canon rumors FORUM

Canon Rumors General => Regional Boards => United States => Topic started by: lady on July 26, 2011, 01:17:35 AM

Title: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 26, 2011, 01:17:35 AM
I have been sold on the EOS 7D for several months now after extensive research. Last week I went in and had a 7D with the 17-40L lens put aside for me so I can purchase it in August. Then something I did not expect happened. I got a chance to take photography classes at a photography school (private scholarship for the first year or so). I know for a fact I'm serious about photography, however I was putting off school for another year until I can get my in state residency. This DSLR will be my first DSLR purchase. I have used them briefly before, but never owned one for myself.

The classes are at a small photography center and would prepare me for entering the Commercial Photography program at Seattle Central Creative Academy in 2012/2013 like I had planned.

However, the program requires that I purchase a 35mm camera with a decent lens. This means within a year (possibly two, since I'm getting married next fall and might skip out on school that quarter) I will be upgrading to the 5D Mark II anyway. While I absolutely love the idea of having a full frame DSLR and have had my eye on the 5D Mark II since it came out, I'm torn. It would require spending an extra $2,000 on top of what I had planned to spend on a camera, and I've heard rumors about new FF DSLRs being released by Canon next year.

I sent the photography center a message asking if the 7D was an acceptable camera (I don't think it will be) and I'm waiting on them to get back to me.

SO my question is, to avoid rambling too much, should I still stick with my guns and complete my 7D purchase even if it means I might have to upgrade within a single year, or should I suck it up and get the 5D Mark II now?
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Pyrenees on July 26, 2011, 01:28:05 AM

Hi, I'm just wondering if you've considered a used 35mm (aka 'full-frame') camera? As an example, you could purchase a used 5d mark I, which is a fine camera except for action/sports. You could pick a fine example up for about $1000 or less, and then spend the rest on some great glass which you could later use when you upgrade.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Canihaspicture on July 26, 2011, 01:30:04 AM
Now you can pick up a 5d classic for under that price of a 7D... The IQ of the 5Dc is still better than the 7D at ISO 1600 or below. Obviously focusing and handling will be better with the 7D being newer.

Personally, I had the same decision to make and I save the extra cash for the 5D mark II and I couldn't be happier. Plus, it will serve as a great backup camera when I get a 5D mark III whenever that comes out.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 26, 2011, 02:00:50 AM
Now you can pick up a 5d classic for under that price of a 7D... The IQ of the 5Dc is still better than the 7D at ISO 1600 or below. Obviously focusing and handling will be better with the 7D being newer.


Hi, I'm just wondering if you've considered a used 35mm (aka 'full-frame') camera? As an example, you could purchase a used 5d mark I, which is a fine camera except for action/sports. You could pick a fine example up for about $1000 or less, and then spend the rest on some great glass which you could later use when you upgrade.

I shoot equestrian sports (should have mentioned that in my first post) so having a good camera for that is important (which is why I was so convinced about the 7D, I rented it for a day and it was amazing).

Quote
Personally, I had the same decision to make and I save the extra cash for the 5D mark II and I couldn't be happier. Plus, it will serve as a great backup camera when I get a 5D mark III whenever that comes out.

Thanks, it's nice to have someone who can relate. I'm going to wait for some more feedback before I decide. I don't want to spend the extra money unless it's absolutely necessary. I'm taking out a loan for this camera (which will be paid off way before it has time to accumulate interest). I can get cleared for enough to cover either, but less loan is better and if I do go with a 7D, when it comes time to upgrade to a 5dmii, the upgrade will have to come out of pocket.

Another factor is that, while I do shoot equestrian I'm going to spend a few months getting used to the new camera before I do any practice shoots at the barn. So for a good chunk of time I won't need the 8fps (though in the long run I will) and I'd rather have the image quality of an aps-h sensor.

I wish I could just get both.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Canihaspicture on July 26, 2011, 02:35:21 AM
For APS-H you are talking about a whole different beast.. not to be confused with Full Frame or APS-C which we are talking about.

Here is a youtube vid from DigitalRev about the 5d mark ii vs 7d. http://youtu.be/C3-fHf0Y990 (http://youtu.be/C3-fHf0Y990) I love Kai and his sense of humor.

Also many people who do equestrian sports use one shot instead of continuous. If the events are indoors and you need a high shutter speed then you need high ISO which means you are better off with full frame.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 26, 2011, 02:38:57 AM
However, the program requires that I purchase a 35mm camera with a decent lens. While I absolutely love the idea of having a full frame DSLR and have had my eye on the 5D Mark II since it came out, I'm torn. it would require spending an extra $2,000 on top of what I had planned to spend on a camera, and I've heard rumors about new DSLRs being released by Canon  next year.

Obviously you need to verify this with both schools. But I seriously doubt that either school means "full frame digital only" when they say "35mm camera." They might actually mean a 35mm film SLR. I've seen that requirement before for the beginning of a program. But they probably mean any small format, interchangeable lens, SLR or DSLR. I have yet to see a school or program that required or allowed digital and wouldn't accept FX, DX, and even 4/3rds, as long as the body takes different lenses and offers full manual modes.

Quote
SO my question is, to avoid rambling too much, should I still stick with my guns and complete my 7D purchase even if it means I might have to upgrade within a single year, or should I suck it up and get the 5D Mark II now?

Unless you really have to upgrade in a year, stick with the 7D and put the money saved towards glass and lighting. The differences between Canon's 18 MP APS-C and 21 MP 35mm sensors are nothing compared to the differences you will see with more/better glass, and better lighting (flashes). For some reason "full frame" has an almost cult like following. But at this point in sensor evolution it's really only necessary for certain specific niche uses. And APS-C is not only cheaper when you buy the body, it's cheaper for certain fields of view (lenses) as well.

Of course full frame is not bad if you can afford it. But my definition of afford is buying with cash and not sacrificing glass or light just to get the body.

Quote
The 7D is better for sports (or so I hear) but it evens out when it comes to image quality because you really cannot beat that full frame sensor.

Given properly processed, low to mid ISO images, you cannot tell prints from these two bodies apart even at large print sizes (i.e. 24"-30"). Before someone asks, yes I have tested both, and yes I do make large prints of challenging landscapes with lots of fine detail. No one who argues with me in person can tell me which print came from which camera. Granted, I put a little more effort into 7D files. A bit more sharpening and sometimes a bit more NR and local contrast enhancement. But the end result is the same.

The 5D mkII becomes clearly better at around ISO 1600 and above, but only for larger prints. At 8x10 and 11x14 it's a wash even at 1600 and 3200. That said, the 5D mkII does give you about a stop more DR, and it is more forgiving of exposure error.

Again, verify with each school first. But if they mean any small format SLR and will accept the 7D, really think about where your money is going. Contrary to popular belief there's little IQ difference between these two sensors.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 26, 2011, 02:45:01 AM
Now you can pick up a 5d classic for under that price of a 7D... The IQ of the 5Dc is still better than the 7D at ISO 1600 or below.

No it's not. The 7D has visibly more fine detail, slightly better noise characteristics, and slightly more DR across the shared ISO range (100-3200). The noise and DR isn't that big of a deal except that at 3200 the 7D avoids ugly color splotching where the 5D exhibits some. But the resolution difference is significant if you're making large prints and the subject matter is demanding.

If budget is so tight that a person can afford a 5D classic but not a 7D, I usually recommend a 60D since it has the 7D sensor and still has more features and a more modern body, not to mention it's new with warranty. Though the 60D viewfinder pales in comparison to any FF viewfinder. (The 7D VF holds its own here. It's not as large or clear as a FF VF, but it's close enough and quite good.)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 26, 2011, 03:22:09 AM
Obviously you need to verify this with both schools. But I seriously doubt that either school means "full frame digital only" when they say "35mm camera." They might actually mean a 35mm film SLR. I've seen that requirement before for the beginning of a program. But they probably mean any small format, interchangeable lens, SLR or DSLR. I have yet to see a school or program that required or allowed digital and wouldn't accept FX, DX, and even 4/3rds, as long as the body takes different lenses and offers full manual modes.

That is a very, very good point.

Quote
Unless you really have to upgrade in a year, stick with the 7D and put the money saved towards glass and lighting. The differences between Canon's 18 MP APS-C and 21 MP 35mm sensors are nothing compared to the differences you will see with more/better glass, and better lighting (flashes). For some reason "full frame" has an almost cult like following. But at this point in sensor evolution it's really only necessary for certain specific niche uses. And APS-C is not only cheaper when you buy the body, it's cheaper for certain fields of view (lenses) as well.

Of course full frame is not bad if you can afford it. But my definition of afford is buying with cash and not sacrificing glass or light just to get the body.

Either way I'll get the same basic things with the camera (no more, no less) but will gather more in a few months. If I get the 7D I could stick to EF lenses and gather them until I know for sure about full frame.

Quote
Given properly processed, low to mid ISO images, you cannot tell prints from these two bodies apart even at large print sizes (i.e. 24"-30"). Before someone asks, yes I have tested both, and yes I do make large prints of challenging landscapes with lots of fine detail. No one who argues with me in person can tell me which print came from which camera. Granted, I put a little more effort into 7D files. A bit more sharpening and sometimes a bit more NR and local contrast enhancement. But the end result is the same.

The 5D mkII becomes clearly better at around ISO 1600 and above, but only for larger prints. At 8x10 and 11x14 it's a wash even at 1600 and 3200. That said, the 5D mkII does give you about a stop more DR, and it is more forgiving of exposure error.

The difference is noticeable rain. I live in Seattle and there are a lot of dark/overcast days. I also like to shoot at dusk. I'm not sure about how much of a difference it is on a DSLR than a compact, but on my Panasonic I'm at max ISO (1600) all the time when I do my evening shoots. You bring up some excellent points though, and the 7D may be the way to go for now despite the noise. Do you think the overcast days and dusk shoots will take a hit from choosing the 7D?

Quote
Again, verify with each school first. But if they mean any small format SLR and will accept the 7D, really think about where your money is going. Contrary to popular belief there's little IQ difference between these two sensors.

All I have to do is wait until they get back to me. My emails went out yesterday morning.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Canihaspicture on July 26, 2011, 04:40:50 AM
No it's not. The 7D has visibly more fine detail, slightly better noise characteristics, and slightly more DR across the shared ISO range (100-3200).

While the 7D does have slightly more DR I would argue that the detail, better noise characteristics, and sharpness all are better with the 5D Classic. You don't even have to take my word for it.. See http://bit.ly/o75QZA (http://bit.ly/o75QZA) For sharpness examples you can see Google.

The 5D mark II beats both. For someone serious about photography and is going to go to full frame eventually anyway, as most people do when they see the quality, the 7D is just a waste of money.

I've done this dance so many times... just buy the best products the first time and you won't have to buy them again and again.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 26, 2011, 05:42:05 AM
No it's not. The 7D has visibly more fine detail, slightly better noise characteristics, and slightly more DR across the shared ISO range (100-3200).

While the 7D does have slightly more DR I would argue that the detail, better noise characteristics, and sharpness all are better with the 5D Classic. You don't even have to take my word for it.. See http://bit.ly/o75QZA (http://bit.ly/o75QZA) For sharpness examples you can see Google.

The 5D mark II beats both. For someone serious about photography and is going to go to full frame eventually anyway, as most people do when they see the quality, the 7D is just a waste of money.

I've done this dance so many times... just buy the best products the first time and you won't have to buy them again and again.

While I do agree with your points on buying the best, I think I will wait for now. I want to build up a solid lens collection before I get the 5D Mark ii and I don't want to start using a full frame with only one lens. I think the best decision for me, for now, is to go with the 7D for as long as I possibly can. I would most likely keep both cameras when I upgrade.

That being said, I really appreciate your input guys. It has helped me a lot! Thanks.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dstppy on July 26, 2011, 05:50:00 AM
I have a question (to anyone who really knows) about the original topic:
Is it common for courses like this to REQUIRE actual PURCHASE of a body/lenses?

I ask because from what I remember of college, books/materials etc. were ungodly expensive and were basically recommended at random by professors and we racked up a lot of debt for items that occasionally were never used.

--------
 The original poster's comments does not have me worried about her specifically, because it looks like she's serious and on a pro path.  But these sound like entry level courses at the beginning and, at very least, it seems as if the college could have arranged for a group rental deal for people who are hard up, at least on lenses.

The economy still isn't great, and, forgive my heresy, you may be a Nikon shooter later on -- requiring purchase of a FF camera so early on seems, well, detached from reality.

-------

Sorry for the slight deviation in topic; I was just surprised that it was still SOP to have students jump into major purchases on top of normal tuition costs.

Congratz on the scholarship.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on July 26, 2011, 07:10:16 AM
I think dtaylor is absolutely correct - the requirement is for a 35mm film camera, and that's a common requirement for photography schools.  In general usage, "full frame camera" refers to a dSLR with a sensor that's the same size as 35mm film, but "35mm camera" means actual film.

So, you should be able to find good deals on film cameras on Craigslist, eBay, etc.  One thing to consider - you can get any old film camera, or consider an EOS film body (even a old Rebel film camera) to satisfy the requirement, which means EF lenses would work on both.

Assuming it is a 35mm film camera you need to meed the requirement, you'll obviously still want a dSLR for some of your shooting.

If you're set on the 7D, I assume you also looked at the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  IMO, that's the best general purpose zoom for a crop body, with a decent aperture and the benefit of image stabilization.  It's also sharper than the 17-40mm f/4L when used on an APS-C body.  The only downsides to the 17-55mm is that it's not weather-sealed (which the 17-40mm is when used with the partially-sealed 7D), and incompatibilty with FF (which is very relevant to you if you're getting an EOS film body!).  So in your case, the 17-40mm makes more sense than for most crop body shooters.

Two more considerations:

1) When learning about photography, one of the creative elements you'll work with is depth of field - both deep and shallow.  Deep DoF is relatively easy to achieve (inexpensive P&S cameras have it), but a shallow DoF will be difficult to achieve with an APS-C camera and an f/4 lens like the combination you're considering.  So, I'd strongly recommend you consider a fast prime lens.  There's the 'nifty fifty' (EF 50mm f/1.8 II) as an inexpensive option.  If your budget allows, consider the EF 85mm f/1.8 - that will give you a telephoto lens plus a fast lens, allowing work in lower light (where the 17-40mm f/4 on a 7D will be not be very useful), and giving you a wide aperture for shallow DoF shots.  As EF lenses, both would work on a film camera.

2) Get a decent tripod.  That does two things, first, it improves IQ.  IS in a lens can help, but there's no substitute for eliminating all the effects of shake from a shot.  Second, it forces you to slow down and think about your shots.  That's actually one reason why photo schools require film cameras - if you only have 36 exposures to work with, instead of a memory card that can hold 100-200 times more images with no associated developing costs, it forces you to think carefully about each shot before you press the shutter.  Don't cheap out on this one.  Read this (http://bythom.com/support.htm), for starters.  If you balk at $1K for Gitzo legs + a good ballhead, that's understandable.  As a compromise between quality and value, I recommend Manfrotto.  I really wouldn't go much lower than that if you can help it.

Good luck!
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: spaceheat on July 26, 2011, 09:33:00 AM
Pentax K1000 with a 50mm lens. That is what you need. You can purchase an excellent used one from KEH Camera online for just under $300.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: bchernicoff on July 26, 2011, 10:11:43 AM
I own both the 7d and 5D Mk II and they are both fantastic cameras with different strengths and weaknesses. The 7D is much better for telephoto or sports work. I greatly prefer the 5D Mk II for portraits or landscapes. I have a 35mm Canon film body that I can sell you dirt cheap. I bought a used Elan 7ehttp://usa.canon.com/cusa/support/consumer/eos_slr_camera_systems/eos_35mm_slr_cameras/eos_elan_7_7e (http://usa.canon.com/cusa/support/consumer/eos_slr_camera_systems/eos_35mm_slr_cameras/eos_elan_7_7e) about 6 months ago to experiment with film photography. After a few rolls, I realized that it's just too much work compared to digital. I will sell for $75 including shipping.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 26, 2011, 10:18:11 AM
Speaking from one that's gone your route (graduated Brooks Institute, your schools competition in, 2004), I have a few bits of advice and clarification.  When I started in the early 2001, they required a 35mm film camera.  By the time I graduated, they didn't have that requirement anymore because they were in the process of going strictly digital, which was a decision I opposed at the time.  While I was there, the first half of my time was dedicated to film and fundamentals... 35mm, 4x5's, medium format, studio, advanced studio, lighting, portraiture, strobes, etc... My school had a large rental dept that was free to students for 3 day rentals on most equipment, however the popular stuff got taken quickly so if you really liked a certain piece, they suggested you get a student loan and buy the gear to insure you always had them for your disposal. 

I dont know if your school has a darkroom or still emphasizes film, and if so, odds are they want you to get a film camera.  I wouldn't stress too much over the film camera as long as it's manual with a manual sync for strobes and hotshoe.  If your school says it's fully digital, which it might be, then ask if they require full frame or if aps-c is acceptable. 

Make sure you go into the school and this profession with your eyes wide open.  It used to be the joke amongst pro photographers you needed to marry a sugar momma or daddy to support your profession until you get the one shot that gets you your first big break.  While I would like to say a lot has changed from then, this is still a very aggressive saturation of pro photographers and hobbyist photographers who would think it would be the cat's meow to take jobs away from a pro and get a few bucks for their work.  Can you blame them?  No, but it does eat away from our potential earning potential.  If you want proof of this, go to your local yellow pages and search under photographers or photography... look at the pages of competition.  Most will not have the technical quality you and I would have, but consumers dont care if the photographer is really good at marketing and sales.  You need to develop a style and niche that would make people to want to choose you rather than joe blow down the street. 

Lastly, you mention that you are getting married shortly, please make sure your significant other is fully prepared for the profession of professional photography.  I met my wife while I was at school and while we were dating I kept warning her how expensive photography was, but it wasn't until AFTER we were married and the cost of camera gear were being budgeted in our expenses that she really understood how expensive photography was.  Every time I upgrade lenses and cameras she gets humbled.  I hear from a lot of professional photographers that the cost of gear for newly weds and starting up photographers can be a big issue with finances so please make sure your fiancee is fully prepared for the costs to be a pro photographer. 

Good luck and if you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reply or send me an email regarding school. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dstppy on July 26, 2011, 11:49:17 AM
Speaking from one that's gone your route (graduated Brooks Institute, your schools competition in, 2004), I have a few bits of advice and clarification.  When I started in the early 2001, they required a 35mm film camera.  By the time I graduated, they didn't have that requirement anymore because they were in the process of going strictly digital, which was a decision I opposed at the time.  While I was there, the first half of my time was dedicated to film and fundamentals... 35mm, 4x5's, medium format, studio, advanced studio, lighting, portraiture, strobes, etc... My school had a large rental dept that was free to students for 3 day rentals on most equipment, however the popular stuff got taken quickly so if you really liked a certain piece, they suggested you get a student loan and buy the gear to insure you always had them for your disposal. 

