Cynthia I. Rogers 5:22pm, 10 January 2009
Good morning,
For those of you that own the new 50D, how do you like the face detection? It would seem to eliminate the problems I have with correct focusing on all the subjects. Is it as great as it sounds?? I'm considering upgrading from my 20D. Thanks guys!
Jalexsmith 9 years ago
Well, face detection only works in Live view, and it can't focus on faces that are out of the depth of field. It's not the magic bullet for portrait photography.....especially with shallow DoF. It'll focus to the face, but not to the EYES. In a portrait, that's what you focus on. Always.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure why they put it in a 50D which is a mid-range DSLR. People who use these cameras should know how to focus and not need face detection. If they had to put it into a DSLR, it would have been better used in the XS and XSi.......entry level cameras. I'm sure it'll appear in the rumored "TSi" or 500D which is the XSi's replacement. But, that's speculation and I'd prefer not to rely on that.
Harry® 9 years ago
Jalexsmith wrote
face detection only works in Live view
I expect that is because the sensor is not exposed to the image until you take the shot in an SLR, whereas in a P&S it is exposed all the time?
Jalexsmith 9 years ago
As far as I know, yes.
Kinematic Digit PRO 9 years ago
Cindy I have the 50D and it does sort of work but as Jalexsmith has already explained, all the issues must be taken into consideration to make it work properly.

Generally speaking it is an annoying feature as it is way too slow at focusing to be practical (unless you have patient subjects that don't want to move). I've never tried to use it on a tripod in a portrait situation, but as Jalexsmith stated, it's no magic bullet for portrait photography or way to correct focusing problems. However because of the high resolution screen combined with Liveview, manually focusing is a plus on the 50D. I sometimes turn on the face detection on just to watch it dance from face to face, but honestly never really rely on it.

Not sure why this feature was added? I guess the logic behind something like this is that the processor can do, so include the feature.
Chris[topher] Lin PRO 9 years ago
Harry: Exactly. The autofocus system in an SLR uses a secondary sensor and doesn't see enough to detect a face. and

have better explanations than I can write here.
Cynthia I. Rogers 9 years ago
ok, well, you all just answered my question, (sigh of relief) and it helps me feel better and love my 20d more! :o) so, all the things i'm doing; focusing on eyes, dof, etc. is just what needs to be done. thank you very much for your inputs, i appreciate it greatly!
Chris[topher] Lin PRO 9 years ago
If you focus and recompose with center-point-only, you can have a lot better control over where your camera focuses the lens. Search for "focus and recompose" and you'll find explanations of this. Refining your technique might help more than upgrades, and it only costs practice time!

Okay, now to answer the real 20D upgrade question. The 50D will have advantages of all the newer digital technology regarding sensor and processing as well as a new autofocus sensor.

Is it worth it to upgrade? Maybe. What other lenses do you have?

The Digital Picture has comprehensive Canon reviews for the 50D and 40D. Both have comparisons with the 20D. You might also want to try the camera side-by-side compare on Between the two bodies is a fair amount of money.

I have a 30D, and shot a 20D once. Key things you might notice: LCD size: 1.8" on the 20D to 3.0" on the 40D and 50D. In single drive mode, you can return to half-press and then shoot again without letting off the shutter all the way. I do this all the time. Continuous-slow drive mode.

You'll likely hear "go for the 5D mark II if you can afford it". But you'll also have to be able to process these, in terms of storage and computing power. Or you could go film. ;-)
Cynthia I. Rogers 9 years ago
the lenses i have are the 28-135mm is and a nifty fifty, love them both. i don't really want to upgrade unless i have to, my camera does everything i need it to do, i was only considering the 50d if the face detection worked really well, sometimes i have a hard time focusing on the whole face; when i zoom in after the photo the left eye will be clear but not the right so most times I focus on the bridge between the eyes, also my camera is definitely on center-point and i recompose if needed, i don't really move around the focus points
Chris[topher] Lin PRO 9 years ago
"Glass before body" is said often. If you're fine with the body, then you might want to look into expanding your lens 'quiver', so to speak. Rent before buy, of course.

I'm not sure if the 20D has higher-precision focusing with f/2.8 or faster lenses, or cross-type focusing at the center point.
thechrisproject 9 years ago
"It'll focus to the face, but not to the EYES. In a portrait, that's what you focus on. Always."

That sounds like a fun rule to break. Especially 'cause it's got an "always" in it.
Adam Yahiya 9 years ago
i think it runs on 1st generation face detection where its specialised to detect only the face and the the 3rd generation made by sony is by making the sensor computer inside the camera memorise the shape of a face including the black thingy on our eye..
GavinZ PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by GavinZ (member) 9 years ago
20D only has cross sensor in the central spot. 40D and up has cross sensor at all spot. The central one also has the higher accuracy focus one for F2.8 or faster lens. These are set in diagonal directions. I have both cameras.
40D has better ergonomics than 20D
- Brighter viewfinder
- ISO in viewfidner
- C1-3 memory
- My menu
- Better LCD
- Better AF as described above
The photos look about the same.

For portraits if you have very fast lens then you can get one eye out of focus. Its a depth of field issue. General you focus on eyes for portraits or at least I do.
james4765 PRO 9 years ago
I've always been dubious of those "face recognition" or "smile recognition" software doodads on a camera. Although it sounds great, it also sounds like something you'd end up fighting with more often than not. The thing I like the most about decent DSLRs is that you can turn all that auto-whatever BS off and drive the camera yourself.

But upgrading from the 20D? The rest of the features are worth it. If you have Noise Ninja (next bit of software I get - saw it in action recently) the ISO 6400 becomes usable. And the UDMA CF card capability gives it an insane photo buffer (90 shots at 6.3 fps with a UDMA card).
Chris[topher] Lin PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Chris[topher] Lin (member) 9 years ago
Mind you, focus and recompose has limitations. When you move, you heed to be aware of where you're moving the focal plane.

Here's an article that discusses it:

ETA: and another two here: and
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