Image quality moving from 5D mk1 to 7D

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by nigel_craig, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. My obvious upgrade route is to replace (if I do, as opposed to holding off for a while) my nearly 4 yr. old 5D with a 5D2. I'm concerned my 17-40 and 24-105 lenses are not really up to realising the theoretical benefit of the improved sensor, although that would not be my primary reason to upgrade. I think the 50/2.5, 70-200/4 IS and 300/4 IS will be OK.
    As an alternative, which I can do within the same budget or probably less money, I could get a 7D with a 15-85 (which has had rave reviews) and a 10-22, keeping the other lenses but selling 5D body, 17-40 and 24-105.
    Main concern is given I print up to A2 how will 7D/15-85 & 10-22 image quality compare to my existing 5D/17-40 &24-105 in terms of a) resolution, b) tonal gradation, c) noise at high ISO.
    If I had more money I would contemplate the 5D2 and some zeiss ZE lenses, but I haven't , so its not an option.
    The 7D is attractive for things like spot focussing, sensor cleaning, decent LCD ( I can't even see the histogram in bright sunshine on the 5D), live view, AF micro-adjustment etc. But I don't want to step backwards in image quality. I think main image gain from 5D to 5D2, given same lenses, would be useability of 1600 to 3200. I'm not sure how 7D would compare to 5D, given pixel size is about half.
  2. Nigel. I am not going to address your statement point by point. In just my personal opinion, I would never trade my 5D for a 1.6 crop sensor body no matter how many features it has. I really value the use of the 17-40 on the 5D. I do have an XTi and Canon long L lenses and I use them on both bodies. Even with the 10MP XTi I have shown pictures up to 16x24 some of which have won awards. I have gone back to doing some professional work and find the 5D more than adequate to the tasks. I also, as opposed to the conventional wisdom, shoot sports, with a 5D in low light venues because I can get printable pictures at 1600 and 3200 ISO and at least one is in my PN gallery. I have seen studies, namely Wyofoto, that give the 5D quite good marks on noise reduction in comparison to the 5D II. That Wyofoto study compared the 5Ds with the 50D as I remember which graded lower on noise. I do think, based upon my experience that it is very hard to tell from two or three feet away on enlargements which camera is the 5D and which is the XTi. I have just given a series of photo classes and put my students through that guessing game and they really couldn't tell unless they were six inches away. So I don't think the 7D would really make much of a practical difference in perceived image quality. Maybe it's high ISO performance is really good. Never having used one I don't know. Good Luck. I would say save your money. Bells and whistles don't make good pictures. Good photographers do.
  3. I think you're worrying too much. Get the 5D2, then see if your lenses are OK for your needs.
  4. Better yet, see if you can rent out both, and take them on a test run?
  5. I didn't really want to get into a debate about my motive's and justifications for a particular course of action - I'm old enough to work that one out myself. I could have stripped my post down to one line, which is the specific question on comparison of image quality, but I thought I'd give a bit of background. Paulo, its not really possible to rent a 7D with the lenses required in my locality.
    With greatest respect and thanks for your responses if this information is not available I think we should wrap this question up.
  6. I have the 5D and the 7D, I would not hestitate to sell the 5D and have only the 7D, image quality is about the same based on prints from both cameras. But I would not sell a full frame as it fullfills some needs that the 7D does not, mostly at the very wide angles with primes, such as my 14mm, 15mm fisheye, my my 17mm lens, they do not have primes like that for the crop cameras.
  7. Nigel. They list a well studied and practical university based study that compares the 5DII, 5D, and the 50D. You won't learn something about the 7D but you might, as I did, learn a lot about your own 5d.
  8. HI,
    I know you said something about wrapping the topic up. But I have both of these cameras and many Canon lenses.
    I would keep the 5d unless: It is at, or near the end of its life span.
    You need video in the camera. You want to shoot a lot of sports.
    The image quality difference is so very negligible, speaking of prints, up to 11x14. That is all I can attest to for what I have done with both.
    I use the 5d for stills, portraits, landscapes, etc... and use the 7d for sports.
    If I did not do a lot of sports, I would not even have the 7d but it is very good for sports, birds, wildlife.
    I would not sell the 5d for a 7d based on IQ, there is hardly any difference, as I said up to 11x14 (my experience). I am not going to guess at anything, just speak to my own personal experience and hope it helps.