That sounds a lot more reasonable.  Thanks for the info.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: bycostello on July 27, 2011, 03:33:23 AM
if they say it isn't they are talking rubbish...  as long as you know how the depth of field is affected then it really dosn't matter....  as a general rule of thumb, just shoot a stop wider to get the same as a full frame
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Canihaspicture on July 27, 2011, 04:42:23 AM
as a general rule of thumb, just shoot a stop wider to get the same as a full frame

Haha, tell that to the beautiful bokeh from my F/1.2 lenses on full frame. With a crop camera you cut off the beauty on every side of the frame.  :'(
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: KeithR on July 27, 2011, 08:01:49 AM
With a crop camera you cut off the beauty on every side of the frame.  :'(
So take a couple of steps back...
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on July 27, 2011, 09:14:24 AM
With a crop camera you cut off the beauty on every side of the frame.  :'(
So take a couple of steps back...

That's exactly why a crop body delivers deeper DoF - becaiase you need to take a couple of steps back to match the framing of that lens on a FF camera, and that increased distance means deeper DoF.  Short of going out and building yourself a lens with f/0.75 for your APS-C camera, you'll never be able to achieve the shallow DoF of f/1.2 on FF.  Personally, I often get comments on portraits about the simplicity of the backgrounds - in fact, there is often a lot going on back there, it's just effectively blurred out by the wide aperture of the 85L.

Having said that, I do agree that a 7D should be as useable for photo classes as a 5DII, and you can certainly achieve thin DoF with an APS-C sensor, if not quite as thin as with FF, much less MF.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 10:11:27 AM
This whole debate is moot if the OP comes back and says the school wants her to shoot 35mm film for the first year or so...  Please get clarification on that... then once you got that figured out, see if your school have a free rental dept and can rent both digitals as your classes get to digital.  Heck by that time the 5d mark III may be out and you can purchase that, case closed. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dstppy on July 27, 2011, 10:24:32 AM
This whole debate is moot if the OP comes back and says the school wants her to shoot 35mm film for the first year or so...  Please get clarification on that... then once you got that figured out, see if your school have a free rental dept and can rent both digitals as your classes get to digital.  Heck by that time the 5d mark III may be out and you can purchase that, case closed.
If it's a 4-year school . . . the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM could actually be in the wild before she finishes.

Maybe . . .  ;D
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: bycostello on July 27, 2011, 10:28:46 AM
With a crop camera you cut off the beauty on every side of the frame.  :'(
So take a couple of steps back...

beat me to it..!!   ;D
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: bycostello on July 27, 2011, 10:31:14 AM
With a crop camera you cut off the beauty on every side of the frame.  :'(
So take a couple of steps back...

That's exactly why a crop body delivers deeper DoF - becaiase you need to take a couple of steps back to match the framing of that lens on a FF camera, and that increased distance means deeper DoF.  Short of going out and building yourself a lens with f/0.75 for your APS-C camera, you'll never be able to achieve the shallow DoF of f/1.2 on FF.  Personally, I often get comments on portraits about the simplicity of the backgrounds - in fact, there is often a lot going on back there, it's just effectively blurred out by the wide aperture of the 85L.

Having said that, I do agree that a 7D should be as useable for photo classes as a 5DII, and you can certainly achieve thin DoF with an APS-C sensor, if not quite as thin as with FF, much less MF.

but who really shoots at f1.2.. ok perhaps sometimes...  but realisticlly no...  most of my lenses are f2.8 so the sweet spot for the lens is around f4, which is where i normally shoot.... 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 27, 2011, 11:09:08 AM
The school I will be attending in a year or two offers rental equipment but requires that you buy your own camera. The rental equipment is for flashes, various lenses, and more expensive cameras that students couldn't possibly afford. The school I would be attending in the mean time does not provide or rent equipment because they're very small. Their main focus is work shops and fine art. They still have yet to get back to me, and I'm thinking that I should just drive over in person today to ask. Sometimes it's hard to get concrete answers by email.

As I said, I'm going with the 7D for now. I think the 5D Mk ii is better however it stretches my purse strings too much for it to be comfortable. I'm going to spend a few months to a year building up a glass collection, then purchase the 5d. I don't want the first DSLR I purchase to be used just in case, but the second I won't mind so much. With canon hinting that something big and exciting might be coming out next year anyway, I think it's wiser to not break the bank now and just hope the school means film (considering they have the only public dark room in the area, I'm going to assume this is the case).

On the subject of glass collection, I do need some advice. I'm looking for something that's fast, good for portraits, but has telephoto zoom (such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 [or 4] USM or 75-300mm) and is good for moving horse photography if I find I need to do it. IS is irrelevant to me. Are the ones I mentioned good options, or is there a better one I can get in the <$1600 price range?
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 11:10:42 AM
With a crop camera you cut off the beauty on every side of the frame.  :'(
So take a couple of steps back...

That's exactly why a crop body delivers deeper DoF - becaiase you need to take a couple of steps back to match the framing of that lens on a FF camera, and that increased distance means deeper DoF.  Short of going out and building yourself a lens with f/0.75 for your APS-C camera, you'll never be able to achieve the shallow DoF of f/1.2 on FF.  Personally, I often get comments on portraits about the simplicity of the backgrounds - in fact, there is often a lot going on back there, it's just effectively blurred out by the wide aperture of the 85L.

Having said that, I do agree that a 7D should be as useable for photo classes as a 5DII, and you can certainly achieve thin DoF with an APS-C sensor, if not quite as thin as with FF, much less MF.

but who really shoots at f1.2.. ok perhaps sometimes...  but realisticlly no...  most of my lenses are f2.8 so the sweet spot for the lens is around f4, which is where i normally shoot....

Exactly... Even if you can shoot 1.2 on portraiture, the eyelash will be in focus but the eyeball wont or visa versa... Kinda freaks out clients when they see that cause they think in their minds it's out of focus... We as photographers can appreciate it but clients, unless they are fine art type of people wont buy them... on my 50 1.4 I shoot around 2.2 give or take... thats it's sweet spot for me on portraits... enough is in focus for the client to appreciate and a nice soft background. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 11:13:12 AM
The school I will be attending in a year or two offers rental equipment but requires that you buy your own camera. The rental equipment is for flashes, various lenses, and more expensive cameras that students couldn't possibly afford. The school I would be attending in the mean time does not provide or rent equipment because they're very small. Their main focus is work shops and fine art. They still have yet to get back to me, and I'm thinking that I should just drive over in person today to ask. Sometimes it's hard to get concrete answers by email.

As I said, I'm going with the 7D for now. I think the 5D Mk ii is better however it stretches my purse strings too much for it to be comfortable. I'm going to spend a few months to a year building up a glass collection, then purchase the 5d. I don't want the first DSLR I purchase to be used just in case, but the second I won't mind so much. With canon hinting that something big and exciting might be coming out next year anyway, I think it's wiser to not break the bank now and just hope the school means film (considering they have the only public dark room in the area, I'm going to assume this is the case).

On the subject of glass collection, I do need some advice. I'm looking for something that's fast, good for portraits, but has telephoto zoom (such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 [or 4] USM or 75-300mm) and is good for moving horse photography if I find I need to do it. IS is irrelevant to me. Are the ones I mentioned good options, or is there a better one I can get in the <$1600 price range?

Is $1600 your total budget for all lenses? 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 11:22:27 AM
The school I will be attending in a year or two offers rental equipment but requires that you buy your own camera. The rental equipment is for flashes, various lenses, and more expensive cameras that students couldn't possibly afford. The school I would be attending in the mean time does not provide or rent equipment because they're very small. Their main focus is work shops and fine art. They still have yet to get back to me, and I'm thinking that I should just drive over in person today to ask. Sometimes it's hard to get concrete answers by email.

As I said, I'm going with the 7D for now. I think the 5D Mk ii is better however it stretches my purse strings too much for it to be comfortable. I'm going to spend a few months to a year building up a glass collection, then purchase the 5d. I don't want the first DSLR I purchase to be used just in case, but the second I won't mind so much. With canon hinting that something big and exciting might be coming out next year anyway, I think it's wiser to not break the bank now and just hope the school means film (considering they have the only public dark room in the area, I'm going to assume this is the case).

On the subject of glass collection, I do need some advice. I'm looking for something that's fast, good for portraits, but has telephoto zoom (such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 [or 4] USM or 75-300mm) and is good for moving horse photography if I find I need to do it. IS is irrelevant to me. Are the ones I mentioned good options, or is there a better one I can get in the <$1600 price range?

Trying to keep under $1600... I kinda want to go with the 17-55 and 70-200 F4 L..  The 17-55 wont be able to move over to the 5d when you move over to full frame but will suit the 7D just fine.  If you want to have lenses that will move over with you when you make the jump, you can get the 17-40 L and and a used 70-200 F4 IS or 70-200 F2.8 Non-IS.  I would stay away with the 70-300 unless you are getting the L version... kinda soft and will cause hair to fall out.  You can also try a sigma 70-200 2.8 which is around $900... They are good if you find a good copy (test a few at the camera store).  This could get you started until you get some more money for fast primes...

Lastly you can pick up a 24-105 or 24-70... that would chew up most your money but you could pick up a fast prime like a 50 1.4 or 85 1.8 or maybe 100 2.0  not much telephoto effect but will get your feet wet. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: kencathy on July 27, 2011, 11:36:12 AM
All very good comments here. I would second the opinion that virtually any SLR or dSLR should be just fine for a photography course. I could guess a wide range zoom plus a bigger aperture normal (50mm or so with either full frame or APS-C) lens should be ample.

Being rather technical and mathematical in background, the real challenge to me in photography is composition (I am probably stating the obvious). I once saw among many booths at a photography exhibition a group of absolutely stunningly composed monochrome (sepia) pictures. A little blur, especially at the edges, seemed to be judiciously applied to good effect. Beautiful work.

I saw a moment later that these were taken with a pinhole camera.

Finally, I would throw in this piece of advice. A few years ago, I brought myself up to date equipment-wise by getting a Canon 30d with a nice zoom (24-104mm f/4 L) -- this was coming from an A1 (film SLR from ~1980). Wow, fully automatic! All kinds of automatically selected focus points, exposure calculated with even more measurements, white balance calculated for you, on and on.

I am embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to figure out I could do a much better job by setting the camera manually. Maybe not full manual all the time, but at least using aperture priority if not full manual exposure, manual focusing under some conditions, choosing RAW in contrasty situations, using flash fill-in controlled manually, and so forth. Maybe restating it, just knowing what the camera is doing, and taking control if it is not right.

So, maybe the moral here is: compose carefully, and don't let a fully automatic camera lull you into indifference to its operation.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 27, 2011, 11:44:34 AM
The difference is noticeable rain. I live in Seattle and there are a lot of dark/overcast days. I also like to shoot at dusk. I'm not sure about how much of a difference it is on a DSLR than a compact, but on my Panasonic I'm at max ISO (1600) all the time when I do my evening shoots. You bring up some excellent points though, and the 7D may be the way to go for now despite the noise. Do you think the overcast days and dusk shoots will take a hit from choosing the 7D?

If you actually have to shoot at 1600 and make larger prints (i.e. 13x19 or 16x24), the 5D mkII will show a noticeable, but not huge, advantage in that it will yield less noise and more fine detail. It's not that the 7D will be bad, in fact it's quite good at higher ISOs. It's just that the 5D mkII is better there, particularly when it comes to retaining fine detail for a larger print.

That said unless you have to shoot handheld, a tripod is the best tool you can have for dusk shots, and that's true for either camera. I shoot at dusk all the time and almost always at ISO 100-400 from a tripod. At those ISOs it's a wash between these two sensors. You also have fast glass and IS options with a DSLR that you probably don't have on your compact, so you might find yourself shooting lower ISOs handheld.

Keep in mind the price difference. Even if you must shoot hand held at dusk, a 7D + 30 f/1.4, purchased with part of the savings, will easily beat a 5D mkII + f/4 zoom (for example) in low light.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 27, 2011, 12:01:08 PM
While the 7D does have slightly more DR I would argue that the detail, better noise characteristics, and sharpness all are better with the 5D Classic. You don't even have to take my word for it.. See http://bit.ly/o75QZA (http://bit.ly/o75QZA)

DxOmark ranks some DSLRs higher than medium format digital backs. And they can't get their dynamic range or noise tests right to save their lives. Anyone can personally disprove their DR results with a Stouffer transmission step wedge and about 10 minutes of time. I don't take them seriously, and neither should you.

See DPReview and Imaging Resource for accurate, reproducible and verifiable tests and results. DPReview's resolution chart test, and Imaging Resource's studio test (note the fabric threads), leave no question that the 7D out resolves the 5D. Color blotching is also noticeable in the IR 5D high ISO tests, but absent in the 7D tests. Color noise is death at high ISO. Luminance noise is much easier to deal with, and more pleasing where it remains.

Quote
For sharpness examples you can see Google.

Out of camera with neutral settings, FF images are sharper than APS-C images. But this difference is easily eliminated with slightly higher sharpening settings for the APS-C images, in camera or in post processing.

The 5D was a great camera, and continues to be a very good camera at the right price. But it's a bad recommendation against a 60D or 7D unless it's available at a much lower price. Typical used prices are excessive IMHO given the price of the 60D, though sometimes you can find a steal.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 27, 2011, 12:08:32 PM
This whole debate is moot if the OP comes back and says the school wants her to shoot 35mm film for the first year or so...

I highly recommend the Canon EOS 3 in the event that the school wants her to shoot film for the first year. I love mine. The Rebels and Elans I've handled just don't compare in terms of build or feature set.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: V8Beast on July 27, 2011, 12:09:44 PM
For your needs, I agree that the 7D is a better choice over the 5D. If you don't need the 7D's blazing frame rate and fancier AF, a 60D might be a better option. IMHO, for people just starting out in photography it's best to learn on the least expensive body you can get away with. Nicer bodies - with their superior dynamic range, contrast, and high ISO abilities - tend to hide your mistakes. It's these mistakes that you'll learn from, and it's these mistakes that will help in refining your technique, whether it's something as simple as learning how to properly expose a frame, or something more complex such as learning how to position your lighting equipment at the ideal angles and setting their power outputs accordingly.

There's so much latitude with digital images, especially RAW files, that it's easy to become overly dependent on post production to correct simple mistakes that could have been avoided in the field in the first place. That's fine if you're just taking images for fun, but it can impede on your ability to make a living as a working pro. A common scenario I see all the time with hobbyists making the transition to gigs that pay money is they spend so much time in post processing, that it limits the number assignments they can take on. The massive competition these days amongst working photogs means that gigs don't pay as much as they used to, so you end up having to turn around greater volumes of work in a short durations of time just to pay the bills. The "I'll just fix it in photoshop" trap is something that needs to be avoided. IMHO, starting out with a less expensive body that's less forgiving of user error will help you recognize those mistake more easily, allowing you to refine your technique.

I suppose the extreme example of those would be learning how to shoot on color slides. I thought it was rather barbaric how one of my instructors made us do this, but in retrospect, it helped immensely in learning the very basics of photography. There's zero margin for error with color slides, and in that regard, it makes 1.6:1 digital cameras look like medium format Hasselblads.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on July 27, 2011, 12:10:07 PM
but who really shoots at f1.2.. ok perhaps sometimes...  but realisticlly no...  most of my lenses are f2.8 so the sweet spot for the lens is around f4, which is where i normally shoot....

There are plenty of people (me included) that do shoot at f/1.2.  Here are a couple thousand sample images (http://www.pixel-peeper.com/adv/?lens=none&camera=none&perpage=12&focal_min=none&focal_max=none&aperture_min=1.2&aperture_max=1.2&iso_min=none&iso_max=none&exp_min=none&exp_max=none&res=3) for you.  Granted, that's only about 5% of the number of images posted at f/4...but then, there aren't that many lenses that open up to f/1.2.

I agree that f/1.2 is tough for portraits due to the extremely thin DoF, but I often shoot with the 85L in the f/1.4 to f/1.8 range.

On the subject of glass collection, I do need some advice. I'm looking for something that's fast, good for portraits, but has telephoto zoom (such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 [or 4] USM or 75-300mm) and is good for moving horse photography if I find I need to do it. IS is irrelevant to me. Are the ones I mentioned good options, or is there a better one I can get in the <$1600 price range?

I assume you mean in addition to a general purpose zoom?  A 70-200mm zoom on the 7D will be too long for many situations.  As a general purpose zoom, IMO the best option for a 7D is the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  That plus the 70-200mm f/4L would be a good combination, as awinphoto suggests.  For portraits, I highly recommend the EF 85mm f/1.8 - it's one of the best values in the Canon lineup in terms of cost vs. IQ.

In terms of the 7D's ISO noise, it's an issue - I'd set aside a small part of your budget for DxO Optics Pro, which really does a great job of reducing noise in your RAW conversions (much better than Canon's DPP).
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 27, 2011, 12:22:19 PM
On the subject of glass collection, I do need some advice. I'm looking for something that's fast, good for portraits, but has telephoto zoom (such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 [or 4] USM or 75-300mm) and is good for moving horse photography if I find I need to do it. IS is irrelevant to me. Are the ones I mentioned good options, or is there a better one I can get in the <$1600 price range?

Is $1600 the budget just for this lens, or for all your lenses?

You might want to consider a Canon 70-200 f/4L (around $500?) and a fast prime for portraits (i.e. Canon 85 f/1.8 or Canon 135 f/2L). At least with the 85 you would still be under budget and able to either save money or pick up another lens. If you really need the extra stop of the 70-200 f/2.8L it's worth it, no question about that. But it's also pretty heavy and expensive. The 70-200 f/4L's are feathers by comparison, and the non IS version is cheap (relatively speaking). While the 70-200 f/2.8 does make a good portrait lens, a fast prime makes an even better portrait lens while the 70-200 f/4L gives you a zoom for covering horses and other fast moving events.

That said, I find myself using my Sigma 50 f/1.4 a lot for portraits. It equates to about 80mm on crop and it seems to be a natural FoV, plus that lens has incredible bokeh. Something to consider.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 12:50:32 PM
On the subject of glass collection, I do need some advice. I'm looking for something that's fast, good for portraits, but has telephoto zoom (such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 [or 4] USM or 75-300mm) and is good for moving horse photography if I find I need to do it. IS is irrelevant to me. Are the ones I mentioned good options, or is there a better one I can get in the <$1600 price range?

Is $1600 the budget just for this lens, or for all your lenses?

You might want to consider a Canon 70-200 f/4L (around $500?) and a fast prime for portraits (i.e. Canon 85 f/1.8 or Canon 135 f/2L). At least with the 85 you would still be under budget and able to either save money or pick up another lens. If you really need the extra stop of the 70-200 f/2.8L it's worth it, no question about that. But it's also pretty heavy and expensive. The 70-200 f/4L's are feathers by comparison, and the non IS version is cheap (relatively speaking). While the 70-200 f/2.8 does make a good portrait lens, a fast prime makes an even better portrait lens while the 70-200 f/4L gives you a zoom for covering horses and other fast moving events.

