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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:42 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 2
I'm just getting back into photography after a 20+ year absence of using only small snapshot point and shoots. I have two Canon A-1 bodies, a T-90 body, and a bunch of good quality lenses for the three bodies. So now the digital rage is on and I find I must buy a quality digital to take surveillance photography of people, frequently at night, and at distances of up to 50 meters.

Question 1: What currently produced Canon DSLR (or mirrorless, if any) bodies will accept my ancient Canon F-mount lenses?

Question 2: I'm thinking a 75-300 telephoto would be best and don't mind using high ISO (3200 or 6400) to catch people walking at night. But what f range works well with these less than full frame digitals? Seems like IS is good, what is USM? My 70-210 f 2.8 Vivitar worked well on the T-90, but that was in daylight.

Question 3: Full size digital or smaller size digital or mirrorless for my purposes?

Question 4: What medium priced camera body and lens would you buy? Guess I'll have to get one of those fancy auto-everything lenses just to keep up with the crowd.

Thanks very much in advance for your comments, I truly do appreciate it.
Mark P.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:05 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:22 pm
Posts: 498
Location: 1 AU from the nearest star
If you want to stick to a canon system, then most of the camera bodies will not work.
The problem is the EOS system which was designed around the EF lenses which require a greater distance between the film (sensor) and the lens than the older FD lenses did.
If it was the reverse, it would be very easy to get an extension tube/adapter to account for the difference, but with the FD lens wanting to be closer than the body is designed for, you are mostly out of luck.

There is one exception in the USA, the EOS-M. This is a mirrorless camera that can take a wide variety of lenses with an adapter, including the older FD mount.
You may also want to check into some micro four/thirds cameras from panasonic or olympus as those are generally considered better alternatives to the EOS-M. You can get an adapter for your glass just as easily as you would with the EOS-M.

That is not to say the EOS-M is not a good camera. It is a fine camera, but it is Canon's first entry into the mirrorless market and thus is not as refined yet as other offereings.
Also, with your older glass not being native to anything, you are not tied to any system yet.

Do not worry about full frame cameras or sensor size as much. If you are just starting out again I would recommend to not spend a lot of money until you know exactly what you want and what your camera cannot do.

IS stands for image stabilization. Basically meaning the lens is trying to compensate for your hands shaking in order to increase image quality. Most brands have some form of this.
USM basically means a focusing motor that is quieter, and generally faster, than other focusing mechanisms. STM is a different type of focusing motor that is better for video.

Canon 5DIII, Rebel XTi/400D
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DO, 85mm f/1.8
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX Macro

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Canon 430EX II
Opteka 13mm, 21mm, and 31mm extension tubes
Vivitar 50mm f/1.8 for OM System

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:10 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 2
Thank you very much for the info!! Lotsa work to do now..... ugh!!!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:20 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:29 am
Posts: 755
Bottom line up front: have you considered a Panasonic FZ200? I ask because it has a full frame equivalent 25-600mm lens that also has a constant f2.8 aperture.

To continue in more depth:

at distances of up to 50 meters ... I'm thinking a 75-300 telephoto would be best and don't mind using high ISO (3200 or 6400) to catch people walking at night.

That wouldn't work for me because, at 50 meters, the frame would be about 4 meters high. i.e. a typical person would only fill about half the height. Thus one reason for my suggestion of the FZ200's 600mm equivalent focal length which will obviously get you twice as "close". i.e. a frame about 2m high or close to average person height.

The second reason for suggesting the FZ200 is the f2.8 lens because even at ISO6400, in my experience, when shooting people outdoors at night, I would be underexposed with anything slower. (Remember that, for people walking, motion blur will become an issue with shutter speeds slower than 1/125.) And although with some planning, you could use a slower shutter and wait 'til they stopped walking (to cross the street, for example), you will also be pushing the limits of image stabilization for camera shake with even a 1/125 shutter and a 600mm equivalent focal length. (I'm assuming a tripod is not discrete enough to be used in your situation.)

Having said all of that, if you want to look into a micro four thirds (m4/3) camera, while both Olympus and Panasonic have lenses that zoom to 300mm (75-300mm and 100-300mm respectively) which, with m4/3's 2X crop factor will get you the same 600mm equivalent frame size, both lenses are two stops slower than the FZ200's lens at maximum zoom, so underexposure will be even more of an issue.

Also note that, as I type this, Canon no longer lists the EOS-M on its website, leading some to suspect that the M-line has been discontinued. (Possibly supplanted by the SL1.)


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