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Thread: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    After just posting in the member introduction area, I'm already jumping in to things. I apologize if this 7D thread makes anybody go on a rampage. I have done some searches on the web and researched things a bit, even downloaded the 7D manual, but I feel like good old fashioned advice from experienced users is the best source of reliable info. I will also apologize for my lengthy and detailed posting style; I can't help it, I am just very thorough. That said, I'll get right to it:

    I'm looking seriously at getting a 7D as a step up from my 30D. The other contender is the 60D. I doubt it will make any difference in the replies, but I will be shooting primarily nature, macro, landscape, wildlife, etc.

    Below are the key points outlining why I want the 7D body, and what I am concerned about.

    Pros for why I want this:

    Dust & Weather Resistant / durable body
    100% Viewfinder
    Excellent low-noise / image quality compared to other cropped frame sensors
    Joystick control (vs circular control in 60D which I've heard is a pain to use)
    Firmer and more responsive buttons compared to the 60D's sloppy and sluggish buttons that I've read about.
    Less shutter lag
    Higher FPS rate
    Cropped frame sensor (I am aware that the 60D is also cropped frame. I am glad the 7D is as well, because I prefer the magnification that I get on top of my lenses rated mm, it will work with my "special" small frame lens, lower cost, etc)

    Cons against this body for me:

    No flip out lcd (which would be useful for very low angle shots, tight shooting locations, acrobatic tripod positioning situations in difficult terrain, etc)
    Higher cost than 60D
    Possible reliability issues, errors, focus issues, etc

    Concerns:

    I have found extensive complaints on the web about the following:
    Unreliable / soft autofocus performance
    Exposure problems
    Intermittant Error messages
    Distracting AF point overlay in viewfinder


    Questions:
    1. Are my fears justified regarding the so-called "horrible focusing problems" I've read about all over the internet?
    2. My hypothesis regarding reported exposure problems is that they may be related to metering based on incorrectly achieved focus points (possibly as a side-effect of the point noted above)
    3. Are the random error messages commonly an issue?
    4. Based on all of these seemingly widespread issues, is this camera really a lemon?
    5. Are the AF point squares always visible, or do they only appear when selecting focus points and indicating achieved focus?
    6. What exactly does the focus adjustment feature do? And, does this correct the focusing problems people complain about?
    7. Finally, considering that this model has been out for a few years, I wonder if recently manufactured "newer" units will exhibit less of these problems...
    8. And finally "finally", lol, in a somewhat unrelated question, is there ANY canon DSLR that allows the DOF preview button to be remapped to another button? I've always been confounded that the DOF preview button cannot be changed and that the placement on the camera body is in such a horrible location. I use DOF preview for the majority of shots, and it's irritating to have to feel around for the button.


    Many thanks to any responses I receive. I greatly appreciate your time and help.

  2. #2

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Hi Matt,

    A possible solution to "no flip-out LCD" is to use a view finder for low-angle shots. I find it a treat to use when doing "aggressive perspective" shots where I don't feel like lying down on medium size boulders to frame a composition (live view isn't an option in these situations due to the low light levels).

    I shoot with a 1DX - which can have up to 60+ AF points displayed in the viewfinder all the time - but - it is a selectable firmware option - perhaps the 7D has these options too? You also might be interested to know that the 7D AF is so sophisticated that they actually use a separate CPU just to run it.

    I'd suggest "caution" when contemplating buying in to "internet hysteria" regarding the likes AF problems. The Canon 1D3 sub-mirror "problem" was a classic example; it was absolutely panned by every man and his dog ... some of whom (but not many) had actually seen it for themselves! In reality it was blown out of all proportion. On one hand, a small problem was identified (which Canon fixed free of charge) - but a far bigger part of the problem was that many folks just didn't know how to setup what is a very sophisticated AF system, and were making basic mistakes in ignorance (eg in Servo AF mode not aquiring focus using the centre AF point first) - and on top of all that, it was also a classic case of "if it doesn't work for me then I'll tell everyone - but if I'm happy and it is working then I don't need to tell anyone". I suspect that it's probably a similar case with the 7D; Canon aren't stupid - and I'm sure if there was a real significant problem then they would have recalled the camera to fix it.

