shadow detail 60D/7D versus 5DM2

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by bob_estremera, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Looking to upgrade from my 450D to either a 60D/7D or make the jump to 5DM2.
    I followed the rather volatile 29 page string comparing the relative merits of the IQ between these cameras but want to ask a question about only one aspect - shadow detail.
    I DO print and will do so as high as 20X30.
    All of my work is converted to b&w and shadows detail is very important to me.
    Lifting shadows in PP just makes a mess of things so I'm always overexposing carefully to lift them during the exposure and bring the highlights back in PP.
    I often convert a single image into two (one normal and one with lower exposure to retain highlights) into one and exposure blend into one image with the resultant extended dynamic range.
    But I'd like to have a camera that inherently retains the best shadow detail possible.
    So the question is, are these camera's comparable in shadow detail with only a slight edge to the M2 (assumed) or is there a marked difference?
    Thanks, Bob
  2. I moved from a 20D to a 40D and now I have the 60D. To be honest I think the 40D was the best for noise etc.
    In fact I have been disappointed with the 60D in a number of respects. The increase in pixel count and subsequent file size has had a considerable effect on my work flow speed without the gain of resolution that I was seeking. In my opinion the overall quality particularly in the shadows has been poor compared with the 40D. Having said that I very rarely use RAW (again file handling issues) so I guess that might have an effect.
  3. For what you are suggesting here, the need for shadow detail, your method of exposure and the size of prints you wish to make the most appropriate choice would be the 5dII. This camera has a larger dynamic range than the others and maintains it better (less fall off) with higher iso speeds. This would serve you better if you are purposely overexposing to bring in the shadows. It has better blue sensitivity (generally what is in the shadows) which should serve you well and has better overall resolution. Then, the larger megapixels will also serve you for the larger prints.
    I have both the 1dsIII and 5dII and both do a very good job with shadows and noise whereas the 5dII is even better with noise than the former. If you want to look at some comparisons, tech data, you could have a look at this site--you can even compare cameras.
  4. I own both the 60D and 7D. While I havn't done extensive testing wrt to shadow detail comparisons, it is my belief that the 5DmkII still has an edge in that department, especially at ISO settings above 640. There are fairly comprehensive test results on many of the review sites, and most seem to arrive at the same conclusion.
    I do use the 7D at ISO 1600-3200 regularly, and one signature of these images is a slightly muddy appearance in areas of deep shadow due to the lack of detail retained during the exposure. That said, I wouldn't trade the 7D for the 5DmkII because the camera is so well tuned to what I use it for. Giving up all of those features to retain a little more detail in the shadows would be taking several steps in the wrong direction.
    Bottom line, make your decision based on HOW you will use the camera. If it's primarliy for action or sports, the clear answer, based on feature sets-is the 7D. Anything else, I'd lean more toward the 5DmkII, even though the 7D can still hold it's own in most situations.
    Jeff- The capabilities of these newer camera's don't show well in comparisons based on camera produced jpegs, too much information is lost. The image quality improvements can only be fully realized by working with the larger file size provided by RAW, and I can say with confidence that the newer technology provides a marked improvement in IQ, especially wrt noise.
    The included image is an extreme example. The original is 4-5 stops underexposed, so much so that the camera generated Jpeg (I shoot RAW/LJpeg) was nearly black. It has been heavily worked, and looks rubbish in color, but it is a testament to what the new sensor/processor technology can record.
    Correction: Shot @ISO 640, not 1600.
  5. Both the 7D and the 5D2 (I own both) respond well to "expose right" (to the right of the histogram), but the 5D2 has a noticeable edge in DR and high-ISO performance. Also, both do auto-bracketed exposures well for realistic HDR.
    If your lenses are a better match for a crop sensor, then go with the 7D, but if you're open to a wider FOV and put high priority on DR, then go with the 5D2.
  6. I guess I should also mention that much of what I do is on tripod shooting street scenes, nighttime shots and architecture in NYC. So I frequently stay close to 'base' ISO's and do longer exposures. There are times I love to go without the tripod and end up at 400-800 and would love to have 1600-3200 as an option also. Hence the need for the most clear shadow detail I can get.
  7. Bob, you'll be amazed at the low noise, DR and sharpness of the 5D2 at ISO 800. Also, while your out shooting your archetectural subjects, you can also take the camera off the tripod, change to ISO 6400 and easily shoot night candid street shots, if you like.
    The following shot is ISO 100, 2.5-second at f/8 with only default NR during RAW conversion.
    Boston Avenue Church, Tulsa, OK:
  8. The 5D2 has few weaknesses, but shadow noise is one of them. Even at low ISO values, pulling details out of
    shadow areas can be problematic. This is one area where my 12MP Nikon sensor outperforms the 21MP Canon by a
    significant margin. Third party noise reduction software might be necessary for critical applications.
  9. I have both. The 7D is more susceptible to noise if the exposure is slightly off than the 5DII. For dynamic range /
    shadow details I find the 5DII clearly better than the 7D even at low ISO
  10. I also shoot with both a 5D2 and 7D, and have a 60D in the family. RAW output from the 7D/60D is virtually the same, albeit 60D JPEG output is more heavily processed (so looks slightly better out of camera). Of course, the noise control of the 5D2 is much better than both the 7D and 60D. Once you convert a 5D2 RAW to 16-bit TIFF it can handle a lot more PP in PS than the 7D/60D before melting into a heap 'o crap. So, yeah, you can dig a lot more shadow detail out of 5D2 RAW than the 7D/60D and still maintain acceptable IQ.
  11. With the 5d MK2 I have found that I can underexpose at ISO 200 in bright sunlight situations which helps keep the highlights from blowing out and then bring up the shadows and reduce the noise with Lightroom. At higher ISO's and in low light situations it is more important to expose properly even biasing towards overexposure.
  12. If the goal is maximum DR / shadow recovery, then the 5D mkII is the better choice. To be honest I've never felt limited in this regard by Canon's 18 MP sensor. I have also blended two versions of the same RAW file, as well as blending multiple shots, both tripod mounted and hand held. (8 fps is quite useful in this regard, but you still need a fairly still subject.) I also do a lot of surf photography where I have to protect the highlights during exposure, then lift deep shadow detail (i.e. black wetsuits; shadowed faces) and pull back the high contrast in post. Some of my surf shots have a lot of post work yet still hold up well at 16x20.
    Never the less, the 21 MP FF sensor offers an advantage here. Smaller at low ISO, but larger as you increase ISO. If you've identified this as something you really need, then go with the 5D mkII.
  13. Thanks everybody,
    I had suspected that the large sensor would provide the greater potential for shadow detail and you all seem to bear that out.
    I think my decision is made.
    Happy shooting.
  14. Plus 1 for:
    "If the goal is maximum DR / shadow recovery, then the 5D mkII is the better choice."​

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