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Thread: Full frame vs. Crop Frame and other questions...

  1. #1

    Default Full frame vs. Crop Frame and other questions...

    Hey guys,

    I have a dilemma.

    I have been shooting with a 40D for about 1.5 year now and I LOVE it. 2 days ago, I found out that I 'should' spend some money on either a new camera, or new lenses. Its a long story and its for my company so its not actually interesting so I'll move on.

    I really enjoy the 40D but since I have the opportunity to 'upgrade' I began looking at the 5D.

    I started researching the 5D mark II on a few photography forums and it seems really impressive.
    However, If I purchase the 5D, I will have to sell my 40D.

    This may be hard to answer but I'll ask anyways.

    I am now in a position where I can start my lenses collection from scratch.
    If you were in this position, would you chose a full frame or crop frame? Why? Would you base it more on the type of camera as opposed to the type of lenses? Would you just keep the 40D and keep building?

    I realize these are some pretty loaded questions. Just curious what some of you guys might think.

    Should I just go to Nikon?? Im kidding.

  2. #2
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default A few questions...

    What is your goal in photography?

    What type of shots do you seek?

    What lenses do you currently have for the 40D?

    My gut instinct says to get some high quality lenses for the 40D, but more info would be useful.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    What is your goal in photography?

    What type of shots do you seek?

    What lenses do you currently have for the 40D?
    Hey Dan,

    I kind of knew I would have to give more details.


    1
    My goal with photography...Not sure if I have one. Getting better and keep enjoying it. I am not trying to get paid for my photography. At least not much

    2
    Type of shots: Im more of a scenery type of guy. Outdoors photography. I dont think Ive even taken a portrait of someone where I was proud of the pic. I will be a second shooter for weddings on very rare occasions but will not be in charge of portraits.
    For work, I will be shooting the inside of really upscale hair salons and spas. So, low lighting and wide angles are a must.

    3
    The lenses I currently own:
    Tamron 28-300 f/3.5-6.3 VC
    Tokina 12-24 f/4

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Dang Jonathan,

    This is a tough one man.


    The only thing I know for sure is I would not spend nearly 3k on a 5D unless I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I needed it.


    Assuming you keep the 40D...

    For landscape, I would want a 17-40.

    For general use, I love my 24-105

    For inside work related stuff, if it needs to be top notch, read up on the excellent 16-35. Perhaps a 10-22 would be of some utility. Just for good measure, read up on the fisheye lenses and see if that would be of use for your intended indoor goals. I don't do any indoor stuff so I am a poor source for info.

    Weddings/events, the 24-70 and 70-200 (both f/2.8 with IS) seem to be the choice of most pros. These are two fantastic lens, and the price reflects this. The 70-200 may be an excellent choice for weddings, especially as the second shooter.

    Portraits, nah, not my cup of tea either. I have no opinion on lenses for this aside from suggesting a sharp prime lens like the 50 f/1.8 or the 85.

    Like I said man, tough question you are putting out. If I were you, I would decide what is the absolute top priority and work on that first.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    I use a 40D too, and have asked myself the same questions. What I decided to do was to continue using my 40D, and every now and then buy a lens I could use on both the 40D and a 5D II some day. However, I would not sell the 40D, but use it as a backup instead.

    My favorite are landscape shots, and for this the 5D II would be perfect, but the lenses I use with the 40D now would be on the short side when mounted on the 5D. The 1.6x crop factor of the 40D helps with reach.

    Another point I had to consider is the speed of the 40D, since I also like to take photos of birds, moose, and other wildlife.

    So, I will eventually buy a 5D for landscape photography, and maybe the occasional portrait, and use the 40D as backup for wildlife, macro, and such. For now I just buy a lens or two whenever I can afford it.

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    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sodabiscuit12345 View Post
    I have a dilemma.
    Sounds more like a truly wonderful opportunity!
    I am now in a position where I can start my lenses collection from scratch.
    You should reconsider which brand as well as which camera. We get a lot of fanboi posts here that tell you to buy what they did just because they did. Don't. Figure out which brand bests suits your needs, not the wimsy of your friends.
    If you were in this position, would you chose a full frame or crop frame? Why? Would you base it more on the type of camera as opposed to the type of lenses?
    The choice of Full Frame or Cropped Frame is very much inter-related to the choice of lenses.

    But since you have not said a word about what you want to do with a camera, it is not at all possible to give you valid advice about which camera/lens combinations might be best. Hence you can only get two kinds of advice here: 1) trivially worthless advice that is unrelated to your needs, or 2) a book sized tome larger than anyone is actually likely to write. Your best bet, if you don't really know what interests you the most yet, is to buy borrow or steal one or more books on photography.

