Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI?

Updated 11/21/09:

There seems to be a lot of interest in this report. I have added the raw files below. Try the Raw converter test yourself.

Download All Raw Files Plus a Few More (warning large 230mb zip file)

Canon Rebel XSI (450D) vs. Canon 7D Raw Files Zipped

Here are the links to some free downloads of the raw converters used in this comparison:

Adobe Lightroom 2.6RC

Phase One Capture One Pro 5

Canon DPP 3.7

Note of Error: One of the thumbnails was originally posted in error. That thumbnail has been corrected.

Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI?

Apparently, there are a growing number of people who now believe that the image quality of the Canon Rebel XSI (450D) (12MP) is as good, or better, than the new Canon 7D (18MP). As silly as this may sound on the surface, there are two reports on the internet that lend credence to this belief. The main report was written by a blogger named Darwin Wiggett.  His blog entry had a number of entries similar to the following:

“We were surprised by just how much sharper the Rebel images appeared in the field tests.”

“We were continually dismayed at the soft, muddy files we were getting from the 7D. In test after test, the 7D files were especially poor when using telephoto or wide angle lenses with distant scenes.”

“The G11 gives very vibrant colours even when the RAW files are processed with the exact same settings (auto white balance, standard picture settings) as the 7D. We’re not sure why. Disregarding the colour differences it looks like the little G11 produces files to compete with the bigger sensor on the 7D.”

Then there is this entry on thedigitalpicture:

“The 7D images are softer than the other DSLRs at the same sharpness setting – repeated testing confirms this. There is no focus error here and the examples use an aperture wider than the DLA. A set of examples processed at a DPP sharpness setting of “2″ shows similar sharpness to the T1i and 50D. Also noticeable is that sharpening sharpens the noise which makes it more apparent. Thus, equal sharpness results in the 7D losing some of its lead in the high ISO noise comparison.”

What in the world is going on here? Has Canon finally come totally off the track and introduced a camera with a stellar feature set and stuck a sub-par sensor in the thing?

There seem to be a lot of people ready and willing to believe just that.

Well, I just had to pop-out of semi-retirement (on the camera gear review front) just long enough to have a look into this mystery. Aren’t you glad?

So, I ran on down to my trusty local rental store PPR and picked up the 7D again along with a 35mm f/1.4 lens and set out to do a few quick tests. I just had to know if Canon had officially lost it. What, with their inability to make a camera that can focus and all.

Without further ado, here are the results of these simple tests.

Canon Rebel XSI vs. Canon 7D

Round 1: JPEG Battle (Straight out of the Camera, Neutral Shooting Style, f/5.6)

_MG_0154origjpeg495

IMG_9874origjpeg495

270wideorigjpegcropfacexsi 270red7dorigjpeg

270wideorigjpegcropwordsxsi 2707dorigjpegwords

Hmm, not seeing it. They look very similar to me. The 7D is the clear winner on the packaging. The Auto White Balance on both cameras also performed equally poorly under this single tungsten bulb. So, no great color difference to see.

It looks like this round goes to the higher res 7D camera. It will also be sharper upon down-sampling or cropping.

Round 1 JPEG Winner: Canon 7D


Round 2: Raw Files Processed in Canon DPP

dppxsireds495

dpp7dreds495

270dppfacexsi2 270dpp7dface

270widedppxsiwords 270widedpp7dwords

Ok. So, we corrected for white balance this time using the gray card included in the shots. DPP does seem to be rendering the reds in the 7D image incorrectly. The reds appears almost orange on the backdrop and the bag. However, I’m definitely still seeing more detail in the 7D images. The Canon XSI (450D) image processed in DPP 3.7 almost looks worse than the JPEG straight out of the camera. The colors are improved due to the manual color balancing, but the detail doesn’t appear any higher.

The Canon 7D is the winner using raw and Canon DPP 3.7 at default settings.

Round 2 RAW DPP Winner: Canon 7D

Round 3: Raw Files Processed in Adobe LR 2.6RC

XSILR260154

7DLR269874

270widefacexsiLR26 270wideface7dLR26

270widexsiredwordsLR26 270wide7DRedWordsLR26

Now both files look sharper and seem to show more detail. This is due to the default contrast, sharpening and other relevant settings being higher in LR by default than in DPP.

However, the Canon 7D reds are a bit out of control here. Adobe needs to work on the profile for this camera. When doing our original testing on LR 2.5 the color rendition was much worse (all the reds were a bright orange color). They’ve obviously improved the situation, but it still needs work, imho.

This round looks like a tie, except the color rendition is better for the XSI when using LR 2.6RC.

Round 3 Raw Lightroom Winner: Tie (with the edge to Canon Rebel XSI for better color rendition in this raw engine)


Round 4: Raw files processed in Capture One Pro 5

p1redsxsi_MG_0154

p1reds7dIMG_9874

xsip1face 270widefacep17d

xsiwordsp1 270widep1words7d

Well, it looks like Capture One Pro 5 really shines with both cameras. The default settings for this raw conversion tool outshine both of the other major players.

The colors for both the Rebel XSI (450D) and 7D look very good. Obviously, Phase One still has the edge in their camera color profiles and “out of the box” image quality with these two cameras. It is too bad their workflow isn’t as good. I’m afraid I rarely use C1 anymore (although, I used them for years before LR came out). Perhaps I will have to give them another look.

It is clear that the 7D is resolving more detail in this example.

Round 4 Raw Capture One Winner: Canon 7D (Real Winner is Capture One)


Conclusion from first 4 Rounds: These reviewers were testing a Raw Converter (DPP 3.7, not the Canon 7D)

Hopefully, these first four rounds have shown you that you shouldn’t always believe what you see, or read, on the internet. The two reviews mentioned at the outset have managed to create a mini firestorm on the forums by pointing out their findings. They purported to pass judgment on the image quality of the Canon 7D. What they were really doing was testing out the DPP raw conversion engine (and associated color profile). As you can see from the simple tests above, DPP is the worst of the bunch for “out of the box” pleasing images. Why they chose to test in Raw and in DPP, I don’t know. But, you the reader should be aware that Raw Conversion software has a lot to do with what you can get out of a camera. DPP has never been the quality leader (sorry, Canon).  The Canon 7D is the clear overall winner in both raw and jpeg. Capture One will provide the most pleasing files “out of the box.” Lightroom works pretty well and comes in a close second (except for the color issues). DPP is a distant third, as usual.

