40D vs. 5D

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by brossart, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. I am looking to upgrade the core of my bag from a 350D/EF-S 17-85/EF 70-300 to
    either a 5D (when the upgrade comes out)/EF 24-70/EF 100-400 or a 40D/EF-S 17-
    55 (2.8)/EF 70-200 (2.8 IS). I have been weighing the pros and cons of each
    for me and would appreciate some outsider opinions at this point.

    I am not a pro, so all of this is self funded with no return on investment
    other than the joy of shooting, processing and displaying my favorites. I tend
    to shoot roughly 20% family shots that I could shoot with a P&S, 45% kids
    sports (kids are 6, 5 and 1 and sports are mainly soccer and skiing), 15%
    landscape/architecture, 10% portraits (location, not studio), 5% birds and 5%
    macro (I have an EF-S 60 that I would keep with the 40D and would stop shooting
    macros for the foreseeable future with the 5D). I?d like to spend more time on
    landscape/architecture, wildlife and even some air shows, but being a father of
    3 young kids, it?s often difficult to find time to shoot other than the family,
    which certainly enters into the equation.

    My goals in upgrading are to improve overall IQ, faster AF to follow the
    sports, more accurate focus, increased subject isolation and improved low light
    (i.e. high ISO) handling. I?m pretty good at anticipating action and find my
    hit rate reasonably good on my current set-up, so the increased FPS on the 40D
    in and of itself is nice, but not critical. I?m more interested in AF that?s
    fast enough to react to the stop and go action of soccer. I am highly
    frustrated with the ISO handling on my 350D. I find that I often shoot at 400
    or 800 to keep the shutter speed up. The 400?s okay, but the 800?s practically

    Since much of my ?sports? photography is of young kids and you never know where
    that action shot is going to be, I favor zoom teles so I can cover the field.
    Basically, I spend the games zooming up and down the field with the action and
    anticipate as best I can. For this reason, and simply the versatility of
    zooms, I don?t see myself having primes in my core collection (which I consider
    a walk around wide to short tele and a longer tele). On my current set-up, I
    find I shoot 70-80% of my tele shots at 160-200, so while the 70-200 would be a
    nice upgrade on the 40D, I fear it would be too short on a FF, prompting me to
    look at the 100-400.

    I?ve been staring at the numbers too long and interpolating too many other
    posts/reviews, and I keep going back and forth on this issue. I would
    appreciate your candid thoughts on this.

  2. The 40D can function well as a sports camera. Hell, I've even used the ancient 10D shooting actions sports and get mostly keepers.

    The 40D has many innovations introduced in the fully pro 1D Mk3 camera. The 40D's viewfinder in tops in the 1.6 cropper world.

    For your money you cannot buy a better camera. Do that and invest in a couple quality, fast lenses -- a zoom or two and at least one prime, such as the top notch 85mm 1.8.

    The 70-200 2.8L (non IS) lens is a top performer and in my book, the best high quality, pro built, sports telezoom for the money.

    Personally -- I am also anticipating the 5D Mk 2 -- we'll likely know everything about it (its specs) by end of month. Hope this candidness is of value.
  3. "45% kids sports" and other things that you have said.... - From a 5D owner, it sounds like you need a 40D.
  4. I'm in agreement with Ken and Sheldon here.

    The 40D is plenty of camera and will suit your needs well. Especially since the majority of your shots are with the family and sports minded.

    I was in the same boat a few months back and chose the 40D and am waiting to see what the new 5D Mk2 has in store. I also ordered the 17-55 & 70-200mm 2.8IS lenses as well as a 50mm prime for my needs and I find this combo is pretty much all I need for 85% of my work. I am looking at a wider angled lens just for landscapes and my macro before spring.

