Old 02-21-2009, 05:55 PM   #1
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Default Canon 40D or 50D, that is the question...

Guys and Gals,

I am in the market for a new camera, and need some info from people who are currently using Canon 40Ds and 50Ds.

I know the 50D is a newer camera with a newer sensor, and some new features like live view and a new creative preset, etc. But the 40D seems to be a better camera in the low light department and reducing noise at high ISO. I'm looking to upgrade my Rebel XT, but one of the important things for me is to get a camera that will work well at high ISO, 1600 or so.

Can anyone shed some light on this? I'd like to get your experience with the cameras, maybe some shots taken at high ISO if you don't mind posting. They don't have to be great shots, I'm just interested in the image quality, not composition.

Which would you recommend most, the 40D or the 50D?

Thanks for helping me out!
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
I know the 50D is a newer camera with a newer sensor, and some new features like live view and a new creative preset, etc. But the 40D seems to be a better camera in the low light department and reducing noise at high ISO.
Umm....the 40D also has Live View and I'm pretty sure it has those creative presets as well, so those two things don't set the 50D and 40D apart.

I don't know your photo background, like what lenses you already own, so it's hard to give accurate advice on what body to buy or which direction to go. For me, I bought the 40D, and with the money I saved opting for that over the 50D when it came out, I was able to fund the purchase of a 70-200 f/4L IS. So, are you already invested in lenses? If so, maybe the 50D's the way to go. But low light, high ISO is an issue for you, and since I shoot under sunny skies with ISO at 160, I can't really help you decide between the two...
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:52 PM   #3
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From what I have seen in tests is that the 40d is just barely better in low light. Do you have room for the bigger 50d files? I choose the 40d because the added price was not worth the extra stuff. You have to remember in 2 -5 years you may be in the market for another body anyways. I say 40d.

edit: With the saved money you can get the battery grip.

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Old 02-21-2009, 07:09 PM   #4
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Like both of the guys above, I upgraded from an XT to the 40D recently. I used the money I saved to eat and pay bills (but I also could have spent it on better glass, more trips, etc.). I picked mine up from another local photographer on craigslist for $650.
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:29 PM   #5
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As far as lenses go, I have not invested heavily in lenses at this point. Since I am a college student, I don't have a ton of money, but I am slowly planning on upgrading my camera equipment. I currently use a 28-200 EF 3.5- 5.6 USM lens. I am interested in upgrading primarily for the higher ISO. I may be in the market for an L lens later, but I feel that the lense that I have now fits my overall style/range of usage.

I do know that the 40D has live view, however in posting I seemed to forget that. I don't use the high ISO often on my current camera, but everytime I do, it seems that I have a lot of noise. One of the shots that really made me want a better camera was this shot:

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I know if I had a camera with high ISO capabilities, this shot would have been a little nicer.

I do have room for the larger files. I was leaning towards a 50D because a friend got one, but after reading some reviews, I'm not sure of the best way to go.

Does this info help?
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california_railfan View Post
As far as lenses go, I have not invested heavily in lenses at this point. Since I am a college student, I don't have a ton of money, but I am slowly planning on upgrading my camera equipment
Ryan,

Personally, I'd recommend upgrading your glass first. A couple years ago I had a pile of cash lying around and was thisclose to getting a used 1Ds when a friend talked me out of it and strongly recommended I add to my lens collection. I went ahead and got the 300 f/4L and 28-70 f/2.8L for a little less than I was going to spend for the body and, until I recently gave my 20D a shower and was forced into buying a 5D to replace it, was happy as a clam with the gear I had.

But, it's up to you: If you're satisfied with the do-it-all 28-200 lens and its inherent design compromises and feel improved sensor capabilities are the way to go, then that's the path you need to follow. But consider that for the same price you drop on a used 40D body you could get a used 28-70 f/2.8L, which I've found to be an incredibly sharp lens. It's a somewhat older model than the 24-70 f/2.8L currently in Canon's catalog, but it's certainly a winner in my bag.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
If you're satisfied with the do-it-all 28-200 lens and its inherent design compromises and feel improved sensor capabilities are the way to go...
This sparked my brain in that maybe the combination of design compromises in the 28-200 coupled with the improved sensor capabilities of the 50D (or higher) might yield image quality results worse than what you're currently getting. Just a thought...
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween View Post
This sparked my brain in that maybe the combination of design compromises in the 28-200 coupled with the improved sensor capabilities of the 50D (or higher) might yield image quality results worse than what you're currently getting. Just a thought...