That said, I find myself using my Sigma 50 f/1.4 a lot for portraits. It equates to about 80mm on crop and it seems to be a natural FoV, plus that lens has incredible bokeh. Something to consider.

The 70-200 F4 is closer in the $650-700 range after the latest price increases but you can probably find a used one for cheaper on the used market... It's probably not a good general purpose lens so you will want either a fast prime or a 17-55 or 17-40 or look at the 24-105/24-70 plus maybe a 200mm 2.8 or other fast primes i listed in a prior thread.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 01:02:21 PM
There's so much latitude with digital images, especially RAW files, that it's easy to become overly dependent on post production to correct simple mistakes that could have been avoided in the field in the first place...

I suppose the extreme example of those would be learning how to shoot on color slides. I thought it was rather barbaric how one of my instructors made us do this, but in retrospect, it helped immensely in learning the very basics of photography. There's zero margin for error with color slides, and in that regard, it makes 1.6:1 digital cameras look like medium format Hasselblads.

I wholeheartedly couldn't agree more.  Back in the day, even negative film you had some room to budge with printing and developing and contrast filters... With slides, you had little to no room to fudge... You could ask the lab to push/pull the film to over/under develop but it could only do so much and it easily looked bad if not done perfectly.  It also cost you money to do corrections such as push/pull and so screwing up exposure cost you dearly.  As a student that was food money you were wasting away by not nailing exposure.  I cant vouch for anybody but my school, but they pounded exposure in our feeble minds so much in most situations we could ballpark exposures just by looking at the scenes... Studios you 100% needed light/flash meters and with film, anyone forget the little treat of reciprocity and reciprocity charts?  =)  2 second exposure turned into 1 minute exposures depending on your meter readings and what film you used. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on July 27, 2011, 01:41:49 PM

I wholeheartedly couldn't agree more.  Back in the day, even negative film you had some room to budge with printing and developing and contrast filters... With slides, you had little to no room to fudge... You could ask the lab to push/pull the film to over/under develop but it could only do so much and it easily looked bad if not done perfectly.  It also cost you money to do corrections such as push/pull and so screwing up exposure cost you dearly.  As a student that was food money you were wasting away by not nailing exposure.  I cant vouch for anybody but my school, but they pounded exposure in our feeble minds so much in most situations we could ballpark exposures just by looking at the scenes... Studios you 100% needed light/flash meters and with film, anyone forget the little treat of reciprocity and reciprocity charts?  =)  2 second exposure turned into 1 minute exposures depending on your meter readings and what film you used.

I recall getting some pretty dark or washed out slides with that old ASA-10 slide film, but the ASA25 Kodachrome II was a huge improvement.  Still, I have a few that were not perfect exposures from the 1960's, and I really cannot fix them, the detail is gone.  In contrast, I inherited some 1930's and 1940's B&W negatives from my father, and the exposure latitude is wonderful.  The scan to make beautiful prints even today, and were from a relatively simple camera.

However, when I look at my old 35mm negatives from the 1950's and 1960's, its amazing what a simple point and shoot digital camera does by comparison.  and my old polaroid color prints are nearly faded away.  I need to get them all scanned, I should have scanned them 15 years ago.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 02:08:38 PM

I wholeheartedly couldn't agree more.  Back in the day, even negative film you had some room to budge with printing and developing and contrast filters... With slides, you had little to no room to fudge... You could ask the lab to push/pull the film to over/under develop but it could only do so much and it easily looked bad if not done perfectly.  It also cost you money to do corrections such as push/pull and so screwing up exposure cost you dearly.  As a student that was food money you were wasting away by not nailing exposure.  I cant vouch for anybody but my school, but they pounded exposure in our feeble minds so much in most situations we could ballpark exposures just by looking at the scenes... Studios you 100% needed light/flash meters and with film, anyone forget the little treat of reciprocity and reciprocity charts?  =)  2 second exposure turned into 1 minute exposures depending on your meter readings and what film you used.

I recall getting some pretty dark or washed out slides with that old ASA-10 slide film, but the ASA25 Kodachrome II was a huge improvement.  Still, I have a few that were not perfect exposures from the 1960's, and I really cannot fix them, the detail is gone.  In contrast, I inherited some 1930's and 1940's B&W negatives from my father, and the exposure latitude is wonderful.  The scan to make beautiful prints even today, and were from a relatively simple camera.

However, when I look at my old 35mm negatives from the 1950's and 1960's, its amazing what a simple point and shoot digital camera does by comparison.  and my old polaroid color prints are nearly faded away.  I need to get them all scanned, I should have scanned them 15 years ago.

At school we made and kept charts just for reciprocity and used them for almost every studio shoot...  tmax 400, meter 2 seconds, reality 45 seconds, meter 4 seconds, reality 1.25 minutes... etc... depending on the film we were using it would get brutal... set the camera on bulb, start the stopwatch, and go get a drink haha. God forbid you were bracketing exposures.  One time using ultraviolet woods filtered strobes I burned out my strobes multi popping my exposure trying to build up the exposure... set off the school fire alarms, fire dept, haha.  God bless film. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 27, 2011, 03:50:15 PM
So I got an update from the school I'd attend next year (or 2013). I need a full frame dslr, the school provides all film cameras for us. My 7D is acceptable, and is the absolute least expensive model they will accept. They say that if I can, I should upgrade to the 5D mk ii because I will need it after my first semester. Right now I'm going with the 7D for temporary practice and to build up a lens collection. I'll probably have both before school starts (even if it starts next september).

I'm also potentially picking up the 7D tomorrow. Potentially.

I'm hoping they have used lenses in stock.

For your needs, I agree that the 7D is a better choice over the 5D. If you don't need the 7D's blazing frame rate and fancier AF, a 60D might be a better option. IMHO, for people just starting out in photography it's best to learn on the least expensive body you can get away with. Nicer bodies - with their superior dynamic range, contrast, and high ISO abilities - tend to hide your mistakes. It's these mistakes that you'll learn from, and it's these mistakes that will help in refining your technique, whether it's something as simple as learning how to properly expose a frame, or something more complex such as learning how to position your lighting equipment at the ideal angles and setting their power outputs accordingly. There's so much latitude with digital images, especially RAW files, that it's easy to become overly dependent on post production to correct simple mistakes that could have been avoided in the field in the first place. That's fine if you're just taking images for fun, but it can impede on your ability to make a living as a working pro. A common scenario I see all the time with hobbyists making the transition to gigs that pay money is they spend so much time in post processing, that it limits the number assignments they can take on. The massive competition these days amongst working photogs means that gigs don't pay as much as they used to, so you end up having to turn around greater volumes of work in a short durations of time just to pay the bills. The "I'll just fix it in photoshop" trap is something that needs to be avoided. IMHO, starting out with a less expensive body that's less forgiving of user error will help you recognize those mistake more easily, allowing you to refine your technique.

I've been photographing things for years on manual settings with various compact camera models. I tested the 60D out for a day, but it felt far, far too cheap to work for me. The ergonomics were wrong, the photos were not being taken at the speed I would have liked, and the entire thing felt like plastic. I mean no offense to people who start out with the 60D, it's just that the 60D is not enough of an upgrade from my compact camera. When I rented the 7D I was in heaven, the entire thing just responded to me and did exactly what I wanted it to do. I have yet to fully try out the 5D Mk ii. The 7D is the cheapest one I will accept, and I do need it for the fast shutter speed (yes, even if I had the 5d I would need it).

Also, I very rarely need to correct error in photoshop when I shoot. Unfortunately now the problem I'm running into is that any of my cameras in my collection are just not professional enough to do what I want. I don't have enough control over them (with regards to aperture, iso, lens, etc) to get the effect I both desire and know how to achieve. My photography isn't perfect, not by a long shot, and I'm far from being pro, but trust me when I say the 60D would be a complete waste of money. Money that I cannot afford to waste.

Keep in mind the price difference. Even if you must shoot hand held at dusk, a 7D + 30 f/1.4, purchased with part of the savings, will easily beat a 5D mkII + f/4 zoom (for example) in low light.

Ah yes thank you, very helpful!


I assume you mean in addition to a general purpose zoom?  A 70-200mm zoom on the 7D will be too long for many situations.  As a general purpose zoom, IMO the best option for a 7D is the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  That plus the 70-200mm f/4L would be a good combination, as awinphoto suggests.  For portraits, I highly recommend the EF 85mm f/1.8 - it's one of the best values in the Canon lineup in terms of cost vs. IQ.

In terms of the 7D's ISO noise, it's an issue - I'd set aside a small part of your budget for DxO Optics Pro, which really does a great job of reducing noise in your RAW conversions (much better than Canon's DPP).

I already own a 17-40mm. After extensive testing and comparison I found it to do significantly better than the more expensive 17-55. This isn't just for portraits, I do need the zoom in the lens to shoot action from a distance. The EF 85mm seems like a great idea, though. Thank you!


Is $1600 the budget just for this lens, or for all your lenses?

You might want to consider a Canon 70-200 f/4L (around $500?) and a fast prime for portraits (i.e. Canon 85 f/1.8 or Canon 135 f/2L). At least with the 85 you would still be under budget and able to either save money or pick up another lens. If you really need the extra stop of the 70-200 f/2.8L it's worth it, no question about that. But it's also pretty heavy and expensive. The 70-200 f/4L's are feathers by comparison, and the non IS version is cheap (relatively speaking). While the 70-200 f/2.8 does make a good portrait lens, a fast prime makes an even better portrait lens while the 70-200 f/4L gives you a zoom for covering horses and other fast moving events.

That said, I find myself using my Sigma 50 f/1.4 a lot for portraits. It equates to about 80mm on crop and it seems to be a natural FoV, plus that lens has incredible bokeh. Something to consider.

No, it's $1600 max per lens right now (with taxes). The 70-200 f/4L is not something I thought of, though! I forgot about that model entirely. I'll test it at the photography shop today if I can. I'm possibly picking up my 7D tomorrow.

The sigma? Hmm I'll see if they have that in stock as well to give it a try, and I'll let you know.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 04:41:48 PM
Wow... they require a full frame camera... granted when I was at school full frame digitals were rare... the original canon 1ds was your only offering... I dont recall if the nikon d1x was full frame or not... be that as it may, the 7D will definitely get your skill level up and when your in school and ready for your second class you will be more than ready for the 5D mark III =)  As i've mentioned before in other posts, from spending almost a decade with various canon digitals (10d, 1d, 30D, 50D, etc...) this was the first camera where I actually had to learn and sharpen my game a bit to fully utilize it to it's fullest potential.  You should also be able to resell it for a good chunk when your ready or keep it as a second backup camera. 

Funny how I thought the same thing about the 17-40 vs 17-55 on my original tests... I got the 17-40 because it's forward compatibility but others swear by the 17-55 but it is a personal preference.  I'd definitely look at the 70-200 F4 IS and non IS... the non is around $700 and the IS is closer to 1200... something to consider on a budget.  Good luck and let us know how it goes.  =)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on July 27, 2011, 04:59:17 PM
I already own a 17-40mm. After extensive testing and comparison I found it to do significantly better than the more expensive 17-55.

Funny how I thought the same thing about the 17-40 vs 17-55 on my original tests...

Interesting - how was it significantly better?

I tried out a 17-40mm and definitely preferred the 17-55mm from an optical standpoint - especially stopped down to f/4, the 17-55mm is sharper across the frame, and the EF-S lens, surprisingly, has less barrel distortion at 17mm than the 17-40mm, despite a broader zoom range and the 'sweet spot' effect of using an EF lens on a crop body.  The only place the L lens won was less vignetting.  From a build standpoint, the L lens is definifely better, of course.

I ended up getting the 16-35mm f/2.8L II instead of the 17-40mm for use on FF (as good or better at comparable apertures), and the 17-55mm on the 7D outperforms the 16-35mm II on the same body, from my own testing.  I shoot a fair bit of wildlife with the 7D and a telezoom, and bring a standard zoom along 'just in case' - in the rain, I bring the 16-35mm II, but otherwise I grab the 17-55mm lens, and in fact, I hung onto that lens after getting the 5DII for just that reason.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 05:14:37 PM
I already own a 17-40mm. After extensive testing and comparison I found it to do significantly better than the more expensive 17-55.

Funny how I thought the same thing about the 17-40 vs 17-55 on my original tests...

Interesting - how was it significantly better?

I tried out a 17-40mm and definitely preferred the 17-55mm from an optical standpoint - especially stopped down to f/4, the 17-55mm is sharper across the frame, and the EF-S lens, surprisingly, has less barrel distortion at 17mm than the 17-40mm, despite a broader zoom range and the 'sweet spot' effect of using an EF lens on a crop body.  The only place the L lens won was less vignetting.  From a build standpoint, the L lens is definifely better, of course.

I ended up getting the 16-35mm f/2.8L II instead of the 17-40mm for use on FF (as good or better at comparable apertures), and the 17-55mm on the 7D outperforms the 16-35mm II on the same body, from my own testing.  I shoot a fair bit of wildlife with the 7D and a telezoom, and bring a standard zoom along 'just in case' - in the rain, I bring the 16-35mm II, but otherwise I grab the 17-55mm lens, and in fact, I hung onto that lens after getting the 5DII for just that reason.

It's hard to say... when I did my testings I tested it against the sigmas and tokinas (my local store didn't sell tamrons so i couldn't test their version which has gotten good reviews) as well as each other...  I dont know... I just felt when I did my unscientific tests, the 17-40 locked focus a tad faster, felt more robust (i need my gear to keep up and be ok if it has a little bang here and there)... the L had weathersealing and  IQ i felt was close but not near enough to warrant the price difference.  The 2.8 would have been nice but that wasn't a driving factor because I was ok with my cameras ISO if needed.  For what I do and how I shoot, that's how I made my choice.  BTW, the sigma and tokina lenses tested were horrid in focusing in low light.  The 17-40 I was able to focus almost in the dark without even needing the AF lamp...  I'm sure under certain conditions the 17-55 could produce sharper images but I've been pleased with my lens. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 27, 2011, 05:57:08 PM
I already own a 17-40mm. After extensive testing and comparison I found it to do significantly better than the more expensive 17-55.

Funny how I thought the same thing about the 17-40 vs 17-55 on my original tests...

Interesting - how was it significantly better?

I tried out a 17-40mm and definitely preferred the 17-55mm from an optical standpoint - especially stopped down to f/4, the 17-55mm is sharper across the frame, and the EF-S lens, surprisingly, has less barrel distortion at 17mm than the 17-40mm, despite a broader zoom range and the 'sweet spot' effect of using an EF lens on a crop body.  The only place the L lens won was less vignetting.  From a build standpoint, the L lens is definifely better, of course.

I ended up getting the 16-35mm f/2.8L II instead of the 17-40mm for use on FF (as good or better at comparable apertures), and the 17-55mm on the 7D outperforms the 16-35mm II on the same body, from my own testing.  I shoot a fair bit of wildlife with the 7D and a telezoom, and bring a standard zoom along 'just in case' - in the rain, I bring the 16-35mm II, but otherwise I grab the 17-55mm lens, and in fact, I hung onto that lens after getting the 5DII for just that reason.

It's hard to say... when I did my testings I tested it against the sigmas and tokinas (my local store didn't sell tamrons so i couldn't test their version which has gotten good reviews) as well as each other...  I dont know... I just felt when I did my unscientific tests, the 17-40 locked focus a tad faster, felt more robust (i need my gear to keep up and be ok if it has a little bang here and there)... the L had weathersealing and  IQ i felt was close but not near enough to warrant the price difference.  The 2.8 would have been nice but that wasn't a driving factor because I was ok with my cameras ISO if needed.  For what I do and how I shoot, that's how I made my choice.  BTW, the sigma and tokina lenses tested were horrid in focusing in low light.  The 17-40 I was able to focus almost in the dark without even needing the AF lamp...  I'm sure under certain conditions the 17-55 could produce sharper images but I've been pleased with my lens.

This, on top of the fact that I only had to pay $600 for the 17-40mm because they had a used model. The 17-55mm was $1200 and did not have the weather sealing that the 17-40mm did. I also didn't really like the 40-55 zoom range on it and would rather get a 50mm prime (which is what I'm doing) because the sharpness on the 17-55 just wasn't up to my tastes. in the 17-40 I didn't notice any barrel distortion what-so-ever. I pulled up the images next to each other on a 30" monitor in the store and there was no visible distortion at all. It may have been my settings, or it may have just been that you got a bad model. I'm not sure why someone would see barrel distortion on that lens.

I'm trying to stock up on EF lenses right now, not EF-S. That's a huge thing. I do plan to get one or two EF-S lenses, but for now I'm alright with the 17-40. In the future I'm thinking of the 10-22mm mostly.

The 16-35mm I drool over, on a completely unrelated note.

And on another one.

Could someone please explain to me the point of fisheye? I always thought it was a phase because I never really liked the way certain photos looked with fisheye lenses. Is there a valid use for it besides deceptive real estate advertising?
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 06:06:12 PM
Could someone please explain to me the point of fisheye? I always thought it was a phase because I never really liked the way certain photos looked with fisheye lenses. Is there a valid use for it besides deceptive real estate advertising?

It's a niche effect lens... It's used often in skating magazines and other extreme sports where people are moving fast and may be out of frame in a split second so they use that to ensure they capture it when close up... Some people love it, some people dont.  I tried it a few times but not anything I would use professionally. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: V8Beast on July 27, 2011, 06:14:39 PM
I've been photographing things for years on manual settings with various compact camera models. I tested the 60D out for a day, but it felt far, far too cheap to work for me. The ergonomics were wrong, the photos were not being taken at the speed I would have liked, and the entire thing felt like plastic. I mean no offense to people who start out with the 60D, it's just that the 60D is not enough of an upgrade from my compact camera. When I rented the 7D I was in heaven, the entire thing just responded to me and did exactly what I wanted it to do. I have yet to fully try out the 5D Mk ii. The 7D is the cheapest one I will accept, and I do need it for the fast shutter speed (yes, even if I had the 5d I would need it).

Also, I very rarely need to correct error in photoshop when I shoot. Unfortunately now the problem I'm running into is that any of my cameras in my collection are just not professional enough to do what I want. I don't have enough control over them (with regards to aperture, iso, lens, etc) to get the effect I both desire and know how to achieve. My photography isn't perfect, not by a long shot, and I'm far from being pro, but trust me when I say the 60D would be a complete waste of money. Money that I cannot afford to waste.


I completely understand. I'd never buy a camera that "felt cheap," either. It's why I opted for a 20D over a Rebel, and why I prefer the feel of a 1D/1Ds (especially when mounted to a big, heavy long lens) over a 5D. If you tried out the 7D and liked it, I think it will suit your current needs better than a 5DII. You mention that you need the fast FPS, and the 7D blows the 5DII in the weeds in that regard. 

