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01-01-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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Canon 7D and why I wouldn't get one

I think it's the first time I've posted in this forum.
Now this isn't Canon bashing. Just my thoughts on a particular camera that seems to be very popular these days. And it's a heck of a nice camera at that.

I shot a wedding last night and had my assistant shoot one at the same time in the same hotel. To back her up, I asked a friend from our local camera club, who's done several weddings to work as a second shooter. He had a new 7D. I haven't seen the images from it yet, but will add to this thread when I do.
So I had a little time to play with his camera. Nice unit. But 3 things really stand out.

1) That rear dial is pain and in such a crappy location. So in a mode where you are adjusting aperture, the dial is not easy to reach and use with your thumb. If you are not familiar with it, We have a dial in front and behind the shutter button. They have a dial in front and on half way down the back of the rear part of the body that is flat against the body. Not as easy to reach and adjust.
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2) The grip is well featured but SUCKS! I have fairly big hands with reasonably long fingers. I buy Large or sometimes XL gloves (somewhere in between) and the grip is far too big for my hands. It sticks out in the back about 2 Cm's from the body. Using the aforementioned rear dial is nearly impossible in portrait mode.
Really bad design Canon. Nice camera but built for an ape. Now he tried my K20D with grip and said hands down (now he's a long time Canon guy), that the K20D has a superior design and fit his (smaller) hands much better. He liked the E-dial placements and said they work far better than his cameras. He also commented that the Pentax grip looks integrated and part of the body. Where the Canon clearly looks like an add on to the body.
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He also commented that he much prefered the Pentax design with the grip. Why? Well lets say you want to take it off the camera and you're away from home. How do you protect that part that sticks up inside the body? In a camera bag, that part could easily be damaged. With ours, just bring the little plastic cover and one of those soft lens pouches and toss it in the bag. Nothing sticks out to get damaged.
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Btw, for those that want a smaller body, this is not it. It's APS-c (1.6 i think) and it's considerably bigger than a K20D. The body's are roughly the same size but the grips are very different. Side by side the K20D looked like a KX!

3) Edit, this is incorrect and these focus points can be turned off and are user selectable. See the link posted below. So a comment on the AF, which is positive. It's fast and very good in terrible light. When I see the photos, I'll be able to judge how accurate it is. The room they shot in was very dark.

The focus points are scribed right on the focus screen. I hate that! I didn't count but there must be 10-12 little black squares all around the center of the VF. Then when you hit the focus, the screen blinks red to confirm focus. It's almost like a permanent 'heads up' display. I absolutely hate it. It's like looking through a store window with lettering on it. IMO it would really interfere with creating the image and actually seeing what you're trying to take a picture of. Particularly in dark situations. I so much prefer, the little red square(s) that only pop up when you focus a Pentax AF lens. The rest of the time the screen is blank as it should be.
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EDIT: In counting from this picture I found on a resellers web site, there are 19 black focus points!. Now imagine having to look through that every time you try to shoot. If they make a screen like ours without those black squares, I'd be tossing the OEM screen in the garbage right away.

So in a few days I'll have a chance to check out the images. I'm guessing that it's much better at high ISO's but lets see what the difference is like below 800. I know from his 40D the Pentax smoked the Canon in image quality. The 40D takes lifeless, flat and dull images (and I've seen thousands of shots from that camera. IMO that is a crappy camera, particularly for the money).


Last edited by Peter Zack; 01-01-2010 at 09:04 PM.
01-01-2010, 12:28 PM   #2
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'Em sound lak fighten' wurds ta me!

Steve

(Points are very well-taken however...hard to beat Pentax for good fit in the hand...)
01-01-2010, 12:33 PM   #3
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Good points Peter.
Practical critique of the ergonomics of the well-famed 7D.
The viewfinder definitely bothered me when I played around with it as well - I thought it to be a top-specced camera with a newbie VF.
Look forward to the image results.
01-01-2010, 08:20 PM   #4
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Peter, you got me curious so I picked up my 50D which has similar ergonomics. My thumb lands on the "joystick" (that I use to select AF points) naturally, and I have to twist it down a little to get it to the rear wheel. It doesn't bother me actively (and I spend more time fiddling with the AF points than adjusting aperture when I do bird photos since I usually shoot wide open), but if you use the rear wheel a lot then I can see it being a bit of a pain.

