Image Quality -- 5D Mark II / 7D

Discussion in 'Canon Cameras' started by TheOtherBob, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    My sweet, dear old 20D is finally breaking down -- and after a flameout in Budapest that left me cameraless, I no longer trust it. I'm travelling again next month, and need a new body. I have the following lenses:

    10-22mm
    24-70mm
    70-200mm 4.0 IS
    100mm Macro
    50mm 1.8

    Looking at what's out there, it looks like the 7D and 5DII are my best options -- but I'm having trouble deciding. On one hand, the 7D offers:

    1. Electronic level (my pics are always crooked);
    2. Better control system for video / slow motion;
    3. Better autofocus (though I mainly shoot landscapes)
    4. Ability to use EF-S (so I don't have to trade in the 10-22)
    5. Lower price (so maybe I could get some other piece of kit -- though I don't know what)

    The 5DII offers:

    1. Full frame
    2. Better high ISO (but I don't really need this, frankly -- I shoot mainly at 100-400)

    Given what I shoot, there's no feature on the 7D that's killer for me -- though that leveling thingamabob is definitely attractive. And so I've heard the standard advice that landscape shooters should go with the 5DII because the image quality is better. Except...is it? At 100-400 ISO, the shots I've seen appear to be equally sharp, equally noise-free, and equally "punchy" -- I'm having trouble seeing the difference between the cameras with my untrained eye.

    I have seen reviews looking at huge crops at high ISOs, and do see distinctions there -- but that's just not me. I don't tend to crop, don't tend to print bigger than 10x14, and tend to shoot at low ISO. So is there any real-world difference between the 5DII and 7D for my applications? When I print at 10x14, will I look at the 5DII's image and go "wow!" in a way that I wouldn't with the 7D?

    If so...why? Higher dynamic range? Better color resolution? What makes the image quality "better" on the 5DII?

    Thanks for all your help / opinions!


     
  2. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Well, I'm not a Canon shooter, so I can't speak for Canon cameras. However, I can say that based on what you're expressing your intentions are for use, you would probably be just fine with the 7D. I doubt you would be taking advantage of the ISO performance and other image quality advances of the 5DII. Plus, you could spend the extra money on other goodies, maybe a grip, extra batteries, memory? It seems like you already have the lenses, so not much need to upgrade those.

    Though, another question to ask yourself, is do you find yourself needing a wider angle of view? If so, maybe FF would be the way to go since you would significantly increase your angle of view with the same lenses you have. Might help with those wide landscapes.

    The last thing I was going to mention, is that I don't understand the draw to these electronic levels. Doesn't your camera have grid lines in the viewfinder? I always have my grid lines on, and almost never have to adjust for crooked horizons, ect. And the grid lines should be in live view, too. I don't know, maybe there's some magical use for the level that I'm not seeing, but between the two sets of grid lines, I don't see the point. Just a gimik to me.
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    if you don't print bigger than 10x14 and don't shoot higher than ISO 400, than the 7D would be just fine.
     
  4. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input.

    Crimbfighter: Nope, no gridlines in the 20D viewfinder -- I think that's pretty standard these days, but not back then (at least not for Canon). Apparently there are third-party tools you could use to add gridlines to the 20D (I think Sharpie makes a particularly useful one), but nothing from Canon. But you're right -- that might make more difference than the fancy level thingadoodle.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Buckster

    Buckster In memoriam

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    20D's been out of production for awhile now, so there sure don't seem to be any gridded focusing screens available at this time, though it's hard to believe there were none ever. I seem to recall when I had my 20D that I was considering purchasing a gridded screen for it, but decided I didn't need it at the time. I could be just old and confused though, so don't mind me. :)

    Focusing screens are generally available for just about any camera that comes along that could use them. And they're usually pretty inexpensive and easy to install.

    As for the two bodies in question, I have both. I like that I can just turn the grid on with the 7D (which I leave on), but it was simple to buy a gridded screen for the 5DMKII and install it too, and I much prefer the 5DMKII, so it was worth it to me. I think the gridded screen ran me about $30 from Calumet, and that was a walk-in purchase (in San Francisco's store), so it can likely be had cheaper than that online by shopping around.

    If you use off camera flash, you'll want to consider the differences there as well. One of the things I like about the 7D is that it can control Canon's speedlights completely off camera, including the use of ETTL, without having to park anything on top of the body itself, like one of the flashes or a commander unit. It communicates with the remotes though it's pop-up flash, which doesn't even have to fire any visible light into the scene.

    Not so with the 5DMKII that has no pop-up flash. With the 5DMKII, I got a separate ST-E2 Commander to work the off-camera flashes, and that was another couple hundred bucks. For me, it's worth it, but it's something you might want to consider, based on what you shoot and how you work.

    The lens trade-off on the wide end was something for me to contend with as well. My EFS 10-22mm won't fit the 5DMKII, and it's a lens I like to use. For now, I'm still using it on the 7D, but I'm just about to order the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, and then I'll have all the pieces in place to sell off the 7D, it's grip, batteries, the EFS lenses, and anything else that doesn't work with my full frame body.

    I thought I'd keep the 7D as a backup, just in case the 5DMKII needed service sometime or something like that. But I have plenty of other cameras that can pull that duty if needed, from 35mm and medium format film cameras to a fully functioning 40D. I'll never get a decent return on the 40D at this point anyway, but I could still turn enough money on the 7D and it's acoutrements before it's considered obsolete to pay for the 16-35mm lens, and then some.

    Having worked with both, I haven't any desire to even pick up the 7D anymore, except when I need that 10-22mm, which isn't often for me. I've never needed more than a few frames per second for anything in my 40 years of shooting, so it's rapid-fire shutter doesn't do much for me personally. ISO capabilities on both are a dream these days, but heck, even the Rebels can do that.

    The real difference is, just as they say - in the details, and that's what brought it all home for me after working with them in detail. What became crystal clear in no time flat: That's where the full frame 5DMKII whips butt on the 7D, just like medium format whips butt on 35mm when it comes to clarity and detail, especially as you start working crops or enlargments, and even just when you're working some detailed editing on an image in PS.

    If you never crop and you never print large, you may never perceive it, feel a need for it, or care about what that level of detail can do for your images. In fact, if that's the case, the same holds true for a modern Rebel - you'll likely never see the difference.

    It all depends on what you want to get out of a camera body. Me, I like to be prepared, especially on the rare occasions when I get THE killer shot that begs to be printed large, and gets people to offer money for huge prints to hang and admire.

    My 7D will soon by on an auction block somewhere, and I won't even shed a tear. ;)
     
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  6. krn

    krn TPF Noob!

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    You like the 7D for 10-22mm lens.
    For Mark II you are getting the 16-35mm lens.

    Because the Mark ii has a full frame, wouldn't its 16-35mm lens give the equivalent shot of the 7D's 10-22mm lens????


     
  7. Buckster

    Buckster In memoriam

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    Yes, for compositional focal length, they are equal, and that was the point. They are still unequal in other areas though, which is why I intended to sell the 7D as soon as I got the 16-35mm.

    That post was nearly two years ago however, and as it turns out, I never did get the 16-35mm for the full frame, never did sell the 7D, and still use the 10-22mm on it when I need that wide focal length for compositional purposes. I've also found that the 7D performs better for me in low light situations than the 5DMKII. For most of my shooting, I reach for my 5DMKII, and rarely the 7D, but it does have it's uses from time to time.
     

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