Upgraded from T1i to a 7D: My first impressions...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    The lure of the 7D could no longer be resisted. My T1i is now listed on Craigslist, and the 7D is enjoying it's new home in my Lowepro Fastpack.

    Here's a pic of the new kit taken with the old ;)
    [​IMG]

    My first impressions:
    - It's heavier and bulkier than the T1i as everyone knows. However, sans lens, it's not that much heavier. It is much easier to grip without contorting your hand into a claw. It looks like a pro camera and doesn't seem dwarfed by my 17-55 f2.8 lens like the T1i did.
    - The added buttons and rear control dial are a huge advantage to ergonomics. Making adjustments to nearly any setting is much more direct and intuitive now. The extra LCD display is a nice benefit also. I don't know how many times I was temporarily blinded by the rear LCD on the T1i coming on or failing to go off when I put my nose to the camera in low light conditions... not an issue with the 7D as it's only on when you want it on.
    - The focus system is going to take some time to master. It's super sophisticated. I love the flexibility and it's very easy to change modes and focus areas/points. I may finally stop from using the old method of center-point focus and recompose. So far, Zone AF seems like a great focus mode when taking snap shots while Spot AF seems like the ultimate in getting accurate focus on a very particular spot. The accompanying single-point AF which uses a slightly larger area for focus than Spot AF, seems to have enough of a mind of it's own that I will avoid it for now. I haven't used auto point selection (nor will I ever) and I haven't had time to explore AI Servo and what Zone or AF Point Expansion can do for moving targets.
    - The metering has some interesting differences from the T1i. As I've read in at least one review, the 7D underexposes compared to the T1i (and the 50D). I'm seeing this as well. For example, where the T1i would choose a shutter speed of 1/30th, the 7D will use 1/40th; where the T1i would use 1/125 shutter speed, the 7D will use 1/160th. It tends to result in less blown highlights in the few test shots I've taken resulting in less use of the "recovery" slider in Aperture. I'd therefore conclude it's actually better metering and more accurate. The other interesting factor is that the 7D appears to give more weighting to the focus point or zone when metering the scene than the T1i. I seem to get more expanded variations in exposures with the 7D moving focus point selection to dark or light regions compared with the T1i.
    - The viewfinder... it's shocking to me that a 100% view finder is a rarity on a DSLR. I despised the small, dim, less than full coverage viewfinder in the T1i. No need to worry about that any longer. Also, the electronic level is surprisingly helpful as well, when setting up your camera on a ball-head tripod.
    - While I was blown away by the low-light performance of the T1i compared to my old bridge camera, the 7D sets a new standard for me. It seems to be significantly better than the T1i at high ISO.

    Here are some test shots with only a single tea-light candle burning on the dining room table.

    Here's the T1i and then 7D at 1600 ISO (4s@f2.8) 0EV (BTW, this is somehwat brighter than the scene would appear to your naked eyes)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's the T1i and then 7D at 3200 ISO (4s@f2.8) +1EV
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's the 7D at 6400 ISO (4s@f2.8) +2EV
    [​IMG]

    Just so you don't take this for granted, and realize just how dark the room was... here's the same shot on a Canon PowerShot SD1000 (Program Exposure)
    [​IMG]

    Here's the point-and-shoot with the ISO maxed out at +2EV (as bright as it could go)...
    [​IMG]

    All the above images were shot RAW, imported to Aperture and then exported to Zenfolio as JPEG's without any additional processing.

    Things I don't like about the 7D:
    - The shutter sound on the 7D sounds cheap and plastic like. The shutter sound on the T1i actually sounds more "electronic". I'm not sure if the T1i augments the real sound with something artificial to make it sound cooler, but it's definitely more appealing than the plasticy click you get from the 7D.
    - I thought I would hate CF and I really do. My first digital camera in 2000 had CF. I can't believe it's 10 years later and my state-of-the-art camera uses CF! Of course, moving from the T1i to the 7D necessitates me disposing of my investment in SDHC cards and buying a CF card. Thankfully, I've found one that seems reasonably priced for the performance, but it's still a completely unnecessary expense. Add to that the fact that you really need a reader as well and it just compounds the expense of switching formats. It's also unnecessarily big, and therefore so are the readers. I had a beautifully minimal SD reader that was literally a USB thumb stick with an SD slot on the side. I could plug it into my keyboard on my Mac Pro, my MacBook Air, or take it travelling. No such luck with CF.

    I haven't had a chance to explore a lot of the features of this camera yet... I'm really just getting started. It certainly is a beauty and rich with capability that will allow me to grow into it over time.