    I'd say go for the 40D.
  5. It sounds like you are waiting for the upgrade... which will probably cost at least twice as much as the 40D. That wasn't reflected in your lenses. I say that b/c I would go

    40D, 17-85IS, 50mm f/1.4, 70-200 f/2.8 IS and 300 f/4 IS ($4700 at today's prices) for about the same price as the

    5DII/24-70/100-400 (~$4400 with 5DII @ $3000).

    One big thing I noticed when I had the 5D is that it uses the same AF layout as the 30D. So they are all much closer to the center of the frame then being spread out. And unless they update that on the 5DII, it was a negative for shooting sports. The 40D also have a faster frame rate than the 5D.
  6. I just received my new 40d a few days ago. I have fallen in love with this camera after holding down the shutter and experiencing 6.5 frames per second. I shoot my kids involved in soccer and can't wait for the snow to clear and the balls to start rolling again. For what you have described your needs to be - go with the 40D. Remember that as your kids get older they will also get faster.
  7. Thanks for the fast responses. For the 40D owners, have you had occasion to shoot in the higher ISO settings? If so, what are your impressions? What cameras have you used in the past and how would you compare the high ISO performance? Thanks.
  8. I shoot with both a 5D (most things) and a 40D (mainly wildlife with the 100~400). The 40D is a recent upgrade from the 20D, and the 5D will very likely be upgraded to its successor when available. I have become a fan of dual-format working, and would certainly suggest that if you go for a 5D or its successor, you keep the 350D, partly to maintain a macro capability with your EF-S 60/2.8, and partly to stretch whatever long lenses you finish up with as far as possible.

    It's a real pleasure to use the VF of a FF camera, especially if, like me, you do a lot of close-up work and also use a TS-E 24/3.5L lens, both requiring manual focusing. But the 40D comes much closer to that standard than the 20D, and although I have not used any of the xxxD series, I would expect the difference between a pentamirror VF and any pentaprism VF to be a big as well. It does sound as if for what you need the 40D would have many attractions, certainly by comparison with the current 5D and perhaps even compared to its successor.
  9. 40D/EF-S 17- 55 (2.8). Extra AF cross point should improve your keeper rate.

    Remember that the IS will not help you freeze a moving target but will help with your handholding.

    The Canon 70-300 that you have has pretty good IQ and provides good coverage for sports. (At the near touchline I find myself having to step backwards at 70mm with my 1.6x crop camera.). For birds you may consider the 1.4xTC with this lens.

    Unless you intend to sell the 70-300mm lens to finance your purchase I would wait a while and use the 70-300mm on the 40D. If IQ is still an issue, you may then wish to look at the (heavy) EF 70-200 (2.8 IS) and maybe a 1.4xTC. This lens is not the best bird lens but should do very well for sports. A monopod to support the weight could be a consideration.

    For landscape/architecture you may wish to look for a wider lens like the Canon 10-22mm or Sigma 10-20mm.
  10. Thanks Glen. I realize I didn't post why I want to upgrade the 70-300. While IQ is actually quite good, I find it hunts a lot. I'm not sure if this is related to the camera (i.e. it would perform better on a 40D) or if it simply misses focus and starts hunting. I've rented the 70-200 and was very pleased with its performance. It is a bit heavy on the 350D, but the 40D's size and weight balance it out nicely, IMO.
  11. I have not had any problems in terms of focus/hunting with my 40D and 70-300 lens. I did see a little bit more issues when I had a 300D camera and same lens. But the 40D focus is very , very fast and meets my needs with the 70-300 lens.

    At 800 ISO I get good results with all of my lenses and the 40D. 1600 is still decent. The 300D was a lot worse for me at 800 and 1600. Any noise I get today is easily cleaned with Noise Ninja. (Usually not even needed at or below 800.)

    I never used the 70-200 so I can't comment on how that would compare.

