Canon 5d Mark II vs Canon 7D
Which is right for you, the Canon 7D or the 5D MarkII?

Canon EOS 7D vs. 5D MarkII : Who should buy the 7D?

The Differences That Matter

The first difference worth mentioning, of course, is the price tag…. about $900 difference, if the current prices listed are any indication (7D at about $1599 at Amazon and the 5D Mark II at about $1,084.95). Since we’re looking at a couple of cameras that have the build quality for professional use, with magnesium alloy bodies, full HD video capabilities, top notch processors, and some of the most advanced CMOS sensors around, we can expect professional quality results from either camera. In fact, comparing the columns of features for the two cameras reveals that the vast majority of them are identical.  Something must justify the price difference, though.

Most obviously is the CMOS sensor difference, the 5Dii being a 21M pixel, full frame sensor, and the 7D being an APS-C size holding about 18Megapixels. The 7D has dual Digic4 processors, whereas the 5Dii has only one. Probably as a result of this, the new arrival boasts burst speeds about twice as fast as the 5D. There are many other minor differences (and perhaps a few significant ones), but I think that these are the most important to consider up front.

Pixels and Sensor Size

The practical difference between 18 and 21 Megapixels in terms of raw size is minimal.
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter The practical difference between 18 and 21 Megapixels in terms of raw size is minimal.

If all other things were equal, the pixel count between the 7D and 5D Mark II would not be a significant factor in choosing one camera over the other. I’ve illustrated the file size difference (left) with images scaled to the dimensions of each camera’s output, but just by looking at the numbers we can get a pretty good idea of how things would stand. The difference is about an inch in on each axis… not a big deal.

But of course, it’s not quite that simple. Since the 7D’s sensor is considerably smaller than that of the 5D, its receptors are also smaller and more densely packed. Traditionally, dense receptors have produced more digital noise than their larger counterparts, especially during long exposures which generate more heat. Canon has done a good job of controlling digital noise with their efficient sensors and processing in the past, and although the 7D produces relatively little digital noise, it still falls a bit short of the performance of the 5D Mark II, which has been so highly praised for its ability to produce low noise images in nearly any lighting situation. A variety of ISO comparisons are available across the internet, including mine, here, if you’d like to see how subtle the difference is.

Much more importantly, though, is how the sensor size effects resolution. Many photographers have already noted that the receptor density of the Canon 50D has already matched (in resolution) what we used to achieve with slow 35mm film. Indeed, on the 50D, the sensor density is roughly 213 pixels per millimeter, a density that would produce a 39 megapixel image on full frame sensor such as the 5D series. The 7D takes this development even further, with around 233 pixels per millimeter, at which resolution a full frame sensor would produce a 46.7 megapixel image.

Why do these numbers  matter? Because at this resolution, the image quality is frequently limited by  the lens rather than the sensor.  Even at the 15 megapixels of the Canon 50D (and certainly at the 18 megapixels of the 7D) the sensor will usually have the resolution to capture all of the detail that the lens can resolve, including the flaws in the lens performance such as chromatic aberration, corner softness, diffraction, and any manufacturing flaws; adding additional megapixels will only serve to increase file size, not detail. The same thing can be achieved with good up-sampling software, such as onOne’s Genuine Fractals.  Furthermore, since the sensor is smaller than a full frame dSLR’s, the image will have to be enlarged proportionately more to achieve the same size print… which will also enlarge the flaws from the lens. An excellent article about this effect in the Canon 50D with photographic examples can be found on the Luminous Landscape.

In order to reap any benefit from the increased resolution of the 7D’s sensor, photographers will need to use the best lenses and their best technique. Some of Canon’s “L” lenses and a few lenses from the Pro lines of other manufacturers (such as Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron) will produce quality results, but even those lenses will need to be used properly. The photographer will need to determine the optimum aperture for each lens (at which it produces the highest resolution across the full frame) before being limited by diffraction by the aperture leaves. Furthermore, tripods and remote (or timed) release will be crucial.

Another important difference due to sensor size is the depth-of-field (DOF). In general terms, the larger the sensor or film, the shallower the depth of field. The difference in DOF between a Canon APS-C sensor and a full-frame is slightly more than 1 f-stop (ie; if a 5D Mark II is using a 200mm lens and a 7D is using a 125mm to get an equivalent field of view, the 7D has to shoot at f/1.8 to get DOF as shallow as the 5D has at f/2.8). Depending what you shoot, having greater depth of field can either be a drawback or a benefit: it can be great for photographers who want as much in focus as possible, a nuisance for photographers wishing to separate their subject from a blurry background.

