Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Frenzy: Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon 7D - Which One For Weddings?

Good Afternoon Everybody,

DAZ with Books Yes, it is Friday Frenzy around here today.  I know a lot of you are looking forward to receiving your copy on my wedding book.  Good News! We just received 500 copies of my "Captured By The Light" wedding book show up on our doorsteps this morning.  It looks like I'm going to be autographing a lot of books over the weekend. And, it looks like we will be shipping on Monday!! THANKS again for all your patience and understanding as we prepare the books for shipment.

Also, it's official. My book is also shipping from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Peachpit.  Amazon's stock went up yesterday. Heck, maybe it’s because of my book sales ;~)

Amazon Stock

Remember, you can order an autographed copy from our Digital Resource Center [link] or a regular copy (unsigned) from your favorite bookseller by using the widget on the right ->

Hey, and don't forget to sign up for the free "Captured By The Light" webinar too.  You can do that by hitting the link on the right or by clicking here. I'll be walking you through some of my favorite sections of the book. We've got nearly 150 signed up so far and the room will hold up to 1000, so don't be shy - come on by.

I have to admit, this is all pretty exciting.  Again, my thanks to Scott Kelby for his encouragement and support through the entire book writing process.

OK, time to get on with today's post.  Here we go.

Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon 7D - Which One For Weddings? 

Canon 7D-b This question keeps popping up on the Skribit widget on the right - yes, I do review each suggestion - and take note of all your emails suggestions as well.  So today I thought I'd discuss the issue in depth.

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

I bought the Canon 5D Mark II right after it came out back in October 2008.  I loved the much higher resolution sensor (21.1mp), high resolution LCD screen, the new super high ISO's, and the video capabilities.  The camera is currently selling for $2,500 and worth every penny.

I also purchased the Canon 7D the day it became available back in September 2009. I liked the much higher resolution sensor (18 mp), high resolution LCD screen, the new fairly high ISO's, and again the video capabilities.  The camera is currently selling for $1,600 and in my opinion is a "steal of a deal"!

Having said that, let me give you my impressions of both cameras as tools of the trade for shooting weddings. Now I have been a BIG fan of the 40D since it was released.  It was a great wedding camera - accurate LCD screen, decent resolution, decent low noise characteristics, fast and easy to use.

So, right off the bat, I loved the new higher resolution LCD screens on both cameras. It was driving me crazy to shoot both the 40D lo-res LCD along with the hi-res 5D Mk II LCD so I jumped on the 7D when it came along to make that frustration disappear.

Camera resolution is not that big of a deal for me. How many mega-pixels do you need to shoot a wedding?  I think the "sweet spot" is about 10mp anyway. That said, resolution does come into play for family portraits when the final print could be 30x40 inches. 

Canon 5D Mk II The 5D is the perfect tool for the portrait photographer, but I really don't need 21.1 mp for weddings.  The fact of the matter is that I usually shoot the 5D Mk II at medium RAW anyway, reserving the higher res setting for large groups only.

I also thought the 5D Mk II's low light focusing was better and faster than the original 5D.  Oh, and I love the video capabilities of the 5D Mk II as well. What a cool feature for any wedding photographer.  Now I can grab snippets of the day for my Animoto shows.

I also loved the 3 custom setting I could use to basically give me 3 cameras in one.  I covered that in a previous post right here.

The high ISO capabilities of the camera blew me away.  I could actually get by shooting at ISO 12,800, albeit a bit noisy but nothing NIK Dfine 2.0 couldn't fix. But, you know, those new high ISOs let me capture images I couldn't get before.

The higher ISOs also let me shoot my routine candids at a ISO 800, 1000, 1200, and 1600.  And you know what that means - less flash power needed for each shot which translates into MANY more shots per charge.  I don't even go through a set of batteries these days on a job and I typically shoot A LOT of images.

And lastly, I loved the super wide angle view I could get with my full frame 12-24mm Sigma lens.  A full 122 degrees rectilinearly corrected view - WOW!

Needless to say, the 5D became my wedding camera of choice for a number of months.

Finally the Canon 7D came out last September - I jumped on it. I couldn't wait to put that baby through it's paces. Well, I've been shooting with it for about 5 months and I'm loving it. Here's why in no particular order.

1. Less mega-pixels - remember my 10mp "sweet spot" - 18 megs is plenty big for wedding photography.  Medium RAW gives me 10.10 Mega-pixels (3,888 x 2,592), equal to the 40D's 3888 x 2592 pixel count, uhmmmm...

2. Nice bright hi-res LCD - I'll never go back to the lo-res version on earlier models.

7D 3 Cs3. The 7D has those 3 custom settings on it too - three cameras in one again.

