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Author Topic: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)  (Read 27160 times)

lady

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I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« 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?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 02:25:45 AM by lady »

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I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« on: July 26, 2011, 01:17:35 AM »

Pyrenees

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #1 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.

Canihaspicture

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #2 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.

lady

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #3 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.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 02:09:13 AM by lady »

Canihaspicture

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #4 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.
Small | Large
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.

dtaylor

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #5 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.

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #6 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.)

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2011, 02:45:01 AM »

lady

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #7 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.

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #8 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 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.

lady

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #9 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 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.

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #10 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.
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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #11 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, 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!
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spaceheat

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #12 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.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 09:36:45 AM by spaceheat »

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2011, 09:33:00 AM »

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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #13 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 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.
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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #14 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. 
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Re: I have to rethink my camera decision (7D vs 5d Mark II)
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2011, 10:18:11 AM »