    You might like to have a read of a whitepaper on the 7D AF:

    http://learn.usa.canon.com/resources..._article.shtml

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 21st October 2012 at 10:25 AM.

  3. #3

    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    I loved my 7D. I shot Rugby with it and never had any issues with the AF. There were a few shots I missed but generally that could be traced to user error (the selected AF point was in-between the players, hence focusing on the fence/car/building on the other side of the pitch). Maybe there are some bad ones out there. Wouldn't surprise me because they are complex electrical/optical devices. However I certainly didn't have any issues and neither have the people I know who have the 7D. I would still be shooting with it if some ****** hadn't stolen it (and I came into some money - so I bought the 5DIII which has the same great body as the 7D).

    For me at least feel is important. I loved the weight, the solid feel and the way the buttons worked. If you haven't already then go get a hands on with it before making your decision.

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    I will try to get back to you on a few of your questions specifically but here are a few recent threads for you to start with:
    Talking through a camera purchase - feedback appreciated
    My (brand new) canon 7D produces bad quality pictures

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Hi Matt,

    I am in a somewhat similar place, thinking about replacing my 50D, which has developed an intermittent electrical problem. I agree with you about crop sensors. I intend to stick with APS-C because of the longer reach and because in macro work, you can get more pixels on the subject at MWD. For my druthers, I found the choice easy. The only advantage the 60D has for my purposes is the articulated screen, which I would use rarely but would find handy doing macro work at ground level. Other than that (and cost), all the advantages seem to be with the 7D: stronger body, higher burst rate, CF rather than SD storage, much more capable AF system, better controls, and focus microadjustment. (Only one of my 5 lenses needed any MA adjustment on my 50D, and that adjustment was minor, but I find it comforting to have it there if needed.)

    You might find this comparison helpful.

    I agree with Colin: I wouldn't pay too much attention to the complaints on the web. Comments on the web, both positive and negative, are very trendy, and complaints often reflect either poor control of the camera or unrealistic expectations.

    However, not to make things harder: in my opinion, one of the downsides of the 7D and 60D is that they are noisier than I would like, I think a consequence of the high pixel density. There are initial rumors of a replacement next year, with a new sensor. Those rumors may be nonsense, of course. But if a new one comes out next year, you would have the attractive option then of either springing for the new (and probably more expensive) replacement, or getting the 7D at a discount.

    Dan

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Quote Originally Posted by dan marchant View Post
    I loved my 7D. I shot Rugby with it
    So Dan - how'd you all do in the Rugby World Cup?

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Hi Matt,

    I use a 7D. It is not perfect. But it fails a lot less than I do. So I practice more.

    When reading opinions on the internet about how badly a camera performs it should be put into context of what experience the user has and with what equipment. Is it an experienced sports/action/wildlife photographer used to shooting pro series cameras or is it someone just purchasing their first SLR? Also note that people who are disgruntled like to complain to vent frustration. People who are happy keep quiet. So the proportion of people who have had problems is less than you think.

    I'll give my thoughts on your concerns about focussing, AF point overlay, and the metering.

    1. Focussing

    Note that the 7D has auto focus calibration. The 60D does not. With wide aperture lenses this is a must feature for me. It may be that people who are unhappy with the focus have not tried calibrating the camera. The depth of field on wide aperture lenses is tight. Also cropping into an image from a high pixel density camera is also very unforgiving to focus issues. It is likely that those complaining about the 7D are entering into the world of wide aperture/long lenses at the same time as they increase their spend on their equipment.

    Canon focus tolerances specify that focus is correct if within 1/3 of the depth of field. However this is an average. So statistically you may get some shots out of the depth of field anyway. But if the focus calibration is off by a margin then you have the potential for complaints about expensive equipment not functioning well. My keeper rate increased noticeably when I used AFMA on all my lenses. I use Reikan FoCal since when I tried shooting test charts and doing it manually I could not get consistent results. Letting a computer take 40 shots and tweak the settings is much easier.

    One problem I have encountered with the 7D is that during continuous bursts of frames (e.g. birds in flight) the first few will be in focus, then a couple are out of focus, then focus is reaquired. I've not been able to figure out a setting that fixes this issue for me. I just work with it knowing that a series of shots is best done in small bursts, for example 3x3 rather than 9 continuous. Or I just accept that my keeper rate is 70%. I've read other users with similar complaints. Perhaps this is the performance level of a $1500 camera. I've no experience with other brands or levels of cameras for this situation so do not know.

