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Thread: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

  1. #1

    5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Hello All, I am new to the 50D VS the 5D2 as of today and have a question on the 1.6 times closer question. I will be doing a lot of macro pics using the 2.8 100mm macro from Canon. I currently use that lens on one of the old original Digital Rebels so either camera I upgrade will be a huge upgrade. I didn't think I needed the video until I watched some of the video examples so now I am torn. I was going to go with the 50D until I saw the video and thought about what I could do with that as well.

    As I said, I will be doing a lot of macro work (Saltwater Aquarium and corals) which I do now. What would be the easiest way to get that 1.6 factor back with the 5D2 as I would have with the 50D?

    I hope that question makes sence.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th June 2009 at 01:56 AM.

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    Hello All, I am new to the 50D VS the 5D2 as of today and have a question on the 1.6 times closer question. I will be doing a lot of macro pics using the 2.8 100mm macro from Canon. I currently use that lens on one of the old original Digital Rebels so either camera I upgrade will be a huge upgrade. I didn't think I needed the video until I watched some of the video examples so now I am torn. I was going to go with the 50D until I saw the video and thought about what I could do with that as well.

    As I said, I will be doing a lot of macro work (Saltwater Aquarium and corals) which I do now. What would be the easiest way to get that 1.6 factor back with the 5D2 as I would have with the 50D?

    I hope that question makes sence.
    Hi Rusty,

    The 5D2 has a higher pixel count than the 50D - so a simple crop will get you part of the way there, and unless you have a need for printing really large images then a simple crop may be all that you ever need (a 21MP camera cropped to APS-C dimensions probably equates to somewhere around 8MP, which I've printed 22 x 44" shots from).

    The other issue that you may not have thought of is Depth of Field; The 5D2 being full frame will have a tighter depth of field - which generally works against you in macro photography.

  3. #3

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Rusty,

    The 5D2 has a higher pixel count than the 50D - so a simple crop will get you part of the way there, and unless you have a need for printing really large images then a simple crop may be all that you ever need (a 21MP camera cropped to APS-C dimensions probably equates to somewhere around 8MP, which I've printed 22 x 44" shots from).

    The other issue that you may not have thought of is Depth of Field; The 5D2 being full frame will have a tighter depth of field - which generally works against you in macro photography.
    Ahhh No I had not thought about the dept of field issue. I will have to take that into account before purchasing.

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    Ahhh No I had not thought about the dept of field issue. I will have to take that into account before purchasing.
    Hi Rusty,

    If you can crop from a 5D2 and get away with it then it's a non-issue. If you don't need the higher speed of the 50D then the 5D2 is possibly the better choice for you.

    I shoot with a 1Ds3 (more or less same resolution) and you can get pretty agressive with cropping if you need to.

    What will you be doing with your images? Printing? and if so, how large?

  5. #5

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Rusty,

    If you can crop from a 5D2 and get away with it then it's a non-issue. If you don't need the higher speed of the 50D then the 5D2 is possibly the better choice for you.

    I shoot with a 1Ds3 (more or less same resolution) and you can get pretty agressive with cropping if you need to.

    What will you be doing with your images? Printing? and if so, how large?
    Honestly the largest we will probably print is maybe 18x24 but possibly 24x36. I was originally looking at the 50D basically because of cost and reading your post in the other thread about 5D VS 50D but then I saw the HD Video and thought that would be real cool showing the polups in the corals something like this.

    Hope I am allowed to put that link there, if not let me know and I will re-edit this post quickly and get rid of it.

  6. #6

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Ok as above you know what I am looking to do and my confusion about which camera to purchase. Here is a question I posted on my Saltwater board before I found this wonderful place. I know there are some tutorials I have not read yet and I apologize. I am in the middle of reading them about the sensors and noise but here is the question anyway.
    Basically it is about pixel density.

    I am looking at a couple of cameras to decide which I would like to purchase. Based on not needing the video portion of a camera I am looking very hard at the Canon 50D. I was also looking at the Canon 5D Mark II but looking at the sensors it seems that the 50D would have a more dense area of pixels than the Mark II.

    The 50D is 15 megapixels for a 22.3mm x 14.9mm sensor or 332 cm square surface. If you look at the 5D it has 22 megapixels for a full 35mm frame or a 36.0mm x 24.0mm or 864 cm square surface. If you take the ratio of the large surface to the smaller surface there is about 2.6 times more surface area the pixels have to cover. So to have the same density as the smaller sensor one would have to have 2.6 times 15 or 39 mega pixel sensor.

    All that being said, wouldn't you get a better picture from the 50D since it has a higher density megapixel sensor?

