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Author Topic: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user  (Read 60002 times)

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Offline caterpillar

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A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« on: February 24, 2010, 09:57:41 AM »
  As promised, my article on the Guide on buying for the Intermediate or Serious Hobbyiest.

First off, the who this article is NOT for:

  - This is not for the beginner
   - Or the working pros who may need to upgrade everytime
   - Or those who have lots of money and can afford every new model

  However, you if you are any of the above, you are free to read it anyway. ;)

  2nd, this is not about upgrading lenses or other stuff. This is about how to pick bodies and why you pick certain ones and upgrade strategies. So, now that we have these out of the way, let's start.  ;D



  First and most important rule:

   - The next model will always be "better" than the previous ones and last ones.

  2nd rule:

  - There is NO PERFECT  camera.

  3rd Rule:

   Make the best of what you have.

  4th Rule:

    All choices you will make are all interim and compromises.

  
  Ok, now for the discussion of it.  ;)

« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 10:05:11 AM by caterpillar »
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A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« on: February 24, 2010, 09:57:41 AM »

Offline caterpillar

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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2010, 10:04:20 AM »
  By this time, you have already used your first dslr or any camera for a year. Or maybe two. By this time, you should know what type of photography you like or what suits you. If you don't, then stop right here. You are not ready for what's coming next!  :P

  Knowing what you want is the first important step. The reason is that not all cameras can do what you want to do. This is based on rule no. 2 - THERE IS NO PERFECT CAMERA. So, knowing what type of photography you want to be engaged in is very, very important. No point in getting a 500d if you need 10fps because you love shooting fast action motorcyle races. Or if you think that having a 1d mk4 will solve it all if you need lots of pixels since your type of photography is landscape.

  Of course, there are compromise models, like the 7D. It does 8fps and it is 18mp. Nice camera in between. So that should do it, right?

  Well, it depends. Try lugging that 7D with all those lenses if you like outdoors, and it becomes heavy. Or if you are just out to go to a mall, or some place, the 7D can still be too big, and too heavy. Again, rule no. 2!  ;D

  So, knowing what type of photography you want to engage in most of the time is very important. The good news is that, through the years, the cameras have become so better that a 500d of today can even beat a 10d of 7 years ago in most areas!  But still, it is never perfect.

  Knowing what type of photography you will be engaging more often is the key. If it so happens you like 2 types that are different, then you do have to make compromises. Or you may have to buy 2 camera bodies because simply having one won't do. The sport/action shooter will lose in size, weight, portability if he gets the 7D. It's a good all around compromise. Or he can go for the 7D and get the 550d for those jaunts where framerate and AF accuracy isn't that crucial.

  Of course, such solutions are too expensive and we cannot justify 2 bodies (unless you are a pro or have lots of money to spare). So, learn to live with the compromise. Lose the portability of a 500d/550d for the all around performance of the 7D. You trade in size, weight, and you pay a lot more.

  And this leads us to another limitations. As rule no 4 states, all choices are really compromises and interim solutions. More often than not, most of us will be constrained by cost. So, in the end, we may have to give up that 8fps for 3.7fps because we can't afford to get a 7D.

  But remember, when you trade those things that the 7D can do and the 550d can't do, you mustn't expect your 550d do to them!  ::)  Don't forget that your camera won't be able to hack certain types of shots. You may have to adjust and live with the limitations. That is the reality of compromises. Don't bash the 550d because it does not have micro-adjust or it focuses slower! Of course that's why it is cheaper!

  Know your equipment and work with it. That is rule no. 3.

« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 10:12:11 AM by caterpillar »
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2010, 10:20:53 AM »
  But what if your dream camera does not exist? What then?

  Well, I for one, know what I want in a camera. The thing is build your "dream camera" and write down its specs. Then plan for that day that the closest one to it will be built. But for the meantime, don't be paralyzed and not pick a camera!

