Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Hate to Say This, But...

EOS 7D with Sigma 17-70, at 23mm, f11, 1/90, ISO 100

... I really don't think I like my EOS 7D. This shot is not one that I'd display with pride... it just shows very well what I'm up against with this camera. If you look at it enlarged on your screen, you'll see that absolutely nothing is in sharp focus. This is typical - I always find myself doing a lot of post-processing on my keeper shots, just to get things looking better (including "unsharp mask"). Maybe it's the lens? Nope - I used this same lens on my EOS 40D, which went bad on me in June of this year (as in $400 repair bad), and that's when I bought the 7D. I got far more consistently good results with the 40D and Sigma combination. Anyway, I've since sold that lens, and now use the older Canon EF 28-105 USM II. Here's a shot with this lens:

EOS 7D with Canon EF 28-105, at 45mm, f11, 1/750, ISO 400

It may be a bit better, but I still cannot find anything in this photo which is fully in focus.

I prefer using old M42 thread mount lenses, and still get the same mediocre results, as seen here: 

EOS 7D with Bushnell 28mm M42 Manual Lens, f5.6 1/1500 ISO 100

This one was at a more open aperture, which of course offers better identification of what is actually in focus compared with out of focus surroundings, but even with this, I still cannot discern the actual focus point within this picture - it all looks soft to me.

The 7D has micro-focus adjusting capability. I did try this by taking a long shot of my guitar, carefully focussing exactly on the 14th fret (where the neck meets the body), using the Sigma lens at f 2.8. The result was that indeed the 14th fret came out in the best focus, but it was still not super-sharp. All that's left for me to do is to print out a focus chart and try doing the micro-adjustment by following the directions on the chart - a much more exacting approach than what I did with my guitar. But still, I would have expected that if the micro-focus is off a bit, then perhaps my 13th or 15th fret would have been sharper, but this was not the case.

I've looked at various forums about this camera, and it seems there are a fair number of users who are complaining about the same thing. Invariably, the people who have "mastered" this camera suggest either checking the micro-focus, or imply in some way that we don't know how to use the camera. I've also seen suggestions that the 7D only works well with Canon's very expensive L-Series lenses.

This is a very well built camera with great capabilities, and I've managed to tweak out a few great pictures with it, but I know I got better results with the 40D, with very little effort. Here's one example:

EOS 40D with Sigma 17-70 at 17mm, f9.5, 1/500, ISO 400

Here I can see the bucket of the machine is in sharp focus, and it gently recedes from there.My point is, in any given photo, there should be something in sharp focus, even if it's the wrong thing. Why is this not the case with my current camera, which some say is the best APS-C sized DSLR available?

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