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Thread: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

  1. #1

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    My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Hi everybody,

    I am seeking advice today about my brand new Canon 7D that doesn't work like I expected.
    In fact all pictures are blurry and seem out of focus, well I don't know what the problem is exactly but they look terrible compared to those I used to take with my Canon rebel xti in the same conditions.
    Here is one picture I took this morning (the sharpest of all). Shutter speed : 1/160, aperture : 4.5, focal : 55mm, ISO : 650.
    http://www.the-magic-lantern.net/IMG_1164.CR2
    Model was standing still and photographer too.

    I am wondering if this is because of the lens (a Canon 18-55mm IS). Not the best one for a canon 7D of course. But would it cause such a terrible quality? I am willing to buy a 50mm 1.4 but it is expensive, so I didn't plan to buy it right now. I first need to know if the camera is faulty.
    What would you do in my place, would you send the camera back to the store to be fixed?

    Thanks a lot for your answers

  2. #2

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    I see that you used a f-stop of 4.5 that is a very shallow depth of field. The young lady is in focus, and the background is soft because of the shallow depth of field of using a f-4.5 setting. You have also blown the highlights by about 3/4s of a stop. I would have used a ISO of say 320 or lower, camera on a tripod, the depth of field I would adjust to get the feel I wanted, if the background soft than in the 4.5 range or sharp than f-11 or 16.
    As a new member I do not know you overall skill level, so if I am wrong please forgive me, have you read the tutorials on depth of field and othe aspects of camera knowledge. As for your opening title "produces bad quality pictures" that is not true, the camera only captures the image that the photographer takes, I feel you believe that now, that you have a better camera you will take better images, learn your camera as in how all the systems tie into each other, that is when you will see better images.
    The image I had added was taken the other day at a dinner party, the subject was about 3 feet away, I used a f stop of 1.8 so a very shallow depth of field, which is what I wanted. She is very sharp and anything just infront or behind here is out of focus. This is what you have in your image.

    Cheers:

    Allan

    My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures
    Last edited by Polar01; 10th October 2012 at 01:15 PM. Reason: added image

  3. #3
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Without any intention of sounding rude, but are you sure it's the camera and not the fact that you are unfamiliar with your new equipment?
    I'm not a Canon user but the 7D will have a myriad of controls and focus modes. Have you checked to make sure all the settings are as they need to be? If the answer to that is yes, then maybe it's worth taking some test shots at various speeds/apertures/ISO of a specific target (a brick wall) preferably using a tripod. If these still show poor results, then yes, take it back to the dealer.

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Hi Polar01, Hi Clactonian,

    Thanks a lot for your answers.

    Polar01, yes I know about the depth of field, a shallow background is what I wanted. But what I mean is that the model does not look sharp on this picture, although she is in focus. For example the hand is all blurred. With my canon Rebel xti I could take such a picture and say, crop to show just the model from head to feet, and the picture would look ok. Do you think it is a problem of ISO? I'm not sure about it because I tested with different ISO and it was the same. And as I said, this is the sharpest picture I got, but on other ones the lady is really all blurred.

    Clactonian, no you're not being rude at all, I am very new to this camera and wanting to learn. But I am in manual mode and I think I set everything correctly (also for image style i chose "standard" as I did with my former Canon, and I turned off the settings about ISO correction etc because I read that they cause bad quality pictures and don't help much). I also tried "P" mode to see if it did better than I did, but it didn't.

  5. #5

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    About my level in photography, here are two pictures I took with my canon Rebel xti. My pictures are not genius but at least they are reasonably sharp
    My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures
    My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    I also tried portraits like these with the 7D but I erased them, there was definitely a problem of noise / blur.

  6. #6

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    It is not very easy to see exactly where the focus is in the image in your first post #1, but it seems as leaves in the foreground, closer to the camera, are somewhat sharper than the woman. I think that if you do a focus test on the camera/lens combination, you'll see whether it focuses correctly or not. Focus error is extremely common in DSLR cameras. If you print out a focus test chart and use it according to instructions, you will know whether that's the simple cause for your not so sharp images. For a new camera, calibration of the AF system should be done on its warranty.

