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Author Topic: Help me upgrade my 550d  (Read 4804 times)

biscuit

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Help me upgrade my 550d
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:53:57 AM »

Hi all,

I am looking for some advice about upgrading my current camera.  Here's what I have at the moment:

Canon 550d, 50mm f1.4, 70-200 f4 L IS, 430EX II flash, Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS

I am interested primarily in portraits / people (maybe 80%), about 3/4 of which is of my 3 year old daughter.  The rest is mostly travel.  I do not do any wildlife, sports etc, that have special requirements.  A 3 year old is a fairly high-speed object with erratic movement though.

There are two reasons for upgrading.  The first is that the autofocus of the 550d struggles with fast moving subjects (i.e. children).  The second (less important) reason is that low light performance of the camera could be better.  I am generally happy up to about ISO 800, but after that it degrades rapidly.  I have also found the performance of the 17-50 disappointing, but I think this is because the AF system is particularly ill-behaved with this lens; the keeper rate is lower (maybe 60%), and there is fairly consistent back-focus which I can't correct.  I generally do not print anything larger than 8x10.  I will occasionally shoot video, but nothing serious.

I am trying to decide between the 7D and a 5D III.   In the 7D case, I would stick with the 17-50 and hope for improved performance given the better AF system and AFMA.  In the 5d III case, I would sell the 17-50 and replace it with a 24-105 f4.  I live in central Europe and hope to buy something on my next trip to the US in about a month (delivered to a friend's house to collect).  For this reason, the 6d and 7d II / 70d (if they ever appear) are not options.   Prices here are much higher, and I will not be back to the US for at least a year after this trip.  I also tried a Nikon d600, but really didn't like the ergonomics, plus I don't want to dump everything and start again.

The 5d III offers everything I want of course and is FF, but the price is very high and the camera is basically overkill for my purposes.  I don't care so much about the super robust build, dual card slots etc, and would gladly pay less to give up these features.   In this case I only have sufficient budget to buy the kit with the 24-105, which would leave me with a 3 lens configuration (50 1.4, 24-105 f4 and 70-200 f4), which will not actually be taking advantage of some of the camera's AF capability, and moving from the 17-50 f2.8 to the 24-105 f4 partially offsets the ISO improvements.   I can get the 5dIII + 24-105 kit for about 3750 USD.  That's not from an authorised dealer, but I don't care because I won't be in the US to return it anyway if it breaks.  I can recover ~450 USD by selling the 17-50 in this case, so say 3300 USD net.

The 7d is maybe a more logical choice for me, since it is a lot cheaper and addresses the more important AF concern.  However, I am not keen on buying something that is about to be replaced by a newer model.  It also has the same sensor as my 550d, so presumably the same low-light performance. The video capability is somewhat worse.  Refurbs go for about 1200 USD on occasion.  Given that that is about 2000 USD cheaper than the 5d III option, I would also consider buying some additional lenses;  probably the 24-105 f4 anyway (I realize not a popular crop choice, but the range I like most on crop), and an 85 f1.8 or 100 f2.  Even with those two added to the purchase, the total cost is several hundred dollars lower.

I'm grateful for any advice or other ideas.



 

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Help me upgrade my 550d
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:53:57 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 12:02:10 PM »
You mention being dissatisfied with the ISO performance of your 550D. The 7D uses the same sensor.

I think you'd be very happy with the 5DIII.
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robbymack

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012, 12:16:56 PM »
If you can swing it the 5diii is great. If you just don't want to put down the cash for it I'd say try a few different lenses,  the canon 17-55 f2.8 is substantially better than the sigma in the af department IMHO.  Although I would still seriously consider the Nikon d600 despite not really liking the ergo (that is usually something you can get over with a little time). Cheaper than the 5d, similar image quality, and likely much better than a 6d. other than your sigma lens the 50 1.4, 70-200 f4 IS, and 430ex should fetch a quick used sale for you so I don't think it would take all that much time to turn those around. Then just bargain price your sigma and it will move.

bdunbar79

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 12:25:43 PM »
What the heck are you guys talking about?  The D800 is the ONLY logical choice here, as it is THE greatest camera ever.  And don't shoot RAW, or that means you suck at photography.

Joking aside, if you can afford it then yes, the 5D Mark III is terrific and I think even though the cost is so high, it would be an investment you'd surely appreciate down the road.  I admit I have a pair of X's but I use the 5D Mark III just as frequently, especially when I want to crop really far.  It's a great camera and the AF system is really good as I've shot tennis with it.
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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 12:34:04 PM »
You mention being dissatisfied with the ISO performance of your 550D. The 7D uses the same sensor.

I think you'd be very happy with the 5DIII.
I'd also vote for the 5D MK III,  I preferred my 5D MK II over my 7D, but did not do much in the way of challanging sports photography.  The 7D does not have good high ISO performance, but its usable to 1600 if you use RAW.
5D MK II with truck goinng away from me, center point. It was at 5/5.6 which gives enough depth of field at that distance to make fast AF less important.

 
 

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2012, 01:41:08 PM »
My 2 cents...Was shooting a 50d and was frustrated with high ISO noise.  Were that not an issue, I was otherwise happy.  A friend has a 7d.  While it is a step up from the 50d, the high ISO noise performance was not enough improved, IMHO, to justify moving to this body.  I did go with a 5D3 (long thoughts about the $) and wow, I can't believe the difference!  Then, add in the focus point improvements and I am really convinced I made the right move.
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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2012, 01:54:11 PM »
If you can make it happen, go for the 5D3. You have to consider the possibility you might have wished that you did get the 5D3 months after you return to Europe and that would probably be stressful.

