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Thread started 05 Apr 2012 (Thursday) 10:03
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mama2girls&boy
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Apr 05, 2012 10:03 |  #1

I currently have a 40D and want to upgrade to either a 60D or a 7D. I have read reviews on both, but wanted to get some opinions here from those who have used both cameras. I mostly take photos of wildlife, mainly dragonflies, birds, etc. I also take photos of my children's sports activities. I like the 40D, but would like something with a bit faster AF and less noise on higher ISO. I want to stay with a crop camera. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks so much!


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Apr 05, 2012 10:18 |  #2

The 7D has a superior auto focus system, which will help with the wildlife and sports activities. It also has a control layout similar to your 40D, uses compact flash memory like your 40D, and has a better viewfinder.

The above are the main reasons I chose the 7D over the 60D when I upgraded from a 40D two years ago.


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ceegee
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Apr 05, 2012 10:19 |  #3

I've been using my much-loved 40D for several years, and have recently bought a 7D. I have to say that I'm blown away with its AF system, which locks onto and tracks subjects much more efficiently than the 40D. For sports, it's wonderful. I haven't yet used it for wildlife, but am looking forward to trying it out at our back yard bird feeder this weekend. As for ISO capability, I've tried it at indoor sports facilities, at ISO 3200, with my 85 f1.8, and have got some very usable shots in poorly-lit venues where I simply can't use the 40D. And, of course, there's the little matter of the screen, which is so much better on the 7D. So far I'm very impressed with my new camera and would highly recommend it to anyone who shoots moving subjects.


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cfcRebel
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Apr 05, 2012 10:48 |  #4

My 7D experience is slightly different from ceegee's. I'm a bird shooter (check my posts on Birds forum). I upgraded from 20D. The 7D AF is FAST, super fast but its accuracy was a problem for me. At first i blamed myself because all the new AF settings REALLY take some getting used to. After 6 months of practice, i think i have a pretty good grasp of the various AF settings, and what each of them is for. However, the amount of images that suffered from misfocus (After 6 months), is still greater than my 20D. I can go into the technical detail of the settings if interested. Just to avoid confusion, I am NOT saying the 7D AF is faulty or anything. It's just that, for bird photography all i need is the center AF point, as well as Spot AF point to grab the subject reliably, at least as reliable if not more, than my 20D center AF.

As to high ISO noise, due to the higher MP crammed into the same size 1.6x censor, i did not see it any cleaner than my 20D RAW. I never use noise reduction on my 20D bird images because there was no need for it. After upgrading to 7D, my bird images in RAW often begged for NR. I'm talking about a perfectly exposed RAW with zero Exposure adjustment needed during ACR conversion. ISO800 noise seemed to be at the ballpark of my 20D's ISO400 give and take. I do want to say, other 7D owners don't seem to notice this issue with their 7D. I guess each owner's mileage varies.

Since i don't plan on altering my PP workflow, i upgraded from 7D to 1D MkIII and the result exceeded my expectations. AF accuracy, noise handling, responsiveness, etc. Extremely happy with the upgrade. I'm back to no-NR-necessary world! :D


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mama2girls&boy
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Apr 05, 2012 11:45 as a reply to  @ cfcRebel's post |  #5

Thank you all for your replies. If budget wasn't an issue, I would go for the 1D Markiii. I have heard wonderful things about it and I would still have my crop. It's just way out of my price range and I don't know how comfortable I feel buying a used one as opposed to a new 7D.
cfcRebel, I almost always used just the 1 center point focus for my photography and I almost always have it on AI servo mode. When you say the focusing takes getting used to, will I have an issue if I just want the center point focus?


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Warbird55
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Apr 05, 2012 11:57 |  #6

I just made the move from 40D to 7D myself. The control layout is very similar to the 40D, and the biggest difference is the autofocus. I am still on the learning curve for the AF.

That being said, it is a great time to get yourself a used 7D. With so many people moving up to the 5D Mkiii, there are lots of quality used 7D bodies to choose from. It is a buyers market.


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amfoto1
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Apr 05, 2012 12:56 |  #7

Either camera will be a nice upgrade for you...

Higher ISO... about one full stop on average.

The AF of the 60D would be pretty similar to your 40D's. The AF of the 7D can be better, used right. For example, the above user states he's using Spot AF mode for birds.... Well if the birds are roosting on a branch, that's fine, it's a good choice... But if they're in flight, wrong! It's slower than standard size focus points. Canon doesn't recommend Spot AF for moving subjects.

