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Canon 1D mark II vs Canon 40D

Jason Lange , Aug 19, 2009; 10:40 a.m.

I recently had my camera bag stolen with my 40D and Rebel XT inside of it. Luckily my lenses were in another bag that was left untouched. Anyhow, I can only afford to replace one body right today, and I'm looking at the 1D Mark II or the 40D. I shoot weddings and my daughter's volleyball games mostly, so I don't need anything over the 8MP. I'm leaning towards the used (gently) 1D MKII for the faster auto focusing and ability to use two memory cards which would come in very handy for weddings and sports. I know there is a lot of technology that has changed since the 1D II was released, but is it a good idea to purchase it over the 40D?
Thanks, Jason


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Michael Liczbanski , Aug 19, 2009; 10:59 a.m.

1D2 is a good camera but if you can go for a 1D2n: it does have more creature comforts and features. It is hard to tell the two apart in terms of IQ. 40D is a good camera but given a choice I'd use the1D2n if only for a beter AF and dual cards.

Jason Lange , Aug 19, 2009; 11:33 a.m.

Is the image quality comparable between the 1D II and the 40D? I usually won't print over 16x20.

Gordon Vickrey , Aug 19, 2009; 12:30 p.m.

I currently shoot with a 40D & a 1D2N. You needn't worry about IQ: they have some differing characteristics, but overall IQ is comparable. Handling, however is very different.

Personally, I strongly prefer the ergonomics of the 40D, where changing a setting usually involves only one button or dial instead of the two (or three) required by the 1D2N. Weight can be a factor, too. The 1D2N is so heavy that on some days & some places I just don't want to lug it--but I don't have large, strong hands. OTOH, despite the fact that I generally prefer using the 40D, I always appreciate the ruggedness of the 1D2N, and sometimes need it for the better weather sealing and 2 memory cards. More to the point, the AF on the 40D is often inadequate for my needs (wildlife, mostly birds). I rely on the high frame rate & excellent AF of the 1D2N to get an action shot.
For shooting volleyball or anything involving action, you'll certainly get better results with a 1D2N. I don't shoot weddings, so I can't add anything there.
I second Michael's suggestion to get the (N) model.

Michael Liczbanski , Aug 19, 2009; 12:56 p.m.

If you shoot in-camera JPEGS, get the "n"model - picture styles help a lot!
Operational/ergonomics differences aside, EOS-1 series files can withstand more "torture" in post, that's a major difference between the EOS-1 series and any other DSLR in the Canon's line. If you can get a low-mileage 1D2n you'll be pleasently surprised by its AF, quality of output and other features (except two-hand controls...but that's vastly improved in Mk. III.)

JDM von Weinberg , Aug 19, 2009; 01:38 p.m.

I haven't used the 1 series cameras personally, but my daughter has in photography school and is wildly enthusiastic about them. They are apparently built like tanks, but are large.
However, I think that Michael has put his finger on a crucial variable here

If you can get a low-mileage 1D2n you'll be pleasantly surprised [emphasis added]

There are two kinds of users of 1D camera bodies: the pros and the rich doctors (or whatever) who can afford the most expensive of toys.
If you can find a 1D used by the latter, I'd say go for it.
On the other hand, a pro is more likely going to use the thing right up to the max, running it through 100,000s of actuations. A used pro camera could be no bargain at any price.

Michael Liczbanski , Aug 19, 2009; 02:04 p.m.

On the other hand, a pro is more likely going to use the thing right up to the max, running it through 100,000s of actuations. A used pro camera could be no bargain at any price.

Well, the"pros" (whatever that means) maintain their cameras well... I'm a typical "heavy" user and put a lot of mileage on cameras but every camera I use goes for service every few months (or at least once a year) and I always service/fix my cameras prior to selling them. A few months ago I sold my 1Ds2 with over 190 000 actuations and the buyer is as happy as a clam but I'm always up front about the usage. The greatest disappointment is buying a pristine-looking camera that has spent its life on a tripod in a high-volume studio and has clocked 300K actuations: I'd rather buy a "beater" from a known, honest source.

Jason Lange , Aug 19, 2009; 02:12 p.m.

Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately I won't be able to know who the camera is from, I'm going through KEH since they have a 60 day guarantee and I've always been satisfied with everything I've purchased from them.
JDM, I will definitely check on the actuations and keep my eyes open for any possible problems or issues.

Jason Lange , Aug 19, 2009; 02:14 p.m.

Thanks for your help too, Michael. I'm going to go with the regular 1DII, not the N, just to get a feel for the camera, and relegate it to my backup when I'm prepared to buy another body.

Amy H , Aug 19, 2009; 05:32 p.m.

I have a 1D2 that was purchased used. It had been used in a newspaper's photo dept, so it got heavy use and has the scars to prove it. But like someone said above, that camera is built like a tank, and works fine despite the heavy use. If you go that route, I think you'll be happy.

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