As for fisheye lenses, I know they're popular with skateboard magazine photogs, but I don't see them being used much in any other fields. IMHO, a 16-35 or 17-40 is plenty wide enough for most landscape and architectural work. I suppose some people just like the goofy, overly distorted look  :)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 27, 2011, 07:23:54 PM
Ah, skateboarding I had completely forgot about! Thanks both of you!

It's nice to have someone who understands that. I worry people will take it the wrong way when I say things like that. I always want the best model I can possibly afford, not the cheapest one. Someday I hope to have a 1d (or one of its future variations) as well.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 27, 2011, 10:13:17 PM
Someday I hope to have a 1d (or one of its future variations) as well.

It's always nice to have aspirations =)  We try not to judge when your sincere about your questions/request. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 27, 2011, 10:32:34 PM
I got the 7D today with the 50mm F/1.4 to complement my 17-40mm.

I have another problem. I'm fairly petite. I'm 5'5 with a very small body frame. We're talking very small.

(https://sn2files.df.storage.live.com/y1mz5x59d4Z-dVlCtFsSdJE-iO2uCDwdOWFlXxBSq8gIBiwVRl3fNKiRSN4so0p5kRBfogRQUezOpEUMhp3-1OIi_t4LqUDbdoFNZT95oKFqaTdRmY_X9if4qLRwJ_8s0uoPOHKaUjP-7s/24.jpg)

That's a 24" monitor box. My fiancé could close it with me inside.

The canon strap that comes with the camera is not going to do it. I need a non-slip strap that is supportive and isn't going to result in shoulder pain. Any brand recommendations for me to look at?
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: V8Beast on July 27, 2011, 10:35:32 PM
I worry people will take it the wrong way when I say things like that. I always want the best model I can possibly afford, not the cheapest one. 

Like someone else already suggested, have fun with the 7D now, and by the time you're ready to upgrade, hopefully the 5DIII will be available by then. That said, I'm surprised your school requires full-frame bodies. I don't see how they can expect students to come up with that kind of money. Maybe they're just trying to get you accustomed to getting raped on camera gear early on in your career  :)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 27, 2011, 10:41:20 PM
I worry people will take it the wrong way when I say things like that. I always want the best model I can possibly afford, not the cheapest one. 

Like someone else already suggested, have fun with the 7D now, and by the time you're ready to upgrade, hopefully the 5DIII will be available by then. That said, I'm surprised your school requires full-frame bodies. I don't see how they can expect students to come up with that kind of money. Maybe they're just trying to get you accustomed to getting raped on camera gear early on in your career  :)

They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function. However, by then I would hope that I have a full frame camera. I absolutely LOVE the 5d mk ii. Love. I played with it some more today. The local camera shop is happy that I shopped there.

I know I could have saved some money online, but I like supporting the locals whenever I can. They were happy. They then said I could come in and try various cameras any time I wanted. Nice people. One of the people who works there does sports photos for the local news paper, and he's REALLY good. It was cool to be able to talk to someone who takes photographs you idolize.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: epsiloneri on July 28, 2011, 05:56:26 AM
Other good uses for fisheye are all-sky astrophotography, meteors, aurorae, wast landscapes, cool perspective shots (close-ups with huge DoF). It's a relatively cheap super-ultra-wide you can turn into a rectilinear lens with postprocessing.

That's a 24" monitor box. My fiancé could close it with me inside.

That's a funny photo... I hope, though, it was taken with a cell phone and not your 7D+50/1.4
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dstppy on July 28, 2011, 08:26:50 AM
They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function. However, by then I would hope that I have a full frame camera. I absolutely LOVE the 5d mk ii. Love. I played with it some more today. The local camera shop is happy that I shopped there.

 :o I'm confused about that first part.  Landscape, maybe, but desperate for FF on portraits? 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: chase on July 28, 2011, 09:21:13 AM
They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function. However, by then I would hope that I have a full frame camera. I absolutely LOVE the 5d mk ii. Love. I played with it some more today. The local camera shop is happy that I shopped there.

 :o I'm confused about that first part.  Landscape, maybe, but desperate for FF on portraits?

well i guess because FF has better bokeh then APS-C camera for portrait while most professional architectural photographer prefer using large or medium format cameras so putting that to digital perspective means using FF, you'll also have an advantage in wide angle view and less noise...
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on July 28, 2011, 10:06:48 AM
The canon strap that comes with the camera is not going to do it. I need a non-slip strap that is supportive and isn't going to result in shoulder pain. Any brand recommendations for me to look at?

Personally, I use and really recommend a BlackRapid strap.  Convenient in that the camera hangs at your side leaving your hands free (possible but unwieldy with a neck strap), the weight is on your shoulder but the strap is very comfortable, and it's fast and easy to bring the camera up for a shot.  I routinely walk around for hours with a gripped 7D + 100-400mm  (a load of >6 pounds) on a BlackRapid RS-4.

They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function.

A crop frame would function just fine.  The EF-S 10-22mm on APS-C has equivalent angle of view to the EF 16-35mm on FF (so, a little wider than your 17-40mm would be on FF).  Optical quality of the 10-22mm is equivalent to the 17-40mm in most ways, and if you end up shooting a lot of architcture, the 10-22mm on APS-C is substantially better than the 17-40mm on FF in terms of barrel distortion (click to compare 10-22mm @ 10mm (http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/canon_1022_3545_50d/10mm_distortion.png) vs. 17-40mm @ 40mm (http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/canon_1740_4_5d/17mm_distortion.png)).

16mm FF-equivalent not wide enough for you?  The widest prime Canon makes is the 14mm f/2.8L II, and that will set you back $2200 (but you could get the MF-only Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 14mm f/2.8 lens for $400).  However, Sigma just released a rectilinear (i.e. not fisheye) 8-16mm lens for APS-C, which at the wide end is equivalent to 13mm on FF - that's wider the rectilinear options for FF.  The idea that you need FF to achieve ultrawide angles was true several years ago, but has been obviated by developments in lenses.

I'm not saying you shouldn't get the 5DII - it's really an amazing camera (provided your subjects aren't moving).  But if your reason for wanting/needing it is for ultrawide shots, you can achieve that with your 7D, and for a lot less $.  OTOH, for architecture if you splurge, it's tough to beat a TS-E lens on a FF body.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 28, 2011, 10:18:26 AM
They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function. However, by then I would hope that I have a full frame camera.

Well Good luck with your schooling and as I mentioned in one of my first replies.. make sure your fiancee is fully on board with the costs of photography... Money and budgets could be a detriment to young marriages and it took a while to even get my wife get used to me spending thousands on camera bodies and lenses. 

Also try to get as many critiques from strangers as possible towards your portfolio.  At my school, professors (industry professionals) had no qualms on ripping you and your work to shreds if they didn't think they were up to par.  Some professors I've heard of were infamous for throwing away peoples assignments because they were displeased with the work and or passing out McDonalds applications to students.  They also would blatantly tell you if they felt you didn't belong at that school.  They basically were the Simon Cowells before Simon Cowell became popular.  Most would call them jerks or worse, they hardened us to the realities of customers expectations... Getting used to this will help you avoid the shock and awe of these critiques when you get to school. 

Dont Give Up.  I cant stress this enough.  My school during its hay-day when I was there, anyone who had high purse strings and could afford the tuition and THOUGHT they could be photographers went to my school.  It was a very expensive school and became very large quickly.  The problem was it was so tough and expensive half of incoming freshmen quit by the end of the first 2 classes and even more by the end of the first year.  By graduation of my class, probably 1/8 of the original class I started with graduated to get the full BA on time.  Others probably graduated but their graduation dates delayed for whatever reasons.  Schools like ours are meant to weed out those many hopefuls and graduating the select few.  They are good at shaking out those who cant hack it and it's easy to quit.  I went in hoping to get straight A's... that didn't happen, but I graduated, so in some perspective I feel is just fine with me. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on July 28, 2011, 11:02:27 AM
Lady, one last thing to ask your school... does their rental department rent strobes or just on camera flashes?  What about C-Stands/light stands?  Sandbags?  Light modifiers?  Diffusion?  Reflectors?  It may help to know which lenses the offer so you can plan accordingly... What about studios or studio equipment such as seamless backdrops and background muslins?  Do they offer  q-flashes and Wireless transmitters and recievers?  Umbrellas and or Softboxes?  This may all seem trivial but it's nice to know so if they dont offer any of these, you know to save up for them.  You may also want to check which flashes they offer?  Do they offer monoblock strobes (wireless) or powerpack (wired).  Stuff like this, if they dont have them, they may seem like small purchases but costs as a student add up and when an assignment pops up that requires such equipment and you need to buy said equipment and you are pinching pennies to pay for food, it is better to know about this before hand. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 28, 2011, 01:04:23 PM
For those of you that are curious, I picked up the camera with the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. My other lens is gonna be picked up tomorrow, Saturday, or Monday.

So far I've had a bit of an issue with certain lights and I'm still adjusting to the focus system. When I have my house lights on pictures can appear very yellow and I end up having to change the white balance later on through photoshop. I'm still troubleshooting on how to fix this. I'll have to read through the camera manual some more tonight.

BUT here are my first few test shots. I'm warning you, I was mostly just playing with the AF system and getting a feel for the camera itself, rather than trying to seriously take a shot, so they're a bit sloppy. However once I understand the system more it will get better.

(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6005/5983851344_3cf3d3419a.jpg)
(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6139/5983790849_9358ea416e.jpg)
(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6148/5985054218_aebf26ba69.jpg)

This one is an example of DOP:
(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6142/5984608313_235265b859.jpg)

(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6021/5984610311_03c087080c.jpg)
(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6030/5984618365_81c6dbc4d9.jpg)

Today I hope to go outside and take some photos. Can anyone give me a critique?




The canon strap that comes with the camera is not going to do it. I need a non-slip strap that is supportive and isn't going to result in shoulder pain. Any brand recommendations for me to look at?

Personally, I use and really recommend a BlackRapid strap.  Convenient in that the camera hangs at your side leaving your hands free (possible but unwieldy with a neck strap), the weight is on your shoulder but the strap is very comfortable, and it's fast and easy to bring the camera up for a shot.  I routinely walk around for hours with a gripped 7D + 100-400mm  (a load of >6 pounds) on a BlackRapid RS-4.

They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function.

A crop frame would function just fine.  The EF-S 10-22mm on APS-C has equivalent angle of view to the EF 16-35mm on FF (so, a little wider than your 17-40mm would be on FF).  Optical quality of the 10-22mm is equivalent to the 17-40mm in most ways, and if you end up shooting a lot of architcture, the 10-22mm on APS-C is substantially better than the 17-40mm on FF in terms of barrel distortion (click to compare 10-22mm @ 10mm (http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/canon_1022_3545_50d/10mm_distortion.png) vs. 17-40mm @ 40mm (http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/canon_1740_4_5d/17mm_distortion.png)).

16mm FF-equivalent not wide enough for you?  The widest prime Canon makes is the 14mm f/2.8L II, and that will set you back $2200 (but you could get the MF-only Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 14mm f/2.8 lens for $400).  However, Sigma just released a rectilinear (i.e. not fisheye) 8-16mm lens for APS-C, which at the wide end is equivalent to 13mm on FF - that's wider the rectilinear options for FF.  The idea that you need FF to achieve ultrawide angles was true several years ago, but has been obviated by developments in lenses.

I'm not saying you shouldn't get the 5DII - it's really an amazing camera (provided your subjects aren't moving).  But if your reason for wanting/needing it is for ultrawide shots, you can achieve that with your 7D, and for a lot less $.  OTOH, for architecture if you splurge, it's tough to beat a TS-E lens on a FF body.

Thanks, I'll check out black rapid. I don't think I'll ever give up my 7D. Having a crop frame will come in handy even when I do decide it's time for me to need a full frame. The 10-22mm is actually on my list of lenses to get!


They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function. However, by then I would hope that I have a full frame camera. I absolutely LOVE the 5d mk ii. Love. I played with it some more today. The local camera shop is happy that I shopped there.

 :o I'm confused about that first part.  Landscape, maybe, but desperate for FF on portraits?

well i guess because FF has better bokeh then APS-C camera for portrait while most professional architectural photographer prefer using large or medium format cameras so putting that to digital perspective means using FF, you'll also have an advantage in wide angle view and less noise...

This. I almost always prefer portraits that are taken with a full frame because of the lack of noise and the way the subject stands out. The 7D is much better for action shots (though, not with the lens I'm using).


They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now. It's a very competitive school, though. Any person I've met who came out of it was phenomenal. It's a rigorous and unforgiving program and I think they're trying to deter the people who are just "trying out photography for fun" by requiring that you get top notch gear first.

Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff. A crop frame would not function. However, by then I would hope that I have a full frame camera.

Well Good luck with your schooling and as I mentioned in one of my first replies.. make sure your fiancee is fully on board with the costs of photography... Money and budgets could be a detriment to young marriages and it took a while to even get my wife get used to me spending thousands on camera bodies and lenses. 

Also try to get as many critiques from strangers as possible towards your portfolio.  At my school, professors (industry professionals) had no qualms on ripping you and your work to shreds if they didn't think they were up to par.  Some professors I've heard of were infamous for throwing away peoples assignments because they were displeased with the work and or passing out McDonalds applications to students.  They also would blatantly tell you if they felt you didn't belong at that school.  They basically were the Simon Cowells before Simon Cowell became popular.  Most would call them jerks or worse, they hardened us to the realities of customers expectations... Getting used to this will help you avoid the shock and awe of these critiques when you get to school. 

Dont Give Up.  I cant stress this enough.  My school during its hay-day when I was there, anyone who had high purse strings and could afford the tuition and THOUGHT they could be photographers went to my school.  It was a very expensive school and became very large quickly.  The problem was it was so tough and expensive half of incoming freshmen quit by the end of the first 2 classes and even more by the end of the first year.  By graduation of my class, probably 1/8 of the original class I started with graduated to get the full BA on time.  Others probably graduated but their graduation dates delayed for whatever reasons.  Schools like ours are meant to weed out those many hopefuls and graduating the select few.  They are good at shaking out those who cant hack it and it's easy to quit.  I went in hoping to get straight A's... that didn't happen, but I graduated, so in some perspective I feel is just fine with me.

This is probably some of the best advice I will ever receive. Thank you so much for it. I think my fiancé understands--though not much. His uncle is a professional photographer and he knows his uncle has spent more money on his camera/lens collection than his car. Thankfully money has never really been one of our issues because we both have slightly expensive hobbies and both accept them.

A lot of schools are doing that now. I went to a prestigious equestrian school as a working student for one summer, and they were brutal. I'd been riding horse for 15 years and they called my seat sloppy, kept saying I should give up, and even at some points wouldn't let me ride and would force me to watch others who had been riding for longer to "learn". Within the first week I improved a lot, but it is tough. There's no room for error. This could potentially be very stressful to me but I agree, it's important not to give up.

Lady, one last thing to ask your school... does their rental department rent strobes or just on camera flashes?  What about C-Stands/light stands?  Sandbags?  Light modifiers?  Diffusion?  Reflectors?  It may help to know which lenses the offer so you can plan accordingly... What about studios or studio equipment such as seamless backdrops and background muslins?  Do they offer  q-flashes and Wireless transmitters and recievers?  Umbrellas and or Softboxes?  This may all seem trivial but it's nice to know so if they dont offer any of these, you know to save up for them.  You may also want to check which flashes they offer?  Do they offer monoblock strobes (wireless) or powerpack (wired).  Stuff like this, if they dont have them, they may seem like small purchases but costs as a student add up and when an assignment pops up that requires such equipment and you need to buy said equipment and you are pinching pennies to pay for food, it is better to know about this before hand.

I'll know that when I visit. I've written all of those things down on a list. Thanks :)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on July 28, 2011, 01:39:11 PM
So far I've had a bit of an issue with certain lights and I'm still adjusting to the focus system. When I have my house lights on pictures can appear very yellow and I end up having to change the white balance later on through photoshop. I'm still troubleshooting on how to fix this. I'll have to read through the camera manual some more tonight.

BUT here are my first few test shots. I'm warning you, I was mostly just playing with the AF system and getting a feel for the camera itself, rather than trying to seriously take a shot, so they're a bit sloppy. However once I understand the system more it will get better.

Today I hope to go outside and take some photos. Can anyone give me a critique?

Canon dSLRs do't do all that well with Auto WB in mixed lighting - if there's tungsten light in the mix, the images tend to have that yellow/orange cast you're noticing. 

One important tip, assuming you don't already, is to shoot in RAW.  That allows you to make adjustments to color temperature with no penalty on IQ (unlike the case with a jpg modified in post).  If you'll be shooting a series of shots under similar lighting (like in your own home), shoot a gray card or other WB tool (I use an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport (http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?ID=1257) or a Datacolor SpyderCube (http://spyder.datacolor.com/product-cb-spydercube.php)), and use that to set a custom WB with the eyedropper tool in your RAW converter.

Another random tip - rotate your camera.  Get in the habit of imagining a shot in portrait vs. landscape, or trying both.  The second shot would have been better in portrait orientation.

The 7D's AF system is powerful and very customizable - lots of trial and error involved.  Since I mentioned switching orientations, for example, there a custom function that allows you to select a favorite AF point for each orientation (you get three, since you can rotate either way for portrait) that is automatically selected when you rotate the camera.

Yet another random tip - a good habit is to move your eye around the edges of the frame in the viewfinder before you press the shutter.  The 7D's 100% coverage is a help there, you'll get no surprises in the final image.  For example, the part of a foot in the second shot and the 'amputation' of the tip of the tail in the fifth shot would be things to avoid (the first can be fixed with a crop in post, the second cannot).

Maybe one more...I really like using 'back button AF' where you assign autofocus to the AF-ON button on the back, and the shutter half-press meters, but does not AF.  That enables you to easily take multiple shots if you focus then recompose, and also works very well for shooting moving subjects in AI Servo.  Here's a link to a Canon DLC article on back-butotn AF (http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2011/backbutton_af_article.shtml).

I don't think I'll ever give up my 7D. Having a crop frame will come in handy even when I do decide it's time for me to need a full frame. The 10-22mm is actually on my list of lenses to get!

I agree - the combination of a 5DII for landscapes/portraits and a 7D for action/wildlife works very well, IMO. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: amarlez on July 28, 2011, 02:41:50 PM
Please excuse for repeating anything that may have been said. I only scrolled through the first page of this thread.

Here's another thought: What about a 60D?

Of course, it's not going to shoot equestrian as well as the 7D, but if you're just beginning photography school, you may not be ready to really fully use the advantages it has over the 60D. With that extra money, you have a ton of options:

-pick up the 17-50 2.8 is
-get a nice telephoto for the equestrian
-buy a 5D now
-save your pennies for when you need a 5D Mark II
-save your pennies for when the 5D Mark III comes out, presumably with better AF and presumably good enough to keep up with the horses
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 28, 2011, 03:49:18 PM
They said the 7D is allowed, but that we'll do so much landscape and architecture and portrait shooting that I'll be desperate for a full frame within the first year and that I should probably save up for one now.

