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Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 8:48 AM Reply   
I bought a 50D with 18-200IS to take on a trip to NY. I've been testing this body a lot since I got back with my better lenses and maybe I'm rushing to judgement here but I wonder if Canon hasn't tried to pack too many photosites onto an APS-C size sensor essentially turning it into a big point and shoot.

Using standard metering, at ISO400 I'm getting a lot of noise which the RAW convertor has to deal with at the expense of sharpness. This is to the extent that 100% crops of the same scene look sharper and cleaner from my 1DmkIII then the 50D files viewed at the same reduced size. This kind of wastes the extra resolution/cropability of the 15mp sensor.

Canon bodies have always retained great sharpness at high ISO but this sensor seems initially like a big step backward. The 1D3 has always afforded me great exposure latitude but with the 50D it looks like I will be back to exposing with the histogram to the far right even at normally low ISOs which in turn means extra processing in the convertor.

Viewing shots at normal web size the 50D images look OK but certainly no better then the 1D3.

If things don't improve I may sell this body and get a 40D. I like the smaller body along with the 18-200 as a travel setup and the general consensus is the the 40D is a great body from an IQ standpoint. Certainly everything I've seen from it has been very good.

One other caveat with the 50D: there was a huge difference in IQ between the 18-200 and my L lenses, it appears the 50D needs good glass to even come close to realizing it's IQ potential.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       11-02-2008, 10:38 AM Reply   
Can you post up a few examples Rich ?
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       11-02-2008, 11:14 AM Reply   
A few reviews on the 50D

The 18-200 doesn't sound to impressive.
Old     (jjakober)      Join Date: Apr 2002       11-02-2008, 1:18 PM Reply   
DPReview just did an in depth review of the 50D. Here is a link to the conclusion of there review:

Check the cons section. Sounds like you might have experienced some of the same things.

When will the pixel race ever end?
Old     (bakes5)      Join Date: Aug 2006       11-02-2008, 1:22 PM Reply   
You should just sell the ol Canon stuff and get a D700. :-) It is soooo sweet. Great high ISO, pro-level autofocus, "compact" in size and just feels right in the hand.

Here is an ISO 1600 of the ol dog.

Pretty much usable up to ISO 6400. here is one at 6400

Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 5:53 PM Reply   
The first shot is from the 50D and is cropped at about 75% (down rezzed in CS3 to the same pixel size as a 1D3 image) so it should show more detail and less noise then the second shot, a 100% crop from the 1D3. Both of these were shot with the 400 f5.6L at ISO 400 with no exposure compensation. I converted the RAW files with Canon's DPP with no sharpening or noise reduction so you're seeing the RAW data.


Look at the noise!

I noticed the default noise reduction in DPP is way up there for the 50D and almost at zero for the 1D3. When noise reduction is applied to the 50D files the noise disappears but at the expense of sharpness and the files lose any of that "POP" I'm used to seeing with the 400 f5.6L or 70-200 f4 L IS. I'm not a big high ISO shooter but ISO400 c'mon Canon!

As it stands right now I could crop or uprez my 1DmkIII files and they'll still look better the the 50D files unless they are shot perfectly. I went through that in the past "exposing to the right" with the 1D and 20D but it just wasn't needed with the 5D and 1D3. I love the exposure latitude of the 1D3. I'm not real excited about files I've got to PP the hell out of when I don't get the exposure perfect!

Walt: The 18-200 isn't all that great IQ wise on the 50D but it might be OK on a 40D. It's got a decent build, great IS and fast AF. Good do it all lens.

Bakes: Of course the high ISO quality from a full frame sensor is going to be much better. I did notice though that people are claiming the D700 is still not quite as good as the old 5D but that's probably just splitting hairs.

Basically AFAIC Canon is now doing what Nikon has always done (up until the D300, D3 and D700) which is smear the image with too much in cam noise reduction. The photosites on the 50D are down around point and shoot size and it appears all the trick processing Canon built into the digic 4 processor still can't overcome the laws of physics.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       11-02-2008, 6:02 PM Reply   
What did the shot look like before the 75% crop ?
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 6:20 PM Reply   
Here are the full images, processed, sharpened, noise removed and converted to 1000 pixels wide for WW. A lot of the differences disappear obviously but the 50D file should look better given the much higher res.


