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Author Topic: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D  (Read 54355 times)

x-vision

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2011, 12:03:43 PM »
I am beginning to come to the conclusion that this camera isn't for me...

I had the exact same experience as yours ... and my 7D was returned to the retailer within the two-weeks return period.
This is not a camera for someone who cares about image quality.

Haven't read all posts on this thread but I'm sure you got a lot of advise on how your improve your technique, how the 7D requires more careful post-processing, etc..

My advise is that you should just return your camera, as you'll never be happy with the results.
Most likely the 5DII will give you the results you expect. Good luck.

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2011, 12:03:43 PM »

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #46 on: December 09, 2011, 12:13:10 PM »
I find that with a lot of work, I can manage to get 7D files post-processed to the point where the IQ is close to those from my 5DII...but that's straight out of the camera from the 5DII.

I'm reading this thread with great interest, as I also just snagged a 7D but have not opened it yet as I'm nervous about these types of issues and being a refurb from Canon I cannot return it once opened.  So anyway...


Canon has a 14 day return policy on refurbs, so its very important to put it into use immediately.  You can call them and get a RMA if its not workiing right.

DON'T WAIT !!

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2011, 12:17:30 PM »
Your subjects/time of day are very far from ideal.  Most of the content of your images are in shadow, and in one image the sides of objects are being struck by bright highlights while the rest remains covered by moderate shadow.  I also question how well 1/30 and 1/40 shutters are working for you, (they certainly can be made to work) but if you are not being really careful to be stabilized, even with IS on it could degrade 100% pixel peeping results.  Even still, these images are technically quite use-able for HQ imagery if you don't use them at 100% and I think even in the sub-optimal conditions you are shooting in, that you might be able to eek out slightly better pixel peeping results with different user operation and different editing approaches.  That also isn't the greatest copy of the greatest lens on the planet and while I think you could pull off miracles with it and make it sing, I wouldn't expect that to happen easily.  But regardless what I think, if you really aren't happy, sell/return the equipment and get something else, but I suspect in that price range you are going to get similar results given all conditions/settings/user operations being about the same.

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #48 on: December 09, 2011, 12:24:53 PM »
Ok a little more info.  I thought maybe LR3 couldn't handle the 7D very well so I loaded up DPP... and got the same (if not worse) results...

LR NR is pretty good. It is not magic but pretty good.
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skitron

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #49 on: December 09, 2011, 12:29:34 PM »
Totally agree, a $600 sony nex 5n can beat canon 7D in terms of image quality, check out the dpreview "Studio shot comparison: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studiocompare.asp#baseDir=%2Freviews_data&cameraDataSubdir=boxshot&indexFileName=boxshotindex.xml&presetsFileName=boxshotpresets.xml&showDescriptions=false&headerTitle=Studio%20scene&headerSubTitle=Standard%20studio%20scene%20comparison&masterCamera=sony_nex5n&masterSample=dsc00790&slotsCount=4&slot0Camera=sony_nex5n&slot0Sample=dsc00790&slot0DisableCameraSelection=true&slot0DisableSampleSelection=true&slot0LinkWithMaster=true&slot1Camera=canon_eos7d&slot1Sample=canon7d_nrstand_iso3200&x=-0.9485456681437512&y=-1.5736754905560102

If I haven't had 5DII with 8 L lenses and full frame, I would jump to sony nex 5n or 7 with legacy lenses. Actually I am think to get a nex 7 as backup main body since 5DII is collecting dust.

Thanks for the cool link, that is a nice resource for making comparisons. Unfortunately I couldn't find any info on what lens were used so that limits the usefulness somewhat...

I thought the RAWs out of the 5N and 7D looked a lot alike. The 5N may be slightly better at low ISO and and 7D better at high ISO. I also added the 5D2 and 50D since it will compare 4 at a time, so I would have references of both clearly better and clearly worse.

Not that it much matters if all you're interested in comparing is noise, but I did notice that the comparisons don't all have the same focal plane. For instance the 5D2 is OOF when zooming the queen's face on the playing card and also the checker targets in the upper corners, but is sharp on subjects more forward in the shot. Meanwhile the 50D is OOF when zooming anything further forward like the paper clips and bottle labels, but the queen's face is sharp as are the corner targets. Just a heads up for anyone looking at sharpness comparisons...
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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #50 on: December 09, 2011, 12:42:38 PM »
Everything was going great... until I got home and loaded up those photos in LR3... and saw a ridiculous amount of high frequency noise ALL over the place... even when shooting at ISO 100-200!

