If there were ever a Canon 7D Mark II, here is my wish list and some explanations on why I would like to see these features.
- 24 Megapixel Sensor with usable shots at ISO-6400
Canon has already shown this to be more than possible in the recently released 70D
- Next generation Hybrid AF Sensor
The 70D sensor based AF system has proven that Canon has finally sorted this feature out. This is perhaps the single biggest reason I don’t do more video with my 7D. Manual focus tracking is just too much hassle, especially when switching lenses during a shoot or you subject keeps drifting in and out of the field of focus.
- Dual DIGIC 5 processors
The 7D proves that this is indispensable when it comes to Pro bodies. It leads to everything from faster (near instant) start-up times, fast and deep burst modes, better metering, AF tracking, etc, etc.
- 19-21 all cross type AF system, evenly distributed across the frame
The existing AF system in the 7D is bested only by that in the 1Dx. In real world settings, the 61 point AF system in the 5D Mark III is ridiculous and far from useful. It’s little more than a marketing gimmick (much like GPS) than a relevant feature. If anything selecting AF points on the 5D Mark III slows my productivity down, distracts me from my photo shoot and usually hit-or miss.
- Dedicated processor for AF
Just like the current 7D, this is perhaps it’s single greatest strength. The AF system on the 7D is near invincible. It just works every time, on time and with almost no light at all, where the 5D Mark III will hunt half the time or just not acquire AF at all. This has been my single greatest frustration with the 5D Mark III. It has a fancy AF system, but it does NOT deliver as reliably and consistently as the 7D’s AF system. It also does not track as well as the 7D. I believe a big part of this is the shared single DIGIC 5 processor. No matter how much faster it may be than the DIGIC 4, it still must be multi-tasked with all other camera functions (metering, image processing, buffering, AF, OS, etc). This translates to some noticeable and sometimes serious lag. If you haven’t used a 7D or 1Dx, you most likely will not notice this. 🙂
- 10fps high speed burst mode
8fps is the minimum for capturing any kind of action. The 7D proves this. The 5D Mark III’s 6fps is just too slow for action. I’ve found my self missing half the shots I would otherwise get with my 7D. Cannon has already proven that 14fps is possible, but that is overkill too, just like the 5D3’s AF system. I good solid balance would be 10fps with a much much deeper burst than the already impressive 29 RAW+JPEG or 125 JPEG only. With two DIGIC5 processors and a little more on-board memory they should be able to double that easily.
- NO GPS!
I’ve been out shooting a lot of places and not once have I wished for GPS. From what I understand, this feature is also incompatible with the 7D’s rugged chassis, and the main reason the 6D is part plastic. NO! NO! NO! I need rugged more than I need GPS. I also don’t need the added drain on my batteries or the extra menus to scroll through. NO!
- WiFi Maybe
I’ve been out shooting a lot of places and not once have I wished for WiFi. I almost always work with RAWs and have no interest or need to upload my shot on the spot via my phone or whatever else. I have a remote trigger for when I need to work hands free. If anyone needs WiFi there’s the already very capable 70D or 6D. The 7D Mark II should have a higher purpose. I would sooner see an improvement on core features that directly affect my photography. When I’m out in the wild and off the grid, I don’t need the added drain on my batteries or the extra menus to scroll through. NO!
- In camera HDR and faster with more than +/- 3 brackets
I find myself using this feature 90% of the time with my 5D Mark III, rather than doing bracketing. It’s extremely convenient and allows me to proof my HDR shot and retake as needed.
- 60fps at 1080p Full HD, 120fps at 720p HD
If the dual processors permit, let’s push it to 120fps at 1080p Full HD. While we’re at it, let’s even throw in some 4K video. Heck, if a tiny GoPro can shoot 4K, then why not a 7D Mark II?
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to capture my sister’s performance in Paris. I thought they were some great performances and after her performance in Austin TX at the beginning of the year I really wanted to get some good clear recording of the show for archival purposes. I had already packed my Canon 5D Mark III for my trip to Paris and was curious to find out how well it would hold up in a real live video setting.
For lens I used the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. I have to say without this lens, it would have been impossible to record this show. The heavy duty stage sound system triggered vibrations all over the venue, which were only amplified by the long focal length required. Because the concert was sold out, there was no way to come close to the stage and capture any usable video. The 4+ stops of image stabilization really proved every last cent of this lens’ worth. I also used my Canon 7D with Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS to capture secondary shots to provide subtle variety to the final cut.
