Comparing the Canon 5D Mark II, 7D and 50D

Canon EOS 7D

Unless you’ve been living off world for the past few days, you know that Canon has introduced a new DSLR camera, the EOS 7D. In the coming days there will be reviews galore posted on the various industry watching blogs with in depth discussions of this new model’s features and benefits. Folks that recently purchased the 50D or 5D Mark II may start to feel “buyers remorse” and “upgraders envy” over the perceived differences between their camera and the new 7D. The amount of forum traffic on will jump as folks begin to post their rants and raves about this new camera.

To help cut through some of the rhetoric I thought I’d post a quick and dirty comparison of the 5D Mark II, the 7D and the 50D cameras based upon the information currently available. Basically, the same comparison I recently posted on the new G11 and G10 cameras. Let me state for the record that this comparison is from a still photographer’s perspective only. The video capabilities of these cameras are cool but not where my interests lay.

List Price:
5D2 – $2700 (USD)
7D – $1700 (USD)
50D – $1200 (USD)

5D2 – FF (5616 x 3744) (21 MP)
7D – APS-C (5184 x 3456) (18 MP)
50D – APS-C (4752 x 3168) (15 MP)

5D2 – DIGIC 4
7d – Dual DIGIC 4
50D – DIGIC 4

5D2 – 50, 100 – 6400, 12800, 25600
7D – Auto, 100 – 6400, 12800(H)
50D – Auto, 100 – 1600, 3200(H), 6400(H), 12800(H)

5D2 – 35 Area Eval, Center Weighted, Partial, Spot
7D – 63 Area Eval, Center Weighted, Partial, Spot
50D – 35 Area Eval, Center Weighted, Partial, Spot

Auto Focus:
5D2 – 9 Point / 6 Assist
7D – 19 Point (new technology)
50D – 9 Point

Exposure Compensation:
5D2 – -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps
7D – -5 to +5 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps (really???)
50D – -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps

Continuous Shooting:
5D2 – 3.9 fps
7D – 8 fps
50D – 6.3 fps

Raw Formats:
5D2 – RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2
7D – RAW, sRAW, mRAW
50D – RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2

5D2 – Pentaprism, 98% Coverage, 0.71x Mag
7D – Pentaprism, 100% Coverage, 1.00x Mag
50D – Pentaprism, 95% Coverage, 0.95x Mag

5D2 – LP-E6 ($66 USD)
7D – LP-E6 ($66 USD)
50D – BP-511A ($46 USD)

5D2 – 850g
7D – 860g
50D – 822g

The flame wars have already started on the new EOS 7D as they do anytime Canon releases a new DSLR camera. The comparison between the 50D and the 7D is very easy to judge in most respects with the 7D offering some very compelling new features such as the increased resolution, the dual DIGIC 4 processors, the very high 8 fps continuous frame rate, the 100% viewfinder, the new metering system and the brand new auto focus system. If the high ISO performance of this new 18 MP sensor is at least as good as the 50D’s, then the new 7D is a sure fire winner for anyone looking for 1.6x crop body.

The comparison to the 5D Mark II is much more difficult, which is generally the case when comparing a full frame sensor to an ASP-C sensor. The single biggest difference between these two cameras is the huge difference in the size of the sensors and should not be underestimated. Having said that, the new 7D does have a much more modern auto focus and metering system, both of which would be very welcome on a future full frame model.

Final Thoughts:
In the words of David duChemin, “Gear is Good, Vision is Better”. It’s not the camera that makes the photograph, it’s the person behind the camera. Don’t get all caught up in the hype over a new camera. A new camera will NOT make you a better photographer. Only YOU can do that. And it’s not done by reading the rants and raves on every new piece of gear that comes out each week. So shut down that MacBook, grab your camera and get out there and make some magic happen!

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 50D, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D

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