Need help deciding - Canon 60D or 7D?


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Aug 27, 2010
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I have a little over $1K in my mad money account that I'm planning to put towards a new camera. With my birthday a month away and the potential profit from selling my current Rebel XTi, I should have enough to get either camera. Which would you get? I primarily shoot my own family and will occasionally shoot for friends. I'm hoping that new gear will give me more of a reason to get better and maybe do some shoots on the side. We have an HD Flip recorder for videos so I'm not as impressed with the video part of the 60D.

Help! The money is burning a hole in my pocket (plus I want the camera in time for Fall foliage :)
Get the 7D.

Its better in every way (as far as I know).

Its hard to beat it for the price. You get weather sealing, which will help greatly to protect your investment.

100% viewfinder is also something that I underestimated how useful it is, upgrading from a 30D to 7D. What you see is what you get, it makes framing a shot so easy.
I say go 7D. but the only differences I can find according to Canons website is 8fps vs 5.3fps - 100% vs 96% viewfinder. The 60D has a movable Lcd. So other than the FPS the 7D might not be worth the extra $600.

edit: 7D has metal body and 60D is plastic . At least I think?
I say go 7D. but the only differences I can find according to Canons website is 8fps vs 5.3fps - 100% vs 96% viewfinder. The 60D has a movable Lcd. So other than the FPS the 7D might not be worth the extra $600.

edit: 7D has metal body and 60D is plastic . At least I think?

Weather sealing. No DSLR intended for professional use should be without it.

The 7D is in a category of its own, because its the 1st affordable body Canon has made that has numerous pro level features.

Its firmly a "semi-pro" body.
I'd say look very carefully at the differences in features between the 7d and T2i/550D. For myself (I too have an XTi currently), I'm not sure I see anything in the 7D worth an extra few hundred dollars over the t2i (isn't it ca. $900 diff.?). If you find there are features on the 7D you can't live without, then go for it, but otherwise, save your money and spend it on a nice lens (or lenses).
Nope. 50D. You can get it at a steal. The build quality is the same as the 7D and better than the 60D. It shoots faster than the 60D, and you don't need 18mpx.

The only thing you give up is video. If you need video, you can look at the T1i or the T2i.

Still, there is a lot to be said about spending that money on glass. A better lens will make a bigger difference than a better body.

Also, if you can wait a few months, the prices of bodies always drop. However, lenses tend to hold their value.
TiCoyote raises an important point regarding upgrading your gear - camera bodies come with new desirable features and also improvements in things like usable ISOs and bodies like the 7D also add video into the mix as well.

However (and this is especially true of the new larger MP camera bodies) if you are only using entry level lenses you're only going to get similar or worse overall image quality from them no matter what body you put behind them. So what glass do you have at present - an upgrade there might give you some fantastic improvements.
You know, I've been debating this morning on the 50D too. Video isn't important to me (although it might be nice after getting a terrible video out of our HD Flip yesterday). What I really want is a better sensor for low light indoor shooting without always having to have my flash (I want to learn about photography's ins and outs to further understand the appropriate settings, but I'd like to have a little more room for error in low lighting (thus less noise) than I do now. I have a 430EX flash that I bounce, but it eats batteries so fast and makes the camera so much more bulky that I've been leaving it off more and more.

I think I've ruled out the 60D just because I really don't like the moving screen (a weak point that could be broken easily) and the plastic body.

So could I now get opinions between the 50D and 7D?

I only have the kit lens for the XTi (but will likely be selling it with the camera), a 50mm f/1.8 prime (that stays on the camera 95% of the time) and a 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom lens that I got for super cheap and hope to use more once the kids start sports. I want to upgrade the camera and then work on my lens collection. :)
Well the 50D had little to no usable ISO improvement over the 40D (the ISO improved, but because of the MP increase as well the usable range didn't change much from the 40D) so if you want better ISO I would say the 7D or a second hand/reconditioned 40D would be the route I would take.

Also the 40D option would upgrade you camera body, but also leave you the option of getting more higher level glass - a 70-200mm f4 L would be a big step up from your current zoom at the cheapest end of the 70-200mm lenses.

Also keep in mind if the 50mm f1.8 is still too dark for you you might only find the usable ISO range you want on something like a 5DM2 - a fullframe camera sensor
I think a 60D and the 580 EX-II speedlight and a decent zoom lens would be a better use of your money than the 7D. Having that good flash unit would really,really open up a lot of possibilities, and would be more critical for people photography than the faster firing rate of the 7D; the 60D will have the color-aware light metering that the 7D has, so that's a wash. A quality flash would be of tremendous benefit, far more than a couple more 18 megapixel image captures to write to memory every second.
Okay, I just read the following in a review for the 50D and it really concerned me as this is exactly why I want to upgrade - to reduce noise in low light situations.

Lucky for me a good friend has a 40D and a local camera shop was nice enough to let us borrow their 50D to snap a few comparison shots. My friend and I took shot after shot using identical settings and identical lenses under a variety of situations, (low light, high speed, high light, inside, outside, dull colors and vibrant colors). We then took the pictures, compiled them on a single memory card and displayed them on my 46" 1080P HDTV. Results were very much in favor of the 50D. Shot for shot the 50D either matched or exceeded the picture quality of the 40D in all but one situation: indoors with low light and dull colors. Under that situation the 50D seemed to noise out on the constant color areas, (beige walls for example), while the 40D tended to noise out at the interface between colors, (at the boundary of a beige wall and darm crown molding for example). Both developed noise but the 50D had more.
The noise on the 50D is a bit hit and miss. You could get great, usable images like this or overly-grainy, very-difficult-to-fix images as bad as this. Both of these were shot with my 50D at 3200 ISO and f/2.8.

To be honest though, neither the 40D or 50D are going to impress at high ISO. Yes, the 40D has lower pixel density, but its also running on the older DigicIII processor (50D uses DigicIV, 7D uses dual DigicIVs). Every ISO test I have seen pictures for put the 40D and 50D close enough that it really makes no difference with today's NR software.

That being said, if your goal is reduced noise in low light, the 7D is really your only option. It handles high ISO very very well (as far as I have seen, the best for any APS-C camera). Here are some samples shot just the other day with my 7D at the same settings as above (3200 ISO f/2.8): image1 image2 image3 image4. Also keep in mind all of these images are heavily cropped, and shot under awful garbage high school football lighting.
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I have looked at various comparisons between T2i/550D and 7D and now with 60D. And no one seems to talk about the AF points. I had 550D for a couple of months and during slightly challenging conditions, the AF performance was average at best. I would constantly get focus on the wrong subject which was hard to decipher in low light conditions even on the bright LCD. I also tried every option on the camera and setting the focus points manually, to no avail. It is so frustrating to realize that the focusing was off on that perfect night with the perfect amount of moonlight -- when you review the pictures later on the laptop. Having used the 7d for a month now, it is like day and night. I really like the newly redesigned 19 diagonal cross-reference points AF on the 7D - which brings it closer to the nikon advanced AF system.

IMHO, a good AF system goes a long way in getting sharper pictures every time. The 7d is a little bulky and heavy for my liking, and I will be interested in the 60D for that reason, but it is a very small price to pay for picture perfect shots every time. For me, that alone is worth the price difference.

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