Considering Canon

Started Jun 4, 2013 | Discussions
Colin Franks
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Considering Canon
Jun 4, 2013

I'm considering the purchase of a new 5D Mark III.  I humbly ask my question knowing that I don't know the first thing about the lens offerings for this camera.

For the last few years I've been using a M4/3 camera (Panny G3) and I've been happy with the overall coverage of the three lenses that I do have for that:  a 20mm/1.7 prime;  a 14-45;  and a 100-300. (Double those figures due to the crop factor).

So I'm asking you, what would be the 2-3 lenses that would suite my needs with the Canon?  I shoot all over the map, but not studio portrait work.  I assume that I'd need to spend a lot of money in order to achieve the reach of my present 600 (equiv), and perhaps I'll need to be content with a shorter reach in order to avoid mortgaging my house, but I suspect that there might be some level of consensus on what might be some wise choices for me.
Thanks.

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alFR
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 4, 2013

Assuming you mainly want something from the L lineup (Canon's pro lenses) I guess the closest alternatives to give you a 3-lens setup would be:

35mm f1.4 L (expensive) or 40mm f2.8 pancake (cheap!)

24-70 f2.8 L II (expensive) or 24-105 f4 L (less expensive)

70-300 f4-5.6 L or 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L

Anything approaching a 600mm in a zoom is going to be pretty expensive (e.g. the new Canon 200-400 f4 L with built-in 1.4x extender is in the £11000-12000 range I think!) and from Canon you're looking at primes in the 400mm-plus focal length range (unless you use an extender with one of the shorter zooms).

Reviews of the above here  (and plenty of other places as well).

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Colin Franks
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to alFR, Jun 4, 2013

Thanks for that.  You reminded me that I forgot to ask about the 24-105 kit lens.  I'm of the impression that most all "kit lenses" are mediocre, but that may not be the case with this. (?)

I'm wondering if it is best to avoid that, and get just the body with selected lenses.

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alFR
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 4, 2013

I think the 24-105 is good value as part of the kit - it's a good zoom range as a walkaround lens for a full-frame body and the IS is useful. Plenty of other opinions on here about it if you run a search.

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lpGrumpy
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 4, 2013

It is a good lens. It is an "L" lens. Perhaps it is not the best "L" lens and not as good as the 24 - 70 but it does the job. Canon paired it up with the 5DM3 and the 6D, both well above entry level and the 24-105 "L" is also. Bottom line: If you are entering the realm of better cameras and need a lens, this is a good choice. And at a good price when it is bundled.

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solidstate9
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to alFR, Jun 4, 2013

alFR wrote:

I think the 24-105 is good value as part of the kit - it's a good zoom range as a walkaround lens for a full-frame body and the IS is useful. Plenty of other opinions on here about it if you run a search.

Good advice the 24-105 is sharp and has IS and lighter than the 24-70 f2.8 v2 no IS. The questions you ask moving from m4/3 to FF without trying the gear are academic. You really need to rent the gear before you buy it IMO. buying a suite of gear of this magnitude is a big financial commitment, however if you are exceedingly wealthy then it doesn't matter:)

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AlterHase
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 4, 2013

Hi!

I think the question on which a lot of answers depend on is: what are you looking for when upgrading from 4/3 to Canon Full frame?

Cameras are tools and as such come with a list of pros and cons. Same for lenses.

Are you looking to take pictures that your current setup isn't able to (e.g. ultra-thin DoF)? Just in case your answer is "better image quality": can you describe in what way your current setup is not meeting your needs?

First, let's just take your words literally and assume that you want the exact same number of lenses covering the same (or similar) focal lengths. Let's assume you're not often print larger than 11inx14in.  I think in this case the Canon FF setup will mainly be larger, heavier, and more expensive than your current.

Alternatively, let's interpret your question more liberally as: "what lenses does Canon offer that would allow to bring the best out of a Canon 5dIII camera?". I'd say (without wanting to sound too much like a Canon sales rep) that the extensive range of over 80 lenses for the EF mount (did I remember that correctly) offer the most versatile set of tools for photography in a single system. You can take advantage of the large FF sensor by creatively exploring extreme shallow depth of field with largest apertures of 1.4 from 24mm to 2.0 at 200mm, you can explore macro photography at an image stabilized 1:1 ratio or even 1:5 ratio. You can find (expensive) lenses with more range than your current setup and superior quality (800mm)

Just my 2c

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Colin Franks
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to AlterHase, Jun 4, 2013

AlterHase wrote:

Are you looking to take pictures that your current setup isn't able to (e.g. ultra-thin DoF)? Just in case your answer is "better image quality": can you describe in what way your current setup is not meeting your needs?