The only lenses relevant to landscape and architecture work which have no equivalents on crop are the Canon T/S lenses. While I consider T/S to be very useful for landscape, probably 99% of good landscape work produced with small format bodies is produced without T/S lenses. Most people simply do not own one. Among good architecture shots the percentage produced with T/S lenses is higher, but you can do quite a bit without one thanks to PS. Lenses like the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 (optically equivalent to, if not better than, the Canon 16-35 f/2.8L II) and the Sigma 8-16mm (basically a 13mm FF equivalent) have UWA covered on crop.

Portraits are a non issue. The common argument is that a FF shooter can shoot at f/1.2 and that it's not possible to get that DoF on crop. So what? Nobody actually wants a portrait with a single eyelash in focus and everything else out of focus. At 50mm on crop I'm usually stopping down to f/2 to get sufficient DoF. Fast primes produce stunning portraits on crop. If you asked me to thumb through an old album and pick crop vs. FF portraits, I would have to look up the files and check the EXIF data.

Quote
Full frame is required for the 4th quarter (it's a 6 quarter program) because they start some very ultra wide angle stuff.

Wider than 13mm? Hopefully if that's a hard requirement the 5D mkIII will be out by then. I imagine the new sensor will kick both resolution and noise performance up a notch, which will better distinguish it from the 18 MP APS-C sensor. Then you'll have one of the best sports bodies made (7D) and the current top of the line landscape body (5D mkIII).
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 28, 2011, 03:56:41 PM
lady - consider the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 when you decide to purchase an UWA zoom for the 7D. I'm not knocking the 10-22. It is very good, and I wouldn't fault someone for choosing it for the zoom range. But the Tokina is f/2.8 and is sharper in the edges and corners. I love mine.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on July 28, 2011, 04:14:52 PM
well i guess because FF has better bokeh then APS-C camera for portrait while most professional architectural photographer prefer using large or medium format cameras so putting that to digital perspective means using FF, you'll also have an advantage in wide angle view and less noise...

Bokeh (the quality of the blur of out of focus details) is a function of the lens, not the sensor size. DoF and therefore the amount of blur is related to sensor size, but with crop you will already find yourself stopping down a fast prime to get enough DoF in most portraits.

The reason architecture photographers often use large format is for the tilt and shift controls which are very useful in architecture photography. If you have access to T/S lenses this is one area where FF has a definite advantage over crop because there are no T/S equivalents on crop. You can sort of use the T/S lenses on crop (the built in flash housing can get in the way), but you lose the WA view they afford. If you don't have access to any T/S lenses any way, then the rest of the wide angle world is well covered on crop.

I would love to see Tokina make an 11mm f/4 T/S for crop, but some how I doubt it will happen.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Edwin Herdman on July 31, 2011, 03:28:30 AM
Some random thoughts from me:

A lens collection that works fine on APS-C may not translate well to full frame.  Then again, it might.  Wides get wider and telephotos get shorter.

A 35mm film body requirement shouldn't be too steep - I picked up a film body (which I still haven't used) for $20 locally - it was a cheap Rebel T2.  The metering and autofocus seems like it'd be worse than my T1i though:  "7-point high speed, wide area selectable AF with advanced 35- zone metering" on the T2.  The continuous mode shooting, while touted by Canon as "the fastest...in its class" is only 3 fps in One Shot AF mode, and only 2.5 in AI Servo!  Not a sports camera at all, but it should suit your needs otherwise.

I was going to say look into the Elan 7NE but it looks like this has an identical AF system and merely adds eye tracking.  Yet other bodies all seem to have the same 7-point AF, 35-section metering, and 3/2.5 fps constant shooting.

That leaves the EOS-3 and (probably out of the question) the EOS-1V as good choices.  The EOS-3 especially seems available at not completely outrageous prices, like $150-ish.  Unfortunately, it has been out of production since 2007 so all units you're likely to find will be used, and that becomes a crapshoot.  Not sure if Canon services it still.  The EOS-1V is around $1700 new.  On the plus side, if you get either camera but don't keep it, it should keep its value pretty well (though the EOS-3 seems a much safer bet due to the low price; you could probably lose more than the value of that camera by buying and selling a 1V).

The cynic in me thinks about going the Ken Rockwell route and using a digital camera to meter...bonus points if you could focus a lens on a Canon DSLR body, of course I wouldn't guarantee it would work right (same with metering especially if you had a crop camera) even on a tripod.  That would be clumsy in use as well.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: japhoto on July 31, 2011, 10:46:18 AM
Interesting requirements from the school, since like dtaylor said earlier, the T/S lens usage is the only thing that really requires a full-frame camera.

And on top of that, a 35mm camera isn't the best solution for shooting landscapes or architecture anyway. T/S lenses can never beat a larger format camera with decent movements.

You've got the 7D now already (a fine choice, I have one too), but there would have been a cool solution to your problems. The 1Ds MkII.

Cheaper than the 7D (used of course), full-frame and you would have gotten a 1D-body like you've always wanted. I'm going to add one to my arsenal at some point or a 5D MkII if the prices come down from where they are now.

Just my 0.02$
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Edwin Herdman on July 31, 2011, 05:24:58 PM
TS lenses don't require a full-frame, though you obviously get a lot more out of the wide ones when you do.  You could buy the 24mm and get more coverage in full frame than you get with the 17mm on a crop body, and the slightly faster aperture, lower price, and lack of a bulbous front element are all bonuses.

Speaking of price, the 35mm format tilt-shift lineup seems to include some possibilities that would be rather expensive to equal on medium or view camera sizes, especially when you get to longer lengths i.e. 90mm.  Well, I suppose the Hartblei 120mm Superrotator Makro can't be used as a good comparison given its price.  The 90mm Canon offering does take a 2x extender though (and seems to work pretty well with it).
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on July 31, 2011, 11:12:17 PM
I'm back after testing it out for a few days. I got my 17-40mm in the mail.

The f/4L is not enough, however I'm not sure if I should sell it and go with the 17-55mm or just grab a 10-22 for wides and something in the middle later on. I've noticed the lens distortion as well. I got the lens for very cheap, though, so I'll be able to sell it for more than I bought it for.

The camera itself is fantastic. I've had issues with shooting in the shade (forest) and high isos. I shot in the grocery store at 3200 iso and I swear it looked like some kid was taking crayons and stabbing it all over (that's how grainy and pixelated it looked at the iso). I'm not sure if it's the lens or the camera or if I'm doing something wrong.

Any suggestions?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kreebby

under the "practice" gallery would be photos I've taken with the 7D.


lady - consider the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 when you decide to purchase an UWA zoom for the 7D. I'm not knocking the 10-22. It is very good, and I wouldn't fault someone for choosing it for the zoom range. But the Tokina is f/2.8 and is sharper in the edges and corners. I love mine.

Good suggestion--what does it cost?
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: unfocused on July 31, 2011, 11:40:50 PM
In Re: the Tokina 11-16 f2.8. I also own this lens and highly recommend it. Frankly, the zoom range is so narrow that it really doesn't make that much difference with most subjects. But if you want a super-wide lens that is fast, it is great. Street price appears to be around $660 currently.

I took a look at your photostream. My only comment is that you are shooting under some pretty tough conditions in the park/woods (going from direct sunlight to deep shade). Everyone has their own techniques. Personally, if I wanted a bit more saturation, I'd "double process" the shots in Camera Raw by opening them as Smart Objects. Basically, this involves adjusting two or more layers to achieve the exposure you want in a specific area and then applying a mask and using the paintbrush tool to tweak the exposure on the various layers. (It's a Scott Kelby trick and I recommend his books).

Of course, there are a hundred different ways to achieve essentially the same end results in Photoshop and everyone has their own work flows and techniques they like. Personally, I'd go for more saturation by boosting the blacks in Raw and just let some of the shadows go black. But, as I say, everyone has their own preferences.

Main point, though, is that to achieve greater range and saturation under those shooting conditions, you'll need to play with the image in Photoshop. You're not doing anything wrong, you're just playing on the edges of what any camera can achieve.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 01, 2011, 10:29:16 AM
I thought you said you tested the 17-40 and already had the lens in question and found it superior than the 17-55 in "every way"?  F4, for most indoor environments was never claimed to be the best of both worlds... In most indoor environments, F2.8 is ONLY 1 stop more light and may not even be enough.  You can pick up cheap primes of 50mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4, etc (Even those would have incredibly shallow DOF and need a tripod to shoot with a lower F stop to get more DOF)  Low light situations is a constant battle... you can always get a faster lens but faster lenses have smaller DOF and that can hurt shots as well.  Then it's either raise ISO or get more light, hence strobes or flash... those would be more suited for indoors.  That being said, it appears that you are shooting handhold, am I correct?  For those macro shots which tend to lose light as is due to lighting environments, you almost need to use a tripod.  Using a tripod will allow you to knock down the ISO, longer more stable shots, sharper images, etc...  You can also get a ring light that goes around the lens to add more light in those macro settings.   In the forest you can get a neutral density filter, and lengthen the exposure, lower ISO and get a better shot overall.  I dont know if the grocery store will allow a tripod in their store unless you give them a few photos, but that's the route i'd go in.  Also bring a gray card with you to run a quick white balance in commercial buildings... florescent lights are nasty to work with.  In this Ultrawide area of lenses, distortion will be a fact of life, but it will just vary depending on your lens and camera.  The only way to really avoid distortion is TS lenses. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 01, 2011, 10:53:48 AM
Regarding high ISO, check out http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon_EOS_7D/noise_JPEG.shtml

This has a nice high ISO comparisons between the 7D, 5D mark II, 50D, Nikon 300Ds...  It is what it is..
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 01, 2011, 11:46:52 AM
I thought you said you tested the 17-40 and already had the lens in question and found it superior than the 17-55 in "every way"?

Yep...

I already own a 17-40mm. After extensive testing and comparison I found it to do significantly better than the more expensive 17-55.

And before:

in the 17-40 I didn't notice any barrel distortion what-so-ever. ... I'm not sure why someone would see barrel distortion on that lens.

But now:

I've noticed the lens distortion as well.



Ok, enough of wordsmithing.

The f/4L is not enough, however I'm not sure if I should sell it and go with the 17-55mm or just grab a 10-22 for wides and something in the middle later on.

I stand by the statement that the 17-40mm is not an ideal lens for use on a crop body, and that for most uses, the 17-55mm is superior.  But the question is, in what way is the 17-40mm f/4L 'not enough' for you.  Not wide enough?  Not fast enough?  If it's not wide enough, the 10-22mm is a good choice, as is a Tokina 11-16mm.  If it's not fast enough, f/2.8 will likely not be enough of an improvement, and you'll need to start thinking a fast prime like the 50mm f/1.4 that you already have.  If you need fast and wide, that's a problem on a crop body (and while there are solutions on FF, they aren't cheap). 

The other solution is to add light, via flash, monolights, etc.

I've had issues with shooting in the shade (forest) and high isos. I shot in the grocery store at 3200 iso and I swear it looked like some kid was taking crayons and stabbing it all over (that's how grainy and pixelated it looked at the iso). I'm not sure if it's the lens or the camera or if I'm doing something wrong.

Any suggestions?

The lens does not affect ISO noise, except indirectly (i.e. f/4 is narrow, meaning need to boost ISO more often because your lens is slow). 

Personally, I don't like the ISO noise of the 7D, and I really try to keep it at ISO 800 or lower.  But, sometimes you need to go higher.

Suggestions would be 1) Shoot in RAW and 2) get something better than Canon's DPP for RAW conversions.  Personally, I find that DxO Optics Pro does a much better job at NR than DPP or Adobe Camera RAW.  DxO also does a great job of removing the barrel distortion you're now noticing, without sacrificing sharpness.  If you want to stick with Adobe, there are plugins like Noise Ninja and Topaz Denoise that will help, and are also superior to DPP.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Redreflex on August 01, 2011, 01:37:09 PM
Suggestions would be 1) Shoot in RAW and 2) get something better than Canon's DPP for RAW conversions.  Personally, I find that DxO Optics Pro does a much better job at NR than DPP or Adobe Camera RAW.  DxO also does a great job of removing the barrel distortion you're now noticing, without sacrificing sharpness.  If you want to stick with Adobe, there are plugins like Noise Ninja and Topaz Denoise that will help, and are also superior to DPP.

Out of curiosity, has anyone demonstrated a like for like comparison of noise reduction between DPP and some of the programmes you mentioned? Sorry a little off topic
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on August 01, 2011, 01:54:07 PM
Suggestions would be 1) Shoot in RAW and 2) get something better than Canon's DPP for RAW conversions.  Personally, I find that DxO Optics Pro does a much better job at NR than DPP or Adobe Camera RAW.  DxO also does a great job of removing the barrel distortion you're now noticing, without sacrificing sharpness.  If you want to stick with Adobe, there are plugins like Noise Ninja and Topaz Denoise that will help, and are also superior to DPP.

Out of curiosity, has anyone demonstrated a like for like comparison of noise reduction between DPP and some of the programmes you mentioned? Sorry a little off topic

I haven't seen any.  The thing with noise reduction, is that one of the versiona may be superior on a particular image, while on a different image, something else works better.

Some of the NR software allows you to use layers, so that you can use heavy nr on areas that lack detail and go lighter where you need to retain detail.

Its not simply which is best, but which works better for what you do.  Lightroom 3 really improved their noise reduction, and for general use, its one of the best.  LR2 was not really that good at NR.

You will see lots who prefer one over the other and declare theirs to be the best.  For them, it is.

Here is one reasonably recent comparison, but its over a year old and vastly out of date, I believe it reviews LR2, and not the vastly improved LR3.  NR is a moving target and they are all improving.

http://www.prophotoshow.net/2009/02/26/noise-reduction-shootout-straight-dope-comparisonreview/
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Redreflex on August 01, 2011, 02:07:44 PM
Suggestions would be 1) Shoot in RAW and 2) get something better than Canon's DPP for RAW conversions.  Personally, I find that DxO Optics Pro does a much better job at NR than DPP or Adobe Camera RAW.  DxO also does a great job of removing the barrel distortion you're now noticing, without sacrificing sharpness.  If you want to stick with Adobe, there are plugins like Noise Ninja and Topaz Denoise that will help, and are also superior to DPP.

Out of curiosity, has anyone demonstrated a like for like comparison of noise reduction between DPP and some of the programmes you mentioned? Sorry a little off topic

I haven't seen any.  The thing with noise reduction, is that one of the versiona may be superior on a particular image, while on a different image, something else works better.

Some of the NR software allows you to use layers, so that you can use heavy nr on areas that lack detail and go lighter where you need to retain detail.

Its not simply which is best, but which works better for what you do.  Lightroom 3 really improved their noise reduction, and for general use, its one of the best.  LR2 was not really that good at NR.

You will see lots who prefer one over the other and declare theirs to be the best.  For them, it is.

Here is one reasonably recent comparison, but its over a year old and vastly out of date, I believe it reviews LR2, and not the vastly improved LR3.  NR is a moving target and they are all improving.

http://www.prophotoshow.net/2009/02/26/noise-reduction-shootout-straight-dope-comparisonreview/

Thank you. Interesting. I do have more questions on post-processing in general... actually... I think I'll start a new thread since I'm about to take this way off topic!


Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 01, 2011, 03:05:44 PM
Out of curiosity, has anyone demonstrated a like for like comparison of noise reduction between DPP and some of the programmes you mentioned? Sorry a little off topic

Not comprehensive by any means, but I previously posted a comparison between DPP and DxO (http://community.the-digital-picture.com/photography_tips_techniques1/f/13/t/5120.aspx).
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on August 01, 2011, 03:35:30 PM
The camera itself is fantastic. I've had issues with shooting in the shade (forest) and high isos. I shot in the grocery store at 3200 iso and I swear it looked like some kid was taking crayons and stabbing it all over (that's how grainy and pixelated it looked at the iso). I'm not sure if it's the lens or the camera or if I'm doing something wrong.

I don't see the grocery store photo in your Flickr stream. Seeing an ISO 3200 example which you think is bad would help because we can see if it's underexposed.

Typically when people complain about high ISO images from 15-18 MP crop bodies they are either a) underexposing the image, or b) spending way too much time pixel peeping. Viewing a 7D image at 100% on a typical monitor is like viewing a 60" print at arm's length or less. It is not necessarily a good indicator of what a print will look like.

I've produced 8x10 and 11x14 prints from ISO 3200 7D shots that have tighter and more pleasing noise than the grain found in ISO 160 35mm portrait films. And I didn't do anything special like layering the image to allow greater NR on low detail areas. I just simply applied a touch of NR, did my other normal processing, and printed. Spending too much time pixel peeping can lead to processing mistakes such as heavy handed NR which results in a plastic look when printed, so be careful with the pixel peeping.

Having said that, the 7D has very little underexposure tolerance at high ISO. Make sure you nail your exposures when shooting in low light.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Kernuak on August 01, 2011, 03:39:02 PM
I've been reading for a while (mainly to keep up with what might happen in the near future), but I felt inclined to make some comments on noise with the 7D. The first comment, is that even at ISO3200, the level of noise is much less than the grain that would have been seen on old ASA 400 film. It is also much easier to deal with than previous Canon cameras (such as the 40D), as you don't get the banding and it is much more even. That said, I tend not to go higher than ISO 1600. If I need to go higher (or if I don't need the frame rate), then I switch to the 5d MkII. However, noise is variable. Some scenes, ISO 1600 is perfectly fine, while in others it results in disturbing levels of noise. Essentially, it depends on how many shadow areas there are and whether those shadow areas are part of the subject. If you have a textured OOF background, then it tends to hide the noise somewhat too, without losing much of the fine detail, while a smooth background will make it more evident. In fact, it was only after using the 7D for some time, that I realised that part of the problem is the resolution, almost as if it is finding some sort of texture that wouldn't have been seen with lower resolution cameras. Often, the out of focus areas have a speckled appearance that isn't like noise seen in other cameras I've used, probably because it is more luminance noise than chroma, which is easily removed with a low setting in Lightroom 3.
The biggest disadvantage I have found with the 7D, is softening at narrow apertures, due to the diffraction limited affects, resulting from the small pixel size. In fact, that was the reason I ended up getting the 5D MkII for my landscape work. Of course, then I ended up using that camera for macros too, as I found it easier to focus manually, plus the images were clearner overall.
As for the 17-40. Yes, it does distort a lot, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Many wide-angle zooms (which is what is was designed as after all, even if it isn't that much of a wide-angle on a crop body) suffer to a greater or lesser degree from this. The trick is to make creative use of that distortion and pick and choose what subjects you use it for and how you angle the camera. If you keep the sensor parallel to the subject, then the distortion is less noticeable for many subjects and is also more easily corrected in post. The distortion is really handy for accentuating converging verticals with tall symmetrical buildings and for giving the appearance of curvature of the earth in certain landscapes and seascapes. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it does give you something different to what everyone else is doing.
Essentially, photography is always a compromise, whatever tools you use, you simply have to explore the weaknesses and strengths of each piece of equipment and work around them. For example, as Neuroanatamist has said, the 5D is weak at focus tracking, but good at focusing in low light and producing low noise (relative to virtually any camera except the D3s and possibly the original D3). For that reason, I usually use the 7D for wildlife, but when I was photographing roding woodcocks after sunset, I used the 5D in single shot mode for optimal focusing and as low noise as possible (at least for the equipment available to me). Working around the limitations (and spending more nights attempting it), I was able to get similar quality shots to a pro wildlife photographer on his D3s, I just had to apply a bit more noise reduction at ISO3200 than he would have needed.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Kernuak on August 01, 2011, 03:41:08 PM


Typically when people complain about high ISO images from 15-18 MP crop bodies they are either a) underexposing the image, or b) spending way too much time pixel peeping. Viewing a 7D image at 100% on a typical monitor is like viewing a 60" print at arm's length or less. It is not necessarily a good indicator of what a print will look like.

