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Author Topic: New Camera for Africa  (Read 7110 times)
Ellis Vener
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2012, 10:00:54 AM »
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My thoughts on the 7D and the 5D mk2 were pixel count for printing large quality prints and the "reach" decision of the smaller sensor.  Also spending $1500.00 more for a 5D mk3 for 2 megabites didn't seem justified.

Jerry

The improvements in the 5D Mark III have nothing to do with pixel count and everything to do with real world image quality. The autofocus in every way vastly superior to the 5D Mark II,  Image quality at all ISO settings over 400 is likewise far better, and finally since this will be a once in a lifetime trip, the pair of  CF and SD memory slots allow for
- making instant backups of those once in a lifetime images as you shoot
- or be able to keep shooting even if one card fills up.
- or store in camera produced JPEGS or video seperately from raw files on the other.

Unless Canon comes out with a newer big bodied camera which incorporates the features of the 1D X with significantly greater resolution , the 5D Mark III is the svery worthy replacement to both the 5D Mark II and 1Ds Mark III.
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Ellis Vener
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Ray
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2012, 10:09:48 AM »
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The improvements in the 5D Mark III have nothing to do with pixel count and everything to do with real world image quality. The autofocus in every way vastly superior to the 5D Mark II,  Image quality at all ISO settings over 400 is likewise far better, and finally since this will be a once in a lifetime trip, the pair of  CF and SD memory slots allow for
- making instant backups of those once in a lifetime images as you shoot
- or be able to keep shooting even if one card fills up.
- or store in camera produced JPEGS or video seperately from raw files on the other.

Unless Canon comes out with a newer big bodied camera which incorporates the features of the 1D X with significantly greater resolution , the 5D Mark III is the svery worthy replacement to both the 5D Mark II and 1Ds Mark III.

All true, Ellis. Except a 400mm lens on a 5D3 gives you only an 8mp 650mm image when 400mm is not long enough. The OP wants to make 20x30 prints.
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davaglo
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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2012, 06:14:22 PM »
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Again, thanks so much for the input. I love the beauty of nature, wildlife, soft light and landscapes. If it touches me or gives me the opportunity, I'll take it.

Jerry
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jrg
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2012, 03:31:48 AM »
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The effective maximum focal length would be about 620mm, and if one were prepared to reduce file size to 12mp through cropping, one could increase that by 1.4x, ie. 868mm equivalent.

Using in-camera cropping really only saves some space on the card, so it is better to use the full frame option all the time and do the digi-zooming in Lightroom or Photoshop. At least you retain some framing options and do not need to access menus to change between the crop sizes during the heat of the shooting. The end result will be the same in all cases (except the possible missed shots with the in-camera crop).
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ripgriffith
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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2012, 04:28:33 AM »
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Regardless of what equipment you finally choose, I highly recommend that you choose  and purchase it soon.  Nothing loses more shots than unfamiliarity with your camera and lens.  I also recommend that you find a wildlife or bird refuge near where you live, and spend much, much time there shooting with your new equipment.  You probably don't really need to know where the how-to-make-toy-camera-pictures button is located (other than to assiduously avoid it), but you certainly need to know how to rapidly change your ISO, how to quickly switch from AF to MF and how to change lenses (and memory cards) quickly, safely and with minimum exposure to dust or moisture.  You also need to find out what pitfalls your new equipment might present.  Little did I know how inconveniently the video button was placed on my Sony a65 (it falls directly under my thumb) until I had almost filled up my memory card and exhausted my battery by filming my feet as I walked around town.

Know how to clean your equipment!  Disregarding for the moment, the life-saving aspects, this is the exact equivalent of a soldier learning to field-strip his weapon. 

We are approaching the Autumn migration season, so that most refuges will have a large influx of birds.  Imagine that you are already on safari and that the shots you get will be those once-in-a-lifetime images.  If you can shoot birds well, I believe you are ready to shoot just about anything that might come your way on safari (although there are certain significant differences between evading a charging rhino and dodging an enraged red-wing blackbird).
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2012, 05:47:47 AM »
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7D has much the better focusing ability (useful for wildlife and bird photography) but the 5D II is, arguably, a better allround performer.

