Comparing the Canon 5D Mark II, 7D and 50D

Canon EOS 7D

Unless you’ve been living off world for the past few days, you know that Canon has introduced a new DSLR camera, the EOS 7D. In the coming days there will be reviews galore posted on the various industry watching blogs with in depth discussions of this new model’s features and benefits. Folks that recently purchased the 50D or 5D Mark II may start to feel “buyers remorse” and “upgraders envy” over the perceived differences between their camera and the new 7D. The amount of forum traffic on will jump as folks begin to post their rants and raves about this new camera.

To help cut through some of the rhetoric I thought I’d post a quick and dirty comparison of the 5D Mark II, the 7D and the 50D cameras based upon the information currently available. Basically, the same comparison I recently posted on the new G11 and G10 cameras. Let me state for the record that this comparison is from a still photographer’s perspective only. The video capabilities of these cameras are cool but not where my interests lay.

List Price:
5D2 – $2700 (USD)
7D – $1700 (USD)
50D – $1200 (USD)

5D2 – FF (5616 x 3744) (21 MP)
7D – APS-C (5184 x 3456) (18 MP)
50D – APS-C (4752 x 3168) (15 MP)

5D2 – DIGIC 4
7d – Dual DIGIC 4
50D – DIGIC 4

5D2 – 50, 100 – 6400, 12800, 25600
7D – Auto, 100 – 6400, 12800(H)
50D – Auto, 100 – 1600, 3200(H), 6400(H), 12800(H)

5D2 – 35 Area Eval, Center Weighted, Partial, Spot
7D – 63 Area Eval, Center Weighted, Partial, Spot
50D – 35 Area Eval, Center Weighted, Partial, Spot

Auto Focus:
5D2 – 9 Point / 6 Assist
7D – 19 Point (new technology)
50D – 9 Point

Exposure Compensation:
5D2 – -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps
7D – -5 to +5 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps (really???)
50D – -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps

Continuous Shooting:
5D2 – 3.9 fps
7D – 8 fps
50D – 6.3 fps

Raw Formats:
5D2 – RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2
7D – RAW, sRAW, mRAW
50D – RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2

5D2 – Pentaprism, 98% Coverage, 0.71x Mag
7D – Pentaprism, 100% Coverage, 1.00x Mag
50D – Pentaprism, 95% Coverage, 0.95x Mag

5D2 – LP-E6 ($66 USD)
7D – LP-E6 ($66 USD)
50D – BP-511A ($46 USD)

5D2 – 850g
7D – 860g
50D – 822g

The flame wars have already started on the new EOS 7D as they do anytime Canon releases a new DSLR camera. The comparison between the 50D and the 7D is very easy to judge in most respects with the 7D offering some very compelling new features such as the increased resolution, the dual DIGIC 4 processors, the very high 8 fps continuous frame rate, the 100% viewfinder, the new metering system and the brand new auto focus system. If the high ISO performance of this new 18 MP sensor is at least as good as the 50D’s, then the new 7D is a sure fire winner for anyone looking for 1.6x crop body.

The comparison to the 5D Mark II is much more difficult, which is generally the case when comparing a full frame sensor to an ASP-C sensor. The single biggest difference between these two cameras is the huge difference in the size of the sensors and should not be underestimated. Having said that, the new 7D does have a much more modern auto focus and metering system, both of which would be very welcome on a future full frame model.

Final Thoughts:
In the words of David duChemin, “Gear is Good, Vision is Better”. It’s not the camera that makes the photograph, it’s the person behind the camera. Don’t get all caught up in the hype over a new camera. A new camera will NOT make you a better photographer. Only YOU can do that. And it’s not done by reading the rants and raves on every new piece of gear that comes out each week. So shut down that MacBook, grab your camera and get out there and make some magic happen!

349 thoughts on “Comparing the Canon 5D Mark II, 7D and 50D

  1. I heard about adorama, but if im not living in your said area.still possible also for adorama?

    Thanks for the reply.

  2. Hey Jeff,
    THanks for this thread, but little confused what to buy..specially when i saw all your shot with 5dmarkii, it was great. i am planning to buy either a 5dmarkii or the 7D.
    could you suggest where i can buy via online.. thanks

    • Mervin,

      If you live in the US or Canada I highly recommend It’s hard to find better prices or service in this business. (No, they don’t pay me to say that. It’s the plain truth)


  3. Hi Jeff

    Thanks for this page on the 7D, clarified some stressing queries I had.
    Hard to sift through all the reviews, pro and cons. Have a rough idea which areas of photography I wish to concentrate on, but want to make a good starting camera and lens choice to allow some exploration. The first Q&A on this page pretty much covers it. So thanks again, will keep an eye on your site. Like your work!

    Cheers Jeff

    • Jeff,

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad the comparison helped. From what I’ve heard the new AF system is light years ahead of what I’m using in the 5D2.


  4. Hi Jeff… first… thanks for the great reviews… much appreciated. 🙂

    I am also trying to choose between the 5D and the newer 7D. I take a lot of closeups/macros of single flowers and groups of flowers as well as insects (butterflies etc.) in existing light (no flash) I also like to do street photography (buildings/street scenes) and candid portraits. I need very high image quality for larger prints. I also need a camera/lens combo with great auto focusing… fast and accurate. I take most of my shots hand-held… auto focus.

    Been thinking about getting the 7D with Canon’s New EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens.

    Is this a good choice or should I consider something else?

    Thanks Jeff…


    • Larry,

      Sounds like a good fit to me. With the 7D’s 18MP sensor you can print any size you’ll ever need, even up to 4 x 6 foot.


  5. Dear Jeff, Thanks for the amazing comparison. I learned a lot from this discussion. I’m going to buy the 7d. There are some websites selling 7d in a very cheap price. You may know
    It listed about $ 1149. The price is chaining everyday. However, do you know about this website? and I wonder if there are different types of cameras of the same brand.

  6. Hi Jeff,

    This is great forum and your comments are very helpful.

    I am very interested in landscape photos. Could you please recommend a good book on this?

    Thanks a lot.


  7. Hi Jeff,

    I guess you’ve figured out by now that this thread will NEVER end! Well, not until the next-generation Canon is released, anyway.
    I am yet another reader trying to decide between the 7D and the 5DII. I shoot news shots – fires, parades, ribbon cuttings, portraits – and I have some clients for whom I do family portraits and “petraits.”
    I’ve taken the last ten years off of serious work to raise three kids, so this is my first foray into the DSLR world. It seems obvious that the 5DII would be the camera for my purposes, but I’m wondering about a couple of things:

    1. Do I need to be a highly skilled, technical photographer to work the 5DII? Sometimes I need to just jump out my car and snap quick pics of a happening on the side of the road. I haven’t taken a photography class since 1992, with my old Nikon FE.

    2. I also shoot a some live theater and rehearsals, most often in indoor theaters. I’ve read that the 5DII does not have a pop-up flash. Does this mean I have to snap on a flash every time I’m in a low-light situation?

    3. I have two newspaper assignments coming up this weekend – one a portrait for a feature story and the other is live theater being performed on an indoor stage, and posed shots of actors. I need to get a new camera for this, no time to wait for a rental to arrive. My Sony CyberShot is a great travel camera and the body is just substantial enough that you feel like a semi-photog, but it’s still too amateur for paid work.

    I know you can’t make the decision for me, but I’m mostly wondering how technically proficient I’ll need to be to start using these cameras right away, and I’m wondering about the flash situation on the 5DII. For instance, what if you just want a little fill in the shadows?

    Thank you for being willing to talk this subject into the ground!!


    • Jennifer,

      If you can swing the cost, the 5D2 is a great camera for a photo-journalist. It’s not any more difficult to learn than any other DSLR and (in my humble opinion) it’s much easier to learn than a Nikon. As for flash, I always shoot with off-camera strobes like the 580EX using a small soft box or umbrella. Straight on-camera flash is much too harsh for almost any subject.


      • Thank you for the info, Jeff. As it turns out, I was able to borrow a 5DII from a NYC camera house for a few days. The camera house didn’t have any lenses avail, so I had to go through another company and I chose the 24-70mm f/2.8L, hoping it will be all-purpose enough for my upcoming assignments. My husband, who produces TV commercials, will be shooting a commercial with this same camera next week (that’s why they let me borrow it early). I was not able to borrow a flash, but I’ve done some experimenting and as long as I open it up the lens seems to capture images well enough to be printed in a newspaper – not magazine quality but newsprint is much more forgiving.
        I’ve only had the camera for a couple of hours and I already love it. I’ll borrow a 7D from this same rental house next week, and I’ll let you know what I end up with! Thank you so much for your advice!!

  8. Wow! I think someone else mentioned ‘bleeding eyes’. This sure is a lot of info and sadly I still feel torn between the two. I love taking portrait style photography mainly outdoor but some indoor. I currently have a 350D that has been frustrating as I have learned more and more about photography and post processing. I am a little worried about the ‘full frame’ vs. ‘crop’ thing. I have read about the 5dmkii having uncrisp edges with certain lenses. I simply don’t understand what ‘full frame’ means, what am I getting myself into. I shoot manual, focus centre/recompose, spot meter, RAW, LR 2, PSCS3. I feel like such a dill to ask this as I do take a great photo! Also looking at the 28mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8 or f1.2. Can you suggest a good zoom lens? Have looked into hiring but in Australia there are only a couple of companies doing this and they are hours away.

    Thank you in advance.

    Renee : I

  9. i’m currently studying photography and would like to upgrade from my 3-year-old 400d. though, i haven’t decided what to specialize in, i’m most interested in location and documentary/street photography, action (concerts, sports) and maybe fashion (non-studio work). i already own some ef lenses that would be compatible with both, the 7d and 5d mark ii. as many others i can afford only one of the 2 and i have a hard time deciding which one to get. i was wondering whether a full-frame would make any sense for me at all, especially since the 7d is much faster (8 pics per second) and the AF is supposed to be better than on the 5d mark ii. what would you suggest?

    • James,

      Thanks for reading. If Canon comes out with a full-frame like the 5D2 with an AF system like the new 7D that also costs less than a 1Ds, then I’ll buy it. I’m not holding my breath however.


  10. Hey Jeff:
    Thanks for your great attention to readers questions and comments. I’m strictly an amateur and I haven’t picked up a SLR in quite some time, I put mine down when small digitals arrived. Currently I’m shooting with at Sony CyberShot W290, which produces some very nice results, for what it is, for something that fits nicely in a shirt pocket; however, I’m really craving a DSLR. For a month I’ve been researching, it seems, everything on the market, from four thirds up, but, I’ve been zooming in on the Canon 7D and 5D2. I did think about the Nikon D700, but, I really like the idea of video in a camera and the shots I’ve seen the Canon’s do online are simply amazing. I shoot anything and everything… flowers, landscapes, wildlife, grandchildren in action, an airplane or bird flying overhead, architecture, even a bug on a leaf… well, you get the picture. I’m thinking with the 7D I could add a couple of L lenses (but I don’t know which would be best or if you can use L lenses on the 7D) for what I’d pay for the 5D2 with one general purpose lens, for now. Anyway, based on what I’ve just mentioned, what is your opinion as to the best choice for someone like me for the long haul; cropped or full?

    • Chris,

      Thanks for reading. If you can afford the price, the 5D2 is a superb camera with some incredible features. The only limitation is the AF system in the 5D2. It is an older design and not really suitable for sports or wildlife photography in my opinion. For landscape or portrait work it offers the highest resolution images of any camera Canon offers including the “1D” series. As I advise everyone, try renting each camera before making your final decision. Everyone is different and what may be great for me won’t be great for you.

      I will tell you this. After shooting with a full frame camera, you’ll never want to use a crop-body again.



  11. Hi Jeff,

    Great Blog!
    I am really interested in getting a 5D Mark II apart from the kit lens 24-105mm what other lens would you recommend for wide angle shots?
    also would you recommend the 5D Mark II for taking photos of waves & the Ocean? and are there any lenses you would suggest for this?

    Thanks for your help

    • Sarah,

      Thanks for reading. Canon’s EF 17-40mm f/4L USM is a great ultra wide-angle zoom for landscape work. The optics are very sharp and the build quality is superb. I’ve owned two different copies over the years and for “getting the big picture” in landscape photography at a reasonable price, it really can’t be beat. The 16-35mm is faster and slightly sharper wide open but its also a lot more expensive and who shoots landscapes at f/2.8?


  12. Hi Jeff,
    Great forum! -thanks for taking the time to provide very useful advice to all here – much appreciated.
    I am considering upgrading my own Pentax K20D setup and potentially moving onto the Canon 7D, and would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the following. My photography interests are widespread though I am keen on fast-action, wildlife and landscape. In addition, I am very interested in video – primarily for wildlife (mixed bag, then!). Since I don’t have any Canon gear I would need to start from scratch. For lenses, I am looking at the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM together with the EF 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM. I would add a SanDisk 32GB Extreme CF (60MB/s UDMA) card also.

    I appreciate the total cost is high, however, excluding the EF 70-300 DO, the nearest full frame equivalent (5D MkII) would add (and keep adding) prohibitively. My budget (I think) limits me to developing the best set-up I can for the 7D. I like where the feature set of the 7D is improved over the 5D (AF/burst speed/etc).
    The EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 should be close to future-proof at this range. The EF 70-300 DO may seem an odd choice (expensive, ‘not as popular’, apparent quality issues compared to the Canon competition) however, together with IS, USM, and short form factor (not too keen on the big, white, fixed-length behemoths!), it would suit me nicely as I like to travel about alot. This results in 2 (good) lenses rather than 3-4 lenses where I may be looking to upgrade (spend more money overall) in the future. I am looking, at this time, to invest in covering a good working range in as good a quality as I can with the financial resourses I have available now – not sure what the future holds!

    Any thoughts on the above, or is there/could you recommend a full frame equivalent for this investment?
    Thanks again for your advice.

    • Bill,

      Thanks for reading. I haven’t shot with the 7D but Art Morris ( seems to get excellent results with his. My only concern with the 7D is the same I had for the 50D, the high pixel density creating digital noise in my images. If you live in the US or Canada I recommend renting the 7D body for a week and giving it a good workout before you make your buying decision.

      The EF-S 17-55mm lens is a superb choice for any crop-body Canon camera but it won’t work on a full frame camera like the 5D2 if you should choose to upgrade in the future. The EF-S 17-55mm is very well built and the optics are just as good as those found in Canon’s “L” series lenses. For wildlife shooting a 300mm lens may leave you a bit short. I shoot with the EF 300mm f/4L lens and 1.4x extender. On a 7D it will provide the equivalent field of view that a 670mm lens would on a full frame camera. I’m not a big fan of the “DO” series of lenses for wildlife work since they “seem” a bit soft wide open (at least to me).


  13. Mr. Jeff,
    I love to shoot ballroom dancing. Problem is, not good lighting condition. I currently use the rebel t2i and I shoot at ISO 6400. I found my images too noisy so I had to do a lot of photoshop work. Was thinking if you advise me to upgrade to 7D or 5dM2? Thank you very much in advanced.

    • Jun,

      Thanks for reading. The 5D2 has the best high ISO (low noise) performance but the 7D has a better auto-focus system. If you decide on a 5D2 you’ll need a fast lens (f/2.8 or faster) to get the AF to “lock” in really low lighting situations.


  14. Thanks for the info, I am into landscapes. I have a 40D Canon and I broke it during a trip when the Canon 7D was about to come to the market. In deciding whether to replace it with a 50D or 7D, friends were telling me about the “noise” factor in relation to sensor size and pixels … and I ended up buying another 40D.

    Am thinking about using my existing 40D as my backup body and buying a new one … is a 60D on its way, or should I choose 50D or 7D?

    • Rita,

      I’ll be honest with you. In my opinion, the EOS 40D’s 10MP CMOS sensor is one of the best Canon has ever designed. Only the 5D2 has a better sensor (for non Series 1 bodies) in my experience. I was very disappointed in the noise and sharpness of the 50D’s sensor and I can’t recommend buying one. If you need a backup body and can’t afford a 5D2 then stick with the 40D. You can find “Canon Refurbished” bodies on Adorama’s web site fro time to time. Tell Joel that Jeff sent you!


  15. jeff,

    i want to be a wedding photographer which lens would be the most appropriate, and also which camera suit it best…canon 50d or 7d?


