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Monday, September 21, 2009

Re-Evaluating The Canon 7D

I, like many others, was sure the Canon 7D was going to be a Full Frame DSLR, and consequently, was very disappointed when Canon made the 7D announcement, and we found it wasn't.

Since then, I've had some discussions about the 7D with some of my fellow photographer friends, and despite the 7D not being full frame, I can see how Canon was smart to come out with a DSLR with the features, specs, and price point of the 7D.

Still not sure I agree with it being called a 7D, but my friend Peter Gregg, the inventor of A Better Bounce Card, told me where he felt the Canon DSLR line was going, and where the Canon 7D fit in, and Peter's reasoning made a lot of sense.

As regular readers know, I initially felt the Canon 7D was little more than a 50D update, and while the case for that argument could still be made, I think Peter's logic rings a truer chord.

Peter feels the 7D is aimed squarely at the Nikon D300s, and as such, with the 7D's new focusing system, dual digic processors, and other new features, needed to be differentiated as a DSLR that sits above the XXD line of Canon DSLRs.

Myself, I used to shoot a pair of the Canon XXD line (20D's, 30D's, and 40D's) before switching back over to Nikon when the Nikon D300 came out, so I was still looking at it as Canon 50D versus Nikon D300 in the respective lineups.

The point is that the Nikon D300 was never really a fair comparison against the Canon 50D. The D300 has a tougher, more rugged, PRO body, the top of the line, industry leading Nikon 51 point auto focus system (same one its big brothers, the Nikon D3, Nikon D3X, and Nikon D700 have), and is a much more fully featured camera than the Canon 50D. Not really apples to apples .

Enter the Canon 7D.

The 7D is a much more equal competitor to the Nikon D300, now the Nikon D300s. The 7D more closely matches the specs and build of the D300s, and while it remains to be seen if the 7D's new auto focus system is an improvement over the flawed auto focus system of the 5D MkII, 50D, and the rest of the Canon sub 1D lineup, it is definitely a step in the right direction. I really hope it resolves all the Canon auto focus issues and is a truly first class auto focus system.

As far as the 7D's sensor is concerned, I still have my doubts that the megapixel increase was a smart way to go, but Peter tells me that high ISO images he's seen from the Canon 7D look good in print, if not at 100% pixel peeping magnification. If he's right, then Canon has really worked some magic with the 7D's dual digic IV processors, as the Canon 50D's 15 megapixel sensor didn't hold up to the rest of the competition in terms of image quality. Canon has a long history of making sensors with excellent high ISO, so let's hope that they have hit a home run with this new 18 megapixel crop sensor.

So basically, we have the 7D against the D300s in the two camera makers lineups. The XXD lineup, if Canon chooses to continue with it, will be the competition for Nikon's D90 level DSLR. Looking at it this way, I see how Canon's introduction of the Canon 7D as a crop sensor DSLR makes more sense. The XXD lineup goes head to head with the D90, and the Canon Rebel lineup competes with the Nikon DSLR's below the D90 like the D5000 and D3000.

I look forward to seeing more real life images from the Canon 7D, as well as getting my hands on one to do some shooting with it myself. If you've already had a chance to shoot the 7D or are lucky enough to own one already, leave us a comment and tell us what you think!

1 comment:

jUUggernaut said...

I'm in the market for the 7D for its HD video function but am curious about its focussing upgrades. I use a Nikon D300 and am spoiled by its 51 focus points. Friends tease me about the weight of the camera but thanks to its heft and VR lenses I can handhold very low shutter speeds.