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50D or 5D decision?

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BurntOut  8321 forum posts England2 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2008 - 10:22 AM

Iím in the position of being able to upgrade my 350D. Before anyone asks, thereís nothing wrong with it Wink, Iím just starting to get a bit irritated with the small, dark viewfinder, tiny LCD and not really liking the noise over ISO 400.

My photographic tastes are fairly eclectic, but I do find myself doing landscapes regularly. The camera would be an all-rounder for me, although I would keep the 350D, as a couple of times recently it would have been nice to have different lenses available quickly.

Itís boiled down to 50D or 5D (not the Mk2, budget doesnít stretch that far).

OK here we go. Have I missed anything?

Both cameras have a bigger, brighter viewfinder.

Both cameras will be an improvement on noise at higher ISO. Not sure which is better, but my suspicion is that the 5D would be.

I have the lenses to cope with the higher resolution, although I would have to replace my Sigma 10-20 if I went for the 5D.

Both cameras would allow me bigger prints if I decided I wanted to print bigger. Not a huge factor, but worth bearing in mind.

Higher frame rate on the 50D may be useful occasionally, as would the crop factor with my 100-400.

Both cameras have a higher flash sync speed.

OK, so Iím none the wiser. Anyone got an opinion, or even some facts!

Iíll check back later, got some work to do.


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31 Oct 2008 - 10:22 AM

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strawman  1022006 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2008 - 10:40 AM

OK simple answer, buy a 40D and pocket the money difference. About the same performance as the 50D but a lot lower in costs. Looking at the various reviews out there the 40D is either equal or ahead of the 50D at high ISO.

I am not convinced the 40D/50D will be massively better than your 350D at high ISO, but the 5D will be. But..... Every time I have wanted High ISO its been wildlife so the crop factor comes in handy.

For landscapes, I think the 5D with a 17-40L is probably better than the 40D/50D, but it may not be the biggest difference.

Its just my view, feel free to ignore. If you could wait 6 months the 50D will fall in price and the 5D MKII will be at a lower price. It strikes me that the 5D MKII is the one to hold on for, but the cost, ouch Smile

Last Modified By strawman at 31 Oct 2008 - 10:42 AM
ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014815 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2008 - 10:40 AM

if you want a full frame sensor, get the 5D

if you don't, get the 50D

31 Oct 2008 - 10:48 AM

It's an interesting point and one which will depend very much on personal preference. I have both cameras for sale currently and will try and give you some of my thoughts.

The 50D has many features which may or may not be of benefit to you. The screen is frankly superb and is a pleasure to use, the camera is also very responsive compared to the 5D which feels slow and clumbersome next to the speed of the 50D. The build quality on the 50D is better too ... it feels very solid in the hand and very much like a camera that will take some level of semi pro or pro use. Equally the sensor cleaning is helpful as the 5D does seem to pick up lots of bloody dirt and need regular cleaning. Live view doesnt matter to me generally but it may be of use to you.

File wise it produces superb images. Pixel peeping at 100% it may appear that the noise control isnt that much better than the 40D, however in my opinion it is. Also with the extra resolution you don't notice the noise as much in print and looking at 12x8's from the camera against the 40D it is improved. Also the files seem to take processing a touch better and look generally sharper. That said you need to be using a high quality lens on the camera as it will test them. Ive generally used a 24-105mm lens day to day recently and have found thre results to be excellent.

The 5D produces richer better quality files and is in my opinion a better landscape camera. Then again having used the D3 and D700 I'd still pick the 5D over both of those for landscape work too. It remains the best camera for this purpose to date and that includes the 1DS MK2 (can't comment on the MK3 as I havent had a chance to test and play with one for long enough). The noise control on the 5D is as good if not slightly better than the 50D .. the way it displays noise is a touch more 'natural' in my opinion. The camera doesnt feel as solid as the 50D and its slow, and lacking in features but in terms of absolute quality it pips the 50D. In addition it allows you to use the superb 16-35mm or 17-40mm L lenses for landscape work which are frankly far better than the Canon 10-22mm or 10-20mm sigma wide angle options for the cropped sensor cameras.

The screen on the 5D feels dim and very poor after using the 50D but in reality is still good enough to give you a good idea of what you have taken. On top of that the histogram is still there for you to browse to ensure your exposure is correct, so whilst the 50D's screen is nice is it a total necessity? Not for me .....

SO ultimately which would I choose .... well if landscape is your main aim then the 5D. If landscape is a part of a larger photographic interest then maybe the 50D. Will you be disappointed with either? Certainly not .. both are 2 of the best cameras currently available and with all due respect will probably push you to get the best out of them.

Ive ordered a 5D MK2 to solve these issues Smile If you are interested I have a good conditioned 5D for sale and a brand new 50D for sale too too!


