Upgrade to 50D Mark II

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by nathan_rigg, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. I currently have a 400D and in good light conditions I am fairly happy with this camera.
    Where I struggle is low light conditions as I am not great with a flash!
    This would be one of the key reasons for considering an upgrade.
    With the higher range of ISO settings available would this be answer? would the levels of noise at higher ISO cancel out the benefits?
    I am prepared to upgrade, but for the right reasons and don't want to be disapointed if I get similar results.
    I suppose another questions would be, should I be doing something different with my current kit or upgrade?
  2. Learn how to use flash would be the obvious and cheapest answer. It is a whole new ballgame and can be very frustrating - are you relying on flash as a majority of the light source or as fill-in to supplement natural light? Some people do all they can to use natural light and only use flash as a very last resort, others are more flexible. So do you mind using flash?
    Yes, the 5D2 (I presume that is what you meant to put in your title?) would reduce the need for flash and whether it is worth the cost depends a lot on how much of your work depends on low-light photography. And if your inexperience with flash is the only frustration then the 5D2 seems a mighty expensive way of overcoming it.
    To explore other avenues: what lenses are you using? What subjects do you photograph - sports, portrait, wildlife? If portraits, do you have a constant f2.8 lens? If longer work do you have a constant f4 (or f2.8) lens? If you don't t have such lenses already then when you upgrade to the 5D2 then you will probably want to get these anyway so why not start there?
    But if you get the 5D2 I fear you will still be a bit disappointed because once you get the new camera your goalposts (expectations) will move as well and you could be asking the same questions again in a year's time.
  3. Nobody can tell you whether you should be doing something different with your current kit when you don't tell us what kit you're using. The camera is only part of the question, what lenses are you using, what specifically are you trying to shoot?
    Also, there's not a 50D Mark II, you probably mean either the 50D, or the 5D Mark II.
  4. yes apologies, 5D mark II.
    I am currently using the 400D with a Sigma DC 17 - 70 (2.8 - 4.5).
    Mainly I shoot street, beach, graffiti, but being in the uk light is often not great!
  5. Nathan, before splashing out big money on camera bodies have you done all you can to improve your low light technique? I have a 400D, and while it's no 5Dmk2 I can coax good low light shots out of it.
    Use RAW as this offers more scope for adjusting exposure in post processing. As the light fails there is nothing wrong with bumping the ISO up to 800 or 1600. At these levels there will be some noise issues and I find that the images need to be well exposed (maybe slightly over-exposed) to be useful. Try experimenting with these settings and using the Noise Reduction function in DPP.
    There will come a point where this strategy gives images that are very noisey and lacking in any asthetic quality. Time to mount the camera onto a tripod and reset the ISO back to 100. With the camera firmly mounted you can set the aperture at its sweet spot and go for a longer exposure, seconds or longer.
    If a tripod is not possible bracing the camera against a fixed object will steady things for shortish exposures, but if this is a restriction maybe it's time to look at that FF.
  6. The 5D mark II is far better in low light. Not only does it have far less noise at high ISO but because it has a full frame sensor you can use some fast lenses with it that would not work so well with the 400D, like the 50mm f/1.8. Sure you can use the 50mm on the 400D but the FOV is too small for most indoors shooting. You can also use a 28mm as fairly wide angle lens, and there are some fairly fast 28mm for not too much money, but as far as I know no fast 18mm lenses, which is what you would need for the 400D.
    I had a chance to do some shooting with a friends 5D II and my 350D at the same time, the difference between the two was not small.
  7. The 5D Mk. II is quite an investment, if you are not sure. And then you would have to buy new lenses for that camera.
    Flash would help, but that does change the look of photos. Your Sigma is too slow for low light and I don't think it has Image Stabilization. You could try faster primes lens, the 50mm F/1.8 being the least expensive. Also there is the 35mm f/2, 28mm f/1.8. They would all be usable on the 5d, if you later went that route.
    Or get an IS zoom lens, the best for low light being the 17-55 F/2.8, but that's $1k and won't work on a 5D. The current kit lens, 18-55 F/3.5-5.6 IS II is very good, cost less then $200. So several options here, not just a 5D. Your budget is a major factor.
  8. Here's an example of a low-light shot with the Mk II, no flash: 50mm/f1.4 lens, ISO 1600, 1/8 sec. @ f1.7.
  9. Getting a server error on the photo upload. Second try.
  10. Are you currently using a tripod? Have you experimented with faster primes? What exactly are you unhappy with about the results? Unless you're trying to freeze the action, a tripod may be a better investment (and a smaller one).
  11. Correction to the f-stop on my shot - f7.1, not 1.7.
    You definitely need a tripod for low-light work, whether you upgrade or not. One huge advantage of the 5D Mk II is the lack of noise in the shadow areas at higher ISO settings.