Chris, you nailed it! I've been saying this for years, buy the best glass that you can afford and take a look at the difference in IQ with your current body. However, if your current body has one foot in the grave already, then it is time to buy a new one. Also, don't hesitate to buy used, it can save you a pile of money in the long run. A good tripod and ballhead combo is a must to put on your investment/upgrade list as well.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california_railfan View Post
I know if I had a camera with high ISO capabilities, this shot would have been a little nicer. Does this info help?
The under lit low light shots will kill you every time, Think Faster glass will help some but don't underexpose the shot to start with. Go with the best glass then camera's.
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:39 AM   #10
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Thanks for all your input! I will look into getting some new glass and possibly purchasing a used camera instead of a new body!

I knew I would get some good info from you all.
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:19 AM   #11
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Having a new camera feels good but its the glass that makes sharp photo's. Your lens is a do all and thats fine, but after you shoot with a Sharp one you wont want it afterwords.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:44 AM   #12
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The 40D is PLENTY of camera coming from an XT (an upgrade that I recently made). The 50D was several hundred more, enough that you could have purchased a 70-200 F/4L with the 40D for the same price as a 50D body. Frankly, the differences between the two bodies are marginal. I'd say get the 40D and invest in some glass. I invested in a lot of L glass while I still had my XT, and the change in image quality was stunning. The 40D will obviously produce better images, but the difference from the XT to the 40D isn't nearly as significant as going from low-end consumer glass to the L series glass.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:37 AM   #13
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Ryan:

I use the Live View feature a lot on the 40D and the enhanced Live View features on the 50D are quite appealing. One of the Live View features, that I don't think is appreciated by those old school SLR users, is the zoom function for focusing. If you can find something visible in your night shot, you can 10x zoom in on it to manually focus. That's tough to do on other SLR's.

There is also an exposure simulation feature. This helps to get an idea of what the image will look like before pressing the shutter.

I don't think you'll go wrong with either one. I'm a believer (now) in the "put your money in the glass" philosophy, but the $300 difference isn't going to buy you a whole lot in the lens department.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:47 AM   #14
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Ryan:

I assume you've read some of the reviews, but in case you haven't here is something that addresses the 15 megapixel sensor:

Let's have a look at the really important stuff then: Image quality. Below ISO 1600 image output is clean with well balanced contrast and colors and as you would expect from a DSLR with a 15 megapixel sensor the 50D delivers a fair amount of detail. Having said that, in terms of per-pixel sharpness the 50D cannot quite keep up with the better 10 or 12 megapixel APS-C DSLRs in the market. At higher sensitivities the smaller photosites are clearly producing more noise (as shown from our RAW comparisons) and so Canon is having to apply more noise reduction to keep to acceptable noise levels, this of course means a loss of detail from ISO 1600 upwards.

It appears that Canon has reached the limit of what is sensible, in terms of megapixels on an APS-C sensor. At a pixel density of 4.5 MP/cm² (40D: 3.1 MP/cm², 1Ds MkIII: 2.4 MP/cm²) the lens becomes the limiting factor. Even the sharpest primes at optimal apertures cannot (at least away from the center of the frame) satisfy the 15.1 megapixel sensors hunger for resolution. Considering the disadvantages that come with higher pixel densities such as diffraction issues, increased sensitivity towards camera shake, reduced dynamic range, reduced high ISO performance and the need to store, move and process larger amounts of data, one could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that at this point the megapixel race should probably stop. One consequence of this is that the 50% increase in pixel count over the 40D results in only a marginal amount of extra detail.

We're by no means saying the 50Ds image quality is bad but it's simply not significantly better than the ten megapixel 40D. In some areas such as dynamic range and high ISO performance it's actually worse and that simply makes you wonder if the EOS 50D could have been an (even) better camera if its sensor had a slightly more moderate resolution.


This is from dpreview.com, here's the link: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos50d/

The feature on the Live View that interests me is the contrast-detect Autofocus. It also has face detect AF, but they didn't mention how well it did on detecting the difference between a GE or EMD.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:28 AM   #15
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Steve and Others,

Thanks again for the help in making a decision. I am going to take some more time and re-evaluate the decision.

This has truely been a great learning experience, thanks for all your input guys!
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:50 AM   #16
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I had my goal on the 40D and some new glass, no L series but this Sigma lense has worked out fine. If you want a camera the 40D, glass if you are into Canon products the L series. Here's two photos taken under different lightening conditions with the 40D
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:11 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DelmonteX View Post
This is from dpreview.com, here's the link: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos50d/
A somewhat bad review as they used a beta Adobe RAW coveter. Other reviews are much kinder to the 50D, As Canons DPP Raw Blows Adobe RAW out of the water for clean night shots.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:41 PM   #18
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A somewhat bad review as they used a beta Adobe RAW coveter. Other reviews are much kinder to the 50D, As Canons DPP Raw Blows Adobe RAW out of the water for clean night shots.
Would that apply to the 40D as well?
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:14 PM   #19
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I like my 40D a lot, I'm sure you'll like it too
(I'll like my 40D even more when I get me a 16-35...)
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:27 PM   #20
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Would that apply to the 40D as well?
The DPP give's the best in low noise with low light shots, for all Canon cameras. I don't care for it as much as its extra steps, but worth it in low light. The 40D is a fine camera that is a bit better at night shots than a 50D is. I have a 50D and wouldn't trade down to a 40D it for night shots as there is times i need the 15MP But for less $999 the 40D a bargain.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:30 AM   #21
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Not to hijack Ryan's thread, but the advice given in this thread made me curious. I currently use a 30D, and am looking to upgrade to a 50D. The 30D was my first DSLR, but as I am tired of lugging around my 35mm Canon SLR as a backup, especially since I only have a few rolls of Kodachrome left, and don't feel like investing in more. The 30D would become the spare camera, while the 50D would be the everyday camera, which I am hoping to use for 5+ years.