Last Modified By culturedcanvas at 31 Oct 2008 - 10:49 AM
mattw  105189 forum posts United Kingdom10 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2008 - 11:08 AM

Good sales pitch Dan Wink

you are selling the 50D already?

Quote: landscape work

Landscapes are not 'work' - its a way of life Wink

Last Modified By mattw at 31 Oct 2008 - 11:13 AM
31 Oct 2008 - 11:15 AM

I ordered the 50D when it was first launched and figured I might keep it as a back up when the new 5D came out. Have since changed my mind!


ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014815 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2008 - 11:18 AM

PM me how much you want for the "old" 5D Smile

andytvcams  1110396 forum posts United Kingdom
31 Oct 2008 - 11:30 AM

I think Dan has said it all Wink

For landscapes i would go with the 5D.

park my ferret
31 Oct 2008 - 11:33 AM

just read the 50D review on dpreview.com, and it doesn't look that much better than the 40D - if you can't stretch to the 5DmkII then I'd say maybe go for a 5D as the prices should be dropping now

Last Modified By park my ferret at 31 Oct 2008 - 11:34 AM
31 Oct 2008 - 11:37 AM

Having used both side by side the 50D is better than the 40D. Would I say 40D owners need to upgrade? That depends on their needs but it produces slightly better sharper prints at larger print sizes and does display slightly less noise in prints at the same ISO at the same print size.

There's not a lot to choose between the 50D and the 5D in all honesty but landscapers will want the 5D whereas anyone shooting more than just landscapes would be better with the 50D.

A used 40D is around £450 and a new 50D can be had for £900 ish .. personally the 50D is worth the extra £450 to me however that might not be the case for everyone.

hollkj e2 Member 9186 forum postshollkj vcard United Kingdom
31 Oct 2008 - 1:16 PM

Over on DPR, the 50D doesn't compare so well to the 40D with respect to IQ (see latest 50D review). From what I've heard not many can compete with the 5D for IQ. My dilema was I enjoy motorsport + landscape, the 40D won until I have the spare cash for a second body (5D) as the 5D is just too slow for motorsport.

31 Oct 2008 - 1:35 PM

Quote: Over on DPR, the 50D doesn't compare so well to the 40D with respect to IQ (see latest 50D review)

I havent read the review but if thats the statement they are making then they are wrong. The 50D significantly outperforms the 40D in almost every area (assuming you are using quality lenses).

It's a match for the 5D in many areas, exceeds it in some, but falls short if you are a 100% landscaper. You're welcome to come and see the difference between the files if you like Smile

Last Modified By culturedcanvas at 31 Oct 2008 - 1:35 PM
mipettin  10884 forum posts Scotland2 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2008 - 1:35 PM

The dpreview test is causing a little consternation with some early adopters of the 50D not least as the test uses 100% pixel peeping rather than actual prints.

Noise from my 30D's from ISO3200 files looks awful on a monitor but in print there's little issue and similarly the very slight banding doesn't really show in real print either.

What the 50D does offer is a considerable increase in resolution from say a 30D / 20D and hence why actual prints from actual users rather than testers are very pleasing.

Similarly Jeff Ascoughts initial impression of the 5D MkII is for prints it is an exceptional camera at higher ISO's. What I do find a little disconcerting about the 50D though is the comments on the poor dynamic range compared to the 40D.

I think it was Michael Reichman who said the IQ of the 40D wasn't too disimilar to the 5D and as such if the IQ is not a marked improvement from the 40D to the 50D then a 40D looks like a good buy and a good step up from the 350D.

What doesn't seem to be disputed is the ISO800 & ISO1600 files from the 50D are very good so for someone with wildlife or sports interests the fast frame rate, cropping power and excellent handling mean the 50D sounds like a good buy.

For more general my thoughts are a 40D might be a better investment and put the money towards glass or for landscapes go with the 5D and a 17-40 f/4L

mipettin  10884 forum posts Scotland2 Constructive Critique Points
31 Oct 2008 - 1:37 PM


There have been reports that newer lenses seem to work far better on the 50D and wonder if this is anything to do with both the gapless microlenses and the sensor outresolving some of the older lenses.


31 Oct 2008 - 1:41 PM

Quote: Dan

There have been reports that newer lenses seem to work far better on the 50D and wonder if this is anything to do with both the gapless microlenses and the sensor outresolving some of the older lenses.


Thats esxactly right ... Ive just been answering a question from another EPZ member about lenses on the new cameras, and it's true to say that only top end glass should be used.

I have to say that some of Canons top line units need an update too though esp. They have been stretched to their limits by the likes of the 1DS MK3 and shortly the 5D MK2.

Expect to see a few new models within the year.

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