canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality

Started May 4, 2012 | Discussions
W I Bell
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canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
May 4, 2012

I have an opportunity to purchase a 1D mark 3 with low actuations. I'm aware of its earlier AF problems. I have a 7D with a few lenses (that will also work with the MK 3.) If any, how much better would the image quality be with the MK 3 given they have comparable lenses.
Sorry if this has been discussed before.
Thanks

Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS-1D
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Hank3152
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to W I Bell, May 4, 2012

W I Bell wrote:

I have an opportunity to purchase a 1D mark 3 with low actuations. I'm aware of its earlier AF problems. I have a 7D with a few lenses (that will also work with the MK 3.) If any, how much better would the image quality be with the MK 3 given they have comparable lenses.

If the ser# of the mkIII is beyond the 547xxx range the AF issues should be resolved. It's been a couple of years since I've owned both and then sold the 7D, but I seem to remember the IQ of both to be about the same with a slight edge towards the mkIII.

However, the biggest advantages of the mkIII is it's outstanding weather sealed build, extended shutter and battery life, and frame rate for shooting sports/action and wildlife (BiF). The smaller crop ratio, 1.3x, may not be very detrimental for loss of reach but on the other hand it may be more suitable on the wide end for events, portraits and landscapes.

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jhal
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to W I Bell, May 4, 2012

the 1D MKIII will give you a silky smooth, noise free image. ( full stop)

I have both and use them in sports photography. The MKIII is always my main body except one occassion that I was on safari in Kenya and used the 7D due to the crop factor.

All AF issues with the MKIII are solved but look for a body that was manufactrured after April 2008 ( you will see the date code inside the battery chamber) and also the s/n that another poster mantioned.

Keep both cameras if you can afford it.

John

W I Bell wrote:

I have an opportunity to purchase a 1D mark 3 with low actuations. I'm aware of its earlier AF problems. I have a 7D with a few lenses (that will also work with the MK 3.) If any, how much better would the image quality be with the MK 3 given they have comparable lenses.
Sorry if this has been discussed before.
Thanks

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qianp2k
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to W I Bell, May 4, 2012

I chose a lite used 1D3 over a new 7D. Never regret a bit. 1D3 produces much better studio and portrait photos. AF accuracy and speed are much better (from what I have read) and still can AF on f/8 with TC such as 500L + 2.0x TC. Photos from 1D3 have trademark creamy smoothness color rendition, clean under ISO 1600 especially in shadow areas.

I own 60D so I do know Canon 18mp APS-C IQ.

These two were taken under same lighting condition (a gloomy morning with dark clouds hanging above) around the same time against the same background. At this size, you already can see the difference. I applied 20 NR in LR3 but still unable to completely get rid of grains in 60D photos. Grains/noises are obvious in shadow areas in 60D photos such as in dark blue sky and dark background.

1D3 + 100-400L @400mm

60D + 400L/5.6 @400mm

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csnyder103
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to W I Bell, May 4, 2012

I bought a used 1DmkIII and a new 7D. If I am shooting stills it is no contest. The 1D files are just sharper and smoother and in my opinion more "real" looking. Viewing at the pixel level the 1D blows the 7D away. I do think the difference goes away to a certain extent when you print. That being said I make more money doing real estate work with the video option the 7D gives me. I agree with the poster above. Keep them both if you can.
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JackM
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apples and oranges
In reply to csnyder103, May 4, 2012

csnyder103 wrote:

Viewing at the pixel level the 1D blows the 7D away.

Downsize the 7D image to 10mp in order to make a fair comparison. Viewing a 7D image at 100% on your monitor is like looking at a 50" wide poster from 18" away. Not realistic.

One plus for the 7D is that due to the crop factor and pixel density (reach) you can get away with using a 70-200 at a full size football field. Also the ability to have the camera automatically switch the AF point when you hold the camera vertically or horizontally.