I tend to use Single Point AF most of the time, along with Back Button Focusing and AI Servo. The 7D gives you more AF points to choose, 19 vs 9 in the 60D. They are all "cross-type" in both cameras, same as your 40D.

But, honestly, with 50D and 30D before that, using similar AF techniques, I could consistently get acceptibly accurate focus in 95 or 96 out of every 100 shots. Now with 7D, which is better tracking movement, I can nail 97-98 out of every 100. Better? Yes. Huge difference? No. If used properly, the "lesser" cameras are pretty darned capable.

The 7D's active matrix/transmissive LCD viewfinder takes some getting used to, especially for AI Servo shooters. There's no red flash of the active AF point when AF starts, the way there is in the cameras with the simpler system (such as the 60D). Instead, the camera only displays the active AF point(s), as a gray box. (Note: you can set it to display all points, all the time, but I don't know why you would want to do that). One Shot is different... where your 40D flashes the AF point red to give Focus Confirmation... 7D flashes the entire display (if you have this enabled).

7D is the "ultimate" camera for your purposes, short of going to a more expensive 1D series. It is more complex and harder to learn to use well than 60D (which should be pretty easy, coming from a 40D). The 7D is more customizable, can be fine tuned more for specific situations. Those features can give you that last little bit of an edge when used right... or make your keeper rate drop like a rock, if used wrong.

The 7D is also heaver and built to be a bit more durable (150,000 click shutter, vs 100K in 40D and 60D), a little better sealed. 7D has metal clad body, more simlar to your 40D. 60D uses more polycarbonates (aka "plastic"), which allows it to be lighter.

The 60D has that neat articulated LCD screen, which might be handy for macro, landscape shooters, and especially for videos.

7D has "Micro Adjust" to fine tune focus on a lens by lens basis. 60D doesn't have that.

7D has a 100% viewfinder... nice! But that's probably a big part of the reason it weighs so much (it's actually slightly heavier than 5DII). The 60D has a more typical, 96% viewfinder. Not bad, really.

Control layout of 60D is a bit different than 40D or 7D. Might take a little getting used to.

Either camera uses pretty much the same sensor and processing. If you shoot and work with RAW files, you should expect to have to sharpen your images considerably more than you do with 40D. In addition to the much higher resolution, both cameras use a stronger anti-alias filter, so RAW files straight from the camera appear a bit soft... but sharpen up nicely.

Also, if you are a pixel peeper with your 40D, often lookng at your images at 100% magnification on your computer monitor... beware! With almost twice the resolution, using the same magnification on the images out of either 60D or 7D will be like lookng at your images nearly twice as critically, nearly twice as large.

Because of the very high resolution of these cameras, some folks think these cameras are more sensitive to even slight camera shake. I just make a habit of using a slightly higher ISO than I did with previous cameras, to insure a slightly higher shutter speed. Where I used ISO 100 and 200 by default before, now I use 200 and 400, even in good daylight. It's not a big deal, just "different". Canon has a white paper about it, on their website.

Is it worth it to you, considering the extra cost, for 7D? Only you can say. Either camera can take great pics and serve you well!


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ceegee
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Apr 05, 2012 13:02 |  #8

mama2girls&boy wrote in post #14214800 (external link)
cfcRebel, I almost always used just the 1 center point focus for my photography and I almost always have it on AI servo mode. When you say the focusing takes getting used to, will I have an issue if I just want the center point focus?

The question wasn't directed at me, but I'll describe my experience anyway. To answer your question, no, there's no problem using the centre point on the 7D if that's what you want. I've always used it on my 40D, with AI servo, but have found the 7D's point expansion mode to be much better and more accurate for the type of sport I photograph (dog agility and dog frisbee - fast-moving dog sports). My keeper rate went up significantly, right away. In addition, I'm finding the 7D to be a lot more accurate at tracking a fast-moving object moving towards me. My 40D struggles with this sometimes.

I haven't yet played with zone focusing or spot focusing, but will be trying them out over the holiday.

In short, with the 7D you have all the choices you had with your 40D, plus several more, within a focusing system that's much improved generally speaking.


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cfcRebel
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Apr 05, 2012 14:03 |  #9

mama2girls&boy wrote in post #14214800 (external link)
Thank you all for your replies. If budget wasn't an issue, I would go for the 1D Markiii. I have heard wonderful things about it and I would still have my crop. It's just way out of my price range and I don't know how comfortable I feel buying a used one as opposed to a new 7D.
cfcRebel, I almost always used just the 1 center point focus for my photography and I almost always have it on AI servo mode. When you say the focusing takes getting used to, will I have an issue if I just want the center point focus?

