Budget Greats, 7D vs 50D: A Short Comparison and Desktop Fun

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3Percent Regular Member • Posts: 256
Budget Greats, 7D vs 50D: A Short Comparison and Desktop Fun

Still enjoy the 50D and 7D cameras. They are so fun to shoot with, and total bargains on the used market. On a whim I decided to do a little shot to shot comparison just for fun and decided to share.

The 50D was hammered for it's image quality at the time it was released (and there is some justification for that), but it's a better camera than you may expect-

  • To this day, it still has some unique things going for it that I really like. For instance it's handling and feature set are incredibly solid, and it eschews video completely (making it a simpler camera/stills dedicated). If you are careful with exposure, the key with the 50D, you can make some really beautiful images with it.
  • Image quality can be really good. It's base ISO is actually 200, so shoot there for the most DR. Shooting all the way to 1600 looks great if you do your job right. The fact that there is little to no room for error of exposure (at any ISO) makes shooting with the 50D a fun challenge that helps fine tune skill sets. But errors can result in curse words following image review on a monitor, especially so if you try to recover shadows on raw files (bad fixed pattern banding). Even the T1i was better using the exact same sensor.
  • It's got weather sealing similar to the 7D (despite Canon claiming the 7D was better).
  • It's got a solid 9pt AF system with a fast and accurate acquisition rate using the center AF point, and a relatively fast 6.5 fps frame rate.
  • Great battery life of course (over 1k images on a single charge are possible)

The 7D is a renowned classic, addressing many (but not all) of the 50D's criticisms. It's a more advanced multi-tool camera including video options and more features-

  • It has a bit more solid image quality, especially so with noise control at higher ISO's (over 800) and has some raw file malleability. A true 100 ISO (which gives it a slight edge in base ISO dynamic range). Malleability in raw (much less banding) equates to an advantage if you don't expose correctly (call it a safety parachute if you will).
  • There's more buttons, some controls are placed better (on/off switch, top lcd lamp light button, video/live view switch), and the menu system is more comprehensive is comparison. This makes the 7D a bit more to manage than the 50D, so there are times I really like its advances, and sometimes not.
  • It's weather sealed, but not as well as the 7D Mark II. However, it's plenty good for normal incliment situations just as the 50D's is.
  • It's AF system is more robust with 19 points, a bit more sensitive when you use AF points outside the center area, but it's not as much of an advantage as
  • Great battery life of course (over 900 images on a single charge are possible)

Build quality is similar with both cameras, but I'll give the grip comfort as slight edge to the 50D here (its so beefy). Also the 50D has an anti-reflective coating on the LCD screen, the 7D does not- however it is gapless, 3:2 format, slightly larger, and covered in glass.

Fun fact: With the MG-EF magnifier on, the 50D's view is actually larger (1.14x) than the 7D's 1.00x finder, but -5% less accurate. You cannot add a Canon magfire MG-EF eyepiece to the 7D, relying solely on third party options (which frankly aren't as nice).

They both have AF joysticks and many familiar Canon attributes. Both are a joy to shoot with and create competent professional images in the right hands. Shoot raw.

For low ISO, I chose ISO 200 because both cameras have the same score here. Both sets of images developed from ACR using the Camera Neutral profile, white balance "as shot". No NR or sharpening applied. The only adjustment made was a +50 on the blacks slider on both low ISO images.

50D ISO 200

7D ISO 200

50D ISO 3,200

7D ISO 3,200

 3Percent's gear list:3Percent's gear list
Ricoh GR Digital IV Fujifilm X-S1 Fujifilm X20 Canon PowerShot S120 Sony RX10 II +27 more
Canon EOS 500D (EOS Rebel T1i / EOS Kiss X3) Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 7D Mark II
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