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Canon 40D or XSi (450D)


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#1 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted February 28 2009 - 04:47 AM

I'm thinking about upgrading my current DSLR. Right now I've got the Canon XT (350D).

I'm looking at either the Canon 40D or the Canon XSi. Unfortunately, after comparing reviews at a couple major photography sites, the answer isn't clear at all.

The XSi has 12mp versus 10mp on the 40D. I've currently got 8mp. I'm kind of wondering if diminishing returns start to kick in to where I'm not really going to get much benefit out of 12 versus 10. I do like the higher frames per second I can get out of the 40D versus the XSi, but I can get the XSi for $260 less than the 40D ($589 versus $849). Decisions, decisions.

This is mostly what I shoot:

Indoor Basketball
Baseball
Family/Vacation

Anyone have any personal recommendations between these two? Price-wise, I don't want to go higher than the 40D so it really comes down to just these two. Also, I've already got a collection of Canon lenses, so another brand is not on the table for consideration.

#2 of 147 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 28 2009 - 07:22 AM

The 40D will go up to ISO 3200, which will come in handy for the indoor basketball. Considering your other subjects, the XSi would probably be just fine.
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#3 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted February 28 2009 - 08:21 AM

Yeah, the higher ISO is an advantage IF it yields acceptable results. Right now I shoot ISO 800, f/1.8, 400 speed for basketball and it generally is OK in well lit gymnasiums. But sometimes it isn't enough or I'd like to shoot 500 or higher speed and I've been reluctant to use ISO 1600 on the XT because of noise. The faster burst on the 40D is also appealing for basketball and baseball.

I guess my concern with either of these is the quality at say ISO 1600. Right now I don't use ISO 1600 on my XT because of noise. Are either of these any better, I wonder?

Do you think the 12mp XSi versus 10mp 40D is anything to consider? Or are we getting to the point where it really doesn't matter for the most part? I've blown a few 8mp pictures of mine to 3' x 2' and not had any problems, even after cropping a bit.

#4 of 147 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 28 2009 - 10:36 AM

Quote:
Yeah, the higher ISO is an advantage IF it yields acceptable results. Right now I shoot ISO 800, f/1.8, 400 speed for basketball and it generally is OK in well lit gymnasiums. But sometimes it isn't enough or I'd like to shoot 500 or higher speed and I've been reluctant to use ISO 1600 on the XT because of noise. The faster burst on the 40D is also appealing for basketball and baseball.

I guess my concern with either of these is the quality at say ISO 1600. Right now I don't use ISO 1600 on my XT because of noise. Are either of these any better, I wonder?
Personally I can tolerate high ISO noise if it means sharp focus and minimal motion blur. That said, I used the original digital Rebel for many years and saw a big improvement in noise after moving up to the 40D. I'd say 1600 yields very acceptable quality in both color and black-and-white. With the Rebel I would usually convert to black-and-white to mask the chroma noise. At 3200 the 40D is still not as bad as the Rebel was.

I take it you enlarge many of your photos beyond the standard 8x10 or 11x14? I rarely need to blow anything up beyond that, so 10 vs. 12 is not a priority specification for me.
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#5 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted February 28 2009 - 11:15 AM

Quote:
I take it you enlarge many of your photos beyond the standard 8x10 or 11x14?

No, not very often at all. And when I do, it's usually scenery photos. 99% of the time I don't go beyond 8x10. I guess that's why I'm thinking 10mp versus 12mp may really not be meaningful.

#6 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted March 01 2009 - 01:22 AM

Well, as is typical of my MO when making purchases like this, I usually set my upper price point only to ignore it in the end. Although there's no way I'm stepping up to the Full Frame series, I think I've settled on the 50D. After doing a lot of research, I think the 50D offers quite a few nice upgrades over the 40D (I've completely eliminated the lower-end XSi from the running).

Anyone here have the 50D and want to share any first-hand experience with it?

#7 of 147 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted March 01 2009 - 08:44 AM

I upgraded from the Rebel XT (350D) to a 40D over a year ago. IMO, the xxD line is a significant step up over the Rebel line, especially in ergonomics. The 40D handles so much better than the Rebel XT, especially when shooting in manual mode. The additional control dial and joystick on the back of the camera make it so much smoother to operate. The larger viewfinder is also a nice improvement.