It's really not. The 5D Mk II does some stuff very well (primarily wide angle stuff), but struggles in a lot of situations.

The 7D does everything well.
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2012, 03:05:13 PM »
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everything except make images (particularly at higher ISO's) that can be printed 20x30 for critical viewing
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2012, 06:51:59 AM »
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Using in-camera cropping really only saves some space on the card, so it is better to use the full frame option all the time and do the digi-zooming in Lightroom or Photoshop. At least you retain some framing options and do not need to access menus to change between the crop sizes during the heat of the shooting. The end result will be the same in all cases (except the possible missed shots with the in-camera crop).

I wasn't referring to in-camera cropping. I'm not aware the D3200 has a a 12mp crop option. Just like you, I would always prefer to crop during post-processing because the cropping options are much greater.

It would be interesting if someone could show comparisons between a 12mp crop from the 24mp D3200 at ISO 400, using an affordable 400mm lens such as the Nikkor 80-400 VR zoom at its maximum aperture of F5.6, and the 12mp Panasonic FZ200 fully extended at 600mm equiv, used at F2.8 and ISO 100 but from a closer distance so the FoV is the same.

I've got a suspicion the FZ200 shot would be sharper and more detailed in the centre, but the edges and corners would favour the D3200, unless the shallower DoF in the D3200 shot were to adversely affect the edges. Certainly the DXOMark tests indicate that the D3200 pixel at an actual and real ISO of 400 has no better performance than the FZ150 pixel at its actual ISO 100.
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rechchemical
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« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2012, 09:55:40 PM »
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oh, i also have this question~ see how solve it~
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luibargi
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« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2012, 05:44:33 AM »
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My experience after a dozen of Safaris in RSA, Tanzania and Kenya.
I shoot film, so I won't argue about cameras.
As for lenses, for 80% of the circumstances I used an old FD 200/2,8 with great satisfaction.
Only seldom I needed my cata 500/8, for the rest I used 28/2 and 135/2.8 mm.
Don't forget that Africa also offers wonderful chances for close/street photography and a fixed fast lens is very useful.
In RSA you can leave roads or tracks (if accompanied by a ranger) and I never found myself farther than 30 mt from the animals.
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pathfinder
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« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2012, 07:43:46 PM »
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I was in Kenya last October, and Singita Reserve in South Africa in June, so I have some minor experience. I have been shooting wildlife an an amateur for years/

I strongly recommend you take two bodies, so that you will not be changing lenses in the vehicles if you can avoid it,  Dust can be a concern.  Take an empty bean bag with you.

I took a 7D and a 1DMk4, and used them almost interchangeably on both trips.  I wanted the higher ISO ability of the 1DMk4.  

If we could take all the f2.8 telephotos we want, things would be pretty easy, but with a weight restriction on camera bags of 30 pounds on our charter flights, we were not able to bring large aperture lenses.

Fast glass is important, because much of our shooting was before sunrise and after sunset.  I shot the 7D a lot at ISO 1600, and even some at 3200.  The lenses I used for wildlife in Kenya were my 400 f4 IS DO, and an EOS 70-300 f4-5.6 IS L.  The 70-300 is very sharp, but the 5.6 aperture is a limiting factor after sunset, for autofocus quickness and accuracy.  I thought a 70-200 f2.8 would be too short, and found I missed the faster aperture in the darker times, even though it was shorter.  

I took the 400 DO IS L and a 70-200 f2.8 IS L II to South Africa with the same 7D and 1DMk4, and found I liked that combination better.  I did take a 1.4 TC III and did use it some with the 400 DO, especially for birds, and game we could not get close too.  The game drives were handled a bit differently in Singita than in Masai Mara and Amboseli.

