The Canon EOS 7D Review

The Canon EOS 7D – The Camera We Want to Love

By Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou

Note: To see all future reviews please note this blog is no longer active, please visit us over at oopoomoo.com

Background

In early October we were lucky enough to test the soon-to-be released Canon EOS-7D. Samantha, a Nikon user, was interested in testing the camera, as a possible replacement for her aging D200. Samantha had hit a wall with her Nikon D200, finding the files lacked the detail she wanted for her intimate landscape photography. She rented and tested a Nikon D300 and was impressed by how much better the details were in the files compared to the D200. She posted a blog about her tests and started to save up her pennies for a D300. Canon at the time had no APS-c sensor camera that had the features and price point of the D300.  Nikon had the market cornered on mid-priced semi-pro cameras.

Enter the Canon EOS 7D, a direct competitor to the Nikon D300 (now discontinued and replaced with the Nikon D300s). Darwin was interested in the Canon 7D as a possible replacement for his Canon Rebel XSi (EOS 450D). Darwin uses his Rebel as a backpacking camera and thinks the quality/price ratio of this little entry-level camera is unmatched. He uses the Rebel for professional stock and magazine work. The Rebel XSi, although a solid performer with fine quality files, simply does not have professional level controls or responsiveness. Darwin finds it works fine as a landscape camera for deliberate and slow images but as a quick action, travel, people or wildlife camera it lacked important features of a pro camera. The 7D promised pro-level controls and more.

Samantha also wanted a camera that was super intuitive to use AND had great files. The specs of the 7D (18MP, 8fps, Live View, 1080P video, 100% viewfinder) looked great to both of us. We were pumped to test the new Canon camera.

Handling

Out in the field, the Canon EOS-7D did not disappoint. We loved the handling and customizability of the camera. Darwin has used almost every Canon camera ever made since the Canon AE-1P was released in 1981. Of all the Canon cameras Darwin has used the 7D was the most exciting, intuitive and fun camera he has tried. Darwin was immediately sold; he wanted this camera!

Samantha was so impressed by the logical and easy to use features of the 7D that, after several days of using the camera, she was ready to switch from Nikon to Canon. Samantha is not easily impressed by gear and has a sentimental attachment to Nikon, so for her to consider a switch said a great deal about Canon’s design innovations on the 7D.

For example, in our opinion, Canon’s Live View is superior to Nikon’s because Canon includes a simulated histogram (to preview exposure) and the ability to preview depth-of-field on the rear LCD by pressing the DOF preview button and changing the aperture settings on the fly. So far Nikon does not have these features. We also like Canon’s Roll and Pitch leveling feature over Nikon’s and almost everyone agrees that Canon’s video feature is much better than Nikon’s. In many ways the Canon 7D was just easier to use than many cameras on the market (although Nikon’s D300/D300s are amazingly intuitive as well). And the autofocus on the 7D seemed zippy and fast. What was not to like? For a complete list of specs and features please visit dpreview .

File Quality

Our final test was to look closely at the files. We had a Canon Rebel XSi, a 12 MP entry-level dSLR, and the 21 MP Canon 1ds Mark III (Canon’s flagship camera) as cameras to which we would compare the 7D files. We had big expectations–we admit it. We thought the quality of the files from the 18 MP Canon 7D should fall somewhere in between the quality of the Rebel and the Mark III. After all, the price of the 7D in Canada ($2100) is more than triple that of the XSi ($625) but is still 1/3 less than the 1ds Mark III ($7500).

Here is how we tested file quality. We shot various subjects with all three cameras at 100 ISO. In all comparisons we outfitted the cameras with the same lens. We used numerous different lenses on the cameras as well. We tried to match compositions, which meant we had to move the full frame 1Ds Mark III a little closer to the subject to get the same framing as the Rebel and the 7D. We always used Live View and 10x magnification on each camera to get precise focus using manual focus. We turned off IS (image stabilization) on the lenses, we used solid tripods, cable releases, mirror lock-up and apertures that we would actually use in the field (f8 to f16). No filters were used on any of the lenses in our tests. We shot all cameras in RAW mode and processed all files in Canon’s Digital Photo Pro (DPP) software. In DPP we turned off all noise reduction, turned off sharpening, and processed images in ‘standard’ picture mode. All settings (white balance, contrast, brightness etc.) were the same for all camera files. We then brought the processed RAW files up in Photoshop CS4 and compared the files at 100%.

Studio Results

We first tested the cameras in the studio. We shot the images below with all three Canon cameras using a Canon 45mm TS-E lens at f13.

FallStillLife-7dfullimage

©Darwin Wiggett - Shot with the Canon 7d

Because each camera has a different number of pixels on the sensor it is difficult to do a direct apples-to-apples comparison but below are the 100% views of the 7d files compared to the Rebel and Mark III files.

7d-Rebel-StillLife

The 18MP Canon 7d (left) versus the 12MP Canon Rebel XSi (right)

7d-MarkIII-StillLife

The 18MP 7d (left) versus the 21MP Canon 1Ds Mark III (right)

To our eye, the 7D file looks the least sharp, seems to have less detail in the shadows and seems ‘flat’ and muddy  with very little snap. The Rebel and Mark III files look noticeably better.

Just for fun we interpolated the Rebel’s 12 MP files up to the size of the 7D’s sensor at 18 MP and downsized the 1Ds Mark III files from 21 MP to 18 MP. We used Photoshop’s bicubic interpolation for resizing. We left the 7D at its native 18 MP resolution. This is not really a fair test because upsizing and downsizing reduces image quality. So the 7D is really at an advantage here. No sharpening was added to any file. Below are the results.

7d-Rebel-StillLife-Interpolated

The 18MP 7d (left) versus Canon Rebel XSi upsized to 18 MP (right)

7d-MarkIII-StillLife-Interpolated

The 18MP 7d (left) versus 1Ds Mark III downsized to 18 MP (right)

Again to our eye the 7D files look soft and mushy compared to the snap in the other two files. Of course we expected the flagship Mark III to outperform the mid-priced 7D but we did not expect the entry level Rebel to better the 7D especially when the Rebel’s 12MP files were interpolated to 18MP!

Field Results

In the field we thought it best to just compare the Rebel and the 7D since they both had an APS-c sized sensors and the 7D is probably a camera for people who might be moving up from something like the Rebel or the Canon 30D or 40D.

In our first test we made an image of hay bales in the country. As always we used Live View and manually focused on the hay bale. We used a 70-200 f4L lens at f16 (mirror lock-up, cable release, sturdy tripod etc.). The detailed comparison shot follows the overall view.

7dHayBales

©Darwin Wiggett - shot with a 7D

7d-Rebel-HAY

The 18MP 7d (left) versus the 12MP Canon Rebel XSi (right)

We were surprised by just how much sharper the Rebel images appeared in the field tests.

Every time we put on a telephoto lens and shot distant scenes, the 7D came up much softer than the Rebel. Remember, we were using the same lenses in every comparison, the same apertures, Live View focusing, mirror lock-up etc. We processed the photos in Canon’s DPP exactly the same with no sharpening or noise reduction. In each case, the 7D file did not match the performance of the Rebel.

The example below shows the problem we kept running into with the 7D. The image looked tack sharp on the LCD using Live View at 10x, but the actual details in the file were mushy.

Fullmoon

Canon 7D with 300mm f4L at f11 (1/60th), mirror-up, cable release

Fullmoondetails

100% view of the image above

We were continually dismayed at the soft, muddy files we were getting from the 7D. In test after test, the 7D files were especially poor when using telephoto or wide angle lenses with distant scenes. When the subject was closer to the camera (like the original still life) the 7D performed slightly better. Below is a scene taken at 20mm at f11 (with a 17-50mm f2.8 Tamron lens). The detailed file has the characteristic ‘mushy’ look we grew accustomed to seeing from the 7D. Both photos are ©Samantha Chrysanthou

KamloopsScenic

7D – image focused in Live View on the foreground trees

KamloopsScenicdetails

details from the image above

We did not directly compare the 7D against our little Canon G9 (a 12MP point-n-shoot), but we happened to take very similar shots one morning of the same subject with the two different cameras.  When we processed the RAW images in DPP we were surprised by the fact that the G9 files looked nearly as good as the 7D files!

7DaspenLeaves

©Samantha Chrysanthou - shot with the 7D

NMP.tif

©Darwin Wiggett - shot with the Canon G9

7d-G9-Leaves

The 18MP Canon 7d (left) versus the 12MP Canon G9 (right)

A Second and Third 7D Body

The files from the Canon 7D were so disappointing to us that we began to wonder if we had received a dud camera. We borrowed a different body. Off we went for round two, again shooting numerous scenes with both the 7D and the Rebel XSi. We got the exact same results:  the little Rebel bested the 7D every time in terms of file quality. The second 7D body performed as ‘poorly’ as the first.

So… we got a THIRD 7D body and ran more tests. We went out and shot a city scene with three different Canon cameras; the new 10 MP Canon G11 point-n-shoot, our trusty Rebel XSi, and the 7D. We also threw the 12 MP Nikon D300s into the mix just for fun. With the G11 we used a tripod, f5.6, IS off and used auto-focus. With the Rebel and the 7D we attached a 45mm TS-E lens, used f8, Live View for precise focus and mirror lock-up with a cable release. On the Nikon we also used Live View and manual focus, mirror-up, a cable release and a 17-55 f2.8 Nikon Lens. The Canon cameras were at a default setting of 100 ISO, the Nikon at its default of 200 ISO. We processed all the Canon files in DPP using auto white balance, standard picture style, and all noise and sharpening off. We processed the Nikon image in Adobe Camera Raw 5.5 with all sharpening and noise reduction off and all controls zeroed out.

Here is the overall city scene followed by the detailed comparisons

7d-city

test image shot with the Canon 7D

7D-G11-City

The 18MP Canon 7d (left) versus the 10MP Canon G11 (right)

The little $575 G11 point-n-shoot can definitely hold its own against the 7D in terms of file quality. This is especially noticeable if you compare the points of contrast in the image, such as the window frames in the building.  For some reason, even though we processed both RAW images in DPP using the same picture settings (standard) and white balance (auto), the two cameras gave very different colour renditions of the scene.

7D-Rebel-City

The 18MP 7d (left) versus the 12MP Canon Rebel XSi (right)

The photo above is consistent with what we saw with in all of our tests, the Rebel comes out on top in terms of fine details captured in the scene.

7D-300s-City

The 18MP Canon 7d (left) versus the 12MP Nikon D300s (right)

There is simply no question that the Nikon comes out on top in terms of detail and nuance of tonal capture. In fact, we think the D300s outperforms our trusty little Rebel—which you would expect from a higher end camera like the $1800 Nikon.  Even though both the Canon 7d and the Nikon D300s camera files were processed using ‘auto’ white balance the difference in colour cast is not surprising given that these are two different brands of camera (Canon and Nikon) and that we used two different RAW converters (Canon’s DPP and Abobe’s  Camera RAW). The top camera in this test was the Nikon

Finally, we shot a detailed wall of graffiti in the city with the Canon 7D, Rebel XSi, 1ds Mark III, G11 and the Nikon D300s. The 3 Canon dSLR’s were outfitted with the 45mm TS-E lens, the Nikon was outfitted with the Nikon 17-55 f2.8, and the G11 with its built-in lens. We tried to match the exact composition with each camera. Below is the overall scene and following that the detailed results.

7d-wall

Test image shot with the Canon 7d

7D-G11-Wall

The 18MP Canon 7d (left) versus the 10MP Canon G11 (right)

The G11 gives very vibrant colours even when the RAW files are processed with the exact same settings (auto white balance, standard picture settings) as the 7D. We’re not sure why. Disregarding the colour differences it looks like the little G11 produces files to compete with the bigger sensor on the 7D.

7D-Rebel-Wall

The 18MP Canon 7d (left) versus the 12MP Canon Rebel XSi (right)

The Rebel wins again both in terms of micro contrast and tonal capture.

7D-MarkIII-Wall

The 18MP 7d (left) versus the 21MP Canon 1Ds Mark III (right)

Because we were using a 45mm TS-E lens on cameras with two differently sized sensors (the 7D has an APS-c sensor while the Mark III has a full frame 35mm sensor) we needed to move closer to the scene with the full frame camera. We did not get the framing exact. The 1Ds files should look larger because it has more megapixels. Nevertheless the end result is still the same. The $7500 1Ds Mark III gives much better files than the $2100 7D (we should hope so!).

7D-300s-Wall

The 18MP Canon 7d (left) versus the 12MP Nikon D300s (right)

In this comparison the D300s easily wins in our opinion. The fine detail is really nice, the tonal changes are subtle. The Canon 7D file has a characteristic mushy look.  But one could argue that the 7D could be enlarged bigger because it has more pixels on the sensor.

In the next test we interpolated the Nikon D300s file up to 18MP. Then we tried to match the colours and contrast of the two files for a ‘finished’ image. The final two images look pretty close – below:

7D-300s-Wall-MAtched-Overall

The 18MP 7d (above) and the D300s interpolated to 18MP (below)

7D-300s-Wall-MAtched-Details

The 18MP 7d (left) and the Nikon D300s interpolated to 18MP (right)

Even at a disadvantage the interpolated Nikon file simply trumps the Canon file. In our opinion there is no contest, the Nikon D300s produces better files than the Canon 7D.

Conclusions 

Of all the cameras we have ever used, we loved the handling of the Canon 7D the best. What a little sports car of a camera! We so much wanted to love this camera. But in test after test we constantly were disappointed in the quality of the files. For our purposes, landscape and nature photography shot using RAW images, the 7D just does not cut it. Darwin is definitely keeping his Rebel (a great camera for the money) for backpacking. We were so impressed with the Canon G11 that we plan to add it to our camera bags as an everyday walk around camera.

Sam has since purchased the Nikon D300s because it gives her the both great file quality AND strong performance and handling.

We looked on the web for reviews of the Canon 7D and almost every review site RAVES about the camera both in terms of features and performance (we agree) but also in terms of file quality (huh?).  Also on photo sharing forums a lot of photographers think the file quality of the Canon 7D is awesome. Maybe our expectations were too high? We thought the 7D should give us files better than a Rebel or G11. Maybe we are just too anal?

Here is what we know. The Canon 7D is not good enough for us to buy and use for the way we shoot (RAW). A whole lot of people love the camera and are super happy with it. Different strokes…. We suggest before buying ANY camera, rent it if you can and go out and shoot stuff you normally would shoot. Compare it with the camera you already own. Is there a jump in quality and performance? Don’t listen to the hype and reviews, go test for yourself. We did and we are content with our choices.

Technical Notes

Royce Howland has made some ‘suspicians’ about why he thinks the RAW files look ‘mushy’ on the Canon 7D

- Effects of different levels of AA filtering that may require different initial “capture” sharpening to normalize the images from different bodies for apples-to-apples comparison. My suspicion is the 7D has one of the strongest AA filters ever on a Canon body which would put its files at an immediate disadvantage in zero sharpening comparisons.

- Effects of diffraction limitation and depth of field when comparing different sensor formats. Looking critically at my own shooting of late, I’m now trying to stay in the sweet spot of f/8 to f/11 because it’s amazing the softening impact of going to narrower apertures (not to mention focus errors) on these densely packed sensors.

- Effects of things like picture style differences in DPP, even though equivalent RAW conversion settings were selected, which may contribute to the flat appearance of the 7D files. I don’t think the DPP conversions are really normalized with each other across different bodies for the same style settings, which is one reason I don’t like DPP. (See also the super saturation of the G11 shots.)

Royce continues:

Some of these things, ironically, might be better equalized for apples-to-apples comparisons by shooting JPEG in the camera instead of RAW. This would give the camera’s own engine the chance to produce its best-effort output given a set of baseline picture style controls.

But regardless of those things, at the end of the day when you look at the results out of the camera, softer is softer and flatter is flatter. One clear conclusion is that the 7D RAW files will need more work to compete with other camera images that need less work. When you start off with the RAW image further behind the 8 ball, it limits how good you can go… especially without getting into a “digital processed” look.

NEW Updates

There are concerns about Canon’s DPP making 7D files look soft while Adobe’s Camera RAW does a better job. Below is the same 7D image shot at f8 using the Canon 45mm TS-E lens. The left image was processed in DPP (auto white blance, standard picture style, no sharpening or noise reduction). The image on the right is with the latest version of Camera RAW in Photoshop CS-4 (auto white balance, all controls zeroed out, no sharpening or noise reduction). Is DPP bad? You decide.

7D-DPP-CameraRAW

Canon 7d file with DPP (left) and Camera Raw (right)

End Note

We have summarized the deluge of comments on this review here

For those who want to see how the camera performs relative to the Rebel at f5.6 and in JPEG and with various RAW converters go to here and here

And if all of the ‘serious’ comments have you shaking your head, cruise on over here for a good ha ha.

Jan 31, 2010 Update. Comments on the 7D Review posting are now closed. We received  a lot of great and helpful comments on the 7D review that should give people a lot of resouces to check out and a lot of information to judge the validity of our tests. In the end you should just rent the camera, see if it fits your needs and decide for yourself if the 7D is a good match for you. I am closing the comments for one main reason. There is a small vocal minority out there that just want to flame, and name-call, and act like kids by posting rude and offensive comments on this blog. In short they are not following this blog’s House Rules. Rather than spend all my time policing other people’s behaviour I am ending comments on the review.

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392 Responses to “The Canon EOS 7D Review”

  1. [...] 1 votes vote The Canon EOS 7D Review The Canon EOS 7D – The Camera We Want to Love By Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou [...]

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  3. Yikes. Idon’t know what to say. I wanted to see the 7D shine all around, but at the same time I like how my little Rebel XSi holds up! Great review, Darwin and Samantha!

  4. Thanks for the info. I really wanted this camera to shine too! While I love the image quality of the 5D Mark II, I really liked the APS-C crop I had with my 50D for wildlife and the autofocus reports of the 7D have been stellar. Thinking back, I have always felt like the 50D images needed more post-processing than my 5D Mark II and I never felt the color rendition was ever as good. Perhaps Canon is going down the wrong path here….

  5. The sweet spot for most of canons quality lenses 17-55IS & 10-22 are F4-5.6 shooting over these will go soft, I never shoot over F5.6 & get stellar results. Try this next time with the lenses I mentioned before you decide on a purchase.

    • The sweet spot for my TS-E 45mm is f5.6 to f13. This is the lens used for many of the tests. The 7d performed poorly with these apertures and this particular lens while the other two Canon’s performed well. I test all my lenses and know which apertures each lens performs best at. The tests therefore are not due to problems with wrong aperture choice. Even if aperture choice was not optimal all cameras would perform poorly if diffraction was the limiting factor.

      If you get stellar results at f5.6 with your lenses, you’ll get better than stellar if you use a camera other than the 7d.

      Darwin

      • This test is simply without any value – and the conclusions erroneous due to user errors.
        The used apertures are too small; diffractions kicks noticeably in at around f/8.
        Comparing unsharpened pictures? Really? Would you deliver unsharpened pictures to your client, or would you do your best effort to deliver the best from the potential of the file ?
        Different cameras deliver different files; each with their special needs when it comes to post production.
        My experience is that 7D delivers THE most amazing files I’ve seen from any APS-C.

      • Thank you for comment. Diffraction was not the problem, I test all my lenses and know where diffraction kicks in for each individual lens. If diffraction was the problem specific with the 7d then what a useless camera if you can’t use apertures past f8. ;-)
        So a better test for you is to process each image differently to overcome ‘their specail needs’ and then compare the end results?? That sounds like a real apples-to-apples comparison to me. I am so glad you love your 7D, I wanted to love mine too! Darwin

      • Darwin, really, there is no diffraction limit on your lens, so saying you “I test all my lenses and know where diffraction kicks in for each individual lens.”is simply wrong.

        If your point is that the issue with the 7D is a too low diffraction limit, then you would make a very good point and show that you understand the underlying technical characteristics. The blanket statement in the review is, sorry to say, flawed, because indeed, at lower F stops there seems to be no problem with the file quality. Do some tests with lower F stops, add that and then point out: Hey this camera sucks for landscapes!. What you currently say is incomplete and perhaps even misleading.

      • See my earlier post. There is always a diffraction limit on a lens! If yours have no diffraction limit, then this is something new to physics. It may well be the case that the apparently poor performance of the 7D in the comparisons Darwin has made, are not diffraction related – I don’t think it’s the cause – but the opening statement in this post is plain wrong.

        Sorry, but I think part of the reason that there a so many threads on photography websites about confusion over diffraction, crop factors etc, is the profusion of posts making loud, unambiguous technical statements that sound authoritative, but which are based on entirely incorrect understanding of the underlying principles.

      • Nigel, I agree with you 100%.

      • Andy Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        November 16, 2009 at 10:50 PM
        I found F11 sharper than F8 (as it should be)
        two sample JPG Direct from 7D with a 24-70mm L Lens, not sure what is your problem the glass or the RAW convesion.

        F8
        http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/9708/84249533.jpg
        F11
        http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/6219/f11e.jpg

        100%
        F8
        http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/6915/f8dn.jpg
        F11
        http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/2120/f11d.jpg

      • dmojavensis Says:

        Andy, have you heard of something called depth of field, which depends on the f-number?

      • dmojavensis Says:

        Diffraction does not (essentially) depend on the lens — only on the lens’ aperture [and the wavelength of the light]. In other words all your lenses will have the same degradation of the image quality due to diffraction that will depend only on the F-number. Cf. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airy_disk#Cameras

        It does not make sense to compare 100% crops at the conditions when the diffraction kicks in strongly (like f11-16 for 7D, 450D) if you want to isolate sensor quality. Surely you’ll like your 7D more if you look at 100% crops at F-numbers less than 6.8. E.g. try Canon EF 50/1.4 at f/4-5.6 and see the difference :)

      • Remeber that your diffraction limit for a lens will depend on two things:
        – the aperture setting you have
        – the pixel size of the body

        So the same lens may be used at f/11 on one camera, and be better than the camera. But when moved to a camera with smaller pixels, the lens will be the weak link.

        Most probably, you have considered the diffraction limit based on experience with your 1Ds Mk III which has a FF sensor with way larger pixels than the 7D.

        An 18MP APS-C camera will be affected earlier than a 12MP AFS-C since the pixels are smaller meaning that it takes a smaller circle of confusion to smear accross multiple pixels. And 1 18MP AFS-C camera is affected way earlier than a 21MP FF camera.

        It is important to remember that when reducing the size of the image sensor, you must also scale the focal length of the lens, and the suitable aperture values. The APS-C camera can’t use the same parameters as a medium format camera. It is very easy to forget this, until pixel-peeping the result and noticing that the photos aren’t as good as expected.

      • This is amazing how resistant you are to the message that diffraction limitation is dependent on the resolution of the sensor and the aperture. And for high quality lenses it should not depend on the lens type. So it is irrelevant that you have tested these lenses before on different body. Since 5DII has bigger pixels you will see the diffraction effects at higher f-stop (when compared with 7D).
        I guess you are right that 7D is not a landscape camera BUT you are wrong when saying that it was not diffraction problem.

