First off, thanks to Craig who sent two raw files from the 5DII, one at 800, one at 1600, both excellent photographs in terms of dynamic range in a real-life test. Although I don’t have the time right now to show the crops. I viewed his 800 file and my own 40D 800 file (night shot) side by side in Lightroom. Now I’m not talking about the amount of pixels – that’s for someone else to talk about. But in terms of overall noise at 800 – the 40D had less (or if not less, more pleasant rendition). The image that I picked to compare was just a run-of-the-mill night shot at 800 with as always all NR off. Hmmm… so that flies in the face of just about everything I’ve ever heard.
Now, at 1600 ASA, it’s true that the 40D had more noise in these dark and midtone flat areas, but there were no artifacts. There were artifacts in the 5D II 1600 shot. And although there was less noise in the 5D shot – it had a look that was less pleasing than what I got with the 40D @ 1600. Go figure.
Alright – so then I went to dpreview and downloaded two RAW 7D files. I had to upgrade Lightroom to 2.6 to read the raw 7D files. The upgrade went fine and I looked at two 1600 ASA RAW files they had for download. I thought they were both great. (Okay, subjective). Definitely less noise than my 40D and completely usable at 1600.
Now at the same time – two projects came along where the client wants large blowups – one at 40 x 60 inches, and one at 35x 50 inches. Basically, I’ve decided to go for the 7D. Between the two project they’ll pay for more than half the 7D cost. And that’s about all I can say about that right now. True, it doesn’t make sense, unless it has to do with how the Lightroom RAW convertor works – and might be completely different with various raw convertors – but whatever – close enough so that I will continue down the 7D line. There are other benefits to the 7D in terms of focus etc. but for now I won’t mention them (uhm, I just did).
And that, my friends – is enough info for one post. Of course you can write about the fact that the full frame has more pixels, or that the pixels are bigger, or whatever – and I realize that but I go by what I see and the 7D stuff at 1600 convinced me. I’m also, as I said, biased in that I’m not in the mood to get rid of my 30mm f1.4, and maybe you just get used to the look of a certain line of cameras – although when I looked at the RAW files of the 50D I was underwhelmed.