Upgrade Rebel XT to 50D or New Glass?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by michael_pouliot, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm new here, so please be gentle if I break any forum rules...
    First off, I know this topic has been brought up before and I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but people in this situation are usually considering upgrading from like a 30D to a 50D or a newer Rebel to a 50D. My situation is slightly different…

    I’m rocking the Rebel XT (vintage, I know) which I have had for roughly 5 years. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this camera. It’s never failed me and it delivers consistent shots. I would like to upgrade to something with more mega pixels for larger prints and a better AF system would be really nice. Below is the rest of my kit:

    Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6
    Canon 17-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (kit lens)
    Canon 50mm f/1.8

    So here’s the dilemma…

    I have the opportunity to get a lightly used 50D at a really good price ($600) which would be a nice upgrade from my current camera. It seems that everyone here is pretty hardcore, so I'm not going to list the benefits of the 50D over the XT...plus, I would be typing all day. My only hesitation on pulling the trigger is everyone ALWAYS says to invest in glass for better pictures which I haven’t been able to do as you can see from my gear list. I could also pick up a PRISTINE Canon 17-40mm f/4L for the same price which would be a welcome replacement to the kit lens. Also, I could replace the 50mm with the f/1.4 or the 85mm f/1.8.

    I’ve shot a few weddings as a second shooter and I usually rent lenses when I need them…but that’s getting OLD. I enjoy shooting weddings and sports along with land/cityscapes so I'm not 100% which would the best move. The 50D would be a nice upgrade in speed, features, fps, and MP but lenses really do make the difference.