      • Regardless, a 4.3µm pixel pitch on the 7D was pure stupidity on the part of Canon. Canon sacrificed dynamic range and ISO performance for extra resolution that is virtually useless just so they could put a bigger megapixel number on the camera box. Only an idiot or nob would fall for this ruse. Give me a 7D with 12mp and great dynamic range, and I’ll be happy.

      • Many thanks to Darwin et al. for a super helpful review. I feared that
        I was doing something wrong, because:

        My response to Kris is:

        My 7D delivers THE worst image quality that I have ever gotten
        from a CANON SLR digital camera. It is no contest, and I’m afraid
        it is shocking. I should say: I am not given to writing flames or
        to disliking CANON products. So I agree that the features are
        superb, but it’s like driving a Ferrari that won’t go faster than 25
        miles per hour. Disappointing.

  6. I stumbled across your blog and have to say.. I really appreciate your review of the 7D.. I shoot with a Nikon, but very interesting information nonetheless!! Always learning! :)

  7. Erik Johansen Says:

    Hi! I llike the “in-the-field-review” and the comparision to cameras I have in add. to 7D.
    Your findings surprise me though.
    Could this have something to do with the RAW-converter you have used?
    To day; the only RAW-converter usable for 7D is the Canon DPP .

    //Erik

    • The Canon RAW converter (DPP) is optimized for Canon cameras and is the latest release specifically packed with the 7d. It should actually be the best RAW convertor to use. Darwin

      • Dpp is rubbish … look at a 7D/D300s/450D/1DsMkIII processed in Capture One 5 and you will see a massive difference. The 7D requires more sharpening but the detail is there absolutely. You just don’t know how to process for it. Different cameras require different levels of processing. A better comparision would have been to shoot jpeg wil lall cameras on medium sharpening.

      • Awesome post, its all about using the right software!

        I look forward to seeing your detailed test because obviously you have actually done the test in Capture One using RAW from the four different cameras you listed above. Can you send the link? Darwin

      • Erik Johansen Says:

        Yea? Wiyh the latest PP I get exactly the same unusable result as you; if I use The programs presets.
        Both 50D and 7D behave similar.
        40D can show a more deasent result directly in DPP. (450D I don’t know)
        I don’t have any diffr.-problems up to f:13 on my 7D.

        I think yor result are to be found in RAW handling; even if you hav used Canons software.
        Regards Erik

  8. Great review Darwin and Sam, it’s nice to see an actual comparison of file quality against other cameras vs many of the other rave reviews floating about online. I was really hoping this would an excellent back-up body for the new 1D IV I’m anxiously anticipating, but will need to test it out before buying one. And on that note, you better believe I’ll be testing the 1D IV out the ying and the yang before committing to one.

  9. One thing I’d like to add…if you get a chance to post a few comparison images of processed files, a Rebel image vs a 7D image (with sharpening, etc), I’d be interested to know how they match up then.

  10. I was led to your blog because of this review, and I’ll be subscribing to the RSS feed from now on. I really like your approach, and your thoroughness, not to mention the quality of your writing. Cheers.

  11. Scott Snyder Says:

    Thanks much Sam and Darwin.

    This kind of real-life comparison is invaluable to those of us on “constained” budgets (me) and deciding on new bodies — 5dii or 7d . I’m primarily a landscape shooter and the 7d looked like great crop body on paper (or online) and substantially less expensive than a 5dii, especially with the needed computer upgrade with the 5dii’s larger files. Now it is not looking so sweet. Drat.

    Back to filling the piggie bank for that 5dii :->.

  12. Can you make some of these RAW comparisons available for download? I’d really like a chance to compare them myself.

    With regards to the AA filter, I’d be curious to what the application of a bit of sharpening would do. With my 7D, I’ve found that I can bump up the RAW sharpening quite a bit without it looking at all post processed, unlike with my previous cameras.

    Doing that (and/or setting the default sharpening settings a bit higher) fixed my mushiness completely. Then again, I don’t usually pixel peep or crop at 100 percent.

  13. Thanks so much for this review. I was happy with my XSi, now I’m happier.

  14. I wonder what is different about the 7Ds you tried (or the way you used the camera) compared to the “standard” review sites. The DPReview review showed the 7D with at least the same resolution as the D300s and possibly a bit more (see http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos7d/page25.asp for example).

    I don’t at all dispute what you saw (I have a 5D MkII, not a 7D) but your results are strange. I first thought diffraction might be popping up (particularly in the f16 test you did) but that’s clearly not the case.

    • The DP review used JPEGS, the 7d sharpens JPEGS strongly in-camera. Darwin

      • The page I pointed to was a comparison of RAW output in ACR from DPReview.

      • The dpreview does a comparison of both jpeg and raw, and the raw images show it to be on par or better then the d300’s.

        I don’t dispute your finding at all, i just wanted to point out that the dpreview review does a raw comparison.

        BTW, I also noticed the same exact softness as you on the 7D with dpp, but for whatever reason when I process in lightroom they seem much sharper by default then they are in DPP. However the color looks horrible in lightroom right now

    • Tommy,

      Not all review sites see the oppsite of me, check out the 7d comparisons to other cameras at this site:

      http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EOS-7D-Digital-SLR-Camera-Review.aspx

      Darwin

      • todd yeates Says:

        this sight agrees with me that the 7d is the king of aps-c cameras and said its much better then the rebel.

    • Sorry Guys, I now see that the dprevie comparison is in RAW (I just saw the JPEG label on the photos). But like I said in my review, the 7d does good with close subjects like studio scenes (the way dpreview tests most cameras), the problem is is with more distant scenes and detailed mid distant scnes like landscapes. I like to test the kinds of subjects I will ACTUALLY photograph, not test charts and flower vases.

      If anyone is getting results they like from the 7D, then that is all that matters. Mileage may vary. For the way we shoot (detailed and often distant landscape in RAW and processed in DPP), the 7d does not cut it dor us. But don’t believe us or ANY review site, test for yourself with your lenses, apertures, RAW convertors and subjects. d

      • Darwin, do you think this may be a result of crowding too many pixels into a cropped sensor? Maybe the limit has been reached in regards to megapixels for the cropped sensor until the technology adavances a bit more. When I first heard of the 7D, I thought for sure it would be a full frame body. When I saw that it was an 18MP camera a with cropped sensor, I was shocked.

      • I saw pretty much the same thing last year with the 50D, I was
        hopeing the 7D would fix this, because I want a good crop camera
        to go with my 5D2, I am sure at larger apertures the 7D will
        do well but stopped down for lanscapes, get a FF camera, if you use the 7D for wildlife and sports it will probably be great.
        Ross

      • dmojavensis Says:

        Ross :

        You are a victim of a typical confusion.

        The loss of image quality due to diffraction is independent of sensor size for given depth of field (and angle of view). In other words diffraction will degrade your image to exactly the same amount on medium format camera, 35mm SLR, APS-C SLR, or even on a digicam provided the DOF is the same. For this you of course will have to stop down the lenses on larger format cameras more (e.g. F8 on Canon 5D, F5=F(8/1.6) on Canon 7D, about F1.9=F(8/4.3) on Lumix LX3, and F10=F(8/0.8) on medium format Leica S2).

        Of course the sensor itself and the lens may be of higher quality on larger format cameras, but that has nothing to do with diffraction as a result of stopping down the lens :)

    • Hi Tommy,

      just have a look at the samples at dpreview from the 7D. If you download the pics and look closly you’ll find, that not all but almost all the pics look a little bit mushy in some kind and that you sometimes even can’t find a dedicatet infocus point.
      I found this out before I read this review, so I didn’t really search for this item in the samples of dpreview.
      When I watched the samples closly I was just wondering why I had this “mushy” feeling (I was not drunken ;-)). So I went to several other reviews of Nikons an Canons on dpreview and found much clearer pics with a dedicated in focus spot there.
      Just give it a try! My opinion is, that Canon simple put too much pixel into this camera / sensor. From my point of view, the best picture is a picture I don’t have to process much.
      By the way this is also the approach of the Leica S-System.

    • Almost every compare in DPR look softer than the nikon to me.

  15. You may also want to see my own comments on the 7D. Noise is worse compared to the 40D.
    http://www.kareldonk.com/karel/2009/11/08/canon-eos-7d-review-noisier-than-40d/

  16. Angelo Santos Says:

    Hi. Thanks for the review. May I know what firmware version you were using at the time of your Live View tests? Thanks.

  17. I think I would wait until the Adobe Raw for the 7D comes out, …as the Canon DPP leaves little to be desired……IMHO.

  18. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alltop_Photo: The Canon EOS 7D Review http://bit.ly/1Ymgkn Photography.alltop…

  19. Nice review Darwin. Can you please tell us what lenses/apertures were used for the various tests shots? Were the 7D, XSi and D300 shots done at identical apertures?

    • In each case I stated what apertures were used and which lenses (you gotta read beyond the captions). And all the cameras were alwasy shot at identical apertures. Darwin

  20. Thank you THANK YOU, someone has finally provided thorough evidence to my concerns ever since the announcement of this 7D. On NPN and other sites I kept posting the question about cramming eighteen million cells on that sensor. When the cells are too small you get more noise and less contrast due to less light charge… Hence, softer lifeless images. So when sample shots started appearing, I then SAW my concern pan out, but everybody kept raving about the image quality. I thought it was me, it’s not, the 7D has features but it’s not an image quality marvel. With all due respect to previous comments, to say your results are stellar is quite subjective… Stellar compared to WHAT would be my first question. Anyway, thank you both for such a rigorous test. My 5D2 will be my photo buddy for quite a long time

  21. Angelo Santos Says:

    Hi. Thanks for the review. may I know what firmware version you were using at the time of your tests? Thanks.

  22. Thanks for this excellent dispassionate review. There should be more like it. While you can argue about the best way to compare image quality between cameras of different MP and sensor size, the fact remains that image quality measured here is realistic and will reflect what you get in real life.

    Your experience with the 7D reflects EXACTLY what I’ve found for the 40D and 50D compared with ‘lesser’ cameras. I’ve been in trouble getting sharp wildlife photos (mostly birds) since my 20D was replaced by 40D. 30D, 50D. None of these cameras reflects the sharpness the 20D used to give or a 450D I tried for a month. The problem for me is the same as you found here – long distances, and also targets near competing objects and backgrounds, and targets against bright backgrounds i.e. sky.

    I’ve recently recommended to a friend NOT to buy a 50D or 7D but get a 500D instead for exactly this reason. I am stuck with a 50D and was about to change to the 7D to get the ‘more accurate’ focusing and lower noise, better IQ but sorry to read here and in other places that it won’t give me better IQ or lower noise at ISO 100-400.

    Personally I think Canon have lost their way with Image Quality in their ever increasing mid-range models. (i.e. other than on the full frame cameras and 1D3). I’ve had focus /soft image issues (and I’m talking small target, low contrast and/or high brightness situations — critical situations, not everyday focus on that baseball player shots) in every camera since the 20D. Canon have not helped me at all in sorting out a solution and I would definitely move back to Nikon if I wasn’t stuck with many expensive Canon lenses. I wait for an improvement and really hoped the 7D would be it, but it seems not. I tried one today quickly, and not impressed either.

    Please let us know of any follow up or changes to your views, or any input from Canon!

  23. Converting 7D RAWs with DPP results in mushy/soft pictures. Converting 7D RAWs with LR 3 (default settings) plus Nik Sharpener (default settings) results in razor sharp pictures that come very close to the 5DII and show much more detail than the 450D/XSI. I tried this with the imaging resource test shots.

    There are several other reviewers who comment on the allegedly poor RAW quality of the 7D (e.g., Lim or Gordon from camera labs). But unfortunately none of these reviewers is prepared to upload the RAW test shots to http://www.hotfile.com (or another 1-click hoster) so that you can verify whether the RAWs were poorly converted or not.

    My take: you probably just used the wrong software and, maybe, at f 16 diffraction kicked in.

    • I can easily make ‘sharp’ files from the 7d using even DPP and then tweaking with various means of sharpening. But the same image from the Rebel starts off sharper and with better tonality so I can take it further. Why don’t you take the same RAW image from different cameras and do your standard software workflow as you describe. See if you see a difference in the end and report back. Also do you have proof for “Converting 7d RAWS with DPP results in Mushy/Soft pictures”? If so I would love to see the link that shows a comparions of RAW convertors for the 7d.

      I have stated clearly that for the way I take photos, and the workflow that I follow, the 7d gives disappointing results. If you have a workflow that gives you results that make you happy, then that is all that matters. Darwin

      • Darwin, it would be nice if you hosted your raws so we can see if this is the camera or something with DPP.

        For all we know, DPP needs an update for the 7D. It’s a new camera, and we all know that usually means bug fixes for our software.

        If you want “proof” for DPP having a problem, note that Adobe doesn’t. I’ve taken RAWs from the 7D and from older Canons and found the 7D to be significantly sharper (even at “greater distances”, which shouldn’t make any difference).

      • nativecolorado Says:

        Hi.

        As a professional Testing Coordinator, I agree with your testing process. It seems thorough and consistent.

        My only nit is that you’re not publishing consistent final results. Speaking from experience, my Canon D30, 20D, 7D, S3-IS, SX10-IS and DS500 ALL produce different images.

        Obviously, I expect the S3-IS, SX10-IS and SD500 to produce better images out of the camera. That’s how consumer cameras are designed. Anything coming out of a D-SLR requires post processing, unless you crank up the in-camera settings (sharpening, contrast, etc.) Even then, I tweak my images in PS or LR.

        Given that each camera produces different images (the 30D images were described as ‘buttery'; I always liked that description) for a variety of reasons, it comes down to your post processing techniques to produce your final images.

        You can always get sharp images in post (assuming your getting reasonably sharp images from the camera, that is), and once the image is ‘sharp’ it’s sharp.

        You say that you can easily make ‘sharp’ photos from the 7D. What I would like to see is a comparison of your *final* images from the test shots.

        I’m not faulting your testing methodology-that is sound. But show your *final* images, what you might deliver to a paying client. That would make this a true apples-to-apples test!

      • Thanks that you replied to my comment.

        First, I would like to apologize. I forgot to mention that – using the same workflow (or any other workflow I tried) – I did NOT get similar sharp and detailed results with the 450D. (Btw., I do own a 450D but I do not own a 7D.) Moreover, the 5DII RAWs do not get much sharper than they already are.

        It does not matter to me who is right or wrong. I just want to explore this issue so that I can decide whether the 7D is good or not.

        Below you will find a 7D RAW developed with LR 3 (and also the RAW file and a “bad” conversion attempt). Please try to match the LR3 result with the 450D. Impossible IMHO. Also the 5DII is only slightly better than the 7D. I would highly enjoy trying the same with YOUR real-world RAWs. Please do not be shy and make them available for download.

        Here are the examples:

        1.
        Oversharpened with DPP + Photoshop USM

        http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E7D/FULLRES/E7DhSLI00100_NR_OFFdpp_ps_usm.jpg

        Huge sharpening articfacts (see the text on the wheel to the right).

        2. RAW Image from Imaging Resource

        http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E7D/E7DhSLI00100_NR_OFF.CR2.HTM

        You can use this file to try your own workflow. There are also RAW files for the 450D and the 5DII available on imaging resource.

        3.
        My preliminary processing recipe

        http://hotfile.com/dl/15745422/c341bac/E7DhSLI00100_NR_OFF-2.jpg.html

        Reasonably sharp (w only minor artifcats and a more “natural” look). Do you agree?

  24. Hello,
    Thank you for your review and your blog.
    I’ll be subscribing too to the RSS feed from now.
    I love your title ” The Camera We Want to Love”.
    What a pity!

  25. Wow, this review turned my stomach, as I was about to buy a 7d. But i’m thankful for stumbling across it (which I did by total accident).

    Might have to rethink the 50D. Do you guys have a review of it? How does it compare to the rebel? I currently shoot a Rebel xti.

    Thanks again.
    Jason

    • Buy a used original 5d. they go for about 1-1.2k these days.

    • What I would like to see is the same shot from an xsi, 7d, d300s both sharpened the most possible without looking processed.

      The truth is that it is a fallacy when people say raw files are “unconverted.” Any display at all requires conversion. To this effect 7d files “MAY” be converted in a way that gives less initial sharpness… but allows for much more sharpening while remaining natural looking. To call your test “real world” without making this final test leaves a big gap in your test. I would love to see it filled!

      This being said I have seen examples of what you are showing across the internet with people complaining about it then getting berated for their technique. This does show at least an initial problem.

      PS: The rebels are great cameras. I used an XTI for product work for quite awhile.

    • What I would like to see is the same shot from an xsi, 7d, d300s both sharpened the most possible without looking processed.

      The truth is that it is a fallacy when people say raw files are “unconverted.” Any display at all requires conversion. To this effect 7d files “MAY” be converted in a way that gives less initial sharpness… but allows for much more sharpening while remaining natural looking. To call your test “real world” without making this final test leaves a big gap in your test. I would love to see it filled!

      This being said I have seen examples of what you are showing across the internet with people complaining about it then getting berated for their technique. This does show at least an initial problem.

      PS: The rebels are great cameras. I used an XTI for product work for quite awhile..

  26. A very interesting read indeed. I have the 5D mark II, but a friend of mine has the 7D. He has been shooting in Raw and using Lightroom to process the files. I haven’t done a side by side comparison, but his pictures look very good (sharp and clear) in Lightroom.

    Maybe Canon didn’t bother to optimize DPP.

  27. I don´t now what´s going wrong in this test, but images from the 7D I own since 2 months are more sharp, detailed and have less noise in higher ISOs than my 40D. In comparison to my 5DI there is no difference in image quality. The only problem is noise in lower ISO, but this is software problem I guess. If you use LR 3 beta, you will be supprised by details and sharpness. DPP – incl. actual version – and LR 2.5 still produce crap. But unfortunately in LR 3 beta luminance denoising ist still not active.
    But – we talk about DSLRs. And software is still part of the imaging.
    After all: when I see my images from my 7D, I really can´t share your conclusions about it.
    Please excuse my broken english…
    Hasifisch

  28. [...] Again to our eye the 7D files look soft and mushy compared to the snap in the other two files. Of course we expected the flagship Mark III to outperform the mid-priced 7D but we did not expect the entry level Rebel to better the 7D especially when the Rebel’s 12MP files were interpolated to 18MP! [...]

  29. Very interesting results indeed. Which version of firmware were you using?

  30. I think the reason the pics aren’t sharp is because of diffraction. Too many pixels for the lens to handle.
    Its still a cool camera tho. But when the 5D Mark 3 comes out no one will care about the 7D.

  31. See also Imaging Resource for detail resolution comparisons on each of these cameras – where the 450D does indeed impress (check out the round chart to the right of the still life scene in particular), where the D300 also impresses, and where the 7D, to my eyes resolves even more detail than both. The images are shot from the same distance meaning that the benefits of the larger sensor (or its flaws) are revealed. Are the differences huge? Not at all. But they are perceptible in my judgement, though it’s amazing how well even the 10MP 400D compares to the 7D. But for those of us who crop our shots from time to time – most I’d guess – there are clear advantages in having more pixels in the image. Add the other advantages of the 7D and it looks to me like a very attractive prospect. It’s worth noting that the apertures – where specified – in DW’s comparisons were above the levels at which many commentators claim the 7D’s smaller pixels introduce image degradation by diffraction – a possible explanation for the 7D’s poorer than expected performance here. For all that, it’s clear that the 450D especially, and the D300 are still cameras to be reckoned with.

    • to jim hogg: if the result of these tests are correct, that means that “having more pixels in the image” is absolutely false, even if the sensor is said to be “18MP”.

      When I see the 12MP 450d results interpoled to 18MP and still being sharper than for the 18MP 7D, it means that, here, extra pixels in the sensor are useless because they fail to capture more details, and only add some extra noise at higher ISO (and cost more to store/archive)!

  32. Thanks for all the tests! I, too, was upgrading from a Digital Rebel (XT) and was hoping that the 7D would be everything for me as a landscape, portrait, and stock photographer.

    My conclusions were the same as yours. Past f/7 or so, the diffraction that resulted really softened my landscape images. Past ISO 100, the noise really irritated me and didn’t seem like that big of an improvement from my 350D.

    But MAN, did I ever love using the camera in the field. It really does sport superior handling and user controls to any Canon camera to date.

    If $1700 US is your price range, and your primarily shoot landscape, I would strongly urge you to test drive a full-frame 5D classic. I did, and was blown away by the image quality. Yes, the LCD sucked (but not worse than my XT!), yes, it’s a bit clunky to use, and sure, the focusing ability and low-burst rate aren’t really meant for sports. But when used properly, the image quality is simply stunning. You can find a good used one for about $1200-$1400 US. Diffraction really doesn’t become an issue because of the size of the pixels.

    Thanks again for the tests! Good luck to everyone trying to make a decision about a camera!

    • “Past f/7 or so, the diffraction that resulted really softened my landscape images.:

      What is the point of a camera that can’t be used past f7? Like I said in my review, for what I shoot, and the way I shoot it and process it, the 7d does not work for me.

      For others, the Camera my be great, I like your recommendation about the old 5D. both 5d’s are execllent landscape cameras.

      Darwin

  33. Also, Darwin, the effects of diffraction do indeed vary by camera sensor. The-digital-picture.com has an excellent table on each of its camera reviews that explains the relationship of pixel density vs. diffraction values.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EOS-7D-Digital-SLR-Camera-Review.aspx

    You’re right, for anything other than sports/action photography where you’re constantly shooting wide open in order to stop action, the 7D is not a winner. But if that’s your goal, it’s a pretty sweet camera. I found images shot at below F/5.6 to be pretty sharp and of good quality.

  34. maybe u might wanna re-process the RAW files when Adobe releases a new ver of camera RAW with 7D support.

  35. Very interesting review. Thank you for posting it.

    One thought that came to mind when you were describing the softness with far away picture elements was the lens calibration. I have seen multiple examples of people reporting image softness when upgrading to a new (Canon) body with lenses that they have previously had excellent results with. This is normally rectified when a focus chart is checked and the “lens microadjust” feature used to correct the calibration. I’m not saying that this is what gave you the results as described, but it is something I would want to check in order to fully understand the results.

    • I shot everything in manual focus using live view at 10x, so not sure how ‘lens microadjust’ would help – no auto-focus was used in this test. Maybe I am missing something? Darwin

      • You and me both! I don’t have a body that has the ability to micro-adjust for lenses so I’m no expert on how it works. I just know that this has been reported and both a problem and a solution.

        Like I said, this is an interesting comparison and raises some serious questions about the 7D. What the answers are remain to be seen. I look forward to the day when Canon smack down their marketing department in favour of their engineers.