For sound, I was able to pipe the output from the main sound board into the 5D Mark III. This greatly reduced my sound editing tasks in post processing to almost nothing. The 5D Mark III sound recording capabilities are world class. On both the 5D Mark III and the 7D, I shot the video at f/2.8, ISO-1600 and 1/50 to 1/60 shutter and 25 frames per second for a more cinematic feel. There was also a very noticeable reduction in video file size. The shutter speed (roughly twice the frame rate) gave a really crisp, sharp rendering of each frame. Amazingly noise was not an issue at all with both cameras at ISO-1600.
Below is her performance of “Nothing More”, one of my favorites, in full 1080p HD.
For more photos, video and info about Andy Allo please visit:
Thanks for watching.
Yesterday I managed to break away from the Memorial Day weekend duties for a couple hours. I grabbed my camera gear made a much needed escape to the old Sacramento Area along the river. I noticed earlier in the day, we had very nice, picturesque, high altitude clouds. I thought they would make for spectacular colors during magic hour. Alas, by the time I got to the river banks and found a good spot, they had all dispersed. Never-the-less I captured the lights from the Delta King to the Tower bridge. I had been meaning to capture this view for a while now. These shots and time lapses will eventually go into a subject compilation for the city Sacramento and surrounding areas.
This time I broke habit and put the 5D Mark III on time lapse duty and used the 7D for panoramic and still shots. There were three reasons for this:
- I could use my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens on the 5D to give me the ultra wide angle coverage I wanted for the time lapse which the 24-105mm f/4 L did not provide.
- I could use my 17-55mm f/2.8 lens (only fits the 7D) to capture my Panoramic shots. This lens is still the best lens in my kit. Better than the 24-105mm f/4 L in all respects except build.
- I was trying a slightly different approach to my time lapse settings which would benefit more from the 5D’s wider range of usable high ISO noise suppression. I shot in Shutter Priority (typically a No-No for time lapse) however with a twist. I set ISO to auto and used Max-ISO. I wanted to use a fixed shutter speed to ensure a consistent water motion and texture capture. This worked out quite well. I will shoot a few more time lapses to fine tune this technique.
Here is a quick shot I took of the view after setting off the 5D for time lapse and before getting the 7D ready for stills.
I like the Panorama feature on my LG Optimus G phone which allows me to take a quick rough panoramic shot and edit it to determine if that location has the composition I am looking for. One of many tools I use to increase the rate of success of my shots. Below is my test pan shot from the 7D’s position.
And now for the final panoramic shot at magic hour. The lights didn’t quite come on as/when expected but then again nothing ever is as expected. I stitched this shot manually – like most of my panoramic shots, I find it’s just a better way to do it. It gives me much more control of my output. It’s worth the extra 15-30 minutes to get it right. The final shot is about 15,000 pixels and was down sampled here to about 3,400 pixels for sanity’s sake :-). The 17-55mm f/2.8 lens’ ultra sharp optics and the 7D’s high pixel density was able to resolve and render pictures hanging on the walls inside the Delta King’s dining room. This was at a focal length of 35mm! This is the reason I will be keeping and using the 7D for years to come – with the right lens, it has some serious resolving power.
Click the image for the larger version.
Old Sacramento after Sunset
I will publish the final time lapse composition in another post.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
Yesterday was another lovely day chasing sunsets and the Bay Bridge lights. I decided to seize the opportunity presented by ideal photography weather conditions in the Bay Area. Most ideal was the low (sometimes none) wind speed. This means very calm bay waters, relatively speaking, which in turn means an opportunity for a dramatic light show through sunset and through the night.
The Port of Oakland
My strategy started out with the port of Oakland. From a google maps survey of the area, most of it looked restricted so I looked for a backup vantage point and settled on Potrero Hill which may warrant my next photo excursion to SF. I was unsure about how much access I would have to a coveted view of the bay. I definitely wanted to at elast have some shots from the Oakland side of the bay, especially during sunset. I arrived at the port by mid afternoon and began to scout the area. Portview Park was my ideal view but it was slightly obstructed by the restricted docks area – I wish I had a way of gaining access to the port docks. That in and of itself would make for not only an ideal perspective but may prove to be a treasure trove of industrial and gritty photography goodness. I moved on to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park where I found an outcrop nature preserve with trail access. The view was a bit too distant and less than ideal but then again if I’ve learned anything, it’s that nothing ever is.
