7d v. 5d II

I’ve had a good couple of months financially, and have hit the point where I can afford the upgrading from the 40D to the 7D, but not quite enough money for the 5D II.  Main purposes for upgrading, in this order are a) higher usable ISOs and b) more pixels.

Given that I’m hardly shooting much these days, should I just hang in there until I can afford the 5d II ?  That’s my inclination.  If I do upgrade to the 5D II (and I’ve been looking at prices for both cameras – new – on eBay) I’ll also need to pick up a fast 35mm lens to replace the 30mm f1.4 Sigma.  In other words the 50mm that I have is not going to be wide enough for my style on the 5D and I’ll need a 35mm f1.4 although I could get by (esp. given the faster speeds of the 5D II with the 35mm f2.0 which is a good lens and MUCH cheaper than the f1.4).

In addition I have the 20mm f2.8 and the 100-270 zoom with IS which is an excellent lens.  Not the real expensive one.  But very good.

I think the real question is whether the usable ISO speeds on the 5d II are really that much better than what the 7D offers.  I have downloaded files from both cameras, and in the pixel-peeping mode I can see a difference between the two cameras at 1600 and definitely at 3200.  On the other hand, I haven’t done the real work yet and made prints from them, of cropped pieces from the large files.  I think that’s really what I should do next.  Convert them to b&w the way I usually do (from raw files if I can get them) and see for myself if there’s a visible distance at a normal viewing distance… yes… thinking outloud in this post, I think that’s what I’ll do to decide.

I hate the idea of giving up the 30mm f1.4 which has been so good to me wide open.

In other news: the Zazzle stuff has really been a great boon to me as people have bought prints after seeing the calendars.  And I’ve begun to use the free Fedex triangle tubes for rolling up unmatted prints of 12 x 18 and larger.  They work very well and I’ve saved money and storage by not having to use the Kraft tubes.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

7 thoughts on “7d v. 5d II”

  1. I recently moved from a 10D to a used original 5D and my firm advice would be to go full-frame and wait to get the 5D Mk II. I bought the 30mm Sigma (mainly, to be honest, after seeing your work with it) and I miss that lens on the 5D. However, with the higher useable ISO I would absolutely think that the 35mm f/2.0 would be excellent. While the original 5D is not quite the high-ISO king that the Mk II is, you can routinely shoot 1-stop higher than you used to, so if needing 1.4 was important to you, 2.0 will do you very nicely by just bumping the ISO.

    I have also shot my wife’s 40D extensively and I truly like the look of the 5D’s files compared to her camera.

    My two cents . . .

  2. Your two cents, is my two cents. My strong inclination is to hold off until I can go for a full frame 5D II. I’m just sort of doing what I usually do – thinking out loud in the blog. Everything that I’ve read has agreed with your conclusion in terms of ISO and Image Quality.

  3. I’m betwixt and betweem the 5DII and the 7D, also.
    I tried the Pentax K7, but two different ones were defective and back they went to Adorama and B&H. Too bad since I have a full set of superb Pentax lenses from 15 to 500mm from my film camera days.
    Right now my fall-back digital is a Rebel XSi with 12 MP, and an exceptional 18-55 IS kit lens, along with the 50/1.4, 28-135, and 100-300 from the old EOS film cameras. All excellent lenses, but like you I have my eye on the 35/2.0.
    I’ll be very interested in your conclusions about the 5DII vs the 7D.
    Best regards, Bill

  4. Hi Dave, I do what you do (i.e. sell black and white prints), and have used several 5D Mk II’s for about a year (I got one of the first in the UK).

    It is absolutely brilliant. The ISO improvement is good – but to be honest, I wouldn’t print anything larger than 22×17″ at 640 ISO. Being realistic, 800 is just too noisy.

    If you need any real life sample files, let me know.

    Cheers, Craig

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