  36. This review sounds like flame! The results you obtained are really strange to me…and what sounds more strange is that other important websites such as cameralabs.com and dpreview (which isn’t actually a website that loves canon) reviewed the 7d in a very positive way comparing it with the d300s by Nikon.
    The only thing that comes in my mind is that you tried some defective models, with some AF issues…because believe your results are really incredible. Canon you actually prove us that you used 3 different models of 7d…???

    • I did use 3 different cameras, This is not a flame, We LOVED the 7d and really wanted the camera to own but the files did not owrk for the type of subject we shoot and the way we process images. Other Canon cameras do a fantastic job for me, Sam decided the Nikon works better for her. We are not a ‘review’ site, we just reported what we see in the way we used the camera. Take if for what it is worth. Darwin

  37. I see several rebuttals about diffraction and how that somehow negates the test results. On my 5D2 I shoot landscapes at f/14 and on the three lenses I use the sharpness is astounding (16-35mm/2.8, 24-70mm/2.8, 50mm/1.4). With the 5D2 I usually hit the image only once with Unsharp Mask at 120%/0.7/0. On the original 5D I had to do a couple of passes.

    Let’s face it, the Xsi images are superior in image sharpness as shown by your testing. The argument that you presented unsharpened images is invalid, because the original image should always be the best you can produce, so you can work with it in Post. In my recording days I would be asked “how do you get such a good drum sound on tape?”, and my answer was “a good sounding, well-tuned drum kit and a good drummer”.

    Again, thank you for the thorough testing. Some may argue, but the results are the results, and they are especially revealing for the landscape photographer who isn’t shooting at 5.6.

    • That’s because your 5D II begins to show diffraction much later than the 7D. You know about differences between formats, right? The 7D has the same dept of field (and diffraction influence on the image) at f 8 as the 5D II has at f 13, that’s 1 1/3 f stops of difference.

      The problem is when people who seem to be very good artists try to make technical reviews where they obviously lack enough competence…

  38. You missed few quite important technical aspects in Your review, that are good to know, when writting review (and generaly for seroius amateur and pros).
    First: pixel density (pixel size)
    7D – 5.4 MP/cm2
    450D – 3.7 MP/cm2
    1Ds mk3 – 2.4 MP/cm2
    Two things link to that – diffraction limit and lens sharpness.
    For 7D diffraction kicks in about f/6, for 450D in about f/8. The more You close the lens past this point, the image is less sharp (unsharpness of detail is better visible).
    All lens shortcomings in matter of resolution are also better visible with densier sensor. Probably there is very few lenses (even those with good reputation) that are able to assure enough resolution for such dense sensor as in 7D.

    Second – because of this technical shortcomings it would make sense to compare 7D with other cameras when images from first are downsampled to their resolution (12 MPx in this case). The real 18 MPx of tis camera will be very hard to achive in real life (sharp prime in narrow range of appertures aprox. f/4-6.3, with short shutter). Anything else will be “overpixeled”.

    Third – few other things have influence on detail sharpness – antalising filter, software profile of the camera, in-camera file processing (yes, even RAWs are processed by camera engine).

    Finaly – IMHO decision to put 18 MPx on aps-c size sensor is driven by marketing, not common sense or real needs.
    Regards

  39. I love how some people will do just about anything to defend a camera. It’s all fine and good to say that the camera is awesome when shooting with wider apertures but if that isn’t your photography style what’s the point?
    I think people rely too much on online reviews and don’t do enough tests of their own. You have to know if it’s right for you. Just because someone says something is the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for YOU.

    I liked your review Darwin and Sam. I liked how you actually tested the camera in the real world with scenes and subjects that you normally shoot. That’s the best way to do it in my opinion.

    I’m glad to hear that the G11 works for you. I got one a few weeks ago and I love it as my “go for a walk/hike” camera. The only frustration I’m having with it is trying to get my filters to work with it. I bought the Lensmate 72mm adapter and fitted my Cokin P holder to it. Works fine for ND Grads but I get severe vignetting with my Singh-Ray sprocketed polarizer so it looks like I’m going to have to buy a thin 72mm screw in polarizer.

  40. I was a little shocked by reading this. My results on my 7D have not been like this in RAW. I use Capture one Pro 5 for all my raw processing. I own a 7D, 5D Mark II, 50D, and a XTi. Muddy looking photos have never came out of my 7D. I personally think DPP is trash and would never use that software it is very limited and the workflow really bites.

  41. Jan Trussler Says:

    Diffraction is a funny thing. The best description/explanation I have found has been on http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm .

    If you use the calculator on that it shows that diffraction on the 7D kicks in at f6.8. This mirrors the findings of the review “images soft after f7″ . This is not a camera problem but Physics.

    In the future we are going to have to live with moving our f stops to higher values (faster lenses) as the race for pixel density gets worse. We lose DOF but the only thing we can do in landscapes is to re focus and use stacking software!!!

    BTW the calculator shows my 5d2 topping out at F8, and so I personally never go beyond this.

    • You set an artificial limit on aperture based on a DLA calculator?

      What if you want more depth of field? Photography isn’t all about maintaining maximum sharpness at a 100% view. Some people actually look at printed or downresed photos.

  42. Well, for me Image quality is not equal to pixel level sharpness.
    I was eager to read a review to see how well the real world dynamic range of this camera compares to the other mentioned ones. How the color rendition is etc.
    I think the reviewer forgot to think about the lens limitations what a such pixel dense camera has. Naturally a full frame camera is more forgiving to a lens because the lens has to produce the same image circle on to much less pixels, meaning its projected image is not magnified like on an APS-C sensor. The interpolation test clearly showed this since the rebels image then looked identical. So this review is based on a flawed comparison and so the conclusion is not real.

  43. Bogus!

    I am so sick of reading dumbed down reviews from this camera when ACR does not fully support it yet!

  44. I did a similar test yesterday, but comparing my old 300d to the 15 megapixel 500d I got yesterday. I was printing at 8.5×11 and saw similar results with the two cameras. The new model didn’t stun me with additional detail. But the handling sure was better, and the shutter broke on my old one, plus I need video, so I’ll be keeping it. But I was a little disappointed in the result. Have to keep reminding myself that for me, the best thing to improve my photography has never been a new camera or lens (it was Darwin’s workshop a few years ago :).

  45. Nice review.
    I noticed the muddy looking pictures when samples from a pre-production camera was posted, but I assumed Canon would correct it before it went to production.
    Seems color response and dynamic range suffers (true DR that is, not the fake firmware-trickery one).

  46. Jan Trussler Says:

    The diffraction – Airy Rings – is not a function of the lens – but of the camera sensor (specifically the pixel density) A lens which works brilliantly on a 12MP camera at f8 will not necessarily perform as well on a camera with 50% higher photosites. Do a comparison at f6.3 and see if the situation changes.

    • That is not correct: diffraction is *absolutely* a function of the lens. The number density of pixels on the sensor determines whether you over- or under-sample the diffraction rings and hence whether diffraction effects for a given lens and aperture setting are visible in the image – but the diffraction itself is introduced when the wavefront to be imaged passes through each aperture in the optical train. Assuming the optics are perfect (i.e. diffraction limited), the larger the limiting aperture, the narrower the central maximum in the diffraction pattern, and the better the resolution of the image will be.

  47. There have been several posts requesting to know what firmware revision the 7Ds you tested had and you have not replied to them. Why? Is it possible the this type of issue could be corrected through firmware updates?

  48. I actually bought a 7D Monday and should be with me in a couple hours. I am upgrading from the first Digital Rebel (300D) and wanted to get a new camera with better sharpening/quality and the video is a nice touch. The 7D seemed like a great camera to get for the price and I’m sure quality wise it’ll be much better, I hope.

    After reading the review, almost tempted to return the 7D and just got a 50D and use the rest of the difference in price to grab an HD Camera.

    So how does a 7D compare to the first Digital Rebel??

  49. i like much 7d , but in this pictures appear with low resolution, but also its a good camera.

  50. I think diffraction is the problem but not of the lenses but of how the chip responds to the lens. Most reviews of the canon 50D said that 15mp was to much for APS-C lenses to handle and saw no increase in IQ to that of 10 – 12 mp APS-C cameras. So when Canon came out with 18mp I was quite surprised. Your shot of the hay bale at f16 shows this to be more the case. If you had shot it at f5.6 I think maybe sharpness would become closer between the two cameras. It would seem to me that for APS-C cameras the sweet spot is 12mp and if you want more pixels then look to full frame or medium format, these cameras will use more glass to achieve the resolution.

  51. I don’t think your review proofs anything more than the default settings of 7D is under sharpened and have a more neutral color.

    I do not see anywhere in your review proofing conclusively that the 7D resolved less details than the D300s and other cameras or that the other cameras have better dynamic range than the 7D. In fact, I see some evidence of the 7D’s superior resolution.

    A) Looking at the walls of the building here http://darwinwiggett.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/7d-300s-city.jpg?w=400&h=600

    I find that the shading on the walls (due to dirt), especially near the top to be more obvious on the Canon than the Nikon. This seems to proof more details available on the 7D vs the D300s.

    B) Looking at the zoomed out overall complete picture of the wall comparing the 7D (above) and the upsampled D300s (below),

    http://darwinwiggett.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/7d-300s-wall-matched-overall.jpg?w=400&h=533

    I think the 7D’s image is more contrasty, the blues are more vibrant and the black to be darker. In this image, I prefer the overall look of the 7D to D300s.

    Note that the default JPEG output from Nikons (D90, D5000, D3000) are so under sharpened that they look inferior to Canons. However, dpreview always convert them in ACR using appropriate optimized settings and noted that the sensor actually resolves more details than the JPEG produced. The conclusion? The Nikons (D90/D5000) are as good or better than the Canon (500D).

    It is ridiculous that someone would shoot in RAW and NOT do a single bit of adjustment to the files to get optimized results. It is natural to do adjustments, the question is whether the 7D RAW file provides enough details and color range for the adjustments. The answer seems to be yes in this case.

    This is like a Miss Universe competition where all contestants are not allowed to put on make up and wear pajamas.

    • Hi Jack,

      in the wall 7D-300s test, the photo of the D300s is interpolated!!
      And yes, in this case it is better the wall photo of the 7D.

      For the walls of the building, I will see it tomorrow with another monitor.

      Regards and Thanks to Darwin&Samantha :)

  52. What concerns me is more the tonal differences and shadow detail – Is Canon’s decision to proceed with ever higher pixel counts sacrificing more subtle aspects of image quality?

  53. Brandon Leong Says:

    This is a great review because it is the 3rd review that I have read where they do a comparison of 7D files to other cameras in the canon dslr lineup and they all say the same thing, that the 7d files are mushy mushy mushy. I was contemplating moving from a 5dm2 to the 7d to get better autofocus and more fps, but the IQ dropoff is too significant to even consider. Until someone figures out what is going on or ACR improves it significantly to get closer to the 5dm2 files, then I will stay put.

    Great review.

  54. Please check C.Fn II-2 (High ISO Speed Noise Reduction),
    and make sure it is set to 3: Disable. The default setting is 0: Standard.
    From the manual on Page 208, “noise reduction is applied at all ISO speeds”.
    Amazingly, this noise reduction appears to be applied to RAW files, at least it is on my 5DMII where I had the same terrible mushy images problem for two months until I figured this out. The difference is night and day.

  55. I went from a Canon Rebel XT, to the Canon 50D to the Canon 7D. I did comparisons every time I upgraded. When I did comparisons I always compared to the lowest resolution of the camera. (i.e. when comparing the 50D to the Rebel XT I reduced the resolution of the 50D to 8 Megapixels.

    I suspect you will see quite different and possibly more favorable results if you downscaled the 7D to match the resolution of the G11 or the rebel XSi.

    • Amazing logic! if downsizing is what it takes to be comparable to a fewer MP camera, why have it in the first place?

  56. You can’t shoot a 15MP/APCS camera at ƒ/11; you’re way into diffraction. You’re using the camera wrong — if you want to complain that such a camera isn’t appropriate for deep DOF use, that’s fine, but don’t use it wrong and then blame your mistake on the camera. Even a 50D will blur at ƒ/11 (of ƒ/8!); a 7D will, as you discovered, blur severely.

  57. Looks like you’ve opened a can of worms with this review! LOL… good luck…

  58. Simply stunning how you keep ignoring the questions about the firmware version, how come?

    • Sorry guys for the delayed response – I have actually been very busy this morning preparing for a photo seminar.

      I used the cameras before the latest firmware update was released 1.1.0. Hopefully the firmware tidies up some ‘issues’. d

  59. I’ve noticed that RAW IQ on the 7D is not always as sharp as I would like and requires some extra post, but what a great camera body. I find the 7D the perfect compliment to my 5D2. For landscape or portrait the 5D2 is awesome, but Canon needed to fill the gap for sports and wildlife. The 7D does a good job shooting large JPEGs at high speed, the autofocus and tracking ability is amazing. Since the RAW processing software is so limited at this point for the 7D maybe we’ll see improvement there. Perhaps Canon will offer a firmware fix. In any case I’m not ready to throw out the 7D just yet.

  60. Hi,

    thanks for the nice review. I understand your point of wanting to have a wide depth of field for landscape photography and that you use small apertures to achieve this. I think however one point has been overlooked in comparing the 7D to a full fram camera as the 1Ds III: that you’ll get a wider DOF with an APS-C camera anyway. So to dimiss it by comparing it the the 1DsIII using the same aperture seems to miss the point of comparable DOFs. You can find a conversion tool here:
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-camera-sensor-size.htm
    and it shows you that an f/11 on the 1DsIII gives the same DOF as an APS-C with f/6.9 (for a f=100m lens), at which point the 7D might look actually much sharper than at F11. The fact that a lower-res APS-C (such as your 450D) shows comparable resolution to the 7D might indicate that what you see at small apertures is indeed a diffraction problem.

    Anyway, thanks for the tests, it will help me and others to use the camera more thoughfully.

    Stephan

  61. Good review! A few thoughts for your consideration:

    – 7D is definitely *not* the ideal landscape camera to begin with. The much smaller APS-C sensor, tiny pixels, fast continuous shooting speed, etc. all point out it’s created for sports, event, photojournalism, wildlife, and maybe portrait. Crop factor (losing further advantage on wide-angle and tilt-shift) aside, the super-dense-pixel sensor that results in refraction from F8 onward makes it unsuitable for landscape. Like the old folks say, use the tool for what it’s made for.

    – I didn’t see anyone mention this above, but from the dawn of digital revolution almost a decade ago, Canon’s known to tweak their cameras (sensor+imaging engine+algorithms) towards different users and purposes. Basically the higher-end it gets, the LOWER CONTRAST/SATURATION/SHARPNESS is set by default – even with RAW files. This is because most of photos coming out of high-end professional cameras (such as commercial works from 1Ds-series) will indeed have lots of post-production. In order to give as much headspace for the post-processings, Canon deliberately turned down contrast, saturation and sharpness, even using stronger AA filter on the sensor. While most consumers using entry-level Rebel series mostly don’t do much post-processing, if any at all. Even shooting RAW, it’ll be minor adjustment and conversion, not big post-production. Therefore, Canon gives these users photos with good base that can be used almost right away. The xxD series are somewhere in-between. Because 7D is considered a ‘semi-Pro’ level camera by Canon (despite not FF), the settings are definitely closer to the EOS-1 series, even more than earlier-released 5D.

    I remember comparing photos from my first DSLR, the original D-Rebel 300D, to a friend’s photos from 1Ds (11MP FF), the D-Rebel photos looked surprisingly sharper and vibrant out of the camera, but after a few steps in Photoshop, 1Ds definitely gave so much more detail and big punch.

    – ‘Downsizing’ from a 5D that I used for 3 years, to 7D, it’s quite clear sensor size always matters more than the number of pixels. In this sense, 7D pretty much can’t compete with the details captured by most FF DSLRs, even the old 5D with much lower resolution. Same applies to comparison with other APS-C sensor cameras such as Rebel or Nikon Dxxx-series. 7D gives higher resolution but the sharpness and detail is quite similar to all the others because sensor size stays the same. The others appear to be sharper due to larger pixels (more details, less diffraction), plus the algorithm and tweaks I mentioned in the beginning.

    – In the end, I strongly recommend consideration of original 5D (if you can still find one), or better yet, the 5D Mark II. Nikon D700 should be good candidate as well, for its superb feature set and most of all, FF sensor.

    Personally, I’d say Full-Frame is a must for any serious landscape works. Medium Format digital backs are ideal. :)

    Good luck!

    • Right on Wingo!

      interesting comparisons but really, because of the methods used, it only tells a very small part of a much bigger story.

      For those who REALLY want to know something about the technical side of imaging, check out this page in particular.

      http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/digital.sensor.performance.summary/index.html

      Look at the graphs of APPARENT IMAGE QUALITY.
      you might summarize this as the “sweet-spots” for pixel density are about 12MP for APS-C and estimated about 30MP for full-frame sensors.

      This guy has done some remarkable work and made it all available for us. There is a LOT of info on this site, we’d all do well to learn what we can from it.

      Without knocking the reviewers for their choice of cameras, because I prefer to run around with a light SLR too, 35mm cropped format is not a great choice for high res landscape, as you are finding. Even with a Tilt-shift lens.

      Either use longer focal lengths and stitch together some good panoramas (more on the above site as well) or cough up the coin for something like a 645 Mamiya with a digital back and a couple good lenses. Even the lowly 22MP digiback, combined with a lens you can tilt and shift to enhance DoF will so totally blow you away with IQ and detail you’ll wonder why you bothered with anything else. (They tend to lack strong AA filters too)

      I too was itching for a 7D but may stay a while longer with my 40D, 400d and 450d and pano-head tripods for landscape work and, perhaps I can one day justify the cost of a 5D2 or medium format camera for my terribly expensive hobby. Stitching a high quality 60MP panorama takes a lot less work these days than trying to process the heck out of an image that just doesn’t have what you’re looking for to start with.

      7D’s a great camera, but it’s not great at everything.
      All cameras share this same bunch of trade-offs. which is why we should buy as many different ones as we can afford. ;)

      I also keep a good G-series camera for increased DoF with good IQ, especially for close-up work where I don’t need huge res. I was gonna get a G11 but I notice it does not do stopped-down metering with DoF preview like my old G6 can. Bummer.

      BTW – looks to me, from RAW-sourced samples I’ve got from the 7D, that pixel level noise is not that much different from the 40D and it certainly lacks the obvious pattern noise which is quite obvious on the 40D above 1600 ISO. When it comes to making a large print from one shot, I think the 7D will provide a better looking image, overall, than the older 40D or icky-to-me IQ of the 50D. 5Dm2 will be better still. A 645, oh-baby!

      As for diffraction, ANY lens on 35mm that you stop down to F11 or smaller, even f8, will start to diffract and reduce overall sharpness; making your 18MP sensor = to your 12MP sensor = to as little as 5 or even as little as 3MP (effective) at F/16! View the lens charts at photozone.de to get a feel for this. Your increased DoF at f/16 comes at the high price of lost sharpness. Of course this is more pronounced with smaller pixels on densely packed sensors and not as obvious to people who learned their craft, as I did, shooting film. Despite this, the 7D and even the 4/3 systems are managing some impressive sharpness and you can even see what can be done with the small sensor of the G11.

      I bet those 7D RAW files will post-proc. wonderfully.

  62. Great review but disappointing. I was all set on buying this as an upgrade to my aging Rebel XT but now I’m second guessing it.

  63. There may also be a problem of the lens/camera match. I was shocked at how badly my L lenses performed with my 5D Mark II until I corrected each with the micro focus adjustment utility.
    Nice review – thanks!

  64. Thanks for the review. A bit disappointed that the 7D is not the improvement
    I had hoped for. Maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye.

    Just one question Why write your review in the third person?

  65. I’m running my 7D RAW files through the Lightroom 3 beta and the results are fantastic. I found the results with Lightroom 2 bad and Canon’s DPP not much better.

  66. Wow.

    Seriously, if you are a die-hard 7D supporter, it’s ok if someone else doesn’t like it. Defending the 7D so vehemently because you don’t like the results of a review is just silly. If you don’t agree with Darwin’s take, then ignore it! You like it, it’s making you happy, rock and roll!

    The point of the review was not to look at *final* images that have post- work applied. It was to see how great the files are straight out of the camera. I use a very sparse post-production workflow, don’t like to edit my files too much, so knowing that the files that the 7D produces require more work to get them up to par is important to me. I’m sure that with tweaking they’ll look like the pixels themselves have been dipped in gold, but that’s not what I’m interested in.

    Canon just can’t figure out that photographers don’t care about cramming more pixels onto a sensor. Honestly, I think the world was great at 10mp… What we want is better native file quality, low noise, contrast, colors. Canon, you’re losing me. Nikon looks better everyday!

  67. J from Vancouver Says:

    Resolution measurements of the XSi:
    Horizontal: 2300 absolute, 2500 extinction
    Vertical: 2200 absolute, 2500 extinction
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonEOS450D/page33.asp

    Resolution measurements of the 7D:
    Horizontal: 2500 absolute, 3800 extinction
    Vertical: 2500 absolute, 3900 extinction
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos7d/page29.asp

    Why the difference between those measured results, which indicate the resolving power of the 7D is better than the XSi, and yours showing the opposite?

    Curious.

    • Scott Masters Says:

      Darwin’s already explained that the 7D performs differently on high-contrast close-up shots of resolution charts than it does for real-world shots involving subtle tonal gradations at more customary landscape distances. It’s quite possible that Canon is “teaching to the test”, so to speak, by making the camera appear better at test targets than at real subjects.

      As for Dpreview, you know that site has lost all credibility since they were bought by Amazon. It is against their owners’ financial interests for them to ever give a thumbs-down to anything that Amazon sells, and so they don’t.

      In their raw sensor noise test, the 7D stacks up miserably against the Nikon D300s, and you can see this in their graphs which show the Nikon as much as a stop and half better than the Canon at low ISOs. But do they mention this very important finding? No. Not a word. That’s how you know that Phil Askey and crew are all just Amazon shills now. They’re hawking you their wares, saying they’re all good so buy them all.

      Bah! You cannot trust those people.

      You can tell that Canon knows full well they’ve created a noise-monster in the 7D: by default they have noise-reduction turned on even at ISO 100! Can you believe that? That’s because the real images are as noisy as barley soup. Coupled with the dismal diffraction gotcha, this camera has no place in a landscape photographer’s arsenal. The mushy pseudo-18mp images that can’t even stand-up to an uprezzed 12mp Nikon image are further insult added to existing injury after Canon’s disastrous attempt trying to jam 15mp into a measely little 1.6x crop mini-sensor. What were they thinking? Now they’ve made a camera that’s even worse, and they’re trying to sell it for even more. Who do they think they’re fooling?

      Shame on Canon for letting marketing fools so cripple their fine technology!

