Thinking of getting a secondhand 5D body as a second camera.. thoughts?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TheSVD, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. TheSVD macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    Hi All,

    I currently shoot with a 550d, details in my signature.

    There's a used 5D in my local camera shop, and i'm itching to buy it.. its there for £700!

    I currently use my 550d for pictures and heavily for the video. However I love the idea of having a full-frame DSLR to take the majority of my pictures with and using the 550d for video more, or to take around everywhere (as the 5D is a bit clunkier.) I have used my friends dads 5D and its bloody beautiful.. so nice to use, amazing in low light..

    However, I haven't used it for a while, will I be dissapointed? I know the 550d has around 6 megapixels more (yes I understand they arent everything.. just throwing it out there) and that the fps are actually worse (but I dont do alot of shots requiring a high fps, and 3.4 (or whatever it is) on the 550d is fine for me.) Whats the autofocus like? Whats the 550d like in terms of actual image quality and auto focus compared to the 5D? I've used one as mentioned but never looked into it so much.

    Does the 5D still blow the 550d out of the water when it comes to pictures or am I wasting my time buying one?

    I love the thought of going out shooting with 2 bodies, being able to shoot pictures with a FF and then quickly use video.. plus I absolutely LOVE full frame and the 5Ds general low light performance/image quality.


    Thoughts anyone?

    Much appreciated :)
  2. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    I think you'll find that the 550D will be your "second body" if you get the 5D. It's an absolutely terrific camera. At low ISO, its IQ is comparable to almost any current DSLR.

    Go for it.
  3. TheSVD thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    haha i might just have to :D thanks for your input!

    any others here? :)
  4. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    The original 5D is a superb camera (I have 2!), if I was in your position I'd get it.
  5. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The 550D is a current, actually the latest minus 60D, Canon body. So is there a point of spending money on the 5D if it's only "comparable"?

    Don't mean to sound aggressive or anything, I'm just curious since I've been thinking about the same thing myself! The money, the trouble of replacing the 17-55, and scepticism of benefits have been holding me back though.
  6. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    ...if you wait till fall 2011 when the 5d mkIII comes out the mkI will be even cheaper, and still every bit as good as they are now....

    seriously, what can't the 550D do for you now that the 5D can?

    Is it worthwhile for you to spend $$$ on one?
    Guess if the 5D does not meet your expectations since used you could turn around and sell it quickly and lose almost no $.
  7. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    Actually I doubt a Mark III will push the original 5D prices down much at all, it'll have an impact on the availability of the Mark II second hand (which right now are as rare as hen's teeth, and very pricey) and that's about it. The only thing that will result in a drop in the 5D's price is the slow march of time. Plus, the end of 2011 is a rather long wait!

    The original 5D is a nice camera, and for £700 it's a better buy than an equivalently priced APS-C camera. I'd buy it, but before you do, are your lenses compatible? (Remember, no EF-S!)
  8. TheSVD thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    tl;dr, Is the 5D that much better than my 550d; And how does its autofocus compare to my 550d? Thanks :)

    Haha 2!? Cool, i'm really tempted to! Thanks for your input :)

    Yeah thats what I thought.. did he mean comparable to just any DSLR? I want to know its worth getting one as my shooting body, not if its just 'comparable' to any ol' DSLR..

    Hm, possibly, but this one is in my local camera shop now, where I can get it easily, I know the people so I can get some discount..

    Yeah thats what i was thinking.. and I guess the whole point of this thread, to see if its really worthwhile! Well the 5D has a better autofocus no? Plus its full frame (love) and its low light performance is amazing.. I do alot of nighttime/indoor shooting so this would be ideal. I got some amazing shots in the dark with my friends dads 5D.. It was in a very dark garage but I was still getting great images at high shutter speeds and low ISO's!

    Yeah I guess, i mean i know i've used one here and there, but to actually own and use.. if its going to be my main shooting body for a loong time (as i'm really not gunna be able to afford a new full frame for a long time!) I need to make sure it really is THAT much better than my 550d.. Well it's FF for starters but yeah... sorry, going round in circles here!

    Yeah thats true :) haha i steer clear from EF-S, the only EF-S lens I have is the one that came with my camera (18-55 IS) and I hate it. I was going to sell it and get a 17-55 2.8 anyway! So that wouldnt be a problem! And at least my 70-300mm would get some better performance on the 5D, f5.6 at 300mm is just too poor in darker conditions ha :p Plus that camera shop sells lenses for cheap + I can barter.. L glass, one day!