I suppose that my main disappointment is with the 100-300 lens. The other day I was shooting a Blue Heron at the beach, and took many shots at myriad settings (tripod).  Granted, this lens is known to be a little soft on the far end, but none of the images were tack sharp, and I wasn't happy with 'em.

My 20mm/1.7 is an impressive little lens, and does well for its uses, but tell me if I'm incorrect in the following:
It seems that I see sooo many images (on the 'net) from the big bad-boy Canikons that just flat-out have an IQ that a M4/3 cannot achieve.  Yes, the M4/3s are a good little camera, but their sensor is considerably smaller.  And isn't there something to be said about the fact that Canon & Nikon are "camera" companies, and all the rest are "electronics" companies; or is that just not the case now-a-days?

First, let's just take your words literally and assume that you want the exact same number of lenses covering the same (or similar) focal lengths. Let's assume you're not often print larger than 11inx14in.  I think in this case the Canon FF setup will mainly be larger, heavier, and more expensive than your current.

I have a rather large printer. It accepts 54" wide rolls of media in the back, so I print some large canvas.

Thanks for the replies.

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Colin Franks
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 4, 2013

Or what are your thoughts about going with something like a 7D, and putting that extra money into better/more glass?

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alFR
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 4, 2013

Colin Franks wrote:

I suppose that my main disappointment is with the 100-300 lens. The other day I was shooting a Blue Heron at the beach, and took many shots at myriad settings (tripod).  Granted, this lens is known to be a little soft on the far end, but none of the images were tack sharp, and I wasn't happy with 'em.

Was it moving? If so it might have been the AF in your body rather than the lens, as from what I read the contrast AF in micro 4/3 bodies does seem to have issues with moving subjects at times.

My 20mm/1.7 is an impressive little lens, and does well for its uses, but tell me if I'm incorrect in the following:
It seems that I see sooo many images (on the 'net) from the big bad-boy Canikons that just flat-out have an IQ that a M4/3 cannot achieve.  Yes, the M4/3s are a good little camera, but their sensor is considerably smaller.  And isn't there something to be said about the fact that Canon & Nikon are "camera" companies, and all the rest are "electronics" companies; or is that just not the case now-a-days?

I wouldn't worry too much about the companies: they've been making micro 4/3 bodies for quite a while now, I think they know what they're doing overall. I suppose it depends a bit what you mean by IQ as well. As you probably know, for an equivalent number of megapixels / equivalent quality optics the DSLR is likely to have lower noise and maybe better colour transitions (esp. at high ISO) due to the larger sensor. At the big print sizes you're able to do this might be a difference you can see: I think it's less of an issue for smaller prints and on-screen viewing. Also, the bigger sensor means less DOF in the DSLR as well at the same aperture etc., which might give "better IQ" if shallow DOF is what you wanted.

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Colin Franks
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to alFR, Jun 4, 2013

alFR wrote:

Was it moving? If so it might have been the AF in your body rather than the lens, as from what I read the contrast AF in micro 4/3 bodies does seem to have issues with moving subjects at times.

No, the large bird was dead still, standing there like a statue.  I attempted the shot at various settings (even Auto), and all with the lens' IS on and off.

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biza43
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 5, 2013

You are doing this upside down. You should first look at this from the perspective of buying into a system. So you need to consider what you take pictures of, and look at the available lenses. Cameras come and go, but lenses tend to stay a little longer...

From what you describe, I don´t think you need full-frame? But if you want to go down that route, several brands make very nice full frame cameras, and very nice lenses to go with them.

In the end, almost any brand will have what you need. For general purposes, a general camera and general zoom lens will do. Go to a store and try a few options, see how different cameras handle, you would be surprised, quite often it is much more important how a camera rests and handles in your hands, then puerile discussions about small differences...

If you check a couple of reputable magazines, read the reviews, you will see that for example the EOS 6D gets about 90% and the Nikon D600 about 1% more or less. Insignificant, really.