   In the early days, I really loved sports shooting. Track & Field, running, etc. Fast action ones. But the cameras then were the 10d, the new 300d and the old D60. Very slow cameras. The 1d mk-1 would cost one P240k give or take, ,and at 4mp 8fps. That was the correct camera for the job. But then again, I can't afford that.  >:(

  So, I make do with what I have, the 300d and d60! Slow AF, slow fps, long shutter lags and all! But you make do with what you have and work with what you have! Rule no. 3!
 
   I thought then that one day, I might be able to afford a 1D. Well, it's about 7 years hence, and I thought that it would be a 1D for me. But Canon built the 20d and that was as good as it gets at 5fps. They upped this to 6.3fps, wow, better! Now the 7D is at 8fps and it's even 18mp and it costs P85k, as much as the 10d cost 7 years ago! Wow!  :o

  But I don't even have to get a 7D. Even the 50d or the upcoming 60d would do well already! That 7D would put the 1d mk-1 even the mk-2 to shame for a lower cost. And I can do with just an xxD body! Wow! That's technological progress for you!  ;D

  But why was I stuck with a 20d and a 400d to this time?  ???  Why am I still holding back?


  More on this on the next installment....  ;)

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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2010, 12:27:08 PM »
Haha.. nabitin ako sa pagbabasa dun.. Im guessing that I have the same reason why i want to be stuck with the 40d + 450d and not planning to upgrade.

I hope other brand owners can relate to the 7d, 550d, etc. comparison.
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2010, 01:30:27 PM »
  We continue...

   Since you are not a newbie, you already have your camera, likely a DSLR. By this time, you should also know which type of photography interests you. Maybe, you got a 400d or 450d and want to do sports or landscape. Or you have a d40, d60 and now find it limiting. Maybe in the beginning you still don't know what you wanted. But now, there is no excuse. We can't proceed further if you are still confused on the direction of the photography you want to go.

  If you have the money, you can always buy any camera you want. Give it a spin and if it does not work for you, sell it. Get another one. Not a good way of doing things, but that is always possible - if you have the money.

  Unfortunately, most of us don't. We don't have the luxury. This is why it is of utmost importance you know the type of photography you want to engage in. As I wrote, the good news is that the gap between cameras is narrowing. In most instances, many of today's models will be more than adequate. Get a D300s you'll likely be done and over with, unless you are doing serious landscape where you may want more than 12mp. See why you need to know what type of photography you want to engage in?  :P

  If you are new and you got yourself a D50 last year or maybe a 500d, that's going to be tough upgrading for the next higher models. The upgrades are pretty small and unless you need a specific feature set, in most instances, you pass the next model's upgrade.

  But if you want video, for example, the 50d to future 60d makes sense. But then again, if it is just video, why not just add the 550d? If you say you want a smaller body, then the 500d to 550d upgrade as far as video control goes is justified. Otherwise, skip this generation.

  Although I wrote rule no. 1 as the next camera is always better, the real question is will the next generation be better for you to upgrade. In most instances they are not. The changes can be incremental and may not matter much. To illustrate.

  The Canon generation of xxD bodies went this route:

    D30->D60->10D->20D->30D->40D->50D.

   If you look at the upgrade, the D30 was 3mp that went to 6mp. But AF points was still 3. jpeg engine was better though. Is this good enough for you to upgrade if you were living in those time period? The question is, is the 3mp to 6mp upgrade worth it?

  From d60 to 10d - still 6mp, but more AF points, better AF (though less accurate) better higher ISO performance, and improved jpeg engine. Same pixel count, same buffer, 3fps, etc, but better in other areas. Is this worth to you if you were coming from a D60? if you were coming from a D30, likely yes in many counts. Also, the 10d was at U$1,500 vs U$3,200 for the D30 when it came out!