But, but there must something more to it than that you say. What about Diffraction and Subtraction and all the other scientific stuff I’ve been reading about?

Why didn’t you shoot at f/16 like one of the other reviewers? Well, I did. Just for fun. Although, the shots above were enough to convince me this wasn’t going anywhere.

Outdoor Shots at f/16

tree2xsi495

7dtree2495p1

xsitree2p1 270tree27dp1

I don’t see the XSI resolving a lot more detail than the 7D. They look pretty similar. Especially considering the higher MP count of the 7D.

What I do see is a lot better looking color rendition for the 7D image. Both of these shots were taken using Auto White Balance.

How about another tree shot?

270treexsip1 270tree7dp1

Colors still look better on AWB with the 7D. Don’t see any more mushiness here in the 7D shot either.

How about a building shot?

270xsibuildingp1 canon7dbuildingp1

Again, the colors look better in the 7D shot. No mushiness here, either.

Overall Conclusion: The Canon 7D easily bests the Canon Rebel XSI

All smoke, no fire. Time to go home folks, nothing to see here.

Keep in mind there are many, many variables involved with processing raw files. If you want the best results from raw I would suggest a quick purchase of Capture One, or LightRoom 2.6. Canon DPP just doesn’t cut it, at least not for these cameras.

Drew Strickland

91 Responses to “Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI?”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Dan Klang says:

    How would you compare the results using a Kodak DCS pro slr/n and Kodak DCS Photo Desk vs. Capture One or Lightroom 2.6
    I have been using the Kodak product for many years and found it to be quite good but have never done a side by side
    The other cameras I use are the Kodak DCS760 and Kodak DCS465 on my Hassy system

  2. I believe your first portrait crops in R1 are the same image instead of one from each camera.

  3. Doug says:

    Hi Drew

    surely when testing we should avoid awb since it is unlikely to ever be the same between shots let alone between cameras

    only then can we be sure that inconsistent wb is not muddying the water as it were?

    Wouldn’t it be fairer to re-evaluate using manual wb, click balance from the same object across shots where available or reshooting with a fixed custom wb for each light source?

    Ps. For myself, as a long term nikon shooter the 7D is the first camera to ever generate real interest and appears to be designed to offer true value to canon users without such an obvious amount of crippling by the marketing department. ;-)

  4. One of the reasons you might not see a difference in sharpness with the 7d is that your outside photos were shot at F16. The lens will be well into a range where diffraction sets in and neither camera’s sensor is up snuff in this scenario. Try shooting a test series at F8 , on a tripod, with MLU and a cable release. I bet the 7D pulls ahead a bit but it still won’t beat the rebel by much. There is only so much that you can capture on a small’ish sensor.

    That being said the 7D is a clear winner in ever other scenario but you already knew that. :-p

  5. Erik says:

    Still, Rebel XSI and Capture One (or Lightroom) seems like an amazing value for money.

  6. Jack Kelley says:

    “…a blogger named Darwin Wiggett”? Oh, my. A bit like saying, “a letter-writer named Vincent Van Gogh.” If you truly don’t know who Wiggett is, maybe you should have stayed retired. Okay, I’m yanking your chain. You cannot possibly be dim enough not to realize that Wiggett is an internationally-acclaimed landscape photographer, whose worst image on his worst day is about eight times better than the coolest cat-photo ever snapped by the ubiquitous dweebs who confuse gear-geekery with photography (e.g., “What lens should I take to Albania?”).

    On the merits, you are correct. Brilliant image-maker though he may be, Darwin seems not to have kept current on his Canon models. The 7D is to the 1D Mark III (and IV) as the 5D series is to the 1Ds Mark III. The 7D is tilted towards high fps and AI Servo AF. It’s great for BIF, sport, PJ, and wide-open portraiture. Sure, you can slap it on a tripod and stop down to pinhole apertures, but that would be like plowing snow with a Ducati. For what he shoots, Darwin should be looking at the 5D Mark II (he said he wants a small body for backpacking), not the 7D.

    Thanks for injecting sanity into the uproar by pointing out that the two referenced reviews were more about conversion software than the camera itself. But as penance for identifying him as “a blogger,” you should now do yourself a favor and buy a print from Darwin.

  7. Mike says:

    I read the Darwin Wiggett review and I have to be honest with you. He might be an intenationally acclaimed landscape photographer, he is an idiot for using an xsi. Come on and if I remember correctly he said that they had a 1Ds Mark III that they used also. I shoot a lot of sports and that is like me saying that I like my 1D Mark II on my 400mm 2.8L but the image quality and light weight of my older 300D and 75-300mm 3.5-5.6 is what I carry. I have a difficult time taking someone seriously when they would use a $700 “Debbie-Digital” camera over an $8,000 imaging work horse. He needs to stick to the landscapes and stay away from the reviews. Thanks for giving us an honest look.

  8. admin says:

    Thanks for all the comments, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to comment.

    Joan, I believe the correct image is being shown.

    Doug, agree that awb should almost always be avoided where color accuracy is concerned. I performed a custom white balance on the quick indoor shots for this reason. I guess I left the outdoor ones on auto white balance just to point out that awb on this cam is no worse than the XSI (the premise of the other review). It was simply a matter of raw conversion choice. Hope that makes sense?

    Jack, I’ll try to have a closer look at his portfolio. I’m sure he is a great photographer.

    Thanks,
    Drew

  9. zetlorf says:

    Come on! The first portrait crops are both from XSI! Great tester you are! :D

  10. jozell says:

    GO Nikon….!!!!!

  11. Keith Cooper says:

    Thanks for taking the time to debunk a few myths of ‘testing’.

