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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Canon 5D MK II, MK III, 7D and 7D MK II Review

Canon has issued a press release showcasing their 5D MK II and 7D bodies as cameras of choice for stunts and action work, on the set of The Avengers.  Click on the link below to see the release.

Canon Press Release on the 5D MK II and 7D 

When the Canon 5D line first came out in 2005, it caused a sensation because of its excellent built, great features and superb 12.8 megapixel sensor. More importantly, its price was less than half the 1Ds MK II, Canon's flagship camera at the time.  I bought the 5D and loved it even though I already own the MK II.  What I did not realized at the time (I do now) was, Canon had embarked on a new strategy of broadening the mass appeal for high end, full frame DSLR.   The aggressive pricing of the subsequent replacement models of the 5D has proved my point.  The current 5D MK III sells for half the price of the 1Ds MK III and it is a 'better' and more versatile camera, in my opinion, and I own the 1Ds MK III.  Read my other posts on the 5D MK III analysis and visit my website under the Equipment  section to see details on the equipment mentioned in this post. By the way, the 5D MK III comes with the 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens as a kit and one can save a few hundred dollars if one buys the combo instead of separately.

I still own the original 5D but not any subsequent models. However, I have used both the MK II and MK III models and am impressed by their performance. It seems to me the current 1Ds line has outlived its usefulness and the 1Ds MK III is getting a bit long in the tooth.  The current 1D MK IV is good enough to do double duty for me.  I use it as a wildlife camera, first and foremost but also as a travel/landscape camera when I mate it with the 8-15mm f/2.8 L, 16-35mm f/2.8 L II and 24-105mm f/4 L IS lenses. The 1Ds MK III is getting less and less time in my equipment bag.  

The other camera I am fond of is the 7D.  It has an excellent sensor, good burst rate and above average AF sensors. I hope Canon will be releasing the MK II version some time this year, and it should come with a more advanced AF system, 10 fps rate and the megapixel count can stay the same or even drop a little.  The new Canon 1D-X, available next month (hopefully) will certainly put the 1Ds MK III out of its misery but it is by no means a perfect camera for me either.  I dislike having to bring a cropped frame camera body with me when I go on photo shoots but I like the addition reach it offers.  For those who are not familiar with my shooting style, I prefer not to use a tripod when I photograph wildlife. That limits me to the Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, the longest lens that can afford me a whole day's of shooting while handholding the equipment.  The DO is not a good candidate for extenders, especially without the benefit of a tripod.  That is why I reach for the 7D when the wildlife is far away. I do use tripods when I photograph birds and will use a longer lens, like the Canon 500mm f/4 L IS or beyond.

Canon should take a hint from the Nikon D3X, which can take photos in both full frame and cropped frame format, albeit at a lower frame rate and resolution. If the 1D-X can take a full frame photo at say, 18 megapixels and 12 fps, plus a cropped frame image at say, 12 megapixels and 14 fps, it will be a perfect camera for me.  The sensor technology on the high end DSLR is so advanced these days, chasing megapixel count is rather futile and 10 - 20 megapixels are more than enough for most, depending on the shot.

Enclosed are two photos taken with the 5D and the 7D.  The night scene of Victoria Harbor was shot with the 5D and I used the 7D on the Bengal Tiger cub. The Tiger photo does have a bit of noise but you have to know under what condition I went through to take that shot.  I was on a bouncing Jeep in Bandhavgarh National Park in India. The sky was dark and cloudy and the Tiger was far away, in thick bush. I used ISO 1600 and spot AF to get between the leaves and branches. The 7D did a respectable job for me and I was impressed.  Read my other blog on the analysis of the 7D and 1D MK IV.  Visit my website to see many more wildlife and travel photos and follow my travels on Facebook .


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