XSi or heavier semi pro 40D or 50D

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by suzanne_d, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Help, I just can't decide if the more professional camera of the 40D/50D is worth the extra weight compared to my
    Rebel XTi. Most of my photography is done while hiking & traveling. I love nature and landscape photography.
    I consider myself a serious amateur, often geting called upon to do friends & family weddings when they can't afford
    a professional photographer. Also, I volunteer to do some family portrait work outside for low income families.
    I'm concerned that the 40D/50D will just feel so heavy lugging it on the hiking trails that I'll end up substituting it for
    my G9 P & S and regret upgrading.
    To those of you who upgraded from an XT/XTi, has it been worth the extra weight? Did you notice an improvement in
    your photo's? Is it a much more pleasurable camera to shoot with?
    Should I sell my XTi and get a 40D, 50D or maybe just an XSi (light but with spot metering which I want) or just keep
    my XTi? With camera body technology changing so rapidly, I'm not so sure that it is worth the cost of upgrading to
    the more semi pro camera.
    Bulky, HEAVY camera....is it really worth it when most of my photography is out in nature and I have to carry it often
    for miles UPHILL in the mountains? Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me.
  2. I had a 20D first (pretty close to 40D in size and weight) and bought an XTi when I wasn't sure if repairs would be done in time for a trip, and as a backup generally. I found that I like the XTi better with the battery grip. So it's a very individual decision, but I prefer the controls on the x0D series to those on the smaller cameras. I use the top panel a lot, so really miss it on the XTi.
  3. I don't think our opinion should matter. After all, everybody has different needs, preferences and physical strength. I prefer
    a heavier and larger camera as it's easier to hold steady, is more comfy in the hand, has more external controls, larger VF
    and better AF, exposure and flash systems. But if small size and weight is paramount, a XSi is the ticket.

    I have a 40D and my wife an XTi. Image quality is virtually identical although 40D AF and flash seem a couple levels more
    dependable. Of course the 40D is also a lot faster and another stop of ISO. So if you want a step up in rez and IQ, spring
    for the 50D or XSi.
  4. I have struggled with the "carry weight" issue for some time. Here are my current thoughts. I have an XTi with a stable of nice lenses and a battery pack. I find it too heavy to carry into the woods for casual shooting (unless I strip it down and put on a 50 mm prime). So, I use the XTi when I have "intention of that quality of photography." I am going to upgrade to the 50D for the same shooting. Now, when I go on into the woods, I carry a Olympus 550 uz. It is light and versitile, like your G9 only with a 18x optical zoom. On a daily basis, I carry a Canon 770 in my pocket. The point here is that I find that I take more pictures with the lighter cameras becasue they are easier to carry. Nonetheless, they are no substitute for the quality of the SLR's. The Canon is 1.5 pounds, the XTi is slightly less at 20 oz. In summary, I don't find the body to be an issue but rather the weight of the lenses. The G9 is an awfully nice camera.
  5. The main reason to upgrade to a 40D/50D is the user interface and controls. They make the camera faster to use. If you don't need that, or some other feature you can't get in an XSi, don't bother. Lighter is better if you're hiking.
  6. You are the only one ultimately that can know what you like and what you will do. The XTi as you know is an excellent camera. The XSi is even better with some improvement in autofocus, metering and image quality. There is a lot to be said for using a camera you know and are familiar with. My suggestion is to keep the XTi and get an XSi. Doing any kind wedding or portrait work you would do well to have a backup camera available. I use both the XSi and 40D. Weekdays commuting I carry the XSi because of the size and weight. I don't notice any difference in the image quality that I didn't cause. You didn't say much about lenses but a good constant 2.8 zoom is very convenient to have; maybe the Canon 17-55mm 2.8 or the Tamron 17-50mm 2.8. Good luck. Here's a quick portrait with the XSi. [​IMG]
  7. Puppy Face wrote: "I don't think our opinion should matter."

    Ah, but our experiences might.

    I did a lot of backpacking photography using a Canon XT for perhaps a year or so. Since then I've used a 5D for this and my
    other photography. So I've used both categories of gear on the trail. Given that I shoot a 5D and lug along some lenses and a
    tripod you might expect me to simply recommend the larger bodies, but it isn't that simple.

    First, as I think you understand, there are trade-offs that can be made. You could carry a larger camera (and many lenses and a
    tripod, etc.) but then again this could interfere with your enjoyment of the hiking experience or even cause you to leave the whole
    kit at home. On the other hand you recognize that the X0D bodies provide some features that the Rebels may not.

