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Thread started 21 Oct 2008 (Tuesday) 08:46
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Spending on a new camera body - Advice?

 
mminnig
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Oct 21, 2008 08:46 |  #1

I'm posting this here because I hope to get feedback from fellow wedding photographers.

We have relied on our trusty 20Ds for the past two years and truthfully, they are still going strong without any problems to speak of. After the current wedding season ends in December, we have decided to invest in a new camera body with the singular goal of getting better high ISO, low light performance.

With that single goal in mind, we have just been assuming for the past year that we would progress to a 5D. Having shot with one in a studio on a few occasions, we fell in love with the viewfinder and the incredible IQ.

Now with the new 50D in the same price range as a used 5D, we are struggling a bit with what direction we want to go. I would love to see a side by side comparison of a few shots at 1600 and 3200 to convince me of one body over the other. New tech vs. Proven older tech? Either one is going to be a huge step for us considering we are firing away with our 20Ds every day.

Lenses aren't really a concern for us as we will still be keeping the 20Ds as back-up / second bodies for our 70-200 lenses. Sure, we love the 17-55IS, but we can always switch to a 24-70 just as easily and we also have a Tamron 28-75 to use on a full frame.

So.... wedding photographers of the world.... If you had $1500, which way would you go.... and why?


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Ultimate ­ CC
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Oct 21, 2008 08:52 |  #2

I have a feeling most are going to say 5d but a 50d may not be a bad idea since you are so used to using your 20ds...


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Atl-Fotos
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Oct 21, 2008 13:11 |  #3

You can do well with either. Personally for that amount of money I would want a new camera.


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mminnig
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Oct 21, 2008 13:20 |  #4

Yes. It's a little tough to spend $1500 on a used model. Although, we are looking at purchasing in the next 3 months. My guess is that the 5D might come down that low for a new camera once the Mk IIs hit shelves.


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tim
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Oct 21, 2008 15:58 |  #5

5D is great for noise, better than the 40D or 50D, even though both are newer. 5D is a slow camera to use though, a bit clunky. 40D is better for noise than the 20D, but only a little, not hugely. The 50D might be a little better again, but there are reports of problems with the camera so i'd hold off a bit before buying one.

I have two 40Ds which work great, and a 20D. I want another camera for my new assistant, I was going to get a 50D but for now she'll be using the 20D until I decide what to get next. I'm in holding mode until the 50D reliability issues work themselves out, or maybe i'll get a 5DII - really not sure yet.

In your case perhaps check out a 40D.


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mminnig
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Oct 21, 2008 20:46 |  #6

Tim. Thanks for your insight. When you say the 5D is slow.... is it slower than the 20D?

I realize everything is relative but I've heard a few people already say that they prefer their 40D to the 5D just because of speed. Personally, as long as the speed is comparable to the 20D, I can't see it being an issue for us. I'm just tired of standing in dark, cavernous churches wishing my ISO 1600 was giving me better results.


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Oct 21, 2008 20:53 |  #7

Small viewfinders are a pain. 5D all the way - you won't believe what a difference the huge VF makes.

I don't care how good crop cameras get, I bought my 5D for the viewfinder, and until an APS-C camera can match that (fat chance), nothing short of a 1Ds series body is gonna replace my 5D as primary body.

Seriously, nobody ever talks about the viewfinder when comparing the 5D and other cropped bodies, but it's the BIGGEST immediate difference, and one that'll make it hard to go back to other bodies. Forget the ISO and DOF advantages, it's all about the VF.


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tim
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Oct 21, 2008 21:12 |  #8

mminnig wrote in post #6537810 (external link)
Tim. Thanks for your insight. When you say the 5D is slow.... is it slower than the 20D?

I realize everything is relative but I've heard a few people already say that they prefer their 40D to the 5D just because of speed. Personally, as long as the speed is comparable to the 20D, I can't see it being an issue for us. I'm just tired of standing in dark, cavernous churches wishing my ISO 1600 was giving me better results.

The 5D is slower than the 20D, but the files are definitely a lot nicer. The larger viewfinder isn't a big deal for me, but it would be nice to have.

I've used 5D's, and I can afford any camera I want, though it has to be good value for money since I run a business, not a toy store. My choice was to buy two 40Ds. Once the 5DII is out and generally available I MIGHT get one of them if they blow the 40D out of the water, otherwise i'll stick with what I have.


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Oct 21, 2008 21:36 |  #9

If money was less of an object I'd have gone full frame long ago and I would be running to get a 5D II and a 50D - one for telephoto and fast burst and the other for wider angle and full frame narrow DoF. That would be a very good setup for me.

I have a 20D and a 40D and the ISO difference is not significant between the two, but the AF system on the 40D is much better in low light. The main draws of the 50D have not made me feel compelled to upgrade; the price is too great and I don't believe the new higher ISO settings offer improved RAW image quality over pushed 40D files. I also no longer have a strong desire to increase my megapixels because my computer already can't handle the 10mp files, and honestly the resolution isn't going to make a huge difference to me most of the time anymore. If I had a 5D II I'd probably use it mostly at sRAW, 10 mp. I want it for the ISO capability and DoF.