I am returning to Kenya next February and I will take my new 1DX, as the use of ISO 3200 and 6400 will help significantly for those low light shots.  I have not decided if I will take my 7D or my 1DMk4 as my second body for my return to Kenya.  I will take a 24-105 IS L, and a 24 f1.4 as well.  I may take my 85 f1.8 also.  The 135 f2.0 L is tempting but heavy, and almost covered by the 70-200 f2.8 IS L

The Canon 100-400 f4-5.6 IS L works fairly well in sunlight, but in the early morning and after sundown in Africa, AF will be more challenged.  I would really love to use a 300 f2.8 IS L and a 400 f2.8 IS L, but they were just too big and too heavy for me to schlepp to Africa.  Canon's 300 f4 IS L is a pretty nice tool to use for wildlife, and is what my wife used for most of her shooting there.

I have a Panasonic GF1 and GH2, and the 45-200 and 100-300 lenses, and when I bought them, had hoped that they might be useful for wildlife, but my limited experience is that their autofocus mechanisms are just way to slow, and inaccurate to use for moving wildlife.  I vastly prefer the speed and accuracy of a single, selected AF point in the 7D or the 1DM4.  Even the GH2 is just too slow.  I like the camera, and use it for snapshots, and panos in Alaska, but not for breaching whales or running lions.  YMMV

The Nikon lads have an advantage with their 200-400 f4 VR lens.  That one is very sweet, and I look forward to Canon's iteration of the 200-400 IS if and when it ever reaches this continent.

So I think the 7D is a very good choice.  I doubt folks can look at my images and guess which camera was used for which shot, without peeking at the exif data.

As for glass, you can rent lenses like the 400 f4 DO IS, or the 500 f4 IS L, and series 1 bodies from Borrow Lenses - http://www.borrowlenses.com/category/canon  - much more inexpensively than you can own them.

Some of my images from Singita Reserve are here - http://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Travel/Castleton-Singita-Reserve-S/23713177_7Sqp6Q#!i=1927683837&k=D4f3t6f
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 03:39:25 PM by pathfinder » Logged
pathfinder
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« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2012, 09:24:45 PM »
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The original poster of this thread, pm'd me, and asked if I would be satisfied with the 7D if I only had one camera body for an African safari.  

I cannot answer that with a simple, succinct answer for several reasons.  First of all, the lenses are more important than the body used, so start with first rate glass.  If you cannot afford good prime L super telephotos, then rent them.  Do not do without good glass. The body is of lesser importance than the glass, but the speed of AF and the high ISO noise levels are determined by the bodies, and this will matter quite a bit.

  Is a 7D much preferable to the OP's 40D?  Absolutely!!  But if all I had was a 40D could I get some good images with good glass?  Absolutely!  

But not as many, or as good, as I would with a 7D. As I said earlier, you really do want two bodies at a minimum.  As for 20 x 30 inch prints, one can do that easily with good, sharp properly exposed files from a 40D.  I have several 16x 24 in prints from a 40D sensor.

Like with great lenses, if you cannot afford a first rate body, rent one from Borrow Lenses or one of the other vendors.  Get it a week before you leave, and practice shooting birds in flight, so that you know how to optimally use the Autofocus, with a single AF point.  Do not be offended if I am stating the obvious to you, but lots of folks really seem to think autofocus is up to the camera and let the camera choose the AF points ( this won't work out very well with running wildlife ) , and not a user skill. When you can keep a single AF point on a bird in flight diving for fish, then you can be sure you can follow a lion hunting with a single AF point. -  

The Autofocus system on the 7D is orders of magnitude better than the 40D's AF, but the AF of the 7D takes a bit of learning to use most effectively.  This is even more true with a1DMk4 or a 1Dx.  