Who Should Buy the Canon 7D, then?

From the previous section, you might be under the impression that I would not recommend the 7D, but that’s not the case. The issue depends entirely on the photographer’s shooting style. The speed of the 7D, coupled with its new AF system and large, bright viewfinder, make it an excellent choice for sports photographers and other journalists for whom the increased (1.6x) magnification are a benefit. Wedding photojournalists may be included in this group. These photographers, who regularly hand-hold their shots and reproduce them in forums that do not necessitate the highest resolution, are not effected by the lens resolution limits.

Art and Landscape photographers, on the other hand, may benefit from the better overall resolution of the 5D Mark II. Since these photographers typically shoot for the highest resolution, with heavy tripods and excellent technique, they will notice the better image quality from the 5D, but also will get the most out of a 7D if they happen to use one.

The 7D is the best choice if you…The 5D Mark II is the best choice if you…
shoot lots of action: sports, journalism, events.shoot landscapes, macros, or fine detail work.
don’t mind getting extra depth of field.prefer shallower depth of field and traditional perspective.
frequently shoot telephoto.use full frame, wide angle lenses.
usually shoot hand-held shots.usually use a tripod or studio strobes.
expect to buy the best quality lenses and use them at their optimal settings to get the most from you sensor.use a wide range of full frame lenses.
believe that speed, responsiveness, and good resolution are most important to you.believe that excellent resolution/best image quality and good speed are most important to you.

Video Features

The 5D Mark II is ultimately better for video if you’re willing to put some work into it, by doing things like using firmware side-cars (eg, Magic Lantern), upgrading to the most recent Canon firmware, and using some less than user-friendly video controls along with film industry hardware add-ons.

The 7D is better for the casual video user due to its ease-of-use. It has a dedicated video record button, for example, and the same resolutions and frame rates as the 5D Mk II.

If you’re interested in the video capabilities of the 5D Mark II and the 7D (and Rebel T2i), please follow this link to my related article on the subject: Video Features of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EOS 7D.

Please Comment! I’m always interested to hear whether my readers find the articles interesting, useless, or otherwise… and more importantly, I’d like to hear your opinions and additional information, even if it’s just  a tidbit. THANKS!

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Sunil HH

With 70D and 6D also out, which is the best among these 2, In terms of video and Image Quality



Its been 4 years that I’ve been using my 1000D. I shoot aquarium fishes.
But now when magazines have actually started liking and buying my pictures, I seriously need a better camera. I cant go beyond ISO100 in my 1000D as it produces a lot of light (its 4 years old and has been taking photos continuously since then).
I also am in birding. Also planning for a 100-400.
So based on your wonderful explanation, I totally get that 7D is my thing.
I was just wondering that – If I take a shot from 5D and crop it to the size of 7D’s sensor, and compare it with the image taken from 7D, will they both be the same (image quality ?) ? Or 7D will have better or lower quality? Considering the fact that even if the 7D has smaller sensor, the pixels are very closely clamped in it’s sensor! I hope my question made sense.
One more thing- This might sound silly but since I’m an International student doing my grad here, I dont know if I can really get discount while buying a camera if I wait for thanksgiving sales! Or chances getting a good deal in cameras is very rare and I should go ahead and buy it anytime?

Waiting for your reply.


Hi Matthew,

I am thinking of buying my second DSLR. I currently own a Canon Rebel XSI & am thinking about upgrading to a 7D or 5D Mark II.
I like the idea of using a full frame sensor. I really want the video capability but it isn’t the main reason for upgrading.
I don’t mind having to buy new lenses with it or anything, but I am very passionate about photography and would eventually like to do some freelancing. :)
I am wondering if the extra cash for the 5D Mark II would be worth the quality of the photos in the long run.
I have been doing some real estate photography with a Sigma 10-20 mm. I also love portraits & landscape.
I do a lot of editing with these photos afterwards as well.




Hi Matthew,
Thanks for the wonderful writing comparing the 2 cameras in the first place but I have a few questions that I’m hoping you can answer. I’m trying to upgrade from the Canon EOS rebel t2i and have been interested in the EOS 5d Mark ii. My main goal is to try to capture a lot of landscape, sky, and low light to very low light images. Is the EOS 5d Mark ii a good camera for me? Or should I consider the 7d, which would be my other choice? The price difference is really what is making me stop and consider this so much.


