Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Review: Field Test Report

Jack Neubart discovers that this 18 MP single-digit “D” series APS-C EOS camera is indeed a chip off the old block-and then some.

The 7D is shown here with built-in flash ready for action, with EF-S 15-85mm lens attached. I hadn't worked with this lens, but the camera itself should be a model for future EOS designs. Canon photo.

Canon EOS 7D-front. The 7D is shown here with built-in flash ready for action, with EF-S 15-85mm lens attached. I hadn't worked with this lens, but the camera itself should be a model for future EOS designs. Canon photo.



I was all set to begin this review with a diatribe about all the negatives pertaining to movie shooting and Live View, but then thought better of it and opted to take the journey into 7D-dom with a positive foot forward.

When you look at the real meat and potatoes inside this machine, you’ll discover, as I did, that when you peel back the movie capture veneer, the Canon EOS 7D is a very capable DSLR. That’s especially true when it comes to capturing breaking action, owing to a highly responsive, albeit not flawless, AF system coupled with an even more responsive shutter release. There-I took the high road. Too bad Bob Hope isn’t around to do the movie version: “The 7D Road to Bali, the Musical.“ I could even write the music and lyrics. [Read more…]

First Light: Canon EOS 7D

I’ve just started experimenting with the new ::amazon(“B002NEGTTW”, “Canon EOS 7D”)::, which is an interesting beast–an APS 1.6x crop camera with 18 megapixels. Many folks, some of whom don’t appear to have used the camera, have criticized this camera as going too far along the megapixel path at the expense of ISO. To me, the “right” trade-off between those two features depends a lot on the specific job you’re doing. One of the things that interests me about the 7D is that it can serve as a lightweight backup for shooting birds and for occasional wildlife work.

For that purpose, I want good high-ISO performance (but I may not need world-class). I also want a lot of cropably-delicious little pixels–for anything else I’ll do with the camera, I’ll have a tripod.

I don’t think of the 7D (as some have suggested) as a “bad upgrade to the 5D Mark II”, I think that misses the point of this camera entirely. I think of it sort of as a “1D lite” the way that the 5D Mark II is sort of a “1Ds lite”. Of course, I have yet to discover if the 7D lives up to that standard, but I have a few good first impressions.

First, let me share with you a few badly-controlled handheld shots from my living room. Before you go look, let me apologize that the 1600 image isn’t pin-sharp because of camera movement, you should be able to get a sense of the noise characteristics despite these flaws. [Read more…]

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Review: Field Test Report

A full-frame EOS DSLR gets even better-with 21.1 MP CMOS sensor and much more.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 16-35mm lens. This is a versatile combination, which proved itself street shooting in New York City, with subjects ranging from street scenes to candid portraits-even a celebrity sighting at a film premiere. Copyright  ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 16-35mm lens. This is a versatile combination, which proved itself street shooting in New York City, with subjects ranging from street scenes to candid portraits-even a celebrity sighting at a film premiere. Copyright ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.


I remember when long intervals would go by before a new SLR was introduced, back when we were shooting film. Today, those intervals are growing remarkably shorter and shorter, although not short enough for some of us who eagerly await the next iteration. Technology, it seems, waits for no man or woman.

When the original, and very reasonably priced, EOS 5D came out, I bought it and chucked my APS-C Canons. I had heretofore resisted buying EF-S glass expecting to make this move one day. And while I’d considered the pricier 1Ds-series cameras, I felt that, for my needs, the 5D would do. In fact, for the same price as a 1Ds, I could buy the 5D and several lenses.

More to the point, I bought a Canon fisheye for starters, to take advantage of the full-frame sensor. So I felt like I had my cake and could eat it too. To top it off, all my Canon EF lenses would now be true to form. No more dealing with sensor factors. My wide-angles would be truly wide, although I did miss that extra boost my telephotos got with the 1.6X factor (applicable to Canon APS-C). But coming back to that fisheye, I now could take pleasure in that unique fisheye perspective. (Sadly, it wasn’t till I bought the Tokina fisheye zoom-for an APS-C camera, no less, namely the D300-that I truly began to exploit the possibilities of fisheye optics.)

