I just got this email from a reader asking for some thoughts on camera gear and her kit in general so i thought I’d share my thoughts with other readers.
I ran across your article on Canon 5D Mark III vs 7D. I’ve had 6D’s in the past and loved them but thought I’d try out the 7D Mark II because I was missing some of the action in sequence. I haven’t learned the camera yet for action and found myself missing the 6D for low light and landscape. I guess I’m just looking for encouragement that the 7D Mark II will handle the landscape shots just fine with the right lens. I have the following lenses:
- EF 85mm f/1.8
- EF 200mm f/2.8L II
- EF 100mm f/2.8L macro
I doubt I will ever be able to afford the newest 100-400mm which I understand is the best with the 7D Mark II so I was thinking of trading it out for a 6D to
use with the lenses I have and save up for a nice wide angle for it. Decisions, decisions! I’ve had a 400 before, I’ve had the 70-200, I’ve had the Sigma 150-600mm, all were just too heavy and not convenient. I’ve had two 6D’s at one time and that was nice to shoot with a zoom on one and wide angle or macro on the other. I just got to the point where I felt I needed more.
Maybe the ideal set up for a poor gal is to have the 7D Mark II with a 6D but with that, I do not have the proper lens for action for the 7D. I guess what I’m hoping you can confirm is that the 7D Mark II can do it all….?
Thanks for taking the time to write. First off I have to preface everything by saying the best camera is the one you already have. However with that said, it sounds to me like you are running up against the many shortcomings and compromises of the Canon 6D camera system.
The short version of this post is I would never consider owning a 6D body. I would pick the 7D Mark II over the 6D any day. The 6D is such a crippled and compromised camera system, it doesn’t make much sense to me except in very limited and specific scenarios such as landscape and still life. Of course if all I had was a 6D, I’m sure I would eventually get my shot no doubt, but it would probably be a frustrating experience. The 6D sprung from a perceived need for a “cheap and watered-down” full frame alternative to the 5D Mark III. This premise was already a red flag in my opinion. The 5D Mark III already made some compromises from the flagship 1Dx. I have found myself in situations before where I just dropped the 5D Mark III and picked up the 7D Mark II.
I think to better understand what choice is right for you, it is important to understand the Canon pro lineup. There are two flagship camera systems. One full frame and one APS-C crop sensor flagship body. These are the 1Dx Mark II and the 7D Mark II respectively. Both cameras make zero compromises. Everything else is a compromise. Both of these bodies, pack an abundance of speed, processing power, capacity and all the latest features available. For this reason, I will always pick the 7D Mark II since I don’t have the 1Dx Mark II.
I have used the 6D and it was definitely out of place in the Canon pro lineup. I found it very limiting. The 7D has the fastest most effective Auto Focus of the canon lineup. It is on par with the 1Dx Mark II. The 7D Mark II is blazing fast, has a brutally accurate and intelligent AF system, precise metering, and powerful dual DIGIC6 processor pixel pump. There is nothing you cannot shoot with the 7D Mark II. Nothing. This is not the case with any of the other full frame bodies (except for the 1D series).
There is far more to an effective camera system than a the sensor size and low light capability. Current APS-C sensor technology has caught up with and surpassed all professional requirements. When it comes to low light capabilities, the 7D Mark II puts out a respectable performance with usable shots as high as ISO-1600. Yes maybe the 6D puts out usable shots at ISO-3200 but here’s my problem both are too noisy for me anyway. So we are talking about ISO performance advantage where it really does not matter. The high ISO argument is really a moot point these days. I rarely shoot my 5D Mark III above ISO-1600, because I just can’t stand the noise however low it may be. Also more important than low light capability is the fact that at higher the ISO, dynamic range is decreased dramatically, regardless of whether it is a full frame or crop sensor.
As for low light performance, the 7D Mark II packs an unexpected capability. If you just crank up your ISO to 6400 or as high as you need to achieve a shutter speed 1/10th of a second or faster, then use in-camera HDR bracketing at full burst mode of 10 frames per second, the resulting HDR composition cancels out a lot of the noise. I ran into this while shooting an extremely low light wedding reception in which my 5D Mark III just could not acquire focus or keep a fast enough shutter. The 7D Mark II saved the day. It seems counter intuitive, but it does in fact work in real world practice.
Finally as far as landscape photography is concerned, all you need is the right lens for the 7D Mark II. I swear by the Canon EF 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens. It is tack sharp and lightning fast. It has also dropped in price since I bought mine. You can find one for well under $1000. I’ve seen people selling theirs for a little as $500. This lens is so good, there has been no need to revise it. It is perhaps the most underappreciated lens in the Canon lens lineup. This should be the first lens any 7D kit should have. Here are some examples of what you can expect as far as landscape photography with this 7D Mark II combination:
- Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe
- Las Vegas High Roller
- Caves: Black Chasm Cavern
- Las Vegas Sunset Aerial Panoramic
- Aerial Photography: Las Vegas Sunset
- Canon 7D Mark II – First Impressions
Did someone say you can’t do landscape photography with a 7D Mark II?? They are just lazy. Have them call me. I could go on-and-on. As for shooting action shots, I haven’t yet posted about that but if you take a look at my Instagram [@bryanallo] you will find numerous examples of what the 7D Mark II is capable of.
I hope this helps. Keep me posted on your photography journey.
Thanks Kim and all the best.