    I guess the real question is, which would make more of a difference as far as the quality of images goes? I know lenses make the difference, but the camera has to count for something…especially when you are upgrading from something over 5 years old. Has anyone made this jump and what were the results? Can anyone speak from experience?
  2. Buying new lenses won't speed up the AF nor will it really let you make larger prints.
    The 18-55 kit lens (non IS) is not all that great but on the 50D it's going to appear even worse for larger prints.
    Tough call.
    Seems like you're pretty certain about the limitations you're running into with the XT (my camera as well). If you really need larger prints or a greater ability to crop and a better AF system, it's hard to beat the 50D for that money. Make sure the deal is legit and not some sort of bait-and-switch.
  3. Normally I'd say get the glass, but that is a great price on a 50D and it will allow you to grow more as a photographer, so I'd go with the new body. I would however, try to replace the 18-55mm ASAP. The 17-85mm IS is a good lens for a low budget, but the 17-40mm L that you mentioned is very nice.
  4. Thanks for the input Rob. I am a little skeptical of this deal...I may walk away and either get some new glass or just save for something else.
    Are all of the photos in your gallery shot with the XT?
  5. Also, you mentioned you like to shoot sports, the 50D shoots 6.3fps. No glass will improve the photos you never get because your camera is slow. And if there's nothing wrong with the 50mm 1.8, I'd keep it and not worry about the 1.4 version. The 1.8 takes great pictures its just cheap because its plastic. If its not broke don't fix it. If it breaks down the road then consider the 1.4, but I wouldn't cross that bridge until you get to it. I wanted the 1.4 so bad, but got the 1.8 instead and I'm glad I saved myself the couple hundred dollars. I ended up buying a nice tripod with the money i saved, which improved my pictures a lot more than the extra .4 of aperture would have.
  6. If that deal doesn't happen then look at a 40D. You can get a mint used one for under $700. Thats what I use and I actually prefer it over the 50D.
  7. Thanks Nathan. LIke Rob said, I'm a little worried this deal is too good to be true...I have until tonight to decide...a craigslist thing.
    I am in LOVE with my 50mm...what an amazing lens; easily the best $80 I've ever spent. This thing REALLY makes the kit lens look like a joke. I've gotten used to shooting with this prime and I may contiune down this road but I do like a good "walking" lens. I think the 17-40mm would suit most of my needs and for situations that require a faster lens, I can just bust out my 50mm.
    I was also considering dumping the 10-20mm and using the money from that to get either 24-105L or the 24-70L. Again, I could get two primes and the 17-40 for the price of one of these lenses...so it's a tough call. If I start to get more paying gigs it may be easier to dump several grand into new equipment :)
    I may try to find a local forum member with a 50D or 5D to see if maybe they would let me take a few shots to see which is more up my ally. Like I said, I'm new to this site but there seems to be a TON of good info and the people have been extremely friendly and helpful.
  8. I have actually been looking for a 40D for the past month or so when this 50D deal came up. I thought "Hey, a 50D for the price of a 40D! What a deal!" but that was before I read all of the reviews on the 50D. It looks like most people actually prefer the 40D which is surprising. Others say that the added features of the 50D make it worth the upgrade. I may just keep on looking for the perfect deal to see see what comes up. I was about 5 mins too late on a great deal. A 40D, 580EXII, and the 24-105L for $1,300. That's basically like hey buy my lens and flash and I'll throw in a 40D. Damn.
  9. I'd tell the guy you want it but you want to see it and test it before any money changes hands. I was in the same position you are in about lenses. I wanted to sell my 10-22mm and 17-85mm for a 24-70mm L, but I realized that 24mm isn't very wide on a crop body, so I got the 17-40mm and 50 1.8 instead. It was a great move. I never used the 10-22mm, but I do like having the 17mm on the wide end, I don't think I'd give that up. I'd get the 17-40mm, keep the 50mm and look into a tele-zoom when you save more money. The 70-200mm f4 L is a great L lens with a non L pricetag. Used about $500.
  10. First, let's go with what (for me anyway) is the easy one. I have and like the 50/1.4. But don't go there, at least not right now; this should be, at best, third on your list of priorities. The 50/1.8 is fast and sharp, and while I believe the 50/1.4 is better in all ways, it's not that much better. So put this possibility on the back burner until you run out of other upgrades that will have a greater effect. The 85/1.8 is a well-regarded lens with very good optics and very quick autofocus; if its focal length suits your needs, it would be a good option to add (and I say add rather than trading in the 50/1.8 on it because you won't get a great deal of trade value on the 50; I think you're better off keeping it).
