Can a 7D do Landscapes?

jrista

EOL
Dec 3, 2011
5,341
27
jonrista.com
@RC: Automatic focus isn't particularly useful in landscapes. For the most part (and there are some exceptions), you want a deep DOF, so the entire scene is in focus. There really isn't anything specific to focus on, so AF usually just gets in the way.

More specifically, when photographing a landscape, focus is more about the art of compromise as much as anything. You really can't get *everything* in focus, so you have to fine-tune focus for the selected DOF to get as much of the entire field of view as sharp as possible, without losing too much on the front or back. The only way to do that is with manual focus. Better yet, the ideal way to do that is with dedicated manual focus lenses with a nice, long focus throw, so fine adjustments are easy. (AF lenses tend to have very short focus throw, as it helps them focus less precisely faster.)

In the heydays of large format, you had a REAL NICE, HUGE ground glass screen to compose and focus your shot with. It was 4"x5", maybe 8"x10", clear and easy to see focus. The direct equivalent today would be like having a small TV attached to your DSLR, however Live View serves this purpose extremely well. Its many times larger than the largest viewfinders, clearer, brighter in most cases (OLED screens are even bright in direct sunlight), and usually more capable. With most Live View features on DSLR's today, you can zoom in and focus to a pixel-perfect level at various locations of a landscape scene, and never have to worry that some part of your photo may be out of focus, or that it was focused clearly on the wrong thing.
 

RC

EOS RP
Jun 11, 2011
607
0
friedmud said:
...Choosing a single AF point didn't work so well on my XSi ;-)

On the 7D it is definitely more of a possibility... but when I'm taking that much time and care to get the shot I want... I want it to be _perfect_ (hence the reason for my "Earthshattering" post from last week ;-)

Where at in Idaho? I'm living near Idaho Falls right now myself. Haven't been here too long... but I'm loving it. It truly is a nature photographer's dream!

Thanks for the clarification. I'll shoot you an "offline message" regarding my Idaho and current location
 

RC

EOS RP
Jun 11, 2011
607
0
jrista said:
@RC: Automatic focus isn't particularly useful in landscapes. For the most part (and there are some exceptions), you want a deep DOF, so the entire scene is in focus. There really isn't anything specific to focus on, so AF usually just gets in the way.

More specifically, when photographing a landscape, focus is more about the art of compromise as much as anything. You really can't get *everything* in focus, so you have to fine-tune focus for the selected DOF to get as much of the entire field of view as sharp as possible, without losing too much on the front or back. The only way to do that is with manual focus. Better yet, the ideal way to do that is with dedicated manual focus lenses with a nice, long focus throw, so fine adjustments are easy. (AF lenses tend to have very short focus throw, as it helps them focus less precisely faster.)

In the heydays of large format, you had a REAL NICE, HUGE ground glass screen to compose and focus your shot with. It was 4"x5", maybe 8"x10", clear and easy to see focus. The direct equivalent today would be like having a small TV attached to your DSLR, however Live View serves this purpose extremely well. Its many times larger than the largest viewfinders, clearer, brighter in most cases (OLED screens are even bright in direct sunlight), and usually more capable. With most Live View features on DSLR's today, you can zoom in and focus to a pixel-perfect level at various locations of a landscape scene, and never have to worry that some part of your photo may be out of focus, or that it was focused clearly on the wrong thing.

Thanks jrista for the additional information. I'm going to try this technique out this week. I probably put too much trust in AF and assuming I'm getting hyper-focal distance with a smaller aperture.
 

Edwin Herdman

EOS RP
May 6, 2011
541
0
RE: 7D landscapes?

I'll find out soon enough, I suppose - I finally have a 7D on order after finding one at an amazing price (not new, but near the $1K price mentioned earlier, and this one WILL be shipping). I shot many landscapes on the T1i, though, with its noisy chroma, and didn't have too much trouble so I don't anticipate much trouble here either. A 5D would be better for that but I need the resolution (and density) more.
 
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briansquibb

Guest
jrista said:
The direct equivalent today would be like having a small TV attached to your DSLR, however Live View serves this purpose extremely well.

The serious landscapers I have met carry around a 17inch laptop and tether it to the body. That is why there are so many backpacks with laptop compartments .....
 

friedmud

EOS RP
Dec 3, 2011
217
0
briansquibb said:
jrista said:
The direct equivalent today would be like having a small TV attached to your DSLR, however Live View serves this purpose extremely well.

The serious landscapers I have met carry around a 17inch laptop and tether it to the body. That is why there are so many backpacks with laptop compartments .....

An ipad with the camera connection kit works pretty well as well... I carry one with me to review photos in the field.
 