    Otherwise, post as much detail as you can about what type of photography you wish to use the camera for. There are three or four here who can compare brands, cameras, and lenses in detail rather than just with emotional appeals generated by marketeers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sodabiscuit12345 View Post
    Hey Dan,

    I kind of knew I would have to give more details.


    1
    My goal with photography...Not sure if I have one. Getting better and keep enjoying it. I am not trying to get paid for my photography. At least not much

    2
    Type of shots: Im more of a scenery type of guy. Outdoors photography. I dont think Ive even taken a portrait of someone where I was proud of the pic. I will be a second shooter for weddings on very rare occasions but will not be in charge of portraits.
    For work, I will be shooting the inside of really upscale hair salons and spas. So, low lighting and wide angles are a must.

    3
    The lenses I currently own:
    Tamron 28-300 f/3.5-6.3 VC
    Tokina 12-24 f/4
    You will need other than those lenses for the 5D II. The good thing is that Canon has some real nice wide primes that aren't very expensive.

  8. #8

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    Do full frame cameras have a wider scope or view (not sure what its called)?

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sodabiscuit12345 View Post
    Do full frame cameras have a wider scope or view (not sure what its called)?
    Yep, a full frame will take a "wider" pic. For example, a 17-40 on a 40D will not render as wide an image as the same lens on a 5D. The 5D is a 1.0 (full frame) where the 40D is a 1.6x (magnified, zoomed in a bit, smaller sensor, smaller viewfinder, etc... ). So to get the true focal length of a lens on a crop sensor, you need to multiply that lens mm by 1.6, so 17-40 X 1.6 would be 28-60 (estimating here) rather than a true 17-40 focal range. Hope that is clear, not sure.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Yep, a full frame will take a "wider" pic. For example, a 17-40 on a 40D will not render as wide an image as the same lens on a 5D. The 5D is a 1.0 (full frame) where the 40D is a 1.6x (magnified, zoomed in a bit, smaller sensor, smaller viewfinder, etc... ). So to get the true focal length of a lens on a crop sensor, you need to multiply that lens mm by 1.6, so 17-40 X 1.6 would be 28-60 (estimating here) rather than a true 17-40 focal range. Hope that is clear, not sure.
    YES! Finally I get it! thanks man. I sorta knew this when I first bought the 40D but I was so set on the camera, I didnt pay attention to what a full frame was.

    So Dan, from what I told you, do you have any suggestions? What would you do?

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Good God man, can't believe I am saying this.... but.... I would listen to Floyd.


    Kidding Floyd

    Seriously, for this kind of money, I would rent/borrow a few lenses perhaps. I would above all else buy an intro to digital photography book. Be sure you know exactly what you need before shelling out a bunch of dough. If I am picking up what you are putting down and work is paying the tab, depends on the budget. If you have 5-6k available, get the 5D and a few nice lenses (after you decide which ones you need). That will cost a good $5,000. If not that much funding, I say get one or two L lenses for the 40D. That would run about 2-3k depending on which lenses you get. Again, you need some more thought on this before deciding which lenses to get. But it will run a few grand to add 2-3 L lenses to the 40D. So neither option is cheap, but one is certainly less expensive than the other. Shoot me a pm or email. You know I am always happy to talk with you. Perhaps I can point you in the right direction if nothing else. First things first, get a digital photography book. Link below to one I have that was very helpful....

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...tography_.html

    Ordering from Amazon will get it to you faster I suspect.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Good God man, can't believe I am saying this.... but.... I would listen to Floyd.


    Kidding Floyd

    Seriously, for this kind of money, I would rent/borrow a few lenses perhaps. I would above all else buy an intro to digital photography book. Be sure you know exactly what you need before shelling out a bunch of dough. If I am picking up what you are putting down and work is paying the tab, depends on the budget. If you have 5-6k available, get the 5D and a few nice lenses (after you decide which ones you need). That will cost a good $5,000. If not that much funding, I say get one or two L lenses for the 40D. That would run about 2-3k depending on which lenses you get. Again, you need some more thought on this before deciding which lenses to get. But it will run a few grand to add 2-3 L lenses to the 40D. So neither option is cheap, but one is certainly less expensive than the other. Shoot me a pm or email. You know I am always happy to talk with you. Perhaps I can point you in the right direction if nothing else. First things first, get a digital photography book. Link below to one I have that was very helpful....