  16. Thank you Jeff for taking the time to answer all these questions from people that i have read. Ok, here it is. I have a canon rebel xti and i have just gotten into Glamour photography. I read all the differences of the 7d and 5d mark2. I believe the mark 2 is the choice. But can i use the rebel xti lenses i have? I curently have a ef 28-135mm is lense and a ef 50mm .

    Any help with the camera choice and lenses would be great. Thanks in advance.

    • Jim,

      I’m not sure I can advise you on the best camera for glamour photography but the 5D2 is an excellent portrait camera.


    • well i finally deceided to purchase the 5d mak2 and by just owning it for a few hrs i love it already. I am into Model, glamour full body shots and i need to know what would be the BEST lens for this type of event for the Mark2.

  17. Jeff-
    Going to South Africa this June- I was given a 50D a few years ago and I love it. I have not upgraded my lenses. But now that I am going on safari i want to upgrade my lenses. I have put aside enough money to purchase either 3 lenses or the 7D and 2 lenses. It is a bummer to be on a budget but here are the lenses i am looking at: either the 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 or the 24-70mm f2.8L USM; the 70-200m f2.8L USM or f2.8L IS USM; and the 100-400 f5.6? Or do I buy the 7D and get 2 of the lenses above? I am also a lover of sports photography when I am at home. If you have any ideas of lowering the cost or changing lenses, I will defer to you, the expert!

    • Karl,

      Thanks for reading. Lens selection like camera selection, is a very personal decision and my preferences are by no means “an expert opinion”. I was never impressed with the image quality from my EOS 50D and my 40D out-performed it in almost every way. I haven’t used a 7D but the specs are impressive and I do know several professional nature and landscape photographers that use the 7D daily with excellent results.

      If you are going to Africa on a Safari, I’d recommend asking your guide just how far away your vehicle or campsite is from the wildlife. I suspect that 300mm – 500mm would work best in these conditions. I hate the push-pull zoom design of the EF 100-400mm zoom and much prefer a prime for wildlife photography. I haven’t used the EF-S 15-85mm lens since it won’t fit a full-frame DSLR but the EF 24-70mm lens is superb in terms of contrast and sharpness. For environmental portraits (travel photography) it can’t be beat although the EF 24-105mm does come close.

      The decision is yours. If you can rent a lens to try out first, that’s always a great idea. If not, see what return policy your local camera store will honor. There’s nothing better than real-world experience to helping you decide on a camera or lens.


  18. Hi Jeff,
    Great forum.

    Hi Jeff,
    Great forum.
    I’ve a 10 years old Canon Macro lens EF 100mm. I’m just wondering if it is compatible with Canon 7D?



  19. ” … A new camera will NOT make you a better photographer. Only YOU can do that.”

    That’s is true! Thanks Jeff. that was a great review of those cameras. I got a 7D and um very pleased with it.

    Cheers From Dublin.

  20. Hey Jeff,

    I am considering purchasing either the 7D or 5D Mark II. Primary photo passion is landscapes and wildlife – probably 50/50. I am also considering shooting some weddings and as my kids get older they are getting more involved in sports. I can afford either of these cameras however not both so I am trying to decide which camera would be the best. Can you still get decent wildlife and sports photos with the 5D? Thoughts on how to best proceed?

    Thank you for your time!

    • Todd,

      Thanks for reading. Yours is a tough decision. The full-frame 5D2 is better suited for landscape photography while the 1.6x crop of the 7D is better suited for wildlife photography. The best advice I can give is to rent each body ( and see what works best for you. Obviously, any lenses you currently own may also affect your choice.


  21. Hi Jeff.

    I have never fired the 24-105mm in anger but here is what had to say:

    “This is a lens test based on a full format DSLR and these cameras tend to amplify vignetting problems – the EF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS has surely its share of problems here specifically at 24mm where we can see a whopping vignetting of ~2.5EV at f/4 which is easily visible in field conditions”

    Then again for the 17-55mm:

    Dedicated APS-C lenses have a reduced image circle lens and they tend to produce higher vignetting figures. Unfortunately the Canon lens is no exception to the rule here. At f/2.8 the lens shows very pronounced vignetting around 1EV at all focal lengths with a peak of ~1.5EV at 17mm.

    I think the that the 24-105mm Vs 17-55mm shows a difference in design that is dependent on expectations. Full frame lenses are expected to have bad vignetting. It is forgiven. But if all else is about even, should it be?

    The 5D Mk2 is of course a superb camera with excellent low light handling. But is it superior to the 7D or even the 550D? That depends on the lens.

    Too many reviews have compared cropped sensors against full frame using the same lens “in order to set a level playing field”. With at least 2, and possibly 3 cropped sensor lenses now available that are better (on a cropped sensor camera) than L glass this is getting questionable. I am referring to the Ef-s 17-55, the Tokina 11-16, and possibly the Ef-s 15-85.

    We are living in interesting times. Is the Full frame sensor going to going to go the way of the larger sensors, and become a niche product? Or is the Cropped sensor reaching its technical limits (The 7D pixel is one stop smaller and one stop noisier than the 5D Mk2’s. That gives effective parity but the Mk2 design is aging. If a Mk3 had been released at the same time as the 7D how good would it have been?).

  22. I see the 5D mk11 praised for it’s low light ability. I am not so sure it is totaly justified.

    A check on reviews that give raw noise for both 5D Mk11 and 7D gives the 5D about a one stop advantage. A clear winner? Not necessarily.

    The problem comes with the lens. The best general purpose lens for the 7D is probably the 17-55mm f2.8 while the best for the 5D is the 24-105mm f4.0. And there goes the 1 stop advantage. And more because the 24-105mm vingrets worse, and is less usable wide open!

    You have to be into rather specialized lenses to get a full frame advantage. The canon 85mm f1.8 is probably the best reason for buying the 5D. The best equivalent for portraits on the 7D is probably the sigma 50mm f1.4. Not nearly as fast or as sharp. On the other hand I would love to see a comparative review of the 7D with Tokina 11-16mm against the canon 16-35mm.

    But most of all people, could somebody please review the 5D Mk11 + 24-105mm against the 7D + 17-55mm. Sharpening to be set to what works best with both cameras (as it is possible that default sharpening is higher on the 5D).


    • All I can say is the image quality provided by my 5D2 has been superb and its high ISO capabilities have astounded me. In my experience image quality at ISO 100 – 400 is essentially the same and Dfine, Noise Ninja and Ligthroom 3 Beta 2 find very little noise from ISO 800 – 1600. I shoot almost every day with the 24-105 f/4 and with a bare lens, there is no noticeable vignetting at 24mm at f/4 or f/5.6. The only time I’ve noticed a vignetting issue is when I add a CP or ND filter.


  23. hi jeff, i am looking to upgrade. i currently have a canon 40d with a rebel xti for backup. i am not sure which camera to get between the 5d mark II and the canon 7d?? i shoot a lot of sports action but i also shoot in low light conditions(twilight and indoor areas for candids, as well as poorly lit gyms. i read your reviews about 7d being more for sports and nature but i also heard its not great in low light and 5d mark II is better…is this true? also i was thinking of getting the 70-200 2.8 is usm lens for primary shooting or is there another better lense to go with? should i by the 1.4 or 2.0 extender for my current and future lenses? i do shoot some portrait shots both indoor and outdoor as well, but mainly i do sports photography in low-light gyms and twighlight and night games under lights. this all being said which camera should i buy between the canon 5d mark II or the 7d? and which lenses whoudl i get with it? also what is the difference in lense compatability between the two cameras??

    • Charlie,

      The 5D2 provides better image quality in low light / high ISO situations due to it’s full frame sensor. However, the AF system on the 5D2 is really not suited for sports photography and this is where the 7D beats it hands down. The ultimate sports camera from Canon is the new 1D4 but unless you’ve got $5K to throw around, it’s generally out of reach for most enthusiasts (and many pros as well). To be perfectly honest, the 40D ‘s 10 MP sensor provides excellent image quality even up to ISO 800 and it’s AF system work fine for me taking high-speed sequences of car races and air races. I often wish I’d kept my 40D. As for lenses, the 5D2 will only use EF series lenses whereas the 40D/7D will use EF and EF-S lenses. The 70-200 f/2.8 is a superb lens and will auto-focus with the 1.4x or 2.0x extenders.

      The best advice I can offer is to rent each camera and see for yourself which works best for you. The folks at have both bodies available to rent.


  24. Hi Jeff,

    I would love to be a new photographer and I’m looking know for my 1st camera! I don’t have enough Knowledge on this field. I’m looking to take a photo for persons, travel, building, landscapes, .. etc BUT not sports. Please tell me whats suit me 5D II or 7D. I know it’s a huge step for me to begin with these 2 camera and looking forward for your advise. Also if you can list me some good lenses I’ll be thankful for you.

    • Saad,

      Thanks for reading. Don’t mention this to my Canon CPS Rep but if this is your first DSLR, get a Nikon D90 body and Nikon’s incredibly sharp 70-300mm f/4.5 – f/5.6 VR lens.


      • Jeff,

        Thank you for cooperation and response. I took by your advice and bought the D90 with 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR. I want to ask you about the 18-105 VR lens that came with the camera itself, sould I buy it or there is no big difference between them! Also please tell me what is the best choice for me for taking Micro photo. Thanks again.

        • Saad,

          I can’t offer any advice on the kit lens that Nikon offers with the D90 but the 70-300mm is perhaps one of the sharpest telephoto zooms on the market today. It beats Canon’s own 70-300mm lens hands down and rivals the exceptional Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 in image quality. As for macro lenses for the Nikon, I’d suggest reading Scott Kelby’s blog or his books. He’s shot with almost every nikkor lens made and knows them very well.


  25. Jeff,

    Thanks for this excelent blog about canon. I have been looking at canon 50d but think that the new 7d is more practical for my use.

    ..for family photography shop nead to take photos of products (
    .. landscape live in Iceland and travel a lot

    I will order the 7D but what about lences don´t have any but found offer on ebay with 3 lenses see here:
    Item number: 130379051986



  26. Jeff-

    I just read through all the comments and they were extremely helpful, thanks for responding so quickly to everyone!

    My situation is this: I’ll be photographing people on a tour zipping into a platform fairly quickly on a ropes course, from distances up to a couple hundred ft away as they move towards me. The images will be available after their tour in the gift shop to purchase (yet another system to quickly figure out). I figure the ideal camera for this is the 7D, my only concern being the lack of post production available in this case and the possible noise/soft images problem I’ve been reading of. I need the pictures to be great straight out of the camera and ready for the client, and although I’ve read of issues I’m assuming for this simple job it wouldn’t be noticeable.

    Do you think the 7D would be my first choice? The 5DII isn’t really an option because of company budget. What would be a viable 2nd choice? If I’m simply taking action shots to sell to customers, could a 50D work or a camera even lower grade than that? Also, any recommendation on a good lens for this purpose?

    Thanks so much in advance !

    • Cori,

      I had excellent luck with the 50D’s AF system tracking birds in flight. Another option might be a Nikon D300 which also has an excellent AF system.


    • Grant,

      Canon designed the 7D to be their best crop body (non 1 series) camera for amateur sports photographers. They improved the AF system considerably over what you’re currently shooting with and over the 5D2. The 18 MP sensor will also provide you with much greater “reach” when used with the right lenses. The only shortcoming of the 7D is it’s high ISO performance but that’s to be expected with the sensor’s pixel density. If I was shooting sports this would be the camera I’d use unless I decided to plunk down $5K for a 1D4.


  27. I have been in a big debate with myself in if I should buy the 7D and was wondering what your insight might be Jeff. A little back ground. I currently have a 30D body with vertical grip and for lenses I have; 24-105L f/4 IS, 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 IS(thinking about selling to get the 70-200 f/2.8 non IS), 15mm fisheye f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8, and the 18-55 f/3.5-4.5. I primmarily shoot sports action (desert truck races, skiing, dirtbiking, snowmobiling, and some ballroom dance), I have been asked to do a few family and engagment shoots but I like sports and try to stick with that. My main reason as to why I want to upgrade is the speed factor and foucus points. I have seen a lot of guys with the 5D and 5DMK2 at events. I know either upgrade would be a big step from the 30D. Do you think if I upgrade it would be worth while and help me produce better sequence shots and over all quality in my photos? Or should I save my money and keep investing in better lense because I know everyone says lenses first. I’m currious on what your insight might be and thanks again!


  28. Jeff, Thank you for this amazing comparative and informative review of the 7D and 5DII. I am just a little overwhelmed with all of the reviews I have read all over the internet, over the last month or so, in looking for the perfect upgrade for me. I am hoping you can help me decide what might be the best choice for me and the work I am doing. I am currently using the Rebel XTi and have had it for many years. I have done several weddings, family pictures & senior pictures over the last year. I am just not getting the “POW” factor that I want out of my photos. I have a junior/senior prom, wedding & senior pictures coming up over the next few months. I am really wanting to make the best purchase possible for me as I will only be able to upgrade once, I am sure, for a very long time. I have been and will continue to better educate myself on taking better photos, but would like to work with my new upgrade as long as possible before my events. Could you please tell me, based upon your recollection of all of the information you have been receiving, as well as, the information I have provided you as to what you would recommend…the 7D or 5DII? I was totally convinced to get the 7D, but am now leaning towards the 5DII. Any insight you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I have a variety of lenses and feel that they will meet all of my needs for different situations, I am just looking for the right camera body. Thanks for any insight you or any other readers can give me to make the best possible purchase for me. I realize I can’t really go wrong with either camera, but would just like some guidance. Thanks again, Lorie

    • Lorie,

      Thanks for reading. I don’t shoot weddings (shot one in 1978 and never again) so the best advice I can give you is to contact David Ziser via his blog. Dave shoots with both the 5D2 and the 7D for all his wedding engagements and he’s got more experience using these two cameras in real world situations than anyone I know.

      If you live in the US, I’d suggest renting each camera ( and trying both before you make your decision. If you shoot with EF-S lenses, keep in mind that they will NOT fit on the 5D2, so that may help you decide.

      One final thought. A new camera won’t add the “POW” factor to your portrait work. Only you can do that. You might think about spending your money on a faster lens like the 85mm f/1.2L (or my favorite the 85mm f/1.8) to provide shallower depth of field. This technique is difficult on a crop body without a lens faster than f/2.8.


  29. Wow..great stuff…Would the canon 7D have a better image quality for video than the 5DII . Also, would you recommend buying a canon instead of the sony ex1.

    • Steve,

      No, I’m fairly certain the full frame sensor on the 5D2 would provide better video results.As for Canon versus Sony, my advice is to rent each and try them both out before making your decision.


  30. Jeff,

    Thanks for your quick response and advice. Just a follow-up question. I have noticed several other reviews stating the high noise on the 7D even at ISO 200 (I saw some sample pics and they look horrible). Havig one 7D yourself if I recall correctly, would you concur? If yes, knowing tat I’ll be using that 4.5-5.6 lens, is the 7d still a better choice for my purpose? Looking forward to hearing from you and many thanks.

    • Phil,

      I don’t own a 7D. I’ve owned a 40D, 50D and now 5D2. I doubt the noise is bad at ISO 200 however. My 50D’s 15 MP sensor didn’t have noise issue until ISO 400 and higher and my 40D was clean up to ISO 1600. I do know several wildlife photographers currently shooting the 7D at ISO 400 with excellent results in good lighting. The problem comes when shooting in low light situations where the shadow areas show the noise at ISO 400 and higher. So again, it really depends upon what makes best sense for your work. I recommend renting each camera you are considering from someone like or Try each out and see what works best for you.


  31. Jeff,

    I’m also contemplating upgrading from a 350D and I’m torn between 5D Mark II and the 7D. I have been reading your responses to the various questions. I mut say that enjoy taking landscape pictures, nature and portrait. Although lately I’ve been enjoying wildlife and I’m also looking forward to go to Air Shows. With that said, I recently purchased an “L” Lens 100-400 (4.5-5.6) which I feel isn’t pairing well with my old Rebel. Although I lock my focus, most of my “far away” pics are blurry. I do feel that the camera’s sensors, AF etc might be inadequate. I was about to invest in the 5D until someone else suggested a 7D to me. Upon my research for comparison I stumbled on your site and read your write ups which shed some light, but I still have some doubts. Do you think first of all that either of the the above-mentioned two cameras will improve my results with the 100-400 “L” lens? Also, if price isn’t a factor would I have a more rounded camera with the 5D II versus the 7D? Looking forward to your advice.

