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Mini-Review: Canon 1D3 vs 7D

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Thread started 26 Mar 2013 (Tuesday) 21:48   
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TeamSpeed
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Here is a mini-review comparing the 7D to the 1D3. I have had both for extensive periods through the course of the last several years. I thought it would be good to compare noise, fov differences between 1.3 and 1.6, and then resizing the 1D3 up to the 7D sizes to see if one could use the 1D3 fairly interchangeably with a 7D.

Here is the gallery of images used to do the comparisons
http://teamspeed.smugm​ug.com/Electronics/1D3​-vs-7Dexternal link

I used 2 of my L lenses, the 24-70L (just back from a fix and calibration visit at Canon), and my 70-200 f2.8 IS. I shot in raw, and the only thing I changed after the fact was to set all pics to the same WB value. I used DPP to convert. If I ever run any actions, I run the same set on each. I ran the same exposure settings on each as well for each test.

  • For the ISO tests, I ran 800 through 6400 on a pretty low natural light scene and changed my focal length to try to keep the same FOV to help minimize the differences in crop values.

  • For the Exposure test, I ran a test shot on each body at ISO 3200 underexposed by 2 stops, then brought them up to see how "flexible" either was to underexposure. I also changed the focal length to try to make up for both the FOV difference and the resolution difference as best I could, so that I could have the number of pixels on target for each image.

  • For the resolution test, I took a shot at 200mm on both bodies, and tried to equalize the 1D3 image crop to be the same as the 7D, by cropping each accordingly, then resizing the 1D3 up to the 7D.

My summary after the tests:
  • The 7D seems to match up with the 1D3 quite well in regards to ISO management, neither really seems to have an edge on the other in general shooting, especially when you resize the 1D3 up
  • The 1D3, even though in some situations, shows more noise, but it also seems to retain some more detail through the noise
  • The 1D3 cropped and resized images are pretty close to the 7D, just a tad less sharp overall, but if you can rest assured that you do have the ability to resize the 1D3 up and get reasonably the same IQ as the 7D
  • This means the 1D3 takes more post processing to get the same sized results as the 7D, so in many cases, it may just be more efficient to shoot with the 7D
  • The 1D3 focuses better in low light
  • The 1D3 frame rate doesn't slow down in questionable light like the 7D
  • The images on the 1D3 look worse on the rear LCD but better on the computer (due to both the old lcd design and the old small thumbnail JPG in the raw), and the 7D looks better on the rear LCD but worse on the computer


IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-BGMv98R/0/O/7d1d3iso.jpg
IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-Wd9W2nr/0/O/7d1d3iso800.jpg
IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-sVCStv7/0/O/7d1d3iso1600.jpg
IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-H5M5M8c/0/O/7d1d3iso3200.jpg
IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-jwRLNvC/0/O/7d1d3iso6400.jpg

IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-4sN3LKn/0/O/7d1d3exposurecover.jpg
IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-SQNC97j/0/O/7d1d3exposure.jpg

Resolution test follows...

Post #1, Mar 26, 2013 21:48:12


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TeamSpeed
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IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-Swc7mST/1/O/7d1d3resolutioncover.jpg

IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-7cnJ8Sh/1/O/7d1d3resolution_1.jpg

IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-7LpWZfB/1/O/7d1d3resolution_2.jpg

IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-9VS6fK6/1/O/7d1d3resolution_3.jpg

Post #2, Mar 26, 2013 21:48:44


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gjl711
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Nice comparison. I'm surprised that the 7D did so well especially at 3200 and 6400.

Post #3, Mar 26, 2013 21:52:23


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TeamSpeed
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gjl711 wrote in post #15759822external link
Nice comparison. I'm surprised that the 7D did so well especially at 3200 and 6400.

Most likely due to how Canon has the NR values set up on the 7D by ISO range as compared to the 1D3. One thing I need to do yet tomorrow, if I have time, is to map the 1D3 NR values by ISO with NR on/off vs the 7D chart I did when comparing to the 5D2.

