Updated: Mar 24
When other photographers see me open my camera bag and they see that I've got a Canon 50D and a canon 5D mark 2 in there, I often get asked "what are you using those for" "they're old cameras, why aren't you using something newer" "Mirrorless is the future" "You're not really going to use those for paid work are you?" and so on, and so forth.
Yes, these cameras are old, the 50D was released in 2008 and the 5D mark 2 was also released in 2008, but just because something is old, doesn't mean it's incapable.
Yes, they're showing their age, the 5D is missing all of its port covers, the viewfinder is dusty, the rear screen is all scuffed and has glue around the edges from where it fell out and I glued it back in and the paintwork is showing its age with scuffs everywhere, but this doesn't bother me, it shows that it's been used and not sat in a cabinet all of its life, it shows it has a history.
These two cameras are remarkably similar, the main difference being that the 50D is an APS-C Crop sensor and the 5D mark 2 is a full-frame sensor.
The 5D can also shoot video, but the 50D cannot. (well, it can, but you have to use Magic Lantern)
The 50D has a 15,1-megapixel sensor and the 5D mk2 has a 21-megapixel sensor.
These specs by today's standards are nothing mind-blowing, but they're also nothing to turn your nose to.
15MP & 21MP are plenty capable of achieving stunning image quality and printing on pretty large scales.
This image was taken on the 50D with a vintage fully manual focus lens (Helios 40-2) and I got this printed at a mind-blowing size of 30x40 inches & it looks fantastic.
Just remember this image the next time someone tries to persuade you to buy a newer camera with more megapixels and tries trying to tell you that your images will suffer and you won't be able to do large prints with a smaller megapixel sensor, because it's a lie, you absolutely can...
Both the 50D and the 5D MK 2 have a magnesium alloy body, and although this increases the weight of the cameras, it also increases the build quality, because it's no secret that the older something is, the better it's usually built.
You can tell just by holding these cameras in your hand, that they were built to last.
Not like the cameras of today, which are made mostly of plastic.
If you drop the 50D or the 5D, you don't automatically fear that it's broken, I have dropped both, and both have survived, with nothing more than some paint scuffs.
Another reason that I like these two cameras so much, is their price. They're cheap to buy, you get a lot of camera for the small price that you're going to pay.
You can pick up a used 50D in 2022 for between £80 - £110 depending on the condition, sometimes even cheaper if you shop around for a while.
A 5D mark 2 you can pick up for around £200
Both cameras have a solid alloy body, weather sealing, live view, HDMI, 9 AF points, a 3" screen and more.
If like me, you're big into using vintage lenses and adapting them to your digital camera, both are great for this and allow a massive range of lenses to be adapted, if you're doing this though, just be careful with what you adapt to the 5D, because of the larger mirror, some vintage lenses will hit the mirror, and that's not ideal.
I have and still do use these cameras for paid work, including portraits, weddings and product photography, and never once have I had a complaint from a client about their age or image quality.
if you're a bit of a gear snob and like to have the newest of everything, then these cameras aren't going to be for you, but if you're just getting into photography, or if you want a good, solid, capable and reliable camera on a tighter budget, these cameras are an option definitely worth considering.
Here are some images taken with the 5d MK2;
Here are some images taken with the 50D:
So if you're just getting into photography and you want to learn and have a reliable workhorse to learn on and you see one of these cameras at a good price, my advice to you would be to grab it, while it's available, plus if you don't like it, you're very likely to get back at least what you paid for it.