    • Phil,

      The 5D2 is a great camera for landscape, nature and portrait work but the AF system is not really sufficient for sports photography. The 7D is a better choice for air shows with it’s brand new AF system and higher burst rate.


  32. Jeff, seem like most of the people decide to buy/upgrade to 5DMII rather than 7D due to its superb image quality especially combine with “L” lens and also their photography coverage are more to travel, landscape and portrait.
    If 5D M III come out tomorrow, I’m sure people will have more confident to upgrade to Full frame and will not oscillated again between 7D-5DMX if budget is not the concern. What do you think?

    Patrick Tan (Malaysia)

    • Patrick,

      Thanks for reading. I think everyone would prefer a full frame camera but the cost is just too high for most amateurs.


  33. Thank you for the tips. I’m going to go to WPPI and talk to Canon reps to see which one I want to buy. I already have the 50D but I’m going to get the 7D or Mark II and use the 50D as my second camera.

    • Mindy,

      Thanks for reading. Enjoy WPPI. I suspect the Canon folks will point you to the 5D2, especially if you already own a crop-body camera.


  34. Jeff,

    Do you think adding a 7D to my existing line-up of bodies makes sense? I am thinking of the speed and using it for the activities the kids are in. I also use the 24-105mm lens as my prime lens. Thanks!


    • Anthony,

      My same advice goes for the 7D. I’d rent the 7D for a week and give a try before making your decision. Compare the new AF system to the AF system on the 40D. You may be surprised to find that your 40D performs just as well.


  35. Hey Jeff,

    I have been thinking of upgrading to the 5D2. I shoot portrait, landscape, macro, and my kids at their sporting events. I have the 5D and 40D now. Will I see enough of a difference to justify the upgrade? Thanks!


    • Anthony,

      Tough question Anthony. Unless you really need the 21 MP resolution (for large prints) or plan to shoot video, you may not see much difference in image quality between the 5D2 and your existing 5D / 40D bodies. I’d recommend renting the 5D2 for a few days to get a better idea of how it performs compared to what you currently own.


  36. Hi Jeff

    Thanks for a comprehensive review and an even more insightful comment trail! 🙂

    Having read through the comments from September 2009 (I think my eye’s are bleeding now) I’m still in two minds to the correct purchase for my application.

    I have recently been appointed as the photographer for a new department at our University, specialising in documenting the various activities (from social to sport to formal) that take place on campus. Some will be printed, but most will be stored online and used for online marketing etc.

    So, I have been asked to submit a budget for new photographic equipment.

    I’m thinking along the lines of (and within the estimated budget) either the 7D or 5DmkII with lenses (24-105mm L F4, 50mm F1.4 and a 1.4x extender).

    The problem I face is the variety of subject matter that will be photographed. Everything from portrait to “street life” to sport.

    Having had to use a 300D (Rebel Mk1) till now and still being able to get by with sport events (albeit barely) my logic tells me to go for the best image quality, rather than the fancy AF system of the 7D. Surely going from the 300D’s AF system to the 5DmkII will be a big jump on its own? And as soos as I think that’s the route to go, I’m wondering how big of a difference does the new AF system make?

    I would appreciate any advice.


    • Justin,

      Thanks for reading. I personally think the 5D2 is the best “general purpose” camera that Canon currently makes. I use it for commercial/industrial/product work as well as landscape/nature photography. It’s a great camera when used with the right lenses but the AF system is probably not sufficient for sports shooters. I use the 24-105mm for commercial work and landscape work but in low light situations you really need a fast (f/2.8 or faster) lens to get consistent AF lock.


  37. Seems the 50d has faded into the background with recent posts, but having just bought one thought I’d say how pleased I am with it! Great camera and highly recommended!

    • John,

      Thanks for reading. I certainly enjoyed using my 50D at low ISO settings but honestly found the 40D to provide less noise and better image quality. For wildlife and outdoor sports the 50D is superb.


  38. Love the blog Jeff… Great info here.

    Just wanted to provide my amateurish (lol…) personal opinion. I’d advise a lot of the newer photographers going from Rebels to something more semi-pro, to look seriously at the 40D/7D… The extra dollars could be spent on lenses. I have a 40D, and on a recent trip to Paris took some amazing night shots. The ISO range on these cameras is amazing. Yes, I did use lenses that were f1.8 or 3.5 (love my new Sigma 10-20 f3.5)…

    If price is a concern, or even if you want to spend more on other equipment (puffers, flashes, flash cards, lenses, tripods, bags, etc., etc.), you won’t ever feel bad about a truly great camera like the 40D. I think the 7D is a real “bad boy” too…

    I too was looking at the 5D2, and a used 5D from a photographer friend, and “settled” for the 40D. I’m so happy with the 40D that (if it keeps working) I probably won’t get another camera for years…

    • Our friends in the Great White North (Canada) are always welcome here! Unless of course w’ere speaking of hockey in which case “Shoot, Puck, Score” takes on a whole new meaning. (Don’t make me sing “Oh Canada”).

      Jeff 🙂

  39. Hi Jeff,

    Found your blog via Google and have been tossing up between the 5D2 and 7D, for a much needed upgrade from my 350D. Leaning more so towards the 5D2, especially for image quality and the full frame aspect.

    I just graduated with a photojournalism/commercial major and mainly shoot portraits, weddings, street, advertising/commercial work and concerts.

    After reading your blog and great responses to all the comments I’ve decided on the 5D2. Even though the auto focus system on the 7D is very appealing, I’m pretty sure the 5D2’s will be adequate for what I’m shooting. What do you think?


  40. Jeff,

    I’m a young concert photographer, and I’m looking to upgrade from my Rebel XS, as I’m growing out of it’s capabilities. The two cameras I’ve been looking at are the 7D and 5D Mark II. I’ll mainly be working in low-light situations. I also want versatility, I’m also going to shoot promo shots for bands as well as portraits of people. Any direction you’d be willing to lead me in? Thanks.


  41. Jeff
    At what point does the megapixel rating of a camera become negligible because of camera motion? ( Shutter slap, etc)
    Even if the sensor is capable of say 20 megapixels, any slight motion of the camera might negate this advantage, even at high shutter speeds. Has any research been done on this?
    Just curious… This may be beyond the realm of this post.

    • Jim,

      Thanks for reading and for posing an interesting question. I’m no CMOS sensor expert but I have noticed that the 5D2 really does make you pay attention to all the little details in order to obtain a tack sharp image. I recently shot some waterfalls in central Texas using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens on a tripod and forgot to turn off the image stabilization for the first few shots. After opening these shots in Lightroom I was surprised how soft the very far away details were compared to later shots. It’s taken me several months of shooting almost every day with this camera before I became more “precise in my technique” and finally got some very sharp images.


  42. Jeff, this site has been EXTREMELY educational and insightful, so THANK YOU for setting this and helping others like myself with all these questions.

    I recently bought a 7D less than two weeks ago. I was torn because I really wanted to have great video’s to capture of my son (3.5 years old). AND I wanted to have the best quality images as well. I still want to capture videos of him, but I think the image quality far out weighs the video, since I will be able to hang pictures up all over the place. And I’m sure I can make decent videos with what 5D currently has to offer, so I am exchanging the 7D for a 5d mark ii. Origianlly I thought about how kids run around and thus put my son in a category with the “sports”/fast moving pictures.. but I think after reading so many reviews, the 5D ii is the way to go for this, yes? Even with the AF not as great. Its not bad, but its not great.. does that sound correct? My number one goal is to make sure I have the best quality pics of my family. Landsacpe pics are secondary. I was also thinkin about teaming the 5D ii up with a 85mm 1.2L. Its pricey I know, I from what I heard.. that is the BEST lens for portrait work and the images produced have a “signature” to them that cant be compared to any other lens. Have you heard similar? Again, thanks so much for your time and setting this up. Sincerely, -Thai

    • Thai,

      I know several travel photographers that shoot with the 5D2 & 85mm f/1.2 and it’s a great combination. I’m sure you’ll be pleased.


  43. Jeff, thank you for a great and comprehensive review and your dedication and time for reading and answering all the comments.

    I had made up my mind pretty much for the 7D, figuring I’d use the saved $$ for an extra lens. At second thought, however, and after reading through this threat, I am sold on the 5D2, knowing that once the money is spent and I am shooting with the new camera, I will not look back nor second-guess my choice.

  44. Thanks for the really good review. At present I have a Canon T1i but have been looking at the 7d and 5d2 models. The T1i is my first dSLR camera and I enjoy it. I noticed the two I have been looking at have more RAW sizes. I was wondering why a person would want an mRAW or sRAW? Having spent over 30 years with film cameras this is all new to me.
    All my film cameras were Nikons and I decided to make the switch to Canon for the dSLR.

    • Mike,

      Thanks for reading. The smaller RAW files are just that, smaller. If you’re shooting for a magazine you’ll need all 21 MP that the 5D2 can deliver but if you shoot for the web a much smaller file can really cut down on your computer overhead during post processing. At least that’s the theory. In practice I always shoot at the maximum resolution the camera offers.


  45. I found this comparison very useful and am now leaning even more towards the 5DII than I already was. I’m only 16 and just got my XSi last year (first DSLR!), so it will be a year or two before I invest in a full-frame camera. In the meantime, I’m considering upgrading the mediocre kit lens to a 24-105 F/4 L IS and, later on, a 70-200 F/4 L IS. 24mm is not very much on the wide-angle end with a crop-frame sensor, but L-series glass seems like the best long-term investment.

    Keeping in mind the eventual upgrade to a 5D2 and wanting to stay away from EF-S lenses, I had thought about the 17-40 F/4 L for wide-angle coverage, but I’m really not sure. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jack,

      I’ve used the Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens on both crop-body and full-frame cameras and it’s a great choice with either. The 24-105mm f/4 is my “go to” lens for landscape, nature and portrait work. It’s a great investment for any photographer.


  46. Thank YOU!!! I have taken a little “time off” raising babies…Now I am SOO excited to get back! You have been More than helpful! I had a hard time reading through “opinions” I needed more “factual” Help! This post has been a blessing…I am now confident to purchase the 5d mark ii ( portraits/weddings are my thing!) Thanks Again!! Jessica

    • Jessica,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words. For weddings and portrait work the new 5D2 really can’t be beat. Be sure to pick up a fast lens to take advantage of those low light situations.


  47. Jeff

    Thanks for the comment on Adorama’s used department; and please don’t forget that I’m always only an email away for after-sales support and advice, for any aspect of ordering from Adorama Camera.

    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

  48. Jeff,

    Just read your latest comment and had to drop a note. I got a little chuckle regarding the post taking on a life of its own. I’m subscribed to the comments on this post, so since the initial posting I’ve been able to follow along with each comment.

    It’s all been really good! And clearly, folks need a resource to think the 7D and 5D through on. I’m glad that you are helping the rest of us out here in netland. Just to let you know, an extremely good friend of mine purchased a 7D recently, and your post with the comments that followed helped him with his decision.

    Thanks for the resource you’ve provided here!

    P.S. Since finding the post initially I’ve been regularly following along.

    • Rich,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words. Choosing the right camera is a tough decision and getting tougher every day. I remember when Canon’s SLR lineup was only four bodies ranging from $250 – $1000. What a difference 30 years makes. Luckily, you can rent most new Canon or Nikon bodies online these days and give them a good tryout before making a final decision. It’s also great that folks like Adorama will buy used gear at fair prices, making the move up the ladder that much easier.


  49. wow what a wonderful forum!!!

    I was stuck between 7d and 5d2 but after reading all ur answer i think i should go for th 5d2.

    But I would like you to give me your opinion. I photograph architecture (buildings but also their details). which of the 2 cameras would be better and why?!

    Thank you so much. V

    • Vanessa,

      This thread started out as a blog post and seems to have taken on a life of its own. I know of several architectural photographers that swear by the new 5D Mark II because of it’s 21 MP sensor and high ISO capabilities. When used with a tilt & shift lens, the 5D2 really can’t be beat for shooting architecture.


  50. I am currently looking to upgrade my camera. I purchased the rebel xti a few years ago (the original without the active LCD screen) and now I feel it is time for something new. I am between the 7d and the 5d. I am an amateur photographer but I am begining to take it much more seriously. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!!!

    • Larry,

      Thanks for reading. I recommend renting each camera body from someone like or before making your decision. Your choice really depends upon how much you can spend and what type of photography you’re interested in.


      • I spend most of my time photgraphing birthdays and parties which have more movement than ususal. Recently I have been working on landscapes, portrait etc…I’d like to be well rounded and need a camera that would match this…Seems like the 7D gets kudos for capturing action shots better than the 5D.

        • Larry,

          The reason the 7D may be better for wildlife and sports photography is due to the 1.6x field of view crop factor and the high burst rate. The new 5D2 is much better in low light situations due to it’s full frame sensor but it still offers a 16 shot raw burst at 3 fps. More than fast enough for getting those action shots.


  51. Hey – I currently have a 20D and I have maxed out the shutter… over 100,000 photos taken. I am trying to decide 7D or 50 D. I take a lot of indoor sports (wrestling) is my main sideline, followed by football. I have the 70-200 2.8 lens and 560 flash. Which one will be my best choice?

    HELP – the state tournament is around the corner and I need to get a camera. Thanks Cathy

    • Cathy,

      Thanks for reading. I recommend renting each camera before making your final decision. I found the 50D to be great for birds in flight and other wildlife but the low light / high ISO capabilities were lacking. Above ISO 400 I found significant noise in many images. Nothing that Noise Ninja couldn’t handle but still not what I’d hoped for.


  52. I am currently using a canon xti with an ef 100-400 4.5-5.6 is lens. I shoot mostly bird and wildlife shots. I’ve been considering upgrading and was wondering if the 7d would be a good choice for me.

    My xti had a dust problem with the sensor and after sending it in to be cleaned at canon’s factory service center 3 times in 2 months it still is not right. Does the 7d do a better job with sealing the camera?

    • Greg,

      Thanks for reading. Yes, the weather sealing on the 7D is very similar to Canon’s other “Prosumer” grade cameras like the 40D & 50D. I’ve found that sensor and lens dust is almost always an issue when using a push-pull zoom lens like the Canon 100-400mm. The push-pull action tends to pull air/dust/pollen/mold into the lens and camera.


  53. Jeff,

    Thanks for your inputs !

    About the lenses, Is it worthed to trade my 24-70mm f2.8L with 16-35mm II f2.8 L in terms on IQ ? or rather wait for 24-70mm f2.8L IS ?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Irwan,

      The 24-70 f2.8L is a very sharp lens and one that you’ll want to keep. The zoom range is very well suited for landscape, environmental portraits and travel.


  54. I shootwith a T1i and 24-105. My main interest is travel photography. Most of my pictures are 24-80. Most of my travel is out of the country with Morocco and South Africa this summer. I was thinking of getting the 10-22 but am considering the 5dmark2 instead. Should I get the 5dmark2 or just build a lens collection?

    • Dawn,

      Honestly, the purchase of a good lens will almost always do more to help improve your photography than a new camera will. The 24-105mm is a very good lens on any Canon DSLR. The 10-22mm is a very nice ultra wide zoom for Canon’s crop body cameras but it’s most useful for landscape photography.


  55. can someone suggest me about cannon slr cam. i was use nikon d200 for the last 5 years and now i plan to shift to cannon. m a bit confuse about the two bodies 5d mark2 or 7d, what should i have. most of my friends r saying that go for 5d mark2 and my heart also says for it only but here cannon has lonched 7d i think 7d is not a full frame cam n 5d mark2 is full frame. these both cam r in my budget. my yor is wedding, industrial, tabletops, fashion photography and many more. i dont know about the lences and what flashgud should use with these cam. please reply

  56. Jeff,

    Currently I am still using Canon 20D with 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8 IS…. I am very pleased with the results however i am struggled with the noise of my camera during low light condition. If you can give comparison between 7D and 5DmkII on noise results, what do you think ISO performance of 5DmkII vs 7D head to head ? Eg. would 5DmkII IQ at ISO 1600 would be similar to ISO 400 of 7D ? I really wanna know the image quality of those cameras to finally decide to spend $1000 more. In addition, Which camera to be best suit with my current lenses ?

    Thanks a lot !

