Tight Budget... 1Ds or 50D?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by gregcoad, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. I have decided to upgrade from my XTi and have a very limited budget to work with. Basically I have $800 to play with (that is the spousal approved amount anyways). For the discussion about my reasons for upgrading see my previous post here: http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00VFtN
    So for $800 CDN I think my 3 best options are:
    1. a lightly used 50D with no add-ons at all (a grip is a must for me but I just don't think I'll find a deal that includes a grip within my budget)
    2. More used but still excellent condition 40D with grip and extra batteries
    3. A very well used 1Ds
    Opinions? So far I am leaning towards the 1Ds for the following reasons:
    1. Full frame - this alone may be the one over-riding consideration since the other 2 are cropped sensors.
    2. Build quality/weather sealing
    3. View finder
    4. Autofocus system that I am led to believe is that much better than the xxD's
    But I have had more than one person tell me that the menu system and general user interface of the 1Ds will drive me insane and that alone should make me reconsider. From my view, these things are what we know and are used to. For example, I borrow my brother-in-law's 5D Mk I from time to time and I absolutely hate the interface on that camera compared to the XTi. I know that this is just a matter of what I am used to and given time, it would serve me well (I haven't heard too many complaints about the 5D Mk I). I think the same would be true with the 1Ds. I played around with a 1Ds Mk II today at a local camera store and while it wasn't pretty, I think I would get used to the interface. I think a lot of pro's certainly did and didn't complain too much about it at the time.
    While the bells and whistles of the 40D and 50D are attractive, I don't believe they will lead to better images or advance my photography in a significant way at least. The way I see it, the 1Ds was good enough for many a NatGeo or Vogue cover as little as 5 years ago, so why should I expect any less from it. Its the guy behind the camera is it not?
    So the question is, with $800 to spend, what would you do? And please don't say save a little longer and get a 5D Mk II. If that was an option I would have listed it among the 3 I'm considering.
    P.S. The rest of my kit includes my one and only lens, a 24-70 f/2.8L, a 580 EXII and 430 EXII. My next lens purchase will be the 17-40 f/4L.
  2. will say this. a 'very used' 1ds will have had the crap kicked out of it. i've seen 1d bodies with deep gouges on sale (used) at reputable dealers. the photogs who use them clang, bang, bump, and knock 1d's for hours day after day, in all types of weather, all seasons, on sidelines, in the dugout, out of helicopters...you get the picture.
    to answer your question: with $800 to spend, i'd save it. but, since that's not an option, get what you want.
  3. i'm not sure where you expect to get a used 1ds for $800:
    really, would such a camera be worth any (amount of) money? you could shoot ten frames and have the thing die
  4. I wonder why you make the grip a necessity? You could stretch your bucks a little and not get one. While I find the grip a near necessity on the XTi I have, neither my 20D nor 5D need it at all, as they are large enough and heavy enough without the grip. I have the grips, but find they make the larger cameras feel too big, so don't use them much except when I really need the longer battery power, and that's very rarely.
  5. I agree with JDM. The 50D is a pretty hefty camera, and it fits my (large) hands perfectly without a grip. If you haven't, I'd play with a body in that series a bit to see if you really need a grip.
  6. Where would I get a 1Ds for $800? I've passed on 3 so far as I haven't yet decided. Does the 1Ds have a reputation for quitting after 30000 actuations? Yes they are used by pros but the 3 that I have looked at were also maintained by pros. Am I worried about a scrape or two? Not if it doesn't affect the performance of the camera. There is a Canon service depot here in Calgary that I could have it checked out at and I would only purchase with a return policy in case something turns up on inspection.

    I'll definately take another look at the 50D in terms of grip. Any other arguements in favor of the 50D?
  7. Actually $800 is typical for a used 1Ds with pristine ones from reputable dealers maybe going for $1000-1200, heck typical price of a 1DsII is $1900, all USD of course.
    Keh.com currently has a "bargain" 1Ds for $869 USD. I am in Toronto and I have bought several "bargain" and "ugly" lenses from them with great success. They have a neat shipping option for Canada now. They send it by Fedex who deliver it to Canada Post for final delivery in Canada. That means no ultra expensive brokerage fees or expensive shipping fees like Fedex and UPS usually have.