    Ok I found the answer on this awesome site you have. The answer is no not necesessarly since all pixels are not the same size. If the pixels are larger then the noise will be less due to the size of the pixels which reduces the signal to noise ratio and thus a smoother more detailed image for a given size.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th June 2009 at 04:50 AM.

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post

    The 50D is 15 megapixels for a 22.3mm x 14.9mm sensor or 332 cm square surface. If you look at the 5D it has 22 megapixels for a full 35mm frame or a 36.0mm x 24.0mm or 864 cm square surface. If you take the ratio of the large surface to the smaller surface there is about 2.6 times more surface area the pixels have to cover. So to have the same density as the smaller sensor one would have to have 2.6 times 15 or 39 mega pixel sensor.

    All that being said, wouldn't you get a better picture from the 50D since it has a higher density megapixel sensor?

    Ok I found the answer on this awesome site you have. The answer is no not necesessarly since all pixels are not the same size. If the pixels are larger then the noise will be less due to the size of the pixels which reduces the signal to noise ratio and thus a smoother more detailed image for a given size.
    Unless your trying to dig out shadow detail from a grossly under-exposed shot then noise doesn't really enter into it from a practical point of view as the noise performance of both cameras are more than adequate.

    The other thing to remember when considering absolute pixel counts is that it's a square-law function to double the pixel density for a given print size; so to produce something that has twice the density of an 8MP camera, you'd need a 32MP camera - or put another way (disregarding pixel density), the difference between a 15MP camera and a 21MP camera is approx nothing.

    In terms of maximum print size, people often forget that the bigger the print, the further away people typically view it from - and the two cancel each other out. And last but not least, don't get sucked in to the old mantra of needing 240 to 300 ppi for each and every print; even a "lowly" 100 ppi is around about (potentially) 16 tone changes per square millimeter - could your eyes resolve that in a normal print? Even with a magnifying glass? Mine couldn't! You'll even hear of some saying you need up to 360 ppi (equating over 200 tone changes in a single square millimeter) which personally I thing is just absurd.

    For what it's worth, I've got 22 x 44" prints hanging on my wall from 8MP, 10MP, and 21MP cameras - and it's very hard to tell the different. I did a print on canvas the other day at around 50ppi (client had camera set to wrong mode) - client was thrilled.

    I think that the most exciting thing about the 50D's pixel density is that they have the technology to do it ... and hopefully that means we'll be in for a 39MP 1Ds4 about this time next year (same pixel density).
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th June 2009 at 05:05 AM.

  8. #8

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    So sounds like either camera would be a good choice and could not go wrong as far as pixel count and sensor size. Now to look into the depth of field question you brought up. Back to the tutorials. I do appreciate your help. I am wondering what difference there would really be since I will most likely be cropping my subject anyway.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th June 2009 at 09:03 PM.

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    So sounds like either camera would be a good choice and could not go wrong as far as pixel count and sensor size. Now to look into the depth of field question you brought up. Back to the tutorials. I do appreciate your help. I am wondering what difference there would really be since I will most likely be cropping my subject anyway.
    I think that a lot of people seem to get into a mindset that there's only 1 "right camera" for a job, forgetting of course that there's an enormous overlap between many models.

    In this case it's really an issue of full-frame -v- crop-factor; many seem to hold full-frame up as being the utopia of camera formats, but as I've written elsewhere here, it can work for you or against you or make little difference or make no difference.

    In terms of Depth of Field the difference is roughly equivalent to 1 stop of aperture, but cropping probably shouldn't enter in to it, assuming that you setup the the same field of view with either camera (which means you'll be closer with the FF camera).

  10. #10

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    In terms of Depth of Field the difference is roughly equivalent to 1 stop of aperture, but cropping probably shouldn't enter in to it, assuming that you setup the the same field of view with either camera (which means you'll be closer with the FF camera).
    I guess that is what I meant my having to crop. I won't be able to physically get closer due to the glass of the aquarium. I normally set up the shot as close to the glass as I can now so setting up closer is not an option really.

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    I guess that is what I meant my having to crop. I won't be able to physically get closer due to the glass of the aquarium. I normally set up the shot as close to the glass as I can now so setting up closer is not an option really.
    In that case the 50D / 100mm Macro will give you more "zoom in" than the 5D2, thus more resolving power and a "nicer" D of F. The other consideration is perhaps to use the EF 180mm Macro lens?

    Whilst I think of it, we're accustomed to hearing about this "1.6x" effective focal length multiplier with APS-C cameras, but in terms of actual resolving power (which is probably the thing that matters most) then pixel densities come into it, eg a 20D (8MP, crop) and a 1Ds3 (21MP, FF) with an image cropped to the same pixel dimensions as a 20D image contain about the same amount of detail. A 1Ds3 actually out-resolves a 1D3 (APS-H form factor) by around 30% - something a lot of people seem to be forgetting these days.

