New camera or new lens

rockyalife

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Aug 20, 2014
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Hi!
I currently have a Canon 1200d. I have it for a couple of years and I only have one lens (the stock 18-55mm lens).

Now I think it is time for an upgrade. I can spend up to 600€-700€ but I'm not sure if I should spend it on a new camera or new lens.
I've never experienced any other lens so I don't know how much it affects the image quality.

I think I am an intermediate level photographer and I normally take photos of buildings/monuments, landscapes and portraits.

I hope that I was clear enough for you to help me.
Thank you!
 

Normally, I'd agree with the recommendations kanewolf gave. However, for these use cases, get the 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4. (The f/1.4 costs considerably more, but is built better and has silent focusing with full time manual focus - you can touch up the focus manually even when it's in autofocus mode).

Landscape and buildings/monuments are easily handled by your 18-55mm lens. The 50mm will give you low-light capability and the wide aperture will allow you to blur backgrounds for portraits. An 85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2 (or a 70-200 at 200mm) would be better for portraits, but the 50mm will be a good stepping stone while you're still feeling out what type of photos you like to take. The 1200D has a 1.6x multiplier (actually 1.66x), so the 50mm is equivalent to a 83mm, which is the very short end of a "true" portrait lens.

I would go for a 50-150 or 70-200 only if you find yourself frequently wishing you could zoom more or cropping the photos you shoot at 55mm on the 18-55mm. Telephotos really stress the optics (it's enlarging everything in the picture), so if you find yourself seriously shooting photos which need a telephoto, I'd recommend saving up for a 70-200L f/4 (IS or non-IS). It's a $1000 lens, but a fantastic lens.

Likewise, the 1200D looks like it was released relatively recently (5 years ago). Don't bother upgrading it unless you're finding yourself limited by its capabilities. The higher-end bodies usually add more focus points, better resolution and/or low-light capability, more control wheels, and more custom functions. Unless you're aching to have one of those, there's no need to upgrade bodies. It will just become obsolete in another 7-10 years.

And when you do move to two main lenses, you'll find yourself wishing you had two bodies to cut down on the number of lens swaps. It got so bad I now use a Panasonic four-thirds for my wide-angle shooting, while I tote along my 70-200L f/2.8 IS for telephoto shots.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Normally, I'd agree with the recommendations kanewolf gave. However, for these use cases, get the 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4. (The f/1.4 costs considerably more, but is built better and has silent focusing with full time manual focus - you can touch up the focus manually even when it's in autofocus mode).
What do you mean? You DID agree :) I also would go with a f 2.8 on the 50-150 or 70-200. But those do get very pricey.

One thing the OP didn't address, especially for portraits is flash. Get the Canon speedlight and a good diffuser. Then learn what bounce and fill flash are.
 

I meant hold off on the telephoto until he's sure he actually needs it for the type of photography he does. Telephotos get a lot pricier than the wide and normal lenses and zooms.
 

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