What I Learned from Our 7D Camera Review

Or:  Did You Really Think I Wouldn’t Put in My Two Cents?

We’ll keep this one short, as I have no interest in rekindling the fire and the backlash Darwin and I received from our little, honest, straightforward review of the Canon 7D camera.  I was originally going to write my response in the form of a guest blog written by Zike, Head Alien Visual Media Comptroller on Zybot 5.  But given how many people didn’t READ what we had written in our review, I thought the point of such a fun post would probably be a bad idea.

Who knows?  He may make an appearance some day.  So, just a few interesting tidbits:

  • Camera reviews are guys’ locker room talk.  Hardly any chicks responded.  Perhaps chicks don’t read these things–I know I usually don’t.
  • Your camera and camera brand of choice is an extension of your identity.  It is an expression of your manlines, your mettle and your Weapon of Mass Destruction.  If you were a wizard, it would be your wand.  Don’t mess with wizards’ wands (any hobbit knows that).
  • Apparently, it is acceptable and even desirable to use your lens at only one or two apertures (whichever that ‘ideal resolution’ aperture is–no one could agree).  And the smaller the number, the better it performs.  I’ve heard THAT one before!
  • The amount of disagreement between commenters on Darwin’s blog reveals that probably no one knows what they are talking about.
  • If you purchased water wings to train your child how to swim, and they didn’t inflate or only worked in shallow water or you needed special hardware to make them work, wouldn’t you return them?

In the end, this entire experience has been akin to watching nude, male mud-wrestling:  sure you have a few laughs and it’s hard to look away, but in the end, you only feel cheap and slightly soiled.

By the way, if anyone tries to renew the debate on this blog, your comment will not be posted but banished to the Geek Jar where it belongs.


~ by Samantha on December 5, 2009.

27 Responses to “What I Learned from Our 7D Camera Review”

  1. […] a good ha ha check this out for Sam’s thoughts on the 7d review Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Tha Canon 7D – First LookSmall […]

  2. […] What I Learned from Our 7D Camera Review « Sam’s Rant Says: December 5, 2009 at 6:03 PM […]

  3. I was most amused by people who completely missed the point of your review: it was not a review of the 7D as a general-purpose camera. It was a review of the 7D for the way you and Darwin work. You demonstrated pretty conclusively that–for your photography–the 7D didn’t cut it.

    And I don’t know why people find it so hard to understand that there is not one single all-purpose camera that is great for every type of photography under the sun. Manufacturers make multiple models because they fill different roles.

    • While your overall point is true – yes I agree there are different cameras for different uses – its an irrelevant point considering the context of the results.

      While the reviewer mentioned and overviewed their needs in a camera, the results showed that the 7D images were softer and had poorer colour rendition than the other cameras it was compared to.

      I don’t know ANY type of use for a camera in which softer images and poorer colour rendition are desirable – they are universal positives regardless of the type of photography undertaken.

  4. I really like what you have said here Samantha. I think you are correct in your comments. However, do we really need to mention nude, male mud-wrestling? I can’t get that image out of my head. I am going to take a shower and think of women’s jello wrestling, lol.

  5. Please don’t say anything bad about my Canon/Nikon/Pentax/Hasselblad, I don’t think my ego can take it!!!! Seriously, though, I can come up with a million things I love about my camera and a millions things I hate (ok a little hyperbole). The point is we all do things differently and some people don’t seem to value different perspectives (queue “Imagine by John Lennon”). Personally, I appreciate the candor and the effort it took to put that review together. Great work.

  6. One of the odd things I’ve discovered about photography and life…few things can attract flame like expressing one’s opinion, regardless of how you formed that opinion (like your 7D experience) or relating “how to” information to others. (like your Knee Deep critic experience) Keep writing. Your (experience-based) opinions are valued by the vast majority of us. (by the way, the chicks were probably out shooting and so didnt have time to respond)

  7. Thanks, everyone! The civilized discussion continues here…. I think it was a funny experience, and I had a pretty good laugh at some of the things that were said. Such delicious entertainment–for FREE!