    Second, it matters quite a bit what and how you shoot when you are on the trail. Do you do a lot of photography of highly active
    subjects? Do you use a tripod or hand hold the camera or both? Are you primarily shooting highly detailed landscape images? Are
    you carrying really large telephotos and stalking wildlife? Do you tend to shoot slowly and carefully or are you more likely to point
    and shoot? And so forth...

    Third - what you do with the photos? Do you mostly share them electronically online or via email? Do you send them out to have
    small photos made to share with friends? Do you do your own printing? Do you frequently make very large prints for high quality
    framed display? Are you selling your images? And so on.

    My choice to lug a 5D and associate heavy stuff across high mountain passes certainly changes my backpacking experience.
    The weight of my camera gear is at least as great as the base weights (e.g.- everything but food and water) of the entire packs
    that some of my friends carry. I get up and on the trail an hour or more before they do since I have to move more slowly, and I
    typically am the last one into camp. But because I strive for images that can be printed at fairly good sizes and because I most
    often focus on landscape subjects, for _me_ this is worth it.

    I don't think it would be for most backpacking photographers. One place where the smaller, lighter Rebels can be the "best"
    choice for many photographers is in precisely this circumstance. Not only is the smaller size and lighter weight welcome, but
    there is no real image quality downside if you use cameras with the same or very similar sensor technology. You are going to get
    image quality from the XSi that is at least as good as that from the 40D, and either camera is certainly capable of capturing
    images (shot with care and good technique and good lenses) that can be printed up to at least 16" x 24" dimensions. (I have sold
    prints from the XT shot this way at that size.) One could argue that the 50D might produce images that could be enlarged a slight
    bit more, but are you really likely to make a lot of prints larger than what the XSi can produce? And, the difference in print
    dimensions supported by the higher photosite density is really fairly minor.

    Unless you _need_ some of the non-IQ features of the larger cameras I don't think it makes sense to carry them on the trail. If
    you _are_ going to go with a larger body, it makes more sense to get full frame.

  8. i'm not sure i get this. you're going hiking and/or camping. you're carrying all the gear needed. how will the few additional ounces of the 40/50d vs. the weight of an xti matter?

    i primarily shoot street. this means i carry all my gear for miles (and miles). my gear weighs just about 25 pounds -- (much) more if i take a tripod and water. if i switched out my 40d for an xti it wouldn't make any real difference. i'm not sure if i'd even notice.

    if you're debating whether to carry a g9 vs. an xti with 3 or 4 lenses -- that's quite a difference in weight. but an xti with 3 or 4 lenses vs. a 40/50d with the same lenses? not so much difference.

    for what it's worth they say the 50d is lighter than the 40d (don't ask me why)
  9. If you pack a half dozen lenses, tripod, Speedlite and bodies an extra 500 grams on a body ain't gonna matter. The only
    real diff is if she carries a single body and compact lens. I carried my 40D/BG-E2, 17-55 2.8 IS, 430EX and Lowepro Sheath Reporter 200 for 8-16 hours per day, everyday for 3 weeks in Europe earlier this summer. I figured it was the most I
    could stand to carry, and I was right! My damn shoulder was sore! 4 or 5 hours was no problem but all day and night was
    tough on my 130 lb frame. My wife only carried an XTi and 24-85 3.5-4.5 USM in a small Tamrac Ultralight. Her rig
    weighted about 1/3 of mine. However I was able to nail pics in many situations--dark churches and bars--she merely got
    blur and noise. The extra stop of ISO, F2.8 and IS made a lot of difference.
  10. Puppy Face has the right answer. It is only really an issue if you just want to travel light with one lens and one body. If you take a bag full of gear, it is not an issue. You won't notice the difference.
    I actually had the same debate, as I often used to take the 400D (XTi?) with just a Sigma EX DC 18-50 f2.8 on cycling and walking excursions and the light weight was welcome. I was offered a good upgarde deal to get the 40D and in the end didn't regret it.The 40D is streets ahead in many ways. It wasn't so much the extra weight that was a minor problem, more the slightly bigger size. Gary
  11. Susan, have you had a chance to handle the 40D yet? You may just find that it feels to big and clumsy in your hands, in which case you might not want one anyway.
  12. I have both the XTi and 40D. I use the XTi a lot with the EF-S 17-85 lens for casual photography and when size and weight is an issue. Where IQ and outright performance is an issue I use the 40D with the EF-S 17-55 lens and the EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS L. Both cameras have their place. I kept the XTi for that very reason rather than selling it when I got the 40D. I also use a Panasonic FZ8 when I want to travel really light and a Panasonic TZ3 when I want to travel really really light. If IQ is of the utmost importance I use my medium format Mamiya. Everything in photographic equipment is a compromise. You need to decide which one you are prepared to accept. I've made many nice photographs with the XTi. My advice would be to travel light and enjoy the hike. Thats what I do.

