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Is it worth it to upgrade from 40D to 50D?

Michael Miller , Jan 01, 2010; 03:19 p.m.

I am a semi professional photographer who started with a 20D. I have been using a 40D for the past 2 years for my work and love it. I am looking to get a 2nd camera body for my weddings so I wanted some advice on an upgrade.
I am not sure what is the best option, even with the exhaustive research I have done. I would love to hear some opinions from fellow photographers. I don't really have the money to go full frame right now(I plan to go this route within the next 2 years) and purchase all new lenses since I already have 8 or 9 EF/EFS lenses already. Is moving to a 50D a good move or would a 7D be a better upgrade?
As an FYI, I shoot about 10 weddings per year, do mostly commercial(corp website photos, headshots, corp exec portfolios), and editorial modeling portfolios. I shoot outdoors for most of my portrait work and rarely use a studio unless it is for a client specific shoot. I love to shoot landscapes and really want to start doing more night photography(fireworks, full moons, very low light) so I want something that is better served for higher ISO.
Any help is greatly appreciated. I understand it is only opinions but I want some other perspectives.


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Ben Goren , Jan 01, 2010; 03:56 p.m.


The key question that you need to answer is: what is it you consider lacking in the 40D that the 50D (or some other camera) would provide?

Answer that question and you should know whether or not to upgrade.



Puppy Face , Jan 01, 2010; 04:00 p.m.

The 50 is an upgrade albeit minor. The main improvement is a much better LCD, better implemented Quick Control Screen interface, more intelligent auto ISO and better metering algorithms in backlighting. High ISO in the 50D is not an upgrade. At best it is equal to the 40D. The 7D is a major upgrade in nearly every feature, but most notedly AF, high ISO, resolution, FPS, interface customization, flash options, VF and build quality. If you shoot video, add that to the list.

I especially like 7D spot AF and having dedicated buttons for the Quick Control Screen and VF. And high ISO beats the 40D and 50D silly.

Michael Miller , Jan 01, 2010; 04:01 p.m.

Hey Ben.
I need a 2nd body regardless so I figured it would make sense to upgrade versus just buying another 40D. I really love the 40D but need another body for weddings and as a backup/upgrade so I am looking at my options.
The 40D does lack in low light situations for me so I don't know if the 50D is a huge improvement because I have heard the noise is very prevalent in the higher ISO's like 3200/6400.

Ken Papai , Jan 01, 2010; 04:05 p.m.

I would UPGRADE to the 7D were I you. 50D's excellent, but the 7D a TRUE upgrade!

Matthijs Claessen , Jan 01, 2010; 04:43 p.m.

There will be a slight learning curve before you'll be able to get the results from the 50D that you get from the 40D. But in the end some shots should be better with the 50D.

(I found that canon uses too much noise reduction in the 50D. In my macro's -and a moonshot I took today- I set NR to 0. Even at ISO 400. This is but one example. I also use different picture styles for my 50D than for my XTi/400D.)

Mark Kissel , Jan 01, 2010; 05:46 p.m.

I would just echo Puppy Face with respect to the 50D. I used this camera quite extensively and found its better LCD a joy compared to the 40D. I don't think you would see much improvement (if any) in image quality over the 40D.

Now the 7D is in another league IMHO. It will definitely show an edge at higher ISO delivering usable images right up to 6400 with careful PP and good noise reduction. The AF system is outstanding!

harold motte , Jan 01, 2010; 06:13 p.m.

I did this upgrade you are mentioning and regretted it immediately. I wanted my 40d back so bad but I had sold it.
My 50d was noticeably worse in low light conditions. The LCD was only slightly better.
I sold it as fast as I could, bought a 40d back and then a 7d. The 7d is much, much better.
However, if I were shooting what you are shooting I would also give some consideration to a 5d.
I shoot similar as you are and use my 5d for that and the 7d for sports, birds, wildlife, etc...
This works out best for me and the 5d has great low light capability, high enough resolution great IQ.
I think Canon jumped the gun on putting out the 50d when they were fixing to put out the real upgrade, the 7d.
I would not consider the 50d at all for what you do and the IQ is no better than the 40d. The only reason I see to go that way is for the higher resolution ONLY if there is very good light. If you don't need to print super big or crop a lot stay with the 40d and get the shot correct in the camera and you will not need the 50d.
This has been my experience having owned the 40, 50, 7 and 5d Canons.
Best Wishes

Jeff Higdon , Jan 01, 2010; 06:54 p.m.

You wrote:
"I don't really have the money to go full frame right now(I plan to go this route within the next 2 years) and purchase all new lenses since I already have 8 or 9 EF/EFS lenses already."
Do you really have 8 or 9 EF-S lenses? Canon only makes 9 of them and most overlap each other.
I'm guessing you maybe have three or four of them? I say keep those lenses for your 40D and pick up a near mint/used 5d (mk1) for about $1,000-$1,200. I had purchased the 50D and returned it as I was disappointed in its high ISO/low light capability. The 5D classic handles both much better. And when you mention landscapes, well this is certainly an area where the 5D shines as well as wedding and portrait work.
The 5D shares the same battery as the 40D/50D/30D abd the same CF cards.
What lenses do you have?

Valko Yotov , Jan 01, 2010; 07:50 p.m.

strangely enough if you look at the overall quality of the images and Signal To Noise Ratio, Tonal Range, and Color sensitivity:
you will see that 20D is the best camera, followed by 40D, then by 50D then the newest 7D takes last place :-)
The reason is simple 20D Pixel pitch size is 6.3 µm, 50D is 4.7 µm and 7D is 4.3 µm. The camera with fewer but bigger pixels will capture a greater tonal range, and will produce a better image. So get back your 20D I would say ;-)
About going full frame there are lenghty discussions about vigneting (used wide open the full frame sensorwill have significantly more vignetting) and how actually you can utilize much better lenses with smaller sensor, for example 300mm lens is 480mm on smaller sensor, so I am not convinced this is the right route either :-))
My point is on certain ocassions you can do better picture with 20D then with 50D or 7D and of course there are times you can do better picture with 7D ;-)
Is it worth paying more money for new bodies? I do not think so.
Is it worth paying more money for better lenses - absolutely :-))

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