resolution as well and it can shoot faster in burst mode.
If I want a Canon with a better AF in that range, I’d have to go up to the 5D Mk III with its 63point AF, or go to the 70D which has the same 19 cross type AF as in the 7D, or go the 7D which is starting to get long in the tooth, having be released 4 years ago now?
Now there are always rumors of new cameras coming out and the 7D Mk II is one of them. Who knows what specs it might have? To me, it just seems clear that if I remain with a Canon option, the option will have to be some sort of compromise vs. the comparable Nikon model. Whilst I have no doubt that any current SLR will be fine for most of the things I do, it does make sense to buy something that is future-proofed (such as my old trust 40D or 5D Mk II), which you won’t need to upgrade in future, particularly if you’re spending a fair bit on it.
But then here comes the flipside. Why don’t I go cheap? Why don’t I go basic to begin with, to fill the gap until a camera that I actually want comes out? Here, I find Canon’s submission which is the 100D- billed as the smallest SLR out there at the moment. Looking at the specs and apart from size and weight, it is nothing special. Using the same 18MP sensor that has been out for donkey years, albeit with the new Digic 5 processor, The AF will be nothing spectacular, but what it will be is cheap, and will enable me to use the kit I currently have. Sure, the Nikon equivalent (D5200?) has a better dynamic range, better AF, probably better build quality and better sensor, it will mean I need to get a new suite of lenses for it.
So there it is.. a compromise decision has been made and my order for a 100D has been placed. With only a few days before leaving for Uluru, it’s a decision made in the nick of time as well!
Lets see how it goes on my Uluru adventure!
Oh, I’ve also redeemed a GoPro with my Velocity Frequent Flyer points. It’s the Hero 3 Black Edition and yes, I know the 3+ is just about to come out but I don’t care… If I start shooting in 4K video it just means I need a faster computer, bigger hard drives, a better editing program etc etc.. (see “Theory of Constraints“….). Anyway, we’ll see how this goes on the Uluru trip as well!