4. High speed continuous shooting at 8 fps.  Hey, I don't use it often, but it's nice to know I have it when I need it.

5. I love the video options and, the on board mic is better than the 5D Mark II.  The 5d Mark II's internal mic would always pic up some weird internal noises that the 7D does not.  An outboard mic is best, but in a pinch the 7D's mic works just fine.

6. Pop up flash.  OK, I know what you're thinking, "Ziser, get real.  Who uses a pop up flash for a wedding?"  Well, it not for weddings that I want the pop up flash.  I want it for my vacation pics;~)

7. I like the magnification 1.6x factor.  Here is another point where folks think I'm crazy.  What I am is practical.  Now my 200mm lens becomes a 320mm optic and my 300mm lens becomes a 480mm lens - pretty cool for super close up wedding candids.

8. I really like the new button layout on the 7D especially on the video side. Now it's a "piece of cake" to go from still mode to video mode almost immediately and have things in sharp focus.  I'll have to cover that in an upcoming Technique Tuesday.

9. OK, I'm waxing enthusiastic over the 7D, aren't I?  Well, I do love the camera.  I just wish it's noise characteristics were as good as the 5D Mk II's.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still fine with the 7D's lower noise characteristics and I still routinely will shoot the camera at ISO 800, 1200, and 1600. The 5D Mk II is better in the noise department though.

18-200mm Canon 10. I love shooting the 18-200mm IS lens on the 7D.  It's a great all purpose combo for my flash wedding candids.  Remember though that I have room lights set up at my events.  That's why I can get away with using it as my candid lens too.

Somebody's going to call me out for the optically quality of this lens and that I should be using something sharper.  The fact of the matter is that most of the images taken with this camera/lens combo are only going to made into 8x10's maybe 10x10’s at the largest - the 18-200mm IS lens is plenty sharp for that. Hey, I'm just  practical.

Hey gang, that pretty much wraps it up.  So which camera do I prefer for my weddings. Well, both of them.  That's why I own both of them.  OK, now you're going to twist my arm - "OK, Ziser, if you could only get one of the them, which one would you select first?"

I would opt for the Canon 7D first - fitted with 18-200mm IS lens.  Next pic up the 10-22mm wide angle. Now you're covered from 10mm to 200m of focal length.  Take the 1.6x magnification factor in and you'll go from 16mm to 480mm - WOW!

Hey, did you hear that Canon's coming out with a Rebel T2i [link] that uses the same 18mp chip as the 7D, hi-res LCD viewfinder, external mic connection, and shoots HD video too and all for $799$ Too bad it doesn't have an on board sync connection.


OK gang, that does it for me today.  Sorry for the late post.  We had a few meetings and appointments today I needed to tend to AND all the books arrived.

I'll plan to see everybody on Monday, all the pixels willin'. And, just remember that unlike snowflakes, every pixel in your digital camera is exactly the same;~)

Have a great weekend everybody,  -David


  1. It's hard to compare these cameras because of the tons of little itty bitty differences, but you did a fine job of recapping it.
    The one thing I love about the 7D is that I don't need to use an ST-E2 or Pocket Wizards to remote trigger other flashes.

  2. Please correct:It`s not Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon 7D David.It`s Mark II in the title.Not a big issue.How about an in-depth Canon 5D Mark II versus Nikon D700 mini-review?Why you switch from Nikon to Canon?
    Thanks David.Alex

  3. I'm certainly sold on the 7D! For $1,000 bucks less than the 5D mark II, it is indeed a steal.

    I'm curious about what you said about setting up room lights in all of your venues. So you use more than just a bounce flash and available light? I'm sure you have another post that details that a bit more, but I wouldn't know where to look. Would love a friendly directional point. :)

  4. When to commented on the 7D you compared it to your 40D. However, you had a 50D after the 40D and before you got the 7D. Any reason the comparison was to the 40D rather than the 50D?

  5. Hi David, Thanks for you great articles! I had to decide between 7D and 5Dmk2 half a year ago, but the situation was easier in the UK as after the release of 7D the prices were identical for several months.

  6. Hi Nathan,
    Just use "Search Box" on top left to search blog for "reception". Here is a link for starters -

    And to Anonymous,
    The 40D was so close to the 50D and I never really used the 50D that much to be able draw a clear comparison. -David

  7. Very interesting remarks. I'm pleased you take the very down to earth view about your 18-200mm lens. I always struggle to understand why people buy the most expensive lenses when they know the pictures will never be bigger than 8x10. I would much rather save money and more importantly the weight of buying a decent non L lens.