I noticed a nice jump in high ISO quality as well. I'm not afraid to shoot at ISO 1600 when necessary with the 40D. I have also pushed to ISO 3200 when it was the only way to get the shot, and have been satisfied with the results. The autofocus system is also a noticeable improvement.

I cannot give you much insight between the 40D and 50D, though. The latter was not available when I bought the 40D. However, I'm very happy with the 40D, and have no desire to spend money to upgrade for the few new features on the 50D. One thing I know was taken away on the 50D was one of the custom shooting modes -- the 40D has three (C1 - C3 on the mode dial), while the 50D has only two. However, I only have two setup on my 40D -- one for manual mode customized for flash photography, and one for high speed action photography. If you want a third mode for your shooting styles, then the 40D may be a better body.

#8 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted March 01 2009 - 11:28 AM

Thanks for the info, Scott. The highest ISO I ever shoot with on my XT is 800. It's acceptable. Would you say ISO 1600 on your 40D is similar to or better than what you got at ISO 800 on your XT?

I don't think the custom shooting modes is an issue for me. I'm not even sure if I'll utilize them.

#9 of 147 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted March 01 2009 - 01:29 PM

Bryan, I would say that ISO 1600 on the 40D is at least as good as ISO 800 on the XT... maybe a little better.

As for the custom modes, I didn't think I would use them, either, but they do come in handy sometimes if you have a certain group of settings you like to use for certain shooting situations. For example, I have one setup with shutter priority, a high shutter speed, ISO 400, continuous drive mode, and AI Focus for action shots. That way, I do not have to fiddle with all those settings when I want to shoot some action -- I'm usually in aperture priority mode.

#10 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted March 02 2009 - 11:21 AM

Well, I pulled the trigger on a 50D tonight! I'm anxious to get my hands on it and try it out.

#11 of 147 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted March 02 2009 - 11:49 PM

Depending on what size compact flash cards you've been using on your XT, you may want to buy some newer, higher capacity cards, Bryan. The RAW file sizes doubled from the XT to the 40D, so I cannot image what size they will be on a 50D. I bought a few 8GB cards after upgrading to a 40D. At least CF memory is cheap. Posted Image

#12 of 147 OFFLINE   Marianne

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Posted March 03 2009 - 01:24 AM

I upgraded to a 40D from an XTi and am extremely happy with the 40D. I only shoot RAW files and I have 3 x 2GB CF cards. I get around 160 shots on a card, so that should give you an idea of the capacity. Of course, if you shoot JPG then you will get a lot more shots. The reason I use smaller cards is that if you get a card failure with 8GB you lose a lot more shots.

#13 of 147 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted March 03 2009 - 03:49 AM

6GB of storage wouldn't be nearly enough for me when we travel. During a week-long trip, I will take over 1,500 photos. That would require about 10x2GB cards. During last summer's trip to Maine and Boston, I took 3x8GB and 2x4GB. It was more than I needed, but I like to have enough storage on hand in case a card goes bad, and it's very expensive to buy CF cards when traveling. I do not travel with a laptop.

Around home, a couple of 2GB cards would be more than enough, though.

#14 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted March 03 2009 - 09:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Merryfield
Depending on what size compact flash cards you've been using on your XT, you may want to buy some newer, higher capacity cards, Bryan.

On a related note, I currently use 2GB SanDisk Ultra II CF cards. Will those have fast enough write speeds when I'm shooting bursts of pictures? Or should I step up to something faster like the III or IV within the SanDisk line?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marianne
The reason I use smaller cards is that if you get a card failure with 8GB you lose a lot more shots.

That's kinda been my thought too. I've been using 2GB CF cards with my XT. And although I'll get many fewer shots on them with the 50D, I don't know if I want to step up any higher than maybe 4GB. I think the 2GB CF cards will be OK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Merryfield
6GB of storage wouldn't be nearly enough for me when we travel. During a week-long trip, I will take over 1,500 photos. That would require about 10x2GB cards....I do not travel with a laptop.

I'll shoot about that many too on vacation, but we've gone the laptop route. Although I may consider buying a couple large CF cards to use as a backup to the laptop. So I'd have some smaller CF cards for daily use, store the photos on the laptop and also store them on the larger CF cards for peace of mind.