  12. As pointed out here, you probably are looking at an investment of not only the camera, but some lenses.
    But you may also want to download some trial software, like DxO, for instance. I haven't tried it on smaller cameras, but I know that on mine, it does wonders when digital noise is an issue (sometimes other issues can arise, but mostly it does a great job). You might find one of these noise reducing processors will solve the problems you are currently facing.
    On the other hand, if money isn't an issue for you, then go for the 5dII, it is incredible in low light and better than even the 1dsmkIII--but maybe by only a stop or so!
  13. Why don't you wait a little while and take a good look at the recently announced T2i / 550D? It sounds like a real winner and it has the same controls as your 400D.
  14. As soon as you find a 50D MkII, I would grab it at all costs, this is a super rare camera that few if any people have ever seen.
  15. What flash are you using? If you are using the built in flash on the body keep in mind it has very limited power and flexibility. Additionally the 5D doesn't have a built in flash. So if you go for a 5D you will probably have to buy a flash and possbily a new lens (what lenses do you have?).
    I would purchase a good flash before I would go for a new body, flash, and lens. A 580EX has the greatest flexability. The 430EX not quite as much. Both would be a big improvement on your cameras built in flash and would cost a lot less than a new camera. Both put out a lot more light, and can bounce light off of the ceilling. Both also have internal lenses that allow they to through light further when a telephoto lens is attached to the camera.
  16. Nathan
    Every camera has a learning curve, not least the 5D2. I'm currently wrestling with flash (580 II) on a 40D and am losing more than I'm winning. However, I believe I'm learning all of the time.
    With great respect, I would be surprised if you can win in the longer term by trying to substitute cash for practising and building technique.
  17. Just a comment on the technique issue that is being raised here. There is a difference to the look of images where on camera flash is used and where only ambient light is used. Although it was left open to interpretation at the outset, I am not sure that the OP is concerned with these differences or not. Personally, even though I know how to use my flash, I never use it and prefer passing on a shot than pulling it out unless I specifically want the flash look, which is rare. So, having a high ISO camera is not necessarily a cheat but might be just fitting the tool to the need. But I certainly agree that it is good to learn to use one's equipment for when the need/desire arises.
  18. Thanks to all of you, I think I'll try the prime lens first as it seems like an inexpesive way to get the result I want (with some practice!)
    Nathan Gardener, no need to reply to any of my posts anymore!
  19. Nathan, it depends. Yes, do try the fast primes. But, they can not help as much as the 5D II will. However, if you don't have lenses of at lest f2.8 you will still have issues with AF. AF will work better with the faster lenses, even when they are stopped down. Still, the 5D II really helped in my lowlight situations. I could still use another stop or two though.
    If money is an issue, the original 5D is another good option. It looses a stop or a little more to the newer version, but does better than any of the xxD cameras and maybe even the 7D.
    The 5D will show a lot of short comings in your technique, so be aware, I'm getting use to it myself.
  20. two options:
    1) learn to use flash
    2) avoid slow lenses (f2.8 and slower)
  21. My humble opinion. I have always wanted to be a complete photographer. To me that means mastering as many diverse photographic skills as I can. I learned to use flash fill shooting weddings when the best usable ISO I could get was Fuji 400 in medium format. That was using Vivitar 283 thyristor flashes that had to be manually set for fill. Wasn't difficult and I felt I had more control than I do today with ETTL. I used flash a lot working for a newspaper. I also have a full frame body that holds its own at 3200 ISO without flash at times. The ability to use it is just another tool in the repertoire. I have found that when I need it I really need it. I also appreciate the Hi ISO capability of some DSLRs. The 5D2 has quite good high ISO capability and if you don't underexpose and get noise ISO 3200 is surprisingly good. Fill is very good in high contrast situations like swim meets when shooting into backlight. It saves noisy underexposed faces on swimmers headed toward you while not burning out the brightly lit water.
  22. I am prepared to upgrade, but for the right reasons and don't want to be disapointed if I get similar results.​
    Notwithstanding the very good advice regarding lenses, I have owned both the 400D and three different full-frame Canons. There is no comparison. You will not be disappointed if you move up to full frame cameras, and you will get results that are overwhelmingly better--but it will all come to naught without good glass.
    So. . . upgrade to the full-frame camera if you can also afford the glass, but all that is going to cost quite a bit. When I bought the 5D in 2006, I bought only two lenses, the 24-70 2.8L and the 70-200 2.8L IS. I have slowly added some primes, and I am delighted with the results, but for most of that first year I did quite well with the two high quality zooms. My first prime was the lowly 50 1.8, but it got the job done until I could afford other primes.
    There are a lot of ways to go here. I must say that the 400D can give good results, but it also has severe limitations. The best lenses will not make it into what it is not.
    As for flash photography, I can do pretty well with a flash, but I prefer to shoot without a flash where possible. The 5D II with fast glass can give splendid results in low light without a flash. If you can afford it, I would go for it.

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