    • Irwan,

      I haven’t shot with the 7D but I can tell you that the high ISO capabilities of the 5D2 are simply amazing. You can shoot at ISO 1600 and it truly looks like ISO 200. If you can afford it and really need a low light camera, then the 5D2 is the way to go.


  57. Morning Jeff 😉

    Thank you so much for this blog it has put me at ease!! I’m an aspiring photographer who just purchased a Mark II. I originally had an Olympus E-500 that I got for $50 and found that I LOVE capturing moments that last forever and mean so much to people. I’m interested in portraits, weddings, and kids candid pics. I’m lost in internet land reviews about how the 3fps would not be enough for action shots.(children playing) and the AF not being accurate when you’re moving to take the pics of the kids in action. Jeff, going from an Olympus E-500 to a high end Canon is amazing and I’m fortunate and blessed. I’m working two professional photographers and one swears by Nikon and the other Canon so they’re not help! I’m just hoping for some confirmation that I made the correct decision on the Canon MarkII or should I have looked into the Nikon D700? (based on my concerns) Hope to hear from you soon! My Canon 50mm is coming in today and I was hoping to rip open the box and shoot shoot shoot! My 24-70mm f2.8 IS will be coming next week with the 580exII flash. Before I open everything just needed some advice.

    Best to you & thanks again,

    • Cristy,

      The 5D2 is perhaps the best portrait camera Canon has ever offered. The full frame sensor provides incredible detail and tonal quality, both of which are very important in portrait photography. With a fast lens, the 3 fps frame rate is ideal for wedding photography. Just ask David Ziser, one the best know wedding shooters in the US. He uses the 5D2 at all his events.

      I love my 5D2 and can’t imagine doing landscape or commercial (product) work without it. I’m fairly certain you will too.


  58. I really enjoyed reading the article and this blog. I am an aspiring wedding and portrait photographer. I will take pictures of just about anything but I am looking to make a career out of it and the money seems to be in weddings and portraits. That being said… I am shooting with a 40D and my backup is an XSI. I personally believe that video and photography are still two different things and that the equipment used to do them both is specialized. I have been a videographer for years now and am finally getting tempted to buy a DSLR that does video because of the advancements. It appears that the new DSLR video features still lack the ability to be ‘on the move’ when shooting video. The fact that they cannot refocus automatically while moving would make them almost useless in many cases. I do believe they are getting close though! I really would like to know what the best lens for wedding photography on a D series camera would be. Tripods are not very practical in most cases at a wedding because everything moves very fast. I do use a monopod when possible. What is the best overall lense for this type of situation where light changes often and low light situations happen as well. I currently use the stock 28-135mm USM. Thanks again for the article and keep up the good work. Sincerley, Mark – OK, USA

  59. Jeff,

    Finally I have found a website that I might find my answers. I’m just taking the plunge into the DSLR world. I have researched and read everything that I can find to try and find the right camera for me. Being a novice to this business what is the best camera for me? Is the Canon 50D going to be enough for me to capture the images that I hope to capture with the right lenses? Will I be able to tell the difference between the two cameras? What do I do? The money is always an issue, but I have been told that the investment is best invested in the lenses? Please help. Thanks very much.


    • Casey,

      I’d recommend renting each camera body you are seriously looking at from or and trying them out for a few days to see which fits you best. It’s like buying a really expensive pair of boots. Only you can tell if they’re going to fit. Personally I preferred using the EOS 40D over the 50D since it provided sharper images with less noise. Of course, the ultimate in my opinion is the new 5D2.


  60. Hi Matthew. From all the research I’ve done, it seems there are a lot of people out there who prefer the 40D. For what it was worth, it made more sense for me to save a few (hundred) bucks and get the 40D. I actually have still seen some in stores (London Drugs in Vancouver, for example). It is also nice and “quick”, as is the 7D. I think the 7D is just a “wow” machine… but perhaps a little steep for those of us who don’t do a lot of “money” shooting… I shoot a few functions/events, kids, some weddings events (not the whole show),etc., and BOTH my XT, my film SLRs, and my recently acquired (used, but in new condition) 40D are serving me well…

    Your eye, and your imagination, are really the only things holding you back with any machine… When I start doing $5 to $10K a week, I may grab a 7D and a 5D Mkii, but not right now…

  61. Hello,

    I currently have the original Digital Rebel X and am looking to upgrade. I only photograph birds, and am wondering which camera you would recommend, given the 50D and the 7D. The 5D is just too much money for me given the non-professional nature of my photography. I’ve also heard that the 40D might be better than the 50D… any comments on that?



    • Matthew,

      Thanks for reading. I think the new 7D would make an excellent camera for capturing birds in flight given it’s new AF system and eight frames per second speed.


  62. Thanks for your wise words. I’m shooting with a 40D and will upgrade to FF as soon as Canon will release a “7D” with the 5D (12MP) sensor.

    Have to wait until hell freezes over I guess.

  63. Hi there Jeff,

    Thank you so much for sharing your opinions here. One thing that I totally agree with you is that “It’s not the camera that makes the photograph, it’s the person behind the camera.” 🙂

    Anyhow, I’m still tempting to upgrade my current camera. Well, it’s been couple of years now that I own the canon 40D. Actually, I love to shoot everything in general from action to travel/nature/landscape photography. So, should I upgrade it to 7D or 5D Mark II?

    I really appreciate for your time to respond me 🙂 Thanks and have a happy holidays!!


    • MeiLii,

      Thanks for reading. I found the sensor in the 40D to provide excellent image quality, even better than the 50D. If you can afford the cost, the 5D2 is a great choice for nature/landscape/travel photography. The 7D is designed more for sports or wildlife photography. I recommend renting each to see which fits your style of shooting better.


  64. Hi Jeff,

    You’ve mention that 50D noise issue is kinda bad for you at 400.

    Now that 7D is out with so many reviews going on….what do think of it noise level performances…..???

    Noob here….trying to decide between 5DMarkII(FF) or 7D(1.6 Crop).

    I love the extra reach from 1.6 and yet the high noise performance from 5DmarkII is so temping…….maybe getting 7D with a wide fast len like f1.4 would so solve my issue.

    • XJ,

      I haven’t seen any high ISO raw files from the 7D so I can’t judge the noise levels but common sense would dictate that increasing the pixel density from 15 MP to 18 MP would not help the situation. The 5D2 offers incredible high ISO performance in my experience. The issue with using fast lenses rather than high ISO settings in low light shooting is depth of field. At f/1.4 your DOF is only a few inches.


  65. Jeff,

    Having my 20D few ys back till now!
    Thinking of new gear while the financial allowed…

    if my current 20D is APS -C so did the 7D, would u think i better go for 5DM2?
    Full format been in my dream n head for sometime!



    • Kevin,

      Thanks for reading. I suggest renting both bodies before making your decision. Each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses and what works for one person may not for another. I love my 5D2 for landscape and studio work but a crop-body is much better for wildlife and sports shooting.


  66. Thanks Jeff,

    I have eventually thrashed out a decision and ordered a 7d but will have to settle for the 28-135 IS USM for now. Coming from film camera to finally get a DSLR, the idea of 100% viewfinder and high IQ (hopefully) appeals.


  67. Hi, this thread is very informative, but like so many tough choices, it must always come down.

    A couple of combinations out there (especially on a set budget) at the moment require some serious head scratching.

    50d + 24-105 L for IQ or 7d offered with 15-85 IS USM, or 28-135 IS USM.

    The question is, is 24-105 L overkill on the 50D or are the cheaper lenses mentioned not worth putting on the 7D?

    As said at the top, choices can be a killer!

    Any thoughts?

    • Jimmy,

      Thanks for reading. In my opinion, a better lens is more important to image quality than a better (newer) camera. However, I never really liked the image quality of the 50D. The EF 24-105mm lens is an incredible value in my opinion. I shoot with it almost every week.


  68. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the advice. I decided to pick up a used 40D from a pro photographer (who has 3 of these bodies). Couldn’t be happier. The camera is like new condition, shoots amazing in low light, and feels great in my hands. I’ve decided to spend my “extra” cash on better lenses.

    I grabbed the 50mm F1.8 Canon (no-brainer) for my portraits/indoor stuff, and as a general use lens. I also got a great deal on a Sigma 10-20 f3.5 lens (the new one), which is an AMAZING wide angle zoom unit. Combined with my Canon EF 75-300, and my general purpose Sigma 18-200 f3.5-6.3, I think I have a good spread of lenses to cover the types of photography I do. I was also able to spring for some studio lights.

    Every pro photographer that I know indicated that I should spend on the lenses – that even my old 350 can take great pics. They recommended (like you have) grabbing the 40D to stay on budget. The advice I keep getting is “get out and shoot with whatever you have”, and “learn your existing equipment well”. My Vixia HF200 covers all the HD shooting I need – which is not as often as I think it was…


    • Also I have another question. If you were given the choice between the 40D and 7D, which would you choose?

  69. Helpful to read all the comments on this site as well as your replies Jeff. Would appreciate some advice too…

    I have a 350D and definitely sense the need for an upgrade! I work as a graphic designer and often include photography as part of my service. I take alot of indoor shots (people at work kinda stuff) and often get booked to photograph dance shows. But for my own enjoyment I take alot of outdoor/sports/landscape shots.

    I could stretch to buy the 7D but wonder if the 50D is adequate. Not sure I need the video on the 7D which obviously contributes to it’s higher price tag. There’s also the issue of the larger mb size to each pic…more storage space.

    I have a EF 70-200 1.4 IS USM lens which deserves a better camera than the 350D! But which to go for. For me the choice is between the 50D or 7D. I have held and tried out both but can’t decide!

    Any thoughts?

    • John,

      Thanks for reading. Between the 50D and 7D, I’d choose the 7D every time. However, if money is tight (as it usually is) you might want to look at the 40D. I’ve found its 10 MP sensor to provide better image quality than the 50D with much lower noise. I’d suggest renting each body before making your final decision.


  70. Thanks, Jeff!
    Seeing as how it’s Christmas and all, I may pop for the 7D, but I will look at the refurbished 40D’s. The price point may influence my decision.
    I really do believe it’s more about who is behind the camera than the camera itself, but like anything else, having the proper tools is a huge advantage.
    Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

  71. Hi Jeff
    ‘Tis the season and all that. My hubby currently has a Canon 20D and he has mentioned wanting a Canon 7D. He is interested in taking nature pictures more than in taking family pictures, although I love family pictures. He is in no way a professional photographer and doesn’t really even spend that much time with this hobby, however, he thinks if he had a better camera, he might do more with it. My question is this: Is going from a 20D to a 7D worth the $$$? I appreciate the comparison posted on your site, now if I only knew what half of that stuff means, it would be great! Thanks for your opinion.

    • Terri,

      Thanks for reading. Honestly there’s nothing wrong with the Canon 20D for nature photography at all. I know a very accomplished landscape photographer shooting in Yosemite that used a 20D for years. You may want o look at a refurbished 40D (10 MP) from Adorama as an upgrade instead of the new 7D.


  72. OH Boy. I got up at 5am Chicago time and started reading this blog. Very helpful!!!
    I’m about to sell my Canon Vixia HV30 Camcorder and Canon xSi to purchase one of the two below listed cameras.

    Canon 5d M2
    Canon 7d

    Picture wise, I think I will be happy with both, depending on my style of photography and lens used. My concern is shooting video. Jeff, I know you mentioned video is not your area of expertise, but perhaps somebody on this blog can help me out. Which would you prefer? I was happy with my vixia HV30, shooting in HD, but the darks were really grainy and when switched to 24p or 30p, motion was a big issue.

    The other issue I thought about with a friends 5d is that you constantly have to keep adjusting the focus as it may not be crisp on your object of choice. Has anyone else run into this issue? Anyone that can shed light on this? Perhaps I am missing something?

  73. Hey Jeff,

    Really enjoy reading your blog. Have found lot’s of interesting stuff, but not an answer to my concern (or maybe have overlooked it).

    In addition to my G9, I’m planning to buy 5D2, but I’m really not sure which lenses to get. Would prefer something all-round, for travel/nature/landscape photography and also occasionally for portraits. Would really appreciate your piece of advice.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    • Maya,

      Thanks for reading. I recommend the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM for a very sharp, general purpose lens. I’ve used this lens on thousands of shots and had wonderful results.


  74. Great blog. I was torn between 7d and 5DMkII, but no longer. I own no EF-S lenses, so I’d need to buy a 10-22mm along with the 7D to get wide angle.

    That makes the price difference between bodies a mute point since I’d be spending $2400 for the 7d and 10-22mm and I already own the 17-40L to use with the 5DMKII. Believe it or not I’m upgrading from a 10D!

    I’ve also heard that my 70-200 2.8L and 200 2.8L prime are not as sharp on an ASP-C sensor as full frame, but don’t know the reasoning behind this.

    Looking forward to full frame again and adding some more L glass!

    • Tony,

      Thanks for reading. Actually the 70-200 and 200 prime will look sharper on a crop body camera since it only uses the center portion of the lens for its image circle. On a full frame body like the 5D2 you’ll notice any edge softness present in the lens. Having said that, both of these lenses are very sharp and show little edge softness in my experience.


  75. Thanks Jeff (love your blog, by the way… lot’s of helpful info).

    I guess I’m looking for one camera that does everything fairly well (an “all-rounder”) vs. a “specialist”. Do you – in your opinion – see any camera footing this bill? I was hoping the 7D would be (decent in lower light, but still being solid for the nature, sports, travel shots, etc.)…

    With my budget being what it is, the $2 grand Cdn will get me either a new 7D, and my old XT (along with my old lenses), or a used 1D Mk2 with a nice lens, or a used 5D with a really nice lens (or the 5D with a used 40D – the way I’m starting to lean)…

    Choices, choices. Based on my starting point (the humble Rebel XT), I’m sure I’ll see an improved picture quality. As someone who shoots a little of everything, would I be better going the used 5D route, or getting another cropped sensor camera (7D). I’m starting to read quite a few negative opinions about the 7D (to balance the positive, I guess lol).

    God, I need help… No rental place around here, otherwise I’d have a couple of these units right now… I would be very thankful for your opinion on the matter. Thanks!

  76. Hi there Jeff,

    I’ve recently been doing quite a few wedding and baby/birthday party requests, but I love landscape and nature shots (lots of bald eagles where I live – right in my backyard)… I have a young nephew who is a great subject. I shoot anything and everything. I’ve been able to (humbly says) impress my clients in my “part-time pro gig”… with some lovely still lifes and portraits… all done with a Rebel XT.

    My pro photo mentor has done a TON of commercial work, and specializes in weddings/portraiture. They shoots Nikon and used cropped sensor Nikons for years – for all pro shoots. They only purchased a D700 a few weeks ago. When asking about cropped vs. full frame, I was told to not worry about that – unless I was going to be doing billboards for a living… That I’m better off worrying about lenses.

    I’m not a pro. I don’t think I can afford the 5d Mk 2. I shoot a wide variety of images (party/event, portraits, kids playing, nature/landscape, travel, sports, still life, etc.). Honestly, I’ll shoot whatever anyone will pay me for, or anything I feel like.

    I’m looking for:
    – A great “all-around camera”
    – Price wise – Was looking to spend around $2K Cdn on a body, but realized I can get a used 5D AND an older 40D for around the same price as one new 7D..
    – I tend to do a lot of shooting indoors (rains a lot here), and I need a decent low-light performer. A lot of reviews I’ve read say the 7D is decent in low light…

    My mentors say you can take great pics with a disposable Fujifilm camera… I agree. I’m not one to bow to the whims of the marketing dept of “x” company. Again, I’ve shot some amazing shots with my Rebel XT. I do, however, notice that I struggle with indoor/low light shots – and it is frustrating.

    Should I grab the 5D “classic” and pick up a 40D, and keep my 350/Rebel XT for emergency backup? Does the 5D do amazing low-light work, and will it be better than the 7D?

    Also… I keep hearing the mantra that the cropped sensors are ONLY for sports/action, and the full frame are ONLY for portraiture, etc. How much of that is just marketing gone wild, and how much of it is actually true… I mean, reading many pro’s blogs, how many of them are “hooked up” with their manufacturers of choice? How many are just “fan-boys” that need the latest toy? With so many pros shooting weddings and events with cropped sensors, then why all the hype?