  Let's check the 10d->20d now.  Now, this is a major upgrade

  - 6-8mp
  - 3fps vs 5fps
  - better dynamic range
  - better low light high ISO performance
  - better AF (faster, more accurate, less misses, more sensitive AF)
  - more jpeg buffer
  - better jpeg engine
  - better LCD
  - Kelvin color temp control
  - ettl-2
  - etc. etc.

  In short, the 20d was a BIG leap in upgrade in almost all fronts. It's not that the 10d suddenly became a lemon. But if you want a big jump in performance in many fronts and in significant quantities and quality, the 20d was a pivotal point the xxD line!  8)  It was so pivotal that it set the standard by which the D200 was to be made.

  The 20d-30d upgrade was nothing. Same sensor, same pixel count, same MTBF, same dynamic range, same almost everything, though there was now picture styles and larger LCD was introduced. This is one disappointing upgrade. If you were coming from a 10d or D60, you can go to the 20d and not feel bad that you didn't get the latest. Everything else is the same. Again, not that the 30d was bad. But if you were coming from a 20d, there is no compelling reason if the major stuff that may make the image better is concerned.

   The 30d-40d upgrade. This is what the 20d upgrade should have been. But the 40d is 3 years off coming from the 20d. IQ-wise, 10mp, really better AF than the 20d/30d, sensor cleaning, spot metering (at last!). A big improvement in those areas. And 6.3fps. Past that, it's about the same. Is it worth now to upgrade? Maybe. But if only for the better AF, especially in the outer focusing points, it's better. Another bonus of the 40d is liveview. For those who do macro and critical focusing work, the 40d is a big help to upgrade. For events shooters, not so much.

   The 40d-50d.  For landscape shooters, the 10mp to 15mp is a bit big. But then again, if you had waited for the 500d, you would save money. You buy the xxD body for the AF and fps and low light capability. Most event shooters go for the xxD body. From a 40d, I wouldn't think much of the 50d unless you need better AF. If you came from 30d or lower models, yes, the 50d makes sense.

  We stop here as we don't know what the 60d will be. But as can be seen, it takes 2 generations, sometimes 3 to be worth it. Only the 20d was the exception where even coming from a 10d, the performance jump in most depts are significant for the money spent. Again, it's not that the 10d was bad. It's' just that the 20d was a big upgrade!  :D

  Thus, in general, 2-3 versions should do it. If you have a 40d now, then maybe the 60d is good enough for you. Personally, I think the new sensor of the 7D, and 550d, if put on the 60d will be a big step in low light high ISO performance. And of course, there's video. A video that is fully functioning. Not perfect but a big step. But if you are going to get the 60d for only the video, better get the 550d. It is cheaper. Unless... the 60d uses an articulating LCD. That flip LCD is a game changer and makes video shooting easier by a big margin!

  As you can also see, some technologies, even an articulating LCD, w/c is such a simple upgrade can make a difference. But other technologies require more sophisticated technologies. And more sophisticated technologies require 3-5 years for it to be perfected and to appear. Hence, we skip 1-2 models as we expect the significant technnolgical upgrades to be in those time frames. It took 2 years for Canon to catch up to the d90/d300 low light performance in high ISO. It also took about 2-3 years for Nikon to get their low end models up to snuff. It even took them 4+ years to get their D100 ready.

  The trick is, to know what you need and see if the next upgrade fills it. Regardless of brand, most firms take 2-3 years to get their next technologies to roll out. That is about 2-3 upgrades.

  Going back, if you have a 40d now, the 60d is the latest you can upgrade reasonably and benefit from the technology. That's about 3-4 years from the time the 40d was introduced. That's 2 generations. If you want to see a bigger gap, wait for the 70d w/c will be around 5-6 years after the 40d was introduced.

  If you have a 20d now, or 30d. A 60d upgrade will be a major upgrade!

  One can now see why I skipped the 30d, 40d, and the 50d. The 20d was so good, that it set the tone for the future version. It would take a major overhaul to do it. The 60d will be it.