    As to not instantly knowing who Darwin was, I’m sure you’re not alone ;-)

  12. joe says:

    Thank you! I’m glad someone has finally proven these ding dongs were putting out incorrect information. I have the 7d and sold my 40d after I got it. The 7d is better in every way including IQ and noise performance.

  13. AllenF says:

    Not to come off as biased in this test, I will say that you have proved that there is very little to gain IQ wise by spending about $1000 more on the 7D. While I took exception to Darwin’s no touch approach to photo post processing I also see that Canon’s own DPP is showing, when using it on the Rebel and the 7D, to be exactly what Darwin said. The Rebel is better. If you cannot trust the camera builders software then you open a can of worms that could cost more than the 7D. 6 or 7 different software programs and the time to learn them and then the shoot out is a bit much to ask for, IMO. I do agree that there are better SW programs than DPP but where does one draw the line?

    On my monitor, Calibrated, and looking at you web pics I see no IQ related reason to spend $1700 on the 7D body. Now throw in the feature set and there MAY be many reasons to, for some. Just not me.

    Canon is selling features now not IQ improvement. They are very happy with the IQ of the lower lines and this is evident in this test. 20D to 30D to 40D to 50D to 7D IQ improvement in the lower ISO’s(100-800)is very subtle and IMO is not a good reason to upgrade. Yes the higher ISO’s there is IQ improvement but this is mostly due to the earlier bodies being just awful there.

    Your outside tree shoots show that at ISO100 and Capture One there is no reason to buy the 7D for IQ alone. IMO. Looking at the inside shots of the cropped bag print I see the Rebel as having much better contrast as the 7D looks washed out on the Rooster. There is more detail so in PP you should be able to fix this.

    The take away that the 7D is, IQ, wise a nice upgrade is very subjective to the guy who is parting with the $$$ difference. To get the best out of the RAW 7D files one must also spend $$$ on, and have the patentice to learn, a SF program well enought to tweak the RAW 7D files to their best. Many will not be willing to do this. IMO buying the 7D and always shooting JPEG’s is silly as you are ignoring a great IQ improvement in RAW over JPEG with PROPER processing.

    While your motives were good in this test your conclusions were overstated, IQ wise, as the 7D is IMO just overhyped as dilivering much improvement over the much cheaper Rebel. Higher ISO’s and things should change, but using this body for landscapes and low ISO’s and the Rebel is the better choice money concidered. Side point the building shots look a bit noisier in the 7D files too.

    Using the 7D for sports and BIF shots and I am sure the Rebel becomes much more challenging to use with consistant success.

    The proper tool for the job comes into play and this is the area that the 7D feature set comes out on top.

  14. Joey says:

    Joan is right. They’re definitely the same image on the first two blow-ups of the kid. The 7D image there is definitely not a crop of the 7D image above it.

  15. dangy says:

    I don’t agree, looking at the comparisons the XSi gives a more appealing and sharper image than the 7D, check the Capture one crop comparisons, especially the boys face, the XSI is clearly better here

  16. Dave says:

    I find it strange how you can make inferences on the quality of RAW conversion programs whilst presenting results at “default settings”. Is it not reasonable to assume that sharpness and colour differences between RAW converters is not due to what you suggest (“DPP has never been the quality leader”) but instead because the other software crank up sharpness settings by default

    Also I have a 35 f/1.4L and I’d be pretty disappointed with the crops you have gotten. The DPP results are just soft, and the Capture One crops look like soft images sharpened in PP like crazy (notice artifacts)

  17. jak says:

    I think this Mike is an idiot if you have ” a difficult time taking someone seriously when they would use a $700 “Debbie-Digital” camera over an $8,000 imaging work horse”. That is the most stuip statement one could hear, just becaue you carry a expensive camear that you can make better images than a cheaper camear.

    And Drew, stay retired or read the net more. You don’t have to believe everything you see on internet, but cameras are used for photography and there are amazing photographers out there, who make amazing photographs. Darwin Wiggett is one of them. Have respect for people who make art, not people who carry expensive gear.

  18. Craig Liley says:

    Clearly, from the way you were able to casually just walk out and purchase the new camera, money is not an issue for you. Unfortunately, for many photographers, cost IS a factor. Based on the comparisons you showed, unless one REALLY needs some of the additional features of the 7D (video? If I wanted to shoot video, I’d have bought a video camera), The Xsi is still a significantly better value for the money. The image quality is certainly not even double, while the price is far more than doubled.

    I think it would be foolish to throw money away on features you wouldn’t use, and have a hard time taking seriously someone that wasteful.

  19. tontorron tu says:

    Esas fotos estan trucadas, sólo hay que ver los títulos en las fotografías, los de la 7D están más blancos que los otros… ¿O es que también has hecho la foto al título? anda anda y vete a dormir…

  20. tlinn says:

    Drew, I’m suprised that you haven’t realized — even after being told by multiple posters — that the first set of crops is from the same image. They’re from the SAME image. Let me say that again: They’re from the SAME IMAGE. If you can’t spot this, you lose a little credibility when arguing about the nuances of IQ between these two bodies.

    That aside, I have to agree with others who have observed that it would be hard to justify spending the additional money to get a 7D over a 450D purely based on image quality. To describe the 7D as “easily besting” the 450D in my mind overstates the differences between the two cameras. I’m left with the impression that anyone choosing a 7D over a 450D is paying a premium primarily for build quality and features. Of course, this was exactly the situation back in the days of film and there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Finally, let me say that I appreciate your review but it would be stronger if it were not so immediately dismissive of Wiggett’s original review and conclusions. Wiggett’s review was very well thought out, thorough, and well documented with images to back up his conclusions — perhaps even more so than your own. If I recall correctly, one of his points is that the 7D seems to do better in studio than when capturing more distant subjects. While I don’t understand how this would work — that is, how sensor performance could vary based on subject distance — I do find it interesting that the two crops which seem to favor the 450D in terms of per-pixel sharpness and contrast are the two non-studio shots that feature a more distant subject. Nevertheless, your comments, particularly in regard to the role of RAW conversion software, are appreciated.

