Though a great camera for its time, my 20D is starting to show its age. I photograph local musical performers in low light situations using very fast prime lenses. (See my gear list). I almost always shoot at ISO 3200 and very wide apertures, normally 1.8 or 2.0, sometimes as wide as 1.4. Sometimes the light is so poor that I shoot at "cheat ISO 6400," that is, at 3200 I exposure compensate down, deliberately underexposing in order to get a decent shutter speed, and then fix the exposure in Photoshop. It's a desperate tactic, but it's made me able to get shots I would not otherwise have been able to. I've become skilled at NoiseNinja and other programs for cleaning up noise in post production. I would kill to get a camera that has native and usable ISO 6400 or higher, even if I needed to reduce noise in post production. My 20D's "cheat ISO 6400" is often too noisy to clean up in PP. I'm also frustrated by its lack of ability to save quickly to a CF card. I like to burst when photographing drummers because they move so fast bursting enables me to capture just the right moment. However, the 20D will only save to a CF card at 12 MB/s. If I'm shooting RAW+Jpeg as I prefer to, I end up waiting and missing shots while the images save to the CF card. I therefore only do my drummer bursts in Jpeg and then miss out on the advantage of having the RAW files in PP. Also, the only reason I can get by with the 20D's small LCD screen is the fact that, at 46, I'm blessed with super closeup vision (aka nearsightedness). If I need to see a shot I've taken, I can lift up my glasses to see it. However, I can forget about wearing my contact lenses to a shoot. It would be really nice to have a larger LCD screen so that I don't have to lift up my glasses to see it, and I can wear my contacts to a shoot if I feel like it.
I've done my research and know that the 1D Mark IV is my dream. It would be a massive upgrade to my 20D, and easily take care of every one of the issues I speak of above. However, at its price I'll have to wait for it. I don't have the bucks yet. The cheapest I've found it is for $4900. I did see it for $4400 grey market, but I'm afraid to do that. I want a real warranty.
Why would I even consider a 50D when the 1D 4 is clearly the superior camera? Price. I've already got about $1800 saved up, and the 50D can be obtained for $800. That's extremely reasonable. I'm thinking of a 50D upgrade as an interim one. I would still have that 1K left over and can keep saving up for the 1D m4. In the meantime I'll have an upgrade to my 20D that includes native ISO 6400. Is the 50D's 6400 decent -- meaning I can get a good image after noise reduction in post production? It will also do ISO 12800, but I don't have very high hopes for that. My lenses are fast. I don't think I'll even need 12800. What about its speed in saving to a CF card? I looked through its specs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EOS_50D) and didn't find any info on that. Its LCD screen will be a big upgrade over my 20D.
A lot of people have steered me in the direction of the 7D. At 1500 I could also get it right away, but that nearly wipes out my 1D m4 fund. I'm thinking in terms of an interim camera that upgrades my 20D, but doesn't wipe out what I've saved. When I get my 1D m4, the 50D could then serve as a much more up to date second body (and the 20D will go to my niece). I've got real shoots coming up that I've even considered renting a camera for. Based on what I've said, do you think my 50D interim idea is a good one? Or should I tough it out with the 20D while I build cash for the camera I really want?
I also considered a 40D that's super reasonable now at about $500, but it doesn't even have ISO 6400.
And, in case anyone's curious, the next lens upgrade I want is a 50 f/1.2 L, but the lenses I have are quite capable for what I'm doing, and the body issues are most important to me right now.