  68. I think there is some confusion between Diffracton and the DLA of a cameras sensor. It is understandable, many people who shot film for years do not realize that a cameras sensor effects DOF. That being said…

    The 7d downsized to 12mp and a 450d, should show the same IQ and DOF at 12mp. So really there should be no IQ differance between the two cameras when viewed equal. Therefore for the landscape photographer the advantages of the larger pixal count may be few. It does however allow closer cropping and possibly slightly bigger print sizes….

    Correct me if Im wrong…..

  69. Well I must say in one way it’s a surprise and in another way it’s not. Being such new technology one would expect it to perform very well, at least better than one of Canons lower end DSLR’s.

    However it’s not so surprising given the tremendous amount of pixels they have stuffed in there. I really do wonder if Canon has managed to get this one all wrong, DPreview gave a lower image quality rated to the 50D over the 40D, the 50D has 50% more pixels. Given this one has to wonder why Canon has now increased it even further.

  70. [...] this, that the 7D performs worse than the entry level Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi). Here’s what they had to say: Again to our eye the 7D files look soft and mushy compared to the snap in the other two files. Of [...]

  71. Interesting write up and if nothing else it got folks to look at the 7D a little closer and with a bit more open mindedness.

    All too often the newest anything is given a big PASS due to it being new. After about 3 months the warts become known and then the real assessment begins.

    There has been some very good suggestions made as to diffraction and PP and RAW converters.

    If I were to take exception to this write up it would be with the PP or. as in this case, the absolute lack there of. I have never shot and printed anything without trying to tweak it to be the best that it could be first.

    I understand that Darwin does not want or like to do much PP so FOR HIM his review is very much relevant. I bet for others it comes off as being a bit naive to hope that the photo should be perfect in RAW straight from the camera. Nikon appears to cater to the point and shoot crowd as does Canon at the beginner level models. For Darwin this is his happy place. JEG’s are softer so this is not a move in the right direction as some have suggested.

    I also feel that Canon is going in the wrong direction with this mega-pixel race. I think we all can agree that adding more MP for the sake of marketing is a wrong thing to do for true photographers. Joe six pack is too ignorant to know better or even to care. Canon knows this and so here we are. Canon dumbing down their product for their dumbed down customer.

    The 7D has nearly all the feature set one could ask for. I agree and so does Darwin and Samantha. Sadly Canon has lost sight of the original purpose of a camera, that is to capture images the best that can be done at the bodies intended price point. Here the 7D falls flat on it’s face.

    I am in the high end audio and video world with my own custom home theater business. If I were to hazard a guess I would say before sharpening I would massage the contrast first. Looking at the shadows around the corn kernels shows the black to be washed out and lighter gray compared to the other images. I think this chip is blowing out the black part of the image too much. This to me looks like Canon is bumping the sensitivity of the sensor to allow for higher ISO’s with lower noise but in reality the sensor has too many pixels so the photo-sites are too small and each pixel is blowing out too soon. I would also bet that once tested the dynamic range of this chip will be less than lower resolution chips of the past. In keeping with the current trend.

    I have been a Canon user since about 1982. I loved the products in the past. I see a big move in the WRONG direction and may not do business with them in the future. If Canon messes with the 5DmkII’s replacement like they have with the 50D and 7D I will most likely be looking into Nikon. Not fond of their body layout as it is different from Canon, but Image Quality is numero uno for me. Canon is looking like the feature set toy company and NOT the IQ leaders they need to be in my book.

    My challenge for Darwin is this….
    Can the 7D image be made to look as good as or better than the Rebel camera’s using good post processing technique? If so how much work would it be and will a macro work across the board? Can you actually in PP make them both be better or will the 7D pass the Rebel by, thus allowing more PP to yield better results in the 7d?

    These bodies all act differently. One needs to find their unique sweet spot and then they really shine.

    I hope I am not seen as being out of line, Darwin. Are you up to a bit of PP testing? I hope so. I am also sure folks here would love to see what you can do. If it is not up your alley perhaps someone here could give it a whirl using your RAW images.

    • Astronomer Says:

      As a professional astronomer, I have to say that it does not make
      sense to me to compare post-processed images. (And frankly,
      I resent how much cosmetic processing the camera already does
      without telling me much about it.)

      There is no way to say this too strongly: Post-processing cannot
      create high resolution if it wasn’t in the image to begin with. All
      it can do is to make the image look better cosmetically. This is
      not to denigrate cosmetic processing: what counts is what the
      end user likes, and post-processing certainly helps. I do it, too.

      It is interesting to look at what happened to astronomers when
      the Hubble Space Telescope as originally launched turned out to
      have bad image quality. Allofasudden purists who would never
      before have dared to use image sharpening algorithms perfected
      those same algorithms and — of necessity — used them on almost
      every image. And this did help the science somewhat. But it was
      not a valid way to get the resolution that the telescope should have
      delivered.

      So there were very very good reasons why NASA spent millions of
      dollars to fix the optics. The raw images have to be as perfect as
      possible in order to do the science. Now, we still use post-processing
      a little, but the improvement is minor. That’s how it should be.

      The same arguments apply to any camera. So I appreciate the
      Darwin & Samantha tests as conducted on raw images. Although
      it would help to know as much as possible about in-camera and
      raw-conversion processing.

      Having said this, I do however agree that the above posts make
      correct and important points about diffraction, anti-aliasing
      procedures, obscure and not-entirely-candid definitions of
      pixels, lens quality, and focus tweaks. I am going to repeat my
      own tests with these points in mind.

      So I am most sincerely grateful not only for the detailed tests but
      also for the very educational blog.

  72. Darwin,

    It looks like diffraction IS causing you a problem, the way I read your review.
    You say you used “apertures that we would actually use in the field (f8 to f16)”. In a 20″ print the 7D will already be diffraction limited – regardless of the lens.

    Take a look at http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm

    This is a classic case of Canon marketing by numbers to people who just want more Mega Pixels.

    Dave.

  73. [...] season Lori and db: All of the reviews on the 7D have been great but have you seen this one: The Canon EOS 7D Review Darwin Wiggett __________________ Members don't see ads in threads. Register your free account today [...]

  74. [...] The Canon EOS 7D Review The Canon EOS 7D – The Camera We Want to Love By Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou Background In early [...] [...]

  75. I’ve owned a lot of EOS cameras and, one thing I’ve learned, is each one has idiosyncrasies in post production. Some need always need a little magenta subtracted while others need more heavy handed levels and sharpening. So if I my post production was exactly the same for each camera I would be unhappy with the results.

    I would describe the first few weeks with a new camera one of learning the idiosyncrasies and changing my post production to match my expectations. Perhaps the 7D needs more sharpening than earlier XXD models. It certainly needs more than my 5D did, but I can’t say it’s much different than my 50D. However with a click or two the results are stellar in 12×18 prints and that’s all that counts for me.

  76. First of all. Some of you people need to realize that Darwin is one hell of a photographer and he knows what he is doing/talking about. After you realize that, you can look at the results from a less bias standpoint. Use the results how you wish to use them.

    I trust that they are 100% accurate unlike some of the test done. I’ve seen test done against the 5DII and the 7D looks like a 6 megapixel camera, when in reality, should it not look almost the same?!?

  77. Exactly. But why?

    Try shooting with the in-cam noise reduction turned off. Then I suspect the 7D is as sharp as any other cam BUT the noise, inherent to that rarifyed pixel density, becomes visible. The softness may well be the product of hiding the noise. You have tested hardware AND software… and I don’t think that can be avoided, but it can be minimized.

    I have a 50D. I will keep it until it quits, ’cause it works really well, and then I think I will explore another brand… Canon seems to have allowed the kids to run the store and to have forgotten what made the brand, so very long ago. Their quality control is abysmal, to put it mildly.

  78. I had a 7D, intending as a backup to my 5D Mark II. Focus testing in the default focus mode, using JPEG, using 70-200 f/4 IS wide open, handheld on each camera (real world) and the 7D shots were very disappointing on a distant subject, especially in dim light. Inside night room light proved the same result. Bright outside light improved things slightly but not enough to keep the camera. That is not even considering how much better the 5D Mark II is with noise performance. A few less megapixels, and a swing out screen, call it a 60D and I might try again. The smaller cropped sensor would definitely be better for macro ratios.

  79. Well, for sports photography, with a 200 F/2.0 mounted on it, it cant be beat in low light photography. For any landscape or fine art, the 5D MKII is my body of choice. The respective chassis reflects the assignment requirement. I’d never use the 7d for anyting but sports or wildlife work …IMHO
    Also, Canons DPP is junk, and I’d wait until Adobe comes out with the raw porcessor for the 7D – than that will be the ‘REAL” test.

    Been using Canon since 1966, and I’ve been dissapointed…My nickels work.

  80. Stephen DeNagy Says:

    I’ve been digesting all this since I came across the reference to this thread at DPReview ( http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1019&thread=33667362&page=1 ). I make no claim to be a super expert here, mind you, but trying to discern the warring camps. And, I am now 3 weeks into my own 7D.

    What I make of it is this: First, of course diffraction is going to me a huge factor, and it is related to pixel size, as the cambridge site shows. So does it matter? Maybe not, as it looks bad pixel peeping, but in a print it will probably be of no consequence whatever.

    Second, when shooting more open there is incredible increase of detail…so those extra pixels are not wasted. Means we need more L-glass quality out there, but it can be had.

    Third, we’ve always faced diffraction limits even with FF. F16-22 is a compromise in all of these “small” formats. 18MP may be the practical limit.

    Fourth, the Live View autofocus route is probably not at all the best strategy in this camera. I suspect that the best strategy is either to use a focus aid (like the Z-Finder) manually, or press the shutter release lightly or to engage the usual TTL focus apparatus. At least until Canon improves the Live View method.

    And yet, it is clear that lovely images can be had with the available technology. Darwin, I wouldn’t give up just yet on the 7D. I would pursue the workflow and find the “sweet spot.” of sharpening before throwing in the towel. I consider the higher MP to be a blessing of sorts, as there are more pixels defining the image, there is more data to be consumed in PP without appreciable IQ loss. That was my problem with the 20D I replaced, banding and jaggies awaited aggressive PP, but so far the 7D seems more forgiving.

    For me, the biggest advantages so far have been dramatically improved focusing accuracy which helps my action photography. It has literally more than doubled my keepers. The high frame rate allows me to get well focused and nuanced portraits when I am shooting the evanescent expressions of youth (I find myself shooting not single frames but bursts to great effect!). And the lower noise has helped sharpness by using higher ISOs and shutter speeds. Video is spectacular, and I find the colors have been much stronger, with better out-of-camera saturation and accuracy (whatever that is!).

    Yet, in the grand scheme, probably not the *best* landscape camera, but no slouch either!

  81. Darwin,

    Did you happen to take a look at the DPReview thread on your review? Man, I got skewered over there trying to stick up for this review.

    My point was essentially what you said. The lower bound on the sweetest aperture range is set by the lens. For example, with a f/2.8 lens, in most cases one would stop down one for extra sharpness. Now, if diffraction starts to kick in early, the upper bound may be f/7.1 or f/8. I for one wouldn’t prefer a pricey camera with such a severe constraint on the sweetest aperture range.

    Funny thing is, it didn’t have to be this way. If only Canon would refocus from their blind devotion to enhancing the MP count! Could it be that video considerations are driving them to such massive MP counts on prosumer bodies? Who knows, but I think that’s the case. In a video, people would mostly be wowed by the sharpness (pixel count helps), diffraction effects and other aberrations wouldn’t be noticed readily.

    Finally, take it for what it is. In the latest proposed 1d Mark IV body (1.3x), the MP count is 16, compared to 21 MP on the 5D Mark II.

    • in continuation to my previous comment, if you take 5DII to be the gold standard, divide 21 MP by 1.3 and you will get 16. That is indeed the MP count of the proposed 1D IV body (APS-H). Coincidence? I think not.

      By the same token, if you divide 21 by 1.6, you get roughly 13. This is what I believe should be the MP count for APS-C cameras (mind you, for still photography only).

  82. Per Inge Oestmoen Says:

    Hello!

    Unfortunately, this test is seriously flawed.

    Every camera has its own characteristics. Every camera produces files that are different from the files from other cameras.

    The test assumes that the files from every camera should be treated the same. But this is wrong. The 7D files are better than those of the Rebel and previous cameras, but one has to give them contrast and sharpen them up.

    It is a great misunderstanding to believe that files should be ready straight out from the camera.

    Please try proper post processing of the 7D files, and the results will be very different.

    I am at a complete loss to understand how anyone can fail to see that the files from each camera have to be optimized according to the characteristics of that particular camera.

    I can testify to the 7D files being truly brilliant and detailed, provided proper post processing is done.

    Per Inge Oestmoen, Norway

    • Inge,

      The reason we posted details on how we did the test (not scientific) but a field test on how we use cameras is so the reader can judge for themself if our methodolgy applies to them. Obviously you tested your 7d and found it works for the way you shoot and process. Maybe you could share your methods with others so they can further judge different testing methods?

      Darwin

      • But bear in mind what is always emphasised on the DPR forums : A new camera is a new research project. It may not do what you want out of the box.

        There may be many configuration settings that steals sharpness. And some have found that resetting the camera helps on sharpness.

        As far as the D300 is concerned; if I remember right, it is not possible to turn off the noise reduction. Only reduce it.

      • Tim O'Connor Says:

        Curious that you ignored J from Vancouver:


        Resolution measurements of the XSi:
        Horizontal: 2300 absolute, 2500 extinction
        Vertical: 2200 absolute, 2500 extinction
        http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonEOS450D/page33.asp

        Resolution measurements of the 7D:
        Horizontal: 2500 absolute, 3800 extinction
        Vertical: 2500 absolute, 3900 extinction
        http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos7d/page29.asp

        Why the difference between those measured results, which indicate the resolving power of the 7D is better than the XSi, and yours showing the opposite?”

        Pretty much debunks your test completely, dont you think?

    • todd yeates Says:

      `thanks for the info! bravo! i believe you to be correct on this!

  83. [...] estaba claro que iba a ser el talón de aquiles de esa cámara. Y parece ser que la review de Darwin Wiggett lo confima: Of all the cameras we have ever used, we loved the handling of the Canon 7D the best. [...]

  84. Hi Darwin,

    Thank you for this review!

    I find it totally refreshing to read a review done by a world class photographer instead of an institutional review that focuses its conclusions based on shots of downtown London and fake bunny rabbits.

    Please keep it up. The world needs a better place to go find out how a camera performs in the hands of accomplished and professional photographers. Especially ones who have a great sense of humor. :-)

    Best regards,

    Bill Lockhart

  85. [...] fotografo Darwin Wigget ha recensito l’ultima reflex Canon 7D. Le conclusioni non si sono rivelata soddisfacenti. L’analisi effettuata dal fotografo, [...]

  86. Something is wrong here…

    I own EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 7D and EOS 50D. My results shows that has 7D isn’t far from the 5D Mark II quality. The 50D isn’t close to the 7D.

    The picture quality shown in this test looks really bad. It looks like it was taken by another kamera than the 7D…

    I’m so happy with both 5D Mark II and 7D so I will sell my EOS 50D now.

  87. I know you test your lenses to see when diffraction starts hitting in, but diffraction depends on pixel size as well of the lens… So diffraction starts up on a different point than when it starts on the XSI

  88. While your conclusions are not quite incorrect, the comparison here does produce a very different conclusion in terms of sharpness and shear resolution by test in more controlled environments at sites like DPP and Imaging Resources.

    We may be able to explain this difference by the fact that high resolution chart focus on high contrast edges while most photographs posted in this article is comparing low contrast details in the landscape photographs.

    I do suspect that higher pixel count (smaller pixel size) lead Canon to use considerable higher AA filter producing softer results without post processing specially in low contrast details. The question the user has to ask himself is this: Can this lost contrast be recovered? And is it worth it?

    It would be interesting to see the same comparison between 5D and 5D MKII?

  89. When I compare photographs in controlled condition at Imaging Resources and DP Review they dont support the conclusion in this article. You can review them here: http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

  90. You need learn from dpreview.com. They are the only web site can do better job for Canon than Nikon. Nearly all other web sites cannot produce Canon example better than Nikon. They have the best Canon lens.

  91. James Bartlett Says:

    Who cares about diffraction limit, look at the photos, Darwin’s conclusion comes up the same as mine. Look at real world photos. How many of you shoot in controlled situations. I could care less about a deck of cards and a photo of a robot. The final outcome no matter what is in the print. Print a test strip of a photo sized at 16×20 and the xsi does look better than the 7D. By the way if you don’t agree over at dpreview you tend to get slammed even if you have concrete proof.

    • All too true on the slammed. And some get away with personal attacks. I do not post there anymore due to the ability of some members to personally attack a poster (i have not had it done to me, but i am careful).

      The MODS there show too much favoritism in my opinion. It is very bad in the Canon threads.

  92. The pixel density of the 7d is too high so it does not perform well accept when you use a really high quality prime at 5.6! I think it’s ridicules than Canon made this camera 18MP. They could have done so much better with a lower density sensor. i just don’t get it!

    I don’t think DPReviews test where wrong, but… perhaps just there attitude to the Camera seemed a little overly positive!

    Of course in the test above they could have made the 7d images pop by just adjusting curves a little but… I agree the 7d is not anything like an 18mp full frame sensor!

  93. Dave Grassley Says:

    Well I was excited about the initial reviews on the 7D… but couldn’t find one to test drive, so I went out on a limb and purchased it. I’ve seen the same issues as described earlier in the forum, mushy and soft out of focus pictures to say the least. After sometime making sure I wasn’t doing something wrong I did a side by side with my 50D using a tripod and the same 24-70mm 2.8 L lens and a remote to eliminate any possibility of camera movement. The 50D blew the 7D out of the water. I spoke with Canon and had a very nice discussion with the support tech, (of course he did not admit to any issues), but was vary willing to listen to what I had to say and encouraged me to return the camera to have it checked out. Before returning the camera to Canon for repair I thought I would exchange it, well don’t even try if you didn’t purchase the extended warranty offered by the big box store displaying the big yellow price tag as a logo. The only thing they could say is the picture looks fine using the LCD display and I didn’t purchase the extended warranty. By the way I had provided 8×10 glossy’s of my example shots with XIF data. But you didn’t purchase the extended warranty. One other thing I was 6 days outside the 14 day return policy, so make sure you read the back of your receipt. Any way my 7D is off to Canon next day air, I’ll defiantly provide an update as I learn the fate of my Canon 7D.

  94. Can I just say, if no one else has brought this up, you used the wrong lens to test this camera. you must use lenses that will easily out resolve the camera.

    45mm TSE may be sharper than most non L lenses but to test a camera with highest pixel density to date, it is not sharp enough, especially on high aperture. IMO you should have used 24L f1.4 or sigma 50 f1.4

    70-700 f4 non-IS is again not a particular sharp lens compared to the rest of the L (the IS version is notably sharper) , you should have used a 200 f2.8, 200 f2 IS or the new 100L macro.

    and lastly, i know you are into landscape photography, you should understand that 7D is not designed for landscape, it high pixel density means it is prone to diffirection. to test 7D on this task then criticise, is like review a semi-racing sports car then complain about lack of comfort for long distance travel.

    I think to regain some creditablity you should:

    1, test 7D with sharper lens and smaller F number, to establish that 7D either really isnt sharp even with the best lens and bigger aperture , or that it really is sharp with the right combination.

    or

    2, declare at the very start of your review that this review is meant to test 7D’s capabality as a landscape camera, nothing more and nothing less. and your findings is only relevant to this use.

    note that I dont own a 7D, so this isnt about “defend my camera”, I simply find this review is etiher misleading, or attempt to uncover some truth (that 7D really is a piece of junk with unusable 18mp and all other positive reviews are lies), but fails to conduct the test properly to be convincing.

  95. Darwin why on earth would you want to carry a 7D for landscape on a backpacking trip when the 5Dmk2 ways the same amount and is a superior full frame camera?

    That said, I have found that live view in manual focus mode sometimes doesn’t work as well as auto focus. I don’t know why exactly, but its true.

    That said I have found my 7D to yield better results than my 50D, but not even close to my 5Dmk2.

    The only RAW converter I’ve used that can handle the 7D files properly is LR 3. The 7D is using a split green channel sensor. One green pixel in every RGBG pixel quarter leaves more light through, it’s whiter in other words. Sony has been doing this for a while. It allows small pixels to produce cleaner high ISO images.

    So a lot of the mush you’re seeing is the result of the CS4 beta unoptimized RAW conversions.

    I still don’t understand why you don’t just by a 5DMk2. I carry one on serious packing/photo trips.

    When I wish to really save weight packing I use a Panasonic G1. It and a very light weight tripod weigh in at about 3lbs total. It has the IQ of about a 50D or Rebel XSI.

    Cheers…

  96. Darwin, I have seen and admired your work for years.
    Your test shows results some don’t like. The testing of RAW images seems pretty straightforward. Shoot’em and look at’em. Can’t get any more basic than that.
    Sure miss Kodachrome 25 with the F3’s. None of this silliness.

    You are taking a beating from a lot of folks who apparently can’t understand that one wants sharp results from the start so they can then put their interpretation on in post processing… if they want. Some of us like good images done well in camera. If the camera can’t produce that why would I use it? Having to fight with poor initial results cannot be fun. Getting it right with top quality at the beginning will make for a lot less work in ‘post processing’ and leave more time for shooting.

    Good luck with the folk who can’t read, can’t see what is in front of their face and can’t admit that what they see is what they see.

  97. I guess then if Darnwin didn’t process the files exactly correctly, or if “diffraction” is the cause for the softness, or if the pixel count isn’t correct for the 7D to produce landscape images or of other particular subjects, etc., then Canon should include such Caveats in theiir advertising and in the manual.

    Eg. “WARNING from Canon: The 7D is not a landscape camera. The dense array of pixels is not for landscape photography. Do NOT use this camera with lenses stopped down below f8. Our AA Filter is stronger than everyone else’s, so be warned. Learn to use the 7D for very particular types of photography only and become an expert at particular ways of processing out your RAW files to achieve good results.”

    Sheesh!

    Good Work Darwin and Samantha. I appreciate your real world comparisons and as you suggest I would do my own tests with my own lenses to achieve results that I can live with.

    • Eileen,

      We agree if it takes all these ‘tweaks’ to get the 7D to perform well, then Canon should tell us that. We love your WARNING above – awesome.

      Thanks for being a reasoned voice.

      Darwin

  98. This discussion about diffraction limitations is a red herring, and I wish ill-informed people wouldn’t comment on it inaccurately because it detracts from the main argument. The fact is that diffraction limitations are not suddenly increased because you increase the megapixels, it remains exactly the same. All that happens is that more megapixels SHOULD enable you to see the blur caused by diffraction more easily. People have been using the same diffraction-limited lenses with film for decades and didn’t sweat about using f11. People used to and still do use f 11 to f32 routinely for macrophotography without throwing their photos away because they are too soft. Yes it will be made marginally worse by using 1.6 crop cameras, but it is not big deal. It is indeed more noticeable on P&S cameras and others with very small sensors, but people still don’t drop dead due to softness of those when they use f8.