  7. #7

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Melisande: very nice images of the above young lady, Oh and welcome to CIC, you can change your profile to use your name and location, it can help as it is not much use telling you to go to a North American store if you live in Europe. Now to your problem, the image that you link to goes not match the data that you state, the image is f4.5, 1/100 and an ISO of 800, at 29mm. I enlarged it to 200% and I use a 30" screen and I could not find any softness with the model. She did have something in her right hand between her small finger and the one next to it. One small thing I was wondering was in raw do you adjust for len disortion, I make that part of my workflow for all my images.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  8. #8

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Inkanyezi, thanks a lot for the tip ! I will try that. They don't say anything about the lens, can I perform this test with my 18-55mm lens ?

  9. #9

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    You can do the test with any lens, so you can do it at several focal lengths with your zoom lens.

    DSLR AF frequently is a bit off, even with a brand new camera and lens bought in the same set. Usually focusing errors are well contained within the depth of field at small apertures, but may become evident at large apertures. The focus test in the website I pointed to will usually find a focusing error at about 6' to 8' distance. It can also be used for shorter distances, as with a wide angle lens or the normal zoom at its shortest focal length and about 2' to 3' distance. For longer distances enlargement of the chart may work, although for large telephoto lenses some other approach according to the same principles might be necessary.

    When you do the test, do it with the largest aperture of your lens. The scales on both sides of the focusing target will show whether your camera/lens combination will focus correctly or if it has front or back focus.

  10. #10

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Melisande, I have no experience with the Canon 7D or 18-55mm lens. But I did have a look at your original image in your first post. I looked at in Adobe Lightroom. The histogram seems to be pushed to the right and in Lightroom it is showing most of the top half(sky) and some of the cars in the background as overexposed. When I used the recovery slider to correct the sky/cars then the tree/sky looked awful. So, I think that part of the problem could be the exposure for the image. When I crop to just the face of the model it looks ok but the sky is overexposed. I also had to move the 'fill light' slider right up before I could distinguish the different colours on the models top. So, I think that possibly some of the issues lie within the image exposure? Maybe you could try something indoors under more controllable conditions which might give a better clue as to whether there is a problem.

    Cheers for now

    Gary

  11. #11

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    I did a quick edit of your raw file, and I believe it's a combination of your lens and your exposure. With these kit lenses, if you're shooting wide you're usually going to lose the fine detail such as in the face, and the pictures tend to lack local contrast. I'd play around with the camera a little more. For a shot like this one you could have gone vertical and gotten closer, and you'd probably find the results to be a fair bit better. Also, the kit lens there usually isn't very sharp until you stop it down a bit more. I think you'd see a big difference from that 50 1.4

  12. #12
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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    I'm not able to blow the image up on this computer. However, I would not send the camera back without a lot more testing. I can think of several things that might be contributing:

    -- most lenses are not terribly sharp when fully opened, and that is probably true of the kit lens. I would want to see how images appear closer to the sweet spot.

    --If I am not mistaken, the 7D has a considerably more aggressive anti-aliasing filter than the XTi, which means that images that have not been postprocessed will look softer and will need more sharpening.

    --the 7D has a lot more AF points than the XTi and a lot more focusing modes. Its possible that the system is picking up on the wrong point--using a high contrast area that is not where you want the focus to be.

    --There are lots of methods posted on the web for testing whether the lens+camera combination has a front- or back-focus problem. It's not obvious from this image, because you need a lot of possible focus points adjacent to each other. If it is front- or back-focusing, the 7D has micro-focus adjustment, which you can set for that particular lens. There is no need to send it in for this.

  13. #13
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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Hi Melisande,

    I am sorry to hear about your problems with the new camera.

    On the 7D I find the focus to be better if switched to the single point focus mode. If using all 19 points the the camera may lock focus in the wrong place. Switch to using a single point and move it to the position in the frame you want to focus. This is easy by using the built in joypad to move the focus point. To revert to the centre point just press the joypad in.

    For moving targets use the servo focusing mode. This will continue focussing as long as you press the shutter button. For still targets use the single shot mode. This will focus once and then beep/confirm focus with a flash of the viewfinder focus point.

    To test the focussing is faulty would require a controlled situation.

    If you have a tripod try setting it up and focussing on something with fine details. Ideally this should have details that are at different distances from the camera. A good example is to arrange AA batteries on a table at different distances. You can then focus on one battery and see if that and or the others are in focus.

    Repeat the test with the centre focus point and others to the edges.