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AlterHase
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 6, 2013

Colin Franks wrote:

I suppose that my main disappointment is with the 100-300 lens. The other day I was shooting a Blue Heron at the beach, and took many shots at myriad settings (tripod).  Granted, this lens is known to be a little soft on the far end, but none of the images were tack sharp, and I wasn't happy with 'em.

I don't know a lot about your current equipment, but I know that shooting at 600mm FF equivalent focal length has its own challenges. I.e. given unfavorable atmospheric conditions it might be impossible to get a tack sharp picture even with the best optical system. In short: technique and experience of the photographer are a significant factor in this type of photography (not suggesting you're lacking either) - maybe more significant than the equipment?

I like to think that a 5D mkIII and a 100-400L or better lens will offer benefits in the AF department for wildlife or even BiF photography. Maybe also in the image quality department.

My 20mm/1.7 is an impressive little lens, and does well for its uses, but tell me if I'm incorrect in the following:
It seems that I see sooo many images (on the 'net) from the big bad-boy Canikons that just flat-out have an IQ that a M4/3 cannot achieve.  Yes, the M4/3s are a good little camera, but their sensor is considerably smaller.  And isn't there something to be said about the fact that Canon & Nikon are "camera" companies, and all the rest are "electronics" companies; or is that just not the case now-a-days?

Hmm, before considering the technical correctness of theoretically achievable image quality let me try to put some doubt into the statement that the images of Canikons on the net are better than M4/3s.

I think for every image that impress you with their IQ there are hundreds of the very same camera/lens setup that fail to impress. Have you looked for impressive images with your camera/lens combination? I'm sure they exist, too.

Also, there is a numbers game. Canikons make up the bulk of digital cameras with advanced image quality (trying to avoid the DSLR vs. mirrorless religious debate). Assuming an equal distribution of excellent photographers on all systems, statistically, that tilts the favor for finding a larger proportion of impressive images to Canikon.

Lastly, do you feel that you're able to achieve the best image quality that your current system is capable of. I don't mean this in a derogatory way, just from my own observation that I am (my style of photography is) mostly the limiting factor with my camera setup. If your answer if positive than I would consider an upgrade of camera equipment. If not, I fear that you might have the "grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side" syndrome. I am, like so many on this forum, fighting it regularly

Now, that being said, I feel that a Canon FF system offers advantages over a M4/3 system. In terms of usability, handling, speed, and image quality. All of this at a price.

I have a rather large printer. It accepts 54" wide rolls of media in the back, so I print some large canvas.

Congrats. Now, I'm jealous.

Thanks for the replies.

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AlterHase
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 6, 2013

Colin Franks wrote:

Or what are your thoughts about going with something like a 7D, and putting that extra money into better/more glass?

Well, the 7D is my main camera. I am quite satisfied with the camera (and my lens collection). I had repeatedly the opportunity to use a 5D mkIII so I feel I can respond with some personal experience.

I find in controlled tests that the pixel level image quality is clearly better on the 5D (critical to large prints).

I find that in real life tests with some work in post I get my 7D images close enough that all the additional benefits I would get from the 5D III based system are not worth the money to me. This is partly based on the observation that I am mostly the limiting factor in my photography, not the equipment. Another part is that I don't pursue photography as a profession - time and money take on a different importance in a professional setting.

From my experience I can confirm the frequent comment on this forum that the 7D is more demanding on glass than the 5D. This is an important consideration if you plan on printing very large on your printer. Also, I think I'd agree with the statement that one needs to "learn" longer to get the best out of the 7D - the 5D in comparison is a more "forgiving" camera.

Lastly the crop factor dictates certain lens choices. E.g. the EFS 10-22mm is the only ultrawide choice in the Canon lens line up. The equivalent EF 16-35L makes a stronger combination with the 5D, but for a significantly higher price tag. Similarly, the 17-55 f2.8 is a strong all around lens for a 7D, but a 24-70LII on a 5D is much better at higher price tag. I personally struggle with the 70-200 range on a crop (70 is too long for my taste) and the 55-250, while very good value, is not comparable to the (image) quality of any L lens.

Because of the crop factor I don't think the question is quite correct as you put it, but rather "will I be satisfied with a crop camera and a matching lens set compared to a better image quality of a significantly more expensive 5D+L lens collection"? Only you will be able to answer this question.

