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Canon EOS 50D

Review Date: Jan 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,099.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: higher resolution (more megapixels), fast response time, nice sharp LCD (about time canon), auto iso, iso 6400, low noise at and below iso 1600 even without NR applied, finger indentation on grip, AF micro adjust, much sharper images than 30D, quiet shutter, LiveView and its useful, anti-dust system, quick card formatting over 30D, bigger buffer, faster write time
battery used up noticeably faster than 30D even without ever using LCD, flash or live view, eats memory fast (as I expected, not cameras fault), auto iso only goes to iso 1600 and is not programmable (whereas my friends Nikon D300s are programmable and doesnt have upper iso limits unless its programed by the user), focus doesnt accuracy seem much improved over 30D to me in low light (i.e., music concert) situations, needs more focus points than 9, iso 6400 would be usable except for the very noticeable banding, auto iso doesnt work in manual mode like Nikon (how nice this be), color worse than 30D, having problems setting 580 flash to 2nd curtain sync (still working on it but wont let me use flash custom function whereas 30D did)

Ive had this camera about 2 months and am still learning about it and what it can/cannot do. I came from shooting the 30D, mostly I do live music concerts and birds but also many other things. For me three things matter most as an improvement over the 30D (a great camera and now is real bang for the buck)....these three things in order of importance to me are:

improved AF accuracy and speed, improved High ISO noise and higher resolution.

From what I can tell the 50D offers improved AF speed (though not accuracy), per pixel the same noise but when downsized, much cleaner and sharper than 30D, and resolution was dramatically improved, although 15 MP is still not enough for me and doesnt seem like its that much more for all the memory it eats up.

The 50D eats batteries noticeably faster than the 30D, a huge downside. I can shoot the 30D at least 1200 shots per battery. Same conditions and no live view, the 50D only gets about 450.

The 15 megapixels is very useful for high detail photography (landscapes and birds) and cropping (when focus is perfect). Its a great camera for birds with the 1.6 crop factor, 15 MP, quick response time and auto iso.

Even though Ive never shot a Nikon, most of my photo friends have a D300 and Ive felt outgunned with my 30D for a long time. From what I can tell, the 50D all around is still no match for a D300 and maybe not even a D90.

Canon is adding features that it should have added long ago and still lacks many that Nikon users enjoy (low light focus lamp, programmable iso, built-in remote trigger for external flash, etc.) and upping the megapixels a bit from what the D300 offers. I would recommend this camera to anyone that is a current Canon user and falls into this budget range and those looking to do bird photography. However, its no where near perfect and Canon still has some catching up to do, esp. with features that Nikon offers. Sometimes it feels like pulling teeth to get Canon to give us what we want!