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...tography_.html

    Ordering from Amazon will get it to you faster I suspect.
    Good stuff man. I'll order the book or go to a local borders/barnes & nobles/whatever. I'll probably send a few questions via email your way as well.
    Thanks guys.

    The answer to my questions: Figure it out yourself.

  13. #13
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Patience buddy...

    After you get a better idea of what you need the lens for, it will be easier to figure out. Trouble now is identifying priorities. Landscape, wedding/event, indoor salon shots, etc... will likely require very different lenses for best results. It is very hard for anyone to give you really good advice without knowing more about your intended usage. To illustrate this more clearly, I just visited B&H Photo/Video's website. Searching ONLY Canon lenses that were in stock, I found 83 lenses and their price ranged from $114 to $10,999. Lots to choose from


    Visit the below forums and post some questions. Tons of activity and you will get lots of different opinions. Get the book, or at least a book, read up on the internet, pick up a few photograpy mags, search images on Flickr, Smugmug, Picassa, Photobucket, etc.. In a few days you will have a much clearer idea of what you want (and need).

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/ (check out EOS Cameras and EF Lenses forums)


    www.photo.net (Canon forum)


    www.photocamel.com (Canon forum)


    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/ (read tutorials, techniques, and learning series)





    .
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Good God man, can't believe I am saying this.... but.... I would listen to Floyd.
    You're getting smarter in your old age???

    Well, given the OP's interests are largely towards landscape, that suggests he actually should consider the Canon 5DII... if he's on a shoe string budget. But because he also suggests weddings (which are actually just "people pictures") and "outdoors photography" sounds as is it might mean more than just landscapes, there really is a lot more to consider.

    Frankly, the Nikon D3 is the right camera, if the price can be dealt with. Next to that the D700 is clearly superior to the 5DII. But the 5DII is 1) $300 less expensive, 2) able to do the job, 3) actually does have a few advantages, among twice as many disadvantages, compared to the D700. It's a judgment call...

    For backpacking, the 5DII is 3/4 the weight of the D700. Unfortunately it is not nearly as rugged either, so a little care needs to be exercized. The 5DII has 30% more resolution too, with 21.1 MP compared to 12.1 for the D700 (just be aware that most of the Canon lenses being recommended cannot match the camera, and hence would not provide more detail!). The 5DII also does video capture, if that is useful. And the Canon viewfinder provides more coverage than the Nikon D700 viewfinder (something like 97% compared to 92%, but I'm not sure what the exact numbers are).

    If the camera were only going to be used for landscapes, the 5DII would probably be the best buy.

    But the advantages of the higher quality build and functionality of the D700 are well worth the extra $300 cost for other uses. The AF on the D700 is Nikon's best (even the Canon 40D and 50D models are better than the 5DII). The D700 has built in flash (and flash sync is 1/320 as opposed to 1/250 for the 5DII) that can control Nikon's external flash units (which are all superior to Canon flash units). The Auto ISO on the Canon is poor, but works very well on the D700. The D700 has less noise at higher ISO values. The D700 shutter latency is lower and has about half the "blackout" time for each shot. The D700 shoots at a higher frame rate. The D700 Exposure Compensation is over a plus or minus 5 stop range, while 5DII is 2 stops. The fstop adjustments for the D700 can be 1/2 or 1/3 of a stop increments, the 5DII is only 1/3 stop. The adjustments on the 5DII are more complex to set than the Nikon menu system. The D700 can hold at least 17 raw images in the buffer, while the 5DII can only hold 13.

    It's a matter of whether the extra quality with the D700 is worth $300 or not. By the same token the D3 is $2000 more, and for a pro that works all day with a camera there is virtually no hesitation!

    Lenses are another issue which requires some thought. There are contradictions with the 5DII, because if the extra resolution is to be useful, most of the lenses commonly recommended are not advisable! Only if the resolution isn't important, those lenses and the various third party lenses such as the ones the OP already owns are useful. Note that Nikon has higher quality wide angle lenses than Canon, and has a vast number of older manual focus lenses that would be very acceptable for landscape photography (but the better AF on the Nikon is necessary for birds in flight, and useful for kids on the run). The 5DII of course cannot use old Canon lenses, and cannot use Canon's EF-S lenses made for cropped sensor cameras. (The D700 can use Nikon DX lenses, though obviously in a cropped mode that does not require full coverage.)

    Hence which is best depends greatly on what the budget is, and also on the meaning of things like "outdoor photography" too. And of course there is the overall question of whether this much expensive quality is of value to someone who is happy using a 28-300mm superzoom!

