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Thread: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
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    Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    I currently own a Canon Xsi with 2 EFS kit lenses and 2 EF lenses. We are going to buy a second camera body so that my husband will have one. What I have settled on is the Canon 7D for me and my husband will take the XSi. I just want to talk through this purchase decision. I realize that on issues like this, there are lots of varied opinions but it made no sense for me NOT to ask this great community when I'm about to spend this much money just to talk through and make sure I'm not missing glaring considerations. So here's my situation:

    - I'm firm on sticking with Canon
    - Application is mostly wildlife and landscape and that's not likely to change
    - I will never actively try to sell my work (been there with weaving and I'm just not interested)
    - But I am a serious hobbyist with a desire to become very proficient
    - I will most likely buy used from a reputable dealer that rates and warranties and will only look at the top rated "like new" "E+" type (looks like I can save about 30% buying used)

    Reasons for the 7D over the pro cameras
    - I can use all my current lenses
    - crop factor is an advantage in wildlife (if I understand correctly)
    - Not being a pro, I'm having trouble justifying the jump in price to a full frame that has the same or better capabilities of the 7D

    A few things I like of 7D over "lower" models and the XSi
    - higher ISO capabilities since I find myself using 800-1600 a lot on my XSi
    - faster write speeds and number of frames in burst mode

    One thing I'm worried about
    - weight & size with my small hands

    I would welcome and appreciate comments, warnings, or anything you think I should be aware of in going forward on this. Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    JG777's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Hi,

    You mentioned that you were worried about weight and size so have you actually held one and tried it for size? This can be quite important because if it feels uncomfortable and clumsy in any way it could hamper your photography. In the past I have owned cameras which were perfectly capable machines but I ended up selling purely because I was frustrated with the handling or placement of switches/buttons. It would be worth trying one out and also some of the other DSLRs in Canons range for comparison.

    If you buy second hand do ask the seller for a shutter count. AFAIK the 7d has an expected shutter life of 150,000 actuation's but someone correct me if I am wrong on this. The 7d is a proven camera and will certainly suffice your needs and if you are shooting wildlife then the crop factor will certainly help with reach. Your 300mm will be 450mm in old money! One of my friends uses a 7d and gets consistently good results and if I were to go the Canon route a 7d would almost certainly be my choice, but I am still in love with my D300 Having said that it took him a good few months to learn how to use it as it is a complex camera.

    Seems a logical step for you as I see you already have Canon kit, the 7d is quite a considerable upgrade from what you already have but it should feel familiar in some ways to the 450d

    Good luck with your purchase.

    John

  3. #3

    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    The reasons for the 7D is good ones to me. As for size go to a local camera store and actually hold the 7D and see for yourself how it fits. If I remember right the 7D is just a little smaller but not by much than the 60D. I really like the way the 60D fits my hands and consider them to be between medium and large. I have let one of the ladies at church shoot with it and she said she really liked how it handled. So I guess it's really up to the person and how they feel about it.
    I looked hard at the 7D but because of budget I went for the 60D.
    Good luck and I look forward to you posts. Check B & H they have used/factory refurbished camera equipment for sale and are reputable, only if you have no one local. They could save you some but I'm not real sure.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    I think you have done a very good analysis as to your needs. I agree with the other suggestions of actually holding one in your hands to see how it feels. When I moved over to a DSLR, I did my homework and it really came down to Canon or Nikon, and frankly these two lines were so evenly matched in terms of price and performance, ergonomics and handling ended up being the deciding factor. I too would recommend that you go to a physical camera store to try out how the body feels in your hands. I would go a step further and take your lenses along to see how camera and lens combination feel. Take some test shots; work the controls, etc.

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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    I'd be willing to bet that Terri will be buying from a reputable company that allows her a certain amount of days to try the camera out in her hands and will allow her to return it for any reason with no questions asked. That's far better than simply visiting a store.

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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    I have a 7D and really love it. One of the main reasons that I love this camera is the absolutely outstanding autofocus capability. Another reason I like the camera is the three User Selected Modes available. This is seldom discussed and Canon doesn't make a big deal of it in their ads but, I love it.

    The User Selected Mode allows me to select a multiple of parameters for the camera settings (including but not limited to: ISO, Focus, AEB, exposure mode, etc.) and to allow me to register the parameters to one of the three settings. Then I can select all the parameters by a single and simple twist of the mode dial. I use these all the time and love the capability.

    As far as image quality, you willprobably find that the 60D and the T3i or T4i will provide about the same quality imagery; except when shootng fast moving subjects.

    The 60D has only one User Selected Mode and I don't think the T3i or the T4i has that capability at all.

    You mentioned purchasing a used 7D. Perhaps you might consider a Canon refurbished 7D from Adorama. Adorama has the best price ($1149) and includes free shipping as well as the company includes a 12 month warranty. Additionally you may or may not have to pay state sales tax dependng on the laws of your state of residence. I doubt if you will get a much better bottom line deal if you bought used.

    http://www.adorama.com/ICA7DR.html

    Adorama is offering the 60D at $800 with the same free shipping and same 12 month warranty,

    My last three DSLR cameras have been Canon Refurbished Units and I would not buy a camera any other way...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 17th September 2012 at 01:58 AM.