    Let's face it the interface of all DSLRs is ridiculous. You just have to learn most, or some, of it and stick with it. The shutter of a well used pro body could easily outlast that of a used consumer body. Getting a pro body with less than 100,000 actuations would be preferable, but you are not likely going to find this info from sellers since it is not readily available in the camera.
    I bought two used DSLRs two years ago to replace my Canon 10D. One was a Nikon D2X with 80,000 actuations (that was in pristine studio use only condition) and one was a Kodak SLRn full frame with 35,000 actuations in reasonable condition. I have taken at least 20,000 images between the two with no problems! At the time I was choosing between either the 1Ds, or both of these for the same price. I decided to go for the antique Kodak full frame for my 14mm lens for landscapes, and the ultraspeed of the crop D2X for my 400/2.8 and sports. The 1Ds would have been much easier to use for landscapes but the D2X has been superb for sports.
    I know the 50D is pretty fancy but I much prefer full frame cameras for the 24-70 and 17-40. Once you handle a pro body there is no going back either. Good luck!
  8. John is right. It's entirely possible to get a 1Ds in that price range. I purchased mine from a reputable local dealer for $600US in near-perfect condition. The menu isn't bad at all if you simply get to know how to use it. And yup, there's nothing like the handling of a pro body.
  9. No offense intended, but the 1ds (or any one 1d* model) has been designed to provide specific performance within a demanding usage environment. If you do not know exactly WHY you need a 1ds, then you don't. At this point in time your skills are far more determinant as to final product than the equipment.
  10. Robert... The question was not WHY do I need a 1Ds. That was not the question at all. I am very aware of what the 1Ds is and what it is all about. If you read the previous thread to which I provided a link you would maybe understand a bit better my reasons for wanting to upgrade my body. The 1Ds was thrown out there as a good option and the more I have looked into it the more attractive it becomes. I have some reservations however and was therefore looking for more input from those who have experience with the 1Ds that might be able to help me in forming my decision.
    I am not a gearhead and do not presuppose in anyway that a better camera will make my photography any better. Not in the slightest. I can't figure out what I have said that would lead you to that assumption other than your own preconceived notions. Thanks for the lecture anyways though.
  11. Greg- Sorry, didn't mean to ruffle your feathers. I thought I was being gentle. Next time you'll get the lecture, you'll see the difference. ;-)
  12. John IS right. You can get a 1ds for that price point. But the analogy between KEH bargain lenses and bargain cameras is a faulty one. Lenses, with modest care, will last generations. A computerized Canon DSLR used/abused by pros? Not so much... I guess the question, to paraphrase Clint, is "Do you feel lucky?"...
  13. I know nothing about 1Ds cameras. However I did upgrade from An XTi to a 50D.

    That is a significant step up. However there is a learning curve. The 50D is more picky in my opinion while the XTi is more
    forgiving. Handling and performance of the 50D is significantly better.

    In the end there is no wrong choice. Try them both and choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
  14. If it wasn't possible to get a 1Ds for the money I would not have suggested it in the first place. A 1Ds is not a 1D, they were not used in dugouts and they were not street shooters tools, the majority of them were studio cameras and there are many very good ones out there. At 3fps most sports shooters could paint a picture faster than that! The majority of pros use their cameras as tools, they do not intentionally abuse them, if they break they are screwed and that costs money. By this age though there are some clunkers out there but many fewer 1Ds's than 1D's.
    The menu interface is not the best, but I still use my 1V (and 1D), the camera the 1D and 1Ds were based on, that user interface requires a tethered computer. I treat my 1D as a set and forget camera and just work the aperture, shutter speed, iso, focus points, etc, they are all easy, just as in the film days.
    If you take your time to find a good one, and there are lots out there, nothing you can buy for $800 will take better digital pictures.
    I do put my money where my mouth is and I keep buying used 1 series digital cameras off eBay, indeed my two 1VHS's are the last new cameras I bought.
    Take care, Scott.
