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I have recently purchased the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, and I no longer like the ISO performance of my Rebel XS.

I'm thinking about investing in a 7D. Will that perform better for ISO and professional work comparing to my Rebel XS? I would like to do more professional (paid) work, is the 7D better suited for that? My budget is $1600.

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I stepped up from XSi (450D) to 7D, and love it. The 7D is larger and heavier with metal construction. It feels so solid compared to the XSi. I added the Nikon AH-4 handstrap (it does not block the battery compartment) and just love it. If you want to start going pro, go with no less than a 7D. –  Skaperen Feb 7 '12 at 23:38

10 Answers 10

Yes, it would be -- but the 7D is also the price equivalent of a 60D and another really good-quality lens. The 60D is also a considerable step up that offers dual control wheels, better high-ISO performance than the XS and greater resolution, and you may find that another good piece of glass is a more valuable asset to your photography than the higher-end body would be, at least over the shorter term.

Camera bodies change rapidly, and lenses tend to be better long-term investments. When you start getting paying gigs, you may find that you can easily afford to update your bodies as required, but if you don't have the lenses you need to take the shots you're asked to take, it's really hard to get paying gigs. That doesn't necessarily mean spending carloads on glass immediately; you could, say, get the f/1.8 version of a lens rather than the f/1.2 or f/1.4 version to get you into the game. If all you have is a zoom that goes to f/4 or f/5.6 at that focal length, you can't take shallow depth-of-field shots at that focal length, and bumping up the ISO isn't going to compensate for that, no matter how good the body's low-light performance is.

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I don't agree that "the 7D is also the equivalent of a 60D". (perhaps you meant equivalent COST to a 60D+ Lens?) 7D has far superior focus function, superior handling (there are not dual 'wheels' on a 60D), faster frame per second, etc etc. –  cmason Oct 24 '11 at 19:19
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@cmason: I thought the price equivalence aspect was pretty clear. And which 60D were you looking at that didn't have both a control dial at the index finger position and a rear control wheel? –  user2719 Oct 24 '11 at 19:51
    
The 60D I purchased and returned showed me that the rear 'wheel' was very different than the 30/40/50D, with an odd central button/rocker that was not functional for me. YMMV. I am saving up for the more conventional 7D instead. –  cmason Oct 24 '11 at 21:01
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I went from XT to 7D.. couldn't be happier with my decision. just the low light performance of this camera makes it a worthy upgrade (not to mention tons of other goodies that'll be hard to live without once you switch to 7D) –  Sridhar Iyer Oct 24 '11 at 22:34
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Keep in mind, too, that the question asks about what would be appropriate for "going pro" on a $1600 budget -- having a really great body and only one decent lens really makes the transition from hobbyist to pro a hard slog. As I said in my answer, the pragmatic approach is to make sure you've got the basics to do the job, then optimise the equipment as you can afford it. A kit lens and a 50/1.4 is a very limited toolbox, and getting ROI out of the 7D with those lenses would be a neat trick indeed. –  user2719 Oct 28 '11 at 4:34

The Canon 7D is definitely well suited to that and has much better noise management at higher ISOs than the XS. I've used one for the last 18 months or so and it's a great body, very responsive -- I consider it a pro-caliber body that happens to have a crop sensor.

Depending on what you need, however, you might not need it. The T3i has similar electronics and uses the DIGIC 4 processor inside, so it will get you most of the advantages of the 7D, but at half the price. If you don't need all of the capabilities of the 7D, you might considered it instead. Take a look at the feature lists for both and see whether the 7D has functionality you need or not -- it has a 2nd Digic4 so burst most is faster and more sustained, for instance.

If the T3i does what you need, you can invest the rest in other things and not your camera body. If you aren't sure, you can rent a T3i (lensrentals.com rents them, for instance) and try it out before committing.

I've been looking into upgrading my second body (a 30d) because it's time; while initially thinking a 2nd 7D (and I may still do that), given the 2nd body is more as a backup, 2nd lens that only will be used for 10-15% of the images in a shoot or for time lapses and the like, I keep thinking a second 7D is overkill, so I'm probably going to pick up a T3i and use the rest of the money to upgrade or add a lens instead.