    To read here and other discussions you’d think that by changing from your 10MP 40D to a 18MP 7D you’ve suddenly made your f16 photos softer. This is NOT true, the change in number of pixels hasn’t done anything except increase your file sizes, increase POTENTIAL resolution, reduce pixelation and arguably increase noise., all else being equal. It MAY, if your optics are superb, allow you to see some of the softening effect at f16 and higher that might not be detectable with a 10MP camera, but it does NOT increase the softening effect. Furthermore, the softening caused by diffraction is gradual and does not suddenly appear at f7.1 or wherever the calculated f-stop related figure comes out at. As you increase f-number you will slowly see a slight effect, but it’s not a disaster and it is usually outweighed by other factors such as lens sharpness, movement, focus, noise, anti-aliasing filters etc at usual f-stops (up to f11 or f16).

    In summary, your 18MP camera should be able to produce somewhat SHARPER images at f11 (say) than an equivalent 10MP . This is because the 18MP (eg 7D) will have more available resolution than the 10MP (40D), but both cameras will have EXACTLY THE SAME diffraction blur.

    The softening that is evident in the 7D images showed by Darwin is much worse than would be caused by diffraction at f8 or 11 and diffraction should not be blamed for it.

  99. Interesting review, I’m with Nigel too, I don’t think I have read so much garbage about diffraction in a long time. For an authoritative guide on diffraction limitations and how it affects picture quality have a look at this site, it might help some understand what the problem is, have a look at the pictures of the fabrics and you’ll begin to see the problem.

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm

    I have to admit when Canon announced the 7D I was tempted, it answers a lot of the concerns I have over the 5D2 especially in low light situations with poor autofocus. Plus I have a couple of nice EF-S 2.8 zoom lenses that I currently use on my 400D that will have to be duplicated or replaced if I go down the 5D path. Meantime I’ll be watching to see if the initial euphoria wears off and or the image sharpness improves (FWIW I dont think its a diffraction issue, Canon have had softness problems before with image quality and some of its hardware/firmware related. Even though the camera has dropped its price by 23.5% since its launch in the UK I’m not tempted – yet.

  100. Darwin, as a Canon user you may not be use to being attacked by brand loyal camera owners. If you owned some Minolta Equipment and now Sony DSLRs like I do you would be use to it. I get attacked by Nikon and Canon owners all the time, lol. Like many others who have meet you and attended your workshops and seminars, I quickly realized that you are a truthful person and your integrity is very important to you. I watched you do some of your testing on the 7D and I have watched you shoot with your 1Ds and XSi as well. I didn’t see any difference in how you worked with each. As someone who has seen first hand how you use live view as a tool, I have no doubt that the pictures were taken at there best with this camera. I also know that as a Canon user you won’t just report the good things about this new Canon camera as you would sell your integrity for the brand you use. I also know, how excited you were with the features and controls of this camera and as you stated you really wanted to love it. You are one of the best photographers I know, not just personally, but in general. You have been recognized as one of the best by the people who are suppose to know (and I am not one of those). So to attack you for this review is idiotic. You are reporting the facts as you see them. If someone doesn’t like your opinion (as good as that opinion might be) I am sure you are fine with that. I have said often that it appears Nikon knows something the other camera makers don’t, that is APS-C sensor are best at around 12 mp. Even Olympus has said they will not get into a mp race. I also said when this camera was announced that 18 mp seemed crazy on a APS-C sensor. So that is my thoughts, Darwin I don’t know of anyone better to test equipment then you. You continue to inspire with your work and you share your knowledge willing, for which you should be rewarded. I truly believe these are truthful and accurate results and I am grateful you are will to stick your neck out there in reporting your findings. You can test my Sony a700 anytime and I won’t even mind how bad the might think it is.

  101. For those who continue to ask for our RAW images please read below:

    We are photographers, We don’t give out our work for free. If you would like to license our RAW images we would be happy to negotiate an appropriate usage fee.

    We are not in the buiness of testing and providing RAW images for mass consumption. We reported exactly what we found and what our methods were. Readers should draw their own conclusions, or better yet do their own tests. Darwin

  102. What’s not clear to me is whether the framing was the same in the landscape photos (in which case the xsi crops should look smaller or have been upsized). If framing was adjusted to keep the number of pixels on the subject approximately the same then diffraction at f16 could explain the softness. If this is not the case then the7D looks very poor. The idea that the 45TSE at f8 is not sharp enough to take advantage of the sensor resolution is nonsense but the results of this test aren’t as striking as those with the 70-200 f4 (another lens which is very sharp but which is well in to diffraction limited territory at f16 on a 1.6 crop sensor). Diffraction is not an explanation for poorer images from a 7D than an Xsi, merely an explanation for softer 100% crops. More pixels will never lose you resolution (AA filter excepted) though they may be detrimental to other aspects of IQ (noise tonality etc).

  103. Dark Matter Says:

    I have an idea about 7D “muddy” image phenomena. The problem is in using LiveView for focusing. This mode produce heat on sensor and heat leads to more noise in image. Suppression of this noise leads to muddy image. Just try to turn OFF noise reduction and check how using LONG time LiveView mode affect noise performance of sensor. Just idea but it may be useful.

  104. [...] and I could sure use the 18MP for my large prints.  Very tempting, though Darwin Wiggett’s post about  the 7D producing soft images gives me pause. I can’t quite decide whether to get a new 7D or a used [...]

  105. Herman Lawetz Says:

    Here is a long shot possibility on your 7D woes.
    LIVE VIEW!
    I sometimes shoot my 50D, w/400 f/5.6 +1.4x II. After aiming & tightning the Wimberley, I switch to live view. The framing shifts, which makes me suspicious. The yield on these shots is extremely low. Invariably I get soft focus.
    So can you confirm that you also tried autofocus on the 7D with similar results as with live view ?

  106. I find it odd that Canon had the sense to reduce the pixel count with their Powershot G11, but not with their new midrange DSLR, the 7D.

    I have the 40D and 50D. The 40D produces glorious images; the 50D is comparatively disappointing – even when using L glass – for the same reasons as the 7D, as critiqued above.

    I just hope the 5D series doesn’t go down the same track where we’ll have 40 megapixel ff sensors producing mushy photographs.

  107. [...] the reviews. First up we have the 7D review done by Darwin Wiggett. Here’s essentially what he has to say about the 7D: Again to our eye the 7D files look soft and mushy compared to the snap in the other two files. Of [...]

  108. Hi,

    I am amazed how many different opinions are out on the D7. But this rewiew is certainly one of the refreshing ones, it talks what we users care fore.

    Since digital phptpgraphy has come out, it comes more difficoult to keep up with all the software that either you are an expert on it or just forget good results. The photography becomes sidelined. And this is waht I appreciate in this rewiev.

    When we had film, we had it really “simple”, the amateur and the professional decided the quality on the camera and with the film.

    Today you have to make tens of software courses to make a shot. But makes this real sense? The practical approach of this review is stunnung after I have read tons of reviews.

    Thumps up and bookmarked!

    Navyo

  109. goldenpiggy Says:

    I’d just like to thank Darwin, Sam, and everyone who posted…I learned so much from the threads here. Simply awesome.

    You know, I always had this hunch that my Nikon D40 and D70s (6.1mp) looked sharper beyond f/8 than my D300 and D5000 using the same lens, but I never investigated.

    So no camera maker is immune from laws of physics. Does anyone think CMOS sensors can be made to overcome diffraction by employing tiltable photosites similar to DLP micromirrors? Maybe in the future we will have autotuning sensors that match up to the lens’ characteristics?

  110. Hi Darwin and thanks for your weird review. ;)
    I own both the XSi and the 7D and of what I’ve seen so far in my pictures is that 7D shows a more detailed and natural looking reality as it is.
    But maybe you don’t prefer the reality as it is, but a more artificial romantic version from the XSi or D300 or other “point&shoot” cameras?
    1. Details and sharpness is not the same thing.
    2. Start shooting in RAW.
    3. Turn the NR or other “auto-lightning-correction-thingy” OFF!
    4. Don’t turn off all the sharpning…it’s there for a reason.
    5. Puch the color hue up some step in the camera if you think that it’s too dry and you will found out what 7D really is capable of.
    Why use aperture above F16 if you already have an infinitive depth of field at F10?
    This review is clearly not bias, but anti-bias so congratz if you’re making some hundred more readers hating the Canon 7D. Still it won’t change the “reality” for that matters.

  111. Look everyone the camera sucks, get over it….

    I’m as much of a Canon fanboy as anyone, but I am also a realist

    Look at TDP.com’s 200 f/2L IS crops with the 7D. This is supposed to be Canon’s sharpest lens but it looks like crap at all apertures

  112. I own a 450 xsi. The diffraction limited aperture (DLA) on that camera is F 8.4. The DLA on the 7d is F6.8.. That means softening and loss of contrast occur first on the 7d due to higher pixel density. There’s a table you can look up DLA’s for Canon DSLRs here: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EOS-5D-DSLR-Digital-Camera-Review.aspx . DPreview, Cameralabs, Ron Galbraith, Image-resource.com and many others all tested the resolution higher than the 450xsi. Stronger anti-aliasing filter aside according to these experts the resolution on the 7d is the highest of ANY cropped sensor. More softening WILL occur on at f 8 or f 11 on a sensor with a DLA of f6.8 as opposed to one with a DLA of f8.4. That’s why with your distant shots you see the softness. You can get sharper shots with the 7d using a larger aperture; but this presents a problem for the landscape photographer wanting maximum depth-of-field (DOF). It looks like the 7d is a great wildlife, birder, action camera but has some shortcomings for the landscape photographer.

  113. DLA on the 7d is F6.8 but f8.4 on the 450xsi… at those aps the 7d ABSOLUTELY DOES HAVE MORE SOFTENING DUE TO DIFFRACTION!

  114. Here is a Link to a resolution comparison test between the 40D, 50D and 7D. I test all my cameras the same way and have for years. I have found the biggest single variable in getting repeatable results to be autofocus/focus error which has a significant impact on resolution.

    http://www.kennewcombe.com/7D_test.html

  115. First, I currently use the 450d and a 400d w all L glass, and have used a 20d and 40D. I think the results from the 450D are the best of all those cameras when it comes to IQ..W/ the 40D just about equal. Although build quality is obviously lacking on the 450D compared w/ the higher end bodies…

    As for the 7d results…. To me the corn pictures look just about identical on the 450-7d comparison. Maybe a tiny bit of focusing differace but overall equal. With the hay bale comparison crop it appears the res on the 7d is greater making it hard to judge… what does the 7D picture look like when down sized to 12mp on the hay bale?

    Just curious… Thanks for the great review….

  116. solidus_maximus Says:

    what if the soft images were caused by the 7D’s focusing problems during Live View? firmware update (v.1.0.9) was provided when users complained about this issue. i wonder what firmware version you used during the Live View tests. have you tried taking pictures for tests in the viewfinder? thank you.

  117. #2
    AFter more reading on this subject..
    Read the top of pg 29 of DPreview’s testing – they take a bunch of shots at different apertures and select the sharpest one for the resolution measurement.
    You can download the image, it’s shot at 1/60 and f/8.0 from the meta data – that’s typically the aperture to produce the highest resolution you’ll get from any 35mm lens, as averaged over the whole frame, not just the center. If you wanted to max the center sharpness you’d typically open up another stop or 2. They likely used the 50mm f/1.4 lens; I couldn’t tell from the meta data on that file.
    OTOH, the 85mm f/1.8 lens used for testing the 5D2 was shot at f/9, again, about the diffraction sweet aperture for a FF camera altho perhaps a about a stop or 2 past the best overall sharpness as measured by photozone for that lens.

    Resolution charts don’t lie – but they ARE working with the highest contrasting image elements you can shoot, not the sort of vague and low contrast details you might be looking for in the greens of foliage or other common landscape scenes.

    So, I’d summarize thus:
    – shoot a small pixel camera like the 7D at small apertures and you’ve lost lots of per-pixel sharpness while improving DoF.
    – as above but with a target that’s low contrast, pixel level noise will come into play to some extent and the inherent de-noising of image will add a little more muddiness when pixel-peeping.
    – strong AA filter pushes it further into the mush altho this effect can be undone to a good extent by sharpening in PP.

    I shoot EOS 350D, 400D, 450D, 40D and I’ve borrowed a 5D2 on occasion. What I see is the cheaper consumer SLRs seem to have a weaker AA filter or perform more in-camera sharpening even on the RAW file if that’s possible. They provide punchy and sharp looking output ready to print far more readily that what comes from my soft image generating 40D. But the 40D is what I use for critical work where I know I’ll be running RAW thru lots of PP to get the image I want. That’s the art of photography these days. I wouldn’t expect any camera to give me great output, ready for large-print landscape work, without PP it first, not even medium format.
    OTOH, I’d be one of millions of upset consumers if my $700 Rebel didn’t give output with at least as much apparent sharpness as can be had from a $200 10 MP PnS cam! I think mfrs. expect the higher end cameras like this would be handled by those of use who know what we’re doing with them and how to PP for what we want.

    I’ve used 40D, 400D and 450D for large landscape panoramas and guess what, when I’m done PP you can’t tell which camera was used.
    I likely sharpen the output from the 400 or 450 a little less in the process but they also have a little more image noise unless shot at base ISO. I know the tradeoffs each piece of my gear presents me with, and I choose appropriately for the job.
    As a pro, I’m sure Darwin does the same. I just think his expectations are let down by the 7D, quite possibly because he didn’t fully understand the physics of the whole image-capturing system he was trying out. If he spent more time with it and developed some workflow, perhaps he’d come to regard the 7D’s abilities with a more appreciative opinion, even if it still doesn’t do what he hoped it would. It actually acheives some technically very remarkable results when you consider how far it’s been pushed. Sure I also would have preferred to see all those features on a FF with about 20 to 25 MP or on the 1.6 crop with about 12 to 14 MP and lower inherent RAW noise.

    Lessons learned:
    – 7D aint no landscape camera, especially if you’re pixel peepin’
    – 7D is good at lots of other things but could be passable at landscape with lots of PP
    – if you don’t like PP, you shouldn’t be shooting landscape with a 35mm format camera
    – camera and mounted lens are a SYSTEM which is going to react differently from some other SYSTEM
    – very subjective “reviews” like this one we’re commenting on are great for generating a lot of traffic, a lot of opinions and intellectual-noise.
    – some very smart and experienced people have put their 2 cents worth in here for others to learn from
    – 7D is gonna make a lot of sports, wedding and wildlife photogs very happy. Portrait-shooters too.
    – landscape types will have to look somewhere else or learn how to stitch good panoramas from multiple shots if you want more than about 12MP effective from an APS-C camera system ON A GOOD DAY. :)

    Good day.

  118. Interesting…

    This is what happens when a non qualified person reviews a camera. They post a result that is correct but incorrect.

    The review is correct, if you use a 7D with default settings and the reviewers workflow you will get these results. True.

    If you use a different workflow, ie more sharpening, heavier contrast and higher saturation and or out of camera jpgs you will get the results most people get from the 7D. True

    To publish a review stating that a particular camera or piece of equipment is flawed based on a flawed method should be illegal.

    I’m stunned at the comments here, this review is flawed…massively. It’s simply not even worth explaining in detail.

    I will try and sum it up so the uneducated understand.

    If I reviewed a Ferrari but as an individual decided to only drive in first gear and turned in a negative review based on my findings of never changing gear, is the car bad or was it my method of testing? Clearly it is incorrect testing.

    The reviewer is NOT a reviewer they are a photographer stuck with a workflow that does not suit the 7D.

    Nobody in their right mind would use their workflow with a 7D, likewise most educated photographers would do their best to avoid F16 on a 7D…anyway.

    The photographers take great photos but should leave the reviewing to people better qualified to review.

    By the way, I’v taken ten of thousands of photos with various Nikon and Canon cameras of late and can fully back up the http://www.dpreview.com review of the 7D. It certainly resolves more detail than the Nikon D300 and Rebel when used correctly with high quality lenses.

    That is a FACT.

    Thanks for trying but please try to avoid spreading miss information.

    Email the dpreview team as I’m certain they will help you with methodology if you want to continue with reviews.

    • Many images I see posted that claim to show how sharp the 7D is, look soft to me. I would like to have the extra MP to allow me a little more crop room, however I cant get past the many images I have been lead to by 7D lovers claiming how sharp it is that do not look sharp to me.

      I do not shoot enough at this point that taking 5ish minutes to get an image nearly perfect is a problem. If I had to do it for a living with hundreds of images it would be a real time killer.

      I may rent one and compare head to head with my current camera. The bottom line really is … how sharp will they be if “I” PP them.

  119. [...] többen-több okot is felhoztak. Ki a RAW konvertert, ki a beállításokat okolja, mindenesetre itt olvashatjátok a teljes tesztet és szeretnénk kiemelni saját tanácsukat is: De ne higgyetek nekünk! Arra [...]

  120. I think the problem is the RAW processing I had a 5d MKII (for a year) and a 7D for 2 Weeks ended with the 7D. did hundred of test all of them in JPG and MOV, Mostly With L and Sigma EX lens. only time I saw some really difference was after ISO 1600. my opinion was IQ and sharppnes was same.

    I think trying to Compare the 7D with the G11 is stupid. lot of people I know with Canon DSLR also own a G9 or G10 and the Quality of the G models are no way near any DSLR I had ever own even the 300D

    • “I think trying to Compare the 7D with the G11 is stupid.”

      Why? Most photographers have multiple cameras. Some big high-end DSLR or maybe MF or LF. But also one or more P&S for situations where you can’t bring the big gear.

      When comparing a DSLR with a P&S, the normal intention is to show that while a P&S can’t match a DSLR, it still produces usable pictures (maybe not for magazine covers but at least capturing memories) and shouldn’t be ignored. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t use the word “stupid” if someone did a comparison between a MF or LF camera and the current state-of-the art DSLR. Different cameras are good for different things, but only a comparison will help peple see the actual difference. Then it is up to the reader to compare expectations with the comparison and weight in their own feelings about the relevance of the comparison.

      Saying that a P&S is comparable to a DSLR or a MF camera for landscape photography is stupid. Making a comparison to show the differences is most definitely not.

  121. [...] to be the ideal successor. I read great reviews of the 7D everywhere. Everywhere? Well, there is this one blog post of Darwin Wiggett that goes against the popular opinion: [...]

  122. I found F11 sharper than F8 (as it should be)
    two sample JPG Direct from 7D with a 24-70mm L Lens, not sure what is your problem the glass or the RAW convesion.

    F8
    http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/9708/84249533.jpg
    F11
    http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/6219/f11e.jpg

    100%
    F8
    http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/6915/f8dn.jpg
    F11
    http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/2120/f11d.jpg

  123. Thank For the Review Darwin !
    I do trust your instincts and professionalism on the results–
    Next year I’m personally going to Nikon.
    I started with Nikkormat Ft-2’s and Nikon F2’s way back and I really believe that Nikon has what I want in terms of camera Tools.

    Its too bad that the 7D didn’t perform as well as everyone first thought it would. its just my 2cents worth of opinion but in my humble opinion Canon missed the boat by going to 18MB–a smaller sensor would have been better !!

    I’m very impressed with the G11 photo’s you took.
    I really like my G10 but it in Europe with my mother in law now, so maybe be the G11 will be the order of the day for a carry about eh!
    kind Regards,

    Evan Spellman

  124. Hi Darwin,

    Talking about you on my blog (in french, use Google translate) :

    http://www.shots.fr/2009/11/17/canon-eos-7d-quand-darwin-contrarie-levolution-des-especes/
    ;)

  125. Testing Shots whit f/13 its a joke ……… sorry thats not reality and not very helpful. Noob’s …

  126. No way to read all these posts, perhaps this has already been suggested.

    But, in regards to color you must at least do a custom wb (and also include the same neutral reference) on each camera to even begin to compare something as complex as color rendition.

  127. Erwin Bolwidt Says:

    First let me compliment you on your in-depth, well-documented review.
    I do find your results surprising, but given that you have thoroughly documented exactly how you tested (with almost scientific rigor), the results are valuable for anyone who shoots in the same circumstances with the same PP tools.

    I see all the comments about diffraction limit and it seems there may be something there.

    Diffraction limits for 100% crops greatly depend on the pixel density of the sensor, and the 7D has a very large pixel density.

    From the review at the-digital-picture I get that the 7D is diffraction limited from f/6.8, compared to f/10.3 for a 5D mkII or f/8.4 for a 450D/Rebel XSi.

    Not sure if that explains it all, but doing a comparison at f/5.6 could shed some light on this (out of the above three cameras, I’m missing a 7D so I can’t do that myself)

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EOS-7D-Digital-SLR-Camera-Review.aspx

  128. Bummer….I read the 1st impressions a month ago, and woke up today completely ready to buy the 7D. Started reading updated reviews to get psyched to burn up the credit card. Found yours.

    Well done, I must say. Credit card won’t be used.

    Bummer.

  129. Andreas Helke Says:

    This review leaves me puzzled. I wonder if your tripod is not quite as sturdy as you thought it was. But with mirror lock up it should definitely be sturdy enough. Have there been different wind conditions between the test shots?

    Many of the test photos are at apertures where diffraction has a very significant detrimental effect on sharpness. But his should affect all APS-C cameras in about the same way.

  130. canon sucks!

  131. Kijk op Birdpix.nl daar kunnen ze wel fotograferen met de 7D!

    Groet George.

  132. The camera just isn’t as good as what the spec sheet suggests and if somebody has to have a specific work flow to obtain decent results from the camera and has to shoot below F8 or 13 or whatever it is and can’t use live view to focus and has to update firmware etc… then this camera is crap.

    • You are obviously not able to read the spec sheet and correctly interpret it. No APS-C camera with 18MP can make use of the full resolution of the sensor at F/8 or F/13. That is a hard physical limitation of the lenses. The only way you can get 18MP of resolution at F/8 or F/13 is if you have a much larger sensor.

      Canon, Nikon, Sony or whoever – they just can’t break the physical laws. The physical laws tells that every specific pixel size has a maximum f-stop value however expensive lens you buy. Above that f-stop value, the amount of information projected on the sensor will have less details than the sensor is able to capture. Increase the f-stop and you will get a situation when any lens will be limited to 10MP and then to 5MP and then to 1MP.

      Using the 7D with a high f-stop means that the sensor will produce a large output file with little details just because the len’s can’t produce. The extra noise from the smaller pixels will on the other hand average out. But the limitation in amount of details at high f-stops will affect any camera with an APS-C sensor. When the lens can only supply 5MP of resolution, then it is irrelevant if the camera can capture 5 or 15 or 150MP. To take advantage of the high resolution of the 7D, it has to be used at lower f-stops.