    Best Wishes
  9. Nigel, I can assure you that the 24-105 and 17-40 work superbly on the 5D II. I use a range of EF L zooms and L and non-L primes on my 5D II, and have never had a concern about whether their resolving power matches the resolution of the sensor. They all produce superb images for me.
    And I'm firmly with Dick on the "upgrade" issue. I would never go from a full frame to crop sensor, which for me would represent a "downgrade" in IQ regardless of the extra features of the crop body. So if I were you and intent on "upgrading," I wouldn't even be considering the 7D (unless it were to be a second body).
  10. I recently moved from a 5D/50D combo to a 7D/5DII setup. In terms of IQ from ISO100-1600, RAW no NR, the 5D smokes the 7D. The 5D is fine without NR. Now a smart application of NR to 7D files evens it out a bit but still I prefer the smoothness of 5D images over the 7D. If you don't print bigger than 8x12 this is a moot point (unless you mainly pixel peep). However, as a camera the 7D is much better in nearly every way. The 5D LCD is a lesson in frustration and is nearly invisible during the day.
  11. The 7D has higher res. and may or may not be able to print bigger with equal glass (remember that even though there are more MP, the sensor is physically smaller so you would have to "stretch" it further to get a larger print), but you're giving up L glass for EF-S lenses. Now these particular EF-S lenses are great, but you're retrograding instead of upgrading. I would never sell L lenses to buy EF-S. If you decide you made a wrong move then you have to sell the EF-S again b/c they won't go wih you to FF. You will also be losing the use of the outer edge of the image circle that gives better bokeh on the FF than on the APS-C. I think, I'd stick with the 5D until I had the money for the 5DMkII, unless you shoot sports and need the improved AF and 8fps. Also, Ithink your current lenses will be fine on the MkII.
  12. 7D offers faster frame rate and better focus performance / distance with lenses for fast action. That would be someone's valid criteria for switching, or for owning both.
  13. I am with Dick Arnold, I would never switch from a full frame body to any APS-C.
  14. When image quality is the primary concern, sensor / film area almost always trumps all other factors — and usually by a substantial amount.
    With DSLRs, such differences are rarely visible on prints made with a printer that sits on a desktop. They start to become discernible when the print size is measured in feet, not inches, and start to become critical when the prints are bigger than a single person can hold. (Of course, excellent billboards can be made from any DSLR ever made; it’s the viewing distance that matters.)
    In all factors other than image quality, newer cameras are almost always superior, regardless of sensor size.
  15. Hi Nigel,
    I believe to be able to offer viable input to the basic question (I think) 5D v's 7D.
    I woluld have to ask the question. What do you want to shoot with it. Personally they are some what different tools. They are basically light capturing tools. However excel in different areas for me.
    Working on landscapes and panaromas I think the 5D is out on its own with the full frame (as just one exmple or preference). Love it. Personally I like its low light abilities. But for sport I find it cant quite keep up with Rallye and Motorcross for me. I find it slow when out shooting wildlife at times
    Have used 30D and found the frame rate was better. But the buffer is not very large. And it's a smaller file size. (I read about the 40D two weeks after buying the 30D and was a bit miffed I missed that)
    Have waited for a good while for enough new features that matter to me, to be introduced.
    I stared looking at the 7D.
    Looking at the large number of new features and improvements. And personally a very major plus is the 8 frames persecond for the motor sport. Looking forward to doing plenty more nature shoots in the coming months.
    I can't wait to put it throughly through it paces.
    Love the flash ability with partly controlling and firing the 580EXII.
    But would not be with out a 5D(xxx)......
    Using a range of L and non L glass ranging from 12mm - 400mm.
    My two cents worth.
    Hope its of benifit to you.
  16. Quoting Manuel Barrera:
    I would not hestitate to sell the 5D and have only the 7D...
    But I would not sell a full frame as it fullfills some needs that the 7D does not...​
    Do you suffer from a split personality or was your post a joke?