  21. 40d_dane says:

    Looking at the samples I would say that you really have to compare the same motive taken with both cameras to appreciate the IQ improvement (if any) of the 7D. I loved the 7D spec. I bought a 7D and was disappointed as my 40D provided better IQ (which may have been because I was unlucky with my 7D and it needed AF calibration) so I returned the 7D. I can’t help thinking that since the IQ improvement (if any) is minimal going from 12MP to 18MP, Canon would have done much better to build a 12MP sensor with the technology used to build the 18MP sensor. It may have provided the high ISO performance of the mk IV (which may be why Canon chose to give the 7D a 18MP sensor).

  22. Nigel says:

    @ Craig Liley

    You should read before you mock:
    “I ran on down to my trusty local rental store PPR and picked up the 7D”

    I presume that because PPR is a rental store that the camera was … RENTED!

  23. Waleed says:

    Thanks for a good review. Actually I gained more from the RAW converters comparison than the cameras comparisons.
    For all here saying that the IQ is very close although being 1000$ more I can only say one thing; ALL today’s SLRs will have very similar IQ at ISOs up to 400. One can never justify purchasing a 7D for low ISO IQ, a Rebel or a 50D will be about the same. You buy it for High ISO, AF, Video, and a lot other features.

  24. Flash says:

    Why on earth would you shoot a comparison of these cameras at f 16 ?
    F 16 has to be the worst aperture for the 35mm 1.4 lens.
    Capture one sucks as well. Why not straight PS 4.

  25. Michael Bertelsen says:

    I purchased a Canon 7D last week and was very impressed with it.
    Yesterday I compared raw images from my 7D to my 30D after converting them through the Dpp 3.7 that came with the 7D then I enlarged them on CS3 at 100%
    The 30D was much sharper with much more detail than the 7D.
    It could be a bad copy but a 7D won’t be around my neck this season.

  26. SS says:

    Some of the posters here appear to be unfamiliar with Darwin’s review of the 7D and the conclusions he drew, which is obviously at least part of what prompted Drew’s review. Darwin’s point was not that the 7D was inferior to the Rebel XSi at the larger apertures that most people use. It was that the 7D was inferior at smaller apertures, which is why Drew tested it at f/16. Darwin is a landscape photographer and claims to routinely use f-stops in the f/11 to f/16 range, so the 7D doesn’t work out for him. It’s worth noting that Darwin raved about the handling of the 7D and said it was the best handling camera he has ever used.

    From where I sit, Drew’s tests show the 7D has better IQ than the Rebel in the range of apertures that I’m most likely to use. Contrary to what one of the posters above said, I think the 7D clearly shows better detail on the rooster in the interior shot. Drew also demonstrated just how important RAW software is, and how varied results can be from different software.

    Based on Drew’s tests, I would say that at f/16, the 7D is a match for the Rebel in IQ (or the Rebel is a match for the 7D). The only difference is in color saturation (where the 7D is better), but that could be due to the RAW software.

    BTW, Drew, I agree with what others have said about the two jpeg crops above: They are obviously the same image. The crop that is labeled as being from the 7D is from the Rebel. Have another look.

  27. odawg says:

    I don’t care. I just got a 7D to replace my 300D. I can make superb photos with either. It really doesn’t matter. What I like is that my 7D is rugged, fast, more comfortable, more features, etc. Pixel peeping should be outlawed. Go take photos instead. The End.

  28. Teamfortress says:

    “a blogger named by Darwin Wiggett”? Either you intentionally try to degrade him or you are not in this business at all.

  29. admin says:

    Thanks for the comments. I have corrected the thumbnail in question above with the correct crop. My apologies.

    I have also posted the original raw files so you may make your own comparisons.

    As far as Mr. Wiggett. No, I’m afraid I was totally unfamiliar with him prior to seeing his blog report. However, I am not a landscape photographer. Nor do I play one on tv. There are, however, very basic technical assumptions made in his report that do not seem to jibe with the reality of the results I was able to find with a very quick test of the camera.

    I wish Mr. Wiggett no ill, whatsoever. His work looks spectacular!

    It just goes to show, deep technical knowledge is entirely secondary to passion and vision in the world of photography.

  30. Test says:

    I thought Darwin’s test was a bit unscientific, particulary because he used apertures that obviously would give diffraction problems on a 7D. Unfortunately this test wasn’t any better. You still haven’t fixed the problem with using the same crops from the first picture.

    You also haven’t managed to use the same framing on the two pictures of the boy, and from the lighting it looks like the cameras was in different positions, which make it easy to believe that you didn’t use a tripod.

    So, while I actually believe that your results is more representative than what Darwin got you should be more careful about your own test procedures when criticizing other people’s work.

  31. thanks god, I was about to put my 7D in a trash, and without noticing anyone to avoid anyone to experience the blur experience ;-)

  32. Charles Bronson says:

    At F/16 the 450D is clearly sharper. And as for better color rendition, I think that’s all a matter of opinion. Not to mention we’re all viewing these photos on different monitors. On my left monitor the 7D has better colors at F/16, but it’s still not sharper. My right monitor the 450D has better color and sharpness.

  33. Indian dude says:

    Er, guys,….I dont know what Im doing right, but I have a 7D since the 1.1.0 firmware release date (I bought it and updated the same night !) the images are way better than the 500D I gave up. I am assuming the 500D and 450 were similar.

    Also, DPP seems to have less noise than LR 2.6RC im most images. I seem to get great saturation and the 19 point focus saved the day on plenty of shots. Overall, I am enjoying the upgrade, more so as I get used to the camera settings.

  34. T-rex says:

    Charles Bronson says:
    November 21, 2009 at 10:41 pm
    “At F/16 the 450D is clearly sharper. And as for better color rendition, I think that’s all a matter of opinion. Not to mention we’re all viewing these photos on different monitors. On my left monitor the 7D has better colors at F/16, but it’s still not sharper. My right monitor the 450D has better color and sharpness.”