    Now, I said that was the easy one. The hard one for me is to decide whether upgrading the body or the kit lens is more important. Ideally, you'd do both. Newer bodies have not only more megapixels but tons of other advances, including offering those extra megapixels with the same or even lower noise levels, and a 50D is definitely an improvement. But better glass is always a good thing. The 17-85 that Mr. Gardner mentioned is a step up (optically, AF system, and IS). The 17-40 is another step or two up, though in the years I had it as my most-used lens on my 20D, I found its zoom range somewhat confining, which is one of the reasons I traded it in on the 17-55/2.8 IS USM (but that's a fair bit more expensive again).
    You don't mention a flash as part of your kit. If you don't have one, that's yet another thing to put on the list. The pop-up flash is OK but there are tons of advantages to a shoemount flash, including (and not all flashes have all of these characteristics) more power, less red-eye, a more effective and less annoying autofocus assist beam, and very importantly the ability to tilt and swivel so you can bounce the flash to obtain much better lighting quality.
    Sorry that I can't really help you out by giving you a definite order in which to upgrade your kit. But I hope something I've written will help you make your decisions.
  11. If your going to stay with ASP-C get something that starts in the 15-18mm range. 24 is not wide enough. As to Craigslist I have gotten some great deals buying used but just make sure to inspect the gear. Sounds like your all over the place as to what to buy next. I would take my time and see what you lack most with your current setup and then go from there.
  12. The 50D doesn't really have many more features. The major "upgrade" is the 15MP vs. the 10MP of the 40D, which I'm not sure is really an upgrade. The excess MP cause more noise at higher ISOs. Other than that the only thing I can think of is the HDMI cable jack to look at photos on an HDTV and I think its expandable to 6400 ISO instead of only 3200. I think the 3200 is unacceptable and I only use it when I don't have a choice. I would never use ISO 6400.
  13. It's funny you say that Nathan...that's pretty much exactly what I've been thinking. I think I may hold off on this 50D deal...I'm still not 100% though. If I do bail, I'm going to grab that 17-40L and put my 10-20mm up for sale. It's actually a great lens and I was very impressed with the build quality but it's actually a little too wide for me.
    I like the size and weight of the 70-200 f/4 but I think I need the f/2.8 for indoor stuff. I'm just not sure the IS is actually worth it. I've heard some swear by it and others say IS isn't worth the premium (usually like $600 difference)...that's another dilemma for another day.
  14. Steve,
    I agree with you on the 50mm, the 1.8 is just fine for me now. The 85mm is nice and it would give me some additional reach. I'll probably ditch the 10-20 and go for something a bit longer...either this or the 2.8 version of the 70-200. I have been looking into flashes but that isn't priority #1 right now. At least I know what I want for that :)
    Yeah, I am all over the place...it sucks when you don't really have anything and you need/want everything. I have the money to go all in, but I'm a little hesitant to do that as I tend to this and then end up regretting it. I’m going to take it slow and get things piece by piece to make sure I’m happy with my gear before I grab something else. I’ll probably go with lenses and a flash for now…maybe Santa will bring me a new camera.
  15. Depends what you want to shoot with it. For portraits, IS may help, but for sports and wildlife where you need to freeze action, IS won't help, only a fast shutter speed will freeze action. I have the 70-200mm f/4. I would like the 2.8, but don't have the $$$, but at least I know when the time comes, I can get my money back on my current lens.
  16. Michael, you said you were new here. If you ever need more camera advice, this is always a great place, but there is a Canon Digital Photography group on Facebook that is very helpful. They have a discussion board where you can ask and discuss different issues and there's some very knowledgeable people there.
  17. I agree with going with lenses first. Bodies get cheaper while most lenses go up in value so you will never loose money on a lens, especially if you go with Canon L lenses. I personally am not a big fan of the 17-40 as a standard zoom for ASP-C but its a very nice lens, better then I was expecting though I hardly ever use mine since I have a 24-105. I would get a flash after the lens, it opens up worlds of possibilities and for weddings or portraits its a must.
  18. Thanks for the heads up on the FB page!
  19. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this you might want to cover your telephoto range before you look to improving over the kit lens, unless you really never would need to shoot anything in the telephoto range. The 70-200mm f/4 L is a great portrait lens, works for wildlife, and it'd let you take shots you couldn't get with any other lens in your kit. You've mentioned that you rent lenses -- do you find you need to rent in the 100mm range often?
  20. How about a new body plus the new IS kitlens? That would be a big upgrade.