  Or maybe, another camera will be it. Even the 7D is more than the 60d can be, even if we don't yet know exactly what the specs of the 60d will be. Only the articulating LCD (if the 60d would have it) would break the 7D, and it is for the video, not stills.

  To summarize:

  In general 2-3 generations would be your best bet for ugprades. This is not a rule set on stone. If the next upgrade does meet a serious need, you have the money, then go for it. But in general, wait 2 more generations before upgrading. Unless you are like me, who lives by rule no. 3 - I make do with what I have, it's not that hard to skip iterations.  ;D



 
 
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 04:03:44 PM »
All I can say is AMEN to this.  Really a nice read.  Well said!  :)
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 04:46:36 PM »
Thanks for the post, Mel!

I think rule #3 sets the tone for people who are on a tight budget (like me, hehehe).

I've set my mind on the 7D, but I'm still waiting to see what the 60D will offer.  Sayang din if the savings can get me a better lens.

..but,..  because of rule #2, we'll always have to go through rule #3.  So, uulit na naman tayo sa same upgrade "issue".

In the end, upgrading or not is a choice of the owner..  kung saan siya masaya or, kung saan malaki ang naitutulong sa trabaho niya.
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2010, 04:53:23 PM »
a very well written, authoritative and informative read! makes sense to me, a Nikon user, even if it's written from a Canon standpoint.

what makes it more compelling is the decisions the author has made regarding not upgrading bodies in each new iteration - a rarity in this forum where for some, trying something new in terms of gear acquisition has become the norm (not that there's anything wrong with it). more thoughts and insights sir!

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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2010, 05:30:49 PM »
Thanks for the post, Mel!

I think rule #3 sets the tone for people who are on a tight budget (like me, hehehe).

I've set my mind on the 7D, but I'm still waiting to see what the 60D will offer.  Sayang din if the savings can get me a better lens.

..but,..  because of rule #2, we'll always have to go through rule #3.  So, uulit na naman tayo sa same upgrade "issue".

In the end, upgrading or not is a choice of the owner..  kung saan siya masaya or, kung saan malaki ang naitutulong sa trabaho niya.

 Sarke, now that is smart. Waiting. And Patience is a virtue that is rewarded bountifully!

  The other end of the equation I did not mention in my series is this -- My focus was on lenses as a system. I think of bodies as disposable. I build my system on lenses. They don't change as fast, and even the older models are very good. Look at the 50 f1.4 or the 100 f2 usm. These are vintage 1991 or 1992 models! And yet they still are very good. It's only the lack of modern coatings, maybe the use better baffles that they are behind the new lenses.  Of course, the 50 f1.4 needs a retrofit of a ring USM.  But other than that, good lenses basically last a lifetime!

  But think about it, even if I consider bodies as the disposable parts, the accessories, I keep them for a long time! Why? Because I know when to pick them! And with good lenses, you can extend the life of your bodies. Most prints don't need 10-15mp anyway if you just print 8x10 or 5x7, or 4x6. So, even at 8mp, the 20d still shows its usefulness.

  However, if you are a landscape artist, or do macro and crop heavily, don't wait. Going for the 550d will help you in your type of photography! 18mp is sorely needed by these types of shoots!

   So, I get my bodies in, and work on the lenses. FYI, My first body was the 300d. Kept that for about 2.5-3 years till I upgraded to the 400d (see the 2-3 year cycle or the 1-2 generations to upgrade?). I also got the d60 prior to the 20d. Kept that for 2.5 years. I was reluctant to sell it because, even if it was slow, had only 3 focusing points, and up to iso 1000 and noisy at that, it's colors was unique in jpeg! Very pleasing on the skin tone. But I had to get rid of it or its value will go down so bad that I won't be able to get anything for it.  I got that for P50k. Prior to the 10d, that used to cost P110k!  Wow! I let go of it for P23k.