    I’m really frustrated with all the conflicting info out there. Can a pro, or semi-pro go wrong with any of the XXD series, 7D, or 5D/5D Mark 2?

    • Thanks for reading. Finding the right camera is really a matter of personal preference and what kind of images you shoot. There is nothing “wrong” with an APS-C size sensor, its just a matter of choice. Your “mentor” is correct. Its not the camera that creates the image, its the photographer. My main concern about the Canon 7D has to do with pixel density. I believe that Canon has reduced the pixel size and increased the pixel density of their crop body cameras beyond what will produce the sharpest RAW image with the least amount of noise. I found my 40D to provide better image quality than my 50D and my 5D2 to provide better image quality than both. I suspect that’s the reason Nikon chose to offer only 12 MP crop body cameras whereas Canon offers 15 MP and even 18 MP cameras.

      Your choice of camera really depends upon what features you find most compelling. For me the 5D2 was the right choice for nature and landscape photography where the extra “reach” of a 1.6x sensor and high frame rate are not really needed. If I was shooting wildlife or sports, a crop-body camera would make more sense. Every camera has its tradeoffs in terms of features and performance. That’s why there are so many different models to choose from.


  77. Jeff:

    First time I’ve come across your blog – what a resource ! I’ve bookmarked it for regular reference, thanks.

    I’ve just read very single post of this thread as I’m considering getting a 7D. I’ve always considered a 5D way out of my price range so am tempted by the 7D’s combination of features and lower price point. I currently shoot with a 40D and a bundle of lenses:
    Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM
    Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS
    Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM
    Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM
    Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM
    Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

    My passion is street photography, especially candid people pics, but I also enjoy what I call “small” landscape photography (ie: I prefer picking out details within the landscape) and holiday travel too, although again, I prefer picking out people and details. I do occasional “event” photography for work, mostly candid people pics. I also enjoy aviation photography as the town where I live hosts one of the biggest air shows in Europe. I rarely use a tripod. I have no interest in studio work, portraits, weddings etc.

    I read that the 7D is better for sports and wildlife, and the 5D for landscape and portraits… in your view, where do these two cameras fit with my style of photography ?

    Looking forward to your comments !

    • Rose,

      Thanks for reading. The best advice I can give is to rent each camera and try it out for a week before making your final decision. Most local camera shops will have some sort of rental program or trial program available and there’s just no better means to decide. If it help any, many travel photographers shoot with the original 5D and new 5D2.


  78. greetings sir, I really liked your comparison that reveals much more things than others.
    well, I now have the 400D and looking to upgrade, what am really curious about is: full frame sensor Vs an ASP-C sensor, I never tried shooting in a full frame sensor camera. I know you would say it depends on what type of photography am interested in but I cant be precise here ;( I do portraits, landscapes and wild life all together. I thought the 7D could be a full frame sensor camera but sorrily it seems to be not. so is it mark2 or 7D for me???

    • Wassim,

      I’d recommend renting each and trying them out before making a decision. It really does depend upon your personal preferences and what lenses you’ve already purchased.


  79. Thanks for the recomendation on the camera. Like I said I know little to nothing about this stuff. What lens/lenses would you suggest. I understand they can get pretty pricey so in what order would you suggest making the investments.

    • Ryan,

      For portraits I prefer the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lenses. Both are very sharp and the zoom is exceptionally versatile. Honestly, any L Series lens is a good investment.


  80. Yes i know,

    But the main problem is that i have invested in EF-S lenses so i would throw away a huge amount of money by going full frame.

    I mainly shoot landscapes too, so from now on if i’ll invest in new lenses it will be for a full frame camera.

    But with having the EF-S 17-55 IS F2.8 and the EF-S 10-22 i didn’t have much of a choice, so i just went for the best APS-C from canon.

    In January i’ll be in the philippines for a full month and after that i will be able to give more feedback about landscape photography.

  81. I’m a professional cameraman who is very much interested in the video aspect. Is the smaller processor and the better auto focus of the 7D of any influence on the video quality ? Better to stay with 5D MII ?

    • Daniel,

      Thanks for reading. I’m a still photographer so take my video advice with a grain of salt. I’d always recommend the full frame sensor for high quality video with low noise.


  82. Maybe this review is interesting.

    I’ll quote the important part:

    I know there have been some high-profile negative reviews of this camera, but I believe those reviews have centered on a couple of important points. In one case, the person’s workflow required the images right out of the camera to be better. That isn’t the case for me so I have a different response. Another review failed to accurately point out that the RAW conversions haven’t been tuned yet. Again, I allow for that to improve. So in closing I have no problem saying the Canon 7D is the best $1699 camera money can buy. And remember, I am a Nikon guy now 🙂

    I have bought the canon 7d and all i can say is that i’m very happy with it, the only remark i have so far is that if you shoot on high speed you often get a few unsharp images in your series (even on not moving objects).

    • Rolf,

      That’s why the best advice I can give someone is to rent the camera before making a purchase decision. Having said that, I respect Darwin Wiggett’s opinion on the raw images he’s taken with the 7D. For landscape work in raw, image sharpness is vital.


  83. Jeff,
    I really know nothing about this photography stuff, but my wife loves it. I bought her a 30D 2 years ago and we now have 20,000+ pictures of our kids. She has an EF-S f/3.5-5.6 15-85 IS USM and an EF f/4-5.6 70-300 IS USM

    She works at a daycare with kids, and usually does 70%-80% of her picture work outside. A lot of the work she does is candid pictures of the kids. She has recently started to do some family portrait work for a little side money.

    Price aside, what body/lens configuration would you recomend?

    • Ryan,

      Thanks for reading. If cost is no issue I’d recommend the 5D Mark II (full frame) DSLR for portrait work. It will require some high quality lenses however.


  84. Hey Jeff,
    Great read I must say and I agree 100% with the DuChemin quote.
    Funny enough, I’m spending more time with just a 450D and as much as it is a lil camera, I find it a lot of fun. I’m much into the editorial look on photos and I’ve sort of made that my “thing” and quite happy with the results I get regardless the camera I use at the time.

    90% of the images on my website I’ve taken with the 450D.

    I’d rather concentrate on style and experience before hundreds of kilos of canon gear. The release of the 7D by canon to me seems cheeky. It has made a lot of the 5D II owners feel betrayed and a lot of the 50D owners feel prouder of their tool and less envious of 5DII’ers :-).

    This is a funny video I came across about the release of the 7D. hilarious clip.

  85. I appreciate all the input. As soon as I get my Xti sold, I am pretty sure I will be getting the 5D Mark II. I’ve also heard that the 7D doesn’t produce as good of an image for gymnastics as the 5DmarkII.(Maybe its the crappy lighting in them gyms!) Gymnastics and photography of my kids are my MAIN subjects.

  86. Hi Jeff,

    I am currently using 450d with twin kit lens, ef-s 10-22mm, ef 24-105mm and ef 50mm f1.4. Have been thinking about upgrading to 5dmk2 or 7d.

    If I am going for 5dmk2, I will only have 2 lenses that can be used, which are ef 24-105mm and ef 50mm. Are these two lenses adequate to start with on a full frame body? Is 24mm wide enough for landscape? I am also planning to add 70-200mm f2.8 IS (because 105mm does not seem long enough) but not in the near future.

    Is the new AF system on 7d worth choosing over 5dmk2?

    It’s very unlikely that I’ll be shooting sport but I’ll the camera for general purpose, bit of landscape and would like to learn wedding shoots.

    Your advise is much appreciated.

    • Wen,

      Thanks for reading. I personally prefer the 5D2. One thing to keep in mind when moving from a crop-body camera like the 450D is the differences in “field of view”. Your EF-S 10-22mm lens really provided the same field of view as a 16-35mm lens would have on a full-frame body. Your 24-105mm acted more like a 40-160mm and your 50mm like a 80mm lens. On a 5D2 they will seem much wider than before and I think you’ll find that the 24-105mm makes an excellent landscape and nature lens on a 5D2. It’s my favorite lens for nature photography. Unless you plan to shoot sports I think you’ll find the AF system on the 5D2 to be more than sufficient.


  87. Hi Jeff
    I have been tracking this forum for some time and, just as I decided to upgrade my 30D to a 7D I see your message warning that the 7D is producing soft images! I shoot a variety of subjects from weddings to sports (mostly outdoor sports) but also some landscape (yes, all on a 30D!). Incidentally, I shoot mostly with Canon 135mm 2.0 L, 85mm 1.8 and Sigma 70-200 EX lenses (amongst others).

    Figuring that the 5Dm2 would not be ideal for the sports side, but the 7D would be good for sports and produce better portraits than my 30D (which clients have been pleased with up to 30×40) I thought I had finally made my mind up!

    As I cannot justify moving up to a 1D, and don’t really need video, I’m starting to think I should sell my kit and move to a full frame Nikon D700 or a D300s and stay with a cropped sensor. I know that Nikons have far less resolution, but their output seems excellent – and isn’t this, combined with the photographer’s eye for the shot, what matters in the end?

    My final thought is that the 5Dm2 is probably better than the 30D for sport (lower frame rate isn’t too much of a problem for what I shoot) albeit it will ‘shorten’ my lenses (good for the studio but not so good for sport) so maybe I should consider this? So is the 5Dm2 up to the mark for outdoor sports (soccer)? Or should I just upgrade my 30D to the 50D for now and stay a frustrated Canon user?

    • Stephen,

      I was wondering about moving to Nikon also, but since I got my 5DII a month ago, I didn’t look back.

      From what you said, sport shooting would be nice with fast fps, it won’t shorten your lens and everything stay as happy as it was when you were using the 30D.

      FF will be a whole new learning curve for focal length and quality.

      I say go for 7D, skip the 50D as it seem to be a bit reddish. My mate 7D seem to be okay with sharpness.

      I will be testing it out tonight and post them in my blog.

      Hope that helps,

  88. You have a TON of comments… and I hope to get through them all, but thought I would ask a question first… since I am sure that its not here.

    I have an Xti. Been a great camera the last few years as I got it when it was brand new. BUT… it is NOT a good camera for what I WANT to shoot.

    My daughter is in gymnastics. She is 7 y/o and this is her 2nd year on the local competitive team. I want to be able to take pictures of her at her regular practices(which I will be able to be upclose and personal) but I would also LOVE to take pics at our meets.(Not so close to the action…bummer) So I am trying to figure out WHICH camera would be better??? 5D Mark II or the 7D. The lighting in the gyms is TERRIBLE! I already know I am gonna have to invest in some killer lenses…. but I need a much better camera to go with the lenses to go with my gymnast!!

    If ANYONE can help with this info, it would be GREATLY appreciated!!

    I am gonna invest in getting a 50mm 1.4, an 85mm 1.8 and HOPEFULLY a 70-200mm 2.8L IS lense!

    Thanks for any info!!

    • Sabrina,

      Thanks for reading. I hate spreading rumors but right now I would NOT buy the new 7D. Both amateurs and professionals shooting in RAW have been reporting soft images even when using tack sharp lenses. For sports photography I’d recommend looking at the new 1D Mark IV ($5000) or a used 1D Mark II or 1D mark IIN.


    • Sabrina,

      I was in the same boat before when I was using a 1DS mkII and 40D. Both camera had been great but I was out growing it very quickly.

      I am just adding to what Jeff might have to say. Base on what you described. Both the 7D and the 5DII would be better than the XTI.

      I think if you can answer these 3 things than you will have your answer.

      1. What is your budget?
      Sounds to me like you can get a 5DII with one lens or a 7D with two lens.
      2. How big are you going to print your images?
      5DII by far has better noise control than the 7D and you get more DOF.
      3. Type of photography? Fast or slow.

      As for me, I went with the 5DII;
      1. I have enough budget for a new body and a lens after I sold my two bodies. I dont’ have any EF-S ultrawide as i have been using FF for the past 3 years.
      2. I geard my image to be print out large, I need better noise as I do a lot of photoshopping on my file this mean that the 5D gives me more dynamic range to play with. More dof, which i just love.
      3. Mostly slow shooting, wedding, portrait, conceptural, food, landscape, so the 5D is perfect.

      In conclusion, I think the 7D is going to be better than what you have. It fits the bill that you want, sport, fast fps, good noise handling, high mpx and you have spare cash left to buy better glass. Those lens that you said would be perfect for both 5DII and 7D. 85mm f/1.8 is a bit long for crop body in my opinion.

      Hope this helps,

  89. Hi Jeff,

    After reading your article I bought the 5D mark II. I mostly use mij 24-105 mm lense, wich is excellent.
    I do still have the 50 1.4 and 70-300 4 – 5.6 IS USM lenses. Are these lenses good enough for the 5D, or should I buy L-lenses?


    • Corinne,

      The EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a great lens. On a 5D2 it will be slightly soft in the corners until f/2.8 but after that its tack sharp. It focuses very fast and very quietly. For the price it really can’t be beat.

      Unfortunately the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is not the same story. This is a perfectly good lens for a crop body camera but will seem soft on a full frame like the 5D2, especially at focal lengths longer than 200mm. The front lens element on the 70-300mm rotates when zooming and is NOT parfocal so you have to zoom and then refocus. I tried this lens about 18 months ago and really wanted it to perform after reading many wonderful reviews of Nikons equivalent zoom, but this is just not the case. A better choice is one of the 70-200mm f/4 “L” series lenses.


      • Hi Jeff,

        Thanks for your reply.
        I will keep the 50mm for indoor photography and will sell the 70-300. I don’t think I will miss that one, because I never do nature photography (I bought the lense second hand a long time ago).


  90. I’m quite torn here cause i mostly like travelphotography and portraits.

    I currently have a Canon 350d (old, yes i know!) and i have these lenses atm:

    Canon 70-200 F4 L
    Canon EF-S17-55 F2.8 IS
    Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

    As you can see i have quite decent EF-S lenses, now i am aware that with my style of photography i’m more suited with the 5D 2 but that also means i can’t do anything anymore with those EF-S lense who were quite pricey and are actually very good lenses.

    So, i wanted to upgrade from my 350d, what camera would you advise me?

    I’m not really interested in action photography and wildlife (unless i run into it).

    • Rolf,

      Thanks for reading. Almost any of Canon’s current APS-C DSLR cameras would be a good upgrade from the 350D including the 50D and new 7D.


      • Thank you for you reply,

        I was mostly wondering if the 7D is worth it over the 50D for what i’m using the camera for.

        I’ll go a bit more in depth, i do a lot of travelling, like by example last year i went to Tibet and the dolomites in Italy and this year i’m planning to go to the phillipines.

        Is the difference in weathersealing and the quality of the noise ratio worth it to pay 600 euro more? I’m the backpacker kind of traveller so i’m guessing a good weather and dust seeling can be needed.

        • Rolf,

          I’d recommend renting both cameras before making your decision if possible. The 50D’s image quality is great up to ISO 400 but over that noise tends to be an issue. I’m not sure if the 7D will have better low light performance or not.


  91. I’m extremely interested in buying either a 5d mk2 or a 7d, i am so stuck between the two i have no idea what to get!!!! someone help please i cant make a decision. i want 8 fps but i want great still pictures and extraordinary image quality,
    any suggestions which one is best for me?

    • Erica?

      Thanks for reading. I understand your quandary. If you live in the US or Canada I’d strongly recommend renting both cameras before making your decision. I’ve rented from both and and both are well respected outfits. I also suggest renting the same lens to try with both cameras. The 5D2 is my personal choice due to the full frame sensor and incredible resolution, but every photographer is different. It really depends upon what type of photography you do.


  92. I tried out the 7D last weekend with a family and was soooooo dissapointed in how the focus was off on so many pics. There were children and manyof the shots were blurred or the focus was off course. Now im testing the 5D. Maybe the 19 pts are getting confused on my actual focus

    • Connie,

      There have been some reports of AF issues with the 7D but honestly, there are issues reported with almost every new camera these days.


  93. Jeff i would like to recomended that camera buy between the 7 D or the 5D mark II yo mas that everything i photographs of landscapes and people, as well as i like to take macros, Thank your views.
    I dont speak English very good I hope that you undertand me

    • Henry,

      The 5D Mark II, with its full frame sensor would be a better camera for landscape and portrait photography than the 7D in my opinion.


  94. Hi Jeff,

    Great blog. Have spent the last hour reading through it all! My dilemma is the same as most – 5dm2 or 7d?