With my location sorted out I proceeded to wolf down a Subway sandwich while waiting for the sunset. I parked next to a really nice, clean Nissan 300ZX. Being a car enthusiast myself I began to talk cars with Allan the owner. I drove down in my roadster so it was all around cartalk. Allan was very laid back, easygoing and ended up just handing out through the sunset into the evening. Very nice guy. While I was setting up and shooting another great gentleman showed up. He was a port customs agent who just happened to carry his Digital Rebel everywhere he went. He had just got off work and decided to come take in the view as well so we all hung out and talked everything from cars to logistics to photography while shooting the sunset. It made for a great evening and great new friends.
I took a 2 hour time lapse of this scene with the 7D + 17-55mm f/2.8 while shooting stills such as the one above with the 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4. It will take a while to process all the time lapse frames and will present that compilation in a separate post. Unfortunately the Bay Bridge lights were not visible from this vantage point. It turns out the lights are angled slightly towards the city of San Francisco. I later found out this was for the simple reason to avoid interfering with drivers’ view coming into the city.
The Bay Bridge Lights
Finally after dark we all packed up and left. I headed over into SF to do another time lapse from the peer 14 perspective. There I met more interesting folks. First was a cool guy named Brian visiting from Chicago. He’s into photography and cars/hotrods as well, so you can pretty much guess what we ended up talking about all night out there on the peers. I took two time lapses of that view as well while shooting stills, HDR shots, panoramic shots and several 1080p video takes of the bay lights to capture the more subtle action that would otherwise be missed in the time lapse. I ended up shooting late and into the early morning when yet another pretty cool laid back guy by the name of James stopped by for a chit-chat. I got a lot of good tips on accessing some vantage points I’ve been wanting to shoot for a while now. Very nice guy. In all it was a great SF excursion, with lots of great people and a really relaxing time in a great city.
I did time lapses of both scenes above and below as well. Will post those once I’m done processing all the frames.
UPDATE: I posted more thoughts on this subject and a reader’s comment Here.
So I just remembered tonight there was a full moon. I hurriedly pulled out my camera gear (it was already close to 10:30pm) and headed for the back yard. There were some nice clouds passing over the moon and I thought it should make for a great time lapse. Then wondered what camera should I use?? I remembered the 7D and my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II gave me a spectacular image with the ease of a point and shoot. But that was over a year ago and now I have the 5D Mark-III. But then I thought it’s full frame sensor meant less coverage of the point in the sky (moon) I was trying to photograph. But it had a technically superior sensor and higher overall resolution. I thought this might be enough to match the high pixel density of the 7D.
I was wrong. This was one of the classic examples of a situation where the 7D is just a way better camera for the job hands down. Both shots were at f/4, ISO-100 and 1/1000 second. AF on and IS on (mode 1). At ISO-100, there was no advantage to the newer 5D Mark-III sensor. Both were right at home with the higher shutter speed. AF was spot on and on the 7D seemed a hair more confident/quicker than the 5D Mark III. Yes, I know the DIGIC5 processor is supposed to be 17x faster than the DIGIC 4 but as a software engineer I’m pretty sure having a processor dedicated to AF (7D has Dual DIGIC4 Processors) means parallel AF processing. In real life it’s either a wash or still a better performing configuration than a single DIGIC5.
This simple quick and rough test just confirmed my suspicions and what I’ve always tried to explain to some fellow photo geeks. Just because it’s a full frame camera does not necessarily mean it captures more detail in the true technical sense. The comparison here shows the 7D delivering the full moon with easily 2 times the number of pixels the 5D Mark-III and with similar clarity and sharpness using the same lens and settings.
I still maintain, for most other general scenarios and large field of view the 5D Mark-III will yield a superior image. However the 7D with it’s considerably higher pixel density will always yield much more detail (in this case, twice the detail). This is one of the many real life, real world scenarios that no ISO-Chart, spec sheet regurgitating blogging, rent-a-camera-for-a-weekend-reviewer will ever tell you. If you haven’t yet figured it out, I pretty much loathe most of the talking/blogging heads on the web just echoing whatever everyone else says.
This is one reason why I still hang onto my 7D. It is an amazing camera system. However it is imperative that a 7D owner only mount the best lens optics that money can buy because of the unforgiving and high pixel densities. The key is to know your shooting style, know and understand your camera system to make full use of it’s potential.
Yes I do own both camera systems and actively shoot both.