The 'Rebel' range are out. Don't like the ergonomics and they aren't quite rugged enough. Which is not to say they can't take a lick'n and keep on tick'n - they certainly can. But the more rugged alloy bodies of the '00D' series are designed more along the lines of the 5D - so that's where I'm looking.
|Canon's 20D, 30D, 40D and 50D. Pick the odd one out.|
All the above cameras have enough megapixels for me - from the 8MP 20D to the 15MP 50D. Megapixels aren't a consideration. Neither is Live View, which the 40 & 50D have, but the 20 & 30D don't. Big deal. Don't care.
From the front, at least, they all look alarmingly similar. And in many respects they are. Every addition a little faster, little bigger (megapixels), a little better at low light / high ISO's. So where to jump in for a 'good' secondhand body?
For me, it comes down to what's on the back - the LCD screen. This will govern most (although not all) of my decision on which camera to go for. I think a 3" LCD screen is about right. So this eliminates the 20D and 30D - leaving the 40D and 50D as serious contenders.
This is where it gets a little trickier. The 40D has a 230,000 dot LCD screen, whereas the 50D ups that to 920,000 dots (the same as my D300 had). This makes a huge difference, and is a much nicer screen. In comparison, however, the 5D uses a 2.5" screen with 230,000 dots - smaller than the 40D! So while the 50D screen would be nice - even the 40D's screen is better than the 5D's! And remember, this will be my back-up body.
So based on the LCD, together with the speed ratings of both cameras etc, I've decided to go with the 40D. I'll save myself $100 (or so), and get a 10MP camera that shoots at 6.5fps, with a 3" LCD screen and shooting up to ISO 3200. Ergonomically, it is also practically identical to the 5D, so switching between the two bodies should almost be seamless. Very important in the heat of battle :-)
Now I just have to find one.