    Sorry for the essay, but to sum it up i'll probably get one! Thanks for your input guys :)
  9. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006

    Congrats on deciding and your purchase-to-be! Come back and let me know how it goes would you? I'd really appreciate it! I'd love to know how significant of an IQ difference we're talking about here.
  10. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Where is the evidence for this statement? By my judgement, the 5-year old sensor in the 5D, despite being FF, fares no better noise-wise than your current 550D. And the 550D offers an additional 2 stops of ISO (6400 and 12800) above the maximum in the 5D, just in case you want or need to use those settings. In addition, your 550D would appear to have a slightly greater dynamic range at ISO100, and up to a full stop greater dynamic range than the 5D at ISO 1600.

    People need to get away from the broad generalizations (FF sensors are better, works better in low light) and look at the specific sensor performance of the camera(s) they are looking at.

    Don't forget that you also lose some other enhancements such as a larger and much sharper LCD, and LiveView functionality.

    I'm not saying there aren't good reasons to get a 5D (build quality, viewfinder, etc), but a generic "full frame" and "great high ISO performance" (which is IMHO not true) don't seem like compelling enough reasons...

  11. TWLreal macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2006
    Incoming meaningless numbers.

    "Sports Score is based on Low-Light ISO performance (values in ISO index). Low-Light ISO indicates the highest ISO sensitivity to which your camera can be set while maintaining a high quality, low-noise image (based on a Signal-to-Noise-Ratio [SNR] of 30dB, a dynamic range of 9EVs and a color depth of 18bits)."

    1. Nikon D3S
    2. Nikon D700
    3. Nikon D3
    4. Nikon D3X
    5. Canon 5D Mark II
    6. Canon 1Ds Mark III
    7. Canon 1Ds Mark II
    8. Sony Alpha 900
    9. Sony Alpha 850
    10. Canon 5D

    What do you know, a 5 year old camera makes the top 10.


  12. davegoody macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2003
    Reading, Berkshire, England
    Consider a 7d !


    I am a Wedding Photographer and I use a 7d frequently. Despite it being an APS size sensor (1.6 crop), the low-light performance is superb. Not only that, but if you shop around you can now buy this (body only) for just over £1000.00

    I know that this is £300 more than the used 5d, but to be honest, IMHO it is actually a better body all round. High ISO noise is better than the 5d (and only marginally worse than the 5d MkII) and of course you then have the benefit of a full warranty. Speedlight Wireless control is very useful too, if you have a flash (I use a couple of 580ex MkII flashes, superb).

    Hope this helps ?!?!?!?
  13. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    Since the arrival of the 5D mk2, the 5D mk1 has barely moved down in price. Don't have any high hopes for a huge reduction in price when the mk3 is released.

    Thats the second hand market saying there is something to be said for have FF. Regardless of the quality of newer cropped sensors at the moment.
  14. Policar, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Remember that sharpness (mtf) is a product of the entire system. In terms of digital files against digital files, that system would be lens and camera. So while a 17 megapixel camera should have a higher theoretical mtf than a 12 megapixel one, that's only before lenses are taken into the equation. And lenses behave differently on full frame vs. crop. Using a given lens, mtf is worst at the edges and that favors crop sensors, but you still get more lp/h over a larger surface area no matter how bad the edges are, which favors full frame. The 5d has way bigger pixels, and thus less diffraction at a given f-stop (identical at a given depth of field).

    So there should be some situations where your 550d is better, some where the 5d is better, some where the 5d is better except in the corners, etc. The 5d is superior for wide angle (in theory) and will be more forgiving of imperfect lenses and technique, but it seems your wide lens is EF-S, so you'd need a new wide for the 5d. Unless there's a specific reason you need full frame, maybe you don't. The viewfinder will be a whole lot better, though.
  15. VanMac macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2005
    Rampaging Tokyo
    Glass is Gold

    Just some more input for ya.

    I have a 30D, and would like to get a FF at some point as well.

    However, in looking at your equipment in sig, your glass is kinda so-so. You may be better off investing glass, as this will stay with your for a lifetime, where bodies come and go. Not saying not to get the second body (I would like one too), but maybe beef up your arsenal of glass first, so that you can get more out of your current body, and then have all the more tools when you get the second body.

    You mention the 17-55 f/2.8 IS. I know it is APS-C only, but it is a great lens. I have it on my 30D. Dump your 18-55 and pick one of these up.