After this month's wedding marathon, the original desires still stand: The two things I want most are high ISO settings with low noise, and full frame's narrow DoF. There are many, many shots I can't produce the way I want to with the lenses I have because they're too long on my system and the aperture isn't fast enough to blur the background adequately. Using a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on a crop sensor camera guarantees that full and half body shots on the wide end will have very little background blur, but I get the impression that full frame would produce that blur for me much better. And, if I could combine a fast wide prime and a full frame camera, I would surely be able to get a type of shot that I can't possibly create with my current cameras.

So anyway...I believe - not from experience - that full frame would give a noticeable change in the style of your photos. However, I also believe that the 40D's AF system is a big help in many situations over the 20D. Live view is also extremely useful for detail shots. What's more, you can probably get two slightly used 40Ds for the cost of one new 50D - to me, the 40Ds would be a better deal, but if you want the higher ISO "settings" of the 50D (instead of just pushing files), or if you want the higher resolution or other features...well okay, get the 50D.

If it were me with two 20Ds I'd evaluate my finances: If I could afford it, the 5D II would be my first choice for a wedding camera. If not, the 40D and 50D both make good options, but the 40D probably offers more for the money overall, though not significant improvement in the ISO sector - though I don't think the 50D offers better ISO either, just higher available settings. I have thought about the 5D several times and almost bought one...I suppose if it had a few more features (live view, ISO6400) and faster response and AF I'd have already bought one...but I haven't been able to justify it. I guess that I'll buy a 5D II when it comes down to about $1200...


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tim
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Oct 21, 2008 21:53 |  #10

Full frame will give you more background blur, but also more distortion on the edges. In group shots you get people with very distorted heads at the edges of the frames, they look like skewed watermellons if you shoot with too wide a lens. I have a photographer who works for me that uses a 5D, i've had to tell him a few times to stop using wide angles on the 5D as I don't like the results.

I just got a 30mm F1.4, the DOF on that sucker's tiny when it's wide open! Low light focus performance isn't as good as the 17-55, but it's not bad either.

40D AF is far superior to the 20D.

I'm about to do a sample album that's 18x12", and I want to do a double page spread. That's 36 inches wide, something you'd normally hang on the wall. At that point the 21MP of the 5DII would be handy. From the 40D i'm hesitating a little, because though it looks great for a wall print the viewing distance for an album is much less, so lack of detail might be noticed. Maybe i'll add grain to disguise the lack of detail.


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mminnig
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Oct 21, 2008 21:58 |  #11

One of the big negatives for me in looking at the 50D has been the file size. When the 20D has been producing beautiful prints for the last three years, I find myself dreading the additional computing and storage requirements. Now you guys almost have me thinking 40D.... until I remind myself that our main goal is to improve high ISO, low light performance... back to the 5D I guess?


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tim
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Oct 21, 2008 22:11 |  #12

The 40D files are just a little smaller than the 5D files. The 50D files are larger, and the chip has about half as much area. The 5DII should blow everything away for noise. Or the D3.


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_aravena
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Oct 21, 2008 22:13 |  #13

I'll answer simply. If I were you, I'd be drooling on my new 5D. :D


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tim
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Oct 21, 2008 22:34 |  #14

_aravena wrote in post #6538257 (external link)
I'll answer simply. If I were you, I'd be drooling on my new 5D. :D

Unfortunately they're not weather sealed :p


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Oct 21, 2008 23:34 |  #15

tim wrote in post #6538136 (external link)
Full frame will give you more background blur, but also more distortion on the edges. In group shots you get people with very distorted heads at the edges of the frames, they look like skewed watermellons if you shoot with too wide a lens. I have a photographer who works for me that uses a 5D, i've had to tell him a few times to stop using wide angles on the 5D as I don't like the results.

I just got a 30mm F1.4, the DOF on that sucker's tiny when it's wide open! Low light focus performance isn't as good as the 17-55, but it's not bad either.

The distortion should be the same at the same effective focal length. I don't have any issue with head distortion of course because my standard zoom on crop sensor is 24-70, and before it was 28-75, giving me 38.4mm to 44.8mm at the widest. It's just another thing to be aware of - I was aware of it when using a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and I had to achieve a balance between subject distance and zoom to reduce distortion (and make sure the off-camera flash was close enough to illuminate the subjects without being in the scene).

The Sigma 30 f/1.4 was never high on my list, because 1. I use the edges a lot and it has sharpness falloff based on reviews, 2. it's supposedly softer than the 35 f/1.4L, 3. its AF is not going to be quite as fast or good as the similar Canon lens, 4. it's got a low max magnification, 5. it's APS-C only, and 6. quality control seems to be an even bigger issue than with Canon brand.

Yes value for money is important, but I've been on the budget end with lenses for a while and I'm now prioritizing higher quality lenses with fast AF in order to make the most of my work. 95% of my shots are photojournalism and I do plenty of action captures, so I require quick, accurate AF. If I did mostly posed shots I wouldn't need AF to be as fast, but I would still like the shots to be sharp.

It looks like I'm probably going to be keeping my 24-70 f/2.8L after all; reselling it has been a no go and I'm starting to like it anyway. It focuses possibly as fast as the 70-200 f/2.8L IS and probably faster than my 135 f/2, and I think it also handles low light focusing better than my 135 f/2.

OP: I think the 40D is the best value for the money given the current Canon lineup, and a good upgrade in terms of AF and features. If you want much better noise handling you're just going to have to move to the 1D or 5D series.


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