    There are great kit deals out there or get a used 40D or 50D.
  21. Hey Sean,
    Yeah, I have been drooling over the 70-200mm f/2.8L for a long time. I don't know if the f/4 version will cut it for what I need although it is a great deal compared to the other L series stuff. If I hold off on a body, I will probably go for some version of this lens after I get the 17-40mm.
  22. Do remember that for anything that is relatively stationary , IS will go a long way toward making a lens usable in available light situations. f/4 is really pretty fast when you can handhold down to four-tenths of a second and still get usable results.
  23. I upgraded from a Rebel XT to a 50D (purchased new) last Christmas and I have no regrets. My 50D just recently had an electronics problem, and is currently being repaired by Canon (under warrantee), so I've had to resort to using my old Rebel XT for the past 2 weeks. Between the brighter/bigger viewfinder + LCD, better AF/low-light/ISO/metering, I cannot freaking wait until I get my 50D back (which should be arriving tomorrow!).
    I'm sure the 40D is great too, but don't believe all the 50D haters--its a wonderful camera and you will be extremely happy upgrading from the XT.
  24. You might look into the Canon Loyalty program (I don't know the current status of same - I think they were allowing a broken XT to be traded in for a refurbished 50D for $629 - that was the rumor anyway).
    As to the 17-40, it's a great wide angle lens on a full frame such as the 5D. It's OK as a walk-around on a crop sensor camera such as the Xt or 50D. The range is limited - even more so than your old kit lens. It can take beautiful shots though.
    If I were getting a walk-around lens for a 50D, and did not want to spend a bunch of money at the outset, I'd get the 28-135 IS which is available as a kit with the 50D. I think the Canon loyalty proram may still offer you the kit also. Or you can usually get one for about $250 in mint condition off Craigslist if you wait and look hard enough. When you are ready to upgrade (and provided you don't see getting a full frame camera in the near term) then look at the 17-55 IS or the 24-105IS (the latter works on a full frame too).
    As to buying a 50D off Craigslist with no more warranty left and no idea as to the number of shutter actuations, be very careful. You might look for used/refurbished cameras at Adorama or B&H instead. That camera you are thinking about could be worth nothing or $1,100 - who knows?
    If you are happy with the size of the XT and its menu system, layout of the controls, etc., you might want to look into a new Xsi (they are still available) or the T1i. You'll get brand new camera with a full one year warranty (from an authorized Canon dealer) for the same price or less than you'd pay for the 40D or 50D used or refurbished. I prefer the 40D over the Rebels but YMMV.
  25. Glass is always a better investment as bodies become obsolete. However, sometimes its nice to have better camera in your hands.