    Maybe get the 40D first and try it with your 70-300, before you decide to change lenses?
  12. I don't know but it wouldn't surprise me if your lenses do indeed snap into focus a wee bit faster with the 40D. I would also agree that if sports is your thing, the 40D seems a better bet - unless there's a new 5D that's a must-have. Plus, your 1.6x "crop-factor" gives you a bit more reach with a 40D and plenty of Mps for prints. You could get some nice glass with the price difference too. Good luck!
  13. 40D will do what you need. ISO up to 1600 is good and you still need only minor noise
    reduction. Take the savings vs. the 5D upgrade and plop that cash into a college savings
    account for the kids.
  14. Remember than an f/2.8 zoom will allow you to use a 1-2 stop lower ISO than an f/4-5.6 zoom at the same shutter speed. The greater background blur can give images more impact too. Faster lenses provide better input to the AF system (mainly because of the large diameter of the exit pupil) allowing faster more sensitive and more accurate AF. Ring ultrasonic focus motors are typically very fast, especially when focus is internal. The downside is more weight and the likely need for a monopod.
  15. ISO 800-1600 on my 40D still produces excellent photos and if there is noise I just use Noise Ninja and it clears up any distracting amount of noise in my images. The 17-55mm and 70-200mm lenses on the 40D are amazing! I have not tired the 70-300 lens on mine but I would guess it would perform quite well also.
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I echo the previous, the 40D`kit makes better sense, my rationale:

    I have: 20D; 5D; 50mm F1.4; 85mmF1.8; 70 to 200F2.8; x1.4MkII; and x2.0MkII.

    I shoot a lot of Swimming, Rugby, (Field) Hockey: the 20D does this work for me, not the 5D: from the specs, the 40D would do it better.

    I have used the EF-S17 to 55F2.8IS on my 20D for a Wedding, it is very slick and I understand why so many on the Wedding Forum rave about it and use it as their primary lens.

    I suggest you get the x1.4MkII for the 70 to 200 F2.8.

    It seems an easy decision from the outside looking in, and I understand how looking at and processing all the data is somewhat mind numbing, but it seems to me the 40D and lenses mentioned will surely give you great satisfaction.

    Also it seems a shame to not use the EF-S60mm macro.

    One final point you might think about: how much will you recoup for the EOS350D, and is it more valuable to keep it as a second body for those times when a lens change is impossible?

  17. If you want the absolute best image quality, best low light performance, and best overall performance go with the 5D replacement.
  18. given a choice between the packages you describe i wouldn't choose the 5d and the lenses you list for any application. that's one of the most unattractive combos for gear i've ever heard.

    on the flip side, the 40d combo you describe is one of the best available. would wait for canon's announcement at the end of january in case they have an ef-s version of the 70-200, like an ef-s 55-135 constant f4 -- that would be some excellent glass
  19. Being down this road before, at the end of the day, nobody else can decide but you. Also, going from non FF to FF requires a different set of lenses. With the newest camera (40D vs 5D), the difference in IQ for casual shooters are pretty minimal, IMO. 5D is FF, which down the road (I'm speaking of long term) might be beneficial to some, but might not be for others. With non FF camera, on the other hand, some might praise it because of the extra reach (as you mentioned). One thing that you might want to consider, the 5D DOES NOT have pop up flash (I'm sure you know it too, but this is just a reminder). I personally think of this feature as a plus point and actually could comes in handy, especially for those who shoot family pics, unless you always want to carry an external flash.
  20. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    >>> given a choice between the packages you describe i wouldn't choose the 5d and the lenses you list for any application. that's one of the most unattractive combos for gear i've ever heard. <<< (AG)

    This interesting comment made me read the OP again.

    The 24 to 70mm and 100 to 400mm lens combination on a 5D, in isolation, did not hit me on the first read.

    I was focussed on the 40D vs 5D application for kids sport and then speed of the 70 to 200 vs the speed of the 100 to 400 for the same application.

    But I gotta agree 100% with the comment quoted: I would not like to rely solely on the EF100 to 400mm, for every shot longer than FL 70mm, that would be a frustration and a disaster, I think.