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Faintandfuzzy
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to W I Bell, May 4, 2012

W I Bell wrote:

I have an opportunity to purchase a 1D mark 3 with low actuations. I'm aware of its earlier AF problems. I have a 7D with a few lenses (that will also work with the MK 3.) If any, how much better would the image quality be with the MK 3 given they have comparable lenses.
Sorry if this has been discussed before.
Thanks

I've had a fair bit of experience with the 1D2 as well as processing plenty of files from the 1D3 and some limited testing. I haven't been able to notice a difference in AF quality as both were responsive, fast and accurate. Can't honestly say I noticed a difference in FPS.

The 1D3 is a tiny bit better in noise, but that would rarely if ever appear in any print from iso 100 to iso 3200 when processing the raw files. The 7D will have a definite resolution advantage as well as telephoto reach. DR between the two is virtually identical.

I've spent many years shooting professionally with the 1Ds, 1Ds2, 7D, D700 and now the D800. While I no longer own Canon FF bodies, the 1D series is built like a tank. That said, carrying the beast handheld gets tiring all day. That is why I switched to a 7D instead for my Canon lenses.

Unless you print very large, the resolution difference probably won't matter all that much. Depends on the price....and if you're really wanting the D series body. But remember that weight all day!

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Faintandfuzzy
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Re: apples and oranges
In reply to JackM, May 4, 2012

JackM wrote:

csnyder103 wrote:

Viewing at the pixel level the 1D blows the 7D away.

Downsize the 7D image to 10mp in order to make a fair comparison. Viewing a 7D image at 100% on your monitor is like looking at a 50" wide poster from 18" away. Not realistic.

One plus for the 7D is that due to the crop factor and pixel density (reach) you can get away with using a 70-200 at a full size football field. Also the ability to have the camera automatically switch the AF point when you hold the camera vertically or horizontally.

And at 100 to 1600 iso, on large prints, you wont see any difference in noise anyway. Of course, if one like to sit in front of a monitor all day measurebating at 100% to pontificate on per pixel sharpness.....

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qianp2k
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lets compare apple to apple
In reply to JackM, May 4, 2012

both taken at ISO 1250 and I want to see similar shots from 7D at this ISO 1250 and downsamping to the same 2000 pixel wide.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7843305573/photos/1744573/canon-eos-1d-mark-iii_831c4015?inalbum=5dvsothers

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/7843305573/photos/1744572/canon-eos-1d-mark-iii_831c3796?inalbum=5dvsothers

above two photos are cropped more than 50% from 10mp 1D3 resolution. Sure 7D has mighty 18mp but let's see how it performs after downsamping to the same 2000 pixel wide. Anyone can post?

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JackM
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Re: lets compare apple to apple
In reply to qianp2k, May 4, 2012

I only used my 7D for sports. I don't have it anymore. But here is ISO 3200:

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Faintandfuzzy
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Re: lets compare apple to apple
In reply to JackM, May 4, 2012

JackM wrote:

I only used my 7D for sports. I don't have it anymore. But here is ISO 3200:

Looks great! Nice shot.

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qianp2k
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Re: lets compare apple to apple
In reply to JackM, May 4, 2012

I can see noticeable difference in portrait between 1D3/5D1/5D2 and 60D when view big. It has noticeable grains on skin from 60D files even at base ISO 100. People's skins are something can show clarity clearer than other materials. I don't shoot sports but I have seen many sports photos. APS-H based 1D4/1D3 generate noticeable cleaner and sharper photos in low night and still look creamier and cleaner shadows in good light.

Your 7D photo is not bad but I can see NR clearly smears some details. If it was shoot with 1D3/1D4 (need to step a bit of further and using a bit of longer lens), it will be noticeable cleaner and sharper with noticeable more details.

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JackM
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Re: lets compare apple to apple
In reply to qianp2k, May 4, 2012

qianp2k wrote:

Your 7D photo is not bad but I can see NR clearly smears some details. If it was shoot with 1D3/1D4 (need to step a bit of further and using a bit of longer lens), it will be noticeable cleaner and sharper with noticeable more details.

1D3 at ISO 3200? I'd like to see that.

