Canon EOS 7D with new EF-S 18-135/3.5-5.6IS lens
With the announcement of the 7D, Canon users now have 5 levels of DLSR to choose from:
Choice is usually a good thing, though sometimes having too many options to chose from results in the ability to chose at all! It's not too bad in the case of the 7D/50D/5DII though.
The EOS 5D MkII is clearly the choice if image you need a full frame sensor. Image quality (especially at high ISO settings or with large sized prints) is better with a full frame camera and there are DOF and lens issues which can make full frame more desirable. It's $1000 more expensive than the EOS 7D.
The EOS 50D is the budget choice, still yielding very high quality images, a fast frame rate (6fps) and wide ISO range (100-12800). It's $600 cheaper than the EOS 7D and $1600 cheaper than the 5D MkII. It does lack any video capability through, which the 7D and 5D MkII have.
The 7D provides full HD video capability, a very fast frame rate (8fps) and the promise of more advanced metering and autofocus (though until tests have been done, the degree of advancement remains unknown). It's a pretty good compromise for those who want a camera with a lot of great features, but who don't need full frame and don't want to spend the extra $1000 on a 5D MkII.
First, like 99.9% of you (in early September 2009), I haven't even seen an EOS 7D in the flesh, so I'm not going to attempt to critique its performance. Not actually having used one doesn't seem to stop some people from commenting on and criticizing what they think noise and dynamic range might be, but I'm not going to do that!
The EOS 7D has an 18MP sensor while the 50D has 15MP. In practice the difference between 15MP and 18MP is small. Small to the point where unless you're making huge enlargements, you'd be unlikely to see the difference. In theory, with a perfect lens, a 15MP sensor might be able to resolve 106 lp/mm and an 18MP sensor might be able to resolve 116 lp/mm. In theory. In practice the numbers will be smaller and the difference will blur due to lens limitations. 18MP is probably more of a marketing advantage than a technical advantage. Though the pixels of the 7D are smaller than those of the 50D, Canon claim that the new sensor design of the 7D is more efficient at capturing light. If this is the case then the noise performance may not be compromised. I can only comment on that after I've done some actual testing of course.
The 50D can soot in continuous mode at 6fps while the 7D can shoot at 8 fps. There are probably some photographers for whom this would be an important difference, though I'm not really one of them. Rapid fire shooting just doesn't come up in the type of work I do. I'm not saying it never will of course, but for me (and I suspect most photographers), the difference between 6fps and 8fps isn't very important. Even the 5D MkII at 3.9fps is probably fast enough for most of us. However if you shoot action sports, then 8fps may give you an advantage over 6fps.
The EOS 7D has a new AF system with 19 cross type sensors (vs 9 cross sensors in the 50D and 9 zones with 6 hidden zones and 1 cross sensor in the 5D Mkii). It remains to be seen how much improvement there is in AF performance and I'm not even going to speculate on that. The new 19 zone AF system does seem to be more flexible in the way zones can be selected though. Personally I'm a "center zone" focuser 95% of the time, but I can see how more zones could be useful. Like all DSLRs though, the AF zones are still grouped in the center of the frame.
The viewfinder illustration on the left shows the position of the individual AF zones, as well as optional markings such as a grid and 5 "area zones" which group several AF points together.
While a bigger viewfinder is better, it's another one of those "cupholder" features. Nice to have, not really essential. I feel much the same way about 100% vs 98% vs 95% coverage. I can't really remember making any recent prints without doing at least a little cropping. Now when I was shooting slides it was very annoying to have the edge of a lamp post creep into the shot due to a viewfinder coverage of less than 100%, but when shooting digital it's not quite so big a deal.
If I was in the market for an APS-C crop sensor camera, the EOS 7D would be my current choice based on specifications and capabilities. As soon as I get a chance to test one, I'll be able to give an assessment of image quality and how well the updated exposure and AF systems work.