    I work as a newspaper photographer and currently use a 1D mII (owned by my employer) and have a 40D of my own. Admittedly, the 40D has had limited use as I much prefer the 1D.
    Now, I find myself looking to upgrade the 40D to a camera which can shoot nightime bullriding, night sports on poorly lit fields, kick-boxing without a lot of noise. However I still shoot a lot of sport.

    My first line of thinking is the 5dmII would be great for all the things the 1DmII is limited by (Max ISO 1600, 1.3x sensor, 10mp) but then the features of the 7d; built in flash remote and the improved HD video recording is also a big drawcard as people look to the internet for news rather than traditional newspapers.

    Also, how does the ISO levels of the 5dmII compare to the 7d? Is there minimal difference in shooting the same subject at the same ISO level? If so, perhaps the 7d is the way to go.

    My colleagues are no help…. their opinion is divided 50/50!!!!

    In a perfect world, my employer would buy me the new 1dmIV and I would buy the 5d as my own! But there was this thing called GFC that pretty much slashed the photographic department’s budget!

    Also, I do some portrait photography on the side and plan to get into wedding photography in the near future.

    I don’t have access to rental companies in regional Australia, so any advice would be appreciated. What a TOUGH decision!


    • Megan,

      Thanks for reading. It really comes down to a decision between noise and auto-focus / speed in my opinion. The 5D2 offers incredible high ISO (low noise) performance while the new 7D offers much (MUCH) better AF and speed. There is no single Canon camera that offers both unless you look at the 1D3 or 1D4. Low light sports photography really requires top of the line gear. You might be better off looking for a used 1D3 or 1D2N.


  95. Jeff quisiera que me recomendaras que camara comprar entre la 7 D o la 5D mark II yo mas que todo tomo fotografias de paisajes y personas, como tambien me gusta tomar macros, agradeceria tu opinión

  96. Hi Jeff, really nice to read about your article, it’s quite clear my concern now. However, i want to have your suggestion.

    My budget is only 3000$ spending on camera, last time i used all of my money to buy the new computer for my design works. I’m going to get 7D next month, but i’m not sure a about lens..i love prime lens so i plan to buy 50 1.4 and 135L F2.

    Have you ever shot 135L F2 on crop sensor ? Because i love this lens after using it on my friend’s 5D, amazing lens,sharpness,bokeh,build quality…

    135×1.6= 216mm, what do you think ? Can it works well with portrait photograph on 7D – Coz i love this lens, i don’t know why but should i switch to the old 5D which has FF.

    • Lonny,

      Thanks for reading. The EF 135mm is a very nice lens for portrait work on a full frame camera but may be a bit too long for a crop body. It really depends upon how you light the subject and your shooting style. As I’ve told most other folks, I’d suggest renting before buying if at all possible.


      • Thanks, now i’m looking back to the 40D with 35L F1.4 and 135L F.2, to me, this is a great combo 🙂

        I’ve read that 7D has some ghost problems with its system and canon still try to fix this soon. Perhaps, 40D still works well in my opinion, but i still hate 40D’s screen, lolz

  97. Thanks for the comparison, and for the conclusion! I’m going to take your advice and spend far less time searching for new products on my Macbook and more time getting familiar with the strengths of what I have currently. Once my skill becomes limited by the gear, I’ll worry more about the next upgrade… That said, I’d love to have a 5D2 to compliment my crop sensor!

  98. Hi Jeff.
    Thanks for starting this blog. So useful!
    Like everyone else here, I’m confused about which camera to upgrade to.
    I currently use the 400D (lenses – 28-70mm 2.8L & 35mm 1.4L) and my main subject matter is concert photography. My issue that this is low light action photography! I need great low light ability, with minimal noise, fast and accurate low light focusing (for those times that manual is impossible) fast enough frames per second (lights and artists can move quickly so to get a useable combination of light & pose sometimes you need a continuous burst – strobes for example can demand this requirement. I’m currently really struggling!
    Could I trouble you for your thoughts on which would work best for me? To me it seems as those a blend of the 7D and 5DMKII would be perfect. If I were to go for one…which would you suggest? Alternatively, would you say that it wouldnt be worth going for either and that I should perhaps save up for a 1 series?
    Very Confused Tara

    • Tara,

      Thanks for reading. I don’t honestly know how to answer your question since I’ve never shot a concert. As I’ve said to other folks, I recommend renting both cameras to see which fits your type of photography better. The new 1D Mark IV is also another option if you have the money.


  99. Jeff…

    I’m writing to you once more in search of reassurrance!!

    I’m being swayed toward the Nikon D700 as I’ve been told their lenses are far superior to Canon’s and many pro’s are trading in their Canon gear!! What’s your take on that?

    The Nikons have Pro lenses made of real glass and metal inside… I’ve hears they are ‘crazy’ lenses unmatched by Canon. Their low light feature is far superior too and I think many of the Nikon bodies have dual card slots for those who worry about card failure!! Images can be saved as a RAW and an identical copy as JPEG.

    The file sizes and pixels are reduced on the D700 but unless we’re printing bigger than A3 it really shouldn’t matter.

    The D700 is heavier than the 5D2 and they don’t have a 24-105mm Pro lens. I was told that Canon’s Pro 200-400 lens sucks in alot of air and risks dust on the sensor… is that true or just sales talk?

    Look forward to hearing your views on these points.


    • Sarah,

      Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Both Canon and Nikon use the same technology in making their lenses and the lens elements are either glass or fluorite (you can google it). Both brands sell consumer grade and professional grade lenses and both brands offer lenses that are tack sharp. I have shot with both brands and their lenses are quite similar in construction and quality.

      The Nikon D700 is a fine camera and does offer very good low light performance. It’s 12 MP sensor also provides excellent image quality and low noise. It also offers a very accurate and up-to-date auto-focus system. However, the Canon 5D Mark II offers even better image quality with its 21 MP sensor as well as wonderful low light (low noise at higher ISO settings) performance. It’s AF system is NOT as modern or as accurate as the AF system on the D700 however.

      Dual card slots are a very nice feature and were first offered by Canon in their 1D series cameras. However, you don’t need two CF cards to record RAW + JPEG images. All current Canon and Nikon DSLRs can write both formats at the same time.

      The Canon Ef 200-400mm zoom lens is a “push-pull” design which can pull air into the lens during zooming. The lens does NOT pull air into the camera body anymore than any other lens would. I personally don’t like the push-pull zoom design and have only used the Ef 200-400mm lens a few times. I much prefer my EF 300mm lens used with a 1.4x extender.

      In general, both Canon and Nikon offer great DSLR cameras and the competition between these two firms is ongoing and very healthy for the market. Yes, many professional photographers have moved from Canon (the world’s market share leader) to Nikon and other brands just as many have moved from other brands to Canon. No two DSLR cameras offer exactly the same features and this makes direct comparisons very difficult. My best advice is to rent each DSLR model before making your decision and take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt!

  100. Hi Jeff,

    Follow up question:

    Or should I just wait for the next Canon dlsr that combines the best of 5DMII and 7D (if that is all possible)

    Thanks again,

    • Josie,

      Thanks for reading. I’d recommend renting each camera for a week before making your decision if money is no object. Your EF-S series lenses will not work on the 5D Mark II but all your existing lenses will work on the new 7D.

      As for waiting for Canon to bring out a camera that combines the best features of the 5D Mark II with the 7D, they just did (almost) in the new 1D Mark IV which sells for $5000 (USD). Their 1Ds Mark III also performs as well as the 5D2 and the 7D but it retails for $7000 (USD).


      • Hi Jeff,

        Thanks for your advise. Unfortunately, I do not know if we have camera rentals in my country.

        Given that my existing lenses work with 7D but I would love a 5DMII, would you recommend selling my existing set up and go for 5DMII? If I should have just 2 lenses, which would you recommend? I love to travel and weight is an issue. That’s the reason why I bought the EFS 18-200 lens and seldom change. But the 350D is getting frustrating for me now.


        • Josie,

          If you can afford the price, the new 5D2 is an excellent choice with it’s 21MP full-frame sensor. My choice for a general purpose lens to use with the 5D2 is the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. The lens offers very good image quality, sharpness and contrast. It focuses very quickly and quietly and also offers full-time manual focus. When used with the 5D2 it makes a great landscape, portrait and travel lens. This is the combination that I shoot with most often.


  101. Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for a wonderful review and patiently answering the questions. I gathered, from reading top to bottom, that 5DMII is best for landscape & portraits while the 7D is best for action shots.

    I’m still using my very first dslr, the 350D with EFS18-200 lens attached, and would like to upgrade. My current lens include the kit EFS18-55 and EF 50mm 1.8.

    I love to shoot travel and landscape with the occasional portraits and street shots. But most recently, I’m running around trying to capture the antics of a 12 month old nephew and have taken an interest in nude photography.

    I thought the 7D would be perfect given the price, added features and video capability but the 5DMII seemed to be what I need.

    Given my current subjects to shoot, which body would you choose and would my current crop of lens be useful?

    Thank you for your time.


  102. Hey Jeff,

    The majority of my work is wedding photography, I shoot alot of indoor and outdoor pics. I am having a very difficult time picking between the 5dmarkii and the 7d. My main concern is the quality and which of the two do you feel would work better in line of work,

    Thank you

  103. Hey Jeff!

    What do you think would be the best lens for the 7d…to shoot people in motion (active lifestyle stuff)?


  104. I do mainly medical photography using primarily a 50mm and 100mm macro lens with ring flash. Trying to decide between 5D Markii vs 7D. Any thoughts on this. The ability to shoot video with same camera is a hugh plus. If money weren’t the object, which camera would work best?

    • Sorry, I should’ve added that the anti-dust system in the D300s as per the cameralabs review is set to clean the lens at startup and shutdown.

  105. Thanks for the input.

    Wasn’t aware of the concerns with the D300. Would you reckon those don’t feature as issues with the D300s ?

    Had a play with the D300s and felt it was more rugged than the 7D which is undoubtedly solid.

    The 5D2, i’d like to not stretch the budget as it’s my first Dslr and keen to choose between the 7D and the D300s.


    • J,

      I’m not sure if Nikon has added an anti-dust system to the new D300s or not but lens costs are always an issue when buying Nikon gear.


  106. Hi Jeff

    Nice article.

    I’ve read quite a lot of reviews and have checked out the 7D, 50D and the Nikon D90.

    the new viewfinder on the 7D is just a dream for those of us who wear glasses and both the Canon’s felt good in the hands unlike the plasticky rubbery D90. I’m keen to get the 7D but my only concern is that most people seem to advocate Nikon’s low light capabilities over Canon’s offerings and unlike most on this post, this will be my first DSLR but am hoping to get it right as i tend to hold on to my cameras for a number of years and will need a fast camera that does well to take night and low light shots besides the general portraits, landscapes, et al.

    Would you be kind and comment what you would personally go for amongst the three or even include the D300s? (haven’t checked d300s)

    • J,

      I’ve used the Canon 50D, Canon 5D2 and Nikon D300 in the past year and really prefer the 5D2 for landscape photography.

      The D300 was a very good camera but had two issues in my opinion; sensor dust and lens cost. The D300’s sensor seemed to attract dust like a magnet and needed to be cleaned after every use. Also, the cost of Nikon lenses seem to be much greater than similar lenses offered by Canon.

      The 50D was a great camera for wildlife or outdoor sports (air racing, car racing) photography but the low light (high ISO) performance was really poor. I really got tired of all the noise present in images taken at only ISO 400 and higher. It looks like the new 7D should provide better high ISO performance but only time will tell.

      The new 5D2 offers excellent image quality and noise free high ISO capabilities but it lacks a moderns AF system and burst mode. For me, it’s the best choice currently on the market for under $3000.


  107. I might end up just doing what I didn’t want to do all these months my baby has been around: buying a Nikon D90 year-old technology). Because the Canon 7D doesn’t seem to be “amazing” for portraits and it is not available anywhere (even on Amazon). I heard terrible things about noise and too much noise reduction (softness) on Canon T1i pictures. Buy the time I buy the 18-135mm lens that would come with the 7D out of the box + a T1i, I am paying $1000.

    The D90 is a bigger sensor, bigger pixels, etc. less noise and more semi-pro than the Canon T1i and half the price of the Canon 7D (which again, is not in stores).

    And my daughter is about to turn 8 months old and I am missing the good quality pictures because I have been taking them with my old Nikon D40 and a 18-200mm lens…

    It just sucks that I don’t want to take ONE more picture at the D40 quality and she keeps growing and now I will need to buy what I should have bought to start with: a D90…

    Is this a good solution?


  108. Hi Jeff – wow, lots of great info here – thank you!

    My question: I am going to seriously get into baby/family portraiture. The 5DII is quite pricey – so I think I am debating between an old 5D or the 7D. I’m thinking the auto focus and frames per second on the 7D would be an asset considering how fast little ones move, but I know the image quality on the 5D is amazing.

    I think I am leaning towards the 5D, so then another question is: is it worth the additional investment to get the 5DII? Or should I get an old 5D now, and upgrade when a newer model comes out – do you know how soon the 5DII will be replaced?

    Thank you.

    • Jennifer,

      Thanks for reading. For portrait work I personally feel the new 5D2 is unbeatable. The image quality and print quality I’ve seen from the 5D2 are quite remarkable compared to any other Canon camera except the 1Ds. In my opinion the 7D is geared toward sports and wildlife shooters that need the “reach” provided by the 7D’s 1.6x FOVCF (field of view crop factor) and the advantages of the new AF system and faster frame rate. For portrait work the 5D2’s 3 fps is more than fast enough and the 21MP sensor provides RAW files that can printed straight at 24 x 36″. If you can afford the 5D2 it’s a great camera and I don’t look for a replacement for several years. If the price tag is just too steep then look at the original 5D (used or refurbished by Canon).


  109. I’ve been shooting with an XTi [Rebel] and the 40D. What’s been killing me is low light. Did a wedding, perfect shot [my bad] I was using my 24/105L lens, 1600ISO and it turned out so grainy I almost cried. I hate Noise! I can’t afford to blow shots like that due to sensors or pixels. The 7D appears to be a great camera. But unless I get one for a Xmas present I’m going to get the 5D2. From what I’ve seen the 5D2 is waaaaaay worth the exta $1000.00. As I already have two L-Lens I won’t have to buy another for awhile unless I get stupid. And as someone said earlier you can use other lens, L’s are just that much better.

  110. Jeff, your reply to Enzo was interesting! Which EF-L Series lens would you recommend to put onto my Rebel as a backup once I have the 5D2 complete with 24-105mm kit?

    As the 24-105mm is an f4, should I get an f2.8 lens? Would the f stop be affected due to the fact thatthe Rebel is not full-frame? I’m wondering if I’m likely to miss the 55-250 EF-S lens?!

    Sarah 🙂

    • Sarah,

      I used the EF 17-40mm f/4L with my original digital rebel with great results but it really depends upon what focal lengths are most useful for you. If you are looking for a medium telephoto zoom the 70-200mm zoom’s are superb.


  111. The option of 24p and 60p on the 7d are amazing if you shoot video. I had the 5d–loved it but sold it because I am a documentary filmmaker and now I can increase my versatility. The 7d will allow me to carry one camera instead of two and that’s good because some of the places I shoot are…uh, rather hard to get to.

    Thanks for the post. Great stuff. I know video is not a concern for many but as multimedia moves online, it might an extra option for people to consider.

  112. It’s just that all this conversation about “crop factor”, small vs. full frame sensors and that the 7D is better for wildlife/sports make me think that portraits done with it would suck if compared to the 5DMII portraits…

    What does it mean that the T1i is for “consumers”. I mean in terms of picture quality, sharpness.. is it worse than the 7D or 5DMII?

    Thanks for the reply.

    • Enzo,

      All it means is the camera is designed for consumers rather than professionals. There is a difference is materials of construction, weather sealing, viewfinder, etc. In terms of image quality, it’s not just the camera that matters. In fact, I’d say the lens is the single largest factor in image quality. I shot with the original Digital Rebel and produced very sharp shots using an L Series lens. I’ve also shot with my 5D2 and produced less sharp shots with my non-L EF 28mm lens. This is just my opinion but I’d rank the 5D2 ‘s sensor as the best Canon currently offers so if you can afford it, it’s a great camera when used with a good lens. However, you can still get great shots with any modern DSLR camera offered by Canon today.


