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full frame or crop?

David Storm , May 26, 2010; 05:38 p.m.

I am planning on getting a new camera soon... have an old Xti that is falling apart, and want to make a quality investment this time.. I am thinking either the canon 7D or 5D, and was wondering if there is a website that shows the comparison of a wide angle picture taken with both different camera?

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Dick Arnold , May 26, 2010; 06:58 p.m.

I have an XTi and a 5D. First off there is nothing wrong with my XTi. I just did an extensive series of pictures with it involving the hatching, nurturing and flying of two doves at close range with the XTi and a Canon 100-400L where I left the camera on a tripod in the same concealed location for almost a month. The pictures are really good. I know nothing about the 7D. What I do know is the 5D is very good in low light high ISO situations where I do a lot of photograply. I took some pictures today in bright light and marvelled at how easy it was compared to shooting in badly lit swimming arenas for instance. What I especially like about the 5D is that my 17-40 is truly 17-40 and the full frame I think produces better pictures like landscapes than a 1.6 crop but only so's you'd notice with quite large blow-ups. Just my opinion. I don't want to start an argument because I truly believe that you can get great pictures from either the 7D or the 5D as I believe that really good photography is the product of the photographer rather than the equipment. I think, using the proper lenses for each camera, that you could not tell the difference in prints from the two up to 18x24 or even larger. The 5D may be better on really large pictures. The 5D Mark I view screen is small and is difficult to view in bright light. It has but basic features compared to the 7D. When I shoot swimming in really bad light I drag the 5D along because I get usable, printable pictures at ISO 3200 when all else fails. Unless you can view 100 per cent crop printed pictures it would be hard to discern differences between the two cameras IMO.

David Storm , May 26, 2010; 07:22 p.m.

I am not really sure that I understand the difference between full frame and crop. it kind of sounds like the crop image is automatically magnified?

Dick Arnold , May 26, 2010; 07:36 p.m.

The sensor on the 7D is about 2/3rds the size of the 5D full frame. If you put a full frame lens on the 7D the sensor only sees 2/3rds of the image entering the camera so when you view the image it appears to be larger, if that makes sense. As far actual sharpness, there are other variables that have an effect on the image such as pixel size so that crop size is not the sole determinent of the quality of the image. However, the larger full frame 5D sensor having more area than the 1.6 does better at high ISOs. A 1.6 sensor actually does not enlarge the image it crops it like you would in photoshop to make it look larger.

Levon Monte , May 26, 2010; 08:41 p.m.

yes, the crop is a 1.6x magnification. like dick said, fullframe handles low light almost same as naked eye, like the 5d mark II, can shoot at 25,000 ISO with great resolution and get natural light. with a crop, APSC sensor, you usually can't go above 800 or 1600 ISO without losing signifigant picture quality. As for your decision of full frame or APSC, go with whatever you can afford. I'd recommend the new Rebel T2i over the 7D though. It's getting rave reviews and has same image quality and video as 7d, for much less money and a more compact package. That's what i'd get if i upgraded, i have an xti too. it's basically a baby 7d with all the main features for less money. check out this month's Popular Photography and Outdoor Photography magazines, they have features on the T2i...

S. Grant , May 27, 2010; 10:11 a.m.

I wouldn't trouble yourself over full frame or crop David. There really isn't a practical difference for average folk like us in final print/web quality at this point in the technology. Digital Photography review has an image section for their camera reviews, and "the digital picture" also has samples in his reviews. There are many high quality lenses that offer a wide angle of view for the variety of sensor sizes out there, just go with the camera/lens combination of whatever brand that makes a tool that you will use often, don't just look at Canon. I happen to use Canon and I find that my powershot G9 is my most used camera now, and I like the images I get from it. I have owned the XTi that you have and got some of my favourite images from it. Also, if you have the time, look at the bundled software from Canon for stitiching images; if you aren't taking action shots even a telephoto can give you a wide field of view. Have a look at these two images taken with an 8 megapixel "crop" camera, one with a 50mm lens and the other with a 150mm lens and zoom in on them. I do own and use a full frame body, but I use it least of my digital cameras.
http://www.gigapan.org/gigapans/37264/
http://www.gigapan.org/gigapans/41081/

Bill Tuthill , May 27, 2010; 01:05 p.m.

What Simon says is true. Compare the budget priced 500D with the arm&leg priced 5D and tell me if you really need full frame. Both cameras have been replaced with higher-res models, but meanwhile DPreview changed their test images so we can't compare.

David Storm , May 27, 2010; 03:28 p.m.

I will probably end up going with the 7D. I dont want a "plastic" camera, and i have heard that this camera is more weather resistant. I live north of seattle, and spend alot of time hiking in rainy weather..

Scott Frindel Cole , May 27, 2010; 11:24 p.m.

Bill,
You didn't say which photos are from which camera, and under what conditions (raw? Jpeg? What iso?)
Scott

David Storm , May 27, 2010; 11:32 p.m.

i would venture to say that the left side photos are from the crop-sensor camera


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