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qianp2k
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Re: lets compare apple to apple
In reply to JackM, May 4, 2012

I don't have 1D3 ISO 3200 photos in hands and I don't believe I have many if any as I used 1D3 so far limited only in portrait/studio and airshow. But I have seen many 1D3 and 7D sport photos in low light. 1D3 is noticeable cleaner.

I just quoted DPR samples and hope this helps.

If you can move a bit closer, no question about 1D3 generates better photos. 7D is not known to have very good high ISO.

JackM wrote:

qianp2k wrote:

Your 7D photo is not bad but I can see NR clearly smears some details. If it was shoot with 1D3/1D4 (need to step a bit of further and using a bit of longer lens), it will be noticeable cleaner and sharper with noticeable more details.

1D3 at ISO 3200? I'd like to see that.

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Faintandfuzzy
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Re: lets compare apple to apple
In reply to JackM, May 4, 2012

JackM wrote:

qianp2k wrote:

Your 7D photo is not bad but I can see NR clearly smears some details. If it was shoot with 1D3/1D4 (need to step a bit of further and using a bit of longer lens), it will be noticeable cleaner and sharper with noticeable more details.

1D3 at ISO 3200? I'd like to see that.

Easiest thing to do Jack would be to head over to the Imaging Resource and download the raw files from each camera at 100 and 3200iso, process them to taste, then see what differences there are in print.

I've already done just that, and at iso 3200, the 7D is basically the equal of the 1D3 in the print size of 16x24 that I chose. You can apply a bit more NR to the 7D image because the resolution is higher to start with.

At iso 100, at 11x14, 16x24 and 20x30, the 7D exhibits greater detail and is noiseless in print.

Looking at the DPReview samples posted by some will tell you nothing as the comparison screens are JPG output, and are thus controlled by the JPG engine of the camera and the differences in default settings in each. Some people don't realize that.

But as I said, there is no difference in noise at 3200iso even in large print once the raw files are processed for that output.

Regards,

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Adam2
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to W I Bell, May 4, 2012

W I Bell wrote:

I have an opportunity to purchase a 1D mark 3 with low actuations. I'm aware of its earlier AF problems. I have a 7D with a few lenses (that will also work with the MK 3.) If any, how much better would the image quality be with the MK 3 given they have comparable lenses.
Sorry if this has been discussed before.
Thanks

So, what's important to you, noise free images at low ISO, color fidelity, and more "realistic" appearing images? Then the 1dmkIII is the superior camera. On the other hand if you are planning on birding or need a smaller body then the 7d would be fine. Add in the superior AWB, weather sealing, built in grip/controls for L/P orientation and the 1dmkIII rules.

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Colin K. Work
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to Adam2, May 5, 2012

I owned a 1DIII and 7D. One of them had to go so I could get a 5D3. Which one?

In favour of the 1D3

  • significantly better IQ, esp. at low ISO

  • better build

  • higher frame rate

  • better viewfinder

  • better battery life

In favour of the 7D

  • larger files (partially negating the 1D3 IQ advantage)

  • higher pixel density/greater reach (however you want to express it)

  • better ergonomics (IMHO)

  • much lighter

  • better LCD

  • better very high ISO range/quality

  • smaller, cheaper batteries

  • bulit in flash

And then there's the AF ... I'm pretty sure that the AF on the 1D is, in controlled conditions, faster than the 7D, But in practice, the 7D AF is more useable and reliable. Bottom line, after 1 year of using the two side by side, I lost way fewer shots due to misfocus with the 7D than with the 1D3.

During my first few months with the 7D I really did struggle with the low ISO image quality - but I prefered using the 7D over the 1D3.

With more recent versions of ACR, the noise issues (esp at 200 ISO) became managable, and I found latterly that I was reaching for the 7D much more often than the 1D3.

At the end of the day it was a tough decision, but ultimately I decided the 7D was more suitable to my needs - however, this was also coloured by the fact that I was buying a 5d iii which meant

1 - the 7D is very similar ergonimically to the 5d3
2 - they share the same battery

3 - having an APS-C and FF sensor offered more flexibility than an APS-H and FF sensor

But it was a close call!

