Decisions Decisions - buying a new camera

by Jason Mac Cormac Photography

For a while now I’ve been considering upgrading my trusty 60D, i’ve taken thousands upon thousands of images on this camera in all conditions without fail, it might not be a high end camera but with good technique it delivers impressive images, and i’ve certainly pushed the envelope in terms of quality and print size considering its age and by todays standard low 18mp crop sensor, the new norm of higher end full frame dslr sensors now being 30-50mp.

One of my printed framed images below as an example shot on the Canon 60D. An 80x60 inch print from an 18mp crop sensor camera!! Its how you use the tools!!

maria logan.jpg

My decision to upgrade was brought forward after a very heavy full day of shooting in the rain. The following day one mode dial started acting up, a quick visit to local repair shop sorted it but it could have been worse. Leaving my best no cost piece of kit in the bag that day could have been a very costly mistake, yes the humble hotel shower cap, if you don’t have one in your camera bag you should they do a decent job of covering the camera and lens, or even the front of filters if you use them.

So what camera to buy?

The choice currently is immense with competition racking up in recent months, and lots of new innovative mirrorless cameras adding to the mix. Price although not the only factor is a serious one considering many of the new dslr semi pro badged cameras, are in the 3 to 4,000 euro range, cameras such as Canon 5d mkiv or Canon Eos R, and Sony A7Riii that I would without question buy tomorrow are simply too pricey. Oh and that price does not include a lens so you cant even take a photo out of the box with them !!! Scary proposition when you add the native pro lenses to the shopping basket.

What are my requirements;

  1. Image quality

  2. higher megapixels for even larger and higher res prints

  3. comfortable ergonomics when in use

  4. ability to use my existing lenses

  5. great lens choice should i upgrade in future

  6. focusing improvements

  7. dynamic range and low light performance

I’ve gone about this search with quite an open mind in terms of brand, as i realise if I am going to splurge on a better body i might also want to improve my lens quality at same time, as a result I have not confined myself to only the Canon brand that I have become familiar with over the last ten years, I have also looked at Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm, to name a few.

My thoughts on budget are keep it contained for now while not compromising on quality, the key being to use my budget wisely and allow for great optical lens. Therefore the 3-4k euro camera body for now is out. As I sell more images and do more paid work I may look to acquire one of them to have two super and improved cameras going forward, for now I have a budget of 2k in mind and my 60d will keep as my second and backup camera.

My choices in January 2019 from budget and specs point of view appear to be

  • Canon 80d - Pros a natural upgrade to my 60D - 24mp - same ergonomics - solid performer by all accounts - best price Cons - didnt seem like a fresh exciting change - though cant think of any technical reasons not to buy

  • Second hand 5d mkiii - Pros pro body - high image quality - 22mp - second hand is half price of the new 5d mkiv - Cons dated in terms of features - very heavy compared to the 60D and moreso compared to the mirrorless contenders.

  • Fujifilm XT-3 - Pros this was my top choice originally ( mainly as i loved the colours in my first camera a fujifilm bridge) - XT-3 has lots of positive reviews online - superfast shooting 30fps - great video capabilities that i could one day learn - light weight - Cons when I tried it however i found the dials and the handling a bit too small and fiddly for me. Disappointing and very much a personal taste consideration

  • Canon 6d mkii - Pros full frame - similar size weight to 60d - 26mp - Cons mixed reviews online - higher end of my budget

  • Sony A7iii - Pros light weight - 24mp - full frame - Cons pushing the price budget - native lens costly - questions on availability of adaptors to my ef / ef-s lenses

Having spent time debating and visiting camera stores i’d grown tired of this decision and almost set my mind on the easy option of the Canon 80D, then on 14th February suddenly a new contender appears on the scene - the Canon EOS RP - this seemed to take everyone by surprise as many expected a pro level mirrorless camera from Canon this year that might rival its flagship 1D series cameras in the same price range ie. 6k euro plus!!.

The Canon EOS RP surprisingly has a 26MP Full frame sensor and is in my budget, and comes with some new bells and whistles that the 60D and some of the others lack. It’s over a thousand euro less than the Canon 5d mkiv or Eos R that I ruled out, and yet still comparable in some of the specs.

This camera really caught my attention. A quick check online and even though its a brand new announcement, I discovered Canon already have feet on the ground with a touch and try day this very same weekend at my local store.

Fast forward two days i’m holding the camera. Initial thoughts;

  • I have to say the ergonomics are excellent, despite its light weight and smaller size it feels great in the hand. The build quality seems on par at least aesthetically with other pricier Canon cameras.

  • The dials are different than the 60d and other traditional dslr from Canon, but they are so intuitive that within seconds I was using the new dials without looking for aperture, shutter and the newly located dial for exposure compensation. My guess is there are other features with these dials that i am yet to learn.

  • The touchscreen and electronic view finder I was very interested to experience, and in my brief play with the camera they appear to work seamlessly, the touch drag focus was very easy to use even with my face and eye against the camera.

  • The autofocus was fast, and camera was super responsive, caveat might be that the lenses available for the try were superb new RF lenses 50 1.2 and 24-105 f4. It would have been nice to try the camera with the adaptor and an EF lens and for a little longer time.

So after much procrastinating, and after only a brief hands on with this brand new camera I took an unusual step for me, and made an impulsive decision to order the Canon EOS RP :) and pair it with one of Canons terrific L lenses.

Hopefully Canon promises of delivery by the end of month come true. As soon as I can I will share some shots from the camera.

Any questions let me know.

Thanks, Jason

Below are a couple of YouTube professional photographers I follow and their day one initial thoughts on the Canon Eos RP. It will be interesting to see real world reviews once the camera is out in the world and in use. No doubt there will be brand allegiance and the usual debates but there will be user reviews too that will be somewhat impartial.

Matthew Vandeputte