Having said that, the 7D has very little underexposure tolerance at high ISO. Make sure you nail your exposures when shooting in low light.

That's actually a point I meant to make in my reply, but got carried away. For any camera near it's limits, you really need to nail the exposure to get the least amount of noise possible.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on August 01, 2011, 04:42:46 PM
The biggest disadvantage I have found with the 7D, is softening at narrow apertures, due to the diffraction limited affects, resulting from the small pixel size. In fact, that was the reason I ended up getting the 5D MkII for my landscape work.

You don't need and shouldn't be using such narrow apertures on crop for landscape shots. Remember that for an identical FoV crop has 1.6x more DoF, so you don't need to stop down as much. In fact, for a given FoV and DoF diffraction does not impact any format more than the others. This is true for everything from 4/3rds to LF.

On any format it is beneficial to know and use hyperfocal distances. A typical 35mm shooter might choose f/16 for a landscape. A crop shooter might use f/11 in that instance. But a hyperfocal crop shooter might end up with f/8 or even f/5.6. He would get more and sharper fine detail than either of the other two yet still have sufficient DoF.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on August 01, 2011, 06:29:45 PM
I thought you said you tested the 17-40 and already had the lens in question and found it superior than the 17-55 in "every way"?  F4, for most indoor environments was never claimed to be the best of both worlds... In most indoor environments, F2.8 is ONLY 1 stop more light and may not even be enough.  You can pick up cheap primes of 50mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4, etc (Even those would have incredibly shallow DOF and need a tripod to shoot with a lower F stop to get more DOF)  Low light situations is a constant battle... you can always get a faster lens but faster lenses have smaller DOF and that can hurt shots as well.  Then it's either raise ISO or get more light, hence strobes or flash... those would be more suited for indoors.  That being said, it appears that you are shooting handhold, am I correct?  For those macro shots which tend to lose light as is due to lighting environments, you almost need to use a tripod.  Using a tripod will allow you to knock down the ISO, longer more stable shots, sharper images, etc...  You can also get a ring light that goes around the lens to add more light in those macro settings.   In the forest you can get a neutral density filter, and lengthen the exposure, lower ISO and get a better shot overall.  I dont know if the grocery store will allow a tripod in their store unless you give them a few photos, but that's the route i'd go in.  Also bring a gray card with you to run a quick white balance in commercial buildings... florescent lights are nasty to work with.  In this Ultrawide area of lenses, distortion will be a fact of life, but it will just vary depending on your lens and camera.  The only way to really avoid distortion is TS lenses.

It was better in every way and I had no noticed any lens distortion during my testing. It wasn't until I was in a more linear environment (my house) that I noticed it. However, I paid a lot less for the 17-40mm than the I would have for the 17-55mm. I paid $600 for it which is about half the price. It's ridiculous to say I'm foolish for not paying twice the price that did not compete. The aperture is not something I tested with the lens when I compared the two, I was in a controlled lighting environment. On top of that, I already own a f/1.4 50mm which I mentioned several pages ago. The 2.8 is enough for indoors for me. No need to act condescending and rude about it, dude.

As for your other suggestions, they are very good and I'll consider trying them. I wish I could afford TS lenses, but that's for later on.


The camera itself is fantastic. I've had issues with shooting in the shade (forest) and high isos. I shot in the grocery store at 3200 iso and I swear it looked like some kid was taking crayons and stabbing it all over (that's how grainy and pixelated it looked at the iso). I'm not sure if it's the lens or the camera or if I'm doing something wrong.

I don't see the grocery store photo in your Flickr stream. Seeing an ISO 3200 example which you think is bad would help because we can see if it's underexposed.

Typically when people complain about high ISO images from 15-18 MP crop bodies they are either a) underexposing the image, or b) spending way too much time pixel peeping. Viewing a 7D image at 100% on a typical monitor is like viewing a 60" print at arm's length or less. It is not necessarily a good indicator of what a print will look like.

I've produced 8x10 and 11x14 prints from ISO 3200 7D shots that have tighter and more pleasing noise than the grain found in ISO 160 35mm portrait films. And I didn't do anything special like layering the image to allow greater NR on low detail areas. I just simply applied a touch of NR, did my other normal processing, and printed. Spending too much time pixel peeping can lead to processing mistakes such as heavy handed NR which results in a plastic look when printed, so be careful with the pixel peeping.

Having said that, the 7D has very little underexposure tolerance at high ISO. Make sure you nail your exposures when shooting in low light.

I had the ISO set to auto. That usually works well out doors, but indoors it can be a bit temperamental. I may have needed a tripod.

However, the results I got were similar to the review test (here (http://"http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon_EOS_7D/noise_JPEG.shtml")) 12800 ISO. It was pretty bad. It looked like this, though honestly I'd complain if it was equal to the 3200 too. I do think I didn't have the shutter slow enough. It just shocked me to see that much noise.

(http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon_EOS_7D/images/results/Can7D_JPEG_noise_12800iso.jpg)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Kernuak on August 01, 2011, 06:44:21 PM
The biggest disadvantage I have found with the 7D, is softening at narrow apertures, due to the diffraction limited affects, resulting from the small pixel size. In fact, that was the reason I ended up getting the 5D MkII for my landscape work.

You don't need and shouldn't be using such narrow apertures on crop for landscape shots. Remember that for an identical FoV crop has 1.6x more DoF, so you don't need to stop down as much. In fact, for a given FoV and DoF diffraction does not impact any format more than the others. This is true for everything from 4/3rds to LF.

On any format it is beneficial to know and use hyperfocal distances. A typical 35mm shooter might choose f/16 for a landscape. A crop shooter might use f/11 in that instance. But a hyperfocal crop shooter might end up with f/8 or even f/5.6. He would get more and sharper fine detail than either of the other two yet still have sufficient DoF.

It's a very blanket statement to say that you shouldn't use such narrow apertures on crop cameras, it depends on the actual landscape, focal length and to a lesser degree the actual lens used. Also, hyperfocal distance isn't always appropriate to use. While I started paying more attention to hyperfocal distance when I got the 7D (and still do), if there is a cliff smack bang in front the lens about half a mile away, it's pretty pointless trying to get infinity focus at the expense of nearby detail. I also do some micro-landscapes, where hyperfocal focusing is completely useless and DoF is even more critical, plus there is generally more fine detail which is affected by softness. Also, f/11 on a 50mm lens wasn't always narrow enough to get sufficient DoF, even using hyperfocal focusing. Additionally, there are few modern lenses that have detailed enough distance scales to accurately judge the focal distance selected. You could argue that I could have chosen different subjects to make better use of the abilities of the 7D and I did for a while to experiment and try new things, but for rocky seascapes, the wide open landscape is the best option, which requires a lot of DoF, with a sharp detailed foreground.
Since getting the 5D, I find that I tend to frame differently, tending to go for a wider FoV, so essentially using the same focal length as on the 7D. As I am restricted to the same standing points (due to the high tidal range and inability to swim with gear on), the DoF is actually greater on the 5D than the 7D. Also, I still have the same options as with the 7D (albeit at a longer focal length), so I have greater flexibility.
I did once see some quoted DLA figures for different cameras and for the 7D I believe it was wider than f/5.6, so it doesn't take long to start seeing the effects of diffraction when shooting landscapes, if that is the case. While it isn't the whole story and acceptable sharpness is quite subjective (and less of an issue for landscapes to some degree), it is something to take into account. I'm not one to get hung up on so called scientific data (I have a scientific background), but the results I was getting spoke for themselves.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 01, 2011, 06:49:30 PM
It was better in every way and I had no noticed any lens distortion during my testing. It wasn't until I was in a more linear environment (my house) that I noticed it. However, I paid a lot less for the 17-40mm than the I would have for the 17-55mm. I paid $600 for it which is about half the price. It's ridiculous to say I'm foolish for not paying twice the price that did not compete. The aperture is not something I tested with the lens when I compared the two, I was in a controlled lighting environment. On top of that, I already own a f/1.4 50mm which I mentioned several pages ago. The 2.8 is enough for indoors for me. No need to act condescending and rude about it, dude.

As for your other suggestions, they are very good and I'll consider trying them. I wish I could afford TS lenses, but that's for later on.

I wasn't intending on being condescending and or rude, I was just seeking clarification about how you said you had it, tested it, and loved it and then "just got it" the other and are having buyers remorse.  Do keep in mind regarding distortion... this lens is designed as a 17-40 on a full frame camera... 17mm on any camera will have some level of distortion... Same as the 17-55 in some regards on the 17 end, as well as lets say the tokina lens and the 16-35 I or II... The full frame will show the distortion more than crops, but it's still there.  Shooting parallel will help diminish the distortion however if you are wanting no distortion, post production will be a must.  Some lenses to keep in consideration that will have fast(er) speeds and keep distortion in check (20mm 2.8, 24mm 1.4, 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.4, they are all within the range of the 17-40, should keep distortion better in check, and 2.8 or faster) It's a great outdoors/travel/walk-around lens, but indoors, you will need to have a fast prime if you really want to shoot handhold.  I do architecture (one of my specialties) and real estate photos... I shoot with the 10-20 and 17-40... But then again I shoot low apertures, tripod always, and they are static.  Sometimes if I cant shoot tripod I still use low ISO but throw in off camera flash or strobe.  Light will always be an issue indoors so either use a faster lens or use a flash (ideally either strobe or off camera flash).  The 7D has a great commander feature if you can pick up some 580's or 430's... scatter them around the scene out of view from the camera and you never have to worry about lack of light. 

I never said it was foolish not getting the 17-55... I said I liked the 17-40 personally, however you need to really and fully know it's capabilities and limitations to get the most out of it.  By going in a shoot fully educated on your gears limits will allow you to forward think so you know how to counter the limitations and push the limits to get awesome shots.  Also remember the 17-40 can be used by the 7d and 5d whereas the 17-55 can only be used on crop cameras.  Regarding your expectations of high ISO, check out the link i posted earlier... it'll give you a good idea of what this camera can do not only against itself but competitors. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on August 01, 2011, 07:01:00 PM
However, the results I got were similar to the review test (here (http://"http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon_EOS_7D/noise_JPEG.shtml")) 12800 ISO. It was pretty bad.

Then you underexposed by at least 2 stops giving you the same noise as a 12800 shot. I consider 3200 quite usable on the 7D. 6400 might make a decent 8x10 in a pinch. But 12800 is not usable IMHO.

Quote
It looked like this, though honestly I'd complain if it was equal to the 3200 too.

You wouldn't complain at all if someone took the full 3200 test image and printed an 8x10. Pixel peeping vs. prints. On top of that it's possible to get better noise and fine detail out of ISO 3200 using RAW. In their test they choose an area of relatively fine detail yet used JPEG and left in camera NR at its default setting. Naturally this smeared detail. This would be handled far better by Adobe Camera RAW than the camera's JPEG engine.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 01, 2011, 07:25:34 PM
I do think I didn't have the shutter slow enough. It just shocked me to see that much noise.

(http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon_EOS_7D/images/results/Can7D_JPEG_noise_12800iso.jpg)

Yes, high ISO noise is not too pleasant... however the test does show characteristics of the noise vs other cameras... 5d, being a bigger sensor, only besting the 7D by 1 stop.  I understand we want to limit noise but then again we also have to understand how far we've come... "back in the day" with film, ISO 1000 was pretty much unprintable bigger than 5x7 and even with that, it was a grainy mess... (Keep in mind that was with over 40-50 year technology and development of film, that was the best they can do for high ISO film)  It was a nice special effect but that was all it was, a special effect.  Now the same film probably has ISO 6400 characteristics on the 7D.  When looking at that perspective, I find shots very usable up to ISO 2000.. maybe 3200 if I like a shot and want to take the time to do the appropriate post.  As others said, High ISO requires perfect exposure.  To be honest, as your school will tell you when you go there, you NEED to use a separate light meter to meter the scene appropriately.  Also Auto ISO, it is a pain to get that sucker to over expose when you want it to, it will tend to try to underexpose it, so by having that external meter, you can set it to full manual everything and ensure proper exposure. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on August 01, 2011, 07:38:35 PM
It's a very blanket statement to say that you shouldn't use such narrow apertures on crop cameras, it depends on the actual landscape, focal length and to a lesser degree the actual lens used.

You said that diffraction hurt your 7D images more than your 5D2 images. But diffraction is the same for a given FoV and DoF regardless of format. If you see more diffraction in your 7D shots then you're stopping down too far.

Quote
Also, hyperfocal distance isn't always appropriate to use. While I started paying more attention to hyperfocal distance when I got the 7D (and still do), if there is a cliff smack bang in front the lens about half a mile away, it's pretty pointless trying to get infinity focus at the expense of nearby detail.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. In this specific scenario a half mile away is effectively infinity for WA glass. But in the general scenario that your near to far range isn't very large, you don't need to stop down as much any way. Unless of course we're talking about macro ranges. But the same rule still applies.

Quote
I also do some micro-landscapes, where hyperfocal focusing is completely useless and DoF is even more critical, plus there is generally more fine detail which is affected by softness. Also, f/11 on a 50mm lens wasn't always narrow enough to get sufficient DoF, even using hyperfocal focusing.

That's all fine and good, but none of it violates what I've stated above.

Quote
Additionally, there are few modern lenses that have detailed enough distance scales to accurately judge the focal distance selected.

LiveView is a very useful tool for this.

Quote
You could argue that I could have chosen different subjects to make better use of the abilities of the 7D and I did for a while to experiment and try new things, but for rocky seascapes, the wide open landscape is the best option, which requires a lot of DoF, with a sharp detailed foreground.

Rocky seascapes are my specialty. When using my 7D I rarely stop down more than f/8. f/11 is the limit. This is with my camera on the ground and desired DoF ranging from the sand 1 ft in front of the lens to the horizon.

Quote
Since getting the 5D, I find that I tend to frame differently, tending to go for a wider FoV, so essentially using the same focal length as on the 7D. As I am restricted to the same standing points (due to the high tidal range and inability to swim with gear on), the DoF is actually greater on the 5D than the 7D.

But this wouldn't be true if you had a wider lens on the 7D.

Quote
I did once see some quoted DLA figures for different cameras and for the 7D I believe it was wider than f/5.6, so it doesn't take long to start seeing the effects of diffraction when shooting landscapes, if that is the case.

Diffraction limits extinction resolution at f/8 on the 7D, and f/12 on the 5D mkII. Note that for the same FoV, DoF on the 7D at f/8 roughly equals DoF on the 5D2 at f/12.

In practice, for critically reviewed 24" landscape prints, I obtain acceptable fine detail and sharpness at f/11 on the 7D. I can see the diffraction effects while pixel peeping the RAW file, but they do not impact the final print. f/16 is more narrow than I care to go. On FF I find f/16 usable and f/22 unusable. But then on FF I need to stop down that extra stop to match the 7D's DoF.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on August 01, 2011, 07:41:35 PM
As others said, High ISO requires perfect exposure.  To be honest, as your school will tell you when you go there, you NEED to use a separate light meter to meter the scene appropriately.

The built in spot meter is pretty effective once you learn how to use it.

Quote
Also Auto ISO, it is a pain to get that sucker to over expose when you want it to, it will tend to try to underexpose it, so by having that external meter, you can set it to full manual everything and ensure proper exposure.

Auto ISO is worthless. Should have mentioned that earlier.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 01, 2011, 08:33:07 PM
The built in spot meter is pretty effective once you learn how to use it.

Quote
Also Auto ISO, it is a pain to get that sucker to over expose when you want it to, it will tend to try to underexpose it, so by having that external meter, you can set it to full manual everything and ensure proper exposure.

Auto ISO is worthless. Should have mentioned that earlier.

The spot meter is ok for people who understand what the reflective spot meter is doing.... For someone who doesn't can easily under expose or over expose depending on the situation... The spot meter is still not as accurate in overall readings and effectiveness than an incident meter.  Reflective meters measures 18% gray and reflect only what it sees reflected whereas incident meters read the actual quantity/quality of light entering a scene, hence more accurate overall.  Sekonic just had a really interesting webinar regarding metering systems with cameras spot meters and sekonics incident meters. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 02, 2011, 12:14:15 AM
Yes, high ISO noise is not too pleasant... however the test does show characteristics of the noise vs other cameras... 5d, being a bigger sensor, only besting the 7D by 1 stop.

One comment about the ISO noise tests you commonly see - they tend to under-represent the noise you would see in real-world situations.  Total light gathered is the primary determinant of noise, in an inverse proportion (more total light, less noise, which is why a FF sensor has less noise).  However, the duration of the exposure (integration time) also matters - shorter exposure, less noise.  You can see that most easily with very long exposures, where dark frame subtraction is used to cancel out some of the noise. 

Typical ISO noise tests are performed with constant lighting, so when you compare noise at ISO 100 with noise at ISO 3200, if the ISO 100 shot was taken with a 1/60 s exposure, the ISO 3200 shot was taken with 1/2000 s exposure - that short exposure somewhat mitigates the increased noise at higher ISOs.  Importantly, that's not representative of the normal situations when high ISO is used, i.e. we don't shoot at ISO 1600 if there's plenty of light, but rather we bump up the ISO when light is limiting, and that situation is not duplicated in most testing scenarios.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: dtaylor on August 02, 2011, 12:24:39 AM
However, the duration of the exposure (integration time) also matters - shorter exposure, less noise.

For all intents and purposes this only matters once you get into exposures that are too long to handhold. For low ISOs you're talking about multiple seconds. For high ISOs you're talking about a half second or more. There's no real difference between, say, 1/500s and 1/30s at ISO 3200.

Imaging Resource ISO tests illustrate this and also address your underlying complaint. Their fastest exposure in the 7D series, for example, is 1/83. That's for the 12800 11 lux test.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 10:04:44 AM
shorter exposure, less noise.  You can see that most easily with very long exposures, where dark frame subtraction is used to cancel out some of the noise. 