I agree. I like to call the 7D, "my little noise pig". Noise levels at low ISO are unnaceptable for a $1500 camera. I found the 50D and 40D files superior in IQ, especially the 40D. My 7D at ISO 800 looks like my 40D at 1600. The 40D files are smooth and clean, giving better fur detail and landscape detail. The 7D files have a bit of mush on top of the noise. I'm using a combination of L lenses and EF-S lenses.

I love the features of the 7D, but in the end IQ is more important. I'd love to thave the 40D's sensor inside the 7D's body.

On top of this, I've found the 7D's AF, (or maybe it's a very strong AA filter) to produce images that are not quite "there" in terms of sharpness. Keeper rates are down with my L primes from the 50D, especially shooting wild animals or horses.

Despite my wildlife shooting, I am seriously contemplating a move to the 5D II. My 7D feels like a Canon S2 or those crazy Panasoniz consumer superzooms from the early 2000's (the Fz5, I believe).

I heard a lot of feature hype over the 7D, but not much talk of IQ. I'll be more careful next time. The video is what lured me over.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 12:55:28 PM by Michael7 »

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #51 on: December 09, 2011, 12:44:35 PM »
Very interesting to see all of the replies.  I am beginning to come to the conclusion that this camera isn't for me... but I'm left wondering where to go.  On paper the 7D looked like the ideal camera for me: it's got the "pro" features I want in an EFS package.  But now it seems like not only can I not upgrade to the 7D... but the 60D and T3i are out (same sensor).

I suppose I'm just going to have to continue with my XSi for now.

As for not mentioning that I'm a landscape photographer... that was definitely an omission on my part.  After reading everything about this camera I don't fault the people that told me to snag it... there are _many_ happy customers with this camera.  I just think it's not right for me.

I think that "catz" post is the most relevant to my situation.  I am often pushing my RAW files to the edge to get more detail / color / contrast out of them.  If the 7D sensor is not making RAW files amenable to that then it's not for me.  What is a real travesty is that this camera has great features for a landscape photographer: multiple custom settings, built in level, awesome metering, etc.

As for "pixel peeping".  I don't think that's what I'm doing.  Anyone who looked at those photos I posted should be disgusted.  I didn't do _any_ exposure adjustment at all and just a tad bit of sharpening (not even close to as much as I typically would for a landscape shot).  The exposure is spot on... fully covering the range in every channel (yay evaluative exposure on 7D!  My XSi would have trouble doing that with even this shot ;-)

If I try to crop this photo down _at all_ I can see the noise with the full photo being displayed (ie not zooming in) on my 27" iMac.  And that's doing a pretty small amount cropping (like only including the whole church).  If I go any further, like just the front half of the church... it looks like I took this photo at ISO 800+!  How anyone shooting landscapes would think that is acceptable is beyond me.  I've cropped ISO 100-200 photos from my XSi _way_ down and been satisfied with the results (and I didn't have to apply any NR at all!).

Here is a screenshot of what I'm seeing on my screen: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7166/6482020907_8689f39356_o.jpg

Bottom line: $1,500 for RAW files that you can't "push around" at all and having to apply NR at ISO 100-200 is completely unacceptable to me.

Like I mentioned, I'm still going to give it a go this weekend and see what the results are... but at this point I'm not expecting it to be good...

Thanks again for everyone taking the time to reply!  This has been extremely insightful!

I'm sorry to hear you say this, I think your selling yourself and the 7D a little short. I've looked at your sample images pretty closely. I do indeed see some noise in and near shadows, however I wouldn't call it "disgusting". It is kind of annoying, but when I take your image and scale it down to 900px wide (the standard size of a 500px.com photo), I don't see any noise at all. When you think about how much higher density most 300-PPI prints are vs. the pixel density of a computer screen (which ranges from 72ppi to around 103ppi), they are about 4-3 times as pixel dense, which hides a LOT of the noise you may see at 100% on a computer screen.

