Birdwatcher86 wrote in post #15953993
Well, to start off let me just say, I really like Canon! I have enjoyed my 7D, and it has treated me well these past couple of years. I mostly do nature photography, and more specifically Bird shots. This is something that the 7D definitely excels at!
So for your use case, the 7D is essentially a perfect fit.
Now, to talk about my current dilemma. A few weeks ago, my 100-400L malfunctioned. It was nothing major, just an adjustment issue with the focal length ring. It is no longer able to fully secure the lens at any given length. It doesn't affect the quality of the photos or adjusting the length of the lens. It is just a bit more of a pain holding it in place if it needs to be tilted, which makes the zoom creep backwards or forwards on the body of the lens. So, to make a long story short, I decided to sell the lens and acquire a 400mm 5.6 prime instead. That way I would never have to worry about this issue in the future. Also, the prime is of course an excellent birding lens and slightly sharper overall.
I started looking on the web for some camera gadgets (not a good idea for the pocket book) and ran across some of the new cameras that are starting to come out. I have not been in the market at all for something in a long time so I really have been in the dark as to what is out there now. So, I start seeing some stuff that Nikon has developed, such as the D7100 for sub $1k price range. It has these incredible sounding performance features, but yes they are just numbers and not evidence of a superior quality product. But, is it?
Well, let's suppose it is better than the 7D. The real question is: is the amount by which it is better sufficient to warrant switching to it?
Answering that requires that a couple of additional questions be asked:
- In what way do you feel limited by your current gear?
- How much of an improvement would be necessary to induce you to switch, and in what areas?
I mean, I imagine it probably IS a better camera than the 7D; I realize this body is aging a bit and the mark II is probably coming out soon.
That a camera is "old" doesn't mean it's any less good. The way I see it is this: you have a certain set of needs that you want fulfilled. From that point of view, what matters is whether or not the camera body you're holding in your hands fulfills that set of needs. If it does, there's really no need to be looking any further. If it doesn't, then you need to identify why and how it fails to meet your needs, so you can go looking for something that specifically does.
But you need to be careful: that your current camera may not meet a specific need of yours as well as you'd like doesn't imply that it doesn't do so for your other needs. Which is to say, when considering a different camera body, you need to consider both whether it will meet the specific need that is currently being unaddressed as well as the needs you have that are currently being addressed.
No camera body is perfect, not even the top of the line. Let me give you an example:
The 7D shows pattern noise in the deep shadows at ISO 100. If you push your shadows hard, you'll tend to see that a lot. Most people don't push their images that way, so they tend not to see that particular issue. If you do push your shadows that way, you can run a postprocessing action with Nik DFine to nearly eliminate the banding, so it's possible to postprocess it away for the most part. Even the 1DX shows this to some degree, though not nearly to the degree the 7D does.
But if you crank the ISO up on the 7D, the noise signature it produces is wonderfully random and film-like, and the end result is that high ISO shots from the 7D are fantastic, even if the level of noise is somewhat high. Random luminance noise has a pleasing, film-like look. We know that it's pleasing because many postprocessing programs include the ability to add that kind of noise.
The Nikon D600, on the other hand, is gloriously free of noise at low ISOs, and you can push its low ISO shadows all day long. The dynamic range at low ISOs is the stuff of legends, a landscaper's dream. But when you're shooting the D600 at very high ISOs, you get a horizontal banding pattern much like what you'd get from the 50D and earlier Canon cameras. This doesn't begin to show itself until around ISO 6400. It's easily visible at ISO 12800 and up at 100%. It tends to disappear with downsizing, and you really need large areas of near-black for it to become really obvious. As with the low ISO banding of the 7D, this, too, can be cleaned up in postprocessing for the most part. But it's there, and it's an imperfection.
I fully expect the D7100 to exhibit the same horizontal banding at very high ISOs (ISO 6400 and up). That means the D7100 will have some imperfections.
Another upside of the 7D that the D7100 is lacking: cross-type autofocus points throughout the frame. The D7100's cross-type points are in the 3 vertical columns in the center and that's it. The 7D's autofocus points are all cross-type.
Maybe I'm just over-reacting, but I need some advice here from some fellow Canon users. I don't want this to become a bashing Nikon thread, I just want some honest comparisons and some pros and cons.
Thanks ahead of time
My advice to you, frankly, is to not go off chasing gear. That way lies the ruin of your pocketbook.
Rather, ask yourself if you are unsatisfied with the camera body you have. If you're not, then keep shooting with it! If you are, then identify exactly why, and try to identify camera bodies that fill that gap and which won't leave any gaps that will matter to you. In other words, be looking for real improvement that truly matters to you.
And only when you've identified such bodies (if doing so is even necessary) should you look at their price. If their price is too high, stick with what you've got. If they're not, then and only then should you really rent them to see if they really will meet your needs.