As to budget, it's the same case for me too. However, i was able to find a 1D MkIII for sub $1600 in good condition. That's not too far from a new 7D price. I think it's worth it, for me case i mean.

I, too, 90% of the time use single Center AF point, with AI Servo. The 20D menu is much simpler. But when it comes to 7D menu, you've gotta have the right AF settings for the right shooting scenario. Since ceegee brought up the 7D's Expansion AF points, I'll use that as an example. While he has great success using that Expansion AF for his shooting, i paid a HUGE price on a trip (bird photography) using that setting. Basically, 7D allows you to pick the nearby AF points to assist your selected main AF point. If i pick center AF, that means the surrounding 4 AF becomes the assist AF. On several occasions, it was those assist AFs that picked up the wrong subject when i placed the center point on the subject i wanted. My perfect example illustrating this issue is, there's a bird peched on a branch. I placed my center AF point on the bird. As we all know, there are often leaves nearby where the bird perched, in the foreground as well as bg. Unfortunately one of the assist AFs picked up the focus and shifted the focus to the leaves, causing the bird OOF. I mean, this is not just 1 failed attempt. There are others. The old, simple, straight forward 20D would not have issue doing what i intended to do in situation like this. The Expansion AF Assist is just a tip of the iceberg. When you start getting into Tracking Method, Tracking Priority, etc, it can get confusing real quick. The Main Focus tracking and Continuous Tracking would yield very different result. You just need to get used to what each one does. But the challenge i'm facing is, how quick can I toggle them when my subjects (birds) are in action. Maybe it's not a problem for users with fast fingers, but it is for me.

Again, I am NOT blaming the camera. It's just it REALLY takes some getting used to the new AF system in the 7D. All the bells and whistles are designed to meet a full list of needs. But often time, simplicity is a beauty. For bird photography, I need to concentrate on adjusting aperture, shutter speed, exposure, ISO and stuff on the fly. I just can't juggle another list of AF-related switchings and togglings as i go.
Before the upgrade I was worried that the 1D MkIII would overwhelm me with its AF settings but turned out it much simpler than 7D but still offers enough customization options for me. I'm glad I found it!


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tkbslc
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Apr 05, 2012 14:10 |  #10

I really doubt you are going to see much improvement in AF speed moving to either camera. Both the 60D and 7D have the newer sensor which should give about 1-stop high ISO improvement. But as far as AF - The 40D was never slow, so there is not a lot to gain there. the 7D has a more advanced tracking system with more AF points. That should help you keep targets, but probably not grab them noticeably faster.


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RACINGHART03
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Apr 21, 2012 14:30 |  #11

Was torn myself on this. I was able to get a brand new MarkII for a nice price since the III came out. Just a thought. Was only about a 400 more than the 7d, Plus the full frame and extra pixel size is a nice improvement without breaking the bank.


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Apr 21, 2012 14:34 |  #12

The 7D is superior to the 40D in every way. You can buy a 7D through the Canon loyalty program for around $1100.


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Apr 21, 2012 14:35 |  #13

cfcRebel wrote in post #14214471 (external link)
... i upgraded from 7D to 1D MkIII and the result exceeded my expectations. AF accuracy, noise handling, responsiveness, etc. Extremely happy with the upgrade. I'm back to no-NR-necessary world! :D

Curious if there's anything you miss from the 7D?



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cfcRebel
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Apr 21, 2012 16:36 |  #14

mannetti21 wrote in post #14304191 (external link)
Curious if there's anything you miss from the 7D?

It's possible. But after shooting birdlife and wildlife for 7 years, going from Rebel -> 20D -> 7D, to now 1D MkIII, ihave never needed to put up with a camera that much. Too much to put up with the 7D's noise handling between ISO100 and 800, plus its newly introduced AF system. I can say most of the time my exposure is not too terrible SOOC(meaning, either no Exposure adjustment needed during PP, or just need 1/3 adjustment at most). Among these camera bodies, only Rebel and 7D need NR at ISO800 or lower.

It was until two days ago i notice this thread. That's exactly my experience. Poor Mike, everybody thought either it was his error, or he's got a lemon. Had i seen his post first, I wouldn't have bought my 7D.


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