    The 450D/XSi is “clearly sharper”? I beg to differ. I’m viewing this on a brand new 27″ iMac, and I can’t see any appreciable difference one way or the other. Colors, obviously are different, but I’d call it a draw in terms of detail.

  35. T-rex says:

    Edit: Referring to the f/16 performance in the above post. At the smaller apertures, the 7D is obviously sharper.

  36. Keith says:

    The Rebel is clearly better at high apertures. Even in your own examples, the 7d is “mushy” compared to the Rebel. Funny how you start talking about “color rendition” when the 7d doesnt hold up. as others have pointed out this review has many flaws and inaccuracies. Sorry but I trust Darwin “review” over this thrown together sloppiness.

  37. Hi Drew,

    Thanks for the review using different RAW converters, that is the really valuable lesson here. Glad someone actaully did this important comparsion!

    For my response to your tests about the two cameras go here if you are interested:

    http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/canon-7d-vs-the-canon-xsi/

    I think your results are very important for people deciding if they should upgrade to the 7D or not. In the end your results confirm to me why I will keep my Rebel.

    Darwin

  38. admin says:

    Hi Darwin,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Just to clarify things a bit. I certainly do not think the Canon Rebel XSI is a bad camera. We own one. Well, we did until last Friday. My wife has somehow misplaced the camera along with a 50mm lens. Go figure.

    For simple IQ purposes alone (at low ISO ratings) I’m not sure I see a compelling enough reason to upgrade. Although, a 50% increase in photosites might be helpful in your line of work. I’m not a landscape photographer, but it would seem that you might benefit from a Nikon D3X. On a pure IQ basis it is the best DSLR currently available, imho.

    The advantages of the 7D are primarily in the handling department. For a prosumer level camera ($1,600) price point it really shines. For a pro oriented photographer I would think the difference in price would be fairly negligible. But, then again, I’m no landscape photographer, and have no idea what the margins are like in your sector of the industry at this time.

    Regarding me giving the f/16 shots to the 7D. All else being equal (which they certainly seem pretty equal at f/16 in these samples) a higher resolution sensor is providing more overall data to work with, hence the f/16 shots go to the 7D.

    One final note regarding your unmet expectations. I think you hit the nail squarely on the head here. I was expecting something great out of the Canon 5D MKII video based on a lot of pre-buzz. However, when I finally got my hands on it I wrote these two articles declaring the video mode a “disaster.”

    http://www.prophotohome.com/forum/pro-photo-reviews-articles/80030-canon-canon-5d-camera-mkii-video-mode-disaster.html

    http://www.prophotohome.com/forum/pro-photo-reviews-articles/80265-open-letter-canon-canon-5d-camera-mkii-video-mode-improvements.html

    After viewing the short film “Reverie” by LaForet to say I was expecting more out of the video mode is an understatement. I feel your pain.

    My best to you. Thanks again, for your comments.

    Drew Strickland

  39. x2plex says:

    As the satisfied owner of a 7D, 450D and a G10, my observation is that each has strengths in different practical settings. I love the ruggedness, handling and feature set of the 7D but it has no significant IQ superiority over my Rebel. And the 7D feels heavy for all-day shoots, especially with the 24-70 f2.8 L mounted; I’m developing the biceps of a bar maid at Octoberfest. The Rebel is very light, inexpensive and intuitive to use. I’ll continue to use it without reservation as a second body. Last, my rugged little G10 is whisper-quiet and technically effective. It’s a sure cure for the intimidation exhibited by people looking down the barrel of big lens. And I can shoot RAW with all three. Cool.

  40. Dan says:

    The Camera One and lightroom comparisons demonstrate that at best the 7D has equal quality to the XSi. What none of these shots address is noise. Is the 7D really a lot noisier than the XSi and how does that affect the image quality.

    Indian dude says: “I am assuming the 500D and 450 were similar.”
    They’re not. The 500D has the same unnecessary megapixel escalation as the 7D.

    I was very interested in the 7D. The only specification that gave me pause was the number of pixels. I’ve used Canon cameras for more than 15 years and now I find myself seriously looking at Nikon for my next camera.

  41. Jochystarz says:

    As a very satisfied XSI owner and having the chance to shot this camera with a f1.8 aperture lense i can tell you it sucks compared to the 7D images i have been able to compare with on reliable testing labs. the xsi images becomes grainy above iso 400 and dissapointing over iso 800 , iso 1600 i wont even bother with. you people have to be kidding yourself doing this non-sense reviews comparing a feature set of a porsche to a honda accord. not to say that for the price the xsi is an excellent camera to learn with and surprisingly able to sync in my studio at 1/250 flash duration but the shutter is just not as reliable as a XXD or XD series cam. i gets to a point where you feel limited (stuck with it ). The 7D regardless of questionable IQ improvements will be an excellent choice to grow with so we can take advantage of the extra features the camera offers in order to exploit and excell our level of photography creativity. the rebel xsi just doesnt offer those extras for lot of us that wants to improve the quality of our photography. as a footnote .. I don’t rely on personal reviews as they could be biased or misleading, i rely on lab test as the digital-image and a few other that do complete reviews with lab testing equipment. the results/reviews some people post online are just especulative results as some of them lacks of the complete knowledge of the technical especifications of camera equipment and how to manipulate them properly.

  42. martin bennett says:

    Sorry to digress,but has anybody any idea when ADOBE or APPLE/APERTURE2 are bring out their software for the 7D, so we can then make a truer assessment of this camera,instead of basically relying on DPP

  43. John says:

    I’m sorry, but who compares these two cameras anyways? The Rebels are nice little cameras, but no where near the same league as the xxD, 7D, or 1 D series cameras. Yes, we can say that mom can get a very nice picture with it, but just try giving it the abuse I dish out shooting sports. What are you going to do for high ISO or rapid FPS? Let’s talk about confidence in using it in less than sunny/16? How do they compare with AF? Clearly, the cameras do not compare, it is akin to comparing the xxD to a 1 series, they are different animals altogether. I would suggest that photographers and bloggers stick to what they do best … and neither one of these two specializes in camera reviews.

