Canon T1i vs Canon 50D

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by plaidhippo, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. plaidhippo macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Hi all,
    I am a looking to upgrade from my canon sd800is to something with a bit more control. I am learning a lot about photography but I'm far from professional at this point. I want it for travel photos and also action photos. I am torn currently between the Canon T1i and the Canon 50d. I did a bit of homework between the two and the major differences are price, video capability, and high speed photo capability. Here is a quick breakdown. I would love for any of the photographers here to please suggest what may be the upsides and downsides of each model and if one would be significantly better than another.

    T1i - street price ~750 (body only)
    1080p video @ 20fps, 720p @ 30fps
    3.4 fps for continuous shooting
    shutter speed max 1/4000
    sdhc cards

    50d - street price ~1050 (body only)
    NO video at all
    6.3fps for continuous shooting
    shutter speed max 1/8000
    better autofocus speed and sensitivity
    cf cards

    Looks like the same digic 4 processor powers both and the external display and internal sensors are virtually identical from what I've seen. So the real question is interface differences and functionality, and if one really provides a difference in picture quality than the other. I love the idea of HD video capture, but the high speed photos seems like it could be really great to have as well. Any advice on what to consider would be really helpful.

    Secondary question - is it better to buy soon at the best price online, or should I wait for any after-thanksgiving-day sales? I don't know if waiting for that day would yield any special deals - has it been worth waiting for in the past? Would retailers even offer deals on high end equipment like this?

    Anyway, thanks for reading and hopefully responding!

  2. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y

    First and foremost...

    I would look to buy used. Its just like buying a car used. No real reason not to, other than to have it "NEW" (Or a warranty, I guess).

    I buy nearly all of my gear on craigslist.

    Downside-No return policy. HOWEVER. Best buy, Nat cam, DO have 30 day full refund policies, so I find myself abusing those, often :rolleyes:, THEN going to craigslist to make the REAL purchase.
  3. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the only reason to get a Rebel over a more advanced body is the size.

    think about what size camera you'll actually carry around, then go through your options. that might mean 500D or 50D or a (micro) 4/3 camera.
  4. plaidhippo thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    So aggregating the current suggestions would imply looking into a used 50d?

    Personally for such a high dollar investment, I would like warranty and thus am likely to buy new.

    Are there any reasons in terms of image quality or ease of use or features that help me understand why one would be a better choice than the other? I understand about the size of the two, that is a valid point, but does that imply that these are too similar other than that one reason? More input would be greatly appreciated! And thanks for the quick responses!

  5. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
    Go for a used 40D. The noise levels with higher ISO is better on it. Very few reasons to spend a couple hundred more on the 50D. Put that money towards accessories, investments, or something.
  6. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I just finished a lot of research before getting my first dslr. The folks at the camera shop insisted on putting the 50d in my hands over the T1i. The build quality on the 50d is better than the T1i and the faster frame rate makes it good for sports and action. Find a camera shop (small local if possible) and handle as many cameras as possible. I don't care for video in what I still consider still cameras, so that mode in the T1i didn't impress me.

    Not to break your bubble, but the 50d is still in the pro/amateur range. High end cameras from Canon run up to $7000 body only...

    I wound up with a lightly used xsi, and am very happy.

  7. plaidhippo thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Went with 50D

    Thanks for the advice all. I went with the 50d from amazon with a 28-135 IS kit lens for $1230 shipped. Wasn't a phenomenally cheap deal but I feel better getting it direct through a well known dealer.

