From 30D to 7D - My thoughts and experiences so far (longish...)

Started Oct 11, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Timmie Regular Member • Posts: 170
From 30D to 7D - My thoughts and experiences so far (longish...)

Almost two weeks ago I upgraded from a 30D to a 7D. I thought I'd share my experiences for people who are looking to do the same.

Observation 1: Options, options and more options

The 7D gives me a lot more options. This is both good and bad. Bad because more options almost automatically leads to more complexity. Good because it allows you to set up the camera to work as you want.

At first this gave me results that were poorer than or equal to my old camera. But after taking the time reading the manual thoroughly and testing the 7D on a few days shooting (about 1500 shots so far) I like all the new options. Take the time to learn about all of them and to set up the camera to your needs. That investment will pay off.

Observation 2: Higher MP count means less headroom for mistakes

The 7D's resolution is more than double that of my 30D. This sounds very good. But it also means that there's a lot less margin for error. When I compare (pixel-peeping) shots that are on the limits of camera shake I notice that on my 30D I could get away with 1/10th exposures when shooting at 17mm. On my 7D, unfortunately, at 100% it shows. Same goes for getting the focus and even the DOF just right.

It's fairly logical as well if you think about it. If I move the camera a few mm when I take shot, those few mm mean more pixels on the 7D. When I shoot sRAW on the 7D I find that my performance is equal to the 30D.

The same is true for my lenses. The higher resolution sensor needs sharper lenses and will show things like CA a lot sooner. Don't forget that the resolution needed from a lens on this camera is the highest yet in the Canon range. Compared to a FF Canon like a 5DII or a 1DsIII the center of your lenses needs to be a LOT better. Fortunately my current collection of lenses seems to keep up with the camera rather well.

All in all this means that the camera pushes me to improve my skills to achieve higher quality images. Of course a photographer shouldn't just worry about his camera and technical skills but when you want to take that perfect shot every bit of skill helps.

So don't count on this camera to just get you better IQ automatically. You need to be better as well.

Observation 3: The new features are more than worth it

It would be a very long post if I went through all of them but here are some of the features I really like and which really make a difference coming from the 30D:

  • Live View - I know this was around before but it's new for me Shooting from a tripod has just become a lot easier, especially with the built in level and the zoom option for manual focussing (works really well with an extender when AF doesn't work)

  • AF - I know there are people on the forum who don't like the 7D's AF but for my type of shooting this is a winner. It is more accurate, faster and works with less light compared to my 30D. In short: I get more shots in focus and that is what it's all about.

  • Metering - I seem to be using Exposure Compensation a lot less that I did before. No science here, just my gut feeling.

  • Wireless flash control - I just love this! I spent a whole evening with a 550EX pointed at the ceiling in the living room in a corner and just shooting away.

  • More solid and weathersealed body - I haven't tested the weathersealing yet (not something I like to do on purpose) but qualitywise the body feels like a real step up from the 30D. I've taken my 30D around the world, using it in all kinds of conditions and apart from some issues I had in the rainforest I thought the 30D was doing pretty well in this respect. From what I can see and feel I think this body will do even better.

  • High ISO sensitivity - I get results now at ISO 6400 that I wouldn't hesitate to show to anyone. They're not perfect but at least I can take a shot and use it. On my 30D I didn't like any shots over 1600. This is a huge improvent!

This is an example of what I mean. This wolf was shot in poor lighting conditions and with my 30D I wouldn't even have tried the shot with this lens at f4.5.

Link to full image image as large as google permits me:


For me the 7D is a winner! I know I paid a premium to get it as early as I did but I haven't regretted getting it when I did for one second. I am not sure I would have upgraded if I had a newer camera like a 50D but from a 30D this was a no-brainer.

 Timmie's gear list:Timmie's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM +3 more
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