So yes, if I only had one body, I could get by with a 7D.  Would it be my first choice, no, it is now 2-3 years past its prime).  I am not being snide here, I still use my 7D for a great deal of my images, despite owning "better" ( superior technically ) cameras like a 1DMk4, because a 7D is very capable, smaller, lighter, handles easily, and I know it like my own skin.  The high ISO files are noisier than a 1Dmk4 or a 5DMk2, but so what, at 100 or 200 ISO who can tell the difference.  I stated in my previous post about my images, most viewers cannot distinguish them on the basis of the camera body they they were shot with.    

One other big factor in your images will be the quality of your drivers and your guides.  Will you have a driver who will get you close to your quarry, and will they do it so the lighting is where you prefer it?  Or will they just drive up so you can see the critter, but you have to look over the heads of those in front of you in the Land Rover?  Will you be allowed to get out of the vehicle and shoot from the ground.  Getting low down on the ground can really improve your shots, but being afoot in lion country is something one wants to have good guides along for advice and awareness. -  

Will your outfitter get you out before sunrise, and will they stay after sunset, or will they only shoot between 9am and 5 pm??  The big cats do a lot of their hunting in those hours when the sun is below the horizon.  Shooting sunrise shots in the dark afoot, with lions roaring in the background will keep you awake and on your toes...  Skip breakfast in the morning, eat brunch after shooting, snack and  sleep mid day, and go back out for the evening and come back after dark and have supper.  

Have fun, and there will be times when you cannot get great images, so just put your camera down, and smell the grass and the animal dung, and feel the sun on your skin, and realize your dream really has come true.  

I thought if I was very, very  lucky after I retired, I would only go to Africa one time in my life.

But I found that one time is not nearly enough.  Not nearly.

The 5DMkIII could be rented, and do very nicely in Africa, even though the reach is less than the 7D's. You do NOT want a 5DMk2 for wildlife in Africa.  It is a fine studio camera, but the AF is not up to wildlife in my hands, anyway.

This frame is from a 7D

« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 09:55:42 PM by pathfinder » Logged
davaglo
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2012, 08:15:56 PM »
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Pathfinder, thank you for your reply. She ain't gonna like what I'm about to do, 5D mkIII.

Jerry
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jrg
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2012, 10:20:46 PM »
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no, one time is not nearly enough (and my wife would be the first to agree)

although i also had a tough time with the price of the 5D3, it is a fantastic all-round camera with incredible autofocus (which takes some study and practice to fully utilize) and high ISO performance that is extremely useful when you most need it for wildlife and allows use of smaller, slower lenses with very good results.  pairing this with a 40D you should be in good shape.

be sure to set up your camera to separate the shutter button for autofocus (which is assigned to the * button under your thumb) - not only far superior for action but extremely useful for focusing and re-composing

pathfinder mentioned the 70-300 which i found not particularly nice handling and not enough sharper than the 100-400 to justify it (and not as sharp as the 70-200) so i like the combination of 70-200 and 100-400 as lenses that will cover most situations.  perhaps i should re-visit the 400 DO and see if it is happier with the 1.4xiii. 

lensrentals.com has great service and makes much more sense than investing in big glass - particularly until you have the experience and frequency of use to justify big $
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pathfinder
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« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2012, 07:34:34 PM »
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That is interesting Steve, I have owned my 100-400 for 8 years, and used it extensively, but once I got the 70-300 L I felt it was sharper and focused much faster.  Maybe there is that much difference between individual lenses of the same model.  

I used my 100-400 for two workshops in Alaska, but when I went to Africa, I chose my newer, much more solid feeling 70-300 IS L. They are the same aperture at the long end, f5.6, but I always stop down at least 1/2 stop for a sharper image.

They are both good lenses, but I never developed any affection for that trombone action sliding focus, and I always thought it would introduce more dust inside the lens and the camera body.  The new 70-300 L is better sealed - I think.  

Some folks do manage to use a 1.4 TC with the 100-400 by taping pins, but a 1.4 TC will not mount on the 70-300 IS L.  I prefer to limit my TC use to prime lenses, although they seem to work fairly well with the 70-200 f2.8 IS Ls

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Steve, we are so very lucky, you and I, both our spouses wanted to return to Africa more than just once.  We are lucky fellows, indeed.