    If you're still reading at this point (you are clearly a gear-geek! :eek:)... and you own either camera, I'd love to hear your comments. In particular, I'm very interested in what focus modes and points 7D users exploit the most in their shooting.
     
  2. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #2
    Nice! Glad you're enjoying your 7D! I'm also another person who upgraded from a T1i, but I only had my T1i for a month and I wasn't really impressed with the camera (I already had 5DII and was spoiled by its image quality;)).

    So when the 7D was released I got one and quickly sold the T1i. The image quality and noise characteristics of the 7D were much better than the T1i I thought. And yes, the auto-focus system is definitely something you need to take time to learn. Once you learn it though, it's amazing. Low-light performance was definitely much better than the T1i. I was just underwhelmed by the T1i. I even thought my old XTi was better image quality wise, and that's saying a lot. :/

    Wish there was a 5DII with the 7D autofocus system. 5D Mark III, I'm lookin' at ya. :rolleyes: My 7D now serves as my "action" and 2nd camera, while my 5DII does everything else.
     
  3. Ish macrumors 68000

    Ish

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Thanks VR. Those comparisons are very interesting and the results at 3200 ISO speak for themselves. Threads like this are really useful. I took comparison shots between my old and new camera when I changed systems, but given my old camera is discontinued I didn't post them.

    I've also got small hands so the XSi feels quite comfortable to me. A friend has just got the 7D and he's loving it.
     
  4. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #4
    Nice job man. I'm still amazed how good the t1i did @ 1600. To me it came out better then the 7D @ that iso level, but 3200 and up 7D blew it out the water. Thanks for the thread man and what lens is that on your camera in the picture?
     
  5. Razeus macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #5
    Cf cards are way better than sd cards. They are much faster stable and reliable. They ate used in pri and semi pro dslr for a reason.
     
  6. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    #6
    Nice comparison. If I hadn't seen the aperture settings, I would have guessed that the T1i shot in the ISO 3200 comparison used a larger aperture than the 7D. It's interesting to see that both are set to f/2.8 and getting that different of a result. As for the shutter sound, it may not sound pleasant but you should get 150,000 actuations out of it. The T1i only has a 100,000 expected shutter actuation count.

    I just ordered a T2i, a 24-70mm f/2.8L USM and a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM... Perhaps I'll post a review on here after getting some sample shots and/or video. I'm upgrading from a five year old PowerShot S2 IS so the difference should be staggering.
     
  7. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7
    Thanks to all for the comments. The lens is the Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS USM.
     
  8. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #8
    oh cool thanks!
     
  9. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #9
    CF have much better write/read speeds I believe compared to SD. And I think they have much more capacity as well. So, while it does suck to have to change up your memory card setup, CF is by no means a step backwards.

    As for the shutter sound, you have two entirely different setups. The T1i had to handle what, 3fps? It could afford to 'sound' different. The 7D has to move so much faster to give you 8fps, even if you're only taking 1 shot. The Rebel probably sounded more 'electric' or 'mechanical' because you could probably hear the gears moving, whereas on the 7D you don't have time to hear them... Just my 2c.

    Congrats on the jump though, for sure. While Rebels are nice, once you step into the semi-pro range the extra features are worth it.
     
  10. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #10
    If I am right in thinking the T1i is the european 500d... If not ignore my question! :p

    I realise the 7D is better for video but what are the real world differences? If you don't use video that's fine, but if you do, is it easier? Better quality? etc.

    I have used a video on a 500d and it has really tempted me to purchase. The 7D is my only other realistic option, although it is currently a couple of hundred £'s above my budget. However, I can be persuaded!

    Thanks
     
  11. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    I haven't dug into the video capabilities of either camera, but the 7D does support a variety of frame rates (24 and 30) for 1080p unlike the T1i which only supports 20 fps.
     
  12. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #12
    IF you want a camera with better video get the T2i it also has 1080p 24 and 30 fps. It also uses the same sensor as the 7D etc. http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/en...329|0/(onglet)/0/(brand)/Canon/(brand2)/Canon you can look up plenty more. Thats why I went with the T2i.
     
  13. nc1584 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    I upgraded in January 2010 from a 400D (Rebel XTi) to the 7D and can only agree with the TC's comments. The performance of the 7D is great, and has easily shown up that my glass is woefully short in quality terms.

    The only problem now is that I look at the 5D MK II with improved video capabilities and kind of wish that I had gone full frame. Although as mentioned above maybe the MK III will be more attractive in taking the positives of the 7D into a full frame body.
     

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