    The bottom line is that the 7D has a far more configurable and advanced focus system than the 60D. If focussing on moving objects is a core part of your photography then it will be a better choice than the 60D.

    2. AF points

    The AF overlay points are imposing when changing from a system that does not have them. However you get used to them. They have not stopped me seeing my intended target. If I am ever trying to focus manually then I can do this with clear visibility and just get a flash of a point for focus confirmation. All I can do is recommend you try one at the local camera store and see if you hate it.

    3. Metering

    As for your concerns about metering then I have not read much about them. The 63-zone light metering sensor is the same one they just used in the 5D mark 3. It must work well enough that they did not feel the need to changed it for a professional grade camera released 3 years later. Anecdotally it performs better under tungsten/fluorescent light than previous systems. If metering is a problem then you'll get to know the situations that are likely offenders (back lit images, etc.) and check your histogram. You can always switch to manual when necessary. Shooting raw will allow you more freedom in post-processing for fixing white balance mistake. However I rarely tweak my white balance. I shoot outside and the camera is fine most (95%) of the time. I have to adjust more when shooting indoors.

    The 7D is an old camera (3+ years). As such the price has fallen a lot since the RRP introduction. I feel it is currently the best value camera in the Canon range. Unless you really want an articulated screen then it is a good option.

    Alex

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    I absolutely love my 7D and when I made my decision, virtually all the posts on various forums regarding the 7D were extremely positive.

    Since purchasing the camera, I have read numerous postings regarding faults of the 7D but, my copy is excellent and was so right out of the box.

    I will admit that I purchased my copy from the Canon Loyalty program and it is a Canon Factory Refurbished camera. I have had better results from the three Canon refurbished cameras I have purchased (30D, 40D and 50D) than I have had with the two new Canon DSLR cameras I purchased (10D and 350D). Perhaps this is because every refurbised camera has been checked by a human. This is not the case with cameras coming of the assembly line...

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Quote Originally Posted by herbert View Post
    When reading opinions on the internet about how badly a camera performs it should be put into context of what experience the user has and with what equipment. Is it an experienced sports/action/wildlife photographer used to shooting pro series cameras or is it someone just purchasing their first SLR?
    Couldn't agree more.

    Here's an off-the-wall example to illustrate the point ...

    Many members will no doubt be familiar with the TV series Top Gear where British presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May present a fairly zany & "well-rounded" program pertaining to cars. Often, one of the 3 will have the privilege of driving some pretty high-performance machinery - and as such (great driver that I am, in my Ford Telstar), I'd have to concede that any one of those 3 would probably be able to do a far far far far better job of driving a formula 1 car than I would be able to.

    Well ... Richard was given the chance ... take a break from photography for a few minutes and see how this experienced driver did in high-performance machinery ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUZJVY-sHo

    Obviously ... obviously ... obviously ... he wasn't "able to extract full potential from the car" and I can fully imagine that if that car was a camera, people would be complaining that "the brakes don't work properly" and "the clutch" is too sensitive etc. When in reality, well, you get the picture (pun intended!).

    The 7D may not quite be the "Formula 1 car" of cameras, but the sophistication of it's firmware is more than enough to trip-up those not used to handling it. Not to say one should be afraid of it though -- just that one needs to understand that there's a learning curve to be learned and an apprentiship to be served.

    Hope you all enjoyed the clip
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 21st October 2012 at 11:52 PM.

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    wilgk's Avatar
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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    I have a 7D also and have been very happy with it, have I ever had an OOF shot? - of course I have, but most of the time I am working in low light with very narrow focal plane & big margin for error... I have never throught it was the camera's workings at fault when Ive had a near miss.