Jerry, your significant other may not like the 5DMK3, but I bet you will!   Smiley  

With the full frame camera, you might prefer the 100-400 to the 70-300 IS L.  Maybe...

I think you will want a 400 that you can put a TC on for shots in the distance also.  The 400 f2.8 is large and heavy, which is why I took the 400 f4 DO.  The 400 f5.6 is too slow for my taste. I know there are folks who deride the 400 DO lens, but mine has served me quite well for over 7 years, out West, and in Africa.  I will take it back again in February.  I have several shots with the 400 DO + !.4 TC III that seem acceptable to my eye.

If your spouse is not shooting, things are easier, because you can have her carry one large aperture telephoto like the 400 f2.8 and an extra body maybe.  I could not do that because my wife was shooting also and only carries her own gear....all 30 pounds of it. 


« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 07:46:34 PM by pathfinder » Logged
davaglo
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« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2012, 10:09:53 PM »
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Great information, thanks Gentleman. My wife does not understand or appreciate photography. She has a photographic memory and thus has little patience with the craft of setting upthe shot (not saying that I am a craftsman).
I however am hooked and enjoy the creativity both shooting and developing in Lightroom.
The lenses I will rent for budgetary reasons. The road and process of selection is as important to me as the end selection, it is a journey. The older I get the more deliberate my actions for the journey.
 
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jrg
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« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2012, 10:27:15 PM »
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i'll have to admit it's my second (tested and selected) 100-400 with acceptable - but not optimum performance wide open (i think later production lenses are more consistent).  my experience and tests indicate that the 100-400 delivers disproportionally better IQ on full frame cameras (crop frame cameras demand better lenses for the small pixels) but i still find it very convenient for hand-held birds flight on the 40D and now 7D

some argue that the 100-400 +1.4x with taped pins (or using CDAF on a tripod) is better than an equivalent crop - possibly, but neither one is good enough for me to print.  i agree about extenders and primes with the exception of the 70-200s

the 400 5.6 is extremely sharp but limited both by its speed and lack of IS and requires good light or a tripod.  IQ is good with the 1.4x but requires a tripod and use of magnified manual liveview or liveview CDAF - only useful for subjects in a plane of focus and/or stationary.  this is a special situation lens for me instead of carrying really big glass that i wouldn't use very often either - but that depends on where you're going and what you're looking for

i should probably try the 400DO with the 1.4xiii which is a noticeable improvement over the ii.  however, with a crop frame backup 640 equiv is as much as you need in most place (unless you're concentrating on birds and small animals)

your wife may not like the price of the 5D3 (and i don't either), but she'll like what you hang on the wall
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Ray
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« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2012, 12:57:55 AM »
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The problem with the 5D3 is the effective maximum reach with whatever lens is attached. The Canon 100-400 is a good compromise, has a useful range, is reasonable quality and not excessively heavy. However, it's still a 400mm full-frame lens which may often not be long enough for wildlife.

In my experience, using this zoom lens with a 1.4x extender serves little resolution benefit compared with cropping and interpolating the 400mm shot. Any slight resolution benefit is offset by the need for a higher ISO to achieve the same shutter speed and the loss of autofocus.

If you check out the results at DXOMark, you will see that the 5D3 pixel is hardly better than the old 20D pixel. This means, if you need to crop the 5D3 image to get the same FoV as a cropped-format camera, such as the 20D, effectively turning the 400mm lens into a 640mm lens, the results may be hardly better than using the old 8mp 20D with the same lens.

The 7D with more than twice the pixel count of the 20D should produce a noticeably better and more detailed result than the 5D3 when attempting to get a 640mm reach with a 400mm lens.  In fact, if you were prepared to crop the 18mp 7D image to the 8mp of the 20D (or the 8mp of the cropped 5D3 image) in order to extend the effective focal length even further, you would get an 8mp, 960mm image.