    The Canon 85 f/1.8 is another stellar lens(have it). It would work on both bodies, has some real nice bokeh, and low light capabilities. Wont break the bank either....only around $300 - $400.

    Macro lenses are fun. I have the Canon 100 f/2.8 Macro lens. Super cool, and not super big bucks either.

    Any of the 'L' lenses are good :)

    I have the Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L IS. It is great. You would be better off flipping out your 70-300 for one of these. Quality outlives reach (get something in the 400mm to get out further then this). The f/2.8 version of this lens is super cool too.

    Anywho, just some food for thought. Enjoy your decision....either way you go will work out fine in the end :)
  16. Rowbear macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2010
    Gatineau, PQ, Canada
    I'm with VanMac on this. Its best to get better glass first.
  17. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y
    Interesting. Next year is my first real full-time year for weddings and I am upgrading my kit. I was dead set on getting a 5DII to use with my 50D, but recently I have been thinking about selling the 50D and getting a 7D + 5D.
  18. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    Honestly, I'd think a 5DII + 550D would make a better combo. My reasoning:

    I assume you don't have that many weddings in the rain/snow, so you don't need weather sealing (or can at least make do with the 5DII in those instances).

    Since the 550D and 7D have the same sensor, the rest is bells & whistles that I think can be made do without for a wedding photographer (I've never done a wedding though, so what do I know?) Might need the extra FPS though? Not sure.

    At least this way you have the 5DII for the low light/group shots, and the 550D for shots were you require extra reach.

    I've had both a 7D and 550D and found image quality to be indistinguishable. I used a 5DII for a brief period of time and the low-light shots from that was definitely beyond the 7/550D.
  19. TheSVD thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    thanks, I shall keep you posted :)

    Thanks for that, I was waiting for someone to flag something along these lines.. I appreciate the input, definately aids my decision. I dont mind losing the fancy gimmicks of a 550d, however your statement about generalising full frame stands out.. I know its not full frame wins vs aps-c every time.. though, come to think of it, I was generalising ha :p

    Thanks for that, interesting haha :)

    I've used the same persons 7D, and I just couldnt justify buying one since I recently got my 550d. I wanted to have two nice bodies, one better for shooting, the other more for video. Thanks, but i've already thought of this and not going to get a 7D haha :)

    True, very true.. though tbh i think £700 is affordable.

    I'm glad I can actually understand that haha! i'm afraid im rushing replies as im in a hurry, but thanks for a technical view on this question, it does make me ask more questions on the decision..

    Yeah I realise I need good glass, it's just damn expensive! I would love L glass it's just my mind saying 'why are you paying £1000 for a lens, you could have a 5D for that money with change :p' But obviously I realise that a good lens is in alot of cases more expensive than your camera, but it matters just as much! I just need to adjust myself to this realisation! I just want one, nice, L glass (24-70 2.8L.. mm) as that would be ideal for video and I would love the range that would cover on a crop body. Whilst I seem to know have this natrual attraction to get a 5D i really do need to focus on getting good glass, even if it is expensive - the aforementioned camera shop is always getting bits in and out of the store secondhand, its just it goes so quick so I cant save up for it.. I think in the new year I'm going to put money aside every month just incase nice glass pops up. Give it till the end of next year i could easily have 2 nice L lens', that would be fantastic on my 550d, and a 5D if I got one. Perhaps subconciously im telling myself a 5D will push me towards taking (and this term is used loosely) 'better quality' pictures, whereas saving for some nice glass would so me many more favours. And as mentioned, glass stays with you a lifetime, the bodies wont..

    I would think about getting the 85mm 1.8, though as mentioned I need to get some better prime zoom lenses, as I already have the 50mm 1.8 - I know its IQ compared to the 85mm 1.8 is poor (the same guy with the 5D and the 7D i've used has this lens too.. sounds like i'm making this up!) as i've used it, very, very nice lens.

    To end this essay, I think your post has infact driven me to get nicer glass, and THEN think about going FF and keeping my FF.. I guess getting a 5d at the minute is like sticking $20 tyres on a $200,000 ferrari!

    Thanks, it's amazing how one post can change my mind so much.. new glass it is next year then :p

    Thanks all! Further input would still be appreciated, especially on the new glass side haha :D

    I do love this place.
  20. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Good job team, we prevented another blind and uninformed jump to FF, just because it's "better".

  21. TheSVD thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    haha, thanks :)

    just waiting for the end of the month when i get paid for all that xmas overtime, then its lens time :D

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