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    I have a 7D. The problem is that cameras over the past few years have made "photography easy". As a result we forget what we had to do before all singing and dancing cameras. We forget how to focus manually, and sometimes manual focus is better than auto. We forget that when we have many options they are there to be used, so the camera does need to be used with thought.
    At the end of the day a camera auto exposure will still try to set an average scene. I find canon usually 1/3 over exposure for me, but if you set highlight priority it may underexpose, you the photographer have to judge the scene and that exposure compensation dial is the most used control on my camera.
    The 7D had so many autofocus modes, points and other settings, it needs to be used and played with so you get the best results for your way of working. But the ability to do this is what makes it so good.
    The viewfinder info system with focus points showing etc is great, no wonder they added it to 5D3.
    Yes its an old model, but available at good prices, a replacement must come soon, but at double the price for what, better GPS connectivity, quicker processor, more buffer,SD card, maybe better sensor, but unless you need to use over 1000 iso the 7D is good. So if you are prepared to spend time learning to use the 7D get one, otherwise save your money. If you want an articulated screen use USB and your android phone, much more flexible.

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    I've had my 7D for a few years. It is my 2nd DSLR. I've only been in this hobby about 4 yr. I think this is a great camera {best bang for your buck in Canon}. I shoot wildlife {mostly birds} and sporting events. Alex, your problem with OOF pics in your bursts could be rectified by "rear-focusing" possibly. I refer you to Arthur Morris' "Birds as Art" website. Go to the "Bulletins" 2012. He talks about rear-focusing and gives a link to a tutorial. I don't know if this will solve your problem, just thiught it might be worth a look.

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Hey Matt, it looks like you've done a fair bit of work regarding the 7D and I would think the next step would be to borrow one or rent one. The only way to really figure out if this body is for you is...hands on. I've enjoyed my refurbished unit for over a year and have taken several thousand shots, mainly wildlife / landscapes. I do believe the best glass for the 7D and other pro level bodies in the canon lineup are the "L" series for their optical quality. I've yet to receive an error message by the way. The AF points are a joy to use and the DOF button will almost always stay where its at, sorry. What sold me on the 7D was the FPS, 2 CPUs for processing and the AF layout. Now with version 2.0 firmware I'm evan more pleased with the camera.

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    I totally agree with Alex

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Sorry for the delayed response. I want to sincerely thank everyone that responded to my questions; you have been very helpful. I went through and read all of the links and resources you all supplied. I am feeling MUCH more confident about the reliability of this body, and considering the complexity of the AF I am attributing most of the reported complaints on the web to user error, just as many of you suggested.

    To be completely honest, I am not sure if I really need the complex focusing features in the 7D at this time, but some of the other features of the body are still attractive to me. I am willing to invest the time and practice to learn this camera. I am by no means "extremely" experienced, but at the same time I would not consider myself a novice. I have a few years of experience shooting occasionally, so I have a good understanding of exposure, and how a DSLR works, so I wouldn't be the type of person that would jump into this from a point and shoot and then blame the camera. Nor do I believe that the camera will "take good pictures for me" just because it's expensive (expensive to me anyway, maybe not to a pro )

    The final issue I have with visiting a local camera shop to get a hands-on with this body is that I would feel guilty taking up their time, knowing that I absolutely will not buy it from them. They simply cannot compete with the prices of online sellers like B&H and Amazon. I've heard enough people discourage trying locally and then buying online to make me feel guilty about that kind of thing, though I'm not sure if it's justified.

    Thanks again to everyone. This has helped me immensely!

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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Hi Matt,you have got a lot of very good advice here from the 7d users.
    From your list of shot types,you don't say if your wildlife is static or moving.If moving then definitely get the 7d. If static then maybe consider the 60d.
    I have the 60d and find it great.My reasons for the choice were,plip out lcd--I have a bad back,rarely shoot moving wildlife or sports--so frame rate and better focus system not crucial to me and couldn't afford the extra outlay on the 7d. But this enabled me to buy the 17-55 f2.8 EFS lens and its a beauty.The quality of the lens has a big bearing on the performance of the camera no matter what you choose.
    The best thing to do is get your hands on both cameras and get a feel for them.You will be surprised how the feel of different cameras can have an effect on your choice.
    Either way enjoy your purchase.

    Des

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    Am i the only photographer...?

    Am I the only photographer who makes use of the three User Selected Modes of the Canon 7D. I seldom hear them mentioned when comparing the 7D with other cameras such as the 60D.