  113. Thank you Jeff,

    I think i’m going to spend out and get the canon 5D Mark 11. Will let you know how i get on!

    You’ve been most helpful 🙂

  114. Hi.

    I am mostly interested in taking (as) professional-looking pictures (as possible) of my 8 month old daughter. I have been taking all of her pictures with a Nikon D40 and I am afraid it is getting too old and only has 6.1MP.

    I am ready to upgrade as I feel bad I’ve been taking pictures of her first months with the D40.

    Some casual video would also be a nice-to-have. But I mainly need sharp, good-looking photos.

    Not sure if I get the Canon 7D or the Canon T1i for half the price.

    Please advise.

    • Enzo,

      Thanks for reading. The Canon T1i is a great camera for consumers. The new 7D is really designed for sports or wildlife photography. Both cameras would work well in your situation so it really depends upon how much money you want to spedn.


  115. Hi Jeff,

    Firstly i have to say, you have been a great help already!

    I have at the moment been using canon 450D. I do mainly studio portraits from home as a hobby, but just starting to get a little paid work for my efforts!

    I also work in Theatre and often get the chance to do photograph shows. This is where i really get frustrated with the results with my 450D When having to use 1600 ISO to stand a chance of getting a shot, the noise levels are terrible and some shots i can’t even get as the light is so low!

    But having spoken to people in the past have said to me theres no point in getting a camera with higher ISO as the pictures won’t be worth looking at?

    I haven’t got money to through around…but would happily spend money on 5D mark 11 if it was a much better quality image at higher ISO.

    Sorry you probably feel like you have answered the same question a hundred times already, but really would value your opinion.

    Thank you


    • Donna,

      Thanks for reading. The 5D2 has excellent low light performance in my opinion up to ISO 1600, which is as far as I’ve gone. The other camera I’ve used with good low light performance is the EOS 40D with its 10 MP sensor. I always found the 40D’s high ISO images to be much less noisy than the 50D. I’ve also heard that the original 5D was a great low light camera.


  116. Hey, how’s it going Jeff. Great forum’s been generated here.

    So, here’s my situation: I’ve been working with as assistant to ad photographers since 2006, after i’ve graduated in Advertising. A few years ago I bought a Canon Rebel XT, second hand. Even though it’s helped me understand digital photography better and develop as a photographer, I’ve never been able to rely on it for real jobs. That kept me from trying to work by myself, even in events and stuff, cuz focus was iffy, wouldn’t let me click, anyway you can imagine the range of problems and old second hand camera can offer you.

    Anyway, after working as assistant in Australia for a year, I’m going to live in Barcelona soon and look for jobs as assistant there. Even though I wanna become an advertising photographer in the future, for now this camera is gonna be used to guarantee a living (if those jobs don’t appear) by shooting anything that comes up (parties, events and whatever else) – and also everyday shots, for pleasure. So, this new 7D, for the price difference seems pretty good, huh? And my budget is small, so I need to buy a lens that can cover me well for all purposes.

    What can you tell me about that? I have a friend coming from USA and he could bring me one, so, no testing, I’d have to choose and ask.

    BTW, the video feature seems pretty nice and I’d certainly try to shoot and edit some videos if I buy that camera, but it’s not my main concern for now.

    Hope you have the time to gimme some light.


    • Henrique,

      Thanks for reading. I see the new 7D as more of a sports camera with it’s new AF system and APS-C sensor. For more general commercial work you might be better off getting a refurbished 5D (original) and a good L series zoom like the EF 24-105mm. I think you like the image quality and low light characteristics of the 5D better than the new 7D. If you do decide on a crop body camera, then the 40D is a great choice for low light shooting. I’ve had great luck with my 40D for thousands of shots.


  117. Jeff
    I am a U/W photogragher and am finally ready to retire my Nikonos system( hard to compete with those that can take a bizillon photos for zero cost). I was about to pull the trigger on the Canon 5d MKII but the 7d has given me pause. Which will be better for wide angle flash work U/W? I need to get a good system that I will not be wishing to change out next week as the overall cost for U/W gear is multiplied by a factor of at least 3 ( housings strobes ect).


    • Roger,

      Thanks for reading. I have a good friend that dives and we often talk about the relative expense of U/W photography. One of the things he explained was just how bad the lighting usually is, even with U/W flash. Right now you really can’t beat the high ISO performance of the 5D2. I’ve seen images at ISO 1600 that I would swear were taken at ISO 400. If you can find a good quality housing then I’d think the 5D2 would be a great U/W camera.


  118. Hi Jeff!

    I’m in need of some advice. I’ve never owned a DSLR but photography is my passion and only now am I financially capable of buying a camera. I really want a Mark II but was wondering for never owning a DSLR would the Mark II be too daunting?


    • Noelle,

      Thanks for reading. The Canon 5D2 is no more daunting than any other Canon DSLR camera. The basic operation, controls and menu system are very similar in all Canon models. Learning to use the 5D2 is no more difficult than learning to use 50D, 500D or 1000D. If you have the money I recommend buying the best camera you can afford rather than buying a less expensive model and then “trading up” several times as most folks do. Spend the $2700 once rather than $500 for the 1000D, then $800 for the 500D, then $1700 for the new 7D.


  119. Hello- so I am also considering between the 5DMKII and 7D. For the past year I’ve been eyeing the 5D2 kit, but the 7D looks more appealing to me, as far as feature set. The big question of course is, “What do the files looks like?” If the files are noisy on the 7D, then forget it, 5D2 all the way. But, if the files looks stellar enough, or very close to the 5D2, then I’m all over the 7D. I’m mainly a photographer, but I do a lot of video and multimedia, and the video features in the 7D are amazing, more so than the 5D2! If I get the 7D, I plan on also buying the 16-35 2.8 II, which will be a focal length of 26-54, ideal for what I shoot. So torn right now, Luminous landscapes had a review, but they declined to state the image quality of the 7D, because it was a beta model and I guess the raw images didn’t look so hot… We’ll see, all of my photo friends think I’m nuts for leaning towards the 7D over the 5D2, but I know what I want and need. Frankly, I’m not that thrilled with the 24-105, too slow, too big, it’s ok, not my first choice… Just have to wait and see what the files look like in the next couple of weeks, then I’ll make my move! BTW- let’s not forget, Nikon has some big releases coming this October also!

  120. Hi Jeff

    I have to say I’m very impressed with your review and answers to all of our questions. I’ve read everything from top to bottom, and you convinced me that 5dm2 is a great camera for what I do(baby/ family photography, kindly check my site for an idea).
    Now my question, what non Canon lenses can you recommend for the 5dm2? So far I have a Tamron 17-50 2.8(I hate to give this up if ever I purchase the 5dm2..this glass is outstanding!!!)? I am still half hearted up to this point because I really love the Tamron, but if there’s such an equivalent for FF sensor without having to break the bank I wouldn’t think twice to get the 5dm2.
    Any thoughts will be appreciated! I sincerely love this forum!

    • Michelle,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words. There are so many excellent Canon lenses it’s hard to choose. I use Canon’s EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM for landscape, nature, commercial and my occasional portrait work. The focal length range of this zoom makes it a great general purpose lens and the image quality and image stabilization and superb. Many folks also like the EF 24-70 f/2.8 USM for a faster lens but I prefer a lens with image stabilization and a longer zoom range.

      I recommend renting a lens before buying it. The only real way to evaluate a lens is by using it.


  121. Hi Jeff,

    My husband just bought me the 5D Mark II for my birthday – a long awaited upgrade from my ol’ original Canon DSLR Rebel. But now with the soon-to-be released 7D, I’m not sure if I should be thrilled or if I should exchange it and save a bundle.

    I’m very much a novice, but looking to get more professional (in a mother-circle type of way). That said, I mostly take photos of people, specifically kids. Portrait style & candid, mostly outdoors as I don’t have a studo.

    All that said, which model would you recommend??

    • Alissa,

      Wow, what a great birthday present. I personally think the new 5D2 is the best DSLR that Canon’s ever made. It’s a wonderful camera for “people” photography.


    • Marvin,

      Thanks for reading. I didn’t mean to be “heavy handed” in my post but the differences between a full frame sensor and an APS-C size sensor are significant.


  122. Gabriel,
    I thought I’d put my 2 cents in. I personally have a rumpler “Whickey and Cox” bag for my camera equipment. My own opinion is to steer away from the big name camera bags as it screams for attention. My crumpler bag had my Canon EOS 400D, 17-85 Lens, 70-300 lens, laptop, filters etc and still had some room left (which I now have a gorillapod in there too). It is a “backpack” style bag and cannot be opened when you have it on your back (a positive for me, but some see it as awkward when you want to get your stuff out). It is also small enough though to be used as carry on luggage.

    Thanks so much for what you have written here. I saw the info on the 7D and became excited with it and its price, but am still now thinging of the 5D MK2. I would love to get into paid photograpy and main interests with it are landscape and travel, but getting better at portrait with a group I am currently in.


  123. Hello Jeff,

    This is the best review and forum ever! Very useful! 🙂

    I found this page as most of the people here, looking for the best possible advice to choose between the 5D Mk II and the 7D.

    After having read the review and all the comments, my conclusion is that the 5D Mk II is the better camera of the two, but the 7D is also brilliant and $1000 cheaper. So it is a very hard decision to make.

    As image quality is very important to me, I think I am going to get the 5D Mk II. However, I am not a professional photographer so I wanted to ask you for advice regarding lenses for this camera (since you have one):

    – I am planning to get the lens kit which comes with the 24-105mm f/4L.

    – I want to get the Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM Zoom Lens For Canon, for wide angle shots.

    – I also want to get the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, which I was thinking to use for portraits.

    Do you think that the Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM are a good addition for the 5D Mk II (considering that my budget is limited)? Do you think this is a good idea?

    Also, the other big doubt I have is that I am not sure which bag to get for this camera, because I will also need to carry my laptop everywhere for image processing.

    Do you think that the Lowepro Backpack Computrekker Plus is a good choice? It seems a bit heavy and bulky to carry inside a plane. If you have any suggestions for a bag for the 5D Mk II and a 17″ laptop, that would be greatly appeciated too.

    Many thanks for the fantastic review!


    • Gabriel,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words.

      Let’s see if I can answer your questions. The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a wonderful lens and I shoot with it almost every day. I’ve never used the Sigma lens so I can’t really offer any advice. The EF 50mm is a great general purpose prime lens but a bit too short for portraits in my opinion. I prefer an 85mm lens for portrait work. As for camera bags, I’ve bought and tried dozens of different bags and always come back to my 30 year old favorite Domke F-2 shoulder bag. I don’t use a photo backpack but I do use a tripod backpack made by Manfrotto when hiking. I use it to carry my tripod and water. I always carry my camera using a BlackRapid R-Strap.

      Let m know if I missed any questions.


  124. Wow!! Slightly out of budget right now but impressive all the same. Will put it on my ‘wish list’. Thanks!!

  125. Hi Jeff!

    Is there any particular tripod you’d recommend for the 5DMK2?

    I bought a Manfrotto (75b I think) for travelling as it weighs 1kg. I read in a magazine that it was good. But it seems to be for camcorders and compacts!!! It just about holds the weight of a 450d…

    But I’ll need a better one for the weight of the 5d2 and the 580EX flash. Hope to hear from you if you can help. Thanks!!

    • Sarah,

      I use Gitzo’s GT1541T Traveller tripod legs with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR ball head. Gitzo tripod legs are not cheap but they will last almost forever. The RRS ball heads are the best design and lightest weight I’ve ever used. You can find out more by clicking on the equipment links on my Colophon page.


  126. Hi Jeff,

    I am also a Canon 20D owner who has been looking to upgrade to the 5D MKII. I have a difficult decision to make. Go with a 7D with the much improved focusing system or stay with the original plan of the 5D MKII. I will keep my 20D as a back up for the time being. It still works well even after four years of constant use.

    My main focus is nature photography/landscapes, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and macro work. I shoot with the Canon EF100-400mm L lens or birding, dragonflies & butterflies. I also shoot with the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro for close up and macro. I shoot the occasional bird in flight shot, but mostly perched birds in natural landscapes.

    I would like to possibly sell my work and the FF 5D MKII, has the edge right now.

    My problem is both bodies suit my various needs but can only get one at this time. I need an opinion on the pros and cons of each body toward my specific needs. Heavily leaning 5D toward MKII.

    Thanks, Janet

    • Janet,

      Thanks for reading. From your photographic interests it looks like the 5D2 would be a great camera. Again, my best advice is to rent a 5D2 for a week and see how you like it. The folks at and have the 5D2 available to rent.


  127. I’m trying to decide between the 7d and 5dm2. I do mostly wedding photography and portraits. What’s your recommendation. I was pretty much sold to 5dm2 until the 7d came out and it’s $1000 cheaper. 50d will be my back up. Thanks…

    • Maria,

      Thanks for reading. I’ll tell you exactly what I tell everyone that asks this question. The choice between the 5D2 and new 7D really depends upon what type of work you need it for. I personally think the 5D2 is a superb camera for wedding and portrait photographers with its 21 MP full frame sensor and very clean (no noise) high ISO capabilities. My best advice is to rent a 5D2 for a week and see how you like it.


  128. Hi Jeff, thank goodness for people like you who seem willing to be bombarded by confused upgraders like me! I have a part-time professional photography business shooting a few weddings a year, event photography, and studio work. Trouble is, I also love taking images of Cyprus and other places I visit, and find myself being asked to be the photographer for several youth soccer teams. I have been very happy with my 30D up till now and use my G10 as my travelling companion and backup. While the 30D has served the sports and general work well, I have always thought that it lacked something in the studio and at weddings. I have a Sigma DC 18-50 2.8, DG 70-200 2.8, Canon 85 1.8 and 135 2L. Up till now I thought I would upgrade to the 5D2 and the 24-105, but now I’m wondering whether the 7D would be a more sensible route… mainly due to my sports photography. Any help much appreciated!

    • Stephen,

      Thanks for reading. To be quite honest, I think the 5D2 is probably the best “overall” DSLR that Canon currently offers in terms of technology and value. The 21 MP full frame sensor is superb and the camera handles studio, portrait, wedding and landscape photography just as well as any of Canon’s 1D series. The only thing it lacks is a good “action” oriented auto focus system and the speed in frames per second to capture that action consistently. I shoot with the 5D2 and the 24-105mm zoom almost 90% of the time. It’s a great combination for my own studio and on-location “commercial” work (oilfield product and facility photography) and my weekend landscape and nature work.

      But it’s not as good a wildlife camera as my previous 40D or 50D was and I suspect the 7D will be even better. My only concern about the 7D is the “potential” for noise in an APS-C size sensor with 18 MP. That’s almost the same resolution as the 5D2 on a sensor 60% smaller. We’ll have to wait for the 7D’s release to see if Canon has performed some technological magic to prevent noise in a camera with this pixel density.

    • David,

      I can’t really comment on the 7D but the image quality difference between the 50D and 5D2 is huge. I’ve used both cameras for thousands of shots and the differences between the APS-C and full frames sensor is very to see. The brand new sensor in the 7D may close the gap but I doubt it will equal the 5D2.


  129. Thanks for a great review. Doesn’t make my upgrade decision any easier 🙂

    I’ve been shooting a 20D since, well since they came out and have been thinking of upgrading for the past year! To 50D or wait for the 7D? That is the question. I’ll just have to get my hands on both and do some ‘test driving’

    • Joyce,

      Thanks for reading. It’s never an easy decision to make when looking at new DSLR models. You idea to “test drive” both sounds like a good plan.


  130. I’m thinking of upgrading my 450D and was set on the 5D mark II but the 7D has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works. I mainly use the EFS-10-22 for wide angle car shots, quite a bit of HDR work on Hot Rods which I make a modest income on, but thought that investing in a F/F sensor set up with wide angle glass might give extra clarity and pop I’m after.
    After seeing the specs of the 7D (+/- 5 AEB for HDR shot bracketing is very compelling) combined with the fact I can still use my EFS-10-22. I’m just worried that the 7D isn’t going to give the same clarity and quality the 5D II would.
    Do you have any thoughts on how the 5D II and 7D would compare on overall image quality for HDR? Both would be an improvement on the 450D, but which way to jump….

    • Honez,

      Thanks for reading and for your comments. Deciding which camera is right for you depends upon what you like to shoot. The 5D2 is a superb travel and landscape camera but not well suite for wildlife or sports photography. The new 7D seems to be aimed squarely at sports and wildlife shooters.