(Message edited by richd on November 02, 2008)
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 6:31 PM Reply   
Here is the 100% crop, Walt, from the processed file. The bird is actually way sharper until I remove all the noise. If I had dialed in +1/3rd-2/3rds of EC I probably wouldn't have had to deal with the noise. The problem with that is the camera appears to be exposing everything about right and I don't want to have to shoot it all the time worrying about that. I guess the 1D3 has made me lazy!Upload
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 6:50 PM Reply   
One thing else I will mention as no doubt someone will notice: the bird in the 50D shot is further away then in the 1D3 shot so naturally there will be less detail. Trust me when I say that shots of closer birds still exhibit the same noise and lose the commensurate amount of detail when it is removed.

I'm not saying the 50D is a terrible camera, it just doesn't appear to offer the exposure latitude the 1D3 does. Everything I've shot at ISO100 with it looks great (then on the other hand I have yet to see a web sized image from it that looks obviously better then my 1D3 images) So I guess I'm questioning why I need a 15 mp crop sensor body. The new LCD is very nice though and I suppose the extra resolution would show up in very large prints.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       11-02-2008, 7:15 PM Reply   
Besides the noise the first shot looks soft so thats probably why there's no detail?
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 7:47 PM Reply   
Yep that first one is a little on the too far away side so here's a better example. This shot was perfectly focused and should show great detail. (BTW the aiservo mode on this body ain't bad!)

Look what happens to the image when the noise is removed (this is not a revelation, we all know noise kills detail) what sucks is this shot is not underexposed and shouldn't have this kind of noise at ISO 400 (or even 1600 for that matter) as far as I'm concerned. You can't sharpen detail back into the image. The full shot is OK but if it was from the 1D3 it would look a lot better.

Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 7:59 PM Reply   
Here's a 100% crop from an ISO640 shot with -.3 EC with the same lens on the 1D3 - no noise reduction needed even with the negative EC. sharpens up nicely. this isn't my imagination!

Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 8:05 PM Reply   
full image

Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       11-02-2008, 8:09 PM Reply   
The full image looks ok except it might be a little over sharpened.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 8:36 PM Reply   
Some shots from the trip with the 50D & 18-200:
At 18mm


At 200mm


At 40mm


At 50mm


At 20mm


Like I mentioned above it was a great combo to carry around NY.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-02-2008, 8:42 PM Reply   
I think that's jpeg artifacts Walt, that one's pretty compressed.

The range is pretty amazing on that 18-200, I never felt like I needed anything wider or longer.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       11-05-2008, 7:15 PM Reply   
An update: I'm feeling a little better about the cam now that Aperture supports 50D RAW files. The Aperture convertor seems to be squelching some of the BG noise without blurring the detail. Also this low ISO noise seems to be a blue sky thing as I'm not seeing it much in my other shots.

When it's right this thing can really resolve some detail!
Old     (deltawake)      Join Date: Sep 2004       12-10-2008, 5:12 AM Reply   
Rich- I'd like to test your 50D against my 40D just as a matter of curiosity. You still have your 400 F5.6? I'll be in touch.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       12-10-2008, 8:08 AM Reply   
Sorry Pete, sold the 50D. Other then size and the LCD I just didn't see any real benefits of it over my 1D3. While the AF system is greatly improved over the last 2 XXD bodies I owned (10D & 20D) it's still no match of the 1D3.

Anytime you want to borrow the 400 let me know I'll send it over with Chris.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       12-10-2008, 8:13 AM Reply   
In defense of the 50 ISO performance I originally posted about above I did find the high ISO is better then I originally thought, it was really a matter of keeping the exposure more on the hot side vs the leeway I was used too with the 1D. I guess that's just par for the course these days with the photosites getting smaller and smaller on these crop sensors.


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