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    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Good reasoning on the crop body, the budget, and the usability of all your current EF-S lenses. 7D would be great for the wildlife with the great autofocus.

    One note: I would not say the image quality on a 7D would be very good at ISO 1600 (pretty grainy), but it would be no worse and probably better than what you have now on your Xsi. Better IQ at high ISO would be about the only improvement you would probably see by going full frame, based on your story. But the added cost of the body, plus the "shortening effect" on all your lenses of full frame vs. crop would make that a bad trade for wildlife shooting. (Unless you had room in the budget for an expensive new telephoto too).

  8. #8

    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Agree with all the above - you have made a good decision based on sound reasoning. The only outstanding issue is the size/weight, for which you need to get hands on with the 7D to decide.

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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Terri:

    I made this same transition from the XSi to the 7d a few months ago. The 7d is heavier and larger than the XSi. My wife has inherited the XSi, however I do find times when this camera is my choice for photos where weight is an issue. The 7d is a great camera and besides the increased settings on various parameters, it has more convenient controls for all settings.

    I agree you need to go handle the 7d to decide if it is comfortable in your hands. I purchased my 7d as a refurbished camera from Adorama. It is basically a new camera that has been checked out by Canon quality control. So far, no issues. I would consider a refurbished camera from Adorama if I decide to purchase another camera.

    I too am a photo hobbyist who is working to learn to take better photos. I consider myself a novice at this point. I still like my XSi but I very happy with the move to the 7d.

    Dr Bob

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Thank you all for taking the time to comment. It is all very helpful.

    I did go to the camera store and hold the 7D. But it is hard to tell from a few minutes if this extra weight difference is something I'll get used to or not. I suspect it will be ok - like me getting used to the 100-400 lens weight that I don't notice so much anymore until I put the light lens back on. Then again, that 100-400 lens on that 7D - wow.

    I am definitely looking at warranty and return policies. That along with the fact that it will be checked/rated by the store is the main reason I want to buy from a reputable store rather than used out of Ebay or Craig's list.

    Thanks for bringing up the refurb choice. I just missed a used deal on Adorama yesterday but had not looked at the refurbs. But Richard, I'm reading the warranty to be the same as the used equipment which is 90 days, not one year.

    As far as ISO, I thought I had read that the newer cameras that could utilize higher ISO's also did a better job at the ISO settings that used to be the maximums. My Xsi's max ISO is 1600. The 7D is well above that so I thought it would do a better job than the XSI at the 1600 setting. I realize that relative to it's own lower ISO settings, its not going to perform as well in the higher ranges. Guess I need to go back and find those test shots that I'm thinking of.

    Thanks again to all of you!

  11. #11

    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    Thank you all for taking the time to comment. It is all very helpful.

    I did go to the camera store and hold the 7D. But it is hard to tell from a few minutes if this extra weight difference is something I'll get used to or not. I suspect it will be ok - like me getting used to the 100-400 lens weight that I don't notice so much anymore until I put the light lens back on. Then again, that 100-400 lens on that 7D - wow.

    I am definitely looking at warranty and return policies. That along with the fact that it will be checked/rated by the store is the main reason I want to buy from a reputable store rather than used out of Ebay or Craig's list.

    Thanks for bringing up the refurb choice. I just missed a used deal on Adorama yesterday but had not looked at the refurbs. But Richard, I'm reading the warranty to be the same as the used equipment which is 90 days, not one year.

    As far as ISO, I thought I had read that the newer cameras that could utilize higher ISO's also did a better job at the ISO settings that used to be the maximums. My Xsi's max ISO is 1600. The 7D is well above that so I thought it would do a better job than the XSI at the 1600 setting. I realize that relative to it's own lower ISO settings, its not going to perform as well in the higher ranges. Guess I need to go back and find those test shots that I'm thinking of.

    Thanks again to all of you!
    Terri have a look at this thread, go all almost to the end and you'll see TeamSpeed's post with images taken at 6400 and 12800 ISO with the Canon 7D. You'll also note Colin's post at the end about high ISO and noise.

    Iso 6400 with corrected image

  12. #12
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Terri,

    I too have the 7D. Something you might consider is the battery grip for it - I know this sounds counter-intuitive if you're worried about the size/weight of it to go and add more size/weight to it, but it actually can have a beneficial effect of changing the balance of the camera in your hand. I have the battery grip on my 7D, and use the hand-strap along with it - it essentially turns the camera into an extension of my hand instead of being something I am holding. I don't have to grip the camera as tightly all the time because the strap is taking the bulk of the weight, thus reducing any kind of risk of hand cramping.

