7D Birding Today -- Initial Thoughts

Started Oct 8, 2009 | Discussions thread
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7D Birding Today -- Initial Thoughts
Oct 8, 2009

I spent the afternoon testing the 7D with the Canon 400mm f/5.6 and the Canon 600mm f/6 photographing gulls and comparing the autofocus to the Canon 40D, 50D and 5D Mark II.


Out of all four cameras tested, the 7D's AI autofocus performed the best: quicker acquisition and more keepers. With that stated, I did not find the autofocus as good as with the professional series 1DM2 or 1DM3.

I found the best setting to be single point focus with tracking set to slow to medium slow. Also, the expanded points enabled worked about the same for me, no real difference that I could ascertain.

The best combination out of the lenses was the 400mm f5.6. The 600mm seemed less reliable obtaining and keeping focus. (I'm not sure why this is... This is not to say that the camera did not work well with the 600mm, just a tad less keepers than the 400mm. I tried the 600mm with and without a 1.4x TC -- didn't seem to matter much.)

As usual, it was hardest to focus and track BIF with trees in the background. Rippling water was not too much of a problem and of course, the sky as a background was a no-brainer for the 7D.


I found the autofocus excellent! With all my other cameras, I always experience an occasional jitter when using AI with stationary birds. This usually leads to about 90% tack sharp birds, with 10% being throw-aways due to "the jitters".

With the 7D using AI on stationary birds, the camera never flinched unless the bird moved. This may have been due to setting the tracking to slow. Whatever the reason, I was pleased with the performance.

I have lots to do this evening going through all the photos and I will post some once I've got the time to throw a few up on my website.

In a nutshell, Canon has touted the new autofocus system of the 7D and has opened Pandora's Box for criticism. My opinion is for BIF photography, I put it above the 40D/50D series, but not as good as the professional line.


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