  44. philipp says:

    hi,
    maybe you’ll find this review interesting. it pretty much meets my understanding of the 7d’s rather soft output. click on ‘digital’ – ’7d detailed review’ and read the ‘image quality’ part… http://www.beauphoto.com/frames/beaufrm.html
    i also think its mainly because of pixel density!
    regards

  45. philipp says:

    oh and i almost forgot…. thanks for the nice raw converter test!! :-)

  46. Josh says:

    I think all this controversy comes from the obvious fact that the limits of image quality that the current technology can produce have been reached. At this point the technology simply wont allow the new cameras to have better IQ than the previous generation. You should be buying a more expensive camera/different camera for the features not for IQ which is pretty much equal among the popular DSLRs or so close as to not be an issue.

  47. Ezine says:

    “Out of the Box” tests please if you’re going to compare with Darwin. No processing, just like Darwin’s review. Thank you very much.

  48. Julian says:

    Am I missing something here? You don’t say much at all about your methods – how did you equate field of view at 100% crop? The original images cover the same FOV, so the crops must have been treated differently to come up with the same FOV given the difference in pixel density. This would appear to be essential information in knowing how to compare the images. Did you downsample or upsample, or …?

  49. jason says:

    I totally agree with Julian – how did you get the same imagecontent at 100% crop. Did you downsample the 7D image, or upsample the Rebel image? Both will disfavour the Rebel.

  50. Richard says:

    Comparing yours last 2 images is clearly noticeable large grain noise on Canon 7D so how you conclude 7D is a better picture???? and on every other test rebel was noticeably sharper on the face nose and lips…so the text on the bag was soft and misleading compering to 7D where focus was on the bag and face was out of focus……shame.

  51. admin says:

    Download the available raw files for yourselves.

    Some of these comments are ill informed.

  52. Richard says:

    I did….and compare…and have different opinion that does not make me ill informed.
    I have 7D and the tests photos are take look the same..With the same results…IQ Soft and muddy. As a Canon user we have the right to point the fact …..7D is a very advance camera with very bad chip.

  53. Phil says:

    7D is a very advanced camera with a very strong aliasing filter. This is what Darwin Wigget’s review shows. Canon uses filters like that on the 1D series but they are usually weaker (i.e. less softening) on the x0D series and the Rebels. You *can* sharpen them harder to partially retrieve the situation but (speaking as a 1D2, 1D3, 5D2, XTi owner) I still prefer to have more inherent sharpness. And this is why you don’t see the sort of improvement over the XSi that you should do for the difference in mpix. Really quite epic noise in that 7D shot at f16 in the sky areas compared to the XSi, though. Buyer beware.

  54. Daniel says:

    Well I have to say even in your samples the XSi looks sharper. Yes there are great improvements in focusing, white balance, and many other features for the 7d. But there seems to be a lack of sharpness that an upgrade for me from the XSi to the 7d is not worth it. I really am disappointed with Canon on this product as far as sharpness is concerned. It looks like a 5d Mark 2 or higher is the preferable upgrade. I was hoping the 7d because the good price but sharpness is not something I want to compensate for by adjusting picture styles.

  55. rz22g says:

    I really cannot give much merit to your studio test. In this situation the photographer is in complete control yet I see obvious changes in the setup. Im not saying they are intentional but you should keep the scene exact for each camera including the lighting. A good example is where you have a close up of the boys face and the bag. You state the 7D clearly wins with more detail yet the close of the boys face on the 7D is not as detailed. In that same test the bag closeup of the 7D is more detailed but the lighting and position of the bag is different for the other camera. If your going to do a controlled test, CONTROL it.

  56. rz22g says:

    Going back and looking at the boys close up crop and comparing each camera I do not see how you can possibly say the 7D looks better or has more detail. You only need to look at his lips, teeth and eyes and see the 7D is noticably softer.

  57. Aquiles says:

    Well after seeing this blog, I think I will not upgrade to a 7d, I’m not sure about “inherent sharpness” that will give to the 7d some pros, what I’m sure is that sharpness and noise level of the 7d is unacceptable for camera of that caliber, the kid look like a zombie on the 7d and remember they’re testing it against a xsi!?!? I Think I’ll wait to buy the 5D…

  58. PhotoDon says:

    How does capture one win, when it is riddled with jpeg artifacts?

  59. Besyry says:

    I think 7d is better. Look at the hair on his head next to the ear, you actually see the single strands of hair with the 7d that you don’t with the rebel. Look at the details of the pyramids on the Poly-fil label, You can make out the pattern on the 7d , but not with the other. I think your test has a lot of merit. It directly counters Wigget’s proclamation that ‘the entry level Rebel betters the 7D’, well here’s the case where it didn’t. Every major testing site, DP Steves Imaging Resource Photography Bay has has been impressed with the 7d and provides pictures to prove it. Wigget did ultimately mention that post processing may have caused the problem. I guess he should have realized it AFTER THE 2ND BODY. But still, HE GOT A 3RD!!! As Spock would say, most illogical.

  60. If you ask me says:

    this is not orange to orange comparison. If you look at the boy the shadow of the bag on the left to the boy tells a different picture.

    hmmm, why would light move?

  61. boyd goff says:

    Rumors are always fun to see. Its the photographer not the camera that makes the difference in the photo. Skilled photographers can take a great picture with a cell phone, you just can’t print it very large.

  62. Matt says:

    I think what we’re seeing is Canon compensating for the contrast problems with the older sensors. Anyone remember all the complaints? Looks like they’ve actually corrected it. Take a look at how off white the first photo is to the second, there is definitly a brownish hue in others as well. If you have become accustomed to the plasticy over contrasted characteristics of the older style, I can see how one would relate the correction as being an issue.