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    After you get a better idea of what you need the lens for, it will be easier to figure out. Trouble now is identifying priorities. Landscape, wedding/event, indoor salon shots, etc... will likely require very different lenses for best results. It is very hard for anyone to give you really good advice without knowing more about your intended usage. To illustrate this more clearly, I just visited B&H Photo/Video's website. Searching ONLY Canon lenses that were in stock, I found 83 lenses and their price ranged from $114 to $10,999. Lots to choose from
    Actually those particular uses will almost all end up being done with the same lens, or perhaps 2 lenses at the most.

    A wide angle to medium zoom lens would be ideal. The question is whether a superwide would be necessary or not for the indoor salon shots. If it is product photography, that is unlikely. But if it is something like real estate, where the object is to show the enire room, then a super wide would be very useful.

    For lenses with Canon I would suggest a list something like this:
    • 16-35mm f/2.8L ($1500)
    • 24-70mm f/2.8L ($1270)
    • 70-200mm f/2.8L ($1900)
    That adds up to $4670.

    For lenses with Nikon I would suggest a list something like this:
    • 14-24mm f/2.8 ($1800)
    • 24-70mm f/2.8 ($1750)
    • 70-200mm f/2.8 ($1900)
    And that amounts to some $5450.

    Obviously good glass is expensive. And given the stated objectives it might be very reasonable to trim those lists to just the middle item in each, the 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses, because that range will probably cover almost all of the stated essential needs.

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    Once you are used to the controls layout of the 40D, the 5DII will be a piece of cake. The added advantages of the Nikon D3 and 700 over the 5DII is a matter of opinion, and that's why you don't see photographers going in droves for the added features. Once you have a camera that is good enough to feel your needs as a photographer, it will take years before you even begin to master it. By then you real fancy, or not so fancy camera has lost a lot of its value as new models replace it.

    If the superiority of any camera brand over the next would be true, then the superior one would sell the most. But all you have to do is to look at the cameras being used at sporting events, news reports, etc., and that will give you an idea of the truth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post
    Once you are used to the controls layout of the 40D, the 5DII will be a piece of cake.
    That is a matter of opinion. It's an opinion which is fine for the OP though, because there is no indication that photography is a 40 hour a week job. Putting up with a little inconvenience might well be worth the cost savings.
    The added advantages of the Nikon D3 and 700 over the 5DII is a matter of opinion, and that's why you don't see photographers going in droves for the added features.
    No, the advantages are a matter of fact. You can measure things like blackout time, frames per second, or the number of images in the buffer.

    Another fact is that photographers, mostly professionals, for whom those advantages have significance have indeed gone for the D3 in droves. The D700 is not really aimed at professionals, and yet it too has clearly been a very popular model for exactly those reasons, even though it is far below the D3 in operator convenience.
    Once you have a camera that is good enough to feel your needs as a photographer, it will take years before you even begin to master it. By then you real fancy, or not so fancy camera has lost a lot of its value as new models replace it.
    That is almost true!

    But as an example, I used a Nikon D2x for quite some time. When the D2Xs was announced, it took very little research to determine that it provided nothing of significant advantage for my needs. On the other hand when the Nikon D3 was announced it took very little research to clarify the fact that I could make use of the new features of the D3. You can rest assured that neither of those extremely complex cameras took "years before you even begin to master" in my case. And given the targetted market, I doubt that most owners of those models require any time at all to learn almost everything they are ever going learn about their camera.

    Of course the key to that is your qualifier of "good enough". How good is "enough" varies with each photographer depending on talent and experience. It might well be that a Canon 40D sufficiently fills the needs of some photographers. But I assure you that many owners of Canon 1DsIII and Nikon D3 cameras have a wish list for the next generation of camera from each manufacturer, and will (or not) purchase a new model based on how well it matches the wish list. The camera that is "good enough" hasn't been invented yet!
    If the superiority of any camera brand over the next would be true, then the superior one would sell the most. But all you have to do is to look at the cameras being used at sporting events, news reports, etc., and that will give you an idea of the truth.
    If you look at history though, there is a very different story. 70 years ago what you'd have seen were various models of Graflex cameras. From 50 years ago to about 8 most would have been Nikon SLR cameras. From 8 years to about a year ago most were Canon. There has been, in the past year, a huge swing from Canon back to Nikon.

    The reasons for all of these swings specifically is the clear superiority of a given model (and it actually is not the brand so much as a specific model) for those specific purposes.

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    Nikon has indeed produced some great cameras in the past year or so. Canon needs to do some catching up in several areas, and if you're considering a change in formats, it's not a bad time to consider a change in brands.