    One final question -- can anyone enlighten me on a good compact flash card to get? Specifically, I was interested in using the burst mode and I want to ensure the card can keep up. I have seen many cards claim to be "professional", and then there are many which claim to be anywhere from 20x to 133x to 200x speed, and I just don't know what is necessary and what is overkill. Suggestions on what is necessary would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks again all,
  8. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Aside from video, a feature that I find to be not-quite-ready-for-prime-time, perhaps the main reasons to choose 50D over T1i would be:
    • 10% larger viewfinder: although live view has its use, you will be looking through the viewfinder most of the time. 10% may not sound significant, but it's pretty noticeable in actual use (7D is another 10% larger than 50D).
    • Ergonomics: some people may prefer T1i's compact profile, but by-and-large, 50D's far more ergonomic overall.
    • Build quality: not to belittle T1i's build quality, 50D is partially weather sealed and twice as long shutter life rating.

    Many of the features you listed are mostly irrelevant to non pros, such as continuous shooting speed, media types, and max shutter speed.

    If the choice was up to me, I would get cheaper and superior 40D over infamous 50D, which performs better overall, or go all out with 7D (or wait for 60D). I would also pass on decent but so so 28-135mm IS kit lens. You can do a lot better for your money than get this aging slightly-below-average performing lens.
  9. Wakakanada macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2007
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Fast Cards

    I just bought a T1i and needed a quick card for the video. They have now come out with Class 10 cards. So go for one of those over those old Class 6 cards.
  10. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Go with a used 40D.

    I work in a digital lab that also loans out camera equipment. I never push the Rebels onto people simply because they are not as easy to use. They lack a dedicated aperture wheel, all information can only be found on the back LCD, and do not feel substantial in usage. I have no financial incentive for this (it's a free service for people at the workshop facility), I just want people using as hassle-free a camera as possible.

    We loan out 40D and 50Ds interchangeably. I have yet to see a substantial reason to upgrade to a 50D from a 40D, which is still a fine APS-C camera.

    Only consider the Rebel if you want the ability to shoot video. Disregard its 1080p option, because the frame rate is too slow if you want it to resemble video you're used to seeing. The 30P from the 720 option is more normal (though still not 24P).

    And high framerate still shooting is overrated. Sure, you're camera can do 5 (7,10,13) fps, but its real world usage doesn't equate to the need you feel for it when comparing specs.
  11. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    After shooting for a couple of months as purely an amateur, I regret getting the T1i. Don't get me wrong it fits my needs more then I need it, however the features of the 50D suit me better then that of the T1i, particularly I don't need to shoot video. I suppose the SD cards over CF cards in price are better for my needs, but I don't know.
  12. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    I think Canon has created too many models. According to the rumors, it seems T1 will replace XS in a month or two, which will have XSi's 12 megapixel sensors with T1i's DIGIC 4 processor, 3" 460K live view LCD, and 1080p30 video.

    If true, "new" models on the line-up will be:
    • EOS 1Ds Mark III (full-frame)
    • EOS 1D Mark III (APS-H, rumored to be replaced in early 2010)
    • EOS 5D Mark II (full-frame)
    • EOS 7D (APS-C)
    • EOS 50D (APS-C)
    • Digital Rebel T1i (APS-C)
    • Digital Rebel T1 (APS-C)

    Old models still in production:
    • Digital Rebel XSi (APS-C)
    • Digital Rebel XTi (APS-C)

    EOS 50D is also due for an update, although I haven't heard anything concrete.
  13. romanaz macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2008
    i was in the same boat as you, and then I picked up a refursbished 40D, and am currently trying to sell my XSi. The 40D (and thus 50D) fit the hand better (even better now with my battery grip I just got), and are easier to control. Being able to switch almost every major setting on the fly with 1 or 2 fingers makes life so easy when shooting events and such.
  14. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    As I've said before, the biggest reason to get a 40D or 50D over a Rebel is the viewfinder. The Rebel line uses inexpensive and small pentamirror viewfinders, while the 40D and 50D use bigger, brighter, clearer pentaprism viewfinders.