   You can also see the depreciation and if you don't pick your bodies well, it's going to hurt your pocket!  :o  Think if you got the 40d for P58k, and in 3 years it's down to P33k! That means you are, in a sense, renting the body for P8k/year, even after you sold it for P33k! So, think carefully when you get a body. Otherwise, you are spending big bukols to keep it.

   Lenses tend to hold their value. Your loses aren't that great. Buy an 85 f1.8 for P18k. After a year or 2 sell it for P15k. You lose only P3k. That's like renting it for P1.5k a year! Bodies, and their depreciation will kill you! That is why I don't understand the drool over bodies if you still have a perfectly good one!

  Think of the D300. A very nice camera by my standards. No need to upgrade to D300s if you ask me, unless you really want that video. I was talking to someone yesterday who just sold me his canon HF-100 videocam for a good price. It's a 2008 model.  He sold it because he was patiently waiting for the D300s and the proceeds will add to that purchase. He has the d90, but he also needed the speed of the D300 series. And he wants to do decent video. Now, that is a man who knows what he wants, and builds and saves up for the camera!  ;)  We talked about his lens lineup and I told him he needs to get a good prime and maybe, a 17-50 f2.8 VC. He's sure about the 85 1.4, but not yet convinced on the 17-50. He still has the 18-250 VC tammy. But no rush.  :D

  About 2007, I was talking to a bunch of D200 users and those who wanted the D200. They asked me what I thought of it. I told them that when it came out it was at P110k, and Ramon at Mayer's let me shoot it. It was already reserved but he let me take a couple of shots!  ;)  It was good, better than the 30d (and upcoming 40d) at the time. But I told them, "hilaw" pa. Noise in the high ISO. Other than that, it's ok.

  True enough, the d300 showed us how to build that series! Even Canon is put to shame with the d300!  ::)   Now, the d300 (and the d90) for me is a landmark camera!  It's like my 20d. Save for video, if stills only, it should keep you tidy for 5 years and beyond if need be. This is one time where one can dump the d200 to get the d300! No need to wait 1-2 generations! The improvements in the d200 to d300 is BIG in all depts!

  To sum up this part, know the pivotal points in upgrades for you. Again, know first your type of photography. At certain points in time, usually about 5 years, the better models make a leap in performance that you don't have to wait 1-2 models to upgrade.




  
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 05:34:10 PM by caterpillar »
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2010, 05:42:51 PM »
very helpful thoughts, thanks for sharing.

maybe you can also write a guide for light/medium-duty printers  ;D
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 05:45:36 PM by nickster »
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2010, 06:04:46 PM »
  Still remember rule  no. 1. Wait long enough, about 8-10 years, things dramatically change. In 2000, 3mp was plenty. 3fps, ISO 800 was starting to get dirty. Cost of the body is U$3,200 - 3,500 for the D30.  Now, you can have a 5d mk2 with change which will give you the same fps, 23mp, clean ISOs even at 1600-3200, and video too! And it's a 35FF body!

 Actually, that's not 10 years. The 5d mk2 was introduced 2008. If ever, it's the 550d that is the mark of the 10 years from the d30. So, that would be 3mp vs 18mp. Clean iso 1600-3200 that would put to shame the d30's iso800. faster fps, better jepg engine, more accurate and faster AF. More AF points, etc. etc.

 That's 10 years. So, what is the next 10 years going to be?

  I wont' write down in this series, what I think that 10 years is going to be like. That will require another series!  ;D  But let me just say this - If you picked your bodies right, it should hold up well for 5 years regardless of what they bring about. It's about the 7th-8th year that your body should look and feel aging!  ;D  

  But at 5 years, assuming you bought your body within 6 months of introduction for that model, that's my boundary. You either keep it or sell it. After that, the limitations of the body will be so many that even the entry level bodies will trounce it handily! Let's see an example.

  My 20d is about 6 years now since introduction. If I sell this, I'd be lucky to get P15k for it. When it came out after initial rush has settled down, it was priced at P87k give or take. That's about the same price for the 7D now!  :o  Compare the 20d to the upcoming 550d, and only in the few ff things is the 20d a winner:

  - dial at the back (makes changing things faster)
  - shorter lag time and black out time
  - 5fps

  Remember, we are comparing the 550d and the 20d. That's what 6 years of technology bearing on you!  ::)   An xxxD camera beating an xxD camera except in fps and really fast stuff needed for action! Maybe you can think of 2 other items, but as you can see, the gap is narrowed. And to think the price of the 550d is likely in the P45k (settling down to P38k eventually for body), it's a humbling situation for the 20d!

 Even if we pit the 50d to the 20d, the price difference and performance difference beats the 20d by a big margin. Nothing to be ashamed of, but that is what 5 years of difference on the same class does!  Once the 60d comes out, the differences will even be greater. Mind you the 50d now is around P55k and the 60d will likely be overpriced at P64k on the onset. But this is still a lot lower than the 20d was before!

  The moral of these examples?

  Pick your bodies carefully and milk it for all it's worth, otherwise your "investment" is thrown down the tube! Bodies depreciate quickly, and technological improvements make them better and better that even the lower class bodies will beat the higher class in many 1:1 comparisons!

  Or you wait it out. Use what you have now, expand and get your lenses settled in as you wait (like what I did). If the body you want is not yet it, wait it out. Otherwise, get a used previous year's model or near it, and go with that till the model that is for you comes along. But always remember, there is no perfect body! You can just get very close!

 
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2010, 06:43:59 PM »
I alway make it a point to follow your articles. Very very informative. Kudos to you for unselfishly putting your time into this. :)
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Milestone Bodies
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2010, 08:13:09 PM »
 I'm almost at the end of this thing.  :)

  Waiting. Patience. Perhaps, this is the best thing you can do. That is what I have done. But I have a clear idea of the camera I want. I knew, that although the 40d was better than my 20d, it still was not "it."   Even the 50d was not "it."

  I got the 400d to give me more pixels and have something to use to travel to Sorsogon in the past 2-3 years I was going there. The 20d was too hefty and heavy. I didn't go for the 350d because it had an iffy AF. It sometimes misses it. And it's color rendition was sometimes inaccurate. The jpeg texture was sometimes rough.  :P  I'm sure others are happy with their 350d, but the 2-3 I've used exhibited the problems I mentioned.

  The 400d was different. So, I got that. I knew I will hold that for a spell because it only had a few weaknesses (battery life is one of them). Image-wise, it was very good, and stable. AF was also good, even better than my 20d at the outer points.

  And I am glad I didn't spring for the 450d. Nor the 500d (w/c was tempting due to the video).  Canon was playing catch up with the high iso low noise game and the d90 and d300 caught them by surprise. Those 2 bodies set the standard for low light performance. Of course, the D3 on the high end, showed how good it can be with a 35FF and with a good body. The rest is history.

  It took 2 years for Canon to catch up. And the defining body was the 7D. For me, the 7D's sensor will trickle to the lower end and it will be used to the higher end models. The differences between classes will not be so much as the pixel or sensor. It will be other attributes that define and separate each classes. AF accuracy, AF speed, AF sensitivity, frame rate, build, focusing points, etc are the points of differences. It won't be in the sensor or in the no of pixels.

  But if we can time our updates to where the milestone bodies were introduced, we stand to reap the benefits of these bodies, and we have a longer time before our bodies are obsoleted by newer bodies.  

  For me, in  Nikon, the milestone bodies are:

  -D100
  -D1
  -D3
  -D300
  -D90

  For Canon,

  - D30
  - 1D and 1Ds
  - 20D
  - 5D mk-2
  - 7D
  - 550d (with reservation)
  - 60d (maybe?)

  The 400d was the first mature no problems model after the 300d-350d. After that it was all gravy and all was quiet on the xxxD line. The 550d may rock the boat again (for good reasons, not bad)  only because of two things:

  - 7D sensor (very similar)
  - full control on video

  The video thingy has added a dimension to the mix and now my standards also changed. But as far as stills go, we can safely say that the D90, D300, D3 set the bar for Nikon for the next gen, and  the 5d mk2, 7D set it for Canon. The 550d's final verdict in history is still pending. Even if it does not make it, coming from a 400d, it is a major upgrade.

  If you hit your purchases on the milestone bodies, you stand a better chance to go on a longer waiting game and thus maximize your purchase. Of course at times, you are not in those cusps. The 400d wasn't exceptional, but from where I was in that point in time, I knew it would be good for 3-5 years. And now, I will likely sell my 400d with lots of goodies, most likely for the 550d.  :D

  The 20d, I'd likely keep it for the 5fps. Even if the 60d is to my liking, I very much doubt if I can get much for it. So, I'd keep it as it is a milestone camera and it is very good even to this day. I'll just add the 60d if it is to my liking as well.

  But these upgrades are 6 years from the 20d to 60d (if I do upgrade), 3.5 years from the 400d  (skipping the 2 gens of bodies of the 450d and 500d). This also makes sense because the xxD bodies are more expensive. The xxxD bodies are less so, so the loses you will incur is less as well.

  There is another advice I'd like to leave for those who wish to upgrade. You don't have to get the new models to upgrade. If you are coming from a 400d or a xxxD body, a 3-4 year old 40d is a nice upgrade if you ask me. It may not be the latest, but if you really look at your requirements, you get the xxD class bodies for their short lag time, short black out times, their fast fps and better AF. If you do events, like I do, the 40d is not a bad upgrade. It is not a pivotal body, but since you don't have a 20d, then that is still a better body than the 20d if you are coming from a xxxD class body.

  Even within the same class, you can upgrade to a model that is not current if it already meets your needs or is very close to it but it adds some savings in your pocket if you don't get the latest.  When I got my 20d (it was 2nd hand), the 30d was poised to be released in about 2-3 months. The 20d was selling at P78k brand new then. I got mine used for P58k. Big savings. I knew that whatever the 30d would be, w/c I knew it would be better, the 20d would be good enough for my needs. And I was right!  ;D With that decision, I saved P20k  compared to the new 20d. The replacement 30d was P86k w/c came out 2 months afterwards, and from that, I saved P28k!

  Look at your needs/requirements see if the specs will do. It need not be the latest models. Know your type of photography and what the specs needed to make them good pictures. If the next model is still lacking, no point in getting it. Maybe you should do a waiting game, till the body finally meets most of your needs. Then it is better to get a lower end model or a 2nd hand body as you wait for your "ideal" body.  ;)

  In a nutshell, waiting, going for a lesser body as you wait are valid strategies for the Intermediate user.  Remember that technology marches on and the future models are usually better than the previous ones. Time is on your side. Use it to your advantage. Be patient. And your patience will be rewarded in the future!  ;D
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 08:21:20 PM by caterpillar »
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2010, 08:25:32 PM »
Well put Mr. Enriquez, Bravo! This should be made a sticky.

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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2010, 08:31:51 PM »
Well put Mr. Enriquez, Bravo! This should be made a sticky.

 Thank you, sir! Coming from you, my idol, that is a compliment!
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2010, 10:24:14 PM »
This is a very good article. :) Helps keep GAS at bay. hehehe

For me I'll be keeping my 40D for a long time. Perhaps even until it breaks. Its my first camera and I worked sweat and blood to buy it. I may need to buy a 2nd body though a 7D or the 60D if it satisfies my needs. For now I can hold off buying a second body since my dad is still here and I can borrow his 400D anytime. But if plans of going overseas materialize, then I'll be force to be back in the DSLR market. :)

Offline rpbernardo

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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2010, 11:06:43 PM »
thank you for this lengthy but very rational discussion on how we should approach our camera body upgrades.

we are often bombarded by marketing materials from companies that produce our gear and online reviewers who praise new equipment to high heavens. what you wrote goes far beyond these and is indeed more valuable. it is something that most serious hobbyists with limited budgets should read and carefully consider. while we may often lust for this lens or that body, we are faced with the reality that we cannot really go on a gear acquisition spree just for the heck of it. we must choose when our "entry point" is and we always, always have to choose wisely.

in my case, the progression along the digital path was: sony dsc f828 > nikon d80 > nikon d300s.

with each upgrade i made, i saw and felt the difference immediately: technical image quality (higher resolution, better low ISO performance, color tweaking capabilities, etc.), responsiveness of the camera (shorter shutter lag, quicker AF response time), AF accuracy,  granularity of controls, ease of shooting,  ergonomics, flash control, metering, white balance, faster frame rate, etc. with each upgrade i made, i got a camera that was more attuned to the way i shoot.

for example, let's take one aspect of the image: resolution. in terms MP alone, going from the f828 to the d80 may not seem like a huge leap in terms of megapixels (8MP to 10MP). ok, it was a 25% increase in MP. however, it was not the fact that i had 2 MP more than my previous camera that got me. it was how clean those 10+ million pixels were compared to the 8MP i got from the f828. it was a difference that was immediately noticeable.

may i also add that there is one aspect that some of us may be forgetting when upgrading our camera bodies: the equipment we use in the rest of our workflow: our PC/MAc and our storage devices.

upgrading from 8MP to 12MP means that we will have larger files to deal with. will our current notebooks/desktops be able to handle the larger file sizes efficiently? are the  CPU, RAM, HDD and graphics card up to the task? for those who may scoff and  say that a 12MP jpeg is only around 6MB or so, please remember that when editing in PS using layers, each layer we add can multiply the file size very rapidly. at the end of the day, the original 6MB jpeg may have ballooned to a 100+ MB PSD file. then, we have the case of those who shoot in RAW. these files are already large to begin with. how will we store these large files? CD-ROMs are out of the question. among our viable options are: DVDs, additional internal hard drives (for desktop/tower units), external hard drives and drive arrays.

let's not forget the cards we use in the cameras, too. we may have to get larger and faster CF cards. that trusty 1 or 2 Gb sandisk ultra II CF card may have served us well in our old unit, but our new unit may need a faster and larger CF card, perhaps an 8Gb or 16Gb extreme or extreme pro, especially if we intend to use the new camera's high frame rate  often.

clearly, the cost of upgrading our cameras does not end when we buy a new body. so, before we go from the d40 to the d700 or 30D to 7D, we should also consider whether we need to upgrade the equipment we need to process and store  the output of the camera bodies that we intend to acquire.
try to get things right before firing the shutter. it's harder to fix things later using software. you're better off doing something else... like taking more pictures. =)

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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2010, 11:20:40 PM »
This is a very nice discussion.  What's really important indeed is what do we really need and not what we wish to have  :D
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2010, 11:37:54 PM »
Sir Mel, very timely article for me and to Rommel who added his inputs further, it's really worth digesting all these advice. For my case, i was set to upgrade to the 7D, maybe by end of the year. My first dslr was a 40D but it was only during this month where i started a 365 project, that i got to use my camera on a daily basis and expanded my knowledge on the camera features (i.e. The AF start + stop features, customized white balance, etc.). I am hesitant to upgrade to the 7D for now but it will depend on the price of the body by the time i need to decide. For now, i'm quite happy with the 40D and what I can do with it for my photography/artistic needs. Although i can't say much about lenses though.. haha! Primes are an addiction!
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Re: A Guide for upgrading cameras for the Intermediate user
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2010, 02:26:32 AM »
good that I was able to read this. Now i can decide which one I really need. great posts!

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