With continued use, I could sense that there were certain features lacking on my original 5D, but I wasn’t really looking forward to upgrading too quickly. Besides, for me to take the plunge, a new 5D would have to be packing some serious new hardware-or software (technically, firmware).

Well, I’ve finally got my hands on the 5D Mark II. But is it all it’s cracked up to be, enough so for me to upgrade? Having tested the 1Ds Mark III adds another twist to this story. That 1Ds is a marvelous piece of machinery, if pricey. Should I continue to play the waiting game? Well, the only way to find out is to put the new 5D through its paces and see how it compares. [Read more…]

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III Review: Field Test Report

Still the EOS to beat.


Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III - front. This is a rugged camera, with everything needed to deliver top quality images from day one. Granted, the heavy-duty battery gives it a large footprint and considerable heft, but still this is one camera you'd be proud to be seen with. Copyright  ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III - front. This is a rugged camera, with everything needed to deliver top quality images from day one. Granted, the heavy-duty battery gives it a large footprint and considerable heft, but still this is one camera you'd be proud to be seen with. Copyright ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.

I’ve been working with Canon EOS single-lens-reflex cameras since they burst upon the scene. Well, actually, since shortly before, when I and other members of the photo press were introduced to the very first one-the EOS 1-on a top secret junket in Bar Harbor, Maine, many, many moons ago. Back then the photo press consisted entirely of print publications and cameras were analog, or as we simply liked to call them, cameras.

Fast forward to the digital age-and the full-frame EOS 1Ds DSLR. The 1-series continues to be the ranking member in the EOS lineup, designed for every imaginable professional application, with durability, functionality, reliability, and consistency at the forefront. And you’ve no doubt heard of the EOS 1Ds Mark III (MkIII, for short), the current flagship. While not the newest EOS on the block, like the 5D Mark II, it shares a 21.1 megapixel CMOS sensor.

But more to the point, it maintains the longstanding tradition established by its progenitors. And since Photocrati is a new site, we thought we’d take this camera out for a spin and round out our experiences with the EOS, with newer cameras to come under our scrutiny when available. In the meantime, here goes. Oh, and at the outset, at roughly $7,000, we should also point out that this is not the cheapest camera out there. But you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck and a camera that will probably outlast you in the field. [Read more…]

Canon Rebel T1i (EOS 500D) Review: Field Test Report

Small and compact, a good choice–if you don’t mind some compromises.

Canon Rebel T1i--front. The Canon Rebel T1i is a neat little DSLR to tool around with. You'll hardly know it's hanging from your neck, owing to the cozy size and heft of the camera/kit lens combo. By the way, look closely at the lens: if it appears that there's no focusing ring, look again--it's an annoyingly very thin knurled ring on the very front of the lens barrel. Copyright  ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.

Canon Rebel T1i–front. The Canon Rebel T1i is a neat little DSLR to tool around with. You’ll hardly know it’s hanging from your neck, owing to the cozy size and heft of the camera/kit lens combo. By the way, look closely at the lens: if it appears that there’s no focusing ring, look again–it’s an annoyingly thin, knurled ring on the very front of the lens barrel. Copyright ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.



The Rebel has always been Canon’s sleek but inexpensive choice in a digital SLR. That’s true even now. The T1i, while still not the sharpest tack in the bunch, manages to make a point with a solid feel and comprehensive feature set.

Each succeeding Rebel climbs one rung up the ladder, with this latest Rebel offering higher resolution–15.1 MP–and faster processing–Digic 4 (one of those acronyms that has never really caught on as such, but does appear to deliver in principle) on its CMOS chip. Then add a larger LCD and HD video capture (if you go in for that), and the camera becomes even more appealing. Of course, when you include an image-stabilized lens in the package and price it all under $900, there are bound to be some compromises. But are these compromises you can live with? Well, that depends. [Read more…]