Of course, the 7D pixel is significantly smaller than the 20D and 5D3 pixel, and is therefore noisier, but bear in mind that using a teleconverter will most often result in increased noise due to the increased ISO setting required for a fast shutter speed at the reduced aperture size.

It would be interesting to compare a 22mp image from a 5D3 used with 400mm lens and 2x extender at say ISO 1600, and the same lens used with a 7D at ISO 400, cropped to 8mp.

If the 400mm lens were a good quality prime, we'd be comparing an 8mp crop from the centre of a sharp lens with an equivalent focal length of 960mm, as opposed to a 22mp image from a mediocre and rather unsharp 800mm lens, because this is what a teleconverter does to a lens. It turns a first rate lens into a second rate lens of longer focal length, and a second rate lens into a third rate lens of longer focal length.
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2012, 02:00:17 AM »
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Of course, the 7D pixel is significantly smaller than the 20D and 5D3 pixel, and is therefore noisier

Aaah, come on Ray - that utterly disproven Internet meme again?

If large pixels are inherently less noisy than small pixels, why does my 7D knock my 40D, 30D, Nikon D200 and Nikon D70 into the middle of next week? And how is it significantly better than the 1D Mk IIn I used to use? And indeed, at the image level, how does it compare so well against the 1D Mk III I side-by-side tested the 7D against before choosing the 7D over it?

I'll put my 7D up against a 5D any day, too, as I will against any of Canon's earlier full frame 1Ds models. 

You might want to compare the noise from a Nikon D7000 against that of a D300, too.

Small pixels do not make for noisier cameras - not in any sense that matters to the image.
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Keith Reeder
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Ray
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« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2012, 05:24:23 AM »
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Aaah, come on Ray - that utterly disproven Internet meme again?

If large pixels are inherently less noisy than small pixels, why does my 7D knock my 40D, 30D, Nikon D200 and Nikon D70 into the middle of next week? And how is it significantly better than the 1D Mk IIn I used to use? And indeed, at the image level, how does it compare so well against the 1D Mk III I side-by-side tested the 7D against before choosing the 7D over it?

I'll put my 7D up against a 5D any day, too, as I will against any of Canon's earlier full frame 1Ds models. 

You might want to compare the noise from a Nikon D7000 against that of a D300, too.

Small pixels do not make for noisier cameras - not in any sense that matters to the image.

Ah! I see you have confused overall image quality with individual pixel quality. Grin When I say that the 7D pixel is noisier than the 5D3 pixel, or the much older 20D pixel, I'm comparing one pixel with another pixel. This is what DXOMark is expert at doing. When you compare sensors at their website, they give you the option of comparing overall image quality, by clicking on 'print', top left of the 'measurements' window, which compares equal size images involving the downsizing of at least one of the images, or 'screen', which compares pixel with pixel.

If you want to compare the 1D3 pixel with the 7D pixel in 'real-world' shots, you should crop the 18mp 7D image to 10mp after taking a shot of the same scene with an appropriately wider lens or from a further distance than the 1D3 shot.

Since the 7D sensor is a more modern sensor than the 1D3 sensor, there will be some improvements that result in the smaller pixel of the 7D being almost on a par with the larger pixel of the 1D3. Dynamic range is a quality which has been much improved in recent DSLRs, especially Nikon models. Canon is lagging behind in this respect, but they have nevertheless made some slight improvements in DR in recent years. The DR of the 7D pixel at base ISO is only 1/4th of a stop worse than the DR of the larger 1D3 pixel. That's of little significance.

However, SNR at 18% grey is more than a whole stop worse. Color sensitivity of the 7D pixel is 2.1 bits worse. One bit is considered the threshold which is noticeable, so 2.1 bits of additional color sensitivity should be significant.

On the other hand, if you are a DXOMark denier, you probably won't believe these results.  Grin


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