    The other reasons which are a factor in my opinion:
    -Bigger grip, for me this was a big factor as I have large hands
    -Rear control dial, essential for manual mode, or exposure compensation.
    -More function buttons, meaning settings like metering mode, white balance, drive mode, flash compensation, and focus mode. On the Rebel line all of these functions need to be changed through the menus.
    -Easier AF point selection, the joystick is a lot easier to reach and operate than the D-pad on the rebel, and is 8 way instead of only 4 way.
    -Top LCD status display, meaning all of the critical camera settings are always visible on the top of the camera, instead of having to turn on the rear LCD and sucking down the batteries.
    -CF instead of SD, not a major issue to some but it is a personal preference on my part for a number of reasons.
    -More custom functions, overall just more deep camera features that are handy to have.
    -Better build, more magnesium and less plastic.

    Really the only thing the T1i has over the 40/50D is the movie mode, which I personally think is silly, but it could be nice to have for someone that doesn't already own a video camera.
  15. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    to my knowledge, the card's write speed doesn't affect the framerate of the camera, as long as you don't fill the buffer. after that, it determines how long you have to wait before taking a shot. if you shoot in jpeg, there's nothing to worry about. however, the card's speed can affect how long it takes to copy the data from the card to a hard drive. depends on the max bandwidth of your transfer technology (USB 2.0, FW800, PCIe, etc.).

    the 50D should be compatible with UDMA cards, which are the fast available. otherwise, stick with 133x or faster. 266x if you wanna be safe.
  16. joro macrumors 68020


    Jun 11, 2009
    As others have pointed out I think the choice depends on what you’re valuing more in a camera. If you want video then I would go with xTi but if you’re looking to go more into a professional realm then I think the 50D might be a better fit.

    As you can see in my signature, I am running a dual 50D setup for my photography business and I love the flexibility and versatility of the 50D. I came from a Rebel XT and the difference has been like night and day in terms of performance in demanding situations (e.g. low light, action shots) and I think the deals you can get on the 50D right now make it a worthwhile investment. Despite what others are saying, I always buy new specifically for the warranty. The problem buying used is you never know how the other person treated the camera – did they clean it? Did they expose it to bad conditions? Did they clean the shutter correctly?

    Good luck with the decision! :)
  17. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    As toxic said, the speed of the card isn't really important. I have an Extreme III and and an off-brand for my 20D. Either card get me 6 shots in the buffer, the Extreme III just clears the buffer a little faster. Either card drops me to ~1 shot/sec with the buffer full.

    UDMA cards work in the 50D, but afaik, the 50D does not actually take advantage of them. They are much much faster when getting dumped to a computer with a UDMA reader, but on my buddies 50D, an Extreme III and UDMA card are indistinguishable during use.

    When I was making a similar choice a few years ago, I went for the 20D. The rear control dial is important and it just fit better in my hands.

    After using a 50D, personally I would be looking for a 40D. 50D at ISO 800 looks (at best) no better than my 20D. Yes, it's got a lot more megapixels, but I am normally shooting in terrible light, so the higher ISO capability of the 40D is critical for me. After using my buddies 50D, I would not consider buying one (especially for the price premium over the 40D). The other option is buying a 20D or 30D, they are still great cameras and they will free up a lot of money for glass.

    I know you like a warranty, but if the camera is working when you buy it, any repairs you may have should be less than the 'warranty' you are getting with a new camera. Used 50D's are going for ~250 less than new (and no tax), used 20D's are going for ~$300. A new shutter is <$300 and you are good for another 100,000 shots. I used to buy new and lately realized how much money I wasted, I started buying used and never looked back.
  18. plaidhippo thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Thanks for all the responses! I ended up getting the 50d from amazon. I figured it may be overkill for my photography abilities now, but I have room and time to learn, so hopefully I will grow into it! As for the memory card, I'm going to borrow an old one from a friend and experiment with it and see what kind of results I can get, before deciding on what kind to buy.

    Thanks again!
  19. Mustafa macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003
    Shenfield, Essex, UK
  20. blownco macrumors regular


    May 24, 2008

    i just did the same thing you did i actually sold my t1i for the 50d best upgrade i could have done i think.

Share This Page