      Compare with a car. A high-end sports car may be able to do 300km/h – but only on a straight and smooth asphalt road. In city traffic it will be just as limited as all other cars since it can’t run faster than the car infront.

  133. Man, I echo Tom Nevesely words…” I love how some people will do just about anything to defend a camera. It’s all fine and good to say that the camera is awesome when shooting with wider apertures but if that isn’t your photography style what’s the point?”…is there more to be said?

    You can´t input air condicioning on a car without loosing a bit of horse power, right(about filter, live-view and pixel increase)?

    And then, there´s these bunch of people that are suspicious and miss credit DARWIN and SAM´s work. People, you´re talking of Darwin Widdget and Sam, two photographers that help others with there knowledge in the field. We are talking to a Professional Photographer with a lack of printed books and awards. Am I missing something here?

    well, I´m not going to extend my statement here, in fact, my english is not that good.
    Darwin, Sam, thanks for you´re reviews on this new but disapointing camera, for landsacape photographers, like us. I´m sure it may be quite good for other type of photography. It sure will make other kind of photographers with other needs to be a very cool and helpfull camera. Look forward to see other reviews from both, since I just discovered this link in NPN today.

    Best Regards,

    • dmojavensis Says:

      Bsilva,

      What technically savvy readers are pointing out here is that the diffraction is NOT 7D’s (or any other camera’s) fault. And therefore calling 7D “not a landscape camera” while also calling 21MP 1Ds3 or 5D2 “good landscape cameras” is very MISLEADING. It’s very sad to see how many people are confused.

      To resume, diffraction and depth of field are related, irrespective of sensor size. Bigger sensor size WILL have exactly the same diffraction “blur” (per sensor size) as a smaller sensor! You are not gaining anything in terms of diffraction by upsizing the sensor (the image quality improvements of bigger sensor cameras are primarily due to the higher quality optics (per sensor size) and perhaps higher quality bigger pixels).

      In other words ANY camera with 18MP count(medium format, 35mm, APS-C, compact, etc) set to have the same depth of field (and equivalently to a hyperfocal distance) WILL be limited by diffraction in exactly the same way.

      So if you say think that f6.7 on 7D is “not a suitable” aperture for landscape, then f11 should not be suitable for landscape on a full frame camera like 1D and 5D, and f13 should not be suitable on Leica S2. ((correct answer — all these apertures give equivalent DOF and diffraction properties on the respective cameras).

      It’s sad to see people confused about such basic things and hence making uninformed camera choices.

      Hope it helps

  134. I knew the 7D was in trouble when I saw the apertures that were used in the tests. The problem is diffraction; not lens diffraction, but the diffraction limit aperture of the camera. DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture) is the result of a mathematical formula that approximates the aperture where diffraction begins to visibly affect image sharpness at the pixel level. The smaller the pixel size, the sooner the DLA is reached. The DLA of the 7D is only f/6.8. The DLA for the 50D is f/7/6. The xsi has a DLA of f/8.4. Compare that with the DLA of the 5D MK II and 1DS MK III, which both have a DLA of f/10.3. The original 5D has a DLA of f/13.2. Again, the more you increase pixel density on a sensor, the smaller the pixels, and the lower the DLA. This seems to have first become an issue with the 50D. Because of the low DLA it clearly is not a great landscape lens. You would have thought Canon would have learned, but they seem determined to win the pixel war, to the detriment of image quality. Thus the higher pixel 7D, and a new low for DLA. I would like to see the test done again, but more in a wildlife mode — apertures from f/2.8 – f/5.6. This clearly is not a good landscape lens, but at typical wildlife apertures it might be great. (See the reviews of the 50D and 7D at http://www.the-digital-picture.com/ for more on the DLA.)

  135. [...] sound on the surface, there are two reports on the internet that lend credence to this belief. The main report was written by a blogger named Darwin Wiggett.  His blog entry had a number of entries similar to [...]

  136. [...] This is very bad for Canon and made hundreds of people decide NOT to buy the 7D for photographic use: http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/the-canon-7d/ [...]

  137. [...] ‘noisiness’ (or lack of) and general performance. After the reasonably critical conclusion of Darwen Wigget,  who found the picture quality poor compared with the entry level 450D (Rebel XSI) another [...]

  138. [...] Darwin’s Review – Real life test with 3(!) different models [...]

  139. Both sides have correct points. The camera doesn’t work for Darwin’s way of shooting and processing, and he’s calling like he sees it. That doesn’t make it a “bad” camera, any more than a 14mm lens is a “bad” lens because it’s not suitable for shooting birds in flight. The photographer must pick the right tool for the job.

    Why? The entire imaging chain must be considered, not just single factors A vs. B.:

    For common DSLR sensors, the pixel pitch is coarse enough that it overpowers the visual perception of diffraction unless apertures are small / diffraction is large.

    The 7D has a very fine pixel pitch, so it takes less aperture to reach the point that diffraction naturally spreads a single “point” on the image across more than one physical pixel location. That’s what causes the blurriness. The inverse is why cameras such as the original 4MP 1D create images with such startling accutance, even though the sensor has few pixels. Image quality is primarily a function of the interaction between the lens (aperture) and sensor, not one or the other.

    (This also means that higher diffraction systems demand correspondingly higher sharpening defaults, but i want to stick to the primary topic.)

    The bottom line is that this makes the 7D a superb tool for wide aperture birds in flight, or pro sports shooting. Low diffraction, high pixel density. The opposite is what makes most early DSLRs quite good for stopped down work, as are those recent DSLRs with larger pixel locations. Darwin’s right, and the 7D is a great camera.

    Choose the right tool for the right job, and it’s easier to get good results.

  140. Well, if diffraction is really a problem, G11 is really in big trouble (as well as all small sensor DC).
    To quote some figure:
    7D APS-C sensor size is 22.2×14.8mm=329mm^2
    G11 sensor size is 7.6 x 5.7mm = 43mm^2
    So, G11 sensor size is roughly 8 times smaller.
    Considering the pixel count, G11 pixel density is roughly 4 times larger then 7D.
    Is this huge difference ? Will this suffer diffraction more then 7D ?
    Look at the picture from G11 vs 7D, does it show what you expected from this simple calculation?

    If it is windy situation which cause camera shake in 7D, what can you say about the corn picture which is taken indoor?

    Canon did say something about live view performance in camera user manual. It is about sensor temperature. They said if you leave camera in live view mode for a long time will cause censor temperature to raise, and this will cause image quality to decrease. But the manual did not give any rigid (or vague) figure on how bad the image quality will be. The manual did mention that there will be a warning if the sensor temperature get too high.

  141. Here we go again. Diffraction does NOT mean the 7D is any worse off than any other APSC sensor camera. Diffraction blur/softening/effect will be EXACTLY the same for the 7D as for a 1MP APSC camera or a 100MP APSC camera. All it means is that with 18MP you may be able to see the diffraction induced blur which may not have been visible on a lower MP camera.

    All else being equal, the 7D will always be at LEAST as sharp as a camera of lower megapixels, at all apertures.

    Diffraction does NOT mean that a higher megapixel camera is worse off than a lower megapixel equivalent. It just means the limitations caused by diffraction may be more apparent.

    Giving the 7D more pixels will NEVER make it take photos with lower resolution. It might cause more noise and it will take up more disk space, but it won’t decrease resolution or detail.

    I do think this kind of pixel density is a waste of effort, processing power and disk space because other limitations prevent it from being useful, but it doesn’t reduce the resolution of your camera. It certainly isn’t responsible for making the 7D “not a landscape camera”. That statement should be rephrased to say “an APSC camera will never make as good a landscape camera as a full frame camera, and a full frame camera will never be as good a landscape camera as a larger format camera”.

    • dmojavensis Says:

      Julian, your last statement is wrong. APS-C will give you absolutely the same amount of diffraction per picture height at the same DOF as a larger or a smaller sensor. Of course the aperture you’ll use to get the same DOF as on say 35mm camera will be 1.6x times larger (i.e. f/8 on fullframe is equivalent in terms of diffraction and DOF to f/5 on Canon’s APS-C). Physics :)

  142. Why can’t we just get sharp images directly from digital cameras like the old F1’s, FTb’s, F1/2/3/4/5’s, Pentax and even Vivitars with Kodachrome 25. No ‘post processing’ baloney, just good sharp images we could make prints from.

    • We can. It’s just that most owners of digital cameras thinks that a photo is only sharp if it looks sharp when pixel-peeping. And the more pixels, the sharper the camera + lens has to be (at proper aperture) just for the user to think that it is sharp.

      A 1MP camera always looks sharp even with a lousy lens. Especially if it has a weak antialiasing filter.

      The 7D does not have many extra pixels just to allow the image to be cropped harder, or to allow a pixel zoom to show a sharper image. It has extra pixels to allow it to capture smaller features without fighting with the antialiasing filter. Any moire still surviving the AA filter will be much smaller – if printing from the full capture instead of cropping a fixed number of pixels.

  143. [...] 7D en Landschappen http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2…/the-canon-7d/ __________________ Canon 1Ds3 | 5D2 | EOS 3 | 35 f/2 | 35L | 85L II | 100 f/2 | 135L | 24-70L | [...]

  144. What concerns me is more the tonal differences and shadow detail – Is Canon’s decision to proceed with ever higher pixel counts sacrificing more subtle aspects of image quality?

  145. Question for anyone that might have experience…

    I am looking to upgrade to a camera that will better shoot gymnastics! I need a camera that is great in low light(but I can’t afford a 1D series). Also, fps is not a must since you try and get the poses that happen, the trick they do, not a series of pics. I can take a movie if I want that.

    ANY help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

  146. I stumbled upon this post/discussion while researching the 7D as one of a few possible purchases, unfortunately it has raised more questions rather than point to answers.

    Before making a comment and raising a question on the sharpness/diffraction debate, may I make a brief appeal – Could we all please keep in mind this is an online discussion, i.e. a conversation conducted from afar. Distance and anonymity surely don’t give a license to dispense with basic manners.

    A photographic point to keep in mind is that all lenses have an optimum aperture where sharpness reaches a peak – unfortunately sometimes at different points for centre and edge sharpness! Diffraction at first slowly, then dramatically reduces sharpness at smaller apertures. However, we use different aperture settings for various reasons, and a better picture can be the result, although not theoretically optimally sharp. We might need more or less depth of field, or choose to use a certain shutter speed to benefit the composition. Should we not view the DLA in the same way? – it’s just the characteristics of the sensor, etc., reducing the optimum sharpness.

    My question is that when DLAs are calculated, pixel size is the key factor. So with the 7D sensor, when the optical image projected by the camera lens onto the top surface of each microlens on the sensor is clearly larger than the image transmitted to the sensor receptor below, which dimensions should be used?

  147. (Do you still have the energy to read the comments? :-) )

    I think you are right in your review. With your way of testing the 7D is on a per pixel level less sharp. But when you upsample the 450D, then I don’t see much of a difference in the images. You actually should compare them at the same pixel density, otherwise you are comparing apples to pears. I would prefer downsampling to upsampling.

    Then there also is a question of the tools used. You have now way of knowing that the processing of the images is equal just because the settings are equal.

    You really should be comparing the final products. If there is no visible difference in the final deliverable, then there is no reason for not choosing the 7D for its (in your opinion) superior handling.

    I also disagree on you not providing the/any RAW images. Nobody is asking you to give away great pieces of art. And just because they are available freely does not mean they are free for any use. And probably even you are capable of producing a mediocre image of good technical quality for testing purposes. :-)

    Comparing the image quality of the 450D and 7D it to me boils down to the question of why. Is it DLA? Is it software? Is it AA? Pixeldensity?

  148. Thanks for this review. I must comment though you are the only one (that I have found) that has come up with these bad results. DP Review, whom I respect highly, did a 36 page review of this camera and was very positive about it giving it a very high rating.

    I’m confused……..

    Ec

  149. [...] surrounding the image quality of the new Canon 7D DSLR. Landscape photographer Darwin Wigget posted a scathing review regarding the image quality of the newest Canon DSLR offering. In his tests, his old Canon 450D [...]

  150. Amazing, I didn’t heard about that till now. Thanks.

  151. I really enjoyed reading this post, keep up posting such exciting stuff!

  152. Garrick Leonard Says:

    Firmware update corrects ghost image from previous shot. This will blur image. Needs to be tested again with new firmware.

  153. Ferdiand Tiongson Says:

    Have anyone tried to print to see the final result of the tested cameras?

    Thanks

  154. [...] short update on the Canon 7D vs the Canon Rebel XSi In our original review of the Canon 7D we absolutely loved the handling and performance of the camera but we just could not [...]

  155. You have successfully convince me not to buy 7d anymore. I appreciate the detailed review and its objectiveness.

  156. You start this review out in the third paragraph stating: “The specs of the 7D (18MP, 8fps, Live View, 1080P video, 100% viewfinder) looked great to both of us.” My question is why would you think that a camera spec that provided for 18mp on an APS-C sized sensor would be “great”?

    As long as people keep thinking that lots of megapixels is “great” we are going to keep getting lots of mushy noisy pixels causing us to rapidly fill up our hard drives with meaningless garbage, instead of actual image detail.

    This entire test merely supports that which should, by now, be intuitive to anyone but a newbie.

    Before anyone purchases a camera the first question they should ask themselves, is how big do I want to print on a regular basis. If the answer is, “no bigger than 8×10″, then a 6mp file is more than enough. If the answer is, “poster sized”, then an APS-C sensor camera is the wrong tool for the job. Period.

    If the 7D had been issued as a 10mp APS-C sensor camera, and had incorporated all of Canon’s latest sensor technology on the 10mp sensor, then the 7D would have offered outstanding image quality – superior noise free, high dynamic range images at ALL ISO up to 3200 or 6400. A 10mp image file is capable of producing high resolution 13″ x 19″ prints, and even larger if Genuine Fractals is used for up-sizing. How many people are going to regularly use the 7D to produce prints larger than 13×19 or 16×20?

    Even if the image files were clean at 18mp, it is a total waste of time and hard drive space to handle too much image data. With large file sizes, everything slows down, including manipulations in Photoshop and transferring files back and forth between devices. So unless one is going to regularly use 18mp files to print 30″ x 40″ prints, one does not need 18mp files. And if one is going to print 30″x40″ prints, they would be far better served by a full frame DSLR camera or medium format.

    Interestingly, when the engineers at Canon sat down to design the EOS 1D Mk4, a camera that was aimed at the discerning fast-shooting professional market, they chose to limit the number of megapixels on the significantly larger APS-H sensor (as opposed to the much smaller APS-C sensor in the 7D) to 16mp. Therefore, how is it that the vastly less demanding photog considering the EOS 7D needs more resolution than the more demanding and knowledgeable EOS 1D Mk4 customer? Who is probably going to have more of a need to make poster sized prints, the 7D customer or the 1D customer? In addition, who is more likely to have the highest quality Canon lenses, lenses that are required in order to resolve sufficiently for densely packed sensors (eg. 7D), the advanced amateur looking at the 7D, or the serious professional looking at the EOS 1D Mk4? Essentially what Canon has done, is to put the necessity and financial burden for using higher quality lenses more on the purchasers of the 7D (18mp on APS-C) than on the purchasers of the 1D Mk4 (16mp on APS-H). Furthermore, not only does one have to use L glass to get the true benefit of the high resolution of the 7D, but everything else becomes more critical as well – correct use of complicated AF system, correct stabilizing and handling of the camera itself, the critical alignment of the internal camera components, etc. Every aspect of image capture becomes more critical as you use the smaller and smaller sensels (photosites) so characteristic of high megapixel DSLR cameras. And who is more equipped to deal with all these issues, the amateur looking to spend $1700 on a camera or a professional with 20 years of experience looking to spend $5000 on a camera? If anything, common sense would have dictated that the sensor resolution on the $1700 7D should be LESS than whatever was chosen to be used on the $5000 1D Mk4. Canon touts the 7D camera as a fast action camera, and the fact that they have included 8fps and fast AF supports this. However, as all sports shooters know, for fast action you need fast shutter speeds and for fast shutter speeds you need the highest ISO performance you can get. So again, this really makes Canon’s decision to use a noisier 18mp sensor in the 7D, instead of a cleaner 10mp sensor, very questionable.

    There is absolutely no substitute for clean (high fidelity and artifact free) image data coming directly from the photosite. In fact, even significantly up-rezzing clean data (as your test shows) produces a far better result than capturing noisy mushy dirty data from an over stressed photosite that is densely packed on a so called “high resolution” sensor. Software hocus pocus (“noise reduction”) is NOT going to address the purity of the photosite signal, or lack thereof. “Noise reduction” is just another way of saying “fine detail smearing”. Only larger photosites with better signal-to-noise ratio are going to provide superior dynamic range and image quality; noise reduction “smoke and mirrors” is NOT going to accomplish this. But since noise reduction is far cheaper than hardware solutions, the camera companies are going to tout noise reduction as the solution even when their own engineers know damn well that it is not the way to acheive quality.

    Thank you for doing a real world test that supports that which should be totally obvious to every photo enthusiast by now.

    • dmojavensis Says:

      How does the megapixel count influence the resulting noise for a given final size of an image?

      In reality, with the current sensor the only thing that really matters is the integral area of all photosites of a sensor, which for any current sensor is >80% regardless of pixel count. See for instance this article – http://dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Insights/More-pixels-offsets-noise!

      In other words 10MP sensor in 7D using the same pixel technology as in the 18MP sensor would not improve noise characteristics significantly. But wIth 18MP you have an option of using all that resolution when the conditions allow if you need to. See how much detail you can extract vs 500D or 1Ds3 here, if you are interested – http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/canon_7d_review.htm

      • dmojavensis Says:

        p.s. The blog engine actually broke the link to the DxOMark website above (cut off the “!” in the end). Add the exclamation mark to the end of the URL yourself or use the shortcut instead — http://preview.tinyurl.com/yfen4md

      • Noise is not really the biggest issue with cramming too many pixels on a small sensor. The biggest issue is a dramatic loss of dynamic range, especially at higher ISO settings, thus causing an increased likelihood for blown highlights or crushed shadows, a loss of detail that no amount of software hocus pocus will fix. Lots of theoretical resolution on images that contain areas of no detail as a result of clipping is a bit pointless, isn’t it?

  157. I HAVE NOW MY D300S UPGRATED FROM D90 & I HAD CANON 5D & UPGRATED TO 5D MARK 2 SEVERAL MONTH AGO & HAD 40D UPGRATED TO 50D 1 YEAR AGO & NOW I UPGRATED MY 50D TO MY 7D , SORRY MY ( GREAT 7D) . SO I HAVE NOW 3 CAMERA (D300S , 5D MARK2 & 7D) , NEVER FEELING BETER THAN NOW WITH MY (GREAT 7D). I AM SOMEBODY ALWAYSE interessted IN RETOUTSHING PICTURES & I DO UNDERSTAND WHAT MEANES ALL TESTINGS WAS MAKE & WRITE IT AT FIRST IN THIS PAGE . I BELEAVE THAT : THE 7D HAVE A VERY CLEEN SHARPNES AT EDGES VIS ANY REBELS UNTEL NOW (MORE sharpnes ON PHOTOSHOP let PICTURES OF THE HAIR had AN AFRODABLE look) , not the case of the 7d & THE 5D MARK 2 . BUT IF WE WANT PUT THE SAME UNSHARPMASK (EXP : 300) FOR PICTURES of 12 megapixels vis a hiyer pixels (50D ,7D,5d mark2 etc…) of corse we optaned a more sharpnes pictures on the lower resolution than the hiyer one . but the question it : how much level OF THE unsharpmask can SUPORTED THIS OR OTHER CAMERA pictures to still GAVE US A clean one .

  158. JUST one MORE QUESTION : WY LIMITED YOU THESE TESTINGS in LOWER ISO , WHAT ABOUT THE NEW TECHNOLOGIE : NOIS REDUCTION & THE HI ISO (3200,6400) ? WY NOT MAKING YOU TESTING ON HI ISO ?
    I THINK YOU ARE TRIYING TO SEND SOME MESSAGE FOR AN OTHER REASON , but let me tel you somthing : it WAS not a write way from you to make some hocus-pocus , you understand well what i mean between pro ? BUT IF YOU ARE SOME AMATEUR OR A BIGGUINER , it will stil for you many years to understand how the technologie of digital photographie are flying & planing . forgave me my friend but this are the true .

  159. Adobe released the beta version of the converter for CS4 to handle the raw imges from a 7D. Theers is also the beta version for Lightroom. You might want to donwload them, and then look at those same images in raw, with Abobes software, as the Canon software leaves a lot to be desired………..IMHO

  160. Darwin:
    Through the years I’ enjoyed both your books and articles very much. On reading your 7D review did you observe the same errors in focusing, if you used AF through the view finder. Is the bad focus only occur in live view?
    Thanks,
    John

  161. [...] This one is the same crop with 80% unsharp mask applied in CS3: There was an article written by Darwin Wiggett that said the 7D images were soft or "muddy". As a comparison, I shot the same scene with [...]

  162. Cowboy Bob Says:

    Don’t be fooled by this review. Here is a link to a response comparison using the same cameras, this time with the D7 as the winner.

    http://www.prophotohome.com/news/2009/11/19/canon-7d-worse-than-canon-rebel-xsi/

  163. I have been a professional photographer for 20 years, I consider that I know how to get the best out of a camera especially Canons….but I have to agree with your findings, the 7D feels fantastic and has a great array of features and customisation options….BUT the file quality is appauling, I predict that this little camera is going to do great harm to Canons reputation, they have been making cameras long enough not to let something like the 7D out of the factory. Its such a shame, I guess I will be ebaying mine.

  164. Canon 7D vs the 5d2 – What to do?…

    I thought I was pretty sure I was going to get the 7D as my next camera body.  Right now I shoot with an older Canon 20D which I love, but is starting to show its age.  I was originally decided on the 5D2, but when the 7D came out I was amazed my much …

  165. [...] The 7D being slated: lots of responses (Darwin Wigget) [...]

  166. [...] rekindling the fire and the backlash Darwin and I received from our little, honest, straightforward review of the Canon 7D camera.  I was originally going to write my response in the form of a guest blog [...]

  167. My own tests involved macro shots. After purchasing the 7D I photographed a fly with mirror lock and remote while on a tripod. The image was so poor I was sure that it was user error. I tried all possible shutter speeds and f stops but to no avail, the image was terribly soft. I took the camera back and tried three different 7D bodies and 3 different Cannon 100mm lenses. I shot some pics and the pros at Houston Camera did the same. We could not get a sharp image on macro.
    I was fortunate enough that the Canon rep was there that day. He could not produce a good macro either. Needless to say he was at a loss for words.

    I switched to the Nikon D300s and a 60mm lens and my images are amazing and crystal clear.

    I loved the Canon 7d but could not live with the softness. They got everything right except image clarity. Too bad.