  63. Tony Chulabutra says:

    I have first test of my 7D compare to my 50D and 350D. Before test, I have read some controversial that 7D produce unsharp picture and new focus system is an issue. After test of my self, I easily notice that 7D have soften and smoother file when I compare with 50D (using same lens and same f stop and speed). I process in LR2.6 and compare. I found my self 7D produce more saturate and sharpness are more or less the same. One noticeable is DOF, 7D give more control on DOF. The light balancing is also good, details in are more present in 7D.

    I also own 300Ds and I can compare that Canon has improve a lot in 7D specially in term of smooth and clean of picture file. It’s now both are competing side-by-side.

  64. dude says:

    I was surprised to see the differences in the photos. Some XSI shots were a full stop different in their exposure for same scene compared to the 7D. Also, why was the indoor scene with the child shot at 1/15 of a second! Toss the comparisons of the kid. Also, I noticed that there is more noise than I wanted to see in 100 and 200 ISO images from the 7D.

    I compared the RAW shots in Bibble 5 and the colors are richer with the Xsi. There is more detail, though, in the outdoor building scenes with the 7D at f16, so I was pleased to see that. I thought DLA would have made it worse.

    In the end, noise and dynamic range are more important to improve than some additional detail.

  65. dude says:

    Also, the exif from the RAW downloads shows the shots of the child are at f4, not f5.6 and the focus points (as revealed in DPP) were not the same so DOF is a factor. So how can you compare sharpness accurately? Why not use manual focus, liveview and magnify to 10x.

  66. phil says:

    My wife bought me the 7D with the 15-85mm USM IS lens and what a disappointment it has been maybe I was expecting too much.

    1) This lens although is very fast and sharp has a tremendous amount of vignetting. Will have to return for adjusments.
    2) The images taken with the D7 is soft both on auto and manual settings. There seem to me a lack of contrast.
    3) The noise level in the images taken under normal lighting and conditions is quite high. Even though ISO 100 and 200 in most DSLRs on the market are noiseless I do find that there is some in the D7. From ISO400 onwards the noise progressively increases towards ISO6400. I must mention that this noise was only noticeable when looking at the actual size of the image. I must also state that the images even at ISO6400 were very good after noise removal and a bit of editing.

    I am not sure whether the problem exists because of the sensor, processor or the firmware but hopefully Canon will find the solution because the 7D can be an outstanding camera..

  67. phil says:

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that In my opinion, the Canon DPP 3.7.1.1 does a very good job of converting the Raw files.

  68. Probably 7D would have been a wonderful gear had it packed 12 mp. With all the other excellent features; it would have been Canon’s 2nd best action camera (after 1DMKIV) and first choice of advanced hobbyist wildlife/sports shooters.

    I’m a hobbyist nature shooter of landscapes, wildlife and birds. Contemplated 7D for a while however, soft and grainy image reports from user friends and on the net put me off. Therefore, have decided to continue using my 450D/Xsi and wait.

  69. Anna says:

    the point is that flim is still way better then digital, flim has much better qulity. The reson is digital s getting so populer is cause no one has pastions any more they want every thing today. digital will never beet film.

  70. o0timbo0o says:

    i’m gutted , i have just binned my 450d for a 7d and i’m seriously disappointed with the noise and sharpness of the camera. I should have plummed for the bundled 5d mk2 with a 24 -104 f4 IS L. instead i paid more for the 7d and 24-70 2.8L
    Even firmware updated it hoping that they would be able to sort something out . alas not.

    The ISO shots on DP review say it all really

  71. Bozo says:

    I really don’t understand how you don’t see it when you’re the one who did the test.. Just look at the kids lips in all photos the kids lips look sharper on the cheaper canon..

    in the landscape/wide angle shooting, the rebel just destroys the 7D, even when you sharpened the the last photo taken from the 7d which I can easily tell by the sharper noise I see in the 7D’s image….

  72. Heath says:

    The 7D is not necessarily sharper, but clearer. Look at the hairs on the boy’s head. You can see them in the 7D, they are fuzzy in the Rebel shot. This looks like a simple resolution issue.

    The tree in the outdoor shot may look “sharper” on the Rebel photo, but that’s because the higher resolution 7D gives more detail (softer edges) where the Rebel gives bogus edges that fool the eye into thinking it’s sharper. This is how the horrible sharpness control on your TV makes things look “sharper”, by adding noisy edges to things to create fake definition.

    The grain in the building picture is more defined on the 7D than the mushy grain in the Rebel. Again, I would suggest resolution. It’s arguable which is “better”.

    You go watch a movie in a digital projection theatre, vs a quality 35mm print. Which is going to look “sharper”? The digital. Which is going to have more resolution and clarity? The film. The 1080P projector can’t touch the “resolution” of the film and will have all sorts of fake sharpness to compensate. (A 4K projector will be better.)

    “Sharpness” is often a visual trick created by noise added to the images or created by the processing that makes the images.

  73. Jay says:

    Sent my 7D in after 1 1/2 weeks owning it. I was disappointed =( Images seemed blurry, soft, not sharp (I shot raw). Will probably get the 5D, I must point out though that Canon has the best support I’ve ever received.

  74. Gipukan says:

    My XSI is getting its shutter replaced.(52060 shutter counts) I’s been in repair for almost 1 month now because Canon does not have a spare for my XSI! I’m debating to go for the 7d or the 60D. But in doubt now for the 7D while reading this thread. Will go for a 5D when I’m going PRO

  75. ryan says:

    One does not get much image quality for the $1000+ that the 7d costs over the xsi. AF, FPS, and other things are better on the 7d, but at the end of the day isn’t it about picture quality?