For those that don't use DPP, the results may be different. I could also certainly take these raws, and run the NR sliders to good 7 compare as well.

Like other mini-reviews, though, I run the comparisons as I would shoot and process the images personally.

EDIT: Here is the 3200 and 6400 shots from both, with the DPP NR sliders set to zero, and the 1D3 resized up to match the 7D. The 1D3 seems to have very little NR values set internally, at least at 3200.

IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-zDtqzRZ/0/O/7d1d3iso_nonr.jpg
IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Electronics/1D3-vs-7D/i-WtpXQ3x/0/O/7d1d3iso_nonr_2.jpg

What surprises me is how close these are, but so many say that they have so much latitude with the 1D3 images. I never found that to be true through the years, and have always thought the 7D was just a good higher res alternative to the 1D3, with results that were always quite close.

The great news is that for those that want a 1D series, the 1D3 offers a great cost effective alternative, and all you really need to do is resize your images to 5184 on the long end first, then work on them, if you need more resolution for prints, etc. Now if you have to crop, resizing them up is going to pose a small problem in that the image will be softer than the equivalent 7D shot. If you are reach-limited, the 7D is a better option, or you should get longer lenses for the 1D3 to alternatively compensate.

Also there are copy variations as well, where I could have a good 7d and a poor 1d creating a closer than normal set of differences.

Post #4, Mar 26, 2013 22:00:47


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jhayesvw
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Great write up.
I have wondered how the 2 compare and I did find a review from back in 2009 that showed about the same thing you found.

If you are focal length limited the 7d is a slightly better option. If you can afford big glass or dont use big glass the 1d3 is just as good or can be slightly better.

With the wildlife photography that I do the 7d seemed to be the better choice and you have confirmed that.
Now, I could get a 1d3 if I could only find the $11,000 for a 600 f4.:p

Post #5, Mar 27, 2013 00:40:13 as a reply to TeamSpeed's post 2 hours earlier.


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1Tanker
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Great comparo! I'm wondering how they compare, with someone like me.. who has neither the proper NR software, nor any decent PP skills. :oops: :lol:

Post #6, Mar 27, 2013 03:03:11 as a reply to jhayesvw's post 2 hours earlier.


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russbecker
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This is a spot-on comparison between these two. I have used the 7D for over 3 years, with much of that shooting women's gymnastics. Before that I used a 40D. The 7D has always been an under-rated performer at ISO 3200 and 6400 for these kind of events, if you properly handle the RAW image files.

The real issue for me is how quickly and accurately the 7D, or any other camera, acquires and holds focus on a moving subject with problematic backgrounds in these lighting conditions. My experience has been that the lenses with the red rings do a better job in this regard, many people seem to forget that half of the camera system.

-russ

Post #7, Mar 27, 2013 05:25:27 as a reply to 1Tanker's post 2 hours earlier.


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palmor
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Great write up and pretty much matches my experiences. I've used the 1d III and 7d for a few years shooting indoor dog agility and found the 1d III to just have a tad more detail at ISO 6400 which means when I ran my NR I had more detail at the end. It wasn't a ton but final prints were better with the 1d III

I also agree that the 1d III has better indoor low light focusing ability.

Post #8, Mar 27, 2013 05:39:40


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TeamSpeed
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1Tanker wrote in post #15760468external link
Great comparo! I'm wondering how they compare, with someone like me.. who has neither the proper NR software, nor any decent PP skills. :oops: :lol:

There is no real post processing or nr done here, except for the last set, and that was just basic nr, sharpening etc.

Post #9, Mar 27, 2013 05:40:27


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phreeky
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Is it just me or did you use an OOF image of the car? I can't really tell what camera it was from, but it looks hideously soft.

One thing I hate about most comparisons is that higher pixel density sensors often don't show their true advantage when the lens isn't quite up to it. Did you shoot wide open? EXIF data says yes.