    • Hi Chris, sorry to hear you found just what we found. We thought the same as you ‘we must be doing something wrong’. We also could not believe the results could be so poor. Glad to hear the 300s works for you and your methods. And good for you, for testing before buying. Darwin

  168. John Wright Says:

    Invalid tests. Different sensors with different signal processing being compared raw and then against processed jpgs… no, it doesn’t work. I’ve seen too many good examples from the 7D, well processed.

    • John,

      Where were you earlier? With your in-depth scientific approach you could have told us how to make our tests valid. We just wasted all this time doing meaningless stuff-darn! ;-)

  169. [...] and noise levels.   DP Review raves about the camera.  Gizmodo likes it.  Darwin Wigget says the images are soft.  Drew Strickland at ProPhotoHome disagrees.  Wigget is still not convinced.  Meanwhile, Fake [...]

  170. hi , darwin i think you are not a realist photographer & you like to be this one , it is enough to pretand someone (some goud tester) & you ARe NOt i have THE D300S & THE 7D ,I can let you see the big differance between the 2 camera for 2 or mor pios ,you can compare it & find the 7d is more better than the D300S thousand & thousand time LIke I tell YOU & shure you have a problem with your canons cameras or you are trying to play with the professional photographers without chance ,goud by stuedant you need to study more & more , & D ont BE ANGRY .

  171. Excellent. Best review I’ve seen, considering it is a test of one specific type of photography. All the raving about post-processing and diffraction ignores the fact that all the cameras used the same lenses and that it is always better to start sharp, especially if like me you do minimal post processing.
    I think the posters commenting about the 7D’s performance for sports and action don’t realize that most people have only one camera.
    Given that the greatest challenge for P&S cameras is too many pixels for too small a sensor, I’m surprised Canon would introduce the problem into their DSLR cameras. Perhaps like one poster remarked, it is an attempt to maximize Video. All I can say if that is true: BAD PLAN.

    • No, Roy.

      The problem here is that you are one more in a long line of people who think that the diffraction problem is a constant not related to the camera. At a specific aperture, the lens has a fixed maximum resolution whatever camera you use it with. If the camera has lower resolution than the lens has at the specific aperture, then the lens will not limit the sharpnes of the image. If the camera has a higher resolution, then viewing the raw image will show a very soft image.

      In short – the 7D should be used with large apertures to be able to make use of the extra pixels. At very small apertures, it will capture the same amount of information for the full image as a crop camera with much less pixels. But when looking at a 100% crop of the two images, the 7D images will look much softer because the captured features will span more pixels and be displayed much larger.

      Darwin did claim that he knew his lenses. But he only knew them for the cameras he had used them with earlier. He did not take into account that the 7D has smaller pixels so will much earlier out-resolve the used lenses.

      Diffraction limiting is a fact of life, and there is no way any camera manufacturer can do anything about it. But all it means is that you should never try to look at individual pixels when capturing with small apertures since it is a natural law that you will get a soft image.

      In this review, Darwin is basically saying that Newtons laws or Ohms laws etc doesn’t apply to him, because he knows how his lenses behaves in completely different situations.

      Don’t blame the camera when the lens is the weakest link. Don’t blame the lens when the camera is the weakest link. And make sure to figure out if it’s the lens or camera that is the weakest link if writing a review of a lens or a camera.

  172. Thank you for report on the canon 7d. After reading the article I fell in love with my Nikon d300 all over again.

  173. I’ll buy that Linhof Technorama PC 612 now!

  174. [...] Nel Goodmorning di qualche giorno fa, abbiamo accennato alla recensione della Canon 7D effettuata dal fotografo Darwin Wiggett. [...]

  175. Gerard Carr Says:

    Until today I didn’t read your review in full, and after reading it am suprised at the flak this has given you on the various sites I visit. (mainly FredMiranda). Thank you for the time taken, I am still deciding to to go to a used 1dmk3 or the 7d. A photo partner has a 40,50 and 7d and it seems when processed to provided great images. We shoot aircraft so our keeper rate is usually 1-2%. A rebel any type is just not my camera, .
    anyway This is one person who thanks you for your thoughts.
    Great photos by the way and life is indeed full of trolls…..
    ps fm name carrg1954, usually in mustangs to mustangs.
    regards Gerard

  176. I’m just getting back into photography after many years and purchased a Canon XSI… I read with interest most of your review and many of the comments about the 7D and can’t help wondering why I would want to purchase an expensive camera like the 7D or any other similar priced camera and have to run the images through post software to get them to look there best???? In my day as with many of you, shooting with a 35MM camera meant you did your best to take the right shot, (focus, ISO, film, compose, lighting, etc.) than, have your pictures developed. Now you can be a half assed photographer with a great camera and still have to process your picture’s on a computer to make them look there best?? I must have missed something in my absence .. I think I will stick with my XSI for awhile and take my chances.. I hope I didn’t offend anybody…

    • Gerard – Welcome to the new age of photography where so many photographers spend more time in front of their computers “post processing”, reprocessing, filing, archiving, and downloading, than actually taking pictures. The message from the camera manufacturers is clear – “Toss out your old obsolete digital camera from last year, buy OUR company’s newest DSLR, and you will be transformed into a creative genius wowing your friends with photographic masterpieces.” The camera companies do not give a rats ass that their message is a lie and a fraud, as long as they can sell more cameras to the hordes of naive consumers. It is all about money and nothing remotely related to the ART of photography.

      • dmojavensis Says:

        > “The camera companies do not give a rats ass that their message is a lie and a fraud”

        Any references to support this claim? :)

  177. I’ve learnt a lot from this blog despite helpful communication being conspicuously absent on occasion. I would like to issue a challenge- if contributors cannot be constructive by adding reason or observation to the blog I believe they should shut up until they can.
    In that vein I wish to offer the following observations based on my recent upgrade from a 450D to a 7D.
    These are the differences between the cameras that I have noted:
    Autofocus is far more accurate and faster.. I think the 450D needed to be adjusted for the lenses I use. I used manual focus more often than I thought I would need to. The 7D provides faster and far more accurate focus (now that I have learned to use it properly) on a very consistent basis.
    There is more detail in every properly focussed 7D shot. Fine hairs, or feathers are far smoother and better defined. That said, I note that I commonly shoot at f2.8 to f8 and have only recently tried shooting landscape shots. A couple turned out well, but I did notice highlight ‘blooming’ (not over exposed- just fuzzy around bright objects) when pp at 100%. Aperture was f8. Was not noticeable when viewed at full size. As a general comment even slightly out of focus shots can look soft and mushy- but this does not occur at all with correct focus and shooting technique.
    Regarding this, especially as regards keeping the camera still when taking each shot, I have found it has has to be better than I used with the 450D to get the better resolution I expect.
    Is there a link between numbers of small pixels and camera vibration that can affect focus? I believe there might be, Micheal Riechmann has written of the requirements regarding reduction of vibration when using high resolution cameras, and we (I) am dealing with a camera with 18mp on an APSC sensor- with the smallest pixels in the current Canon DSLR lineup. Does this mean that I have to treat the camera with the same care for detailed shots as medium format photographers have to? Seems to make sense to me. I just wonder if the 7D has to be treated with even greater respect than FF cameras as regards camera vibration to get full resolution shots. I would welcome informed feedback.
    Low light shooting is at least a stop to two stops less noisy than the 450D, straight out of the camera, and most often in Lightroom 2.6 I can reduce the noise further still. I have had one shot, usable at A4 taken at ISO 3200, indoors using natural light.
    In all aspects of usability I rate the 7D a huge step over the 450D, and I loved the 450D until I started reaching one or two of it’s limits..
    I did want to use the 7D as a landscape camera- but on reading this blog, I will now experiment to see just how much dof I can get without going too far into diffraction. For everything else I have used it for, still life, macro, portraits, flash use at a wedding; the processed results have been recognizably better in resolution than the 450D, and everything I expected.
    At this point I would note that I was correspondingly disappointed at the beginning as it took me a little time to get my skills up to speed with the camera- I believe it has made me a better photographer as a result.
    In summary I believe that for me, getting the resolution and image results I wanted took better skills in focussing and keeping the camera still than I had previously.
    Darwin, I am not a technical wizz like some, but I would like to thank you for starting this discussion, as it has confirmed for me some ways in which I should operate my 7D.
    I have posted this in the hope that- as you Darwin have identified, some like myself with our own photographic interests and workflow, can be very happy with the 7D. And as a result of this blog, better informed towards using it in future. Thanks to all who contributed to, not detracted from, this blog.
    Cheers.

    • Hi Stuart, this was the kind of dialog I was hoping for. I wanted to know what others found in their own tests and workflow so that we all may be more informed. I am so glad you added this detailed analysis of your findings and I am sure it will help other make a better decision about whether the 7D is right for them. Thanks for the repectful response; name calling and flaming gets the photo community nowhere. I published every comment I got and doing so shows how fast things degrade; it reminds me of Junior High all over again. Thamks for your civility and thoughtful post! Most appreciated. Darwin

    • If your goal is to print your photos at the same size as you did with your 450D, then you did not worry more about camera shake than you did with the 450D.

      But the pixels are smaller, so if you view a 100% zoom, you will see more effect of the shake. This does not affect a same-size print anymore than it would do with a camera with less resolution. The shake smears a fixed distance on the sensor. More and smaller pixels means the smear reaches more pixels. But each pixel is smaller on the print.

      A FF body has a larger sensor, so if you do a print of the full image without cropping, the FF body will allow you a 1.6x longer shutter time with regards to camera shake. But if you use the same lens with a FF body and the 7D and extract the common part from the FF photo it will be identically affected by camera shake.

      In the same way, it doesn’t matter if you use the 7D or 450D. With small apertures, the lens will have the same limited resolution. The difference is that the 7D will have enough pixels to capture the fuzz. But for an aperture where the lens is limited to 6MP, it will not matter if your camera has 10 or 18MP. The 18MP picture will look worse when viewed at 100% pixel crop but the two cameras will capture the same amount of information and print the same amount of information. When switching to larger apertures (such as f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6) the lens will no longer be diffraction limited, and the 18MP of the 7D will manage more details all the way to the print.

      • PWM, thanks for your comments. I’m glad to say they are pretty much borne out from what I have observed, but with one possible exception: I would welcome your consideration of the following observation.
        If I want to get the resolution of the 7D either for better detail in similar sized prints, or for equivalent detail to the 450D but in a larger print, I have to be very careful regarding elimination of camera shake. When I have done a good job in this regard I have noticed a clear increase in resolution in similar sized prints.
        Also I note, in a recent luminous landscape video journal Micheal Reichmann said that he had consulted with two lens makers regarding lens versus sensor resolution limiting. The feedback he got was that the very best lenses are or should be capable of resolving down to a 5 micron pixel size.
        I note the 7D pixel size is less than this (I think about 4.6micron). I take it from this that files from the 7D are never going to be completely to the pixel sharp unless from the very best lenses…
        My belief now is that Canon have gone too far with the mp count on the 7D.
        For my purposes though, I am getting far better quality pictures with it, and am able to some simply not possible before, than with the 450D. So I am very happy.
        Now to wait for the FF Canon cameras that I am sure are coming, with the sensor development that has gone into the 7D, going into hopefully a FF with no more mp, but improved low light ability… It’s going to be very interesting.

  178. Great Review! I have my 7d now and am awaiting raw support for Adobe or Apple applications, the ‘raw support’ available now doesnt really seem to work that well. It will render a preview in LR3 but will not actually output an image file that can be universally worked with? Anyways, did you guys change internal settings on the 7d when you got it? To clean up the image Canon has a lot of internal processing that in my opinion are wastes of time. I would get hazy (albiet slightly less noisy) images every time. Changing some of the internal settings really helped me.

    Overall I will agree with your review, well done. I love how the camera is to operate, and will be okay with needing a bit of post processing to clean up the haze. But as soon as a nicer (hopefully lower MP) camera comes out with the same usibility I’m trading up.

  179. Thank you for a great piece of work Darwin & Samantha, & an informative thread.

    I am seeing a gain for 7D over 40D resolution equal to the theoretical of 33% based on pixel density.
    I am using .jpg while I wait for a fully developed RAW converter.
    I am also using in-camera sharpening (in both cases) as I dont see this control as somehow less legitimate than any other camera control.

  180. Hey Darwin, really nice review,
    I have a similar softness issue with my 7D. It’s even worst than your sample shots and on top of it I have an awful noise at 100 iso.
    Is ent my raw file to canon and they asked me to send it back.

    I start to believe that there are several bad copies of the 7D ….
    some people seem to come up with nice and sharp picture with this camera.

    The problem is that it c0na be pretty bad, and the problems I have now with my 7D make most of my pictures unusable.

    Why canon isn’t coming up with a press release ? or something announcing some have issues ?
    Did you ever ask canon if firmware update would fix this ?

    thanks for the review

    J

  181. Thank you so much for going to the painstaking trouble to do this controlled test. I own a Rebel XSi, and just this afternoon put a 7D in my cart at BH. Glad I didn’t buy.

    The Rebel is a dependable camera, but I have wanted to move up to a semi-pro body for portrait work. Before reading this post, my gut feeling was that I should rent the Nikon D700 & Canon 5DII (and pass over the 7D) and then make a decision. Your title says it all. I was hoping for pro results for less $$.

  182. Noah Stephens Says:

    Here’s a real world example from the Canon EOS 7D and a Sigma 50mm 1.4:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tob1337/4140668035/

    The clarity, sharpness and detail is amazing in this portrait. But only after the user did a 7 degree microadjustment on their Sigma lens.

    It seems to me that with the semi-professional level cameras and lens, one has to make thoughtful, intelligent tweaks for best results. Whereas most of those decision are made for you on the lower end of the product line.

  183. A comment regarding your tests, specifically the process of up sampling using bi-cubic interpolation:

    This algorithm (and pretty much all up-sampling algorithms I’m aware of) will actually apply a built in sharpening so in fact your XSi image is being up-sampled and sharpened at the same time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicubic_interpolation#Use_in_computer_graphics

    That said the 7D’s pixel density exceeds the maximum sharpness of most lenses. The XSi, D300s, and IDsMkiii have much lower densities and therefore the sharpness of the lens is not a factor that transfers into the image. On the IDs it’s even less of a factor as the FF nature of the sensor takes resolves a FF image circle so you don’t have the 1.6X crop factor.

    All that said, while I own a 7D, Canon should have packaged this as a 12.3 MP camera and given us superior ISO handling. With the technology available on the 7D’s sensor a 12.3 MP sensor could easily have had an extended 102400 ISO mode. Canon’s marketing guys blew it in that respect. Let’s hope a 7Dmkii realizes this mistake.

    • Canon’s marketing department and head decision makers are totally unethical and have no loyalty to their client base, but they didn’t blow it from a dog-eat-dog business perspective. In the same way Canon knowingly issued an over packed Powershot G10 last year only to be “corrected” this year with a new and improved less densely packed G11, Canon intentionally brought the 7D over packed flawed product to market, knowing in advance that they would be “fixing” this intentionally flawed product with a corrected version next year. There’s an established pattern of deceitful business practices here, but nothing that a two year boycott won’t fix.

  184. I think its not diffraction limits but its the 7D sensor showing lens flaws. The same thing happened with chromatic aberration in older lenses, the flaws became more obvious as the megapixels increased.

    What’s needed is improved optics. The lenses might start getting heavier and bigger too.

    • But diffraction limits is not a quality factor for the lens. It is a physical property.

      And the article explicitly mentions aperture values where the camera will be diffraction limited whatever brand/model of lens you may decide to use.

      The diffraction limit really is a hard limit. Just like a lens with a 100cm2 front lens can’t capture more light (each lens element will lose you a bit of light) than the theoretical best of having a 100cm2 hole of just air in a cardboard, the diffraction limit is a hard physical properture of the aperture size of the lens.

      You don’t need to look at a photo. You can take your pocket calculator and compute the maximum amount of features you can get through the aperture if having an ideal lens. And that pocket calculator will tell you that the test images did not allow any lens in the world to project features down to the pixel size onto the 7D sensor. And if you don’t like using a pocket calculator, you can visit Canon. They have published the minimum aperture where the resolvable features will start to be larger than the sensor pixels. That aperture value follows the pixel size of the camera, which means that it is irrelevant what aperture that works well for a different camera with a different pixel size.

  185. Here’s my quickie review.

    When I first saw the specs for the 7D, I was very impressed. Here were pro-level specs. Weather sealing, very fast, top-notch display, very customizable, very logical controls, HD Video, built-in wireless flash support, high ISO speeds, built-in level, etc. etc. In so many ways, far better than my 40D, and at about the same price I once paid for my old 10D! And, oh yeah, it had an 18MP sensor. That seemed nice too, but not at the top of the list of specs that were really important. I’m deeply familiar with the MP war, and already knew that my 10.1MP 40D was already near the practical density limit of an APS-C sized sensor. Still, it seemed that 18MP might actually be nice to have for cropping, but it was not the top-billed and all-important feature bar-none that seems to be a theme here.

    I pretty much believe the results of this review and am confident that the findings are true and interesting, but of somewhat limited value. In a way, I found it to be a bit like preaching to the choir. I don’t pixel peep much anymore as I have found the practice to be of increasingly limited value in the end. These days I shoot only raw, and I post process pretty much everything that I care about. The final image in the size and form it is intended to be viewed at is all that really means anything to me. For this reason, landscapes have been traditionally tough in this form factor, but I’ve taken to using a pano-head and stiching my work, since I’ve long understood the inherent limits of these smaller sensors and I can’t afford to go MF. I know full well that 18MP is probably overkill for APS-C, but like I said, I know it and was never expecting miracles. As long as you understand this, you can be a bit more clear-headed about making a 7D purchase decision.

    If you’re mainly a landscape photographer, a larger sensor is virtually always better, period. So of course you’ll be better off with a FF or MF camera. That has always been the case and will likely never change. You can do serious landscape photography just fine on APS-C, but just understand the limitations and grow to love stitching. That’s just the nature of the tool. If you want the best APS-C sensor camera in *Canon’s* line (and camera includes more than just the sensor folks), it’s really hard to argue that there is anything better than the 7D. The price is right and it’s just an all around solid camera. My limited use of the camera has already justified the purchase many times over. I suppose the jury may be out on whether it’s IQ is technically better than Nikon, but I’m not about to sell all my Canon equipment to get a few more angels on the pinhead. These two companies have been leapfrogging each other for decades and I’ve never gotten caught up in that game.

    My only comment on the review itself is similar to other comments in that it focuses on so-called “unprocessed” results–which is kind-of misleading. I’m a software guy and I know that there is no such thing as “unprocessed” RAW. You can’t see a “RAW” image at all unless it is processed. In fact, what is actually being used in this review is the “default” RAW processing of DPP–so what we end up with is really more of a software review of DPP’s default processing capabilities rather than a review of the camera’s fully exploited capabilities. Photography is an art as much as it is a science, so for this review to be balanced, I would want to *also* see the final, fully processed results done by an artist who knows post processing. I have no idea whether this would change the outcome, but at least the results would be more conclusive and meaningful.

    In the end, the 7D is the “best in class” APS-C camera in Canon’s line. If that’s what you’re after, it is an amazing piece of technology. If you’re after something else, then keep looking.

  186. Peter Lindberg Says:

    I have just sold my 450D and 500D and intented to buy the new 7D. Now I really do not know how to do, I hoped for better picture quality especially when your are shooting wildlife with long telephoto-lenses. Thanks for an interesting test.

  187. Canon has failed, again and again. Many people are crying 17-40/L is so soft on 5DMKII bodies. Canon doesn´t have sharp prime wide angle lenses.
    Nikon and Pentax are much better choice.

  188. Darwin, Thank you for the comparisons that you posted here. I totally agree with you when it comes sharpness coming from the 7D. And i,ll find them totally on par with my own findings.
    I was very interested on buying a 7D, so i rented one together with the 17-55mm IS USM for a couple of days. First thing i noticed was that sharpness at distance objects like trees were not as sharp as i expected to be from a camera this level. So i thought it could be users error the first time. Second round i used liveview contast detect focuspoint set at the trees at the horizon, just to be sure it focuses correctly to infinity when shooting landscapes. The results were just the same….
    This camera is not usable for landscapes at all. Very disappointing….

  189. Thanks to you Darwin and Samantha, you just saved me, I was considering 7D. Now I know where, when, how to use my 450D better. I’m now happier with my 450D.

  190. Just one word – you’re a jerk!

  191. [...] with solid supports, and processed in Canon's DPP. My experience echoes the following reviewer's: The Canon EOS 7D Review Darwin Wiggett . Some have said that the 7D's files look much better when processed in Lightroom (which I don't [...]

  192. Your review lacks substance and your comparison has no physical or optical merit. Your show inadequate understanding of the Canon 7D. Each camera has its own way of optimal setting depending on whether it is for printing, web display etc. You can check the Canon learning centre for help on this. An analogy is to talk to every person in the same way and not respond to their words at all, as though you are deaf in fact.

    • I happen to talk with everyone I meet the same way, with respect and with manners. I happen to also use all my cameras in similar ways and almost all Canon cameras I have used, I enjoy using and get results I expect. I guess the 7d and I just don’t talk the same language and so our releationship is not a good fit. The 7D may well be a fabulous fit for others and I respect that.

      If you are going to make a statement that ‘ my review lacks substance and that your comparison has no physical merit’ you should offer up some evidence. A simple statment does not make it so. Please let me know how I can improve next time. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Darwin

    • Robert Z. Says:

      Whether or not Darwin’s review methodology is flawed, the one fact remains: the Canon 7D is flawed. Whether this is the result of a pixel pitch that is beyond the resolution of Canon’s lenses, or too strong of an AA filter, or improper internal software processing, or lack of dynamic range, etc., the end result is the same: a flawed product promoted to the masses. The “latest and greatest” 7D scored a pitiful #31 placement ranking on the DXOmark Sensor score card. Who wants to buy a brand new semi-pro camera and have it perform as well, or worse, than two or three year old cameras? Right now the Canon choices are: highly responsive + crappy image quality = 7D for $1700; crappy response + high image quality = 5Dmk2 for $2500; highly responsive + high quality images + bulky as hell = 1Dmk4 for $5000. Yeah…real nice line-up, Canon. NOT!

  193. [...] polite and constructive with their comments except for in relation to one subject, the infamous 7D Review Darwin and I wrote together.  And yes, while Darwin definitely has the more technical know how for [...]