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    I guess that is what I meant my having to crop. I won't be able to physically get closer due to the glass of the aquarium. I normally set up the shot as close to the glass as I can now so setting up closer is not an option really.
    As I was reading through the whole thread I was thinking - "Well another way of looking at this is "Subject Distance"." . . .


    What I mean is, I suggest asking these two questions:

    1. If I had a 5DMkii (or any other 135 format) what FL macro lens would be best suited to give me the most flexible working distance?

    2. If I had a 50D (or any other APS-C format) what FL macro lens would be best suited to give me the most flexible working distance?

    I think this could be the best question to ask yourself first, and then think DoF and Enlargement through from there: it might be that the answer is for a 5D is a 100mm, and the Rebel body was the "wrong" camera . . .?

    Often it is best to start with a clean sheet of white paper and work logically through to what the best tools are assuming one had none to begin.

    From that point it is often clearer as to how the existing kit might be modified, or leveraged to provide a range of outcomes.

    I mention this because I assume (always a bad mistake) that the 100mm is being used on an APS-C just because it is Ė I donít mean that nastily, what I mean is, going back to when you started photographing the Coral would purchasing a 50, 60, 90 (or 180) macro have been better apropos SD for the aquariums and coral, and, more importantly were those FL originally considered?

    WW

  13. #13

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    As I was reading through the whole thread I was thinking - "Well another way of looking at this is "Subject Distance"." . . .


    What I mean is, I suggest asking these two questions:

    1. If I had a 5DMkii (or any other 135 format) what FL macro lens would be best suited to give me the most flexible working distance?

    2. If I had a 50D (or any other APS-C format) what FL macro lens would be best suited to give me the most flexible working distance?

    I think this could be the best question to ask yourself first, and then think DoF and Enlargement through from there: it might be that the answer is for a 5D is a 100mm, and the Rebel body was the "wrong" camera . . .?

    Often it is best to start with a clean sheet of white paper and work logically through to what the best tools are assuming one had none to begin.

    From that point it is often clearer as to how the existing kit might be modified, or leveraged to provide a range of outcomes.

    I mention this because I assume (always a bad mistake) that the 100mm is being used on an APS-C just because it is Ė I donít mean that nastily, what I mean is, going back to when you started photographing the Coral would purchasing a 50, 60, 90 (or 180) macro have been better apropos SD for the aquariums and coral, and, more importantly were those FL originally considered?

    WW

    heheheh were the different lenses considered for my old Rebel? Absolutly not, there again you go assuming I knew/know what I am doing. I just bought a decent lens for an old camera so I could get in the game to see if I enjoyed this hobby as well as my corals. It had a minimum working distance of 6" which I liked because I wouldn't be across the room for the shots through the glass. My aquarium is only 24" deep from front to back so I thought this was a good choice, but did I know what I was doing? Nooooo Honestly I would have just purchased the 50D until I saw the videos that can be created with the 5D2.

    It sounds like the only real difference will be a little shorter depth of field and as Colin pointed out that could be taken care of with an adjustment of the F stop. I could also use an extension tube to get the 1.6 factor back if needed. I am sure this would affect the quality a bit, but for my hobbiest eyes probably not much.

    I was also thinking that normally a macro shot, the focus of the picture is in the subject itself for the most part. In otherwords I prefer a more blurred background for the most part because we are looking inwards seeing all the small pieces and parts and not as a scene as a whole. I think it will come down to if I want to pay the extra money for the movie portion of the camera.

  14. #14

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    I believe I have decided to go with the 50D instead of the 5D2. I know they probably both will do what I need but I believe Colin had some good points with the DOF and such. I was sort of locked in on the lens since I just purchased it for my old camera in December and I see no need to change it now. I want to thank all of you for your input to help a new hobbiest here.

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Hi Rusty,

    Don't lose any sleep over it which ever way you go - there's no wrong choice - only slightly different techniques required. I think that people tend to forget that there's aBIG overlap in the capabilities of most models, old and new.

    As far as losing video goes, I wouldn't worry too much about that either - video cameras are pretty cheap and - in my opinion anyway - still do a much better job that a video camera / SLR hybrid.

  16. #16

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Oh no, not any sleep lost over this decision. It think it was a win win either way. I am charging the new battery as we speak. Again thanks for all your help.

  17. #17

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    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Congratulations on the new purchase

    ... we'll be looking forward to seeing some of the results!

  18. #18

    Re: 5D Mk. II -v- 50D for Macro Photography

    Let's see if this works. This was from my old original Digital Rebel. It will be interesting to see the changes with the new camera. Thought I would try this Smugmug and see how I liked it as well.

    http://rustyc.smugmug.com/gallery/85...66058944_Pkcti

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