What to move up to from a 550D

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cabbit, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Cabbit macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    Hey Folks,

    Last November i got myself a Canon 550D body and a few 2nd hand lens that each were under £50 at different focal lengths. After 8 months i finally got a brand new Canon 24-70 L and only 2 weeks ago i snapped up a Canon 300mm L F4 USM (Non IS).

    These focal lengths satisfy me though I'm likely to be wanting a 70-200 F2.8 L IS USM to fill my middle handholding needs where the 300 is too big (It needs to be on the tripod), and the 24-70 does not have enough reach. In addition i will be looking for a 16mm and a T+S lens for better photographing buildings.

    I have a vast interest in photography from animals and birds to buildings and landscapes.

    What i am noticing more is my little 550D preforms poorly in low light and after a poor attempt at getting rid of some dust on my sensor i seem to have nocked the focus light off since it no longer shows up in the view finder (I am glad i messed up a cheep camera and not a expensive one).

    I had got the 550D to experiment with and see if i could break it, i would rather break a little cheep one than a £2k+ cam.

    Now my needs for a upgrade are:

    • Excellent low light focusing performance
    • Better dynamic range
    • Sharper images with less grain past ISO 1600
    • Weather sealing (I believe both my L lens have some or full weather sealing)
    • It to be under 1 Kg or able to balance the 24-70's weight which is very forward heavy on the 550D
    • Under £3000

    So i've been looking at the 5D Mk2, the 7D, and the 1Ds Mk 3. Or wait for a future body. My biggest question is will ether of these really improve my noise issues at higher ISO levels and even at lower iso levels i can often get noise at iso 100.
    The other thing is will i get better focusing performance, the 550D often searches in low lighting conditions forcing me to manual focus.
  2. hansolo669 macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    instead of the 1ds mk III i would suggest looking at the 1d mk IV, not as high resolution, but it gives you slightly more reach with your telephoto lenses (1.3x crop factor) and it has far better high iso than any of the other cameras you listed. i think for you the 1d MK IV is probly the perfect fit.
  3. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    I suppose the usual logic would say the 7d is better at low light focusing and the 5dmk2 better at high ISO,

    There are lots of rumours about a new 5d later this year (or more likely next year) if you could hold out the new one is likely to address focusing and push iso performance even higher, (or if not you should at least be able to get a good deal on a 5d mk2)

    Never shot with a 7d but here the focus is better
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Moving to a 7D will give you a significant improvement in terms of AF, but no to very little improvement in terms of IQ: both cameras use »almost identical«* sensors.

    Some of your requirements essentially single out 1D series cameras, but somehow I'm not quite convinced whether they're really strict or even necessary. Probably the 7D is still the best fit and if you stress the importance of a good AF, the 5D Mark II is not. I somehow can't believe that you find the noise of the 550D at ISO 100 problematic: the 550D has a modern sensor and at base ISO, any modern dslr performs very well (including 4/3 sensors). Ditto for weather sealing: if you take salt water out of the equation, I never found some exposure to the elements to be a problem.

    Suggesting you to get a 1D series camera also seems rather excessive.

    If you really insist on all of the items on your list, the only other suggestion I have is to look at the other side of the pond: the D7000. It's fast, has some weather sealing, a very advanced AF and handily beats its Canon competition in dxomark by a wide margin. From personal experience (I own one), I can tell you it's a superb camera and its modern AF system made it much easier to get the focal plane to where I want it to be. I've just shot a wedding and shooting at ISO 1600 or ISO 3200 is no problem. The image quality on my D80 suffered significantly at these ISO values.

    On the other hand, switching manufacturer seems a bit excessive. If you want to stick with Canon, I'd probably wait for the 5D Mark III. Since many lamented the lack of a modern AF system (the Mark II includes essentially the same AF module as the Mark I, and even when the Mark I was released, it wasn't cutting, edge, the x0Ds had better AF modules), I reckon Canon is forced to include a state-of-the-art AF.

    * dpreview claims they're similar, but not exactly the same, whatever that means. Both cameras get almost identical dxomark results, though.
  5. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    I have a 550D and a 5DII.

    I really like the 550D and use it for travel and light weight use, but the 5DII is a much much better camera - and the image quality is a lot better.

    As others have said, low light focussing isn't great (the centre focussing point is pretty good when partnered with F2.8 or better lenses though). It depends what you're shooting whether that's a problem. I don't shoot much in low light, so focussing never really worries me.

    I would be inclined to wait at this point for the 5DIII. This should see AF improvement and (hopefully) a resolution boost.
  6. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Totally Agree

    If you can afford it, switch out or logically with the stuff you already have wait a while.
  7. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    If you can wait, I would hold out for the 5D Mk3 when it comes out (hopefully soon!)
  8. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Off Topic

    That sig file interests me.....I write in many keys...:D
  9. Cabbit thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    Thanks for the advice i think i am looking to a 5D range see what comes out of it after the very interesting 1D X that if it were half the price and a bit lighter would be ideal. I like the idea of a low noise iso 12800 image, though the speed etc is unnecessary.

    Right now then i am looking to see if the 1D sensor filters down to the 5D.

    To clarify some points, i usually live in Scotland we get a lot of high winds(usually with sand, dirt, rain, whatever else) and i am usually coastal. I have this horrid fear of all this stuff getting into the sensor/body/lens when i am trying to take a shot.

    I liked the look of the 7D but i don't think i could justify the cost when the 5D mk 2 is about £300 more and seems to certainly have much higher IQ.

    While reach is important and the suggestion of a 1D mk 4 with its 1.3 sensor make sense, in reality i use the 24-70 L much more often and would ideally like to get the full 24mm frame that would have benefited many scenes i have taken. However the 300mm would be hampered by this somewhat without a 1.6x converter, though the image that it would have taken is still going to be there, if the iq is going to be much higher then i don't mind cropping as i would hope to have a better image even if that image is smaller mp wise.

    Right now i think its best to get more out of my 550D, learn even more about exposure and composition then go from there maybe till june/july when i will need the newer body for Otakon. And buy what is sensible at that point.

    I think for the short term i am also going to get a battery grip to give the 550D a bit more weight to offset the lens, its currently very front heavy making it hard to wield.

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