As I shoot jobs and talk to clients I get many questions about my equipment. As many of you that have worked with me know, I look at every piece of equipment as a tool. If something will get the job done better and faster then I will use it, but if it is just “cool” or “new” I try to pass it up. Ok… Sometimes I fall into the trap of getting the cool toy just to end up using the tool I bought from a retired photographer, and he inherited it from someone 20 years before.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been asked by a few people what I think about “upgrading” to the new Canon 60D. For those that have no interest in learning why, here is the result; I will stick with the Canon 50D and perhaps pick up my 20D again. “Upgrade” does not mean “Better”.
But for those that want to be enlightened here is a great comparison by Doug Klostermann; http://dojoklo.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/canon-50d-vs-60d/#comment-568 My comments follow here and note we reach different conclusions.
As I posted to his blog:
Thanks for your info. I am a full time Pro and use my 50D every day. I also have a couple of 7D’s. For most shooting I find the 50D easier and quicker to handle so given the choice I grab it. I will actually grab my 40D before the 7D when the result will be the same. As you know, on a Pro level all the equipment are just tools. Different tools for different Jobs. Here are 2 killer problems with the 60D for your readers to consider. For me these 2 issues are deal breakers.
1) Memory Card: The 60D uses the SD memory card like the 550D/T2i, not the CF card of the 7D and 50D.
SD cards are real slow compared to the larger CF cards. Many CF cards are still too slow for HD Vid, but SD memory would make that a painful job. I had to upgrade my CF cards when doing vid with the 7D.
2) Flash Sync: A Note to Strobists -the 60D does not have a PC sync flash socket to plug in PC sync cords. The 50D has this.
OMG… I can’t even think about not having a flash sync. There are so many times that this archaic tool is so useful that to do with out only means using the hot-shoe to perform the same function. With the 50D and every pro camera I have had for the past 25 years I have been able to use the hot-shoe and the flash sync independently or as backup for the other, as both have a high fail rate compared to the rest of the camera.
I would like to add another thing to think about. What version is the camera raw? The RAW files from the 50D can be read by Photoshop CS3, but RAW files from the 7D can not. I will have to upgrade or use the canon software to convert these. I have decided not to spend the money on upgrading Photoshop from CS3. It does what I need and so choose to stay with it. Actually sometimes I have to go back to PS7 for some things that got “upgraded out” of CS and above. So I don’t think “upgrade” always means better.
So the question here is; are the RAW files of the 60D readable by CS3 like the files from the 50D? If not that adds around $200 to my cost of upgrade.
So Staying with the 50D is my choice.
I do have a question though. Looking over my older images I noted that uncorrected the skin-tones seem nicest when I was shooting with the 20D. Additional rez. and such seem to be at a different type of image quality cost. The skin-tones of film were amazing, but we gave them up for the advantages of shooting Digital. Am I mistaken in seeing a loss in the quality of skin-tones with the 40D and later cameras?
Doug Klostermann responded:
I never used a 20D to 40D, so I’m not aware of the difference in skin tones. Perhaps one of the parameters in a DXOMark comparison will shed some light on this (you will need to cut and paste this whole string): http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/en/Camera-Sensor/Compare-sensors/%28appareil1%29/281|0/%28appareil2%29/179|0/%28appareil3%29/272|0/%28onglet%29/0/%28brand%29/Canon/%28brand2%29/Canon/%28brand3%29/Canon
OK.. first.. What a great tool! Thanks Doug for sharing this with us. So we go there and see what we get. Note the comparison between the 20D, 50D, and 60D. Almost no difference other than Mpix, and in some things the 20D actually comes out on top. “Upgrade” does not mean “Better”.
Since I have not stated it in my blog I will restate something I have to keep saying to clients that ask me “How many mega pixels is your camera? Must be a lot to get such nice pictures” I will go on record stating; “Mega pixels are almost not relevant in comparing image quality.” The fact is once you go to a pro level camera you have enough resolution for most jobs. Actually I have sold professional stock images that I shot on my phone. It is not the tool you use it is the person using the tool.
High quality prints are usually printed at 300DPI (Dots Per Inch). That means an 8×10 at 300DPI is a 20.6 Meg file or 6.866 Mpix. So we can shoot a Pro level 8×10 with a 7 Mpix camera. Note the cover of any Magizine is about the same as an 8×10 and usually printed with less DPI. We also have many tools to upsize images so we can take that 7 Mpx file and make it much bigger with almost no loss. I have an image at the Lansing Airport on their wall that is about 5 ft x 30ft (yes that is feet). It was shot on a Canon 10D with 6Mpix.
If your using the images on the web you need much less Mpix. A 1024 x 768 full screen is only 2.25megs meaning it only needs a .75 Mpix camera to shot this. So we shoot with 18Mpix (a 24 times over kill) and get good at down sizing. [sigh] Note my last post about downsizing for facebook.
To choose the “best” camera you have to look at many factors. Consider the job and the final way the image will be displayed. If you insist on the one factor that the sales person should quote to be the “best”, I would choose “Color depth” not “Mpix”. But really there is no one factor in the camera that makes the best image and the most important factor in photography is light. There is no ugly filter and there is no ‘put that light over there’ button. I think it is clear that “Upgrade” does not mean “Better” images.