The only thing I recommend to help you with this: test it out for yourself before you commit to the purchase. Maybe with help in a local photography club or by renting the lens/camera combinations you're interested in.

Good luck on your journey!

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AlterHase
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to AlterHase, Jun 6, 2013

P.S.: The following post talks about the upgrade from m4/3 to Canon 7D: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51550834

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billythek
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 8, 2013

It is possible to buy a fairly cheap combo of lens + teleconverter to get to 600mm, particularly if you allow third party manufacturers.  But, like always, you get what you pay for.  If you really want the best quality, crisp, clear pictures of birds like you sometimes see in these forums, you have to be aware that those guys spent a large chunk of change on those lenses.

Personally, I don't see the attraction in birds.  I suspect some people take up birding just as an excuse to buy nice expensive equipment :-).  But, a good lens like that is usually less than one might spend on a car, for example.  So in the end, it is ultimately affordable if you really want it.

I content myself with slightly less insanely priced toys like the 24-70 f/2.8L II, and 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, and the Samyang 14mm.  If I can't take good pictures with those, I know it is not the equipment. So I gravitated more towards the wide end.

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ed rader
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16-35L II, 24-70L II, 70-300L.....nt
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 8, 2013
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Timbukto
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 8, 2013

I've dabbled a bit with MFT and still shoot my E-PM2 quite often with the 45mm 1.8 and Sigma 19mm as well as the 40-150 tele.

MFT telephotos are not *that* great IMO nor enjoyable to shoot via EVF...but again its a bit hard to fault them given that their telephotos are pretty cheap, light, and do give you high effective reach.  On the otherhand, if you say bought a 400mm f5.6 and shot it on a 6D on your tripod...you'd get *killer* results that blow away any MFT telephoto and basically would easily crop to 600mm equivalent and still have higher IQ than the MFT equivalent( MFT would need to make a 200mm f2.8 to be equivalent and it would have no real size advantage and thus never exist given market conditions).

Super telephotos are crazy expensive recently on either Nikon or Canon side...so really what are the 'gems' that are still affordable?  Canon has quite a few actually...any of their 70-200's...the 100-400 is cheap and versatile...the 400mm f5.6 prime is light/cheap, and super sharp (you can read lensrental review...yes that new 200-400 is sharper and even faster, but at huge premium in weight and size.  The 70-300 L or even non-L on the 6D would beat the 40-150s handily.

The 40mm f2.8 will exceed your expectations for the price as it basically will AF faster and give you same DOF and more IQ due to FF sensor IMO easily replacing the 20mm f1.7 but still giving you a taste of portability.

The 24-105L should exceed the performance of the Pana 14-45 and supply greater range to boot as well as more speed/light gathering.

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brightcolours
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In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 8, 2013

Colin Franks wrote:

I'm considering the purchase of a new 5D Mark III.  I humbly ask my question knowing that I don't know the first thing about the lens offerings for this camera.

Wonderful camera, one of the very best. but, what does your current camera not do what you want the 5D mk III to do? You do not just want to duplicate what you have now, do you?

For the last few years I've been using a M4/3 camera (Panny G3) and I've been happy with the overall coverage of the three lenses that I do have for that:  a 20mm/1.7 prime;  a 14-45;  and a 100-300. (Double those figures due to the crop factor).

To duplicate what you have now, just with a bit bigger max. apertures due to FF, would be:

Canon EF 40mm STM (about half a stop bigger aperture compared to the 20mm you have now).

Canon EF 24-70mm f4 L IS USM. Goes quite a bit wider than your current standard zoom, and has an aperture equivalent to f2 on MFT (due to bigger sensor).

Sigma 50-500mm or 150-500mm. Relatively affordable. Or Canon EF 300mm f4 L IS USM with Canon EF 2x TC III.

So I'm asking you, what would be the 2-3 lenses that would suite my needs with the Canon?  I shoot all over the map, but not studio portrait work.  I assume that I'd need to spend a lot of money in order to achieve the reach of my present 600 (equiv), and perhaps I'll need to be content with a shorter reach in order to avoid mortgaging my house, but I suspect that there might be some level of consensus on what might be some wise choices for me.
Thanks.

