5d and 7d | Canon Camera Head to Head | DSLR

posted in Camera Gear

5d and 7d | Canon Camera Head to Head | DSLR

5d vs 7d

Many people get stuck on the fence when it comes time to shop for a new DLSR. One of the common places many people get stuck is when trying to decide whether to buy a high end crop-sensor camera like the 7D or making the move to the full-frame Canon 5d Mark II. There’s not one right answer that applies to everyone, but I will try to help you decide which one is for you.Let’s start with the simple fact that these are both stellar cameras. Most any photographer would be happy to have either one; but that doesn’t mean one won’t serve your purposes better than the other. I am obviously going to oversimplify for the purpose of this article and I know it won’t help everyone, but a good majority of people will find this useful.

Always About Glass First (Lenses)

I’m not going to dwell on this for too long, but I really hope that you are following the simple rule of spending the lion’s-share of your budget on glass. Seriously, I made the mistake of buying cheap lenses and nicer cameras from the beginning, and I wish I could do it all over again. Swallow your pride and put the L-Series glass on your Rebel. In five years you will thank me because you will still love the lens and the camera will have earned its keep in no-time. Figure out what your true budget is, then spend it all on lenses. Whatever you have left–buy that camera.

What Do You Photograph?

The first question you have to ask yourself before trying to decide between the 5d and the 7d is what you are shooting. In other words, do you want to shoot sports, landscapes, people, nature, birds, buildings, or just general travel? If you can answer that, you are one step closer (a giant step closer) to having your answer. I’m going to divide the typical things people shoot into two categories. There’s a reason for this that I will explain after the break.

Things that are close to you. Or, really big!


Things that are far away.


As I said earlier, I am going to simplify things, but if you fit into one of these categories, then I know which camera you should buy. Let’s say for the moment that both cameras are the same price, and as of today, they very nearly are. The 5d mark ii seems to be about $250 dollars more expensive, but on an $1800 dollar purchase, we’ll call them even if nothing else, to remove money from this argument. Because honestly, that small amount should not make your decision for you. We are not comparing these cameras to a Hasselblad, if we were, yeah, price would be a factor.

The Biggest Difference

These are both professional grade cameras. The biggest difference between the two is the sensor size–so what does that mean. Well, it is true that the larger sensor of the 5d should perform better in low light. Again however, I don’t think that is the biggest differentiation between the two cameras. Hopefully you all know about the crop factor that is produced by the shift in sensor size. If not follow the link. Every lens that you put on the 7d will basically allow you to zoom further than that same lens on the 5d. Now you are probably starting see what I’m referring to in the two categories. If you are someone who likes to photograph things that are far away, then seeing further with that same 200mm lens is a huge added bonus. That 200mm lens just turned into a 320mm lens and all you did was take it off the 5d and put it on the 7d. Magic. Not really, but the crop factor between the APS-C sensor is about 1.6x the value of the full-frame sensor in the 5d mark ii. The same is true in the other direction. If you have a 24mm EF lens attached to your 7d and you are trying to fit the whole building into your picture, you might not be able to do it. Take that same 24mm lens off the 7d and put it on the 5d and all of a sudden your field of view is much larger!

So, simply put, I think you look at the two categories above and decide what you are shooting. If you are shooting far away things, go for the 7d. If you are shooting things that are close, go with the 5d.

Yes, there are exceptions, and if you are still not sure, feel free to leave a comment. Happy Shooting.