  15. Scott- you must be a ebay wizard. I just searched Ebay's completed listings for 1ds'es and in the last 25 actual sales, only one was had as low as $800. Average price was just below $1,000. But like you said, it is "possible". Also, since this camera was introduced winter of 2002, it's not a stretch of imagination to presume the NP-E3 batteries are likely close to shot. OEM Canon replacements go for around $110, the more adventurous can risk it with a Chinese knock-off for around half of that. Not to venture too far off point, but I think the OP may be better served with used yet much fresher 5d.
  16. Robert,
    Not a wizard but no fool either :)
    Perfectly good NP-E3 batteries can be bought for $29.95, they work fine, in fact they have higher capacity than the Canon ones, if you had read the last thread, that Greg referred to, you would see I also said to swap the endcaps (the only potentially problematic bit) with genuine ones.
    " but I think the OP may be better served with used yet much fresher 5d" I know that is your opinion, but if you look at Greg's specific reasons for upgrading then I came to a different conclusion. There are an awful lot of heavily used 5D's out there too and they were not built with durability in mind. How many second hand 1 series cameras have you bought?
    My last eBay purchase, a 1Ds MkIII, 30 day money back warranty from a bricks and mortar camera shop, all in with shipping a touch over $4,000, and that was back in the summer. That is a little over 50% of the new price for a current model camera with warranty and absolutely no wear and tear, 1 series cameras are a fantastic second and third hand buy. I still use my 1D too though.
  17. If I promise to pay you a fair commission, will you work as my equipment buyer in the future, Scott? ;-)
    OP obviously just wants to be "talked in" to buying a 1dmk2, by the way. I wonder if he's ever lifted a 1 series cam? I've bought two 1-series cameras used- a 1 (original film) and the orig. 1d. I got lucky in everything other than battery life, and agree a used 1 series camera can be a terrific deal, especially if it fill a need.
    I thought there was a glut of pristine 5d's out there from when the yuppies with upgrade fever heard about the mk2s. Used prices for 5ds went thru the floor overnight even though the camera didn't change... ;-)
    ps- beware the Chinese batteries. I think they use a different math system for assessing capacity. Not sure that is where I want to cut my corners, but each to their own...
  18. you will be disappointed with the ISO performance of the 1Ds. I bought one when they came out and if I recall correctly, it only goes to ISO 1000 or 1200...and that wasn't particularly good. Up to 600 was superb but it went downhill quickly after that. Outside of that, clean body can be found for about $1K. i looked at several recently before I decided to go with a 1Ds11.
  19. i'm sure if you looked long enough you could find an very very used 1ds for, say, $400. if it were me, i'd save my money
  20. Robert,
    No problem at all, just tell me what you want :)
    I think Greg is more interested in finding out the pros and cons of an older pro body (the 1Ds MkI not the 1D MkII) as opposed to a younger consumer body. But my opinion on what might suit him is no more valuable than anybodies. When I looked at his first post and criteria it seemed an obvious match though.
    Got to agree, the 1Ds MkII is the best buy out there at the moment. The MkI goes up to 1250 iso and as you say is no super high iso performer, I came from a 50 and 100 iso slide background so was always happy with the 1 or 2 stops over my usual, but now high iso is so sort after if that is a major priority then the early digitals are all out classed now. In mitigation though noise reducing programs, and RAW handling ones, have improved dramatically in the last 6 years.
    As Greg rightly says, an awful lot of amazing images were taken with MkI 1Ds's. We get so used to bells and whistles we end up thinking we need them, truth is we really don't.
    Take care, Scott.
  21. I'd save my money
  22. I bought a 1Ds about 4 years ago, from a "pro", it is still going strong. Slow buffer, batteries take a while to charge properly, it is big, it is heavy, but in my opinion it takes darn good images. It does well up to 1250 ISO (if properly exposed) which is as high as it will go. As to batteries I found that Lenmark (found at Amazon) have a very long life as good as the Canon batteries. While you did not mention it the 1D is also a darn good camera. I have both of them. Like Scott I also have the 1V another superb camera.