My 1Ds II on the other hand, while being somewhat ergonomically hampered at times from the two-fisted operations (really only a nuisance when changing ISOs while holding long tele lenses) has my thumb land right on the edge of the (bigger) rear dial, and if I move it just a tiny bit up I have access to the AE lock / focus point selection buttons. Definitely better than the 50D though I miss having the joystick at times since selecting AF points with the dial(s) can be a pain in the arse.

Ah well, can't have it all!

PS: I do agree the 40D/50D images have less "life" than the Pentax ones. The K20D shots always looked "organic" in a way that was hard to define but pleasing to the eye. On the other hand, the 50D performance flat out rocks in most ways, and with a little PP the shots usually come out very nice on paper. It is VERY exposure sensitive though, you underexpose just a tiny bit and it's noise city. Meanwhile, I've pushed ISO 800 shots from my 1Ds II _three stops_ and gotten good prints out of them... I don't think it's necessarily a full frame / crop difference as much as design and manufacturing ones in that case though.

PPS: that grip really does look like crap from a usability standpoint. I'm going to go hug my streamlined 1-series now.


Last edited by pingflood; 01-01-2010 at 08:36 PM.
01-01-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
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Well looking at the 40D images I've seen, I really wonder if they "dial down" the IQ in some electronic ways with some of the entry level and mid level cameras. Just to protect the sales and price points of the more expensive models. Almost as if they sell in a Canon only bubble.

So you see a nice mid level camera that on paper has some great specs and features. You buy in and get a few lenses. Then after a bit realize the camera just doesn't give you that 'pop' you see in other images. So you already have an investment in a flash and some glass, so you move up to the next body.

My comment about the rear dial is more about how you use it with the grip. It's nearly impossible to use on the 7D when in portrait mode. Aperture control is really important when shooting portraits, so it really takes away from these body's. I was reading a Canon forum today and a lot of new owners complain of the "chucky" feel of the grip and body config. It's the way the batteries fit in. IMO the Pentax design works better. Yes it's a PITA to change the body battery but it makes a much better grip design.
01-01-2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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Are you shooting in Av mode? If so, should be able to swap the front and rear dial around to get a friendlier setup. Of course, if you're in Manual mode that doesn't buy you much since then you have to use the rear dial for shutter speed.

As for "dialing down" the performance, I don't think it's quite as nefarious; was reading earlier about the difference in materials/tolerances/specifications between the "consumer" and "pro" bodies and Canon just throws a lot more engineering and accuracy at the creation of their pro cameras. Tolerances (as far as flaws, measurements etc) are tighter on their high end gear. I think it's just a price point issue rather than Canon trying to lure people into upgrading.
01-01-2010, 08:47 PM   #7
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I've got a Canon 5DII, and I will agree that in general, the ergonomics of my Pentax cameras were better. Here are some of my comments on your comments . Keep in mind that I've never actually handled the 7D, so I may be off base on some of this, but given the same control placement, I'm going to assume the usage is similar (until told differently (or 'till I can afford to get a 7D as a second body ))...

QuoteQuote:
1) That rear dial is pain and in such a crappy location. So in a mode where you are adjusting aperture, the dial is not easy to reach and use with your thumb. If you are not familiar with it, We have a dial in front and behind the shutter button. They have a dial in front and on half way down the back of the rear part of the body that is flat against the body. Not as easy to reach and adjust.
On the 5DII, this applies mostly in M mode where the aperture is indeed controlled with the rear wheel and shutter speed with the front dial. The only thing I find iritating about this is that for Av mode, the front dial is aperture and the rear wheel is +/- EV adjustment, so when I switch to M I have to change my thinking on aperture adjustment - this is hokey... Pentax's default, where the front dial is always shutter speed and the rear dial always aperture is much more intuitive for me. However, I have no problem manipulating that wheel when I remember that's what I need to do (I'm getting better ).