From what I understand, back with the early digitals, yes, long exposures could lead to noise, as well as film... however, for example, this last 4th of july, I shot with my 7D in a scenic area overlooking a casino that launches fireworks every year, with my 70-200 on a locked down tripod... ISO 100 with 8-30 second exposures... No noise... I would have to wait til this evening to upload 100% clips of the shot, they are on another computer, but I can upload an overall (combined shots with a base shot plus a handful of fireworks blended in... The base shot was 10 seconds of the building.)  Long exposure noise is pretty much a moot point anymore... 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 02, 2011, 10:15:24 AM
shorter exposure, less noise.  You can see that most easily with very long exposures, where dark frame subtraction is used to cancel out some of the noise. 

From what I understand, back with the early digitals, yes, long exposures could lead to noise, as well as film... Long exposure noise is pretty much a moot point anymore...

With the C.Fn for long exposure NR set to Auto, dark frame subtraction is applied automatically to exposures of 1 second or longer, "...if noise typical of a long exposure is detected," (quote from the 7D manual, p. 208).  So I guess Canon doesn't think long exposure noise is a moot point...
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 10:19:31 AM
shorter exposure, less noise.  You can see that most easily with very long exposures, where dark frame subtraction is used to cancel out some of the noise. 

From what I understand, back with the early digitals, yes, long exposures could lead to noise, as well as film... Long exposure noise is pretty much a moot point anymore...

With the C.Fn for long exposure NR set to Auto, dark frame subtraction is applied automatically to exposures of 1 second or longer, "...if noise typical of a long exposure is detected," (quote from the 7D manual, p. 208).  So I guess Canon doesn't think long exposure noise is a moot point...

I just checked my 7D... long exposure NR is set to OFF.... still no noise
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 10:21:51 AM
shorter exposure, less noise.  You can see that most easily with very long exposures, where dark frame subtraction is used to cancel out some of the noise. 

From what I understand, back with the early digitals, yes, long exposures could lead to noise, as well as film... Long exposure noise is pretty much a moot point anymore...

With the C.Fn for long exposure NR set to Auto, dark frame subtraction is applied automatically to exposures of 1 second or longer, "...if noise typical of a long exposure is detected," (quote from the 7D manual, p. 208).  So I guess Canon doesn't think long exposure noise is a moot point...

Just to be clear, it's CF 2, setting 1, it is set to off.  This is just not that big of a deal.  Personally I dont really trust in camera NR due to smearing that was famous with the 5d II so I usually turn NR to off or low if i have the option to do NR in post if needed.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 02, 2011, 11:00:49 AM
I just checked my 7D... long exposure NR is set to OFF.... still no noise

I'm glad you don't see noise in your shots in your applications, but it doesn't mean it's not there.  Noise is present in every image, but the amount obviously varies, as does the impact, and the latter is certainly dependent on the application (cropping, on-screen viewing, small prints, large prints, pixel peeping, etc.).

Long exposure noise is different than high ISO noise, in that the former is reproducible for a given exposure time and sensor temperature, whereas the latter is random.  Thus, long exposures can have NR applied quite effectively in-camera (the computation is very simple, literally just subtracting the e- recorded at each photosite in the dark frame from the same photosite in the image).  NR for high ISO is much more computationally intensive, and a computer will do that better than the on-board chipset.  Also, post-processing NR for long exposures is not the same as NR for ISO noise.  Unless you plan ahead and shoot a dark frame, you can't do long exposure NR in post.  Many astrophotographers keep libraries of dark frames at various exposure times and temperature conditions and apply those in post, because it speeds up the image capture (i.e. you can just take a set of 30 s exposures abck to back, instead of the in-camera process of 30 s exposure followed by a 30 s dark frame). 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 11:55:52 AM
I just checked my 7D... long exposure NR is set to OFF.... still no noise

I'm glad you don't see noise in your shots in your applications, but it doesn't mean it's not there.  Noise is present in every image, but the amount obviously varies, as does the impact, and the latter is certainly dependent on the application (cropping, on-screen viewing, small prints, large prints, pixel peeping, etc.).

Long exposure noise is different than high ISO noise, in that the former is reproducible for a given exposure time and sensor temperature, whereas the latter is random.  Thus, long exposures can have NR applied quite effectively in-camera (the computation is very simple, literally just subtracting the e- recorded at each photosite in the dark frame from the same photosite in the image).  NR for high ISO is much more computationally intensive, and a computer will do that better than the on-board chipset.  Also, post-processing NR for long exposures is not the same as NR for ISO noise.  Unless you plan ahead and shoot a dark frame, you can't do long exposure NR in post.  Many astrophotographers keep libraries of dark frames at various exposure times and temperature conditions and apply those in post, because it speeds up the image capture (i.e. you can just take a set of 30 s exposures abck to back, instead of the in-camera process of 30 s exposure followed by a 30 s dark frame).

I will say I haven't attempted astrophotography in almost 6-7 years (and even with that I shot with my medium format camera)... I guess I suppose having the the camera on bulb for a few minutes at a time if not longer with humidity and cold temperatures (situations which digital cameras struggle and have to work harder) then noise would be visible... I'm lucky enough to be in a dry climate with warm summer nights so I wouldn't have the same situation humidity wise as if I was sea level at lets say san fran or the midwest... (I had to do a shoot in chicago in which the humidity was so high (99%) my 30D at the time quit working until i got it in an air conditioned room to cool down and dry out. 

Most of my long exposure stuff is for things like fireworks/lightning and high end architecture at twinight and usually (with digital) I dont get exposures longer than 30 seconds and typically noise at low iso is no problem for what I use it for.  (film with reciprocity my long exposures get a heck of a lot longer to make up for it)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 02, 2011, 12:16:43 PM
...I guess I suppose having the the camera on bulb for a few minutes at a time if not longer with humidity and cold temperatures (situations which digital cameras struggle and have to work harder) then noise would be visible... I'm lucky enough to be in a dry climate with warm summer nights...

Actually, cold is better.  A major component of dark noise is thermal, and noise goes up with temperature.  The image sensors on the cameras I use for microscopic imaging (where exposures in the 2-4 s range are needed to capture fluorescence) are Peltier-cooled to sub-zero temperatures to reduce dark noise.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on August 02, 2011, 12:54:05 PM
Whoo. It's gonna take a bit but I'm going to read through the rest of the responses and then reply to them.

I wasn't intending on being condescending and or rude, I was just seeking clarification about how you said you had it, tested it, and loved it and then "just got it" the other and are having buyers remorse.  Do keep in mind regarding distortion... this lens is designed as a 17-40 on a full frame camera... 17mm on any camera will have some level of distortion... Same as the 17-55 in some regards on the 17 end, as well as lets say the tokina lens and the 16-35 I or II... The full frame will show the distortion more than crops, but it's still there. 

Ah okay! :) It was just a misunderstanding then. My apologies. I agree that that there will always be some sort of distortion. However I have learned that photoshop has a feature built into CameraRAW that can fix most distortion problems. This will come in handy, though I do need to get a legitimate copy of photoshop since I cannot borrow my friend's forever. That's gonna be a little pricy.

Quote
Some lenses to keep in consideration that will have fast(er) speeds and keep distortion in check (20mm 2.8, 24mm 1.4, 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.4, they are all within the range of the 17-40, should keep distortion better in check, and 2.8 or faster) It's a great outdoors/travel/walk-around lens, but indoors, you will need to have a fast prime if you really want to shoot handhold.  I do architecture (one of my specialties) and real estate photos... I shoot with the 10-20 and 17-40... But then again I shoot low apertures, tripod always, and they are static.  Sometimes if I cant shoot tripod I still use low ISO but throw in off camera flash or strobe.  Light will always be an issue indoors so either use a faster lens or use a flash (ideally either strobe or off camera flash).  The 7D has a great commander feature if you can pick up some 580's or 430's... scatter them around the scene out of view from the camera and you never have to worry about lack of light. 

I am in need of a good tripod. Somebody recommended manfrotto and I'm currently weighing my options.

Lighting is something I'll definitely need to invest in. Before getting external flash, though, I want to try to make the pictures as good as possible without flash. Force myself to practice, so to speak. You have some good suggestions here.

Quote
I never said it was foolish not getting the 17-55... I said I liked the 17-40 personally, however you need to really and fully know it's capabilities and limitations to get the most out of it.

I mixed you up with somebody else who said that to me, oops. 

Quote
By going in a shoot fully educated on your gears limits will allow you to forward think so you know how to counter the limitations and push the limits to get awesome shots.  Also remember the 17-40 can be used by the 7d and 5d whereas the 17-55 can only be used on crop cameras.  Regarding your expectations of high ISO, check out the link i posted earlier... it'll give you a good idea of what this camera can do not only against itself but competitors.

Thanks :)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 01:31:03 PM
...I guess I suppose having the the camera on bulb for a few minutes at a time if not longer with humidity and cold temperatures (situations which digital cameras struggle and have to work harder) then noise would be visible... I'm lucky enough to be in a dry climate with warm summer nights...

Actually, cold is better.  A major component of dark noise is thermal, and noise goes up with temperature.  The image sensors on the cameras I use for microscopic imaging (where exposures in the 2-4 s range are needed to capture fluorescence) are Peltier-cooled to sub-zero temperatures to reduce dark noise.

I thought cold would be worse (batteries lose power, computers get sluggish, etc..) but i'll take your word for it because I have no reason why not to in this situation. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 01:45:38 PM
Whoo. It's gonna take a bit but I'm going to read through the rest of the responses and then reply to them.

I wasn't intending on being condescending and or rude, I was just seeking clarification about how you said you had it, tested it, and loved it and then "just got it" the other and are having buyers remorse.  Do keep in mind regarding distortion... this lens is designed as a 17-40 on a full frame camera... 17mm on any camera will have some level of distortion... Same as the 17-55 in some regards on the 17 end, as well as lets say the tokina lens and the 16-35 I or II... The full frame will show the distortion more than crops, but it's still there. 

Ah okay! :) It was just a misunderstanding then. My apologies. I agree that that there will always be some sort of distortion. However I have learned that photoshop has a feature built into CameraRAW that can fix most distortion problems. This will come in handy, though I do need to get a legitimate copy of photoshop since I cannot borrow my friend's forever. That's gonna be a little pricy.

Quote
Some lenses to keep in consideration that will have fast(er) speeds and keep distortion in check (20mm 2.8, 24mm 1.4, 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.4, they are all within the range of the 17-40, should keep distortion better in check, and 2.8 or faster) It's a great outdoors/travel/walk-around lens, but indoors, you will need to have a fast prime if you really want to shoot handhold.  I do architecture (one of my specialties) and real estate photos... I shoot with the 10-20 and 17-40... But then again I shoot low apertures, tripod always, and they are static.  Sometimes if I cant shoot tripod I still use low ISO but throw in off camera flash or strobe.  Light will always be an issue indoors so either use a faster lens or use a flash (ideally either strobe or off camera flash).  The 7D has a great commander feature if you can pick up some 580's or 430's... scatter them around the scene out of view from the camera and you never have to worry about lack of light. 

I am in need of a good tripod. Somebody recommended manfrotto and I'm currently weighing my options.

Lighting is something I'll definitely need to invest in. Before getting external flash, though, I want to try to make the pictures as good as possible without flash. Force myself to practice, so to speak. You have some good suggestions here.

Quote
I never said it was foolish not getting the 17-55... I said I liked the 17-40 personally, however you need to really and fully know it's capabilities and limitations to get the most out of it.

I mixed you up with somebody else who said that to me, oops. 

Quote
By going in a shoot fully educated on your gears limits will allow you to forward think so you know how to counter the limitations and push the limits to get awesome shots.  Also remember the 17-40 can be used by the 7d and 5d whereas the 17-55 can only be used on crop cameras.  Regarding your expectations of high ISO, check out the link i posted earlier... it'll give you a good idea of what this camera can do not only against itself but competitors.

Thanks :)

While at school, I used manfrottos tripods almost exclusively... We shot with 4x5's and medium formats so i needed heavy duty gear to handle the weight and strain of the cameras... I dont shoot much 4x5's any more but now my gear includes a Slik Pro 700 legs (i think thats the number) and manfrotto heads... The legs are aluminum and light weight compared to my old heavy duty manfrottos... I would love a carbon fiber manfrotto or better, but the slik is light weight yet extremely sturdy for me.  Keep weight and load in mind... Weight because you have to haul this puppy with you on shoots and load because if the head AND legs aren't strong enough to hold secure your gear, you can not only lose shots but damage your gear.  I had an old tripod fail on me wading in a river waiting for the lighting to be right before I shot the image... I barely caught the camera in time before it fell in the river. 

Go to your local store and they should have a nice selection of tripods... feel them, hold them, and do your research.  Regarding the photoshop... look on craigslist and look at your local colleges... A lot of them sell photoshop and or creative suite at student prices... At my local university in nevada, they have the entire creative suite for $299 student price.  Fully legit copy.  I knew a few college students there but see if your local college has software discounts at the student store.  Also keep in mind adobe typically has a product cycle on a strong 18 month cycle... CS6 should be out sometime in the second/third quarter of 2012 so perhaps you will see CS5 at a discounted price.  Lastly, i heard adobe now has a subscription option?  You pay a monthly fee and you get to use their software...  Doing that for i think for a few months pays for the entire purchase price but if you need to have it now and cant pony up $699, then that's a good option. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 01:55:58 PM
One last thing to consider with tripods is leg flexibility... Manfrotto on a lot of legs have a sliding locking horizontal support bar that connects to the legs to the center column.  You will want to be able to control each leg individually.. Sometimes you may be on unstable grounds in which one leg is shooting out at the standard 30 degrees angle and another leg, given your location, maybe 50-60 degrees, etc.... If you dont have that control on your legs, it can hinder your photo shoot.  You will know what i'm talking about as you play with the tripods... lastly on heads, see if you can get a nice sturdy ball head.  Ball heads carry the weight better over the tripod where as standard pan/tilt heads are cheaper but instead of holding the weight directly on the body, you are carrying the weight on a few screws and metal/plastic as it hovers above the center column.  It's just not as secure.  Manfrotto has high quality heavy duty pan/tilts but you still can beat a nice ballhead. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on August 02, 2011, 02:17:19 PM
One last thing to consider with tripods is leg flexibility... Manfrotto on a lot of legs have a sliding locking horizontal support bar that connects to the legs to the center column.  You will want to be able to control each leg individually.. Sometimes you may be on unstable grounds in which one leg is shooting out at the standard 30 degrees angle and another leg, given your location, maybe 50-60 degrees, etc.... If you dont have that control on your legs, it can hinder your photo shoot.  You will know what i'm talking about as you play with the tripods... lastly on heads, see if you can get a nice sturdy ball head.  Ball heads carry the weight better over the tripod where as standard pan/tilt heads are cheaper but instead of holding the weight directly on the body, you are carrying the weight on a few screws and metal/plastic as it hovers above the center column.  It's just not as secure.  Manfrotto has high quality heavy duty pan/tilts but you still can beat a nice ballhead.

Do you have any specific recommendations?


Whoo. It's gonna take a bit but I'm going to read through the rest of the responses and then reply to them.

I wasn't intending on being condescending and or rude, I was just seeking clarification about how you said you had it, tested it, and loved it and then "just got it" the other and are having buyers remorse.  Do keep in mind regarding distortion... this lens is designed as a 17-40 on a full frame camera... 17mm on any camera will have some level of distortion... Same as the 17-55 in some regards on the 17 end, as well as lets say the tokina lens and the 16-35 I or II... The full frame will show the distortion more than crops, but it's still there. 

Ah okay! :) It was just a misunderstanding then. My apologies. I agree that that there will always be some sort of distortion. However I have learned that photoshop has a feature built into CameraRAW that can fix most distortion problems. This will come in handy, though I do need to get a legitimate copy of photoshop since I cannot borrow my friend's forever. That's gonna be a little pricy.

Quote
Some lenses to keep in consideration that will have fast(er) speeds and keep distortion in check (20mm 2.8, 24mm 1.4, 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.4, they are all within the range of the 17-40, should keep distortion better in check, and 2.8 or faster) It's a great outdoors/travel/walk-around lens, but indoors, you will need to have a fast prime if you really want to shoot handhold.  I do architecture (one of my specialties) and real estate photos... I shoot with the 10-20 and 17-40... But then again I shoot low apertures, tripod always, and they are static.  Sometimes if I cant shoot tripod I still use low ISO but throw in off camera flash or strobe.  Light will always be an issue indoors so either use a faster lens or use a flash (ideally either strobe or off camera flash).  The 7D has a great commander feature if you can pick up some 580's or 430's... scatter them around the scene out of view from the camera and you never have to worry about lack of light. 

I am in need of a good tripod. Somebody recommended manfrotto and I'm currently weighing my options.

Lighting is something I'll definitely need to invest in. Before getting external flash, though, I want to try to make the pictures as good as possible without flash. Force myself to practice, so to speak. You have some good suggestions here.

Quote
I never said it was foolish not getting the 17-55... I said I liked the 17-40 personally, however you need to really and fully know it's capabilities and limitations to get the most out of it.

I mixed you up with somebody else who said that to me, oops. 

Quote
By going in a shoot fully educated on your gears limits will allow you to forward think so you know how to counter the limitations and push the limits to get awesome shots.  Also remember the 17-40 can be used by the 7d and 5d whereas the 17-55 can only be used on crop cameras.  Regarding your expectations of high ISO, check out the link i posted earlier... it'll give you a good idea of what this camera can do not only against itself but competitors.

Thanks :)

While at school, I used manfrottos tripods almost exclusively... We shot with 4x5's and medium formats so i needed heavy duty gear to handle the weight and strain of the cameras... I dont shoot much 4x5's any more but now my gear includes a Slik Pro 700 legs (i think thats the number) and manfrotto heads... The legs are aluminum and light weight compared to my old heavy duty manfrottos... I would love a carbon fiber manfrotto or better, but the slik is light weight yet extremely sturdy for me.  Keep weight and load in mind... Weight because you have to haul this puppy with you on shoots and load because if the head AND legs aren't strong enough to hold secure your gear, you can not only lose shots but damage your gear.  I had an old tripod fail on me wading in a river waiting for the lighting to be right before I shot the image... I barely caught the camera in time before it fell in the river. 

Go to your local store and they should have a nice selection of tripods... feel them, hold them, and do your research.  Regarding the photoshop... look on craigslist and look at your local colleges... A lot of them sell photoshop and or creative suite at student prices... At my local university in nevada, they have the entire creative suite for $299 student price.  Fully legit copy.  I knew a few college students there but see if your local college has software discounts at the student store.  Also keep in mind adobe typically has a product cycle on a strong 18 month cycle... CS6 should be out sometime in the second/third quarter of 2012 so perhaps you will see CS5 at a discounted price.  Lastly, i heard adobe now has a subscription option?  You pay a monthly fee and you get to use their software...  Doing that for i think for a few months pays for the entire purchase price but if you need to have it now and cant pony up $699, then that's a good option.

