No doubt about it, now is certainly a great time to be a fan of digital photography and especially Digital SLR cameras. Not only is the technology making leaps and bounds over cameras from just a few years ago, competition between more than a few name brand camera makers is pushing down prices and getting that technology into the hands of consumers faster than ever.
Even though I’ve only had my new Canon Rebel XSi for about a month now, I still like to look toward the future and for a replacement for my EOS 20D. As a big fan of Canon and with an existing investment in their lenses and accessories, there’s no trouble sticking with their expansive offering of prosumer models. The trouble I’m facing right now, though, is deciding between the fan favorite and battle tested EOS 40D or the new shining star, the EOS 50D?
Canon EOS 40D
The Canon EOS 40D is indeed a fan favorite although it has only been out for just over a year now. It comes with a great track record and it’s 10.1MP would be a nice upgrade from the 8.1MP sported by my 20D. It can shoot at 6.5 frames/sec and utilizes the DIGIC III image processor paired with it’s CMOS sensor.
What also makes the 40D very appealing right now is the slight freefall that it’s price is experiencing with the recent release of the 50D (below) and the huge anticipation for the HD, 1080p video shooting EOS 5D Mark II, retailers are apparently making room on their virtual storeroom shelves by emptying out their stock in the 40D. A few hundred dollars saving on a body-only purchase of the 40D over the 50D can go along way in procuring a top notch lens that I can use for all my cameras. Very tempting.
Canon EOS 50D
Now, with all the advances in technology I was just mentioning earlier, the latest and greatest in the 50D sounds like a no brainer, right? On paper, the 50D boasts a 15.1 MP CMOS sensor and the new and improved DIGIC 4 image processor for quicker photo processing and writing out to storage media. It also features a brighter LCD review screen with a higher resolution than the 40D, and an HDMI output jack for viewing photos directly on your HDTV or monitor.
So where does the tough choice part come in? Even though the 50D is only beginning to make the rounds with photography enthusiasts out there, I’m starting to see a concerning contrast between the rave reviews and marketing fluff from Canon and some initial reviews and feedback from photographers that have used the 40D and made the switch to the 50D. Just this afternoon I was reading a few customer reviews over at Amazon and picked up on a theme starting that bigger isn’t necessarily better in terms of megapixels and new processor and it doesn’t automatically mean better photos. And at the end of they day, isn’t it really the photos that make all the difference?
Well, there really isn’t a verdict at this point. I do plan to keep an eye on the type of reception that the 50D receives as more and more people rack up the exposures with it. I realize that there is no one camera that will be perfect for everyone or every situation, but in a technology race with Nikon, Sony and others, it wouldn’t suit Canon well to just push out cameras that beat the other guys in the numbers alone at the sacrifice of quality and user satisfaction. I’m not in a position to say that is the case here, since I haven’t had the chance to use either of the cameras yet. I will say, though, if the price on the 40D continues to fall in comparison to the 50D, that might push me to try it out next year and save my coin for the EOS 5D Mark II in the years to come.
Time to wait and see.