Good quality Digital SLR with high (good) ISO capability and 5+ fps shooting?


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May 30, 2013
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Burlington, NC
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It's been pointed out to me in another thread that my current camera a Cannon
Rebel xsi is like an outdated laptop. And I'm experiencing a lot of frustration
with things I'm trying to do that do not seem possible.

So, I'd really

- Higher ISO capability then current camera which tops out at 800
ISO, 1600 has way to much noise to use.

- at least 5 or more fps
continuous shooting capability as I mostly shoot running children and horse back
riding competitions both are fast moving and getting the right shot is sometimes
more dumb luck (or fast shutter speed) then the right timing.

- Cost. I
am not a professional; I'm lucky to get some gas money to drive 50 miles to
shoot friends at horse shows; and as a stay at home mom a new camera cant cost
more then 900$ new or used, a good refurbished model might even be a way to

- Good Manual AND auto settings for adjusting aperture/SS/ISO
settings or a manual depth of field setting so the camera will adjust aperture
to where I need the horse to be in focus.

It would be wonderful if my
current 35-55mm cannon EF-S and Canon 55 - 250 EF-S lens' would work with the
new camera body as new lenses will cost as much as the camera, most likely more
to get good ones (f4 for zoom stuff or even 2.8f)

any suggestions would
be greatly appreciated, not even sure what to look for I typed cameras into
google and blew my own mind. o_O
I would definitely buy used or refurb'ed in your situation... but since I don't know squat about Canon's, can't really recommend a body! Somebody will come along that can help with that part, happens every time!
You can get a used 5d for 5-600 bucks. If you really want to use your Ef-s lenses and are on a
Budget, maybe use a t2i or t3i?
The 30D, or 50D are good choices if you can find them used, and meet all of your requirements, I think. I find that on both models the ISO is usable up to 1600. YMMV. I don't know about America, but you can find a 30D (which basically only improves incrementally on the 20D), used, here in Toronto, Canada for under $300. I'm preferential to the *D series because I am usually in manual mode, and having two control wheels makes life much easier for me.

Make sure you expose to reduce noise at high ISO - that means exposing at whatever ISO you need to, so that you aren't left having to push EV's in post.

edit: I should note that the resolution of these models is not exactly super-high - but in my opinion, megapixels beyond a certain point matter much less than people think. Although you wouldn't be printing at billboard size with any of the older bodies, I've never had a problem with what was available to me - in a professional or "shooting for fun" sense.
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All "Rebel" bodies as well as the 60D (a mid-range body) and the 7D (a high-end mid-range or sometimes considered low-end pro body especially optimized for action photography) have APS-C "crop-frame" sensors (the same physical dimension as your XSi... but with newer technology.)

The 6D, 5D series, and 1D series are all "full frame" bodies which cannot use EF-S lenses BUT... the "entry" level price tag for a full-frame body is about $2k for a "new" body (you can find used bodies for quite a bit less.)

The link to Canon's refurb store is here: Canon Direct Store - Refurbished EOS Digital SLR Cameras

You can save quite a bit by purchasing a refurb, but since these are direct from Canon you don't have to worry that there's something wrong with the camera (also, they come with a warranty... so even if there is something wrong it would be covered.)

The sensor in the T1i (a generation newer than your XSi) had some improvement. But at that point, Canon came out with an 18MP sensor that went into the 7D and 60D. It then made it's way into the T2i, T3i, T4i, and eventually the T5i (the newest camera which was just released a month or two ago.) They ALL have the 18MP sensor. Canon does change the firmware and processor (they're now on the Digic V instead of the Digic IV -- I think your XSi has a DIGIC III) and that will help performance. Lab testing shows "some" difference in the sensors but it's not radical difference (usually requires precise testing equipment to notice the difference).

That means I'd skip the T1i (that was a 15MP sensor) and evaluate the T2i (also no longer marketed), T3i, T4i, T5i, 60D, and 7D for your needs.

The T3i shoots at 3.7 frames per second in continuous mode. The T4i and T5i are both 5 frames per second. (BTW, they also just released the SL1 which is a DSLR with an particularly compact body but it's 4 FPS and you wouldn't be able find a refurb of it since it's only JUST showing up in stores now.)

The 60D is 5.3 frames per second. The 60D has really come down in price since it launched (it was originally a $1200 body) you can currently find it for about $700 (Amazon, B&H Photo, etc.) It's "officially" $900 but there's a $200 "instant rebate" (not a mail-in rebate so you don't pay more and wait for a refund... you just pay $700). The 70D rumors are flying a bit thicker right now (this is the body that will replace the 60D) which means the 60D may take a permanent drop in price -- although I expect the purpose of the $200 "instant rebate" program is to try to clear them out of stock... I doubt they're actually building these anymore. They wouldn't admit that because you never want to let a consumer know that they're buying a discontinued product.) It's actually a pretty solid body... it has controls more like a pro body (although size-wise it's about as big as a Rebel body.)

The 7D is 8 frames per second AND uses CF cards instead of SD cards (CF cards can transfer data faster). It has "dual" DIGIC IV processors (most cameras just have a single processor). It has 19 AF points and ALL of them are "cross type" (the 60D, T4i, and T5i have 9 "cross type" points, everything else has 9 points but they're all single-axis AF points except for the center point which is cross-type). So basically it's a better focusing system and a much faster shooting camera.

The 60D and 7D both have some "weather sealing" features which means they can take some rain/spray (they are NOT waterproof... do NOT submerge them) and it's no big deal. The Rebel bodies do not have any weather-sealing features at all.

The 7D is nearing the end-of-life (it's been out for several years) and the rumor is there's a 7D II in the works, but this camera is not expected much before the end of this year or possibly the early part of next year.

Entry-range / consumer bodies generally get a new camera body about once per year. Mid-range bodies usually wait a few years between updates. Pro bodies go several years between updates. But when these less frequently updated bodies do finally get an update, the update tends to be significant.
used canon 7D. 8 FPS, pretty good ISO, small format sensor so your lenses work, basically the top of the line crop sensor model. Can get for like $1000 maybe on ebay on a good day. Trade in your old camera for some $$ off of that amount, and you're in your budget.

Also magnesium body construction, better AF than the rebels, etc.
My vote is for the Canon 7d. I see them used with less than 2500 shutter count for $800 to $1000 all the time on Craigslist. I went from a Rebel T2 to a 7d and it was night and day difference. I love my 7d. Good luck with your choice.
I was looking at the canon 60 and D7, I will see if I can get any trade in value on my old model for a refurbished or gently used D7 as I think that's probably the best model to use for at least another 3-4 years since whatever camera I pick up will have to last me for quite a while.
For clarity : Nikon's have the D in front of the number - D60, D90, D7000, D3. Canon's have the D after the number - 60D, 7D, 50D, 40D.

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