Regarding pixel peeping...those photos you posted are 100% size photos...so looking at the noise in them really can't be considered anything other than pixel peeping. Thats what it is: examining detail at a pixel level at 100%. I also had a 450D, and I remember that smooth areas...smooth gradients and solid color surfaces and the like, often had visible noise at ISO100. Not quite as much as the 7D does, but some nevertheless. The current (pre 1D X) generation of Canon sensor tech is a bit noisy compared to what competitors have to offer (which these days are largely all Sony sensors, which have a much lower noise floor than Canon sensors.)

If you want high resolution with low noise, you are either going to have to spend the bucks on a 1D X, wait for a 5D III and hope it performs as well or nearly well as a 1D X, or jump ship and head to a different brand. I know Pentax is well known for having some of the best ISO noise performance of any brand these days (excluding the 1DX...I guess we'll see how it fares soon enough), however I have never been particularly impressed with its lens lineup. Nikon has some great lenses, and many of their newer cameras use Sony sensors. Even the Canon 5D Mark II has only marginally less pixel-level noise as the 7D...its just generally less obvious at commonly presented format sizes because it is once again higher resolution. The 5D II, according to some of the comments on 7D threads about its noise, has the same exact issues. ISO 100 is a bit noiser than ISO 160, 320 is less noisy than 400, etc. The 5D II has its own unique noise issues as well, as it seems to suffer from lower right corner thermal noise that produces very uneven noise distribution from left to right in an image when above ISO 1600. I don't ever recall anyone really complaining that much about it though, as in most real-world situations, its unnoticeable.

You might also want to consider the calibration of your monitor. An improperly calibrated screen might display color or luminance with too much contrast. It may be configured to enhance sharpness via the screen itself (many LCD screens allow sharpness tuning), etc. I use an Apple CinemaDisplay 30" at 2560x1600, recently calibrated with a DataColor Spyder 3 Elite. The brightness of my screen is tuned for 120cd/m, with a 5500k white point. On this screen, your ISO 200 photos look fine, and while if I get about 6 inches from the screen I CAN see noise in shaded parts of the photo, and a little bit in the roofing tiles, at my normal viewing distance of about a foot and a half, I have to squint to see any noise at all. Scaling the image down with a quality scaling algorithm to either mimic print or preview for on-screen sizes (I have to scale down about 1/3rd the original size on my 103dpi screen to simulate how big the image might be in print), I can't see any noise at all at a comfortable viewing distance.

On a properly calibrated screen in a properly lit room, the lowest image with noise from the following thread should be ISO 250 and the other +1/3 stop settings. ISO 100, 160, 320, 400, 640, should all look nearly completely black. ISO 800 and on is where noise starts to present:

http://marvelsfilm.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/canon-7d-noise-and-iso-test/

The comments on the above thread provide some useful insight. A better evaluation of 7D noise and DR can be found here:

http://shootintheshot.joshsilfen.com/2010/05/13/canon-hd-dslr-native-iso/

« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 12:50:09 PM by jrista »

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #51 on: December 09, 2011, 12:44:35 PM »

friedmud

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #52 on: December 09, 2011, 12:54:37 PM »
One "last" shot:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7155/6482628305_3127405636_o.jpg

That is a screen grab of me looking at a photo I _just_ imported into LR3.  I haven't made a single adjustment.  This one happened to be taken at ISO 200... but the ISO 160 shot looks nearly identical.  More specs: Evaluative Metering, Av Mode, Auto Lighting Optimizer off, Full RAW, default LR3 sharpening (25), default LR3 color noise reduction (25).  No exposure modifications at all.

This is _not_ a zoom.  This is just looking at the full photo on my 27" iMac.  This is exactly how I see it (and how others will if I show them this photo on either this screen or my 30" screens at work).  If you are viewing this image make sure to view it at "Actual Size" so that you can see what I'm seeing.

Unacceptable.  The noise in the sky is insane for ISO 200.  The noise in the shadow areas is awful.

Is it a "good looking photo" sure.  But my XSi could produce that same good looking photo without the noise in the sky at ISO 200.

I've decided to not even take this camera with me this weekend.  I don't want to accidentally damage it and not be able to return it.  It's going in the box now... and I'll re-evaluate what I'm doing going forward.