Cheers,

Colin

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qianp2k
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to Colin K. Work, May 5, 2012

Your 7D has better hit rate than 1D3? Is your 1D3 in early batch? I have read many posts from owners who own both cameras and claimed a good copy of 1D3 has much better AF than 7D, and I actually read far 7D AF fiasco posts, partially because I only start followed Canon since early 2008 when I bought my very first Canon camera of any kinds, 5D. I bought a lite used 1D3 (only around 9000+ clicks in Nov '09 that was confirmed by Canon CPS when I sent it in for cleaning later) and my copy is in late batch.

27 of 27 shots in tack sharp "run-straight-to-me" test in less than 3 sec with 70-200L/4.0 IS lens (which is not super fast focus lens) wide open at f/4.0

70

Many who own both said 1D3 AF and IQ are noticeble better.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1032&thread=38814465&page=1

One of reasons I bought 1D3 instead of 7D is that I did enough research by searching and following many threads in DPR forums and other sites in internet. It's the reason I skipped Canon APS-C cameras and bought FF 5D as my very first Canon camera as I had seen tons of stunning 5D photos that I did not see in APS-C cameras then. Same reason that I have seen tons of stunning 1D3 and now 1D4 BIF, sports and wildlife photos that largely lacking from XXD and 7D photos, seriously such as

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1032&message=30655674

Check those ISO 1250 eagle in flight photos in snowy day that 7D simply cannot match.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1019&message=37814067
Why 1D4 deserves $3000 more than 7D? I am totally convinced.

And finally I am very happy on the performance from my 1D3. So far I only had chance to take two airshows, 2 of 2 that they were my very first attending in airshows and I got some wonderful results. The AF locking speed, tracking capability, upto 10fps burst rate and deep buffer, my 1D3 never let me down, I have seen many 7D airshow photos. To be honest except 7D advantage in more effective reach during taking off/landing in nice weather, I am not very impressed. Many those photos are not critical sharp (I mean critical), a bit of mussy (that obvious in darker shadow) and might missing critical moments, not because of 8fps that is fast enough for airshow or even BIF, but the locking speed and tracking capability and shallower buffer that I am not very convinced after seeing those stunning photos from 1D4 and 1D3.

Once I can fit the subjects into certain portion of frame, photos from 1D3 are simply stunning with clarity, natural sharpness and creamy color rendition simply beat my 60D hands down. 60D's only advantage is more effective reach when I unable to close enough or without long enough lens in my experience. I usually don't print and never print more than 30x20" so I am not keen in big files.

And now another huge advantage to me is that I just acquired 500L several months ago and going to use lots in next few years, Alaska, Africa safari and birding. My 1D3 still can AF with 500L + 2.0x TC that 7D/60D cannot do. I will wait to see how IQ and performance of 7D replacement (dream on 1.3x crop). If not ideal I will get a used 1D4 later. I am not very enthusiastic on FF 1DX but believe 1.3x crop has the best balance of IQ and effective reach, and hope Canon will still keep APS-H alive.

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W I Bell
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Re: canon 1D Mark 3 vs 7D image quality
In reply to qianp2k, May 5, 2012

THANKS to all for your replies and GREAT images. It has helped me make the big decision to go with the 1D mark 3. I hope to keep the 7D as well.
Thanks again. It is certainly appreciated.

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Gary S
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Have both also.....
In reply to W I Bell, May 5, 2012

If you can keep both I think that's a nice choice. I haven't had issues with either camera. I have two 1D3's and two 7D's, although one 7D has just been given to my sister as an upgrade for her 40D. All cameras have worked great.

I do like the image quality from the 1D3 better but with just a little work in post the 7D photos can look very close. Most people would never see the difference in the final output.

I like the Spot AF mode on the 7D which I've found helpful a number of times, and they added that later to the 1D Mark IV. You'll find that the 1D3 has a much lower resolution LCD which makes it a little harder to check focus I think, but it's not that much of an issue.

Considering the 7D is lighter, smaller AND does nice video, I tend to use it just as much as my 1D's for it's versatility. Even more at times.

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