  8. Well, civilized until we find out what make of camera Zike shoots with. Then all bets are off 😉

  9. Men or overly concerned with their equipment and it’s performance.

  10. Dear Darwin and Sam — I just read your review today (Jan. 14, 2010), three weeks after receiving my brand new 7D. I have to say that in a sane fashion, with an obvious love for the art and the technology, you both hit this issue right on. And it pains me to be in this camp, but I want you to know that I encountered exactly the same problems that you did, and maybe worse. I’m a photojournalist who has been shooting exclusively with Canon equipment for 31 years. I shoot almost entirely handheld, in all kinds of light and frequently in low light, and used to “push” my film on a regular basis. I know what I’m doing when it comes to tack-sharp images and noise avoidance (forget relying on noise reduction, you don’t want the damn stuff to begin with). So I was blown away to find the 7D images soft, ghastly, horribly soft, and noisy as hell. Incredulous and thinking I was doing something wrong, despite feeling I know my way around a camera or two at this point in my life — and unaware of your test here — I did exactly the same thing. I tested the 7D against my sharp little Rebel XTi. I set up the tripod on a bright winter morning with controlled interior lighting conditions. Put the 7D and the XTi each on identical settings: Manual (RAW), ISO 100, F/6.3 (if anyone cares; I, too, use the whole range of f-stops and this one worked for my purposes that day), and proceded to shoot exactly the same test shot with each of my five lenses on both cameras. No flash. First manual focus, then auto focus for every shot with every lens. Charted everything I did. Took the shots through Adobe Lightroom 2. No sharpening, no post of any kind. Exported the RAW files as jpgs. Took them to a processor where I was guaranteed that every auto-adjustment and sharpening was turned off for my order, and printed them out. The results are stunning — in a bad way. Just as you found, the images straight out of the smaller camera are sharper and clearer all the way around (remember, they began as RAW too). This I just cannot forgive, so the 7D is going back to the retailer and Canon is going to hear from me, in detail. I feel really betrayed by Canon after three decades of praising their glass and their bodies to everyone I’ve ever met. The features sold me on the 7D, but the image quality is worse than substandard. I would be happy to post my images and stats, if anyone cares to see them. Tell me how and I will.

  11. Thank you thank you thank you! I have been through 3 7ds and they are all the same! Horrible. I have shot the 5d in the past and loved it. I was having a hard time explaining my problems and came across your review. You hit it on the head! I think I am switching to Nikon. Thanks again!

  12. I got my Canon EOS 7D 3 months ago here in Japan, it’s features attracted me the most that’s why I bought it as an addition to my Canon 450D. Of course, I was expecting the image quality to be much better. But sadly, I was very disappointed with the image quality. I have been trying all sort of adjustments and tweaks, have used different lenses, speedlite, updating firmware, but all did not improve the image quality. It maybe because of the big 18 mega pixel that’s need to be put into that small APS-C sensor that makes the photo diodes smaller, so the image quality suffered. Hopefully, Canon will have these resolves because it’s frustrating and disappointing. What we always primarily praise in a good camera is the kind of quality pictures that comes out from it, I believe that some features are useless unless you get a good image quality.

  13. The problem about Canon 7D image quality, might only be very obvious when you have something to compare with, when you have tried using the camera yourself and see the results and when you have used another camera that produces very good image quality like Canon 450D, and compare the photos. Some people might not say anything & just be satisfied with it when they have nothing to compare with.

  14. I am horrified after reading your opinions about 7D image quality because I think exactely same. I got mine few weeks ago and having headaches when trying to find out the reason for the bad quality of images. Your opinions reveal that the quality was not my fault…

  15. I thought the review was ok. It is true that to get the same image from any camera as another you have to do work with one or the other. There are ways to make the 7D produce the same results. Also, the white balance is a weak spot as such they’ve got the instructions to reset it on the fly included in their encyclopedia they call a manual. I got some of that down the nose action from Nikon users way back in the day when they saw my old Minolta’s. It was fun winning awards they didn’t. It in the end is the user even more than the equipment. Find what fits and stick to it!

  16. I am a “chick” who often reads reviews like these. I just finished reading Darwin’s review – and after reading some of the comments, decided I had a headache. I also had no desire to respond – my voice wouldn’t be heard over all that caterwauling anyway. Maybe that’s why so few chicks responded? We simply don’t see a good reason to get all freaky about it?

    It was an excellent review – and extremely helpful. So thanks for that. Also also for this post. My headache is gone. And I actually felt like commenting.