A few things:

To the guy talking about the diffraction limit.  It is true that you won't be able to get the thing you have focused on to be more sharp once you go beyond the diffraction limit... however, in order to obtain better overall front-to-back sharpness in landscape photography you often have to go beyond the diffraction limit (so that things in front of and behind your focal plane are "sharper" in the final image).  Yes, you can go too far and actually cause your photo to look worse by going beyond the diffraction limit, but sometimes that has it's place too (ie when you need a REALLY slow shutter speed and you head for f/18 or smaller)

Thanks for the advice x-vision.  I'm going to ship this one back... and I think I'm just going to hang out and see what Canon comes up with over the next couple of months.

If I'm going to go FF it would mean buying a new workhorse lens (in same range as my 17-55) and a new telephoto (I have a crappy 55-250 that I don't mind moving away from... I was already planning on buying an L upgrade for that soon).  I was trying to avoid laying down that cash... but I may have no choice.  IF I am going that route I may re-evaluate my choice to go with Canon.  As long as I'm buying new lenses they may as well be Nikkors... I'll put everything on the table and make the best choice.  But to do that I'm going to have to save up some cash.

I do already have other lenses that will work on FF bodies though (nifty 50 and a Lensbaby).  Other things I have would move to Nikon just as easily (Lee filters and filter holders, etc.). I'll just have to see how it works out.

Thanks again to everyone for your comments.  It's a tough decision for me to send this back, but ultimately I feel as if I would be disappointed every time I loaded shots up straight from the camera.... and that just isn't acceptable for $1500.

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #53 on: December 09, 2011, 12:56:58 PM »
Your subjects/time of day are very far from ideal.  Most of the content of your images are in shadow, and in one image the sides of objects are being struck by bright highlights while the rest remains covered by moderate shadow. 

Sorry, I disagree. There is no excuse for his first picture's noise level... at ISO 200! Geesh! if we are making excuses to justify that kind of performance and that level of "grain" in a daylight shot...its laughable. Either the settings are wrong in one of the menus or the unit is not performing well. I Don't wan't to paint all 7D's as being subpar as owners are apparently happy with their bodies...but suggesting this poster's image is "acceptable" or that his technique could be better is not a fair assessment.

I say return the unit and try a replacement if you want to stick with 7D, or get yourself a 5DII if you can afford it and can't wait for 5D3 to arrive. That level of grain is not acceptable or normal in the pics posted. Cheers!

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2011, 12:58:46 PM »
Everything was going great... until I got home and loaded up those photos in LR3... and saw a ridiculous amount of high frequency noise ALL over the place... even when shooting at ISO 100-200!

I agree. I like to call the 7D, "my little noise pig". Noise levels at low ISO are unnaceptable for a $1500 camera. I found the 50D and 40D files superior in IQ, especially the 40D. My 7D at ISO 800 looks like my 40D at 1600. The 40D files are smooth and clean, giving better fur detail and landscape detail. The 7D files have a bit of mush on top of the noise. I'm using a combination of L lenses and EF-S lenses.

I've shot with 2 50D's in the past and hated both of them for the low ISO noise... Compared to my 7D when I sold/unloaded my 50D's the 7D files were superior in every way, especially in low ISO which was surprising to me given it had more MP... I may have been blessed with a really good 7d or cursed with really bad 50Ds... but from my experience, they are not even close.  Also food for thought... this format of camera 35mm (7d is smaller than 35mm)... it was only previously designed to output small prints... 8x10's, 5x7's... maybe the occasional 11x14... and that was a full 35mm... now the 7d natively pumps out 11x17's at 300dpi and it's sensor is half the size of a 35mm film... i think you guys are asking for a lot from such as small sensor, pixel peeping without even printing it out... 
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dtaylor

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2011, 01:00:52 PM »
Ok - here's one that has just received minor sharpening (what I would do for any shot coming in at ISO 200)

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7011/6480510009_df4a26af47_o.jpg

And here's another that I've tried my hardest to "fixup" with sharpening and NR:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7006/6480518429_3cd975c2a1_o.jpg

Last night when I posted I had my MacBook Pro on my lap. I actually hate evaluating images on my MacBook screen because of the contrast and saturation, and the fact that the brightness is all over the place based on where I'm sitting.

This morning I took a 2nd look on my 23" HD monitor which is calibrated in all respects for photography and printing. Not just color, but brightness, contrast, and saturation are set to match printed output from my 3880 as closely as possible. Another important difference: I think last night I just clicked the image and used Preview. This morning, PS CS4. Screen view quality depends a lot on the scaling algorithm used by the viewing program, and a lot of programs produce scaled views which are grainier and softer than PS. Apple's Preview can be particularly bad with high resolution images scaled to certain sizes.