    If you constantly focus on one battery but another is in focus then the focus calibration is off. You can adjust this using your camera auto focus micro adjustment settings. However this is a hard thing to set up. Let us know if you see this issue.

    Alex

  14. #14
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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    I agree with Dan K. about the camera possibly picking the wrong AF point to focus on in the scene. The 7D has a pretty complex AF system that many folks have a hard time getting used to at first. By default, all the AF points are active, and the camera guesses which one to use for you. Sometimes it guesses wrong.

    Toggle through the AF points and pick the "center point only", then press shutter halfway down to freeze focus on one of the subject's eyes, then re-compose the shot while holding the shutter halfway down with focus locked if you need to, then shoot.

    If that makes it better, then that was at least part of your problem.

  15. #15

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    In any test I would suggest that you use the 10 second delay release .... press the trigger and leave the camera untouched to settle down from the pressing of the trigger while on the tripod or other firm support you are using.

    If the 50mm f/1.4 is too expensive what about the f/1.8 version which I gather is great quality dirt cheap ... will you need that extra stop either for exposure or reduced depth of field?

  16. #16
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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Here is a link to an article written specifically on the 7D with instruction on how to do the micro adjustments. I'm not necessarily advocating this as I have not tried it - just something my son-in-law sent to me when I got my 7D.

    7D Focus Issues

  17. #17
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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    First thing I would do is return all the parameters of the camera to the defaut mode. Since you apparently purchased the camera from a dealer, someone may have played with the camera and changed the default focus.

    Second, ensure that your lens is in the autofocus; not manual focus mode.

    I am sorry that I cannot give more specific advice but, I could not view your image.

    I unwrapped my 7D inserted a charged battery, mounted a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens and 550EX flash and attended a photo shoot. Although I had my 40D along in case the my new 7D had problems, but it had no problems at all.

    Here is one shot from that shoot. All of the shots were done in the default 19 point focus mode. I have been using that mode for a majority of my shooting ever since.

    My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Others are at my smugmug gallery:

    http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Portraits...0241&k=LXnFVZC

    BTW: I have purchased my last three Canon DSLR cameras as Canon refurbished items. I have not had any problems with any of these cameras but, needed to send out the two previous new cameras to Canon within the first 90 days of ownership...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 10th October 2012 at 09:30 PM.

  18. #18

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Hi,

    First, sorry I'm answering late, I had two really busy days at the office...
    Second, a big THANK YOU to all of you !!
    You really gave me a lot of tips I didn't know about.
    At the time I come back home there is no more daylight to make proper tests, but I will try everything this week-end.

    About the exposure, yes, I find it very difficult to obtain a good exposure with this camera (I do a bracketing to have one picture exposed according to my settings, another less exposed and another more exposed. But even so, it is difficult to have a really good exposure). Maybe there is something I am doing wrong...

    About the AF focus points, thanks a lot for raising that question : when reading the user manual I thought having so many focus points was a great feature in the canon 7D. But it may be tricky indeed. After reading your answers I searched the web and read that many beginners with the canon 7D have problems with that. I will try with just one central focus point !

    Also I am now settled on my decision to buy a canon 50mm f1.4 (but I have also read very good reviews about the Sigma 50mm f1.4, despite the front or back focus problem that occurs on many of these lenses). Still balancing between the two... Does any of you have it?

    Thanks again for your help ! I am glad I chose this forum (it is better than all the French ones I visited !)

  19. #19

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    And rpcrowe, yes I read that many brand new Canon 7D do have a front or back focus or exposure problem. That's why I was wondering if maybe I had no luck with the camera I bought. I read that many people have to send them back to have the problem solved, maybe this is why refurbished cameras are better, because they are tested by humans
    But hopefully this is not the case with mine, I will know after doing all the tests !

  20. #20

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    Re: My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    If the 50mm f/1.4 is too expensive what about the f/1.8 version which I gather is great quality dirt cheap ... will you need that extra stop either for exposure or reduced depth of field?
    I had the 50mm f/1.8 but I did not like it... It was a refurbished one, don't know if they are all like this, but the AF was terrible. I mostly used it in manual mode to be sure, but sometimes you don't have the time to adjust perfectly.
    I wanted a large aperture for exposure and bokeh. I mostly take portraits so a beautiful bokeh looks flattering, and with the low light in winter the extra exposure is a good thing. I was hesitating between the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4.

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