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briansquibb

Guest
friedmud said:
briansquibb said:
jrista said:
The direct equivalent today would be like having a small TV attached to your DSLR, however Live View serves this purpose extremely well.

The serious landscapers I have met carry around a 17inch laptop and tether it to the body. That is why there are so many backpacks with laptop compartments .....

Can you use LiveView with an iPad?

An ipad with the camera connection kit works pretty well as well... I carry one with me to review photos in the field.
 

dtaylor

Canon 5Ds
Jul 26, 2011
1,682
1,241
friedmud said:
Short Answer: Yes!

Congratulations on giving the 7D an honest run and discovering what it can do! Good shots, good comparisons, and good analysis. Your detailed post can serve as a guideline to future 7D/60D/T2i owners.

A couple comments:

* I often use Local Contrast Enhancement on my photos. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/contrast-enhancement.shtml. I bring this up because this can also greatly increase the perception of sharpness and fine detail in some shots.

* Playing with an online DoF calculator is a great way to get a feel for what apertures are actually needed in different situations: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html.

* +1 on the LiveView focusing suggestion. I do it all the time. This also helps to achieve the optimum combination of focus and aperture as you can scroll around the scene and use DoF preview. Doing this rather than blindly stopping down can create a greater difference in fine detail then any difference between Canon's current APS-C and FF sensors.

I'm glad you took the effort to get the best out of the 7D. Enjoy it. Yes, eventually I think a >30 MP 5D3 will come out. But that could be a ways off and the 7D is a brilliant 24" - 30" print landscape camera in the mean time. You really could not get much more out of the 5D2 sensor for this purpose.
 

dtaylor

Canon 5Ds
Jul 26, 2011
1,682
1,241
friedmud said:
I tried tons of aperutres and f/8 gave the best results (I gave one comparison in the OP). In the case of Shot1 I simply just focused too closely to be able to get everything "in focus" without losing a ton of detail overrall. With my old camera it was more forgiving in that regard... because of that I grew quite sloppy in my hyperfocusing technique... guess I'll have to be more careful in the future!

I'm surprised you even needed f/8. How far from the barn were you?

As for the tetons at sunset / sunrise: they are spectacular!

Nice shots. I especially like the first one.
 
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briansquibb

Guest
I would suggest the 7D is more than good enough for prosumer landscapers, printing happily up to A3 (c.16x12) on a simgle image

After that multiple image stitching is a good option.

It may not be the 7D's strong point but it will perform more than adequately for the average user.

Specialist landscapers will probably go a different route
 

torger

EOS RP
Nov 16, 2010
236
0
I have shot quite much landscapes with the 7D.

The good:
- large LCD good live view, good for manual focusing
- electronic start of shutter (less vibration)
- good build for the price (better weather proofed than the 5Dmk2)
- if full-frame glass is used, good corner-to-corner performance, little vignetting
- if using APS-C lenses - good performance for low price, lightweight

The bad:
- lower res and less sharp per pixel (due to stressing lens resolving power) than full-frame 5Dmk2
- no weather-proofed APS-C lenses
- no APS-C tilt-shift and primes, making wide-angle lens choice a bit limiting.
- ISO100 performance less good than the competition (but still adequate)

If you like working with primes and tilt-shift full-frame is a better choice. If you like working with zooms, the practical quality out of the 7D is quite close the 5Dmk2.
 
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briansquibb

Guest
torger said:
If you like working with primes and tilt-shift full-frame is a better choice. If you like working with zooms, the practical quality out of the 7D is quite close the 5Dmk2.

It is fine with primes - but not tiltshift

+1 - especially in good light
 

torger

EOS RP
Nov 16, 2010
236
0
briansquibb said:
torger said:
If you like working with primes and tilt-shift full-frame is a better choice. If you like working with zooms, the practical quality out of the 7D is quite close the 5Dmk2.

It is fine with primes - but not tiltshift

+1 - especially in good light

Yes you're right, it is good on many of the available primes. What I meant is that on the wide end there's not really any good primes. Those 14mm and 17mm full-frame primes don't perform that great on the small-pixel APS-C compared to longer primes, then it is better with the wide-angle 10-22mm APS-C-specific zoom lens. Full-frame primes are sharp down to 24mm, but less than 24mm they lose some sharpness, meaning that they don't perform well on small-pixel APS-C. Since APS-C needs shorter focal lengths to get the wide angle views, the full-frame wide angle primes are not great to use, and there are no wide angle APS-C-specific primes made (APS-C-specific can be made a bit sharper due to the smaller image circle).

However, the 50, 85, 100mm etc primes perform very well on APS-C, but may be a bit long for landscape shots. I've done quite many 50mm landscape shots on the 7D though.
 
