Journal

Photography, photoshop, and the philosophy of taking pictures by photographer Bill Wadman, co-host of On Taking Pictures.

Quick thoughts on the 7D

A couple people have asked what I think of the new Canon 7D which was just announced, so here you go:

- Personally, I like full-frame cameras.  So right off the bat I'm not really interested. That said, it seems like it's pretty tricked out from first glance.

- Unless there's been some amazing breakthrough, I think 18MP in a cropped sensor is a waste. First off, most of the people who are buying cropped sensors are not using glass that's up to task of feeding nice sharp images to a sensor that packed.  And the 50D at 15MP already had only middling high-ISO noise performance.  All of this remains to be seen of course.

- 8 Frames a second would be useful for sports or wildlife shooters and is pretty darn fast for $1699 or whatever the body costs.  People who need this capability are pretty psyched.  That's a lot of data at 18MP, which is probably the reason behind the dual Digic chips. I'd say that this totally makes the 1D a paperweight unless you're the kind of person who needs a bulletproof body for war zone use. And even then, you could buy three of these for the price of one of those.

-Along with the speed comes an updated auto-focus system with 19 cross points.  This was a badly needed updated which brings Canon back in line with the mid-level AF from Nikon.  Not that I use anything other than the center point on my 5D2, but I'm a little jealous on this one.  Seriously, this should have been done a year ago and on my camera.

-100% viewfinder.  Here's another one that should have been on the 5D2 in my opinion. Though it's a little easier with the cropped sensor. Should be a big step up from the 20/30/40/50D.  No interchangeable focus screen though, which is sad, but understandable.

- Movie modes.  Great for those who want them.  The cropped sensor will give you a bit more depth of field at the equivalent focal length and aperture, but you lose sensitivity of course. I hope they port the 720P mode to the 5D2.  I could have used that last week while helping my good friend Carole film her puppets.

- There's been some suggestion that in the past, Canon tries out new technology on the smaller APS-C sensors which have higher yields than full frame.  The area of a cropped sensor is about 337 square mm while a full-frame sensor is 864 square mm.  The practical upshot of this is that if you do the math, it suggests that the next full-frame sensor from Canon is going to be spitting out huge amounts of data.  Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see the 1Ds4 at 32 or even 36MP. Food for thought.

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All in all, a fine upgrade and in some ways a new class of camera for Canon. Squares up better than well with the D300.  at $1699, I think they should get rid of the xxD line and stick with something like this as the mid-grade body.

For those with a 40/50D, I'd say only upgrade if you need something specific like the video.
For those with a 20/30D or an old Rebel and are ready to make the leap to a modern body, I'd say that it's a great time to leap.