  8. Thanks for the review. I presently shoot with a 40d with 28 - 135 and a 20d with 18 - 55 as back up. I am a wedding photographer and looking to upgrade and was thinking about the 5dmk 11 but then all the review tend to go for the 7d.

    Just to confirm do you believe the 7d is the best option as it is much cheaper allows me to use my existing ef-s lenses and gives me the all round functionality I need including the higher ISO and 19 point focusing points.

  9. Great read David, I have been watching your videos on Kelby and they are fantastic, 1 question as I have the 7D and truly love the camera, but I have been reading that the IQ from the 5D II is much better (though it wasn't from a pro that I read it from) my question is if it is better at what size prints would you see it? my prints are usually A3 size, thanks;)

  10. Great info David - thank you! Like many others, I too am having a really hard time deciding between the 5D Mark II and the 7D.

    Current Gear:
    Canon XTi
    Sigma 70-200 F/2.8
    Canon 50mm f/1.8
    Canon 430EX Speedlite

    Photography Interests:
    Portrait / Wedding
    Landscape / City Scape

    I also shoot some sports, I'm the coach of my kids soccer and baseball teams.

    This past Saturday I shot my very first wedding. I was very excited but quickly realized I needed to bring my game to the next level with equipment. I rented a Canon 24-70 f/2.8, nice piece of glass but looked kinda funny on my little XTi.

    Financially I can afford either camera, but can't afford both (darn). I was leaning towards the Mark II because it's full frame and it seemed to be "the camera of choice" for wedding / portrait photographers. But the 7D is nice piece of equipment! With the 7D I could save a few bucks and buy nicer glass or even a 580EX II flash which would also be pretty helpful!

    Would love your oppinion if you don't mind throwing out some advice.

    Thank you -
    Detroit, Michigan

  11. The first comment above really nails it for me:

    "The one thing I love about the 7D is that I don't need to use an ST-E2 or Pocket Wizards to remote trigger other flashes."

    I don't know why this feature is not promoted more. This is huge. You can control your off camera Canon flashes with the 7D and retain all TTL information. This was the first Canon camera to do this until this weeks announcement of the new 60D. I love off camera flash and this is a huge selling point for me.

  12. Thank you for this article. I have been shooting with e refurb'd 20D for 4 years now.
    I want to get more into weddings and I qualify for the Canon Loyalty Program, however I don't have the $$ to purchase anything :( That said it's nice to see that you support the 7D so that I can use the lenses that I own already. I have the 18-135 but I think that I can perhaps trade that in for the 18-200.
    Thank you once again!

  13. Love the article. What do you think of the new 60D compared to the 7D? Thanks!!

  14. Thanks David for the 7D VS 5DMKII review. I so prefer the 24-70mm IS and the 70-200mm IS for the fixed f stop and at 2.8 I love the bokha.

    I am using the 7D and have been learning the "L" Glass. I must say I love these lenses. Oh and I will never go with out the 50mm 1.4. After renting the 1.2 I did not see the need to spend the cash for it over 1.4.

    I am looking forward to shooting my next wedding with the "L" Glass

    Just getting started and I love your book.

    See yea

  15. Wonderful piece as always David. Personally, I use 5D M2, and it has never failed me. It is a "war" out there fighting agaist MWC-s, as Mr. Crockett would call them (Moms with Cameras). I would rather show up with a machine gun than just a pistol...... Happy shooting. Gus, NYC.

  16. I too love the 5D Mk II but like to process raw with a converter that doesn't accept the reduced format. It will however convert everything into web images, jpegs, tiffs, NDG.

    I would love to have the coin for the 7D but opted for the 50D with 15 MP, excellent resolution if you DO NOT use the 18-200 mm glass according to some reviews.

    With a new 5D MK II replacement on the horizon, with greater DR and who knows what.. time will see.

    FF always wins in low light. I never have shot over 6400 ISO (4000 rated DXO).


  17. Hi David! It's Florante from GearBundles. Nice post - can we feature it on
    our site Drop me an email at Thanks!

  18. Hi Florante,
    You are welcome to use my comments, but I just upgraded to the MarkIII.

    p.s. Thanks for asking BTW.

  19. Hi David,
    Thank you for this very helpful post. I'm new to photography and I wish to do art and documentary photography. I'm coming from the video field as I am documentary film director and do both cameraman and video editor sometimes. Considering that this post is 2 years old and that I can invest in only one camera for this 2 coming years, can you please advice me on which one to buy between the two (5D II or 7D) as I also do wedding photography.
    I was considering the 5D II + 24-70mm f/2.8 L + 50mm f/1.8 + 85mm f/1.8, Is that ok for weddings or should I also add a telephoto? If yes, which one?

    Thank you for taking time to share.