20D Overexposure Question

Started Jun 10, 2010 | Discussions thread
GPapa
Senior MemberPosts: 1,736
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First Impression of the Refurbished 7D
In reply to GPapa, Aug 1, 2010

The refurbished 7D arrived just after noon on Friday. I got a chance to open the box during my lunch break. It looked to me that everything was as near “new” condition as you could expect from a refurbished camera. Everything that would have been included in a new camera box was there, in some kind of packaging. The one exception was the battery, which did not come with a cover.

The body had no signs of use. It still had the protective plastic cover attached to the LCD. The manuals did not appear to have been opened. The CDs were clean with no traces of being touched by human fingers.

I had time to charge the battery for about 15 minutes while inspecting the package and attaching the strap and a 50mm f/1.4 lens to the body. Without changing any of the default settings, I snapped off half a dozen shots of the grandkids, in full auto mode, while they were standing around in the kitchen. No lights on but pretty good light coming through the windows from the north. Interestingly enough, even with auto ISO the camera decided ISO 200-320 was enough light for shooting at tv 1/60 using f/1.4 to f1.8. All of the shots were out of focus. Lots of motion blur and some poorly chosen focal targets. I normally would have manually bumped the ISO up to 800 or 1600 and used 1/125 and f/2.8 or higher.

Also, while looking through the view finder I could quite noticeably see what appeared to be a large piece of black thread either in the view finder or on the mirror. It crossed my mind that this might be some kind of weird scratch or crack, and that this was the real reason the camera was returned. I used a rocket blower to remove it with no problem.

On Friday evening I attended a grand-niece’s birthday. After work I had about an hour to read through the manual and tweak some of the settings. My goal was to get the camera set to function as close to the familiar ways of my 20D. Over the course of the evening I made several modifications, but never quite got there.

The 7D, compared to the 20D, seems to have quite a few “new” features that are really just intelligent software performing in-camera rendering of the captured image. Even though I don’t use RAW at this time, I do prefer to do my own post processing outside the camera and without altering the captured JPEG image. I can see where in some situations these features could be handy, but I don’t think they should be default settings.

The menu rearrangement did make it awkward for me to locate controls for familiar features, but the new arrangement does seem to make accessing the control menus more direct. I need more time to work with the camera.

On the hardware side the 7D really does seem to focus faster and more accurately than the 20D. When processing images I have a work flow that begins with deleting out of focus images. Of 150 images I deleted 11 on the first pass. That is about half of what I would have expected using the 20D. All but two were out of focus due to motion blur resulting from an exceptionally slow shutter speed. I was shooting in AV mode with the center focal point manually selected. It was evening, the light was fading slowly and we were in the shade on the north side of the house. But, it seemed like I was always under estimating how much light was available or required for a given manually selected aperture. Actually, and it is pretty early to make an observation like this, but it seems the 7D requires more light than the 20D, or at least a higher ISO, to achieve the same shutter speed.

One other observation, given the higher pixel count in the images, I found it more difficult to subjectively identify out of focus images. At the “fit to screen” size there is too much compression to see subtle out of focus effects. At 50% I can’t see enough of the image to make a judgment as to how an image will look when resized for viewing on screen or in an 8x10 or smaller print. It would be nice if DPP had a 25% view. It currently only has “fit” “50%”, “100%” or “200%. I really don’t think I need to very many of these 18 megapixel images at 200% magnification.

At any rate, I am fairly pleased with the hardware improvements in the 7D. It seems much more solidly built than the 20D and the focus is both fast and accurate, which is what I was looking for. I am reasonable happy with the results of my first batch of photos. I think I can figure out ways to make it do what I want.
Here are a few of the keepers from the birthday party.

The first one is at ISO 6400 and was part of a series testing different ISO levels indoors before going out doors to join the party.

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