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What You Get For Your Money: Comparing the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D

Alanna Olson

New member
As a broke college student (seriously broke), I currently have been shooting with my trusty Canon Rebel XSi, but have recently become very interested in the world of fashion photography and portraiture.

I've heard that for fashion photography, the 7D's capabilities are great and I have always generally admired the fine quality associated with the 5D Mark II- so I'm seeking out opinions of professionals!
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
As a broke college student (seriously broke), I currently have been shooting with my trusty Canon Rebel XSi, but have recently become very interested in the world of fashion photography and portraiture.

I've heard that for fashion photography, the 7D's capabilities are great and I have always generally admired the fine quality associated with the 5D Mark II- so I'm seeking out opinions of professionals!

This video is an interesting comparison and gives a bit more info about the 7D than I've heard before:
http://shrt.fm/f2Gzpm
Hi Alanna,

I write from experience shooting many beautiful people for print as well as a number of fashion shows, the last one just 2 weeks back. However, I'm by no means a "fashion photographer". I do have a major shoot planned with an important Italian fashion line which shows my great interest and enthusiasm for this photography challenge.

In my mind, the key decision here is not the camera but the lens. The limit of the XT is it's lack of cross hair accurate focus beyond the central point. That only works with lenses of at least f 2.8 wide apertures. Lenses define quality today as much or more than the sensor. In the 7D one is paying for a much more sturdy body and a less stringent focus limitation.

However the XT is a prize of a camera. With a 28-300 mm L lens, one can do wonders at a shoot. I'd rather have that lens than go for the 7D. That means one can go down to 44.8 mm equivalent focal length. In many cases that might be limiting. However, the 7D will do no better.

Another choice would be to get a used 5D. Don't underestimate this camera. While it lacks live view the pictures are nothing less than stellar. Now one can use a more economical 24-105mm lens. Still, the 28-300 mm L lens can be useful for the sheer range it allows in a live catwalk where one wants to shoot at 40-60 ft and 4 feet without changing lenses. I personally have found the 70-200 mm lens the all out king with fashion shoots as one can get nice isolation. Just one cannot get wide enough when the models come close.

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Active member
I am not a professional fashion photographer either, but I do not think the camera is going to make much difference on the final pictures for this kind of shooting either.

Since you ask specifically about the 5D II and 7D, I would say that the differences are:
-better viewfinder (5D)
-better AF (7D)
-faster (7D)
-thinner depth of field in practical use (5D)

This being said, your present camera is just fine. What I would suggest to buy, if you don't have one, is a 50mm f/1.8. It is a great portrait length on a 1.6 sensor and costs next to nothing.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
For the price of a 7D one can get a used 5D and have enough left over for another lens. That's what i'd do. The next step up would be a used 5DII. The advantage of being able to use a 50 mm lens as 50 mmm is too great to lose with a 7D. There's no value for a 7D unless you fashion shoot in the rain and need video.

However, for shooting monkeys in the zoo on a ledge, the 7D would be more fun!

Asher
 

Sydney Rester

New member
If I were on a budget and really wanted to step up my image quality, I would get a used 5D Classic. They can be had for well under $1000 now. Put any extra you have towards lenses - good to have are a 50 1.4 (I use a Sigma now), 85 1.8, 135L (my staples). I've never used it but I've read good things about the 35 F2 as well.

FWIW I had a 7D for about 6 months and sold it in favor of a 5DC. I don't need the sophisticated AF for the portraits and weddings I do, and it seemed to miss as much as it hit anyway. If you're used to your Rebel, the image quality of the 5DC will simply blow you away. I have a 5D2 now and reach for it first, but also a 5DC as my second body for weddings, and I don't hesitate to shoot either camera.
 
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