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I'm looking at upgrading from a Canon T2i to a Canon 7D. It's available used for half-price from a friend of mine because he purchased a Canon 5D Mark III.

The T2i and 7D have the exact same sensor, so I'd expect the image size, video size, sensitivity to light, etc. to all be the same. However, the faster focus and more focus points, faster shutter, weather sealing, double the FPS when shooting in RAW, top-facing LCD and 100% viewfinder were impressive upgrades to me.

I've always heard that you should upgrade your glass before upgrading your body, and I am also considering getting a new, expensive lens. I have an inexpensive Canon 50mm f/1.8 and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, but am considering getting a 70-200mm f/2.8.

In general - and in this specific case - what should I consider beyond cost and specifications in deciding whether it's worth it to upgrade?

EDIT: Sorry for such a vague question everyone, but I do appreciate everyone's responses. I will be using the camera for "burst rate and the ability to sustain it, better AF, and better high ISO response", "professional controls", and so on, so yes it will be "worth it".

This question would have been better suited for "chat", as I know the technical differences and why I'll be using the 7D, I just wanted to hear some opinions and this website isn't meant for opinions per se.

I just wasn't sure if there was any advice from experts that said "No, I should buy a 4-year old camera," "especially if the sensor is the same between the two cameras," and of the like.

The camera is $1799 CDN with a battery grip ($199 CDN) and will be purchasing it for $1000 CDN.

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Maybe this could be edited into a more general form: what issues should a relative newcomer to DSLRs be aware of when upgrading from an entry-level model (such as a T2i) to a professional model (such as the 7D)? It would still be a bit discussion-y, but much less so. (It might, however, make it too localized - to what features are typically found now on entry-level vs. pro models.) –  Ward Mar 15 '12 at 19:09
    
You haven't included how much he wants to sell it to you for? I'd say the image quality between T2i and 7D would be negligible so entirely dependent on whether you consider it a bargain. If it's the sort of price you can't say no to, then don't! –  Mike Mar 15 '12 at 19:51
    
@Mike He said "half-price" for the 7D, which isn't precise, but gives a ballpark. –  Ward Mar 15 '12 at 19:56
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@Brett I took a swing at making the question more general so it's less likely to be closed. If that gets approved, you can re-edit if you don't like the extensive changes I made. –  Ward Mar 15 '12 at 22:49
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@dpollit: I like this one better than that one, because it has the interesting fact of a shared sensor. In some ways, it goes back to this: What sets apart DSLRs in different price levels? –  mattdm Mar 16 '12 at 0:06
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6 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Nobody's actually asking what you use the camera for, so there's no way to tell whether or not the upgrade will benefit you.

I recently bought a T3i to be a second body along with a 7D; buying a second 7D seemed overkill for what I was using it for. Whether upgrading to the 7D makes sense depends on what you're doing with it.

How often do you hit a situation where you can't get the shot you want because your gear didn't cooperate? Are you shooting situations where a high, sustained burst rate would help get the shot? (like motor sports, birds, running animals, etc?). Are you shooting things where improved Autofocus will help you get shots your missing? Are you running into low-light situations where shots are ruined by high ISO noise?

If neither of those is true, then upgrading to the 7D probably won't help you a lot. The t2i does a nice job and turns out a quality image in most situations, and in those cases, I'd be wary spending money on an upgraded body. You definitely would benefit from buying upgraded glass, and that might be a better investment.

From a pure money standpoint, though, if you can get the 7D for half list and it's in good shape, that's a really good deal for a used body like that -- and it might make sense to do and sell the T2i, knowing that in a few years, you can probably sell the 7D again and get a good deal off your friend's willingness to part at a good price.

My guess is that since you aren't explaining technical reasons why the 7D would improve your photography, it probably won't. The image improvement between a T2i and a 7D is noticable but not huge, and you'd see more of an improvement upgrading your glass. Unless you need/want a feature the 7D has that the entry level body doesn't, it's hard to justify doing the upgrade -- and IMHO, the big changes between the bodies are burst rate and the ability to sustain it, better AF, and better high ISO response. If any of those are significant in your shooting, then maybe. Otherwise, seriously consider upgrading your lenses first.

