Image Sharpness/Quality on the Canon EOS 7D
As per an earlier post, I recently… uh… side-graded (???) to an EOS 7D from an EOS 5D (original). The 5D was aging, along with the lenses, and I must be an absolute slavedriver of a photographer because my lenses seem to frown and break down fairly frequently – resulting in $$$ flowing out (not that I have much to start with). So, anyway, moving along… the 7D was a recommendation of a friend based on my use of the 5D to (usually) shoot events and conferences. According to him, the AF being ultra fast and noise being excellent made it an excellent choice for events and conferences. Due to budget constraints, the 7D was pretty much the only camera within reach, and so I took the plunge.
After a trial by fire (I purchased the 7D days before a conference, giving little time to get used to anything) – my initial reactions are… meh? Sure, I may not be using the same quality of glass as I did with the original 5D, but I was expecting a good 5 years of technology to make the gap fairly small. In general, shots from the 7D (depending on which lens was used) appeared to be soft (many shots taken on a 20mm f/1.8 Sigma turned out this way, as well as a 15-85mm F/3.5-5.6 Canon), and just noisy overall. Even when shooting at extremely low ISO settings of 100/200, the noise was so much more noticeable than on the full frame 5D (at no point did I expect a cropped sensor to have better noise performance than a full frame, just to clarify). As I said earlier, 5 years of technology, I was hoping for the difference to be minimal – the difference is jarring in favor of the 5D.
Sadly, the “soft” focus seems to be a known issue of the 7D based on a fair number of forums/blogs/etc. online; a portion of which appear to be by people who know what they’re talking about and also a number of reasonably well-known photographers. Brace yourself for further bad news… this isn’t the only known issue. From a number of previous experiences, as well as this one, I will now Google for “Thing That I’m Planning to Buy” in combination with “Known Issues” the next time I consider a purchase.
Here’s a comparison, both images have minimal post processing (only white balance).