amfoto1 wrote in post #11611129
I chose 7D and am happy with my decision. I've been using a pair of them for a little over a year now. Upgraded from 50D, and 30D before those, and am also using 5DII alongside the croppers. I prefer to combine 1.6X with 1X cameras, instead of 1.3X.
While I can't compare directly with 40D, I think you will see at least one or two more stops of usable ISO with 7D. We each have our own opinions about high ISO and noise, what we find acceptible. But, for comparison, I tried to keep 30D below 1600, would use 50D at 1600 without concern (and I think 40D are about the same, just lower rez), and now will use 3200 on 7D.
In low ISOs, if you zoom in to 100% with the 18MP camera, you are going to see more issues than your 10MP images from 40D. But I agree with the previous poster who stated that if you view them both printed to the same size, you'll be happy with the noise level of the 7D at low ISO, too.
You will find that 7D images need much more sharpening. You might feel they are "soft" at first, but once some USM is applied they will sharpen up nicely. I think the 7D just uses a much stronger anti-aliasing filter or something.
I'd much rather put money into lenses than into cameras. I think the pace of DSLR "upgrade-itis" is slowing a bit, the cameras are seeing smaller incremental changes with each new generation... however it's still a consideration. OTOH, many of my lenses have been used on four generations of DSLR now, and film cameras before that.
With 7D, if you use AI Servo, single point AF manually selected, and perhaps back button focusing with it, you won't be disappointed with 7D. BIF against a featureless sky and wide angle/small f-stop scenics might work well with Zone, Expansion and All Points focus, but are not
AF modes I find to be generally useful. I do find Spot Focus (might better be called High Precision Focus) to be useful in some situations, although it's a little slower.
19 AF points can be useful, compared to 9 on your 40D and my 50D. But tests I've seen the results of do not
show 7D AF significantly faster than 50D to acquire focus lock (4 or 5 hundredths of a sec faster, at best, in ideal light). In fact it appears to be slightly slower in low light (around 20 hundredths at the lowest). This isn't really noticeable, but seems to agree with my suspicions.
However, speed of focus acquistion isn't everything. You probably also will be concerned with tracking moving targets. I don't have any quantitative data or info to support it, but feel the 7D is generally better than 50D hanging onto moving subjects, after lock has been achieved. How much? Well, when editing volumes of images after a shoot, I always mark the OOF shots to be trashed. Some are undoubtedly user error, others are due to the camera. With 30D and 50D I probably tossed out 5 or 7% of shots due to camera-caused failure to focus acceptibly. With 7D that might be down to 2 or 4%. No camera is perfect! 7D seems to be to be a little better at this than 30/50D, in my opinion.
But, this is after
I stopped trying to use Zone and Expansion modes for general purpose shooting (I already knew better than to use All Points). When I was experimenting with and trying to use those a lot I got really frustrated, probably had 25, 30% or more OOF that I felt were due to the camera! Those specialized AF modes do serve a purpose, but it's far more limited than I thought, initially. As soon as I scaled back to using 7D more the way I'd learned to use 50D, 30D and earlier.
My point, though, is that while the 7D has good AF in terms of speed and real world usability, it's not such a huge step up or vastly improved over earlier cameras that I've used. Better, yes... Radically better, no.
Perhaps one of the more unheralded improvements of the 7D is it's metering system. The new 63 zone system (also used in the 60D) seems a very nice upgrade to me. It appears to deal with some tough situations - such as back strongly backlit subjects - a bit better than the metering systems in previous xxD models I've used extensively. Huge difference? Again, no. I think it's just a nice, incremental upgrade and a solid improvement.
Now, I'm not "slamming" the AF performance of the 7D. It's quite good and I'm happy with it now that I've worked through it and learned what works for me, and what doesn't. Frankly, I wouldn't expect significantly better (or worse) results from a 1D series cameras. (I've only used certain 1 series lightly, so really can't comment a lot.) I do feel that even after a year I still have more to learn about the 7D's AF system, when to use certain Custom Functions, and when they might do more harm than good.
In fact I hope the 5D Mark III, whenever it happens, will share the 7D's AF system (and metering system). I really don't feel the next 5D version needs a whole lot more improvement than that - well an articulated LCD on the back would be cool, and dual compact flash memory slots would be nice. I just hope that Canon doesn't go nuts with super high resolution sensor or high frame rates or something that takes the full framer in a new direction.
The new batteries - which are shared with the 5DII and 60D - are also a nice improvement. I'd estimate they nearly double shooting potential. Of course, they cost more than widely available BP511A, too!
Great shot of the iguana above! I see it's shot at 310mm and at ISO 1600, though, so it doesn't really demonstrate the low ISO performance of the 7D that the OP was concerned about. OTOH, it speaks very well for the camera's higher ISO capabilities! So, if ISO 800 is "cleaner" than ISO 200, is that a bad thing? Only if you are wanting to shoot slow shutter speeds for some reason and need to buy a stronger ND filter in order to do it. Heck, the 5DII's ISO 50 isn't as clean or "nice" as the camera's ISO 100, either.
I would venture to guess, though, that it's just the algorythms used in the 7D that cause lower ISO to show up with more noise than middle or higher ISOs. Perhaps it will change, with later firmwares installed in the camera. I'll have to run some tests with my 7D. I'm usually more concerned about high ISO performance, than with low ISO. So I really haven't explored it at all and it's largely a non-issue for me. I use LR3 and PS CS5, which have much improved noise handling capabilities. I used to use DPP for high ISO images, for it's better noise handling, but have practically stopped doing so since LR3 and CS5 were introduced.