  23. I've owned a 40D and a 1Ds. If you're looking to shoot indoor sports shots of your kids the 40D wins hands down, 6fps clean ISO1600. If you're shooting nature and landscapes, the wonderful image quality of the 1Ds is in a different league all together. The images will take your breath away! Mine had around 60k actuations when I sold it a month ago for 1k. For approximately $450 Canon will replace the entire shutter mechanism when needed. Other replacement parts are easy to come by if purchased over the phone directly from Canon USA.
  24. I think I have settled on the 1Ds. How can I go wrong anyways? If I decide 3 months from now that it was the wrong decision, I will probably still be able to sell it for close to what I paid in the first place no?
    One more question though about the 1Ds that has cropped up... I understand that it uses .TIF for its RAW format rather than .CR2. Are there differences between the two? Does the .TIF raw file from the 1Ds get processed the same way as the .CR2? Do I still have the same degree of latitude when it comes to exposure correction in post? We are also talking about an 8 bit .TIF whereas with my XTi it was a 12 bit .CR2. Will I be taking a step backwards for me in terms of image quality? Forgive me if this is a rookie question or if it belongs in another post in a different forum.
  25. i have no dog in this fight besides the fact that i will propbably look for a used 1D series (not an "s") at some point, and to point out that prices on ebay will be inflated for the next month and a half or so, even after christmas i've seen prices stay high. I wont buy a used camera without handling it first though, or if they have a pretty good return policy...
  26. Greg, You're right about the resale value of the 1Ds, at this point, the average value probably will not go down much more than $100 per year until it bottoms out. The 1Ds RAW file is output as a .TIF, however, it can not be opened as a standard .TIF file without being converted from its RAW format. High ISO's don't like too much post processing, anything 400 or under handles it fairly well. At base ISO there is quite a bit of latitude for exposure comp. Check out the graphs on www.DXOMARK.com. The overall rating of the 1Ds is fairly low, but the graph comparisons tell a much different story when comparing the 50D to a 1Ds.
  27. Greg, You're right about the resale value of the 1Ds, at this point, the average value probably will not go down much more than $100 per year until it bottoms out. The 1Ds RAW file is output as a .TIF, however, it can not be opened as a standard .TIF file without being converted from its RAW format. High ISO's don't like too much post processing, anything 400 or under handles it fairly well. At base ISO there is quite a bit of latitude for exposure comp. Check out the graphs on www.DXOMARK.com. The overall rating of the 1Ds is fairly low, but the graph comparisons tell a much different story when comparing the 50D to a 1Ds.
  28. David,

    Where did you get the proprietary TIF info from? Mine open in any program that supports standard TIFF, Photoshop, LightRoom, Aperture, iPhoto, Preview etc etc. Heck even Safari opens them!

    You do not need to do anything to 1D and 1Ds RAW files to open them in any imaging program, they are not proprietary. Well mine aren't.
  29. Wow, a whole lot of dick-measuring going on in this thread... Photonet didn't used to be that way.
    As someone who actually *owns* a 1Ds (for 6 years, now), I can give some insight into why a photographer might actually want one.
    1. Fast, accurate autofocus. It won't focus in absolute darkness (unless you put a flash with AF helper light on it), but it WILL grab small, fast-flying birds travelling directly toward, or away from you. You know-the kind where AF slew actually gets used. Using the rear panel programmable buttons, you can set up on button to use the center AF, and the other button use the 'ring of fire' (the whole array of AF points). So you can track a bird flying in front of contrasty background, and not lose focus, or you can track a wildly direction-changing flycatcher or swallow with open sky as it's background. (This mode works well for dragonflys that hunt 20' feet off the ground, and dart around like maniacs.)
    2. Weather-sealing that works. Remember that you must use a lens that has the rubber sealing ring at the camera mount, AND must use a lens filter to seal the objective lens area.
    3. Weight! That's right-weight. Enough weight so that you can shoot the 400 f5.6 lens, *with* the 1.4x TC, at 1/200 second, and still get sharp hand-held bird shots at sunset or on a cloudy day.
