Re: Canon Cameras

To: "'Robert Inglis'" <>
Subject: Re: Canon Cameras
From: "Bob Cook" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2010 09:02:28 +1100
Hi Bob

Just a question on your response.  What major improvement(s) have you seen
going from the 40D to 7D?  Alistair's comments are interesting! I am using a
50D with the 100-400 L lens and wonder whether he is right in saying that
the greatest improvement would be to go to the higher quality 300mm or 500mm

Bob Cook

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Robert Inglis
Sent: Wednesday, 24 November 2010 8:22 PM
To: Birding-Aus
Subject: Re: Canon Cameras

Dick Jenkins asked some specific questions about a couple of specific Canon
cameras and a couple of specific Canon lenses.

Dick, It is always tempting to make quick and superficial answers to such
question as the ones you ask but I think
you deserve a more considered response.
I have been using a Canon EOS 7D DSLR for about a year now (an upgrade from
the 40D which was an upgrade from the 20D which was an
upgrade from the 300D); I had the use of a Canon EOS 1DMk4 for several hours
recently; I have witnessed several 1DMk4s being used in
the field and have compared the images from both types of cameras.
I own and use a canon EF 300 mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens as well as an EF 500 mm
f/4 L IS USM super telephoto lens (my main lens). I
haven't used a Canon EF 100 - 400 mm L zoom lens but I know a few people who
Having the 300 mm f/2.8 L and the 500 mm f/4 L lenses I have no desire to
get a 100 - 400 mm L lens, most bird-photographers I know 
with this lens seem to always use it at a focal length over 300 mm.

If you want a totally subjective and biased opinion................
The 7D is a great camera and the 1DMk4 is a fantastic camera. The 1DMk4 is
actually an older design than the 7D and the 7D is,
perhaps, slightly more advanced in some aspects of the auto-focus system but
it is marginal. The 7D is more advanced in its video
It is difficult to judge the two cameras on their relative costs. The 1DMk4
is a much more robust camera than the 7D (which is a
much more robust camera than the EOS 450D) and probably uses much more
expensive mechanical and electronic bits and software. The 7D
is capable of taking great images but the 1DMk4 is capable of taking amazing
quality images.
The 1DMk4 has a larger sensor than that of the 7D but the 7D's sensor has
more pixels. This means that the 1DMk4's sensor pixels are 
larger than those of the 7D. The result is that the 1DMk4 produces what most
people will recognise as better quality images but the 
7D images will have more detail. Overall the differences are minor but,
honestly, I think the 1DMk4 images are better looking.
My brief experience with the 1DMk4 suggests that the 1DMk4 is more
consistent in producing high quality images.
The 7D is sometimes called a 'mini 1D'.
I hate saying this but........if you want and can afford the best, then, the
1DMk4 is the way to go. If your budget is a little less
ambitious but you still want an exceptional camera then the 7D is the
Either way, an upgrade from anything you have had before to either of those
cameras is a huge leap. It may take a little while to
fully come to grips with using them but the effort is worth it.
I can't afford a 1DMk4 at the moment but that is the camera I want.

The 100 - 400 mm L lens is a very capable and versatile lens. Its great
virtues are its zoom range and its very short close-focus
distance. It is a good lens for subjects such as birds and butterflies. It
is relatively light when compared to the 300 mm f/2.8 L
lens and the 500 mm f/4 L lens.
The EF 300 mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens is possibly the best lens Canon makes but
the EF 500 mm f/4 L IS USM is not far behind.
The 300 mm f/2.8 L will auto-focus with both the 1.4x and 2x Canon Extenders
(teleconverters) when fitted to both cameras.
The 500 mm f/4 L will auto-focus with both Extenders when fitted to the
1DMk4 but will only auto-focus with the 1.4x Extender when
fitted to the 7D.
Canon has deliberately programmed the Extenders to slow the speed of the
auto-focus of the lenses they are fitted to but, generally
speaking, those lenses will still auto-focus very quickly when fitted with
either Extender. Image quality from both cameras does not
drop noticeably with either lens when the 1.4x Extender is fitted. The image
quality can drop a bit when the 2x Extender is used on
the 500 MM f/4 L lens but it is still quite good. Both lenses can produce
extremely sharp images so a slight drop in image quality 
may not cause you any
heartache. Under any circumstances the image quality produced from those
lenses will usually be better than that from the 100 - 400
MM L zoom lens.
Both lenses are not light. The 300 MM lens can be used handheld even with an
Extender fitted but normal people general tire after a 
short time.
The 500 mm can be handheld by some people but I can only manage a few
The 500 mm lens is best used on a tripod and especially one fitted with a
gimbal head (Contact me if you want more details on that.)

Canon is about to release Mk 2 versions of the 300 MM f/2.8 L and the 500 MM
f/4 L lenses. The new versions will probably be a
little dearer and better but there might be a few good second hand Mk 1
lenses around next year.

Would the jump from the 450D to a 7D be enough?
Only you can work that one out but you would probably have to use both
cameras (7D and 1DMk4) for a while before you could be sure.
What I would say is that if you do decide to settle for the 7D (and that
would not necessarily be a mistake) don't under any 
circumstances be tempted to try a 1DMk4!

Something which should be kept in mind when considering either of these
cameras is the image file sizes.
The file size will depend on whether you record in RAW format or JPEG; I
always use RAW format because that gives the maximum amount 
of image data so allowing the best final results after post-processing. But
then, I am retired so, of course, I have nothing to do 
and I can afford to spend hours processing digital images.
For the 7D the largest RAW files (without the embedded JPEG - that's another
story) is approx 25 MB - huge!
The max size JPEG from the 7D is approx 6.6 MB.
For the 1DMk4 the largest RAW file (without the embedded JPEG) is approx 22
MB - still huge!
The max size JPEG from the 1DMk4 is approx 5.7 MB.

What this means is that you will need lots of storage space to store the
images from either of these cameras.
And you will want to keep lots of images from either of these cameras.
If you record RAW image files you will need to process the images in your
computer and, with files that big, you will need a fair 
amount of processing power from your computer and lots of RAM.
If you are used to using Photoshop you will probably have to upgrade to the
latest versions (CS4 or CS5) because the RAW converters 
compatible with earlier versions will not recognise the RAW files from these
cameras. There are ways around this but it does make 
life that bit more difficult.

At the moment it is difficult to buy fully compatible third-party batteries
for these cameras and the genuine Canon batteries are 
relatively expensive.
These cameras also need fast media cards to get the best out of them, faster
cards than the 450D is capable of using. I suggest 
something like 8 GB SanDisk Extreme as a minimum (Extreme Pro cards are
probably overkill).

If that's not enough info contact me directly.

Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point


To unsubscribe from this mailing list, 
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)


To unsubscribe from this mailing list, 
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU