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    So I am  side portrait photographer (as in, I do not do it as main income, I do not have a studio)

    I currently use a Canon 30d. But lately it having trouble focusing (strangely enough mostly when I shoot vertically) I think its on it last leg.

    So Im going to take it in, but I really am thinking its not going to be worth fixing.

    As I can not afford a 900-1200$ camera until Feb, what would you suggest to get (either used or refurbished)  for the mean time?

    I was looking at Canon 40D….but what about the rebel (EEEEK!) series?

    The canon 30d was my first, so I’m really at a lost for what to look for . please help. Thanks!


    Show us an example. And make sure it’s an unedited full res picture.


    What’s wrong with a rebel? If you know your stuff, it’s an incredible camera.


    I have a Rebel T2i, a 40D, and recently (finally!) got a 5D Mark II. I’m assuming full-frame is out of your price range, from what you said, so that may be out of the question. The 40D I believe is now about 6 or maybe 7 years old. It’s 10 megapixels, and from what I hear you can still make a pretty large print. When I zoom in to edit those images though I feel I have less to work with as far as pixels. The 40D (and 50D, 60D) you can change the ISO in smaller increments, where the Rebel is 100, 200, 300, 400, etc. so you have a little less wiggle room. I believe the 40D has better sensors than the Rebel. The Rebel takes an SD card instead of the CF card, and SD cards are noticeably slower at saving images (so, when you do some continuous shooting, you have to pause briefly to let the images save to the card, it can be pretty annoying). SD cards do cost less than their CF counterparts. The Rebel t2i is a great little camera and 18 megapixels, which is quite nice. The Rebel is lighter weight but less durable because of that. Personally having both I cannot really tell you which is better of the two, as each as its advantages.

    Brownie is right though, if you know what you’re doing you can get great images regardless of what camera you use. Full-frame naturally will allow for some better images though, but an idiot still can own a 5D and take horrible photos with it. I’ve seen stunning work done on a Rebel and personally I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful images with mine.


    Have you thought about a 2nd hand 50d, I quite like mine although its starting to also have some focus issues (body and lens need a service I think) .


    anyway 2nd hand 50d are reasonably priced, unsure if the lenses which fit 40d also fit 50d. I’ve been looking at 2nd hand ones to have back up body, some decent ones out there.




    I would check FredMiranda.com or Craigslist for some good deals if you can find it. Esp FredMiranda because of the good rep.


    Almost all my equipment is second-hand, except for my Sigma 70-200 2.8 lens purchased new online from 42nd Street Photo out of New York. Some of these camera dealers also sell used equipment that has been cleaned and inspected. I got some items on eBay and Craigslist. My 40D I bought from my photographer friend.

    Any Canon or Canon-compatible lens labeled with EF (their mounting system) will fit any line of Canon camera bodies, whether they are a full-frame body (like the 5D, 5D Mark II, 6D, etc.) or crop-sensor body (Rebel line, and 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, etc.). However, the EF-S mount lenses, which are typically “kit” lenses you can buy bundled with a Rebel, will ONLY fit the crop-sensor bodies. This is due to a longer back part of the lens where it mounts to the camera. Thus, they are much cheaper, but much lower in quality. You can get those second-hand for around $100. If you plan on eventually buying a full-frame body, it’s best to invest in an EF lens. They are just better all around in quality and versatility. They can be quite expensive, from several hundred to $2,000 +, depending on which lens, the type of glass, and the brand (Canon brand lenses are usually more expensive than their other-brand counterparts.) Sigma and Tamron are two great brands.

    Another thing to keep in mind with lenses- on any crop-sensor body, any lens you put on it you will have to multiply the focal length by 1.6 to get the more accurate focal length (when compared to a full-frame body). For instance, I have a 35mm f/2.0 prime (non-zooming) lens. On my full-frame 5D Mark II, the focal length is actually 35mm which is a wide-angle (I believe 50mm is considered “normal” angle) so objects tend to be a bit distorted especially at the edges of the frame. When you shoot with a wide-angle lens, you can be standing quite close to the subject and get more in view than you would in real life. In contrast, when I put the 35mm lens on my Rebel or 40D, I have to multiply 35 x 1.6 to get what the focal length will appear to be, which is 56mm. Therefore, on a crop-sensor body, 35mm is not really a wide-angle, or does not behave as such.


    I have a Rebel T2i!  The camera in my avatar image is a 5D Mk III, it was taken with the Rebel.  I got the Rebel to travel with, a lighter alternative to my bigger bodies.  It has been a wonderful body and has about 35,000 frames on the shutter.

    The 1.6 multiplier is useful for figuring out angle of view if you are familiar with 35 mm film but not as helpful when speaking about other aspects of photography.  A 35 mm lens is always a 35 mm lens.  You can put a 10 mm lens on a 30D or 40D, and see the same view as 16 mm on a 5D Mk II.  At 100% view, it will be obvious the 30D or 40D image did not employ a 16 mm lens.   More thoughts about crop factor, and some images are here.

    If you have a 40D, Rebel T2i and 5D Mk II, you can do the same tests I show.  A tripod and Photoshop are helpful.  Pick a scene, set up your tripod and mount your 35 mm lens on the 40D.  Pick something in the scene to centre the image on, then take the photo from the tripod.  Move the lens to the Rebel, mount it on the tripod and centre the frame on the same point, take the photo.  Repeat with the 5D.  Combine three images each at 100% using the 5D image as the base layer and the crop images as reduced opacity layers so you can still see the base layer.  I believe that will lead to enlightenment about sensor size and pixel density if you compare images with the spec sheets for the sensors.

    Another page in the same area discusses depth of field.  The effect is easier to see with a longer lens.  A 100 mm lens for instance has a specific depth of field when focused at 10 feet, at f/8.  That depth of field is the same regardless of having a full frame or crop sensor body attached to the lens.  However, since you can fit more into the full frame viewfinder, you may move closer, and if you move closer, depth of field will decrease as you re-focus the lens.

    A 35 mm lens is always a 35 mm lens.  A 100 mm lens is always a 100 mm lens.  Crop sensors really crop.  You can get digital magnification by cramming more pixels onto the sensor surface but bigger pixels do a better job of gathering light and result in a better looking image.


    I have a 40D which is now a backup since I have bought the 5D classic (only about $650-$750 used!). Anyway I have successfully made a 24×36 print with the 40D. It looks ok but you can tell it has been pushed to its limit. http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/546833_425314577523697_1340461447_n.jpg. I love my 40D and I think it would work for you if you would like to upgrade.


    Prices vary by country.  In the US, B&H Photo have a Rebel T3i body for $599 on their web page.

    Curiously, in Canada, Henry’s is offering it for $499.99 and Canada is usually more expensive!


    @cameraclicker… Thank you for that test idea. I will definitely have to try it. And also @sarah, glad you have made a large print with the 40D. I have a client who wants a large print and from viewint the image at 100% in Photoshop I told them that a 20×30 would probably be the largest that would not be pixelated and your discovery solidifies that. And cameraclicker, you touched on this also, but another advantage of a full frame is that with a longer lens you can be closer to the subject and still get a compressed depth of field, minimizing the possibility of camera shake, and allowing for greater detail and sharpness. With my 70-200 f/2.8 on my crop bodies I have to back up aways to get everything in the frame that I want to and sometimes it results in a softer image. The 5D should help a lot with that.


    Nothing wrong with the rebel series. If you don’t need damp protection like an event shooter, there’s nothing wrong with it.


    The only thing that I find wrong with the new rebels is that they use SD cards instead of CF so if you have a bunch of CF cards they are useless. I have also heard that SD cards write slower than CF cards.


    There are fast SD cards, but if write speed is an issue for shooting portraits, you’re doing something wrong.


    I just saw some brand name 32GB SD cards for $15 shipped, and although that was as really good price, not having memory cards shouldn’t be a hurdle.


    +1 Stef

    I use for my CF bodies a Sandisk 32Gig Extreme.

    While with my rebel body I use Class 10 SD Cards. It Writes just about the same and I’ve never had any issues with it for shooting portraits. Despite popular belief here, there really isn’t much of a noticeable difference if you are shooting correctly. Stef really hit it in the head, no way would you use or would it be even remotely necessary to reach the limits of an SD when shooting portraits. Not even weddings. Not even if you are shooting video. Sports photography. Runway photography yeah but you wouldn’t shoot raw for runway.

    If people are having issues with SD cards, then the solutions are simple. Either get a higher class or think before you shoot and not let your shutter run like crazy.

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