    Cheers, Bob
  13. I know what you're going through Susan. For my serious or paid shooting I use a 5d with 4 L lenses - heavy but effective for most any circumstance. For my pleasure shooting I do a full turn around. I use the Canon G9 and the Canon G6. The G9 has 12 mp and a 6x zoom (but a slow lens). The G6 has 7 mp with a 4x zoom but a fast F2 lens for low light work. I shoot RAW mode with both cameras. Both G series cameras with accessories weigh less than my 24-70L lens and give surprisingly good results. I've printed nice cropped 16x20 shots with both cameras.
  14. Galen Rowell was not above using a simple camera to cut weight - see his articles:


    and view some of his images for some inspiration...
  15. Alan wrote: "i'm not sure i get this. you're going hiking and/or camping. you're carrying all the gear needed. how will the few
    additional ounces of the 40/50d vs. the weight of an xti matter?"

    Right. You don't get it.

    If you had carried a pack full of a week's worth of gear over 12,000' trail-less passes you would understand the completely
    reasonable and obvious concern about "an extra 500 grams." As one famous writer on the subject once said, "If you watch
    the ounces the pounds will take care of themselves."

    In my car supported photography or in photography on urban walks or short hikes I carry a ton of gear - could be a half
    dozen lenses and a very large tripod. This is enough stuff to fill a pack that is almost as large as the pack I carry of week
    long back country trips.

    When I backpack I typically take only two lenses and I rely on a smaller tripod. I would not carry _any_ extra weight that
    doesn't contribute materially to my ability to get the types of photos I'm after.

    And the camera body is not the only issue. Let me draw a comparison for you. For other types of shooting one might use:

    full frame body (1-series, anyone?)
    5-6 lenses, perhaps including f/2.8 zooms like the 16-35, 24-70, 70-200
    full size tripod - perhaps metal? - and large ball head

    For backpacking I carry:
    17-40mm f/4
    24-105mm f/4
    smaller carbon fiber tripod leg set
    Acratech Ultimate ballhead (1 pound)

    Compare the weight of the _system_ for backcountry use and you'll see that the ounces do indeed add up to pounds.

    Finally, there is one more point about weight issues for this kind of photography. We can be pretty cavalier about gear
    weight in many situations. We might carry an extra lens or a heavier body because, "Who knows? It just might come in
    handy." But in the backcountry it doesn't make any sense to carry larger/heavier gear that won't add anything to your
    photographic results. An _excellent_ example is that addressed in this thread. If one is primarily a landscape shooter, many
    of the features added to the 40D, for example, as compared to the XSi are completely superfluous. When it comes to the
    thing that matters most - the ability to capture a high quality image - the XSi will perform at least as well as the 40D. If the
    OP's shooting style makes this the case, there is no reason to carry even one extra ounce that doesn't contribute.

  16. The difference between the XTi and 30D is a bit over 6 ounces. IMO, that is not enough to overburden a photographer with weight. The total weight of the camera/lens package that you use would also be heavily (no pun intended) influenced by your selection of lenses. There is a great variance in weight of lenses. I have found however, that the 30D and 40D size cameras balance better for me with slightly larger lenses than did my 350D (Rebel XT). I ended up using a battery grip on the XT. Not because I needed more battery power (I can shoot all day with one or two XT batteries) but, because I wanted the extra bulk to balance lenses such as the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS. This use of a battery grip negated the advantage of the 30D lighter weight and smaller size.

    I simply enjoy shooting with the 30D and 40D far better than I did with the XT. I don't believe that for normal every day photography, you will see much of a difference in image quality (if any) between the XT, XTi, 30D and 40D cameras. I like the xxD viewfinders, focusing, control setup, metering system and just about everything else about the xxD cameras.
  17. I would reccomend the 40d, as i find it a better all round camera, more comfortable to use, hold, and better pictures. I had an XT for a while but for various reasons bought a 40d too. i found that even when i was hiking, and rock climbing i far prefered to take my 40d and the XT became almost redundant, and as a result i sold it last week. Going to the 40d is a step up, and once you get used to it, i felt i just didnt want to go back.
  18. I agree with Puppy Face's comment.

    As I sit here typing tonight, my shoulder aches as I I used one of my heavier body/lens combos for a good part of
    the day. The thought never crossed my mind about wanting/needing a lighter setup. Since it is a concern of
    yours, the choice seems obvious.

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