    There were rumors that Canon was going to announce what would effectively be the 7D Mark II with a full frame sensor and a host of other improvements. With the recent announcement of the 6D, I think that is what folks were expecting to be the 7DII, and I'd say the 7D still wins out by a large margin. I mention this because depending on the MP of the full frame sensor used, one can simply crop down to the effective MP you would get from a APS-C sensor to regain the "lost" telephoto length if you really needed to. But as I said, it looks to be moot...

    Stick with the 7D plan unless you're willing to wait out another 6 months to see if anything else is in the pipeline.

    - Bill

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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Terri, unless Adorama has changed their refurbished warranty policy, they provide a twelve month waranty on Canon Refurbished Units. However, they could very well have changed the policy and I suggest that you contact them by telephone.

    Let me recount my experiences with refurbished cameras...

    My first two DSLR cameras (10D and 350D) were purchased as new and I needed to send each in for service within the first 90 days.

    I purchased my last three DSLR cameras as Canon refurbished units, both from Canon and from a retailer who sells Canon Refurbished units (not Adorama). These cameras (30D, 40D and 7D) had only the Canon 90 day warranty and I have had no problems with any of the cameras. Thusly, I have better faith in Canon Refurbished units than in units from the Canon Assembly Line. I am still using all three cameras with the 7D and 40D as my go-to cameras (I always carry two bodies) and my 30D as my backup.

    I did think that the 7D I purchased as refurbished through the Canon Loyalty Program was malfunctioning. I called Canon and they said send the camera back (they provided a free return shipping label) and they immediately sent me a replacement camera and send it as free shipping. Much to my chagrin, I realized that the first 7D was not malfunctioning but it was user error that caused the problem...

    However, the caveat is that the units must be "official" Canon refurbished units which come in a specially white box marked as "Canon Refurbished". I have seen retailers who have taken returned gear, given them a quick once over and resold them as "refurbished". This is not the type of refurbished camera that I am talking about.

    I did a quick search of completed USA eBay auctions for Canon 7D bodies and it seems that the Adorama price for a refurbished 7D body generally beats the used eBay prices.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/Digital-Came..._dmd=1&_ipg=50

    I suspect that Adorama still offers a 12-month warranty but, even with a 90-day warranty, I would select this method of purchase rather than buying a used model.

    BTW: I would really like a second 7D but, the 40D works just fine in my two-camera setup and I don't want to spend the extra money to upgrade.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 17th September 2012 at 03:16 PM.

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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    I'm a great believer in manufacturers refurbs too. I have bought several over the years and no problems so far. Not so on new cameras. Official refurbs should always have a manufacturers guarantee with them usually 12 months in my experience and you might say that they have been prechecked by some one who knows what they are doing.

    John

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    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Hi,
    Regarding ISO, I didn't mean to say the ISO would be any worse on 7D than on the old Xsi. It would be somewhat better I am sure. I was just saying that you do get more noise on a crop sensor. But you already have a crop sensor, and this would be a better crop sensor than the one you have. If you are happy with your current camera at ISO 1600, then you will be more happy with the newer 7D at the same ISO. The higher top end of the camera's ISO only implies a more sophisticated sensor, which can take shots at higher sensitivities.
    I read Teamspeed's info on noise reduction techniques, and they are quite impressive (if somewhat involved). I don't think I would shoot very frequently at ISO 6400 if it meant I had to do that much post-processing, but for a very important shot, why not.

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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Terri,

    I just now remembered that I recently read here that Photokina is coming up soon. Depending on what Canon announces at Photokina, the used prices on the 7D may drop a bit after Photokina. It might be worth waiting a few weeks.

  17. #17
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Carl, thanks for the links to the thread on ISO. That is some good information.

  18. #18
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by ktuli View Post
    Terri,

    I too have the 7D. Something you might consider is the battery grip for it - I know this sounds counter-intuitive if you're worried about the size/weight of it to go and add more size/weight to it, but it actually can have a beneficial effect of changing the balance of the camera in your hand. I have the battery grip on my 7D, and use the hand-strap along with it - it essentially turns the camera into an extension of my hand instead of being something I am holding. I don't have to grip the camera as tightly all the time because the strap is taking the bulk of the weight, thus reducing any kind of risk of hand cramping.

    - Bill
    This is an interesting idea. I will have to try one out. I did get a chance today to hold one again. The local shop had a used one but it was $50 more than the refurbs and had a few scuffs. But more irritating than that is that they could not tell me anything about how old it was and could/would not tell me the shutter count. He said "We have no good way to get that information". I didn't question him further because I'd never done it myself and really didn't know what was involved. But after I got home, within 5 minutes I'd found, downloaded and run software to give me the count on mine.

    Anyway, I'm feeling better about the weight after holding it again.

  19. #19

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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    The next time you try out a camera in a store, use your own memory card. Take the card home and run the last picture through your software to determine the shutter count.

  20. #20
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    The next time you try out a camera in a store, use your own memory card. Take the card home and run the last picture through your software to determine the shutter count.
    Thanks Mike. I didn't know that would do it.

    Thanks Everyone who commented. It's been really helpful. I'm reading the downloaded manual and getting more excited!

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