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Moreover 100 series seem to be almost worthless in the used market after a few years. Bought 400D for 650 euros 5 years ago, now I can sell it for around 200. 7D might hold is value better. –  Paolo Mar 16 '12 at 11:55
    
I will be using the camera for higher "burst rate and the ability to sustain it, better AF, and better high ISO response", so it sounds to be I will upgrade to the 7D and then the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM II after. Thank you. –  bafromca Mar 16 '12 at 15:11
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On the assumption that the question gets edited into a more general form (and not closed):

The main issues you'd face when upgrading from an entry-level DSLR to a professional model are:

  • Fewer automatic modes. Entry-level cameras typically have a lot of preset modes to choose from whereas pro models have a range of manual modes (shutter, aperture, etc.) and a full-auto mode. An in-between model (e.g. for Canon, the D60) might have a few automatic modes, but far fewer than an entry-level.

  • Along with fewer automatic settings, pro models generally have fewer step-by-step menu options and more controls. So there's a learning curve to get to know what the controls do, but OTOH once you've done that it's actually easier and quicker to change settings.

  • You obviously pay more for the pro camera than an entry level. In return you get more durability and better "performance." (e.g. more frames/sec, more and better auto-focus points)

  • (This next point is not necessarily going to be true for all time.) You may not be able to use the same storage media from an entry-level camera if you upgrade. e.g. the T2i uses SD, the 7D uses CF.

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Ya, I'm not worried about most of those concerns as I'm pretty familiar with my camera and a lot of photography techniques. I guess I should have geared my question more towards the "is it worth to upgrade if it's the same sensor?" area. –  bafromca Mar 15 '12 at 19:31
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If you stick with "is it worth it?" as a question, it's likely to be closed, as you're the only one who can decide that. Personally, I skipped getting an entry-level and went with the D60 when I got a DSLR last year because I decided it was worth it to me to get many of the "professional" level controls and somewhat better performance specs than a Rebel. –  Ward Mar 15 '12 at 19:55
    
The Canon D60 is a 6.3Mpx camera from back in 2002. Maybe you meant to write 60D? –  Michael Kjörling Mar 19 '12 at 12:36
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Were you thinking about upgrading before you got the offer? If not, then your current model probably suits you fine. And you are gonna need all your dough for the 70-200mm f/2.8, at least if the rest of the name is "IS USM II".

But if you were considering making the switch, then getting a 7D for half the price from a trustworthy source sounds like a sweet deal.

Is it worth the upgrade? That is completely unanswerable because that is a completely individual matter.

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It is would be an IS USM II! Great glass. –  bafromca Mar 16 '12 at 15:09
    
Yeah, it is on my wish list too. –  Pete Mar 16 '12 at 18:09
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Yes. It's an upgrade in every way except for image quality. Ergonomics, viewfinder, build quality, auto-focus, maximum shots per second, you name it. But ultimately they have very similar sensors that will produce almost identical images under ideal circumstances.

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Ergonomics. The larger body of the 7D fits my hands better than my T1i. My hands are less cramped after a long shooting session. I also have a battery grip on the 7D and this makes it more comfortable.

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I've been a Canon 1-series shooter, so 1D, 1Ds. My wife prefers a lighter body, so she went 40D, 5D. So I've shot all these cameras, and my experience is that the number of AF points makes a huge difference unless you manually focus everything. The 1-series cameras both outperform the 5D MkII, although the specs on the 5D MkIII are promising. The 7D is far better than the 5D MkII, but not like a 1-series body.

I only bring up the 1-series bodies because these are Canon's pro DSLR bodies. The 5D and 7D are not, although many pros use them. You won't get the consistent 10-12FPS burst rate out of a 7D, whereas you will with a 1Dx.

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