If budget is a problem, then yes, 7D may be good for you *for now*. You will have a camera with the same sensor and metering system but with more control and useful capabilities than you current body. Think of it as a 550D on steroids (except for the high ISO performance). With the 5D3 the ISO 12800 is usable except for pixel peepers. The new generation Digic 5+ processor makes a big difference. 

As all with "big ticket" purchases, there will always be some feeling of buyer's remorse at first but in my case, as cheapskate as I am who would more than likely return stuff for a refund, I never got to regret my 5D3 purchase - it's more than my 7D can do and I am very happy with it. The +$4000  I paid for the body with the battery grip is a distant memory now and I don't miss it anymore (and I only bought the 5D3 last August).

I wish you the best whatever choice you make.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 02:28:07 PM by TriGGy »

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2012, 01:54:11 PM »

biscuit

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 03:04:29 PM »
Hi again, OP here:

Sincere thanks all for the advice.  I am of course convinced that the 5DIII is the better body, but I confess that I was a little surprised by the unanimity of opinion. 

I'm hesitating because with the 5DIII I would end up with just the 24-105 f4, 70-200 f4, and a 50mm prime.  With the 7D I could get the body and also a few primes (28 and 100 say), with cash to spare.  (Realistically I might buy even more lenses, leaving no cash to spare...)

Is the 5D option really so much better in low light that it offsets the slower f4 24-105, bearing in mind that much of my use would be indoors? 


neuroanatomist

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 03:24:58 PM »
I'm hesitating because with the 5DIII I would end up with just the 24-105 f4, 70-200 f4, and a 50mm prime.  With the 7D I could get the body and also a few primes (28 and 100 say), with cash to spare.  (Realistically I might buy even more lenses, leaving no cash to spare...)

Is the 5D option really so much better in low light that it offsets the slower f4 24-105, bearing in mind that much of my use would be indoors?
I think the 5DIII low light advantage definitely offsets the stop lost going from f/2.8 to f/4.  A larger issue is that for many ambient interior scenes, even f/2.8 is not enough - on a FF camera, let alone APS-C. 

As for primes, using them wide open in low light has it's disadvantages, too - thinner DoF being the main one.  But the great thing about a FF camera is that you have more choices - a thinner DoF for a given max aperture, plus the ability to shoot at higher shutter speeds with a slower lens or a stopped-down fast lens.
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crasher8

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2012, 03:28:14 PM »
I went from a T2i to a 7D to a 5D3. Wish I would have skipped the 7D. I suggest sell all you have except the strobe and prime. Get a 5D3 and 24-105 f/4IS.

DCM1024

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 04:37:56 PM »
I went from T2i to 7D to 5D2 and wish I had skipped the 7D. We have monitors set up equidistant from the sofa, and you can literally see the iq difference between the 5D and 7D while sitting on the sofa. 5D3 would be even better for high ISOs and AF. We did get a 5d3 loan from CPS to compare to the 5D2. Missed all the great prices before MAP went into effect unfortunately.

canon_convert

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 05:06:22 PM »
Someone posted this deal in SD.... Not sure if a scam btw. Bite if you are feeling lucky ;)

edit : looks like they changed the price now...it was 2899 earlier for entire package

http://www.ebay.com/itm/350641987179?afepn=5335869999&campid=5335869999&PID=1225267&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 05:09:59 PM by canon_convert »
5D MkIII, 24-05, 50mm 1.4

neuroanatomist

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 05:11:49 PM »
Well, just to jump on the bandwagon...   ;)

I went from a T1i to a 7D to a 5DII to a 1D X.  I'm glad I didn't skip the 7D, because it made up for the 5DII's shortcomings in AF and fps. But if there had been a 5DIII available at the time, I would not have bought the 7D.
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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 05:11:49 PM »

ashmadux

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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 05:14:38 PM »
Skip the 7d (maybe)

I had both cameras, and just sold my 7d - so my t2i (get a grip!) is my workhorse at the moment until i replace the 7d. Everyone says that both cameras uses the same sensors, but there is a DRAMATIC iso noise difference if you are a pixel peeper. The 7d's images are a mush fest compared to the 550. The iq differences relate to how the 7d sensor pushes the highs, leading to wonderfully contrasted images. But look into those shadows...uh oh...the noise is ugly. 7d iso 100 noise alone should keep you away from it....its really really bad. So bad I sold my dearest.

IF you are a pixel peeper, stay away from 7d. If you are not, then go all in. Its a fabulous body. The handling, is just awesome..its an absolute pleasure to handle.

So I think your 550d focus issues possibly come from your lens (sigma? not surprising) and possibly technique. With both of my rebels my hit rates are north of 80 percent, and thats for fast moving people in the street with endless variety of lighting conditions.

I LOVE my t2i.

At the last fashion week, photogs kept asking me what body i was using, as it has the 70-200 2.8 mk ii attached to it...and i kept saying, dude, its a rebel....yup!

Last year i took the 7d to Singapore. This year, t2i all the way.


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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 05:22:16 PM »
If you get the 5DIII, I would love to hear how your low light AF performance goes using the 24-105 (or any lens FTM).  Mine was pretty pathetic as others have reported with their 5DIII bodies.  Regardless of how it works for you, specify what settings you are using, whether flash is used, etc.
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Re: Help me upgrade my 550d
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 05:22:16 PM »