  17. Boy does this sound familiar Nigel. I wanted to stay with full frame and buy a 5D MK II but I chose to buy a 7D for now. It is an upgrade make no mistake. The ISO performance is the same as 5D MK I. It also focuses faster, faster frame rate, way better LCD. BLUF, you will not be sorry using the 7D. In my test I did not think the 5D blew away the 7D at lower ISO. Get it. V/R Buffdr
  18. Main concern is given I print up to A2 how will 7D/15-85 & 10-22 image quality compare to my existing 5D/17-40 &24-105 in terms of a) resolution, b) tonal gradation, c) noise at high ISO.
    The 7D has superior IQ to the original 5D. Finer detail at low to mid ISO and equal or better noise at high ISO depending on how you trade off resolution and noise when applying NR. I don't perceive any difference in tonality one way or the other.
    The 15-85 and 24-105 are pretty much equal optically. I'm not sure why you think the 24-105 isn't up to a 5D2 sensor though.
    If you want to put the 17-40 in its place, get a Tokina 11-16. The Tokina is sharp corner to corner from wide open and beats the 10-22 optically, and also beats the 17-40 on FF. You would need to get a 16-35 L II to come close. The only problem with the Tokina is that it is never in stock. I checked B&H every day to get mine, and when I got mine I noticed that it was from a batch that lasted only one day at B&H. That's how in demand and rare it is.
    I'm not sure what to tell you because you have two lenses that are really FF lenses already, and you're used to a FF camera. The 7D is an upgrade in all respects. But it might just be easier and more comfortable for you to go straight to a 5D2. I went the 7D route and have no regrets.
    One note: whichever camera you get, beware of pixel peeping. When you view files at 100% in Photoshop you are subjecting the 7D and 5D2 to greater magnification than a 5D. Likewise, those cameras reveal mistakes much more clearly at 100%. There has been no shortage of sharpness and noise complaints on some other forums from people who fail to view at equal magnification. Both cameras are capable of 16x24 and 20x30 prints with exceptional fine detail (better than the 5D, as good as it is), with proper technique and good glass.
  19. One other note if you go the 7D route: crop cameras need different sharpening settings. That was the mistake in the test. The 50D can actually match the 5D in print at low ISO, but it requires different sharpening settings to do so.
    I didn't have that problem because I always tailor sharpening to each image. But if you routinely punch in the same numbers, those numbers will be different on a crop camera. Along those lines the 7D's built in sharpening is not very aggressive and needs to be kicked up a notch or two for JPEGs that are printed straight from camera.
  20. Nigel,
    I second the answer of Buffdr @ 100%
  21. Although this tread is for up or down grading 5D, here Canon 17-40L and Tokina 11-16mm were matched in this term. I used both and my conscience for their matching is that they are totally different instruments and IQ of Canon 17-40 is quite higher.
  22. ahmet - I own both the Tokina 11-16 and the Canon 17-40L. I consider the 17-40L a fine performer on a crop body, and pretty good full frame when stopped down. I have used it to produce many of my favorite photographs. But wide open its corners are mush on full frame. The 11-16 on a crop body, for similar FoV, is sharp corner to corner from wide open. It's better at f/2.8 than the Canon at f/4. While the 17-40 improves stopped down, even stopped down the Tokina is sharper. My experience concurs with the tests of sites like and various reviews which are available online.
    There are of course variations in any production run, perhaps you received a poor copy of the Tokina.
    I don't see why you consider them "totally different instruments" as their FoV range is similar on their intended formats. The Tokina would be a good replacement for the 17-40L for someone moving from full frame to crop.
  23. "Do you suffer from a split personality or was your post a joke?​

    Neither, Jamie, I don't joke with people I do not know, he asked if a 7D had about the same image quality it does, as most people who have both cameras acknowledge. Tell me what primes can you use for a crop camera that can do what a 14mm non fisheye does? How do you get that great fisheye look with a crop camera? Even my 17mm prime is hard to beat with any zoom on a crop camera. Now if you don't have any thing constructive to add to the conversation why don't you go back to where ever. But just in case you don't understand, if you can only afford one camera than buy the 7D as the image quality is about the same, but if you can afford both a full frame and crop and the lens for them then do so, but one has to be able to afford them, Jamie.
  24. Get a 7D, 5D can't focus :). Who cares about IQ if it can't focus well.
  25. If it's purely IQ at higher ISO and for larger prints (A2), I'd go with the 5D2. I have one, with both the 17-40 and 24-105 lenses. I have yet to be disappointed by either one's performance :)

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