As for photo editing, right now I'm using Photoshop Elements 5.0. I'm thinking about grabbing a copy of the newest 7.0. Do you think there's enough difference between 5.0 and 7.0 to justify the upgrade?

Man, I can't wait until it arrives!

#15 of 147 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted March 03 2009 - 01:56 PM

hi guys
I would not mind selling my Canon 5D. I have a 16 GB card for it, 24-105 and 70-200 ish lenses. 1.7x extender, 580 flash, and the battery grip.
I think there are about 900 pictures on it so far.
Email me if interested

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#16 of 147 OFFLINE   Marianne

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Posted March 04 2009 - 01:12 AM

Bryan,

I use the same cards (2GB SanDisk Ultra II CF) and find them adequate for my needs. I usually download the images fairly frequently so 2GB is fine for me.

I also use Elements 5 and find it OK for now. Check out the reviews on Amazon for Elements 7 and see if other upgraders found it worthwhile.

Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Adobe Photoshop Elements 7

I got Elements 5 with my Wacom tablet and probably won't upgrade to another version of Elements. Next will be full Photoshop when I can justify the cost. Posted Image

#17 of 147 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 04 2009 - 07:35 AM

Can't add much to the discussion on 40D vs. 50D. Both were such incremental upgrades to my 20D that I chose to give the body to a friend and moved to my Nikon D300 and don't ever see going back. Neither Nikon nor Canon are showing anything really interesting at PMA this week which is reallllly odd. The new Panasonic GH1 looks really sweet tho!


What I CAN say with some authority is that the Sandisk Extreme 3s are absolutely worth their weight in gold. I've had an 8 gigger run over by a firetruck and spend the night in a mud puddle and worked perfectly the next day. They are amazingly fast and now very reasonably priced. You can save a few bucks buying the Ultra2s and the manufacturing process on both is very similar, but for me it's totally worth it.

Greg, might have a friend who is interested but they really want the Mk2 for occaissional video... May have em email you. I don't even know what used 5D classics are going for now.

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#18 of 147 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted March 04 2009 - 10:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
On a related note, I currently use 2GB SanDisk Ultra II CF cards. Will those have fast enough write speeds when I'm shooting bursts of pictures? Or should I step up to something faster like the III or IV within the SanDisk line?



That's kinda been my thought too. I've been using 2GB CF cards with my XT. And although I'll get many fewer shots on them with the 50D, I don't know if I want to step up any higher than maybe 4GB. I think the 2GB CF cards will be OK.



I'll shoot about that many too on vacation, but we've gone the laptop route. Although I may consider buying a couple large CF cards to use as a backup to the laptop. So I'd have some smaller CF cards for daily use, store the photos on the laptop and also store them on the larger CF cards for peace of mind.

As for photo editing, right now I'm using Photoshop Elements 5.0. I'm thinking about grabbing a copy of the newest 7.0. Do you think there's enough difference between 5.0 and 7.0 to justify the upgrade?

Man, I can't wait until it arrives!

I do not think you'll notice much difference in speed on the cards. If you are shooting RAW and continuous mode, the cards may take a little longer to empty the camera's buffer, but you need to shoot in bursts of more than a dozen shots before it becomes an issue (I cannot recall the exact number). If you are shooting jpeg, it will never become an issue.

As for Elements version 5 versus version 7, I cannot help too much. I upgraded from version 4 to version 6, and there were numerous differences in the user interface. However, I only use Elements for relatively simple corrections and cropping when Canon's Digital Photo Professional RAW converter and editor comes up short.

#19 of 147 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted March 04 2009 - 11:03 AM

Sounds like I can stick with the Ultra II CF cards. I don't want to spend any more money on the cards if it's not necessary.

I've always shot JPEG and have not used DPP.

#20 of 147 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted March 04 2009 - 11:38 PM

I would highly recommend trying RAW with the your new 50D. You will be able to recover shots with slightly off exposures (+/- 2 stops) and correct white balance with no harm to the photo. Making these corrections on jpeg files will result in some loss in quality. Once you get used to RAW and develop a work flow, it doesn't take much additional time, and may save time if you need to correct exposure or white balance.

Canon's DPP works very well for quickly processing RAW files. I use it for probably 95% of my shots, and only use Elements for cropping, removal of dust spots (which hasn't been an issue with the 40D), or when the exposure is way out of wack and I want to save the shot.


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