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50D? 5D II? Argh!


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#1 StuartL

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 03:05 PM

I'm looking to house a DSLR. I was planning on the 5D, but for certain circumstances which forced me to wait. Now those circumstances have gone, but damn - Canon's gone and spoilt the party by giving me two glorious options.

The first option is the 5D II, with the 16-35mm II and/or the 100mm macro (and likely a fisheye down the road). Pros that I see: higher resolution, ISO up to 25600 (drool!), likely slightly better overall image quality, and a video mode. Cons: cost (especially if the housing floods), and I'll probably have to wait until December for the camera (and I don't know how long for Aquatica to produce the housing - although I'm sure they will produce it eventually.)

Second option: the 50D, with any of the 100mm macro (which I have), 60mm macro (which I'd have to buy if I wanted to use it), Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom, and/or the EF-S 10-22mm. Pros: I can get the housing right now, and the camera in the next month; it's a lot less money down the drain if it floods; and it'll cost me less to put the kit together. Cons: slightly lower resolution (although 15 MP versus 21 MP really isn't that great a difference), ISO only to 12800, and I lose the f/2.8 on the ultra-wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) angle. I'd also have to pick up the 10-17mm and/or the 10-22mm, since I don't currently have a 1.6 crop body or either of those lenses.

To be honest, I'm leaning towards the 50D - I'm not sure that the extra cost for the 5D II will be warranted for this purpose. Although I'll probably end up getting one to upgrade my 5D at some point, once the price drops a little.

Can anybody see anything I've missed in the above?

#2 craig

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 03:21 PM

Either camera offers high ISO suitable for underwater. f/2.8 on wide angle you can have if you want it (Tokina 11-16) but why? Fisheye zoom is unique to the cropped format. Strobe sync is 1/250 on 50D vs. 1/200 on 5D2. 50D offers 1.6x the apparent magnification for macro. Vignetting is less an issue on cropped. 50D requires less strobe power for macro.

Resolution is the only argument for full frame underwater, so if you don't think it's worthwhile then the 50D is a better choice.
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#3 james

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 05:12 PM

If you flood your housing, the deductible is going to be met whichever camera you get - so that's not a factor.

If you shoot a lot of indoor sports, theater, etc then the 5DII will have a slight edge. Also, looking through the viewfinder on the 5DII will be a bit easier.

Other than that, not much difference.

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#4 Timmoranuk

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 02:24 AM

Whether or not Liveview is useable on the 50D would be a factor for me. A large U/W camera retailer was recently telling me that the pre production 450D was equipped with a blisteringly fast liveview. No lag whatsoever. However this was 'detuned' on the production models :P

It seems as though fast Liveview is 'just around the corner' so I'm sitting on the fence with my G9's and contemplating the (larger) hole which will inevitably happen to my bank account...
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#5 loftus

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 02:53 AM

I'm looking to house a DSLR. I was planning on the 5D, but for certain circumstances which forced me to wait. Now those circumstances have gone, but damn - Canon's gone and spoilt the party by giving me two glorious options.

The first option is the 5D II, with the 16-35mm II and/or the 100mm macro (and likely a fisheye down the road). Pros that I see: higher resolution, ISO up to 25600 (drool!), likely slightly better overall image quality, and a video mode. Cons: cost (especially if the housing floods), and I'll probably have to wait until December for the camera (and I don't know how long for Aquatica to produce the housing - although I'm sure they will produce it eventually.)

Second option: the 50D, with any of the 100mm macro (which I have), 60mm macro (which I'd have to buy if I wanted to use it), Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom, and/or the EF-S 10-22mm. Pros: I can get the housing right now, and the camera in the next month; it's a lot less money down the drain if it floods; and it'll cost me less to put the kit together. Cons: slightly lower resolution (although 15 MP versus 21 MP really isn't that great a difference), ISO only to 12800, and I lose the f/2.8 on the ultra-wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) angle. I'd also have to pick up the 10-17mm and/or the 10-22mm, since I don't currently have a 1.6 crop body or either of those lenses.

To be honest, I'm leaning towards the 50D - I'm not sure that the extra cost for the 5D II will be warranted for this purpose. Although I'll probably end up getting one to upgrade my 5D at some point, once the price drops a little.

Can anybody see anything I've missed in the above?

There are many factors here - is this camera your only camera, for underwater and topside? I still think, from everything I've seen that unless I was a technically very proficient photographer underwater, I would choose a cropped sensor camera for reasons discussed at length here and elsewhere. Even though I'm thinking of housing my full frame D700, I will not give up my cropped sensor camera for now, even if it is 'just' a D200. For topside, I use my full frame now almost exclusively.
At the moment many of the newer features on present DSLR's appear to be imperfect, Live View, Video, extreme high ISO. There is absolutely no reason to drool over 25600 ISO with any present camera, as the results are barely useable, and underwater you will rarely need over 400-800. Live View is not there yet, and it seems there are still some kinks to be worked out in video quality and implementation. If you are buying a DSLR for these features, I'd wait a generation or so. Underwater I think the 50D will still be the most user friendly camera, unless you are 'pro' proficient, and it fits a 40D housing which is already available.

Edited by loftus, 26 September 2008 - 02:58 AM.

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#6 dhaas

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 06:24 AM

Jeff's comments are spot on as I was discussing this with another Florida underwater photographer friend yesterday.

I think if you can justify the cost for camera AND full frame decent glass many photographers will make the new Canon 5D MK II tool sing........But for those of us watching the HD Video mode that Canon appears to have implemented very well on 5D MK II, there will surely be a 60D cropped sensor version sometime next year at less cost :P

Just one lowly photographer's opinion :good:

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#7 StuartL

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 06:25 PM

Thanks for the comments guys - useful thoughts all that give me things to ponder.

The 50D would not be my main camera - I'd keep the 5D I currently have for that purpose, until such time as I can afford the 5D II (which will probably be quite some time after it's released to the public.) I do see it as being useful to have as a second body, if only from the point of view of pairing it up with the 100-400mm as an adjunct to the 5D with the 70-200mm when I need the extra reach.

What settles the argument very strongly in my mind is the availability right now of the 40D housing, which will fit the 50D. I've contacted Peter (Scubapix), and worded him up; there'll be a bit of a discussion with myself over finances; then I'll be making a move very shortly, in all likelihood.

This should be fun. :P Bouncy bouncy! (Then all I'll have to worry about will be strobes... eek!)

#8 Jez_Tryner

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 01:29 AM

has anyone got a release date for south east Asia, yeah a bit random but i work over here/there and i can't seem to find out when it is expected in the shops in Malaysia and singapore,
thanks in advance
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#9 adamapalmer

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 11:55 PM

Seems like the 5d II should be out in November