I can't comment on the grips at all, I haven't handled 'em, but the 5DII is plenty big without a grip, so I don't feel the need for one like I did on the K-7.

QuoteQuote:
Btw, for those that want a smaller body, this is not it. It's APS-c (1.6 i think) and it's considerably bigger than a K20D. The body's are roughly the same size but the grips are very different. Side by side the K20D looked like a KX!
1.6 is the correct crop factor.

QuoteQuote:
[I]3) The focus points are scribed right on the focus screen. I hate that! I didn't count but there must be 10-12 little black squares all around the center of the VF. Then when you hit the focus, the screen blinks red to confirm focus. It's almost like a permanent 'heads up' display. I absolutely hate it. It's like looking through a store window with lettering on it. IMO it would really interfere with creating the image and actually seeing what you're trying to take a picture of. Particularly in dark situations. I so much prefer, the little red square(s) that only pop up when you focus a Pentax AF lens. The rest of the time the screen is blank as it should be.

EDIT: In counting from this picture I found on a resellers web site, there are 19 black focus points!. Now imagine having to look through that every time you try to shoot. If they make a screen like ours without those black squares, I'd be tossing the OEM screen in the garbage right away.
Well here you got it all wrong (sorry to have to say )... the 7D's screen is revolutionary in that nothing at all is scribed onto it (well maybe some stuff is, but the focus points aren't). They are LCD marks inside the screen which allow for the cleanest focusing screen around - see here for details. What you were seeing must just be the mode that photographer preferred (or he hasn't figured out how to change it yet ). Like I said, I haven't used this camera whatsoever, so I can't comment on the usability of that screen, but it looks intriguing to me...

QuoteOriginally posted by the above Canon link:
The viewfinder:
We’ll mention this because the intelligent viewfinder of the new EOS 7D is the first ever in the Canon EOS series to have a permanently built-in LCD overlay, which puts black outlines onto the focusing screen on-demand or as needed. AF points, Spot metering circle, and grid lines are among the items that this LCD overlay can display. Furthermore, the LCD outlines can be illuminated red, so they can be visible even in total darkness. Both the red illumination, and the entire viewfinder overlay, can be turned off if the photographer wants or needs a totally clear view of his or her subject.
01-01-2010, 08:52 PM   #8
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Peter, I am with you, I hate the cluttered viewfinder with all those squares and dots etched on the screen. It lasted only a few seconds before I put it down when I was holding one at Henry's photo show. And I generally find that the IQ from the 40D (from my friends Canon) lacking the pop as if he never bothered to lock in the focus (too lazy to select focus point).

01-01-2010, 08:56 PM   #9
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Ok that makes sense Josh. I never had time to dig into the deeper functions and being able to turn the AF points off would be a necessity. Makes sense they included this in the feature set. Looking through that was terrible. So that's one thing that can be ignored from my earlier comments. No question that the AF was fast in some very bad light.

I'm not trashing this camera. Just my short impresions with it. Seeing the photos in a couple of days will really tell a better story. There's no doubt that this model has raised the bar for APSc models for other companies. I hope Pentax sees this and can take lessons from it, apply the "Pentax look' to a new body in 2010.
01-02-2010, 01:19 AM   #10
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Peter, I agree Canon drives are a bad idea. Bad design.

Peter, I agree Canon drives are a bad idea. Bad design.

Nikon does it better. My D700 drive is smaller with no protrusion at all, only holds one battery so its slimmer and as a bonus also fits their D300 , D300s crop bodys too.

I handled 5D Classic and its drive in 2006 and knew immediately it was a poor design and I didn't want to buy it, ever. I knew way back then I could pass on it due to its poor design and is how all their canon drives are. Anyways the drive isn't necessary for better handling (((obviously))), really just for additional release and 2x power. No additional frames per second like my D700 drive offers.


Usually Canon has their "white papers" available by now but Canon 7D is not up yet. These are highly detailed publications that tell you about all the features and changeable and custom settings. Maybe you know your Pentax(s) better than your Canon friend knows his Canon 7D? I've read the 7D owners manual is some 60 pages longer than 50D.


