'Stuck' with my 7D

Started Nov 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
Keith Z Leonard
Senior MemberPosts: 4,203Gear list
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Re: 'Stuck' with my 7D
In reply to Hans von der Crone, Nov 21, 2012

You got some advice about buying primes, but honestly, they probably won't help you too much.  Basically a 3 stop IS f2.8 zoom is going to give similar performance to a f1.2 prime so long as the subjects are not moving around TOO much.

When in low light my Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS is my goto lens.  My primes are more for when I want to shoot thin depth of field rather than for low light unless it's low light shots with a good deal of movement.

The difference between the 7D and the 5Dmk3 in image quality and noise is always overstated.  There is certainly a difference, no question, for your purposes the 5dmk3 will give you better images.  The question becomes how much better?  Going from a crop f2.8 top zoom to a 35mm format camera with a f4 zoom probably isn't going to be the best route for low light.  The new Tamron 2.8 zoom might actually be better because of the stabilizer.  If you shoot a lot of landscape then it might be good, shots with a lot of high frequency detail.

Another aspect is that people often "pixel peep" where they look at 1 to 1 on a 72dpi screen, which is the equivalent of a HUGE print.  They look for "per pixel sharpness", which is really the difference in colors between adjacent pixels, which can either be sharpness or it could be from insufficient sampling.  If you put more pixel density into a 5dmk3 it's pixels would have similar "per pixel sharpness" to that of the 7D.  What's more important is how the images look at the size you intend to view them.

Ultimately the best way to improve a photograph with low light is to increase the light.  Photography is essentially capturing the light colors passing through the lens onto the sensor at a given time interval, if there isn't light, your photograph isn't going to be very good, regardless of camera.

I make out the 5dmk3 to be about 1.5 stops better than the 7D in high ISO noise in low light, so if you are shooting 3200 now, that should be around ISO 8000 on the 5dmk3.  I'm impressed with the 5dmk3, but it is a huge jump up in money and with the f4 lens you're likely to be in similar noise ranges.

Sorry for writing a book here, but it's not a super simple answer.  If you really want to take photographs in "available darkness" then you are best off with a 1Dx at this point, everything after that is a quality/money compromise.  If I were you I'd head over to flickr and start looking around at high ISO images from the 7D and the 5dmk3 and compare them.  Not from just 1 source but from a bunch.

 Keith Z Leonard's gear list:Keith Z Leonard's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +13 more
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