  21. WW

    you know, i wasn't so much talking about the practicality of that body with those lenses. i meant that combo seems exceedingly clunky. the body is thick and a bit unwieldy, and the lenses are heavy and expensive (especially the 100-400 -- holy cow that's a clunky lens, good on safari but i wouldn't want to lug it around otherwise)

    the 40d combo is quite sweet, though. compact, whip fast, and very usable, with IQ to burn

  22. Alan, it's interesting that you should describe the 5D body as "thick and unwieldy". We each have our own cutoff point. Mine comes just beyond the 5D rather than between it and the 40D. Of all the many cameras that I owned prior to the 5D, the one that felt most comfortable for size and shape was the original EOS-1. The -3 and -1V that folowed it were fractionally bigger than I would have liked, although the -1V was such a great camera that I was happy to accommodate to it. But I only ever used the PB-E2 booster for wildlife work with the 100~400 on the camera, and found that for general use it made the camera far too big and heavy, so I have always ruled out the 1D series from my consideration. The 5D is very close in size and shape to the -1, and I feel completely at home with it. The 40D has moved some way towards 5D size and shape (for example, in the grip) from the 20D, and in my view is the better for it - to me, the 5D and 40D feel fairly similar in the hand.
  23. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    >>> you know, i wasn't so much talking about the practicality of that body with those lenses . . .etc <<< (AG)

    Hey Alan, take the glory for both thoughts! :)

    >>> Alan, it's interesting that you should describe the 5D body as "thick and unwieldy". We each have our own cutoff point. etc <<< (RS)

    Yes: I put a battery pack on my 20D, because it is too small and too lightweight for my liking. My hands are on the smaller side of average for my height and frame, but for me (a larger and balanced) camera / lens mass creates more stability for low light handheld work, which is one of my amateur passions.

    [Aside]: Incidentally Robin, Mrs Santa gave me a 5D.

  24. Well, Bill, Christmas really was an event for you this year! I'll look forward to hearing how you get on with the 5D, but I don't have any doubts about it. When's that TS24 ging to reach the top of the wish-list? Even in its absence, you might give the Ee-D screen a try - it's not a big deal just to go out and buy one - although with fast lenses in low light you might also get some mileage from the Ee-S. In addition to having focusing screen options, the 5D also enables you to use the correction capabilities of DPP 3.2, despite not recording distance information like the most recent cameras, and I'd certainly recommend you to have a play with that. If you are using fast lenses wide open, instant automatic correction of vignetting is pretty nice to have regardless of the other corrections that are possible.
  25. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The TS-E 24 has moved up one and is now in second place behind the 16 to 35 MkII, and the 135F2 has moved to third spot (I can still borrow a 135F2).

    Well, these are the latest placings as we move into the home straight, but hey what the finish will be is still a wild guess.

    Yes, the screens are coming: the Ee-S is the first, for, as you picked it, my passion with low light and wide open fast lenses: I read a couple your posts a few months ago and decided then that both screens are a necessity.

    Thanks for the comments.


  26. Thanks all for your responses and helping me get my head out of the minutia of the specs and see the reality of what would suit my needs. For what it's worth, I've elected to go with the 40D combo for a number of reasons. The added reach of the 1.6 crop puts me in the FL range of my preferred tele (the 70-200). 40D delivers the AF speed and accuracy I'm looking for. 5D may deliver better noise control and overall IQ, but 40D's pretty darn good and I believe will fit my needs. I also came to the realization that if a bigger sensor was better, why am I not looking to break the bank and look at medium format. Bit of a slippery slope argument, but it helped me realize the power packed in the 40D's cropped sensor. Got to say I wondered what Allan was talking about. I'll have to side with Robin on the size point. I've actually shot the 5D/100-400 combo. While I did find it heavy and big, I did not find it unwieldy. I think there are differing oppinions on the 100-400 as a lens of choice. I actually quite like it, but as I mentioned earlier, I do prefer the 70-200 if the FL is right. Thanks again all.

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