  131. Sony alpha 850, full-frame for $1999 (body only). What I want to know is how the 7D compares to that.

  132. I have to agree with Jeff. I ran a few of the 3200 iso shots through Neat Image and the result was amazingly better than images I have done that were shot with the 50D @ the same iso. They may require a little noise reduction at high iso but, that is what Actions in PS are for. 🙂

  133. Jeff,

    — from Nico’s post —

    Now I’ve been browsing through all the sample shots from the beta models of the 7D, and I have to say I am quite disappointed. These shots were taken by professionals who know how to take a picture – but the images look the same, or on higher f-stops even worse, than what comes out of a 40D or 50D.

    Is this true?

    Thank you!

    • David,

      All the test shots posted by Canon on their US and Europe sites look very good to me. I’m not sure what images Nico is referring to so it’s hard to judge.


  134. Hi Jeff,

    I wanted to upgrade from the 450D and was looking for the 5D mark II, the 50D or the 7D. A difficult decision. I had doubts about loosing the crop factor (I used mostly the 24-105, and never had to change the lense), but was also looking for the best image quality. Your article was helping me very much! I do no sport or nature photography, so the 5D mark II would be the best choice. I’ve ordered one and am looking forward to take pictures. Thanks!!

  135. Hello again Jeff…

    Thanks for your reply! You are a mine of useful information and I plan to keep your details handy, thank you!!

    Yes, flight attendant and travel photography do go well together, especially as I fly on alternate months only and have lots of time to fly the globe on airline concessions as a photographer. Sadly however I am lacking a partner in crime… in an ideal world I’d have a dashing Pro Photographer joining me on my trips, flying First Class of course!! I’ll work on that one but in the meantime I shall concentrate on my forthcoming purchase, the 5D2.

  136. Hi Jeff,

    I’m in a similar position to Alan, trying to upgrade from a 450D (also known as the XSi). I work as a flight attendant and want to get into Portrait and Wedding Photography, I also enjoy Landscape, Travel and Street Life but only rarely get the chance to shoot Wildlife. I find the 450D doesn’t give me consistently ‘pin sharp’ images and I am fed up of changing lenses: I have 18-55mm and 55-250mm, both EF-S IS.

    I have received a small I heritance and would like to invest it to kick start my ‘Pro’ career… I’m interested in selling stock images from my travels. I was thinking of getting a 5DMKII with L Series lenses (any suggestions?) and keeping the 450D as a backup/holiday camera. Also thinking of selling my current lenses and getting an 18-200mm EF-S IS.

    Having read your interesting blog I’m now unsure… Is the 7D better? Is there going to be a 5DMKIV out soon? Please help this ambitious amateur out if you can. Thanks. x

    • Sarah,

      Thanks for reading and for your comments. Congratulations on your decision to pursue your love of photography. I honestly can’t think of a better joint career than as a flight attendant and travel photographer. In my opinion, the 5D2 is a much better camera for travel photography and this opinion seems to be shared by a number of well known travel photographers like David duChemin, Matt Brandon and Gavin Gough. I’ve found the EF 24-105mm f/4L to be a great general purpose lens on the 5D2. The 24mm is wide enough for landscape and nature work and the 105mm is nice for environmental portraits. The image stabilization in this lens is superb and coupled with the high ISO capabilities of the 5D2, you’ve got a winning combo for travel photography. My personal decision was to ditch both my 50D and 40D bodies for the 5D2 and to use the G10 as a back-up. No, I don’t think the 5D2 will be replaced anytime soon.


  137. I am super confused as to which should be my next camera! I am a family photographer and shoot both studio and outdoors, portraits and action. I was looking at the new 5DMII but now the 7D has come out. I have always shot with the 5D and have a 40D as backup. I just love my 5D so much that I want something equivalent or better. My 40D in the studio I just am not crazy about and well I just love my 5D like I said. What would be your advise? Thanks in advance for your time.

    • B,

      Thanks for reading. I personally believe that the 5D2 is the best studio and portrait camera that Canon has ever made including the 1D series. The high resolution full frame sensor is incredible and the detail you can capture is hard to believe. I use mine for both commercial (studio and location) work as well as my passion, landscape photography. I previously owned and shot with both the 40D and 50D bodies and always found the 40D to provide better image quality. For me, the 50D and new 7D are sports cameras with excellent resolution and speed but not the best noise characteristics. Once you’ve used a full frame DSLR it’s hard to go back to a crop body, no matter how high the resolution is.


  138. Thanks for the info! I have decided on the 7D and 300 f/4. I already have a 100 macro…now just what to get to cover 100 and under without breaking the bank. Problem is I am addicted to “L” lenes just from looking at images on the net. 🙂

    • Just can’t decide on which lens to add to round out the kit. Looking at adding a 24-105 f/4 L. I have the kit 18-55 IS. Don’t use it much so can’t see dropping 1K on 17-55 2.8. Figure if I need a wider lens I can always get one in the future. Until then just use the kit lens as it gives okay IQ and with the 7D I can push the ISO much higher for indoor stuff. Does this thinking make sense to you? Not asking you to make up my mind for me; just if my logic sounds solid.

    • Alan,

      The EF-S 17-55mm is a superb wide angle zoom with image quality every bit as good as an “L” series lens. If that’s too much to spend look at the EF 17-40mm zoom. It’s Canon’s most popular wide-angle zoom.


  139. Man, what to do? First off thanks for the info! Very informative. I am so stuck 😦 I like to shoot wild life, Macro and street. Am just now getting involved in events such as parties and family reunions etc. I now have an XSi and it does a fair job. I am trying to decide between the 7D and 5D Mark II. Seems like I need both, the 5DMII for people, street and events and the 7D for wildlife and Macro. I enjoy it all. Even though the XSi is an entry DSLR maybe I could use it for Wildlife with the “L” glass and get nice photos and get the 5DM2 for all the other stuff. Here is my thinking. Please let me know what how it looks to you.

    Purchase 5DMarkII with kit lens, a 70-200 f/4 IS L (I already have a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro) and keep the XSI. Sell the ef-s 55-250 IS and the 18-55 IS and use the $ to get a 1.4 teleconverter. Does this sound like a good all around set up or would the 7D with the above lenses plus a UWA lens be a better choice for my needs?

    • Alan,

      Thanks for reading and for your comments.

      If you’re really into wildlife photography you need a good combination of “reach” and “speed” and the new 7D fits perfectly. I’d recommend looking at the EF 300mm f/4L IS USM on a 7D rather than the 70-200mm zoom. For wildlife you need as much reach as possible. The 1.6x crop factor and a 1.4x extender can turn that 300mm into a 670mm f/5.6 IS lens that auto focuses very quickly. If you want the ultimate (for right now) in image quality for commercial, studio, portrait or landscape work then the 5D2 is a very nice choice but for someone moving up from an XSi, the 7D is probably a better value if you can find one.


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  141. Thanks for the review.

    My plan was to buy the 50D and then buy your book, but the 7D is tempting, so I was wondering if you have a book on the way for the 7D.

    Let me know so I can change plans accordingly. You can just send me an email if you don’t want to write about that in public.


    • Kris,

      Thanks for reading. I think you may have me confused with Jeff Revell of fame. That Jeff writes the “From Snapshots to Great Shots” camera books (and does a fine job by the way) and this Jeff does commercial work, landscape workshops and is writing a book about Texas Landscape Photography. I’m sure the folks a Peachpit have a new book about the 7D in the works as we speak.

      This Jeff

      • Jeff,

        Thanks for your reply. Yes I came here from his website, so I assumed it was still him, just some how with a different last name. lol

        Thanks I’ll go ask him the question. lol

  142. Thanks for the review

    I have gawked at the 5d mark 2 for the longest time due to its HD video with full frame sensor. Now this 7d appears to offer most of what videographers were longing for, more frame rates, new autofocus, dual digic4 processor, etc. Would you think at some point these offerings in the 7d would migrate to a full sensor model?

    • Brian,

      Thanks for reading. Yes, I definitely think that many of the new features found on the 7D will make their way to the next full frame offering by Canon. Probably the new AF system, the new metering system and the dual Digic 4 processors.


  143. I am just finding out about the new 7d coming out. I have been spending that last few hours trying to figure out how to tether my 20D with my laptop (Vista 64bit). Totally impossible. 20D? Most of you must be asking that. I have had the 20D since 2005 and it has performed phenomenally! I mostly shoot sports and portraits. I have been considering moving up in the world though. Mid-November I should actually have enough revenue to purchase a new body (and a good tax write-off at that). I know the 5D is going to be out my price range, but maybe the 7D will work. Certainly, now that I can’t tether shoot with my 20D anymore it’s a good time to upgrade. Hopefully by November there will be enough info about the 7d to make a good choice.

  144. Had to pop in after seeing additional comments here today. What camera to get next…..always the big question. If nobody minds, I’d like to add 2 cents.

    I’d been running around with a 30D and 40D for a while shooting remote places, rock climbing pics, and hiking pics as well. Both the 30 and 40D performed wonderfully and put up with a ton of abuse.

    I moved to the 5D MarkII with a specific purpose in mind. Larger prints for my landscapes. I own a gallery and print business, and the camera tied in with my work well. Had I not been in this business my original camera combination would have seen me through for a good while longer. The fact that the new body could be written off this year was the big deciding factor. 🙂

    My backup is still my 40D, and it’s going to be some time before I ever trade it in for another. My shooting is equally spread between the 5D II and the 40D. It depends on what I’m shooting for. Gallery piece that clients want big? 5D II now. Magazine pieces, fun shooting, climbing, etc? 40D does a great job. I’ve also reproduced sharp 32×48″ gallery pieces from the 40D without trouble.

    You do not have to get the latest and greatest. New features, megapixels, and any other doo dad might be cool, but the biggest influence on your photography is the person pressing that shutter.

    Oh, one last thought. The glass (to me) is more important than the body. If you’re investing in your photography, don’t forget the lenses. What a difference a good piece of glass can make.

    Glad to have found your site today Jeff. Keep up the great work!

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  146. Nice review Jeff – thanks!

    I’m struggling now. I currently have the Rebel XTi and it has served me well but I think at this stage of my development I am beginning to demand more from it than it can give me, especially in the noise and image sharpness departments.

    So I’m at a quandry. Do I throw $3.7k at the 5DMkII (and wash the dishes at home for the rest of the year as penance) or go for the 7D which would represent a $2k saving? I was tempted by the 7D when I saw it, but then after reading your review (and what you say above about ~12-15MP being an ideal pixel count for the APS-C sensor), I don’t know what to do.

    What I do wish for is that Canon bring out a version of the 5DMkII without the video (which I have little interest in) which would be cheaper – but I’m not sure how much cheaper that could actually make it.



    (BTW, my interest are in landscape & nature photography)

    • Antonio,

      I completely understand your price concerns with the 5D2 and it is a serious investment. For landscape and nature photography the original 5D is also a great choice with it’s 12 MP full frame sensor and fantastic low light capabilities. If you look around at Adorama or B&H Photo you may be able to find a used 5D or even a Canon Refurbished 5D for under $2K (USD).

      Thanks for reading.


  147. So, Jeff, which one between the 5D II, the 7D, and the 50D would you recommend me to get if I do not have any camera right now! I’ve always been renting but I wanna get one in a near future. To be honest, having tried both the 5D II and the 50D, I liked them both, although the price of the 5D II might be a bit too high… Unless I save a little longer to get the new 5D when it comes out…?
    Thanks for your advice

    • Thomas,

      Thanks for reading. Giving advice on camera purchases is tricky business since I really don’t know what kind of photography you’re interested in, but here goes.

      For travel, landscape and nature photography there is no better camera on the market today than the Canon 5D Mark II. However, if outdoor sports or wildlife photography is your thing, then a crop body like the 50D is a great choice and the 7D will be an even better choice when it’s available. I think the 7D is going to be the most popular outdoor sports and wildlife camera that Canon has ever designed and I’ll bet that much of the new auto focus technology will make it’s way into the next 1D series camera.

      So it really comes down to you and what you want from a camera. Once you know that, the decision on which model to buy is fairly simple. Not inexpensive mind you, just simple.


        • Rene,

          Thanks for reading. It looks like the 7D will win hands down for sports photography with its new AF system and high frame rate. We’ll just have to wait and see what the high ISO images look like.


  148. Nice break down. No flaming here, I promise. I shoot with a 5D Mark II and a 40D as my backup. No additional spending this year. Maybe down the road when considering a different backup I’ll investigate the 7D, but until then, happy with the Canons I already own. 🙂

    I agree with Jeff in the post above….mega pixel saga continues. Beyond the wide format reproduction work I do, I really scratch my head about the heavy push toward more and more megapixels…. Ah well, somebody has a reason I’m sure.

  149. On paper the 7D looks at least on par, if not at all better, than the 5D Mark II, thanks for this nice overview Jeff!

    However, the first RAW picture I took with a 5D2 totally blew my mind away. So much sharpness, detail, contrast, color, micro-contrast and crispness down to the pixel-level was more than I had ever imagined. Compared to my 50D, the image quality of the same scene, both shot with an L lens, is just insane!

    Now I’ve been browsing through all the sample shots from the beta models of the 7D, and I have to say I am quite disappointed. These shots were taken by professionals who know how to take a picture – but the images look the same, or on higher f-stops even worse, than what comes out of a 40D or 50D. Only one thing becomes apparent immediately: the banding is gone! hooray!

    Anyway – I guess my point is this: one has to be careful … what looks the same or better on paper is not necessarily better in reality. I don’t want to start any flame war or troll around – all I am saying is: people think logically. Once the hype is gone and the dust settles make an informed decision, and think about what exactly it is that you need in a camera.

    • Hey Nico,

      After Canon released the G11 with less resolution than the G10 I thought they were heading the right direction. I have no scientific basis for this opinion but I think the “sweet spot” for an APS-C size sensor is about 12 MP. Pixel densities higher than that seem to exhibit noise issues at ISO 400 and up. I believe that is why Nikon stopped at 12 MP for the D300 and D300s. I had hoped the new 60D/7D was going to be a 12 MP camera with all the new features and I think that would have been a sure fire winner for everyone. I’m not sure why they felt the need to go from 15 MP to 18 MP except the fact that it’s half way between the 50D and 5D2.

      So the megapixel saga continues…


  150. Very nice comparison. I can drool over the 7D but can’t justify another upgrade (currently shoot with the 50D). What I really want is a high quality EF-S 16-105mm f4 lens.

    • Arthur,

      Thanks for reading. You might want to look at the new 15-85mm lens. Using a UD element can make a huge difference is chromatic aberration and sharpness and from looking at the specs this may be the sharpest EF-S lens ever made.


  151. Very nice comparison. I didn’t realize the 7D would be heavier than the 5D Mk II. There are some real big upgrades that sometimes get lost in the descriptions on other sites. Thanks for your succinct comparison. I have pre-ordered and am excited about the camera.

    • Chris,

      Thanks for reading. The weight difference is not that big but was a little surprising. I’m sure you’ll have fun with your new 7D when it arrives. Be sure and let us know how it works out for you.


  152. Jeff,
    After reading your pbase article, I totally agree with you, it being the photographer first and camera 2nd. I have in the past chased the new models, but now I am spending more time with my 500D & 50D. Do I need to upgrade? No, presently satisfied, the 7D will need to be really wonderful for me to change!

    Bracciodiferro on pbase has made similar comments and produced stunning work with a small panasonic. May be simple is best for our snaps and leave the Hi Tech to the proffessionals. Amazed at all the comments on DPreview from people who dont have the 7D yet…

    • Martin,

      Thanks for reading. This sort of thing happens every time Canon brings out a new model. Buyers remorse and upgraders envy can be terrible to watch.


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  154. Nice breakdown Jeff, I am still on the fence waiting to see what the Mark IV will have once it is announced. Might just stay with Canon after all 🙂

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  156. The EC is not just +/- 5 stops, but you can even bracket it +/- 3 stops, so it total you have +/-8 stops to play with. Pretty amazing, uh?

  157. Thanks for the comparison. A few changes. The price of the 7D is $1700 (actually $1699) versus $1800 you show. Exposure compensation for the 7D is shown as +/- 5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps. Also the 7D has three forms of RAW, RAW, sRAW and mRAW.

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