My goto camera is still my 5D Mark II. As I primarily shoot landscape, I love Wide Angle on a Full Frame body.

That said, I do occasionally shoot animals and people running.

The 5D Mark II's AF system, while not as bad as the Internet would like you to believe, does show it's age.

I'm tempted to pair up the 7D with my 5D, to better help with action shots. Currently I can get one for $1500 which is well within my price range. I currently have a 40D as a spare, and I like it well enough, but I'm not as happy with it's AF performance either.

So will I notice a noticeable improvement in AF for moving subjects, worthy of the investment, or should I make do with my 5D2, given than I use it more than any other body.

  • 2
    I think if the improvement is noticeable, you will notice it :-P Oct 29 '10 at 2:41
  • I have a 7D which is great at fast speeds, and the AI Servo is pretty darn good when shooting rugby matches from a distance. Not too bad on birds either.
    – scb222
    Jan 10 '12 at 2:11

If you primarily shoot landscape, it might be better to wait for the 5D Mark III in 2011. The rumormill has it getting an improved AF system, that while not likely to beat the 7D for action shots, should definitely be better than the 5D Mark II. You would then have a single camera that could serve all your needs, rather than needing to lug around two camera bodies everywhere.

The 7D is a great burst-mode camera for photographing birds in flight, though. I recently had the chance to use one to photograph some birds near where I live, and the thing is absolutely amazing. I have a lot of trouble photographing birds with my 450D (almost all my bird shots are total waste), but the 7D feels like it was practically designed for it. It manages to focus tack-sharp all the time. It is a large body, however, almost as large as a 5D, and pretty solid. Personally, I would rather trade the weight of the 7D for another useful lens, and carry just one camera body.

  • 1
    I don't shoot Canon, but I have to agree. I have several friends with the 7D and it produces some great shots, but you need to have good light to take advantage of it. Having said that, two bodies has an advantage when you don't have time to change lenses... For that reason, I intend to keep my Pentax K20 when I do the K5 upgrade.
    – Joanne C
    Oct 8 '10 at 3:36
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    I'm sure I also heard a rumour it was going to solve world peace ;) Oct 8 '10 at 11:18

I have a 5DMII, and only tried the 7D for a short time, when a friend of mine bought it. He ended up returning it for a 5DMII. This camera is indeed a machine-gun in burst mode, so fast! I can't claim I use it for long, but it felt better at focusing. However, I just couldn't deal with the extra noise. The pixel density on this camera is so high, you won't get the same performance in low light than the 5DMII. Given plenty of light, you should be fine. Unless you have money to burn or really in a hurry, I would personally wait for the 5DMIII next year.

  • 5D Mark III? GD!
    – Alan
    Oct 8 '10 at 0:58
  • 1
    Given the time lag between the 5D mark I and mark II being released (over three years) I wouldn't wait for a mark III, get a camera that does what you need now!
    – Matt Grum
    Oct 8 '10 at 10:37
  • When talking about MIII one should also consider that cameras aren't really available for sale on the announcement day.
    – Karel
    Oct 8 '10 at 15:57
  • @Matt: not sure what you are saying. 5DMI and 5DMII are 3 years apart (announced late August 2005 vs early September 2008). That will put the 5DMIII indeed in 2011, probably September. Not really that far... there will always be birds in 2011 :) @Karel: actually announcement and release are getting closer and closer (a couple of months for the 5DMII for example). The market is so cut-throat, I assume this is done to prevent a competing release in between. Unfortunately this makes our lives more difficult; hard to plan. Oct 8 '10 at 18:56
  • 1
    I'm saying it's probably a least a year before the mark III will be for sale, is it really worth waiting that long? I'm a believer in getting the gear you need now, even if it's not perfect and not losing a years worth of shooting experiences.
    – Matt Grum
    Oct 8 '10 at 20:49

If you are upgrading to 7D just because you want better quality image, then I will suggest you to stay with your XXD or XXXD. For example, 60D and 600D(and 550D) produces same image quality under same settings. But you may ask whats the selling point if there is no difference in IQ. 7D has some use in fast/action photography, rough weather and of course if you want yourself to look pro then 7D is good for that. Back to the point, higher FPS, more manual control (like ISO selection by 1/3 stop) is something that you can find in your XXD. If you don't need those features, 7D will be a waste of your money.

And there is a saying which says to spend less with your body, but to spend more in better glasses.

To conclude, I will suggest you to upgrade only to a full-frame like 5D mark II because that's a whole new world and it will bring a lot of potential to your current field of interest. Good luck.


Given what you said you're looking to shoot with it, I'd suggest looking at a used 1DIII which is currently hovering around $2k (just make sure you get one with the AF fix). The AF, auto exposure and burst speed CRUSH the 7D and 5D. Crush. Once you use a 1 series body going back to the other bodies is tough, in one word I'd describe it as more 'responsive'.

  • I wouldn't say the 1DIII "crushes" the 7D in terms of burst speed. The 1DIII is a 10fps body, while the 7D is an 8fps body. The 7D is also a sports/wildlife/birding body as it has stellar AF and a high burst rate. The 5DII is indeed crushed by both, as it is a 3fps body.
    – jrista
    Nov 2 '10 at 22:57
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    'AF, AE and burst speed' were a package deal in the crushing :) The 1DIII focuses faster/more accurately*, exposes masterfully and bursts faster. And, Servo focus with 45 AF points is amazing, your subject is pretty much always covered by multiple AF points and more of those AF points are cross-type. Using one, then the other in the same session really shows the difference.
    – Shizam
    Nov 3 '10 at 0:44
  • You do realize that all 19 AF points on the 7D are cross-type, and f5.6 sensitive whereas the 19 cross type (same number) on the 1DIII are only sensitive for f2.8 and wider (except for the center which is f4). The center point on the 7D also has extra sensitivity on the diagonal for f2.8 and wider. I am not trying to claim the 7D has a better AF system, but the differences aren't as big as you imply.
    – Robin
    Jan 10 '13 at 18:09
  • As I said before: 'AF, AE and burst speed' were a package deal in the crushing. This is one of those instances where if you actually pick up both cameras shoot with them the differences will become evident almost immediately. And again, I'm only suggesting this for tracking fast moving subjects.
    – Shizam
    Jan 10 '13 at 18:33

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