  76. Cliff says:

    I own a 7D and I’m really happy with it but I agree that the images are on the soft side depending on the lens you use. I bought the canon 24-70mm lens about a month after I bought my 7D. After taking a couple test shots with my new lens and 7D, I wasn’t that impressed! I thought it was the lens so I was going to send it to Canon to get calibrated with my 7D. But, I decided to go to B&H to test other 24-70mm lens with my camera to make sure it was the lens. The sales guy took a couple of test shot with my lens and 7D showed me the shots and thought everything was ok. I then took the camera then zoomed in and showed him how soft the image was. He agreed then went and got 3 other 24-70mm lens and all 3 plus mine gave the same results. He then went and got a a 85 1.2 (2,400 dollar lens) and an 85 1.8. The took a couple of shots with the 85 1.2 and they were sharper than the 24-70mm but still showed some softness. He took some test shot with the 85 1.8 and those pics were TACK sharp!!! both us was scratching our heads as to why a $300 dollar lens was A LOT sharper than a 2,000 dollar lens. He said he will try one more test. He then went and got a 5D MK Ii and took some shots with my lens they all came out TACK SHARP! We both looked at each other confused but I was happy to know that I didn’t wast 1,600 bucks on the 24-70mm. He then took some more shots with all the other lenses with the 5D MK II and all of them were TACK SHARP!!!! So, he concluded that canon probably calibrated all those L series lens with Full Frame Sensors. I let my friend borrow my 24-70mm over the weekend all his images came out a bit soft. He owns a T2i. I’m going to buy a 5D MK III when it comes out! The lenses are so much sharper!

  77. Larry says:

    I have both the 7d and XSI…and a pro photographer for 15 years…You can run all the test you’d like, but facts are facts and my images over 2 years don’t lie….The Canon XSI photos are far better than the Canon 7d…Yes, the 7d has more features, but where it counts in image quality…the XSI beats the 7d hands down….the 7d is NO upgrade in image quality. In fact I’ve only seen one other Nikon that actually beats the XSI and it was only by a very slight margin…If you’re a pro, the only thing that matters is the end result (image quality)….Everything else is just smoke and mirrors !!!

  78. Kenneth says:

    I’ve gotta agree with the masses here, I’ve owned an XSi since it launched and I picked up a 7D because I got into shooting sports thinking it would replace my XSi completely. Honestly, I was dead wrong, the 7D’s IQ did not outperform my Rebel in any quantifiable way, reds are especially problematic and the XSi’s colors are noticeably better and more accurate to my eyes. I take pride on getting my exposure correct when I shoot but the 7D is a really unforgiving body. If you even slightly underexpose your shot the noise is far more noticeable on the 7D even at very low ISO. I also noticed a distinct lack of sharpness compared to my XSi using my 15-85 & 70-200 2.8 IS II lenses. You can get the sharpness back in post but you are also sharpening the noise that shows itself in the 7D raw files. I returned it after about 3 days of shooting with the body and I was completely competent with the new AF system. So now I’m holding on to my Rebel in hopes that the 5DIII will get the AF & FPS that it needs, Otherwise I’m afraid after 20 yrs I’ll be buying my 1st Nikon ever when the D700 replacement emerges as Canon has no fast, ff body to compete.

  79. Terry says:

    Larry, you either have a really bad copy of the camera or you dont know what you are doing. It’s that simple and i will leave it at that…

  80. Fully agree with Larry. Canon wanted to attract the first time DSLR buyers with its publicity hype that, for first timers, centers around pixel count. And boy, how successful they were in that mission! Thousands bought this junk and that includes many immigrants from Nikon who were contemplating something higher than their entry level gears.

    However majority of them fell silent after using it for a while. Not a single shot is free of annoying noise levels that are beyond tolerance (all of my fellow photog victim friends confirmed this). Nikon management knows 12 megapixel is the optimum highest resolution on crop sensors – Canon management doesn’t.

    Out of all crop sensor cameras produced by Canon; EOS 450D/Xsi is the best in IQ undoubtedly. I own both 450D and 50D, ran tests and the result proved that the former beats the latter hands down in IQ department.

  81. fregis says:

    I have seen carefully those pictures. No douts the XSI IQ is better than 7D’s. I wonder why the author doesn’t want to see the truth. It’s obvious.

  82. maltwiz says:

    just come across this – my first two 7Ds were returned because the IQ was atrocious and I persevered with my 3rd – that was a big mistake and I’ve now binned it, given up on the benefits the APS-C gives for wildlife photography more than outweighed by the lousy IQ. The 7D I’m afraid is a poor camera and I know a number of photographers who feel the same

Trackbacks

  1. [...] There has a been quite a bit of controversy from various internet sources regarding the new Canon EOS 7D, its ‘image ‘noisiness’ (or lack of) and general performance. After the reasonably critical conclusion of Darwen Wigget,  who found the picture quality poor compared with the entry level 450D (Rebel XSI) another source joins the fray, with alternative conclusions.    Read the full article  at http://www.prophotohome.com/news/2009/11/19/canon-7d-worse-than-canon-rebel-xsi/  [...]

  2. [...] A retort to the claims made by Wigget: Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI? | Pro Photo Home [...]

  3. [...] Pro Photo Home did their own tests of the Canon 7D and Canon 450D raw abilities. In these tests, using different RAW processing programs, the 7D came out on top. [...]

  4. [...] Not every review is filled with dislike for the 7D…: Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Camera Review and Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI? | Pro Photo Home As it says in the technical notes of your link, the "mushy" look is due to the strong [...]

  5. Nitidez - P says:

    [...] Me da rabia que nos vendan la moto de los Megapixels. …Un enlace siempre lleva a otro: Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI? | Pro Photo Home No tenemos que creernos todo lo que leemos a pies juntillas, no porque no sea cierto, sino porque [...]

  6. [...]  Gizmodo likes it.  Darwin Wigget says the images are soft.  Drew Strickland at ProPhotoHome disagrees.  Wigget is still not convinced.  Meanwhile, Fake Chuck Westfall is apoplectic [NSFW].  Bob [...]

  7. [...] review que compara el revelado en diferentes programas de la 7D y la 450D, esta muy interesante. Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI? | Pro Photo Home __________________ Visita Mi web Flickr Visita mi [...]

  8. [...] Canon 7D worse than Canon Rebel XSI? | Pro Photo Home __________________ Canon XS & XSi & XTi 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, 3-18-55mm f/3.5 Kit Lenses, Canon EF 75-300mm F4-5.6 III To see more of my photos check out my flickr page: flickr WV KY OH DPS Photography Group JOIN NOW!!! [...]