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First of all, the 7d is a great body, but without knowing the kind of photography you normally get involved in it's difficult to determine if the 7d would be overkill. Most of the extra money over the T3i is for the magnesium alloy casing, super fast auto focus system, and very hight burst rate. If you mainly do sports or wildlife photography then these are important, but if you're mainly doing portraiture then you're paying over the odds for features you're not going to need. Another consideration with these very high resolution crop sensor bodies is that they need very good glass to get the best results. I was initially pretty disappointed with the output of my 7d until I tried it with L lenses; however, with good glass the output is fantastic. If you're looking at going for paid work that is mainly portraiture then it may be worth considering investing extra for a full frame 5d mk II body. There is a big difference in image quality and full frame sensors give much better low light performance. The 5d mk II is also a lot less challenging to use than the 7d in my experience.

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My advice to you is that it is not the body that matters, it is the lens. If you end up buying a 7D for appx $1500 or even a 60D for appx $900, you will end up feeling like you want to upgrade to a better quality lens.
Get a L lens depending on the type of work that you do. It will serve you well in the long run.

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I have the 7D. And, having upgraded from the 350D, I can confirm that it's an amazing upgrade. It is a different beast entirely.

I also have the 50mm f/1.4, and I can tell you that the two go VERY WELL together.

Unfortunately I cannot comment properly on the 60D but from the outside, although the swivel screen is nice, I would definitely miss the AF of the 7D as well as its continuous shooting burst rate of 8fps (I love airshows).

The 7D is built like a tank, and I'm pretty sure that if push came to shove I could use it as a hammer to bang nails in. An unexpected benefit of this is although it's heavier to carry round, when taking pictures I find the weight helps me hold it much steadier than with a lighter camera (I really notice this when I go back to my 350D from time to time).

The low-light abilities of the 7D are pretty good. Whilst you do get noticeable noise when pushing it above ISO 3200, for the most part it's very good indeed. If you are reducing the files for displaying on-line, then 3200 or 6400 will work fine for you, but at 100%, even at ISO 2000 noise is well controlled, and I have no hesitation in going to 1600 if needed knowing that I don't have to worry about it at all.

I love using it. Also, the price of it has come down drastically since it was released, and that is the only sting for me. I got it soon after it came out, at £1699, but now I've seen it as low as £1200! The 7D is still more capable than most other cameras out there. At over two years old now, it's still a superb piece of kit and very, very capable.

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I upgraded to a 7D and like it very much. I have the same 50 mm f/1.4 lens and can shoot flashless in low light levels.

Note: The 7D is a bigger body and grip than the T1i. I like the larger size and my right hand is noticeably less cramped after a long shoot. But if your hands are small you may not like the larger grip.

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What I read in this is that "flashless in low light levels" is subjective. I have the Canon T1i and the 50 mm f/1.8 and also take pictures under those conditions. Sure, the camera jumps to ISO 1600 if I let it, but that seems worth it in order to get the picture, and the results have been good enough for me. Can you say more about ISO, or just how low light you mean, or do you have an example picture? –  khedron Dec 14 '11 at 16:25

Depending what kind of things you get paid shooting, you should get either the 7D or a 60D.

If you shoot fast moving objects, like sports, running animals or events with lots of action (dance or party), get the 7D.

If you shoot more static things, like products, macro, portraits and everyday stuff, get the 60D for its reduced weight, rotating screen, and of course reduced cost, without compromising quality.

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This week I noticed an important difference between my T3i and 7D. I have gone to shooting all raw because I wasn't perfect guessing when jpeg would not be good enough. ;-)

A week ago a hawk jumped up and flew away. I only got 3 or 4 photos with the T3i as it was busy apparently writing the large raw files to the card. Frustrating! But last Sunday I had the 7D when two pheasants burst up and flew away. I got 15 raw+jpeg photos of them in roughly the same time as 3 or 4 with the T3i. The 7D took a picture each time I pressed the shutter button. Satisfactory!

So my experience is the 7D has "bigger pipes" for handling raw images and is far better than the T3i for "opportunity photos" when shooting raw.

pheasants 1

pheasants 2

... and 13 more. Very satisfactory!

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If your ONLY concern is the noise level, you might just get a T3i / 600D. According to the figures on dpreview, the 7D and 600D performs equally under low light. Then use the money you save on a good noise reduction plug-in.

But of course, there are a lot of other advantages to the 7D, better autofocus, two rotating wheels instead of one will make the use of manual modes much easier, bigger viewfinder, weather sealing, higher burst speed, etc.

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i have a 7D and it's great! it is heavy, and there is a difference when using L glass. personally im not sure if the 7D is actually better than the Nikon D7000, most of the pro photogs i know prefer Nikon over Canon; but that didnt stop me going for Canon. it's a hard call, forget the 60D though, unless weight is a major concern.

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