It would be helpful if you would state the reason for the upgrade. Just copying what you have now, but with different sensor size, seems a bit odd.

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photonius
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Re: Considering Canon
In reply to Colin Franks, Jun 8, 2013

Colin Franks wrote:

AlterHase wrote:

Are you looking to take pictures that your current setup isn't able to (e.g. ultra-thin DoF)? Just in case your answer is "better image quality": can you describe in what way your current setup is not meeting your needs?

I suppose that my main disappointment is with the 100-300 lens. The other day I was shooting a Blue Heron at the beach, and took many shots at myriad settings (tripod).  Granted, this lens is known to be a little soft on the far end, but none of the images were tack sharp, and I wasn't happy with 'em.

That may not just be an issue with the lens, the lens is not that bad (see photozone de results), and the Pan G3 is a good 16MP sensor. It could also be an issue with autofocus precision etc. Also, how does the lens handle OS on a tripod? Did you turn it off? With Canon, IS often should be turned off on a tripod, otherwise you can get actually interference.

For your wild-life shots, a Canon 7D could be the right compromise, many people prefer the crop cameras for the better reach. I.e. a 7D with a 100-400 could perform better than your Pana set-up.

My 20mm/1.7 is an impressive little lens, and does well for its uses, but tell me if I'm incorrect in the following:
It seems that I see sooo many images (on the 'net) from the big bad-boy Canikons that just flat-out have an IQ that a M4/3 cannot achieve.  Yes, the M4/3s are a good little camera, but their sensor is considerably smaller.  And isn't there something to be said about the fact that Canon & Nikon are "camera" companies, and all the rest are "electronics" companies; or is that just not the case now-a-days?

The smaller sensor has nothing to do with IQ (resolution) per see. The bigger sensor will give you more (thinner) DOF, i.e. more possibilities for creating out of focus blur, and the bigger sensor should give you better (lower) noise at higher ISO.

First, let's just take your words literally and assume that you want the exact same number of lenses covering the same (or similar) focal lengths. Let's assume you're not often print larger than 11inx14in.  I think in this case the Canon FF setup will mainly be larger, heavier, and more expensive than your current.

I have a rather large printer. It accepts 54" wide rolls of media in the back, so I print some large canvas.

Ah, so high resolution is useful for you.

You could of course go for something like a Nikon 800, but be aware, that to really get these high resolution shots, it's going to be very difficult.

You have to have absolutely stable tripods to avoid the minutest shakes (add mirror-lock up etc.). You have to have the best lenses that you can use wide-open, because already going for an aperture like f11 (on FF), diffraction starts to kick in. Have a look at the reviews here on dpreview where they compare some of the newer cameras with no anti-aliasing filter. To really get absolute ultra-high resolution, you need lenses that are very sharp across the frame at f4 or f5.6, but then you have the conundrum that for landscape, often you want to stop down more to get everything into focus.

There are a bunch of comparisons out there that show the Canon 5DIII compares well with the Nikon, also because Canon has now a bunch of new high-resolution lenses.

The point of my comments: Do not automatically expect super resolution by going FF, it needs a whole lot of things to work together.   And another aspect is pixel density. Let's say you have the 400mm f5.6 lens, a common birding lens. If you have a FF camera, and you need to crop to get your bird bigger, the 7D has a higher pixel density (per square mm), so you will get a better picture of the bird with less cropping. The Panasonic G3 should have an even higher pixel density, so a good shot with a 300mm lens should be the same - I can't judge where your system fails - operator error, lens quality, AF issues, the sensor itself should be quite good.

The other solution you mention consider is buying bigger lenses:

i.e. a 5D III with a 600mm lens   vs

a 7D with a 400mm lens  vs

a G3 with a 300mm lens

I guess it's really a question of a) how much money you want and can spend

and b) how much size/weight you want to lug around.

A bird shot with the G3 and 300mm is still a shot, while a 5DIII and 600mm left at home because it's too cumbersome is no shot at all.

So, give it some serious consideration what you want to do. Nice high resolution landscape with a 5DIII and say a 17mm TS, 24 TS and 24-70 f2.8 II lens. Or for wild-life, where you are focal length limited, a 7D, which should give you much better AF than the G3, with say a 400mm lens, which is still hand-holdable.

Thanks for the replies.

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