|Canon EOS 5D||Canon EOS 7D||Canon EOS 5D MkII|
|Est. Street Price (09/09)||$1100||$1699||$2699|
|EOS 50D - $1099||EOS 7D - $1699||EOS 5D MkII - $2699|
|Sensor size||22.3 x 14.9 mm (3.32 cm²)||22.3 x 14.9 mm (3.32 cm²)||36 x 24 mm (8.64 cm²)|
|Sensor resolution||4752 x 3168||5184 x 3456||5616 x 3744|
|Effective pixels||15.1 MP||18.0 MP||21.1 MP|
|Pixel density||4.5 MP/cm²||5.4 MP/cm²||2.4 MP/cm²|
|Pixel Size (pitch)||4.7 microns||4.3 microns||6.4 microns|
|Low resolution modes||3456 x 2304, 2353 x 1568||5184 x 3456, 3888 x 2592, 3456 x 2304, 2592 x 1728||4080 x 2720, 2784 x 1856, 5616 x 3744, 3861 x 2574, 2784 x 1856|
|ISO rating||100-3200 in 1/3 stops, expandable to 6400 and 12800||100-6400 in full or 1/3 stops, expandable to 12800||100 - 6400 in full or 1/3 stops, expandable to 50, 12800 and 25600|
|Auto Focus||TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS, 9 focus points (diamond shape, cross-type)||TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS, 19-point all cross-type AF (f/2.8 at center: Dual Cross Sensor)||TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS, 9 AF Points (1 Cross Type) + 6 AF Assist Points|
|White balance||Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom, Color Temperature||Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom, Color Temperature||Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom, Color Temperature|
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000 - 30 sec||1/8000 - 30 sec||1/8000 - 30 sec|
|Shutter Durability||100,000 cycles||150,000 cycles||150,000 cycles|
|Built-in Flash||Yes, pop-up||Yes, pop-up||No|
|Built-in wireless flash control||No||Yes, Can control up to 3 groups of 4 flashes each.||No|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/250s||1/250s||1/200s|
|Flash range||13 m (ISO 100)||12 m (ISO 100)|
|External flash||Yes, hot-shoe, E-TTL II||Yes, hot-shoe, E-TTL II||Yes, hot-shoe, E-TTL II & sync|
|Flash modes||Auto, On, Red-eye reduction, Off||Auto, On, Red-eye reduction, Off||Determined by external Speedlite|
|Exposure compensation||-2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps||-5 to +5 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps (only 3 stops shown in viewfinder)||-2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps|
|Metering||35 area Eval, Center weighted, Partial, Spot||63 area Eval, Center weighted, Partial, Spot||35 area eval, center weighted, partial, spot|
|Exposure Modes||Program AE (Shiftable), Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Depth-of-field AE, Creative Auto, Full auto, Programmed image control modes (portrait, landscape, close-up, sports, night portrait, flash off), Manual exposure, E-TTL II autoflash program AE||Program AE (Shiftable), Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Creative Auto, Full auto, Manual exposure, E-TTL II autoflash program AE||Program AE (Shiftable), Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Creative Auto, Full auto, Manual exposure, E-TTL II autoflash program AE|
|Focal length multiplier||1.6x||1.6x||1x|
|Lens mount||Canon EOS EF and EF-S||Canon EOS EF and EF-S||Canon EOS EF|
|Continuous Drive||Yes, 6.3 fps or 3 fps||Yes, 8 fps or 3fps||Yes, 3.9 fps max|
|Buffer Size||JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 60 (CF)/approx. 90 (UDMA CF)
RAW: approx. 16
RAW+JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 11
|JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 94 (CF)/approx. 126 (UDMA CF)
RAW: approx. 15/approx. 15 (UDMA CF)
RAW+JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 6 (CF/UDMA CF)
|JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 78 (CF)/approx. 310 (UDMA CF)
RAW: approx. 13/approx. 14 (UDMA CF)
RAW+JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 8 (CF/UDMA CF)
|Video||None||1920 x 1080: 30fps / 24 fps / 25fps, 1280 x 720 (HD): 60fps / 50fps, 640 x 480 (SD): 60fps/ 50fps||1920 x1080 @ 30fps, 640 x 480 @ 30fps|
|Video Manual Exposure Control||Shutter Speed and Aperture||Shutter Speed and aperture|
|Audio for video||Built-in Mono, stereo jack for external mic||Built-in Mono, stereo jack for external mic|
|Remote control||N3 connector||N3 connector||N3 connector, RC-1/RC-5 IR remote|
|Self-timer||2 or 10 sec||2 or 10 sec||2 or 10 sec|
|Storage types||Compact Flash (Type I or II), UDMA||Compact Flash (Type I or II), UDMA,||Compact Flash (Type I or II), UDMA,|
|Uncompressed formats||RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2||RAW, sRAW||RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2|
|Viewfinder||Optical (Pentaprism, 95% coverage, 0.95x magnification)||Optical (Pentaprism, 100% coverage, 1x magnification)||Optical (Pentaprism, 98% coverage, 0.71x magnification)|
|Electronic Level||No||Yes (dual axis)||No|
|LCD||3 "||3 "||3 "|
|USB connection||USB 2.0||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|Battery||Canon BP-511A Li-Ion & Charger||Canon Li-Ion LP-E6 & CR1616||Canon Li-Ion LP-E6 & CR1616|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||822 g (29 oz)||860 g (30.3 oz)||850 g (30 oz)|
|Dimensions||146 x 108 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)||148 x 111 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)||152 x 114 x 75 mm (6 x 4.5 x 3 in)|