  17. I have to totally agree with this Darwin’s review. I bought this camera and sent it back for these exact issues. I’m so thankful I read this blog before I went out and purchased another one, because I too was thinking I got a faulty camera.

    Thanks Guys.

  18. I think by now it has been established that the 7D requires different post-processing to get the best out of it. I think Canon did drop the ball by not having the RAW processing for the 7D up to scratch before they released the camera. And it was probably rash pushing the resolution up to 18MP in the first place. Nikon seem to be going down the same road, although not quite as far. But from what I’ve seen, now that users know what’s required they’re getting extremely good quality out of their 7Ds.

  19. Good point, Dan. I have heard that people have been very satisfied with the recent releases of this camera. That is the thing with reviews; they are time-specific!

  20. Thank you for the posts. I think you finally answered my question about this camera. You were using the same lens for all the cameras. So the high density small sensor is requiring a higher output. Think about chromatic rings. on the xti and the 7d, the will cover the same amount of area. so the 7d will have more pixels with chromatic problems from the lens. the lower density will have less pixel of chromatic aberration. I think the same applies to the sharpness. Even though it seems counter intuitive.

  21. “If you were a wizard, it would be your wand. Don’t mess with wizards’ wands (any hobbit knows that).”

    Oh, puh-lease. Everybody knows that the wizards a hobbit might encounter have staffs, not wands. (Oh, f***. Is my geek showing?)

    Seriously, thanks to all of you for putting in a lot of effort into your review.

  22. I realize this is an old blog post, but I was just about ready to switch to the Canon 7D from Pentax. I’ve been sooo frustrated with Pentax’s awful noise levels in higher ISO’s. And, by “higher ISO’s” I mean 400 and above. It is completely unacceptable that in a camera body that I paid over $1000 for, I can’t use ISO 400 and higher in 2011. And focusing in low light… forget it. I purchased my Pentax K-7 last year, a few short months after it was introduced. The reviews I read talked about how exceptional the K-7 performed at ISO’s up to 1600. I can’t get anywhere near 1600. Most recently, Pentax introduced the K-5. Reviews talk about how exceptional the K-5 is on noise at ISO’s up to 1600, and how much BETTER it is than the K-7. What? I’m wondering if there is a wad of cash stuck in the boxes of these test models that are sent to the reviewers. So this brings me to your and Darwin’s blog. I had decided on Canon’s 7D after reading glowing reviews about noise, sharpness, and focusing response. Now I don’t know what to do! Adding to the fire, is Veronica’s reply, an experienced photojournalist, who agrees with your test. I can’t afford the 5D Mk III (or 1D for that matter), I need that mid-range semi-pro model that I can build on until I can afford a full-frame. Ugh! I’m so frustrated!

    So, can you tell me what you decided to do, and whether you are happy with your decision? I believe in the original blog post, Darwin mentioned that you are a long-time Nikon user, but were considering switching to the 7D after reading reviews yourself. Did you go with the 7D or with the Nikon D300 or D300s? Or something completely different? Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂

    • Hi Polly,

      In the end, I did not go with the 7D. Since then, I’ve heard from many people that the original issues we pointed out seem to have been fixed in later editions of the camera. I haven’t tested it yet, so I don’t know. We do have a Canon Rebel T2i (which I understand has the same sensor as the 7D) and it is a great little camera. It sounds like you have a great ability to judge for yourself whether the file quality works for you or not, so I would trust your judgment. Get your hands on a 7D (or even a Rebel or 60D) and test them out; compare the file quality with other images you already have or if you can, another decent model of similar price/ability on the market. It is a little extra effort, but worth it. I find that reviewers get all happy over specs whereas we photographers will be the ones finding the kinks and bugs weeks into the field actually using the camera. In my experience, it makes a difference. Good luck!

  23. From portraits to events to African photo safaris the 7D has worked great. It’s tough, takes great images and the noise with the latest firmware is very low at high ISO settings. I also sprung for the 70-200 F2.8 IS II. That lens is fantastic. I do believe that the the lens quality is even more important with the clipped frame imaging chips than the full frame if that is possible. Being an old timer, I also grabbed an Elan 7 film body. Same lenses and accessories (any non-EF-S lens same as with 5DmkII) as my 7D and have really been please with both items!

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