Looking at the first link...

* At 50% (22" print size on my screen) there is no noise visible, period.

* At 66% (36" print size) detail seems a bit rough, but there is no real noise to speak of.

* At 100% (54" print size) there is visible noise in some areas. But if you have any kind of film background, it's far less than the best 35mm films ever were, and even less than MF films printed this size. (Of course MF film would have much more detail at this size.)

Forget what I said last night that it seemed to have more noise then I would expect. Viewed in PS on a properly calibrated monitor it's fine. Exposing to the right would have helped with the noise at pixel peeping views, but made no real difference in print. The lens issues (CA and some softness on one side) stand out far more and at smaller sizes than any noise.

FYI, a standard Noise Ninja pass using their 7D ISO 200 profile eliminates pretty much all of what you see even at 100%. At that point you have to zoom to 200% (108" print) to see noise.

And this is all after you sharpened. If I use Noise Ninja, I use it before I apply local contrast enhancement and sharpening.

I trust PS scaling and my monitor 100%. What I see is what comes off my printer.

So how are you viewing and evaluating this?

dtaylor

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2011, 01:09:33 PM »
My 7D will beat the crap out of any 5D you care to pick, at the image level...

The 5D will have lower ISO noise across the board...and that's pretty relevent to the issue the OP describes.

It will not have less noise in print, nor at ISO 3200. (I'm assuming you mean 5D and not 5D2.)

Quote
Still, armed with the info that the primary use was landscape photography, I would not have recommended the 7D.  Don't get me wrong - I think the 7D is a great camera.  But if I'm going out to shoot landscapes, I'll grab my 5DII every single time.

I've made comparison landscape prints at 24" and 30" from both bodies. At low ISO they are indistinguishable.

jrista

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2011, 01:10:44 PM »
Forget what I said last night that it seemed to have more noise then I would expect. Viewed in PS on a properly calibrated monitor it's fine. Exposing to the right would have helped with the noise at pixel peeping views, but made no real difference in print. The lens issues (CA and some softness on one side) stand out far more and at smaller sizes than any noise.

Agreed, when I look at all the sample photos, what stands out to me far more than the noise is the lens softness and CA. I would be willing to bet thats just a calibration issue that could be fixed with sending it in.


@friedmud:

Regarding noise in the sky in the latest sample, thats NOT surprising! The blue sensels in most bayer sensors are lower sensitivity than the green sensels. There are also half as many of them as there are green. They require greater amplification to match the luminance level received by green sensels. This is a well-known phenomena with bayor sensors in general, and would not be any different on any other brand of camera that has 16-24mp in an APS-C format. Its simply a matter of physics, the nature of light and filtration, and how the different color sensels in a sensor are processed to produce even luminance and proper color. The 7D is effectively as dense as a 46.7mp full-frame camera...VERY DENSE! You can't expect 40D level noise performance when pixel peeping a camera that has nearly TWICE the resolution.

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2011, 01:10:44 PM »

dtaylor

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #58 on: December 09, 2011, 01:12:22 PM »
However, I also agree with neuro - I thought the same thing when reading your initial post where you state you are mainly a landscape shooter. The 7D is a very good camera - no doubt. But landscape shooting was never going to be it's strongpoint. Full frame will usually handle landscapes more successfully.

I am mainly a landscape shooter, and I've purposely shot a 7D and 5D2 side by side to see if it was worth investing in the 5D2. At low to mid ISO I could not discern between 24" and 30" prints, and neither could anyone I showed them to.

The 7D is a fine landscape camera up to 30", which incidentally is the same maximum print size I would put on 5D2 files for critically reviewed landscape prints.

dtaylor

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2011, 01:16:54 PM »
Reportedly, the 7D has a pretty strong AA filter, meaning it's require more sharpening in post, which affects noise.

Nope. The AA filter is actually weak compared to older bodies. But it's APS-C, and APS-C does require a bit more sharpening in post.

Quote
I find that with a lot of work, I can manage to get 7D files post-processed to the point where the IQ is close to those from my 5DII...but that's straight out of the camera from the 5DII.

I find 3 things are needed: possibly a NR pass, a bit more LCE, and a bit more sharpening. That's not a lot of work and is at most 1 additional step.

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Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2011, 01:16:54 PM »