Alright thank you so much for the quick response. I’ve been doing much research on the EOS 6D today and am pretty impressed with it.
Thanks again,



I have been reading through all of this and I gained a slight understand on what camera is best and lenses etc. However I am going into documentary style filming and I have been battling myself on deciding whether to get the Canon 7D or 5D Mark II. But from reading your responses you mentioned that the 60D is much better for movie style yet 5D Mark II was used in Iron Man 2 and Avengers. And I am trying to get the best quality which then leaves into the stress on picking the correct or most effective lenses. I Defo Need Help Lol


I forgot to mention that I did understand that for movie video film 5D mark ii is better than 7D …:)


So between a Cannon D7, D5 mark ii and D5 Mark iii which would you recomend to film movie video? for now I can only afford a D7 or D5 mark ii used, but I will sacrifice and wait to get a mark iii if you tell me there is a significant difference and worth the wait …thanks for all your information here it has been very helpful

Donald Villarreal

Hello Mattew, i wrote you a few months ago, hope u remember me. I have a Canon 7D with 4 lenses: Canon 17-55, Canon 24-55, Canon 28-135, and Canon 55-250. I do Aerial photography for living. My question is: which of the above lenses will be my best choice? Or which lens will you recommend me to get to improve the image quality? I appreciate your advice. Best regards. Donald Villarreal.


Hi. Thank you very much for answering. I’m wrong about the lens. It is a 24-85 mm. I kind of like this lens better than the 28-135. The 55-250mm is very good. But I don’t know which of my lenses will do the best job with my camera. Best regards. Donald


Thanks again. One more question. If you where going to do aerial photography, what lens will you use? I normally set the camera on TV, 1/1250, ISO 200 and fly around 1.000-1.500 ft above the ground. I have a couple of dollars I will like to spend on a pretty good lens instead of changing my camera… Best regards. Don


Hi Matthew, I found a Tamron 18-270 lens for my canon 7D. Is this a good lens? I appreciate your advice. Best regards. Donald


Thank you very much! Best regards. Donald


Hello Matthew, hope you are doing fine. I wrote you a few weeks ago I was using a 17-55 lens for my CNon 7D. Last week it fell down from a table and broke… I found a Canon 18-55. Is this a Good lens for my camera? I appreciatte your advice. Best regads. Don.


Thank you very much! Best regards. Don


Hi Matthew,

I am confused between 7D or 6D. This is the first time i am going to buy a DSLR after using NEX & Olympus OMD, as they can’t focus on moving subjects accurately because of CDAF.

Even the Olympus OMD spoiled up my daughter’s 1st B’day party as i didn’t have a nice lens & only shot with kit 12-50 mm lens & had lots of bad photos.

I have a $3,000 budget.I could buy the following kits for that price :

1.Canon 7D + Tokina 11-16 f2.8 + New Sigma 35mm f1.4 + Canon 24-105 f4 L.
2. Canon 6d + Canon 24-105 f4 L + New Sigma 35 mm f1.4.

Or if could stretch my budget a little bit then another $500 would get 5D Markiii + Canon 24-105L.

I am not a professional photographer ,as i am an accountant by profession.
I have 2 kids that i take photos of
& here in Australia i love taking photos of beaches & family trips to theme parks & zoos.
I haven’t even started shooting RAW,but would do if required.
I want to build a system that gives me good photos even if have to spend some time.

If you could help me to choose or suggest a different set up then it would be great.



Thanks Matthew,

I am just a beginner that just likes taking good quality images preferably straight from the camera.
As mentioned i generally take my camera out on family occasions like B’day parties or beach and theme park visits where sometimes i need to zoom in to get closer.Yeah that’s true that half of those occasions will have moderate to low light.

I have just read on Canon forums that they are going to launch Canon 70D on 21st March this month, an APSC camera of course.But would that be good enough to go to full frame & if yes then should i be looking for Canon 5d Markiii + (24-105mm L or any cheap prime lens) or 6d with the lens of your recommendation.Or would you recommend to go to APSC with excellent lenses that you recommend.

As said because i am starting from the scratch so would love to buy a kit that lasts me at least few years.

I have considered Nikon options too, but i i just simply don’t like Nikon’s out of camera colours.they are simply not pleasing to my eyes as compared to Canon.



Hi Matthew,

So it looks like 70D has been delayed.So, what would be you suggestion for the
best body & lens combo under $3000.And do i need a speedlite with the kit as well.

I would mainly like to cover 24-120mm range, because i am not in wildlife Photography.Would love to do portraits of my family & some landscape photography.