    4. SHARP, sharp single-pixel details. These pixels are HUGE at 8.8 microns. And Canon fitted a mild AA filter.
    Now, on to the myth of noise. On my 1Ds, auto-exposure values (or the EV meter calibration?) are dimmer than what the manufacturers use today. If you set the in-camera parameters to give a fairly linear tone curve, you can shoot +1/3 to +2/3 EV all the time without overexposing bright skies in the corners. When you do that, the 'noise' problem goes away. Yes-even at 1250 ISO, you can get great shots that you can print very large.
    There ARE downsides. The 1Ds has a slow processor, and a tiny, dim LCD. The batteries in your used find might be 6 years old, and NEED replacing with brand-new, very expensive *Canon* batteries. I've tried several third-pary batteries, and after half a year, they lose charge very fast.
    If you are a -photographer-, and not a digital technology junkie, the 1Ds provides images that photogs *still* rave about. Other than that last stop of dynamic range, I'll take my 6-year-old 1Ds over any D3 or D700. It produces full-bleed 13" x 19" landscape shots that you can 'grain-sniff' and still enjoy the tiny details. It's one of the truly great cameras of the digital age.
    1Ds tech and tips: http://home.earthlink.net/~ladlueck/
  30. Greg,
    I really like your Lower Elk Lake image. I went from an XTi to a 1Ds and a 1D IIn because I had the same questions you did, and wanted to know where things would go if had a better viewfinder and larger sensor. I ended up finding the 1D IIn much more forgiving in terms of lens flaws, and was much faster to use than the 1Ds in every way though so similar. THe 1Ds helped me capture some satisfying images, but when using all three cameras with five lenses, mostly tripod use with L-Plates, I chose the IIn images most, then the Xti, then the 1Ds when making prints. The megapixel difference is inconsequntial really between the 1Ds and 1D MkII when making prints, and especially on web. The IIn is incomparable with the other two for focus speed and accuracy in all lighting conditions, and its buffer is huge. Its lowlight capability is similar to the XTi, but you have a larger sensor and pixels so prints do look a little better. After testing extensively I sold the 1Ds, gave away the XTi to a family member, and kept shooting with the 1D IIn. I have added a Tenpa viewfinder magnifier, a RRS L-Plate and Brightscreen fresnel to the IIn, and I love it. I could buy a 1D mkIII or 1Ds II any time, but I am really happy with my IIn. As a side note, I tried the 17-40 and compared it to my old 15-30 sigma, and just kept the sigma as the 17-40 was quite dissapointing optically, though great for aesthetic and focusing [I am going to try the 14mm 2.8L II next]. I would try and find a 1D mk II or IIn for your $800 and enjoy, it is an amazing camera! For really wide shots, or landscapes like your Elk Lake I would just stitch several images to get a large image file to print from.
    Not that is that great, but to see you can go large ( I printed a similar version of this to 96 inches on metallic paper) have a look at one of my images and just keep zooming in bearing mind how wide the whole image is from my IIn: http://gigapan.org/gigapans/37264/
  31. Wow. Thanks for all of the input. I just purchased a very lightly used 1Ds! Less than 10000 actuations (of course this can't be verified but I believe it based on the overall condition of the body). I feel as though I have entered a whole new world. Just looking through that viewfinder feels like stepping into a new, magical place!

    I think I will be able to cope just fine with the menu system and the small LCD. Heck, I've been seriously considering picking up a decent film body and going back to film once and awhile and that would have neither an LCD or a menu system at all! I do think that we start to believe, or convince ourselves that we need all of the bells and whistles of the 'modern' DSLR when we in fact do not. I also wonder if sometimes those things tend to cause a distraction or add to the many elements that we are already trying to manage. Not that the 1Ds is a giant step back in time of course. But I do wonder if this will in some ways 'simplify' or 'declutter' the process a bit for the better. Maybe some small way it could take me back to the basics of exposure, composition and lighting the way that getting out a film camera once and awhile would.

    Then again, maybe not... the manual for this camera is a bit thicker than that of the XTi!
  32. Oh and thanks, Simon, for the comment on my Elk Lake photo. I don't love that one, but it was the only thing I could salvage from an outing that hadn't gone exactly to plan to say the least.

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