Good suggestions! Thanks!

Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 02:47:05 PM
One last thing to consider with tripods is leg flexibility... Manfrotto on a lot of legs have a sliding locking horizontal support bar that connects to the legs to the center column.  You will want to be able to control each leg individually.. Sometimes you may be on unstable grounds in which one leg is shooting out at the standard 30 degrees angle and another leg, given your location, maybe 50-60 degrees, etc.... If you dont have that control on your legs, it can hinder your photo shoot.  You will know what i'm talking about as you play with the tripods... lastly on heads, see if you can get a nice sturdy ball head.  Ball heads carry the weight better over the tripod where as standard pan/tilt heads are cheaper but instead of holding the weight directly on the body, you are carrying the weight on a few screws and metal/plastic as it hovers above the center column.  It's just not as secure.  Manfrotto has high quality heavy duty pan/tilts but you still can beat a nice ballhead.

Do you have any specific recommendations?


Whoo. It's gonna take a bit but I'm going to read through the rest of the responses and then reply to them.

I wasn't intending on being condescending and or rude, I was just seeking clarification about how you said you had it, tested it, and loved it and then "just got it" the other and are having buyers remorse.  Do keep in mind regarding distortion... this lens is designed as a 17-40 on a full frame camera... 17mm on any camera will have some level of distortion... Same as the 17-55 in some regards on the 17 end, as well as lets say the tokina lens and the 16-35 I or II... The full frame will show the distortion more than crops, but it's still there. 

Ah okay! :) It was just a misunderstanding then. My apologies. I agree that that there will always be some sort of distortion. However I have learned that photoshop has a feature built into CameraRAW that can fix most distortion problems. This will come in handy, though I do need to get a legitimate copy of photoshop since I cannot borrow my friend's forever. That's gonna be a little pricy.

Quote
Some lenses to keep in consideration that will have fast(er) speeds and keep distortion in check (20mm 2.8, 24mm 1.4, 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.4, they are all within the range of the 17-40, should keep distortion better in check, and 2.8 or faster) It's a great outdoors/travel/walk-around lens, but indoors, you will need to have a fast prime if you really want to shoot handhold.  I do architecture (one of my specialties) and real estate photos... I shoot with the 10-20 and 17-40... But then again I shoot low apertures, tripod always, and they are static.  Sometimes if I cant shoot tripod I still use low ISO but throw in off camera flash or strobe.  Light will always be an issue indoors so either use a faster lens or use a flash (ideally either strobe or off camera flash).  The 7D has a great commander feature if you can pick up some 580's or 430's... scatter them around the scene out of view from the camera and you never have to worry about lack of light. 

I am in need of a good tripod. Somebody recommended manfrotto and I'm currently weighing my options.

Lighting is something I'll definitely need to invest in. Before getting external flash, though, I want to try to make the pictures as good as possible without flash. Force myself to practice, so to speak. You have some good suggestions here.

Quote
I never said it was foolish not getting the 17-55... I said I liked the 17-40 personally, however you need to really and fully know it's capabilities and limitations to get the most out of it.

I mixed you up with somebody else who said that to me, oops. 

Quote
By going in a shoot fully educated on your gears limits will allow you to forward think so you know how to counter the limitations and push the limits to get awesome shots.  Also remember the 17-40 can be used by the 7d and 5d whereas the 17-55 can only be used on crop cameras.  Regarding your expectations of high ISO, check out the link i posted earlier... it'll give you a good idea of what this camera can do not only against itself but competitors.

Thanks :)

While at school, I used manfrottos tripods almost exclusively... We shot with 4x5's and medium formats so i needed heavy duty gear to handle the weight and strain of the cameras... I dont shoot much 4x5's any more but now my gear includes a Slik Pro 700 legs (i think thats the number) and manfrotto heads... The legs are aluminum and light weight compared to my old heavy duty manfrottos... I would love a carbon fiber manfrotto or better, but the slik is light weight yet extremely sturdy for me.  Keep weight and load in mind... Weight because you have to haul this puppy with you on shoots and load because if the head AND legs aren't strong enough to hold secure your gear, you can not only lose shots but damage your gear.  I had an old tripod fail on me wading in a river waiting for the lighting to be right before I shot the image... I barely caught the camera in time before it fell in the river. 

Go to your local store and they should have a nice selection of tripods... feel them, hold them, and do your research.  Regarding the photoshop... look on craigslist and look at your local colleges... A lot of them sell photoshop and or creative suite at student prices... At my local university in nevada, they have the entire creative suite for $299 student price.  Fully legit copy.  I knew a few college students there but see if your local college has software discounts at the student store.  Also keep in mind adobe typically has a product cycle on a strong 18 month cycle... CS6 should be out sometime in the second/third quarter of 2012 so perhaps you will see CS5 at a discounted price.  Lastly, i heard adobe now has a subscription option?  You pay a monthly fee and you get to use their software...  Doing that for i think for a few months pays for the entire purchase price but if you need to have it now and cant pony up $699, then that's a good option.

Good suggestions! Thanks!

If you tell me your budget you would be willing to spend (on the set) I can give you specific suggestions... There are SO MANY brands and quality types it really is very broad. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 02, 2011, 02:49:15 PM
I think the Manfrotto legs with the horizontal bars are the video supports, defnintely stay away from those.

Do you have any specific recommendations?

I use a Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 with a 488RC2 ballhead.   It's a great tripod, and it easily supports a gripped body and big white zoom (100-400mm or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II). 

Manfrotto makes both aluminum and carbon fiber (CX in the name) legs.  Carbon fiber is lighter, damps vibration better than aluminum, and is easier to handle in the cold (aluminum feels much colder to the touch), but it's more expensive.  For both aluminum and carbon fiber, the 190 series has smaller diameter tubes, the 055 series has larger diameter tubes (bigger tubes support more weight).  The number on the end of the CX series names is 3 or 4, and refers to the number of sections in the legs.  Some will say fewer sections is more stable, but 3- and 4-section tripods have the same weight specification.  More sections means a shorter folded length, but also an extra set of sections to extend so setup takes slightly longer. 

I picked the 190CXPRO4 for it's light weight and the fact that when folded, it will fit in a carry-on rollerboard suitcase (the 3-section version is too long, although if you remove the ballhead it should fit - but that's a pain because it requires carrying tools). 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 02, 2011, 03:10:33 PM
I think the Manfrotto legs with the horizontal bars are the video supports, defnintely stay away from those.

They can do video but we needed them for our 4x5's and shoot, you could set them up near a tornado and they probably would stay still haha.  Plus the quick release legs were wonderful but VERY heavy and overkill if you dont need it. 

I use a Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 with a 488RC2 ballhead.   It's a great tripod, and it easily supports a gripped body and big white zoom (100-400mm or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II). 

The number on the end of the CX series names is 3 or 4, and refers to the number of sections in the legs.  Some will say fewer sections is more stable, but 3- and 4-section tripods have the same weight specification.  More sections means a shorter folded length, but also an extra set of sections to extend so setup takes slightly longer. 

I would be among the few who say the more sections it is the less stable it is on the heavier gear... Then again the same can be said by extending the center column. The more sections, the taller it potentially can get but only you can gauge how important that is for you.  His tripod is a very nice tripod and a hair over $300 on adorama legs only.  I would recommend an action grip ball head such as:

http://www.adorama.com/BG322RC2.html
http://www.adorama.com/BG3265.html ... They take a little getting used to but once you master them, they are easy to set up and run with.  The cheaper one carries less load weight so that is something to consider. 

tripods, well feel free to peruse
http://www.adorama.com/SearchSite/Default.aspx?searchinfo=carbon%20fiber%20tripod

They are all excellent choices however they each have their own quirks...

http://www.adorama.com/BG190CX3.html... another nice choice with 3 sections... But dont take my word for it.. go to your local store/stores and look at them... hold them... operate them... see what feels best for you given your new knowledge about tripods. 
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 02, 2011, 03:28:14 PM
http://www.adorama.com/BG190CX3.html... another nice choice with 3 sections... But dont take my word for it.. go to your local store/stores and look at them... hold them... operate them... see what feels best for you given your new knowledge about tripods.

Did a double-take there, 190CX3 vs. 190CXPRO3.  The "pro" version has a CF center column (the CX3 has an aluminum center column).  Probably more importantly, the CXPRO3 has the adjustable center column - it can be turned 90° or even 180° to hang upside down from the legs, which I've used for a close-to-the-ground perspective on macro and landscape shots. 

The difference between 3- and 4-section legs is probably real, but minor (I've tried both, and while the 3-section version 'feels' more stable, test shots with the same camera/lens on both did not show a difference).  Raising the center column definitely reduces stability - that effect is far greater than the difference in number of leg sections.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: lady on August 02, 2011, 11:18:10 PM
Well, my budget is complicated. I don't want to spend over $500 on the tripod and ball head for now, though it it would make a significant difference I might stretch up to $650. Height is important to me, and I also need something that can handle itself on uneven ground (trails, for example). If my budget is unrealistic, please let me know.

In short, I need...

Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 03, 2011, 01:15:44 AM
Well shoot $500 on a tripod will give you a very fine tripod.  Unlike cameras/lenses there are a plethora of different brands all competing in this market, each with it's own quirks and goods/bads/uglys.  I cannot recommend any stronger than to not go by blind faith of the internet on this purchase because in many ways, you may become as intimate with your tripod as part of your gear as the camera itself...  But what I would do is run some searches, I can even do an initial search on adorama... search under your criteria... 60" check, carbon fiber or light weight aluminum... heavy load (the more the load, the more stable it should be)... and then print out your list and take it with you to the store... compare prices, compare tripods... they should have several out on display... find those particular models on your list (and even some that may not be on that list as long as it's meeting your criteria via specs).  Hint... even if the tripod is not on display but in stock, if the camera store thinks theres a potential of a sale, they'll help you take out the tripod and test them...  anything to get a sale.  Lastly, there are 2 heights to consider... a height with a closed center column and a height with an extended column... ONLY USE THE CENTER COLUMN FOR EMERGENCY OH CRAP SITUATIONS.... you severely lose stability and do not rely on that to always be there for you. 

http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=itemlist&cat1=Tripods&cat2=Tripod%20Legs%20%26%20Leg/Head%20Combos&cat3=Leg%20%26%20Head%20Combo%20for%20Still%20%26%20Video&Feature2=10%20To%2019.9%20Lbs&Feature3=60%22%20to%2072%22&Startat=61

http://www.adorama.com/BGMT294A3327.html

http://www.adorama.com/BGMT294A3324.html

This is a good generic lists of aluminums and carbons meeting your broad needs of 11 plus load weight and 60" tall min.  They are head/leg combos but you can get more specific and better gear mixing and matching... I stand by my recommendations on heads earlier and already gave you those links but for legs $300 an under...

http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=itemlist&cat1=Tripods&cat2=Tripod%20Legs%20%26%20Leg/Head%20Combos&cat3=Tripod%20Legs%20for%20Still%20%26%20Video&Feature3=10%20to%2019.9%20Lbs&Feature4=60%22%20to%2072%22&Startat=1

Broad search...

some highlights:

http://www.adorama.com/BG055CXPRO3.html

http://www.adorama.com/FPTPF1228.html  flashpoint is adoramas house brand... you probably wont be able to test them at a local store but they are at a great value...

http://www.adorama.com/GTMT8260.html

http://www.adorama.com/SLP500DXLBK.html  I've used this one... true to description and light weight despite look.

http://www.adorama.com/SLP723CF.html

http://www.adorama.com/SLP823CF.html

Anyways heres some quick suggestions to look at (at the stores...)  play with them and see what feels the best for you and your budget.  Good luck once again.   

Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: UncleFester on August 03, 2011, 02:02:29 AM
Well, my budget is complicated. I don't want to spend over $500 on the tripod and ball head for now, though it it would make a significant difference I might stretch up to $650. Height is important to me, and I also need something that can handle itself on uneven ground (trails, for example). If my budget is unrealistic, please let me know.

In short, I need...

  • Flexible, sturdy legs for uneven ground such as trails, hikes, etc.
  • Under $650, preferably under $500. May save up to stretch further if necessary.
  • Stable and capable of handling a 300mm zoom lens in the future.
  • Easy to travel with (though I may just get a second, cheaper, foldable tripod for traveling purposes)
  • Over 60" tall.

My thoughts: you don't need to spend a lot of money on a tripod if you're just trying to stable a 3-4lb set-up for landscapes or long exposures. You don't need a fancy head. you just need something that will lock down and not fall over. Buy used if you can. Almost everyone has a couple a tripods they don't use. Get theirs. Then, if it's not working out - upgrade.











Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: awinphoto on August 03, 2011, 10:14:36 AM
Well, my budget is complicated. I don't want to spend over $500 on the tripod and ball head for now, though it it would make a significant difference I might stretch up to $650. Height is important to me, and I also need something that can handle itself on uneven ground (trails, for example). If my budget is unrealistic, please let me know.

In short, I need...

  • Flexible, sturdy legs for uneven ground such as trails, hikes, etc.
  • Under $650, preferably under $500. May save up to stretch further if necessary.
  • Stable and capable of handling a 300mm zoom lens in the future.
  • Easy to travel with (though I may just get a second, cheaper, foldable tripod for traveling purposes)
  • Over 60" tall.

My thoughts: you don't need to spend a lot of money on a tripod if you're just trying to stable a 3-4lb set-up for landscapes or long exposures. You don't need a fancy head. you just need something that will lock down and not fall over. Buy used if you can. Almost everyone has a couple a tripods they don't use. Get theirs. Then, if it's not working out - upgrade. .

Tripods are probably the one thing people skimp out on the most... can you blame them?  Spending $1000-2000, another couple grand combined on lenses, etc... Whats next, a tripod?  But then again a good tripod would be like buying a good car... If you buy the right one, it can last you almost forever.  If you skimp out on one that "just locks down", you may have failures at bad times like I did with in the river shot.  Like a good car, or lens for that sake, it can last you a long time, longer than any modern camera.   
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on August 03, 2011, 10:29:46 AM
IMO, either spend big or spend small.  I spent about $700 on a tripod and head nearly 15 years ago. Until I damaged the head a year ago, there was no reason to replace it. A great tripod now will still be, at least, a very good tripod a decade from now. They may continue to get lighter, but lighter works against steady. I have used super light tripods and I always end up having to achor them to stay steady. Fluid heads were a game changer, but didn't make the non-fluid any worse. Maybe one day we will see gyros systems for cheap, but that doesn't invalidate a steady base.

I do occasionaly forget my tripod. As such, I have bought some of those horrible $50 tripods. In a pinch, they can work and you don't worry about forgetting them or damaging them. The secret is to buy the simplest ones anchor them till the legs are starting to bend (seriously, get a ground anchor and teather it tight), keep the head very loose if doing following work (hey its just a pivot point), and if doing stationary work, expect to have to move the head back and forth a lot to get it in the right position.

Also, ask yourself if you will ever do video. If you will, you need either a head that can pan very smoothly (more smoothly than one normally needs for photo work) or you need the option to switch to a good video head. The major brands produce compatible heads for years. The cheap ones, if they are arround at all, may not be compatible with tripods make just a year ago.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: UncleFester on August 03, 2011, 11:37:03 AM
Well, my budget is complicated. I don't want to spend over $500 on the tripod and ball head for now, though it it would make a significant difference I might stretch up to $650. Height is important to me, and I also need something that can handle itself on uneven ground (trails, for example). If my budget is unrealistic, please let me know.

In short, I need...

  • Flexible, sturdy legs for uneven ground such as trails, hikes, etc.
  • Under $650, preferably under $500. May save up to stretch further if necessary.
  • Stable and capable of handling a 300mm zoom lens in the future.
  • Easy to travel with (though I may just get a second, cheaper, foldable tripod for traveling purposes)
  • Over 60" tall.

My thoughts: you don't need to spend a lot of money on a tripod if you're just trying to stable a 3-4lb set-up for landscapes or long exposures. You don't need a fancy head. you just need something that will lock down and not fall over. Buy used if you can. Almost everyone has a couple a tripods they don't use. Get theirs. Then, if it's not working out - upgrade. .

Tripods are probably the one thing people skimp out on the most... can you blame them?  Spending $1000-2000, another couple grand combined on lenses, etc... Whats next, a tripod?  But then again a good tripod would be like buying a good car... If you buy the right one, it can last you almost forever.  If you skimp out on one that "just locks down", you may have failures at bad times like I did with in the river shot.  Like a good car, or lens for that sake, it can last you a long time, longer than any modern camera.

"Tripods are probably the one thing people skimp out on the most..."

I'll bet it's one of the most miss-used photography items of all times (that along with buying lenses just to fill bag compartments).

"If you buy the right one, it can last you almost forever."

How's $79 for a clunker Slik back in 1986. Still have it. Still works like day one. Never failed. Ever.


 And actually. It's more about weight, balance, and speed of setting up than longevity with cf tripods. ;)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: UncleFester on August 03, 2011, 11:59:27 AM
BTW, a few years ago I was walking through the woods and stumbled upon about a dozen really old cars ('30's,some '50's) and to this day I'm still kicking myself for not having brought a flash or soft box. I could have just hung the box from some branches and none-the-wiser.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on August 03, 2011, 12:33:33 PM
BTW, a few years ago I was walking through the woods and stumbled upon about a dozen really old cars ('30's,some '50's) and to this day I'm still kicking myself for not having brought a flash or soft box. I could have just hung the box from some branches and none-the-wiser.

Out where we live, the farmers just park their old cars, trucks, equipment out in a field or behinf their house and buy another running one.  Some have a hundred or more.  Its pretty incredible.
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: neuroanatomist on August 03, 2011, 12:40:09 PM
I'll bet it's one of the most miss-used photography items of all times

Do you mean under-used, as in people buy them and then don't use them?  Possibly...but I wonder how much of that is because they bought a cheap one that was hard to use or didn't provide sufficient stability to make a difference in the shooting...

Or, do you mean misused, as in:   :P

(http://unicornplum.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/roses-tripod.jpg)  (http://www.instructables.com/image/F4HCHCXGI0TDB5E/Music-Stand-from-Junk.jpg)
Title: Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
Post by: UncleFester on August 03, 2011, 12:47:40 PM
I'll bet it's one of the most miss-used photography items of all times

Do you mean under-used, as in people buy them and then don't use them?  Possibly...but I wonder how much of that is because they bought a cheap one that was hard to use or didn't provide sufficient stability to make a difference in the shooting...

Or, do you mean misused, as in:   :P






























































(http://unicornplum.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/roses-tripod.jpg)  (http://www.instructables.com/image/F4HCHCXGI0TDB5E/Music-Stand-from-Junk.jpg)

No. Over-used. Sorry, I don't have any pics.