Have been looking at both 5Dm2 & 7D and have read various comparisons. I want to compliment you on your easy to understand, plain language and and yet comprehensive analysis. So often reviewers are more interested in showing how technically accumen they are, getting bogged down in too much detail and lose sight of the important aspects of the products. You don’t do that, kudos.

“My general advice for photographers, though, is to buy the least expensive camera that will fulfill their needs, buy the best lenses they can afford, and practice as much as possible.”
—-Great advice

Looking at some very good used cameras in both models, so the prices are closer and lower now than before so I can afford to buy either. My delimma is I do both indoor creative shots where field of depth is important and outdoor action/event shots. Resolution differences are not important would be negligible for what I do. Soooo, I was wondering in your opinion which one is most versatile? Since the 5Dm2’s strength is studio and the 7D’s strength is outdoor action the real question for me would be to compare which is better covering its weakness. Is the 5Dm2 better at outdoor/event shots (it’s weakness) or is the 7D better at indoor studio? Does that make sense?

Appreciate your opinion. Thanks!


Shot primarily sports, but also some portrait photography have 70-200 2.8 IS Found 7 D for $1200, Mark ii fror $1800 and Markiii for $3200. For the $ and my use 7D the right choice? Just dont want to miss out on the portrait end.. Thanks for your advice!


You mention several times to purchase the higher grade lens for the 7D, which lens specifically do you recommend? 17-55 2.8, 17-40L or 24-105L? I currently own the 7D but I am on the market for a good all around lens. I typically shot portraits, casual shots and some landscape. What do you recommend?


What type of issues have you experienced with the 24-105 on a crop sensor? Thanks for the insight.


HI Matthew

I am a young filmmaker, i am in the dilemme between spending my money in 5Dor a 7D, I have to tell you , they stole my first 5D. I shoot commercial most of the time in a third world country Haiti. I have some really good L lenses, i have a 50mm 1.4 and  85mm 1.2 and a14/35. please help me making that decision.

Pedro Pena

Hi Mathew,

My main interests in photography are Landscapes, Macro, Nature, and Travel! I currently have a canon eos 450D, and always carry a Giotto MH1302, with me, along with a EF 70-200 f/4 L; Macro 100mm f/2.8; and the older EF 28-105mm. I am upgrading my camera body, because i shoot for quite some time now and I’m feeling that right now my camera is my setback!!! I have good Lenses and planning on achieving another(wide angle)…but that new one will depend on the new camera body that I buy….I mean, should i Go Full Frame with the 5D Mark II(thinking of the 17-40 f/4 and because of something you said on a previous post the Tokina 16-28mm) or keep up with the 1.6x crop factor and go for the 7D(definitely the canon EF-S 10-22). Either way I plan on keeping the 450D!!

I’ll Leave you this link so that you can see what i do….and give me an opinion on which one you think would benefit me more, the 5D Mark II or de 7D!

Thanks a lot, I will Value greatly your opinion!!!

Pedro Pena

Pedro Pena


Thanks for your help and quick reply! I appreciate your comment on my photos, it’s a nice boost in my confidence, and turns the expectations on future photos up a notch!!!

You’re absolutely right when you say ” buy the least expensive camera that will fulfill their needs”, and that’s what i’m trying to do, because my major investment has always been towards the lenses!!

Your comment was very useful, and although i havent decided yet….I’m one step closer to the 5D Mark II!! I Will keep following “Lightandmatter”. I really think your doing a great job.

Best regards,



I’m debating between 5d mark II or 7D. I have a five year old and most of the time i take pictures of him playing sports, class activities and outdoor photography. We also travel and i like to shot some of the landscaping. I do take family pictures for others outdoors and in low light indoors. Photography is my hobby and i’m planning on going to classes to learn more about it. Trying to buy buy the best camera and lens for my use. Please help me. Thank you.


hi matt.. i bought my 5dmii and use my 24-105.. it suit me well and working fine.. the high iso performance make indoor shooting easier with less noise even at 3200.. as for sharpness, if let say my zoom 24-105mm are at f8 and my 135L at f8, will it give the same result for my photo’s brightness and sharpness given other setting is the same?

thankz matt..^^


hi matt..

i bought the 5dmii already with a 2nd hand lens of 24-105.. but somehow, i feel that the lens creep a little bit at 28-40… the other range stay just fine.. should i spend $150 usd for a new copy, or should i save them ? coz i read many articles saying that this zoom creep is quite normal for 24-105.. others like build quality and IQ is perfectly fine.. just the creep.. and i also read many people said that their lens become worse after sending for canon service.. im soo in dilemma since ive splash quite a sum for this combo.. the 5d was really awesome combined with this lens but this problem somehow make me uneasy ..