Here's the Canon whitepapers site:

Canon Digital Learning Center - Canon White Papers: Beyond the Manual


In the meantime you can learn more about the 7D viewscreen here, till the white paper is posted:

Canon Digital Learning Center - What's New in the EOS 7D: Sophisticated, Customizable AF System


and the pdf owners manual for 7D

http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/0/0300002580/01/eos7d-im-en.pdf


Nice thing about Canon and Nikon is you can go to about any photography store and find them and touch them and see what you like and don't. I've read in the past you sometimes consider Canon full frame. The big wheel is on the back of all their cameras, even my Eos3 film camera uses it and its from 11 years ago. If you hate the wheel then the Canons are not for you.

Maybe you'd be better off with a Nikon full frame if you ever add full frame to your kit? They are supposed to be #1 for additional flash use, and D700 has a built in flash which is unique to all full frames.

Heres an info link I used to get better info on D700 before I bought one last January along with its drive.

Nikon D700 Review by Thom Hogan


D700 is discontinued in China now as of early last month. You know when the best time to buy dslrs is ???

Watch that price drop on new ones and get a D700 at the all time low price point, very soon. Nothing "official" yet.

Last edited by Samsungian; 01-02-2010 at 01:51 AM.
01-02-2010, 09:40 PM   #11
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There's a D700s coming.

I'm a little guy and i have no problems with ergonomics on the 7D with vert grip (it's on par with my EOS3 with vert grip), it's the HEFT of the darn thing that physically kills me LOL, but i got it primarily for shooting badminton and table-tennis my other "loves", i can safely say the beast will always be on a monopod!
01-03-2010, 02:26 PM   #12
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I think it's impossible to feel comfortable with any new body without spending some time with it.

When I switched to Canon I absolutely hated the ergonomics of the 5D compared to the K20D and even posted something to that effect in these forums. After spending a lot more time with the 5D, I feel much more comfortable with the layout. I really like the thumb dial for adjusting EV comp in AV mode and aperture in manual. I wish I was able to better customize the buttons through the menu like I was able to do with the K20D. Other than that I really can't complain too much about the ergonomics. I have a similar viewfinder (only 9 AF points though) and I barely noticed it from day one.

That being said, I do see a lot of 7D bodies for sale in the Canon forums......a lot more than you would expect of such a highly anticipated body.
01-03-2010, 04:56 PM   #13
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P Bloom put both 5D Mark II and 7D on his 2009 list

P Bloom put both 5D Mark II and 7D on his 2009 gear list. Well those two cameras and a Panasonic GH1 too and some other dslr related HD recording assessories. 7D got his vote for HD item of the year, 2009

I'm amazed that what I considered a free or low cost spec, HD, seems to keep both 5D Mark II and 7D sitting at full launch prices in a world where everyone else drops prices.


Best of 2009. What a year! | Philip Bloom
01-03-2010, 05:51 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxwell1295 Quote
That being said, I do see a lot of 7D bodies for sale in the Canon forums......a lot more than you would expect of such a highly anticipated body.
That's a surprise since if I'm correct, it's the first Canon APS-C that I've seen to have weather-sealing and features that aren't stripped for full frame. It looks like a very solid camera. I was actually envying this 7D and especially what it features for the price. Sadly it wasn't what some wanted, I might have to check it out some day in person just to see what it's all about because I don't think it's near as bad as everyone claims. After all it does have the same sensor as the 50D which boasts nearly identical IQ aside from the added 3MP, but I'll check it out.
01-03-2010, 06:00 PM   #15
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What makes you think it has the "same sensor as the 50D"? One thing Canon did solve quite well in the 7D is banding at higher ISO. At 6400 and 12800 my 50D can show it fairly often depending on the subject, but the 7D seems virtually free of it.

As to why so many are for sale; I think that people were just expecting it to perform magic based on all the hype, and once they realized it's just another camera that's an incremental upgrade from the previous one, the $1700 or so they put into it doesn't seem so good.
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