    For the uninitiated; a User Selected Mode allows the photographer to select a myriad of camera parameters such as (but not limited to) ISO, exposure mode, capture type such as RAW or JPEG, various auto focus setups, burst selection, Auto Exposure Bracketing and so-on and so-on! You then register the parameters to Mode 1,2 or 3 and you can select the entire group of parameters with one twist of the mode dial! It is far esier to set a cameras parameters in advance rather than change parameters whhile in the mist of shooting.

    My 40D has three user selected modes, the 50D reduced these to two while the 60D further reduced them to a single mode. I love this capability and use it all the time. I guess that I could limp along with one User Selected Mode but, three are certainly better.

    I don't know about the 60D but, I love the various menu capabilities of the 7D. They make the camera a joy to use.

    MY WISHLIST...

    I have absolutely no use for the button which allows you to shoot a JPEG while in RAW mode or RAW while the camera is in the JPEG mode. I always shoot in RAW.

    I also have absolutely no use for the print from camera capability.

    And I wish that the "wireless" flash capability of the 7D was radio controlled rather than optically controlled.

    I would like an ISO 50 or even ISO 25 capability and I would also like a five shot Auto Exposure Bracketing capability.

    I would like a dual meory card capability (but this isn't too high on my wish list).

    Finally, I wish the 7D could retain auto focus capability at f/8 so I could use my 400mm f/5.6L lens with a 1.4x TC and have auto focus available.

    These are not imagionary capabilities, oher cameras on the market today have such capabilities...

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Am i the only photographer...?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Am I the only photographer who makes use of the three User Selected Modes of the Canon 7D. .......

    My 40D has three user selected modes,
    Like you, Richard, I have all three options programmed on my 40D and only very rarely go off those to the 'M' option on the dial (never to Av or Tv). The only reason I go outwith one of the three (they're each set up slightly differently to suit my most often shooting situations) is when I know I'll be sitting without shooting for a while and I want to retain the values I have set after I wake it up from being asleep (if you wake it up from being asleep when set to C1, C2 or C3, it reverts to defaults).

    It's so easy just to flick between the three programmable settings.

  19. #19
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Am i the only photographer...?

    Thanks everyone, for your responses. This is great info. Richard, thanks for pointing out the User Selected Modes, they sound great. The 60D vs 7D is a tough choice, and I probably should try out both in person, but honestly the 7D has some features that I really want, so I feel like my mind is made up already. I might try Amazon.com because they have a pretty good return policy, and I have prime so 2 day shipping is free

  20. #20
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    Re: Apology in advance...yet another Canon 7D related post

    Quote Originally Posted by dake View Post
    I've had my 7D for a few years. It is my 2nd DSLR. I've only been in this hobby about 4 yr. I think this is a great camera {best bang for your buck in Canon}. I shoot wildlife {mostly birds} and sporting events. Alex, your problem with OOF pics in your bursts could be rectified by "rear-focusing" possibly. I refer you to Arthur Morris' "Birds as Art" website. Go to the "Bulletins" 2012. He talks about rear-focusing and gives a link to a tutorial. I don't know if this will solve your problem, just thiught it might be worth a look.
    Hi Denis,

    Thanks for the suggestion. However I already use back-button focussing but will concede that my technique could improve. When tracking a bird in flight there is no difference between back-button focussing and shutter-button focussing if you want to focus all the time. And good luck to you if you want to alternate focussing and not-focussing when tracking a fast moving object with your back-button because you can judge it is within or outside the current plane of focus. Personally I think my problems could be partly attributed to using a 400mm non-IS lens hand-held to focus on objects covering 10% of the frame. Here the small object presents less contrast signal for the focus sensor and camera shake will effect the image auto-focus sensor (as well as the final picture).

    Back-button focussing is more useful when you have a static object with chance of a temporarily obstructed view or for pre-focussing where you expect to start tracking your target. In this instance you can focus once and then use the shutter button to activate metering and take pictures. If temporarily obstructed (e.g. a car passes in front of the person on the other side of the street) then you will not lose focus. If your target moves out of your focal plane then you activate focus. Simple.

    Incidentally this raises the point that tracking things is easier on the 7D because it has a larger penta-prism viewfinder. The view is brighter and covers 100% of the image area at 1.0x magnification. The 60D has 96% coverage with 0.95x magnification. The large viewfinder is useful to avoid cropping or cloning out annoying things at the edge of all your images in post-processing.

    Alex

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