After years shooting on a trusty Canon Rebel XTi named Frederik (who I bought with cash when I was 14 and nearly vomited from nerves at the amount of money I had in my purse), I finally decided it was time to upgrade.
Of course, THAT decision was the easy part. Little did I know I’d spend the next 2+ MONTHS debating which camera was for me.
Frederik had served me well. I got some beautiful photos out of him once I remember to change the white balance and learned what aperture meant.
But the sad truth was, my baby was getting old and I’d outgrown him. I wanted something with higher resolution images, better light sensitivity, a more accurate LCD, and the ability to take better landscapes and architectural photographs. That last one was how I learned about full-frame sensors, and oh boy am I excited.
Being the neurotic and guilt-ridden purchaser that I am, I did my research and narrowed it down to two cameras: the 7D and the 5D Mark II. I won’t enumerate my reasons–we’d be here for 2+ months. Again. But what I will spell out is that my lovely photographer boyfriend helped me arrange to shoot on my two choices (while admittedly telling me I was going to buy the 5D–he usually figures me out two or three steps ahead of me figuring me out).
So I borrowed the 5D first and woo boy–
The images were beautiful–that LCD is beyond gorgeous. I’d seen it in action on a short film I was directing earlier this semester, but not as up close and intimate as when I held the camera in my own two hands. It was love, I tell you. Pure caressable love.
But more importantly, that full-frame sensor. I was getting so much more picture than I was used to at that focal length. And focusing in general was so much easier than on my little Frederik. Plus the camera is quiet and quick–ah so many things to love.
But I’m practical and frugal woman so I wanted to try the 7D too–I was sure some of this excitement was just holding a camera made on this side of the last decade (which was true). And I got some gorgeous pictures.
But two things jumped out at me: First, I didn’t like how the 7D handled JPEG contrast and color nearly as well as the 5D. Second, I really noticed that crop sensor for the first time. I shot on the same lens with both cameras (50mm f/1.4 prime) and I just wasn’t getting the same space at the same distance away. And it was driving me crazy.
I did want to try RAW and was much happier there–
But part of that was I have a terrible time overlooking color for composition (I got yelled at for that in painting class all the time so color field painting is probably for me) so RAW with a color accurate screen gives me the opportunity to focus on composition and THEN control my color in post. My old RAW images just didn’t have the same depth of control that I needed. So that was awesome. But also something I’d get out of either camera.
Clearly both cameras were going to give me the image quality I wanted. But that sensor… But that price tag. Ugh. The vomitty feeling from high school was back. Am I making a terrible mistake? Won’t the 7D do everything I need? Do I have to have my first choice?
So, if you hadn’t pieced that together already, I ultimately decided to get a used 5D Mark II from Amazon. It wasn’t that much more expensive than the 7D and it’s what my gut said (thought my gut will tell you it has to shout at me for two months before I’ll listen to it). I did a lot of research, so it certainly didn’t hurt that the 5D excels in areas I’m interested in (low light, landscape, art photography, etc.) and the 7D excels in areas I am less interested in (sports photography, autofocus points, newer video technology).
I’m beyond thrilled with my purchase and eagerly awaiting its arrival (curse you Federal Holiday–my camera is in my state!). Frederik has been retired (or rather has moved on to a wonderful friend of mine where he will continue to make images and bring joy to the world–he was always such an altruist) and I am now happily preparing to welcome Griselda into my home and life.