  194. Respectfully: Does anybody still take photographs? I used the 7D in Mexico and shot almost 4000 images. As with ancient film cameras, my old EOS 1D, my Leica M4P and Nikon F100’s, there are snaps I love and there are others with flaws. Could some of those be attributed to me Of course. It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools. My printer told me that a standard JPEG on my G10 would print a great 30 x 40 print (He did a 16 x 20 for me and it looks fab). I am positive the 7D will do the same for properly exposed images. An old tennis coach said Jimmy Connors could beat you playing with his shoe. If you cain’t shoot you cain’t shoot. Look at Robert Frank’s photos. Some of the stuff if taken with digital would have people screaming about mush etc. His prints sell for thousands. Give Robert Frank a 7D and you can shoot the Mk IV. He will beat you.
    Go on out to the light and shoot folks Cheers

    • Dick

      You are so right, foget the gear, just use a camera you like and go out and take photos. Great photos are made by humans, not cameras.

      darwin

    • With respect, I think this is one of the stupidest oft-repeated statements ever made about photography. You can make a carved cabinet with a blunt chisel, but it won’t be anything like as good as one made with a sharp one.

      You can also make a beautiful artistically pleasing photo with a plastic lens camera, but that doesn’t mean you can use it to take a usable photo of a small bird at 30m.

      What is the point of this statement? That the tools don’t matter? Of course they do. I bet Jimmy Connors couldn’t beat any half-competent comp player with his shoe. This statement is a bit rich from someone who spent considerable money on 1D and a Leica.

      If the tool didn’t matter we’d all be using VGA plastic lens digitals, but we’re not. The only valid point here is that you CAN take great photos with poor performing tools, but only in restricted circumstances. Big deal.

      The simple fact is that the better the tool, the more you can do with it. It is perfectly valid to examine the limits of performance to see what you can do with it, and what you can’t. It is perfectly valid to have some performance expectation that might or not be met by an expensive new camera.

      • Julina, Good points, well made.

        “The simple fact is that the better the tool, the more you can do with it”

        Only if you know what you are doing of course ;-)

        And we know how to do things better if we just get out and use the tools

        d

  195. I’ve owned a 7D since Mid November from which I upgraded from a 300D. I bought it cause of the larger metal weather sealed body to better fit my big man hands and the less cheaply plastic feel plus all the more features and what I thought was going to to be superior IQ from my 300D.

    I am still half in half about this camera. I’m used to my 300D performing well enough, but not always being all that sharp and clean. I figured hey, the 7D should be a significant upgrade and it is. Features and HD Video it has, but I still haven’t been all that impressed with IQ when doing something other than portraiture which tends to look pretty good.

    I don’t own any Prime “L” lenses by Canon or any other brand. I only have the EFS 18-55 that came with my 300D, a EF 70-300mm that was cheap and I also purchased the 50mm 1.8 lens with my 7D. I’m assuming any prime lenses or some other high end lens would help improve image quality. At some point I’m going to rent some prime lenses and see if there is any significant improvement in the IQ.

    Almost to the point of saving up $1200, selling my 7D and getting a 5DmkII.

  196. [...] of visitors to this blog are polite, reasonable and constructive. However, after co-authoring a ‘controversial’ review on the Canon 7D, let’s just say that the civility of a vocal minority fell to an all-time low. Indeed, I [...]

  197. todd yeates Says:

    just wanted to make a comment.
    im thinking of getting this camera and for my needs is more then enough.ive seen 100s of reviews expert and user reviews and you are the only really bad review ive come across. so who is right here you or the the experts and 100s of users who love this camera?

    • It is not about being right or wrong, it is about whether the camera fits into a photographer’s workflow. The 7d does not work for me as landscape photographer with the apertures I use. I suggest you rent one and see if it fits well into your shooting style. That is all that matters, does the camera work for you?

      Darwin

  198. todd yeates Says:

    just wanted to make an observation. i thinking about getting the 7d very soon.after reading 100s of expert and user reviews they all seem to love this camera. you are they only really negative review on the 7d that i have found. so its hard for me to think that all the experts and users that love this camera are wrong and you are right.

  199. The arguing point is that despite the Canon 7D “beating the Nikon D300s in just about every category”, the Canon 7D still falls short….and for no logical reason, other than for Canon to have an excuse to correct the problems in a revised version, and thereby sell yet more cameras. Who needs 18mp of resolution in a camera at this price point? Of all the millions of pictures taken with the 7D, how many are going to be printed at 30″ x 40″ percentage wise? Now compare that to the substantial number of pictures that could benefit from a wider dynamic range and higher ISO performance. There is absolutely no reason why the 7D should not be a 12-14mp camera. And the cropping argument is weak, as most experienced photographers always try to maximixe image quality by filling the frame whenever possible. And just because reviewers, reviewers who have an interest in keeping Canon happy, give the 7D rave reviews does not make the 7D a great camera.

    • todd yeates Says:

      one bad review and 100s of great reviews,i have to go with the 100s of great user reviews and not the false expert reviews that you clam.so some how all the expert and user reviews are all being paid by canon to prop this camera up? i doubt it very much.so that means every camera that gets great reviews is false? i tend to believe the 100s of great reviews over one bad review. that why they have reviews to get an idea of the product.

      • If you search the internet, you are going to find a lot more people are unhappy with the image quality of the 7D than just Mr.Wigget. Take a look at Roland Lim’s comments, and take a look at the crappy rating DXO gave the sensor’s performance, 31st place: pretty crappy for the “latest and greatest”, if you ask me. In addition, there are plenty of comments in various photography forums from photogs stuggling to cope with the 7D’s inadequacies. If the 7D had been 12-14mp with a bigger pixel pitch, I am confident that everyone would have unanimously praised the 7D for performance AND image quality. But then Canon would not be able to garnish the additional profits from issuing a corrected version at a later date. The 7D represents more an issue with Canon’s unsavory ethics and business model, than the mere production of a new camera. In other words, its a bigger and more important issue than just the fact that the 7D is flawed, because it was intensionally flawed, just like the 5Dmk2 with its crappy autofocus. These are the types of business practices that are going to ensure more migration to the Nikon camp, and not just the flawed 7D itself. Its a matter of principles!

      • todd yeates Says:

        holy shit! somebody has you brainwashed!

      • todd yeates Says:

        canon does not create crappy cameras just so they make another better model,are you joking?if canon truly made crappy cameras to sell a better version later then the wouldnt be selling cameras at all.

      • Haven’t you ever heard of the term “planned obsolescence”? Well, intensionally-flawed-to-be-corrected-later is its sister. Do you actually believe Canon is trying its best to produce the best photographic tool it possibly can, or do you think the focus of the company is to try to maximixe profitability and the salaries for the big wigs? Do you actually believe Canon gives a crap about the art of photography? For Canon, cameras are simply a “product”, a means to an end, nothing more. Its all about money, not integrity or artistic endeavors.

      • todd yeates Says:

        then why do the best photographers in the world use canon if there so crappy?

      • The best photographers in the world can use any brand of camera and get the same results…. and I have never seen any statistical analysis showing the there is a coorelation between camera brand used and the ‘quality’ of creative imagery made. If you have that information that would be interesting to see. Darwin

      • todd yeates Says:

        im just saying that when you they suck, its obvious if they did suck then professionals wouldnt be using them.

      • Professional use crap all the time. “Professional photographer” just means a guy/gal attempting to eek out a livelihood by shooting pictures. There are plenty of crappy “professionals” in photography, and in all professions. Conversely, there are accomplished amateurs who regularly produce pictures that are better than “professionals” because they put their heart and soul into photography and are not under the gun to make a buck. Such individuals are motivated by the ART of photography, not financial incentive. As most experienced photographers know, you can usually do your best and most creative work when you are not having to live by a deadline or stay within a strict budget.

      • todd yeates Says:

        its obviuos professional photogs have to be good or they wouldny have a job! dah!

      • goud by my friend i have som prints to make it ,i will be wating after to answer u maybe after i learning japanees language you can understanding me more write & D ont FORGUET TO LEARN MOR MARKETING BY MY FRIEND

      • Many photography assignments are doled out on the basis of who the photographer knows, not what the photographer knows. I’ve been a “professional” photog for over 25 years and I’ve seen a lot. Sometimes the best man gets the job, and sometimes they don’t. Furthermore, if you look at other fields (eg. car mechanics, plumbers, lawyers, architects, etc.), there are good ones and there are crappy ones, but they are all “professionals”. In an ideal world, “professionals” would always be good and competent, but unfortunately we are not living in an ideal world.

      • todd yeates say he want a japanees language to understand more the level of the 7d he d ont understand my spell in english ,of cors a salesman can t understand a prof language photographers , you should understand the differance between an old & AN a new technology , so you can tell us wich camera on the market can be saled more as a salesman but you can not tell us if the 7d is goud or not as a photographer because u are not , so try to spell beter your ideas .

      • todd yeates Says:

        i just have 35 years expirence with nikon slr film cameras so i know something about taking pictures!

      • So you have all the knowledge you need to confirm for yourself that the 7D is a great camera for your needs. Let others decide if the camera works for them or not. Darwin

      • i think u have 35 years expirence with film cameras in the market not in taking a pros shots

      • wich brand ? a coolpix BRAND or casio or phon camera BRAND ?

      • Who said the best photographers in the world use Canon, Canon? And what is your definition of “the best”? All I am suggesting is that anybody considering the 7D should wait until Canon and Nikon sort this out. Nikon will be producing a 7D killer probably this year, and Canon will likely be correcting their pathetic 5Dmk2 so the damn thing will actually focus like it was built in this century. Right now both the 7D and the 5Dmk2 are compromised cameras, neither functioning to their potential. Why buy either of them? And why are people comparing the 7D with the D300s? The D300s is a minor revision to an older design that is still performing well against the so-called “latest and greatest” 7D. When Nikon issues the new crop model to replace the D300 series it will be killer, just like when they originally introduced the D300. Canon is the one really playing catch up, not Nikon.

      • todd yeates Says:

        canon just passed with the lastest technologies now nikon has to catch up.

      • todd yeates Says:

        right now the 7d is the 300s killer so get over it!

      • The 7D is not a D300s killer! They are neck and neck for quality. The D300s does not have the level of 7D video features as the 7D, but the quality of what is there is very close. The D300s was Nikon’s quick response to the evident desire for video, it is not their response to the newest iteration of crop sensor cameras. Nikon’s answer will be forthcoming very soon, and it will not be a neck-and- neck comparison; it will be obviously superior.

      • todd yeates Says:

        if there was a better aps-c camera on the market now thats better then the 7d then tell me cuz right now there isnt!

      • todd yeates Says:

        if there was a better aps-c camera then the 7d right now then i would by it!

      • 7d new thechnology it is beter then some old FF & FOR ME i HAVE THE 2 CAMERAS 5D mark 2 & 7D in canon & I PREFER THE 7D WITH THE 17×55 is THAN THE 5D mark2 with my 24 x 70 L

      • todd yeates Says:

        glad to hear that! anour! thats why im getting a 7d,you make a very good point! i love the 7d also! its equal to and in some cases better then the 5d because the newer technologies on the 7d.

      • BRAVO BRAVO TODD NOW U ARE UNDERSTANDING MY SPELL (IN JAPANEES LANGUAGE ) JUST JOKING . GO HAD & GET IT until IF YOU WANT A D3X OR AN 1Ds4

      • todd yeates Says:

        YES I JUST ORDERED IT ANOUR AND WILL HAVE IT IN 5 DAYS. HAVE NO NEED FOR A TOP OF THE LINE DSLR AT THE MOMENT. IF I WORK FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAGHICS MAGAZINE THEN MAYBE. FOR NOW I WANT MY TOP OF THE LINE APS-C CAMERA THE 7D IS BEST!

      • todd yeates Says:

        for now i prefer a crop camera over full frame any day! smaller and lighter and gets you closer to the action!

      • todd yeates Says:

        does anyone know if updates available for the 7d will help correct any problems or help to improve IQ? i know theyve already had one update to correct a couple things.

      • good after noon my friend here is the last update firmware you can find it at : ( http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=139&modelid=19356#DownloadDetailAct ) (VER 1.1.0) . SHUR IF YOU ORDER IT NOW YOU WILL FIND THE CAMERA UPDATED WITH THIS VER 1.1.0

      • todd yeates Says:

        yes darwin removes valid comments about his testing methods. because he is wrong.

      • todd yeates Says:

        popular photography named the 7d runner up for camera of the year! and gave it a good review!

      • todd yeates Says:

        check out http://www.imaging-resource.com they just did a new review on the 7d 1/15/10 and they love this camera!

      • Todd,

        I do not remove valid comments, I remove any comment which does not follow netiquitte (please see this link – http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/new-house-rules/ both your comments and Anour’s are mostly just flames and yelling and grandstanding Neither of you are really adding much postive to the debate about the 7d. It is totally cool thaat you do not agree with me, it is fine if you do not think my methods are valid, but at least provide some kind of constructive critique. Darwin

      • You’ve figured me out ;-) Really it is clear why I remove comments, you are free to say anything, as long as you are polite and reasonable. Darwin

      • Anour,

        I did not remove your comment about the 7D and the Xsi because I was hiding anything. My methods are clearly laid out for all to see. If you believe I overlooked something, or should have tested something in a different way then I would be happy to hear it in a respectfulful comment. I removed your previous comment because it was rude and offensive and does not follow my house rules – http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/new-house-rules/. If you continue to post flaming, name-calling or threatening comments, I will simply ban all your posts. Play nice, and I would be happy to comment on your ideas about the 7d. With respect, Darwin

      • todd yeates Says:

        check out http://www.digitaltrends.com they do a good review of the 7d and like it!

      • todd yeates Says:

        check out bob atkins review at bobatkins.com he likes the 7d.

      • Well then it must be good! ;-)

      • todd yeates Says:

        canon wouldnt be #1 in the world if they werent the best! no company could survive creating crappy prouducts and be #1 if they werent very good!

      • todd yeates Says:

        if they didnt make the best products they wouldnt be #1. technologie evoles thats why they keep upgrading all the time.its the same way with everything. they make the best now and next year there better its always been that way. so its obvious you have no clue!

      • todd yeates Says:

        why is canon #1 in the industry and most sold cameras on the planet if there so bad?

      • IF U THINK LIKE THIS tell me wich camera u use ? & WICH COMPANY PAYED FOR U ?
        U ARE NOT REALIST TELL ME BEFORE WICH CAMERA ARE U USING

      • todd yeates Says:

        canon is paying me and thousands of people to praise this camera! yeah right! i have a panasonic and canon and nikon.ive always loved canon,just my preference.

      • may be how u prefer canon & BY PANASONIC ? NIKON I CAN UNDERSTAND (LEADER CANON & NIKON) BUT PANASONIC ?!!!
        MAYBE U ARE A USER OF A COMPACT CAMERA ! & FOR THAT U D ONT TELL US WICH CAMERA U USE & WICH SERIE , I THINK U ARE AN AMATEUR IN PHOTOGRAPHY , TELL WICH CAMERA U USE & NOT WICH
        MARKET. U ARE BETWEEN A PROS MY DEBUTANT ,& WHEN U SHOULD BE A HORSMAN OF UR CAMERA…

      • todd yeates Says:

        i choose not to limit my self to one company. some make better pocket cams and others make better dslrs. i go with who has the best model in its class.

      • now i guess , u are some salseman & for this reason U not to limit your self to one company because it willbe for u more rentable ok ,understand that but not understand how u permets for ur self to shutdown the most popular dslr (7D) great thecnologie & GREAT PICTURES HOW ?.

      • todd yeates Says:

        dude! im on your side! im buying a 7d very soon! i love the 7d!

      • todd yeates Says:

        people who put down the 7d are comparing it to much more expensive full frame cameras.

      • I compared it to the much cheaper Xsi and I found the Rebel had nicer files ;-)

        d

      • todd yeates Says:

        thats your opinion and i respect that. but another reviewer on here says he got nicer large prints with the 7d compared to some fullframe cameras which are suppose to be better.

      • todd yeates Says:

        not sure who to believe when one person says is not so good and another says they love it and its great! but most reviews seem to love so the majority wins!

      • Rather than believe ANY reviewer, why not just try out the 7D yourself and see if it meets your needs and serves you well? If it does then it is a great camera for you, no matter what anyone says. Darwin

      • todd yeates Says:

        i have and i love it for my needs! some people will love it and others wont. its like that with every camera.

      • todd yeates Says:

        i have a hard time reading what you say i guess your english is not so good.

      • Why is Walmart the biggest retailer in the world, and they have a store filled to the brim with crap that is all going to be in landfills in a few short months? Just because a company is #1 in sales does not mean they are producing quality. It just indicates that they are more ruthless, more marketing (brainwashing) savy, and are appealling to the lowest common denominator (or average consumer), simply because there are more of them, and consequently more profitability. If you look at almost any industry, the companies producing the highest quality products are either very small tightly controlled companies, or have gone out of business because most people are not willing to pay for true high quality.

    • todd yeates Says:

      seriously,nobody is buying a 7d to print 30×40- prints. itll make great 13×19 prints which is all the average consumer needs.

    • NO,NO MY Elsie ,I HAVE THE D300S & THE 7D , FROM 1000ISO & UP 6400ISO THE 7D BEAT THE D300S In A HI SCORE & MAYBE AT 800 ISO & DOWN THE D300S IT S EQUALE WITH THE 7D BLEEVE ME I CAN SEND u MANY TEST TAKEN BY THE TWO CAMERA & U SEE THE DIFFERENCE FINALY NEVER THE D300S CAN BEAT THE 7D never.

      • todd yeates Says:

        yes! the 7d is king in its class!!!!!!!!!!!

      • hi ,hou told u that u need a full frame only to print 30 x 40 ? you can print this size by manipulating the picture s taken even on 6.5 megapixel like d70s or a 60d old canon, & u can print until 100cm x 60cm THE 7D pictures & have a good print then the 5d old & d700 NIKON ,& many many photographer BY the 7d after they have the nikon EX D300S (LIKE ME FOR EXP) & CANON COMPANY MAKE EVERY TIME MISTAKE WHEN LUNCH A NEW PRODUCT LIKE 7D & 1D MARK 4 for exemp ,BUT THANKS FOR THE FIRMWARE UPDATE HOU EXIST , d ont worry u can print a big poster with the 7d mor better than some full fram 7d is unbeatet.

      • todd yeates Says:

        cool! glad to hear that!

  200. todd yeates Says:

    sounds like youre comparing crop cameras to ful frame and and thats not fair.the 7d is the best crop frame camera on the market so until something better comes along its the king of aps-c cameras.you say you take mostly lanscape pictures so stick with full frame cameras for that.popular photography named the 7d the second best camera of the year behind the full frame nikon d3x. for the semi pro or amature photographer the 7d is more then enough to do the job. nobodys buying this camera to print 20×30 prints. 13×19 looks great!

    • The fact that “nobody’s buying this camera to print 20×30 prints” just supports the fact that Canon screwed up big time. You do not need 18mp if the largest you are going to print is 13″ x 19″, but you can always benefit from wider dynamic range and higher ISO performance. If the 7D is the king of APS-C cameras, then I guess APS-C cameras suck.

      • todd yeates Says:

        you want 30×40 prints you need a full frame $7000 camera.
        you average consumer doesnt need that. so stop comparing the 7d aps-c to much more expensive full frame cameras.

      • Todd, Elsie did not say she wanted to print large size prints. The point she seems to be making is that because most people are not going to be making large size prints with the 7D, then it makes no sense to compromise dynamic range and ISO performance for extra resolution that is not needed and just wasteful of hard drive space. I think that is the point, and I think this point is valid.

      • todd yeates Says:

        anour says he gets great 30×40 prints

      • todd yeates Says:

        right now its the best aps-c has to offer. if ther was a better aps-c on the market now i would gladly buy it!

  201. todd yeates Says:

    you are so right! 7d is king in its class!

  202. todd yeates Says:

    i guess canon is paying thousands of people to give the 7d a great review according to brainwashed people on here.

    • Well, its probably a combination of Canon putting financial pressure on promoters (reviewers) along with low quality standards on the part of the new breed of photogs, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the “Walmart mentality” – happy with less. Before going on about the quality of the 7D files, compare them to the files coming from a Leaf back. Then you will at least know what you are missing from the real life scene, before expounding on the virtues of the 7D. This is not for the purposes of a direct comparison between a $17,000 back and a $1700 camera (obviously the more expensive back is going to be much better), but merely so you can understand the order of things and gain perspective, and so you can realize how bad the 7D really is.

  203. now i guess , u are some salseman & for this reason U not to limit your self to one company because it willbe for u more rentable ok ,understand that but not understand how u permets for ur self to shutdown the most popular dslr (7D) great thecnologie & GREAT PICTURES HOW ?

  204. todd yeates Says:

    dude! learn english! you cant spell right!

  205. todd yeates Says:

    professionals have to do a good job or they get fired, if youre being paid to do a good job it better be good or you get fired. what dont you understand? unless they work for a non professional company.

  206. todd yeates Says:

    i tend to believe bob atkins complete review of the 7d over this sight. he atleast post pics and many examples instead of just saying bad things about the 7d. without any real proof.

    • I posted a lot of photos and exactly laid out my methodology for ‘proof’ – maybe you missed that part? I leave it to the reader to decide if my testing methods are reasonable or not.

      If you don’t agree with me I totally respect that, but you must also respect that others may have a different opinion than you and they have a right to say so without being told they are morons.

      Darwin

  207. Hey Todd, I just checked out Bob Adkins review on his very commercialized web site, and even good old Bob says: “18MP is probably more of a marketing advantage than a technical advantage………the image quality will not be dramatically different from that of the 50D…….While it may not be able to quite match the 5D MkII in terms of ultimate resolution and high ISO noise performance, in all other respects the EOS 7D seems to match or beat the 5D MkII.” In that case, certainly the image quality coming from the 7D can’t be stellar, as the quality coming from the 50D wasn’t all that great, and the notion that it equalled or beat the 5Dmk2 in performance areas (other than IQ) doesn’t say much since the performance of the 5Dmk2 is last century. Todd, are you sure English is your first language? ; >)

  208. todd yeates Says:

    thanks jose! for checking out bob atkins site. yes he did say 18 megs may be a bit much and more marking then resolution benifit he also said its the best aps-c camera out there.

  209. todd yeates Says:

    i understand that the 7d doesnt have stellar perfect picture quality but if i wanted that or need that id get a 1d and spend the extra 4 grand. for consumers who dont need 30×40 posters it works great. most people wont need anything bigger then 8×10 0r even 13×19 at most. for this its just fine. at iso 100 and smaller prints not much difference between the 7d and 5d.

  210. Anour – your comment has not been removed, I just found it on the thread exactly where it should be – reproduced below. Please take your paranoia and loud whinging somewhere else.

    Your post:

    anour Says:
    January 30, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    NO,NO MY Elsie ,I HAVE THE D300S & THE 7D , FROM 1000ISO & UP 6400ISO THE 7D BEAT THE D300S In A HI SCORE & MAYBE AT 800 ISO & DOWN THE D300S IT S EQUALE WITH THE 7D BLEEVE ME I CAN SEND u MANY TEST TAKEN BY THE TWO CAMERA & U SEE THE DIFFERENCE FINALY NEVER THE D300S CAN BEAT THE 7D never.

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