    If it were me, I would stick with the 40D. But that's primarily due to cost, and secondarily due to the fact that the 40D is good enough for what you want to do. The only thing I do photographically for money is weddings, and the 40D is more than adequate for the job. The same would probably be true for shooting high end hair salons. If you do decide to stick with the 40D, I would change lenses though. Get a Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS as your main lens. If $1000 is too much to spend, buy a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 instead. But the addition of IS is worth the added cost at weddings and other indoor events. On a crop body, 24mm as the wide end of your main lens will probably not be wide enough for weddings, and you will find yourself swapping lenses way too much. Besides, the 17-55 f/2.8 IS is every bit as good as Canon's 24-70 f/2.8L. I would also consider swapping the 12-24 for a 10-22, only because the 20% wider view is significant indoors.

    If you are looking for higher quality, and don't mind parting with the cash, then a full frame camera would be in order. But if you need the absolute highest quality, then we're all discussing the wrong types of cameras anyway. In any case, a full frame camera can generally put out better quality images than a crop frame camera. Also, high ISO noise is less on full frame cameras, so for weddings and indoor shots, the full frame camera has a distinct advantage. It's just not an imperative advantage. I routinely shoot a 20D, 40D and 50D at 800-1600 ISO for weddings and that's been fast enough.

    On the subject of wide angles though, 10-22mm lenses for the 40D have as wide a view as 16-35mm lenses do on a 5DII. So, I don't think full frame cameras have much of an edge here. Nikon does have a zoom starting out at 14mm, and Sigma puts out a rather odd 12-24mm lens that works on full frame cameras, so if you are willing to go that route, full frame has *some* wide advantages. Hard to use those extreme wide views well though.

    In the end, my advice comes down to a question of money. How much of it are you willing to part with for the advantages of full frame? It's always the last 2% of perfection that costs the most. But is it worth it to you?

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    Wile it's true that Nikon has caught-up with Canon in recent years, and also that Nikon has produced great cameras for the past few years, that has always been the case. With film cameras, Nikon produced real good ones in the F-series. I still have a Nikon F-3 High Point with a motor drive, flash, lenses, etc. However, while Nikon had a great thing going with the F-series, Canon was also doing fine with their line of professional cameras. Both companies have competed for years, and every few years one outdoes the other in features.

    When camera manufacturers jumped on the digital market, Canon was a few years ahead of Nikon, including in digital noise control, but in recent years Nikon has caught-up with Canon in this area, so the brand war will continue for years to come, which is a good thing for the consumer.

    That said, my points still stand: the advantages of one brand over the other, measurable or not, has no meaning for most photographic situations one encounters. Perhaps one can show the differences on images or photos taken in controlled environments, but most of the people taking photos, regardless of being professional or not, don't give a hoot about possible advantages of one camera over the next. All one cares is to hopefully present the viewer with an image that approximates or duplicates what the photographer saw or felt through the viewfinder when taking the photo, or at least present the customer with an image that he or she desires.

    Just because one camera has certain advantages over another does not mean that the person behind the camera can take a photo that impresses the viewer. If that was the case, then only those of you who use who use the most feature-laden cameras would be producing the best or most beautiful photos, and they wouldn't be buying Canon and Nikon, but a couple of European brands already on the market.

    Any entry-level camera from both Canon or Nikon has enough features to make any entry-level consumer happy for years. The came can be said about any of the semi-professional or professional cameras from both.
    --------
    And no, I can't agree that one can master a camera in a short period of time. That's impossible, since every photo-taking situation is always different from the next. The master photographers we hear or know about had or have spent years and years getting familiar with their cameras.

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    In relation to lenses, I prefer primes to zooms, although zooms give you more magnification range than primes.

    I already have these:
    EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
    EF 200mm f/2.8L USM
    EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

    These lenses aren't the fastest, but I don't take photos under low-light conditions, since most are landscapes during the day (cloudy or sunny days), a few close-ups or macro (mostly in the shade, or with the use of a ring flash for true macro).

    When I buy a 5D II (maybe 5DIII a few years from now), these are the lenses I plan to add, all of which I still can use on my 40D:

    -EF 14mm f/2.8L (wide angle on both cropped sensors and FF)
    -EF 600mm f/4L
    ------------
    If I had only a 5DII, these are the lenses I would buy in addition to what I have:

    -EF 14mm f/2.8L, or EF 24mm f/1.4L
    -EF 35mm f/1.4L
    -EF 50mm f/1.2L, or EF 85mm f/2L
    -EF 135mm f/2L (around $800.00)
    -EF 70-200mm f/2.8L (around $1,000), or EF 70-200mm f/4L (under $600.00).

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