If you think your 7d is "soft", please read this.

Started May 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
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69chevy Senior Member • Posts: 1,617
If you think your 7d is "soft", please read this.

Please allow me to start this discussion by saying that I am not faulting anyone for being suspicious of the 7d, as it took me much time and frustration to figure this out. The high pixel density of the 7d makes it very unforgiving, and it really takes practice in order to duplicate the sharpness of the less resolving sensors. Don’t believe me, just ask D800 owners, as they now have similar pixel density, and are already figuring this out.

After reading many rants about soft images on the 7d, I would advise those of you who are having problems to try the following quick guide.

The diagnosis is easiest if you do it yourself, as there are far too many variables for us to post analyze pictures and judge the softness issue.

1- Increase your shutter speed. As the higher pixel sensor is more sensitive to detail, it is also more sensitive to blur. This is especially true when low light dictates a slow shutter. The “rule” of “1/focal length” is not sufficient for consistent sharpness. This “rule” was for print quality 35mm film. The fact that the 7d has a 1.6 sensor, and we all peep pixels at a much higher magnification, renders this “rule” less than sufficient. Knowing this, you need to find YOUR minimum shutter speed. I believe that Av mode is an inexperienced user’s worst nightmare. In attempts to get low ISO wide aperture shots in low light, the shutter will get too slow, and you may not notice, until you pull up the shot on your monitor.

2- Once you have taken enough snaps at various speeds, and have established your low limit, now realize that your motion from front to back can ruin a shot at a wide aperture. Shallow DOF can make a shot look “cool”, but can also give you a focal plane as short as a piece of paper is thick. Even if you have an inch of focal plane, moving 1/8” can throw the focus out of the “sweet spot”. If you want to know the DOF of a particular photo, go to http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html . You may be surprised how small of a window you may be giving yourself. Just as you need to be aware of your steadiness side to side, pay attention front to back.

3- As if these aren’t enough things to be aware of, your focal point is just as critical. Focus and Recompose is a popular method, as it prevents having to move a single focus point around the viewfinder but think about this. As you move the lens in an arc, you are changing the distance between the lens and the subject. Remember the 1/8” I spoke of above? You may have just moved out of it. Find an AF mode that best suits you, and practice with it.

With these three things considered, take lots of snaps of a subject you really want sharp. The differences you see on screen will better help you to diagnose your problem. It takes a lot of dedication to take good photos, and the trade of for higher resolution is a higher probability to make a soft image. Don’t forget my favorite quote from a photographer whose name I can’t remember. “A blurry shot at a low ISO always looks worse than a noisy shot at a proper shutter speed”. Good luck on your quest to sharp handheld shots!

 69chevy's gear list:69chevy's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM +1 more
Canon EOS 7D Nikon D800
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