    Plus that's a pretty good deal on the 50D. At $600 I think it would be well worth it to upgrade.
  26. Hey Jeff thanks for the heads up on the Canon Loyalty thing...I've never heard of this. I called and they said that they only accept broken cameras. I guess it's to help Canon customers get a new camera when they have broken their camera out of warranty. It's a pretty awesome program, but my gear is working just fine.
  27. I say: make a decision now whether to go FF or crop, and stick to it for the foreseeable future. Don't get caught halfway in between formats (50D and 17-40/4).
    If you decide crop, get that 50D. You'll love it. Start looking at a Tamron 17-50/2.8 (VC or non-VC) or Canon 17-55/2.8 IS as your next purchase.
    If you decide FF then get that 17-40, use it on your XT for now, and start saving for a 5D2 and a 24-something standard zoom.
  28. I'd say that if you are happy with the lenses that you currently have, and you've had that venerable XT for five years and you just want to modernize a bit, that...
    ... the 50D sounds like a fine idea.
  29. Alright, I'm going to check out the 50D tonight. I'm going to put this thing through the ringer before I hand over any cash so I'll let you all know how it goes.
    I figure that the 50D more than meets my needs and it is a significant upgrade from what I have now. If this works out then I'll start saving for some nice glass and a flash.
    I'll let you know how it goes!
  30. Good luck. Hope it works out. The 50D is a fine camera, very capable and easy to control. Don't worry about the anti-50D comments. They are an urban legend. The only disadvantage relative to the 40D that I could find is a SLIGHT increase in noise--so slight that Bob Atkins found that if you used noise reduction (which costs resolution) to offset it, the resolution still beat the 40D. And the 50D adds a number of valuable features, like Canon's sensor cleaning system and lens microadjustment. Take a look at http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digital/canon_eos_50D_review_3.html to see noise tests and http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E50D/E50DA.HTM for a comparison of features. No reason to avoid either of these cameras.
    For full disclosure: I upgraded to a 50D from an XTi last spring after reading endless reviews of the 50D and 40D. I have been very pleased.
    If this one doesn't work out, there will be others.
  31. 50D is a stinker. Keep reading, you shouldn't have much trouble finding copious complaints about the noise and softness. Out of 5 Canon DSLRs I've owned it was only slightly less disappointing than the D60 seven (?) years ago.
  32. The 50D doesn't really have many more features. The major "upgrade" is the 15MP vs. the 10MP of the 40D, which I'm not sure is really an upgrade. The excess MP cause more noise at higher ISOs. Other than that the only thing I can think of is the HDMI cable jack to look at photos on an HDTV and I think its expandable to 6400 ISO instead of only 3200. I think the 3200 is unacceptable and I only use it when I don't have a choice. I would never use ISO 6400.​
    Contrast detect AF in Live View? AF Microadjustment? full-VGA LCD? Of course, these features may or may not be important to you, but for some folks they matter more than pixel count.
    I have used 20D, 40D and 5D, currently use 5DII and 50D, and have just bought a 7D for my wife, so I can comment on camera performance without, I hope, being accused of defending a favourite toy, and I can tell you that the 50D is a fine camera. Not as fine as the 7D or the 5DII, but a definite step up from the 40D which in turn was a significant step up from the 20D and (very similar) 30D. You can make good use of the high ISO settings on the 50D, but you need to be prepared to make thoughful use of NR (by comparison with the 5DII, where I don't find the need to bother with NR up to ISO 3200). Per-pixel, the 50D probably has at least as much noise as the 40D, perhaps a bit more, but the substantial increase in pixel count more than compensates for this on a per-image basis.
  33. I recently sold a 40D on Craigslist. The individual who bought my camera asked the number of actuations. I didnt really know, I suspected it was between 15 and 20K. We did our usual "meet at the nearest Starbucks". When he arrived he set up a laptop, tokk my camera, hooked it up to computer, ran a program called EOSinfo.exe and told me that I have exactly 19,246 actuations. Good thing I didnt tell him 5K.
    Anyway, this program can be found at the following website and I believe they have a version for both Mac and PC. Good luck on the purchase, I took my cash and about $1000 and ran, cash in my hot hands, to purchase the 7D. Life is sooo good.
  34. I think its more important to shoot now, than later (within reason). Buy what you can. The pictures are the most important part of this hobby/business, not the equipment. Inspiration and opportunity will not wait, nor does my attention :)
    A 50D will buy you more low light performance and AF speed/accuracy. Is that what you want? If so, I'd sell the kit lens you own with the XT and consider the EF 18-55 IS which is available for really cheap. That'll keep you going indefinitely until you make the L leap.
    Good luck with your next purchase. /bing
  35. Hi all. First off, I want to thank everyone for their input…you all very helpful and brought up some good points.
    I went last night to check out the camera and I ended up pulling the trigger. I was pretty blow away buy this thing compared to the XT. The camera is in “good” shape, but you can definitely tell it has been used. The guy is an avid night photographer but he was up front about everything and let me run it through the ringer for about an hour.
    I took a few shots when I got home and I’m pretty impressed with the results…this thing makes me love my 50mm even more. Here’s my thoughts after using it for about an hour:
    -Image quality is great. I’ve only take a few shots but IQ looks great so far. Crops look awesome.
    -The AF speed is amazing especially in low light; my XT would just search and search in low light.
    -This is the perfect size and weight for a camera. The XT was too small for my hands even with the battery grip.
    -The screen is AMAZING
    -Self cleaning sensor is a really nice feature
    -Dedicated physical buttons. The rebel had few dedicated buttons for things like ISO and metering. I like not having to search through menus or hold a button and use the wheel to change settings.
    It’s going to take a while to get through the manual on this one…the thing is a friggin novel but I’m really excited to try some of these new features. I can’t wait to try the micro lens adjustment feature…this sounds sweet.
    Anyway, thanks again for the help. I’m going to spend the weekend putting up stuff on Craigslist and eBay to raise some extra funds for glass J
  36. Congratulations! I'm sure you will love it.
    I recently upgraded from the XT as well and know the feeling - the new camera is just more substantial, easier to use, better in so many little ways not even related to image quality. It feels like a "real camera". Have fun!
  37. Congrats Michael! I'm sure you'll enjoy the new camera.
  38. congratulations on your new purchase!
    If you are still thinking about the Canon 17-40 I would give serious consideration to the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 instead. It is a superb lens and by all accounts to the Canon 17-55 f2.8 a run for its money at a much lower price - and the extra 10mm will make it a much better walk-around lens.
  39. Congratulations! It is a great camera. Give yourself a few weeks to get acclimated to the controls. They are MUCH better than those on the Rebel series, but it took me awhile to stop fumbling around. the more you use it, the more you will love it.
  40. Now you'll be upgrading your lenses anyway:) Ask me how I know.
  41. This site and it's members ROCK! Thanks again for the help everyone :)

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