more (very) prelim 7D vs. 5D2 IQ/reach comments

Started Oct 1, 2009 | Discussions thread
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more (very) prelim 7D vs. 5D2 IQ/reach comments
Oct 1, 2009

Ok, so when you are not distance limited the 5D2 definitely has less noise per printed image, no question. It also pulls in more detail between 21MP vs. 18MP and better accutance and CA spreading across less pixels, etc. So without question the 5D2 wins when you are not distance limited or when you look at 100% and are not looking for detail per distant object but just raw IQ, easy 5D2 win.

The 5D2 is also easily to get the best out of since AF doesn't have to be quite as precise, slightly more resistant to camera shake, etc. Sometiems it seemed a lot easier to get the best out of. At the ballpark easy to get crisp, deecnt looking at 100% images.

OTOH, when you are totally distance limited to the point that the subject doesn't come close to filling a FF frame I notice that if you downsample the 7D image to 8MP (which gives it identical reach to the 5D2) you actually end up with a slightly sharper image with slightly less noise and slightly nicer overall characteristics.

So you could certainly shoot sports/widlife and then downsample and have the same reach as a 5D2 and yet with slightly less noise and better IQ while gaining tons of fps. Also 18MP takes slightly less storage space. Or if you shoot, mRAW, although not tested yet, you can probably get a much bigger RAW buffer and less CF space eaten up and faster uploading to comp/server while maintaing same or a trace better reach and slightly better noise at the print level and probably simiarl at 100% view while getting much faster fps (assuming the AF works at least as well as the 7D, not really tested enough yet to say).

OTOH if you are wanting to keep the 7D at full res or at least something more than 8MP downsized, to get more reach, how does it compare? It definitely does bring more reach, you certainly can see more details even at ISO1600 if lighting isn't too bad and even a 70-200 + TC on both, the 7D still gives more reach, and easily so under nice lighting with still subjects, perfect focusing and high shutter. That said, the CA, noise and so on will look worse though of course if you are away from the lowest ISO. And under trickier conditions the reach advantage may pretty much disappear.

In a quick try at the ballpark it also proved not easy at all to avoid subject motion blur, tracking movement by yourself, camera shake, perfect AF, noise at ISO3200 to really deliver 18MP and it didn't seem so easy under tough conditions to actually be able to get much more reach with the 70-200+TC compared to same on 5D2. It really shows up micro missed AF, micro level lack of DOF (when reach limited and wanting to pixel peep you need ever pixel crisp and these small photosites can't handle as much of a CoC as larger 5D2 photosites can), lots of noise while 100% view of the 5D2 it was easy to get nice files coming close to maximizing the sensor. I'm sure with more settings adjustments and care I could do better with the 7D than I did. But casually using both under low light sports a great many shots had no more reach than the 5D2, if even (and the if even was a little weird but maybe i didnt have the microfocus adjust set as well). Again with more adjustments and care or in day time lighting it's probably a different story.

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