Now, most of the posters here said save the money by going with a 40D and get better glass. Well, I have the 24-105 f/4L that I absolutely love (best lens I've ever used by far), plus other wide angle and telephoto lenses, so if getting better glass isn't an issue, which would you recommend? The 40D still or the 50D?

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:41 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cblaz View Post
Not to hijack Ryan's thread, but the advice given in this thread made me curious. I currently use a 30D, and am looking to upgrade to a 50D. The 30D was my first DSLR, but as I am tired of lugging around my 35mm Canon SLR as a backup, especially since I only have a few rolls of Kodachrome left, and don't feel like investing in more. The 30D would become the spare camera, while the 50D would be the everyday camera, which I am hoping to use for 5+ years.

Now, most of the posters here said save the money by going with a 40D and get better glass. Well, I have the 24-105 f/4L that I absolutely love (best lens I've ever used by far), plus other wide angle and telephoto lenses, so if getting better glass isn't an issue, which would you recommend? The 40D still or the 50D?

- Chris

I always prefer opinions from people who have experience with more than one of the options I have. Don't know if you're going to find too many people here who have used both the 40D and 50D for much time, and I can't say that I have either.

What I've read though, suggests that the 15 mega pixel is not all that significant of an improvement. As I've said previously, the Live View improvements have me interested, as well as the interface, and creative mode. If you take many night shots and/or use a tripod a lot, give the Live View function a try and perhaps a workout. I think you'll find it has many advantages and by extension the 50D's improvements give it a slight advantage in my book.

Almost forgot, the improvement in the LCD seems like quite a leap and it will also improve the utility of the Live View.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DelmonteX View Post

What I've read though, suggests that the 15 mega pixel is not all that significant of an improvement. As I've said previously, the Live View improvements have me interested, as well as the interface, and creative mode. If you take many night shots and/or use a tripod a lot, give the Live View function a try and perhaps a workout. I think you'll find it has many advantages and by extension the 50D's improvements give it a slight advantage in my book.

Almost forgot, the improvement in the LCD seems like quite a leap and it will also improve the utility of the Live View.
And I add, I have a 30D and 50D The LCD is worth more than the 15.1 MP in my book if the exta cost of the 50D is ok with you get that, You will love it! After 10 or 12 MP its just not much of a jump width wise to 15 mp. but from the stand point with the 30D at 8 MP its all most two times as many pixel's but only 1/3 more width pixel's IIRC not going to look it up.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:06 PM   #24
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I've only had experience of the 40D, but as other have pointed out, and from what I've read in reviews of the 50D

1) The 40D is better at high ISO's, the 50D is a little bit more noisy above 1600 ISO
2) The increase in image quality for the 50D is only marginal and really only noticable if you are using high end glass
3) The 50D has a better LCD monitor and some extra features on Live View
4) The 40D is marginally faster on high speed shooting (I think an extra half frame or so per second) due to the extra data the 50D has to handle for more Megapixels

Difficult choice. Personally, I'm happy with the 40D. The 50D offers me very little extra that I'd use for the money. My next purchase (at some point) will be another lense, probably a 17-40 F4.0 L, although I'd love a 16-35 F2.8L except thats going to be too expensive
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:11 PM   #25
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Quote:
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1) The 40D is better at high ISO's, the 50D is a little bit more noisy above 1600 ISO
There are different ways to think about noise, and in particular one should consider noise in conjunction with greater resolution in terms of their impact on the final image.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Atkins on Photo.net
The EOS 50D images start out with more detail than EOS 40D images do, so you can in theory apply somewhat stronger noise reduction and still end up with a more detailed image—and in practice Canon seems to have achieved this goal. While looking at the RAW images you can see higher noise in the 50D images, after applying noise reduction to both 40D and 50D images to bring them to the same noise level, the 50D images do seem to retain more detail even though they needed stronger noise reduction.
http://photo.net/equipment/canon/50D/review/
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