I do real-estate photography. My lens is a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM ultra wide angle zoom lens. If I upgrade the camera body from one with a small-sensor (Canon 50D) to one with a full-frame (Canon 5D Mark IV), how much improvement will I get?

Currently the shots are not "wide" enough if I am taking photos of small bedrooms or bathrooms.

[ Added on Sept 9, 2018 ] I don't think I need to worry about the low-light performance too much, since I mount the camera on a tripod and use the auto exposure bracketing (AEB) mode to create HDR photos in Adobe Lightroom. I typically shoot using the aperture-priority mode using an aperture of f/22 (because I want a large depth of field).

How well does the in-camera HDR mode work in the 5D Mark IV?

  • Wonder if a 360-degree camera could fill your needs. – xiota Sep 9 '18 at 6:45
  • @xiota most 360º cameras, such as a Ricoh Theta, are actually designed more for 360º video. They are much lower resolution, use 1/2.3"-format or smaller sensors, and results are likely to be very distorted as two fisheye lenses back-to-back are common. And when cropped down to a traditional rectilinear view, not nearly the IQ/DR of even a 50D+10-18, let alone a 5DMkIV+17-40L. – inkista Sep 9 '18 at 20:22
  • Instead of using HDR, have you considered lighting, or MagicLantern's dual-iso module? Both can get you similar (or in the case of lighting, better) results with a single shot. And you can do both with the 50D you have. – inkista Sep 9 '18 at 20:35
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    It would be better if you separate your angle of view and in-camera HDR questions into separate questions. The former might be useful for a lot of people in general for a long time, while the latter is very model specific. – mattdm Sep 10 '18 at 14:35

Your lens should go from about a 67 degree (horizontal) field of view to about 93 degrees, based on one of the handy calculator apps I have on my phone. Since most rooms are roughly based on 90 degree corners, that should be a suitable improvement. As an alternative, you could look for a 10-11mm lens (not sure if such a thing exists) with either the EF or EF-S mount - that would also get you past the 90 degree mark.

  • There are several 10-20mm lenses for the Canon EFS mount: at least the Canon 10-20mm and the Sigma 10-20mm. – xenoid Sep 9 '18 at 8:18

It will be a wider angle of view which is quite useful for real estate photography, but you'll also lose a bit of image quality on the corners and edges as the full frame camera will capture the edges of the EF 17-40mm f/4 L lens' image circle. That's not to say the EF 17-40mm f/4 L is a bad lens. It's not. But pretty much any lens is better in the mid-frame areas than on the edges. With a FF lens on an APS-C camera, the edges of the image are in the mid-frame areas of the lens' image circle.

You'll also gain significant low light and dynamic range performance moving from the 10+ years old EOS 50D to the much more recent EOS 5D Mark IV. That would be the key improvement. The in-camera HDR feature is useful for 'quick and dirty' real estate work when you don't have the turnaround time to bracket and do the merging yourself.

I shot with a 50D as my primary body for a couple of years about a decade ago. It's a fine camera. But even the 2012 vintage 5D Mark III I've been using since 2014 is a significant upgrade to the 50D, both in terms of sensor performance as well as a true pro-level AF system. The 5D Mark IV carries that improvement even further.

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    If it is only the width of the image frame that is the problem. Older cheaper full frame bodies line the 5d mark ii or the original 6d (or even original 5d) might be a much cheaper solution to the problem. – lijat Sep 9 '18 at 4:30
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    @lijat How is your comment related to this particular answer rather than to the question (which specifically mentioned the 5D Mark IV)? – Michael C Sep 9 '18 at 4:33
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    In terms of low light/high ISO performance, the 5DIV > 6DII/5D3/6D (all very close to each other) > 5DII > 5D. Unless one's budget is severely limited, for business use I can't see recommending an older used model over a newer, more capable one that will be covered by warranty, presumably have longer service life than a used camera, and can be amortized over several years as a business expense (and thus the expense will be somewhat offset by tax savings). – Michael C Sep 9 '18 at 4:36
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    I was debating where to put it. As you had started by mentioning the 5d mark iii I elected to comment on the answer. – lijat Sep 9 '18 at 4:54

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