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briansquibb

Guest
torger said:
briansquibb said:
torger said:
If you like working with primes and tilt-shift full-frame is a better choice. If you like working with zooms, the practical quality out of the 7D is quite close the 5Dmk2.

It is fine with primes - but not tiltshift

+1 - especially in good light

Yes you're right, it is good on many of the available primes. What I meant is that on the wide end there's not really any good primes. Those 14mm and 17mm full-frame primes don't perform that great on the small-pixel APS-C compared to longer primes, then it is better with the wide-angle 10-22mm APS-C-specific zoom lens. Full-frame primes are sharp down to 24mm, but less than 24mm they lose some sharpness, meaning that they don't perform well on small-pixel APS-C. Since APS-C needs shorter focal lengths to get the wide angle views, the full-frame wide angle primes are not great to use, and there are no wide angle APS-C-specific primes made (APS-C-specific can be made a bit sharper due to the smaller image circle).

However, the 50, 85, 100mm etc primes perform very well on APS-C, but may be a bit long for landscape shots. I've done quite many 50mm landscape shots on the 7D though.

I do a lot of longer prime landscapes (135 and 200f/2.8) where there is architectural interest. I also find the 50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.8 work well too.
 

pj1974

80D, M5, 7D, & lots of glass and accessories!
Oct 18, 2011
681
207
Adelaide, Australia
I've said for many years that people often overstate that the 'best of the best of current day photographic equipment' is needed for good photos. Landscape photography is one of the photographic genres that have less of a demand on equipment essentially than some other genres (eg sports).

The ability to understand light (colour, tone, brightness, contrast, etc); think and apply powerful composition tools (form, shape, contrasting elements, etc) - often sets apart good landscape photos from 'just average' ones.

The Canon 7D can create amazing landscape photos with a skilled photographer using it. While some full frame cameras would benefit to some degree, that's often at the pixel peeping level. I have used a variety of cameras including my Canon 7D (and even from over 10 years ago when owning a humble Fuji p&s, then migrating to a Canon 350D) - to take landscape photos.

Many of my landscape photos have been acknowledged as being very good (and I consider there is much I can learn and improve on).

While I would like the 7D to have somewhat lower ISO noise, it's not that bad. With correct exposure and careful post processing, magnificent results are indeed possible.

Wishing everyone (whether with Canon 7D cameras or other equipment) joy while taking & sharing photos, especially at this time of the year.

Regards,

Paul
 

torger

EOS RP
Nov 16, 2010
236
0
pj1974 said:
I've said for many years that people often overstate that the 'best of the best of current day photographic equipment' is needed for good photos. Landscape photography is one of the photographic genres that have less of a demand on equipment essentially than some other genres (eg sports).

I agree here. With sports you may need high class auto focus and low light capability to be able to make the shot at all. With landscape, you can make the shot with any equipment.

However, with landscape and other slow tripod-mounted photography you also have the ability to max out what the camera can do in terms of resolution and dynamic range. This can also be appreciated by making large high res fine art prints, and landscapes are often detailed so there's small details to discover. So while the equipment will not lead to better images artistically, it can certainly improve print quality. How important that is, and how good "good enough" is, is a matter of taste of course.
 

sawsedge

EOS M6 Mark II
Oct 10, 2011
96
0
Friedmud,

I'm glad you kept the 7D and are out using it. Those samples are great.

A note on diffraction... I've tested diffraction on 35mm film, my old 20D, and my 50D, and I saw the same result. Worries about diffraction are somewhat overblown. I'm OK down to f/16 on all of them. Yes, when you conduct a test and compare the results side-by-side you see the image degrade some from, say, f/5.6 as you stop down to f/16, but it isn't bad really. The results are quite usable in my opinion. When you do landscapes and you need the DOF, don't be afraid to stop down, don't worry about diffraction too much. But it doesn't hurt to vary your aperture either. It won't cost you anything but a few more moments, enjoying a scene you find worthy.

On noise reduction, I've had great luck with CS5 (in ACR) and Noise Ninja (rarely using both, mostly using CS5 now). I've heard great things about Topaz DeNoise too. Glad it works for you.

As I said in your other thread, I think digital becomes more demanding in general as the pixels get smaller, so we have a bigger learning curve.
 

akiskev

EOS RP
Dec 11, 2010
344
14
www.flickr.com
friedmud said:
Short Answer: Yes!

Long Answer: Read On

A few days ago I was "Earthshatteringly Disappointed" with my new 7D. However, upon learning that I couldn't return it, I decided to give it a fair shake to see if it would be worth keeping or dumping for a loss.

I took it out to Jackson, Wyoming...
Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I found your tips very useful!
+ RAW conversion settings were excellent! Good job!
Do you have any shots with a Circular PL filter on?
 
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