Post #10, Mar 27, 2013 07:13:29




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juckerz
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Great comparison,, though you don't address the one place that the 1D III murders the 7D,,, AF Speed and AI Servo accuracy (even the 1D II is far superior in this respect). Having owned both cameras,, I'd take the 1D III every time,,, for shooting field sports at least. I like the 1.3x fov as well.

Post #11, Mar 27, 2013 11:19:54


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TeamSpeed
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phreeky wrote in post #15760765external link
Is it just me or did you use an OOF image of the car? I can't really tell what camera it was from, but it looks hideously soft.

One thing I hate about most comparisons is that higher pixel density sensors often don't show their true advantage when the lens isn't quite up to it. Did you shoot wide open? EXIF data says yes.

Yes, it was the 70-200 2.8 IS, and it is soft wide open at 200mm. However, I wasn't tacking any kind of sharpness/IQ thing in this comparison, and was just showing the differences between the two. Also with it being overcast and evening, there just was no light or real contrast, and that does nothing to help perceived sharpness either.

EDIT: There was a bit more light out, so I went down in ISO and raised up the aperture a bit. The 1D3 is still a bit soft, the 7D sharpened up more. Thus the difference between the cropped and resized 1D3 as compared to the native cropped 7D is more pronounced. Just imagine the suv is an animal! :)

Post #12, Mar 27, 2013 11:37:05


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juckerz wrote in post #15761538external link
Great comparison,, though you don't address the one place that the 1D III murders the 7D,,, AF Speed and AI Servo accuracy (even the 1D II is far superior in this respect). Having owned both cameras,, I'd take the 1D III every time,,, for shooting field sports at least. I like the 1.3x fov as well.

I shoot NBA basketball with the 7D with no issues at all on tracking or AI accuracy. If you use the correct AF mode on the 7D (I use AF center with expansion), it handles things quite well. I would never use the word "murders", because I never found this to be the case. Is the 1D3 a bit better? Yes perhaps, but the 7D hardware and software is no slouch, at least for many events, maybe not all.

For example, tracking the fast break as he headed over for a dunk, or picking a player out of the mix

IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Sports/Mad-Ants-Mar-24-2013/i-CpKgQ4N/0/X2/IMG_1492-X2.jpg
IMAGE: http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Sports/Mad-Ants-Mar-22-2013/i-VrdgDKR/0/X2/IMG_1459-X2.jpg

For some other samples, every game in 2013 in this galleryexternal link was shot with a 7D at high ISO. Some good, some bad, but the office and I have been able to manage with what I have for some posters, etc.

Post #13, Mar 27, 2013 11:40:56


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Just looking at the 7D iamges there seems to be much more Chroma noise than on the 1DMkIII. This is the same as I have seen on other comparisons.
Maybe its what keeps coming up on the other comparisons and images I've seen elsewhere as well, which is why the 7D keeps being talked about as far as "noisy" images.

Post #14, Mar 27, 2013 13:47:27 as a reply to TeamSpeed's post 2 hours earlier.


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Bsmooth wrote in post #15762115external link
Just looking at the 7D iamges there seems to be much more Chroma noise than on the 1DMkIII. This is the same as I have seen on other comparisons.
Maybe its what keeps coming up on the other comparisons and images I've seen elsewhere as well, which is why the 7D keeps being talked about as far as "noisy" images.

When looking at straight 100% crops where the 1D3 is resized up to the 7D, and DPP did zero NR to produce the JPG results, I agree that there is a bit more chroma noise with the 7D, but not alot. On my 24" Optiplex system, I see about a 1/3 to 1/2 stop more chroma noise on the 7D next to the resized 1D3.

This is what I observed years ago too, but never had the chance to do a back to back same exposure/same scene test. The 1D3 is about 1/3 to 1/2 better ISO-wise than the 7D (before any NR in DPP), when either sizing the 7D down or the 1D3 up. If you have to crop the 1D3 image, then resize, that difference is negated plus you will end up with a much softer image.

So if you have the glass for the reach difference, and have the $300 or so in extra cash, the 1D3 is a great alternative to the 7D.

Post #15, Mar 27, 2013 14:43:03


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