thankz mat and waiting for your opinion..^^


I need help, quickly!!! I love your article but it has made me even more confused on what to do. I already have a 7d but came across a guy selling his mark II for $1600 and it only has 1750actuations on it. It’s ‘a 9+camera. My problem is what do I do? Invest in better lenses or get this camera at a great price. I mean I shoot all types of photography but lean toward portraitures. Please help


hi matthew.. firstly thankz for your nice articles.. ive been seaching for a camera to paired with my 24-105mmL.. firstly i was thinking of buying the 7d for its price,af, and.fps..but im someone who love to take photo indoor and family events.. thats when i started thinking to go for 5dmark2 for its better iso performance in order to compensate the f4 of my lens and the fullframe give me better wide end at 24.. should i buy the 7d and.a wide prime lens (although prime which os affordable like the 28mm is not that wide but might be able for indoor event) or should i buy the 5d which already able to conpensate the f stop for indoor photography.. really looking forward for your advice and suggestion..

p/s : ive been using olympus epl 1 for a few years and thinking of upgrading them to a dslr..

thankz again matthew..


Hi there, I will like to ask you guys a question. I have the Canon 7D and use it for aerial photography on a single engine cessna, most of the time with Canon 28-135mm lens. I’m very happy with it, it is very fast and exellent images… but I keep on thinking about if Canon 5D will give me better quality images?? I appreciate your advice. Best regards. Don


Matthew thank you so much for your advice, it was very helpful! I use the Canon 28-135mm lens and ALWAYS with clear sky and sunny days, so you think it will not worth the money if I get the 5D? I live in Colombia South America, so it will be a 5 million pesos camera (about 2.500 Dollars). Thank you again! If you’d like please visit my site at


Matthew, Thank you very much again for your help!



Hi again Matthew. I just saw a comment you posted a few minutes ago about a 24MM lens. I do have 24-85mm and I want to buy a 17-55mm lens for my camera (canon 7D). Is it a bad idea? I appreciate your answer. Best regards. Donald.


Yes Matthew. That’s the lens I’m gonna get. Now I know it is a good choice for my camera. Thank you very much!

Bruce Hausmann

Hi Mathew
I stumbled across your website through some links and really like your videos. I had a 5D and was waiting and waiting for the Mk III to be released. When it finally came out, I compared it to the Mk II and decided that the upgrade wasn’t worth $1600 and bought the Mk II,
Since this is my first camera with live view, can you post a discussion on adjusting exposure based on histogram. I saw your excellent video on exposure and read the articles on histograms.
I know this isn’t the right area of the forum, but why doesn’t Adobe have nice colored icons in the tools palate like elements ? Seems like it would make them easier to pick out !


Hi there!

I love shooting landscape photography but get paid by shooting puppies in kennels for advertising. Since I am a photography student, what would be the best camera to buy since I don’t know yet what area I want to concentrate on. I have the 24-70 L and 50 1.4 lenses and an ef 70-210 f4. Since I make money with puppies right now should I get the 7d or the mark ii which would be good for the landscape I love shooting. I also shoot photos for my husband on homes that he works on exteriorly.

Thanks for any insight.




Hi Matthew,

Thanks for the very useful article! I’ve been pondering whether to get the 5D Mk.II or the 7D for a while and in my research, it seems that the pros and cons are:

5D Mk. II: Full frame, better for landscape / wide-angle, less noise as high ISOs, older model so less of the new features, more expensive.

7D: Crop frame (so added benefit for zoom), faster continuous shutter so better for sports and nature, newer model so newer features i.e. more customisable and more AF points, cheaper.

To be honest I’m pretty much a newbie to “proper” photography, it’s certainly not my profession but I am interested in learning more. My photography has always been focused on landscapes, wide-angle and abstract macro stuff, but recently I’ve been doing quite a lot of portrait where the colour and quality of the final photo is much more important.

I never photograph action or high-speed things so fast continuous shooting is more or less irrelevant for me. I’ve always assumed that the 5D Mk.II would be the best camera for me, but I’ve recently heard about the 7D (and researched others in the Canon range) and now the choice doesn’t seem so easy between these two, especially with the 7D being significantly cheaper (which means more to spend on the lens).

Which would you recommend, between the 7D and the 5D Mk.II, for this situation? (Landscape and portraits, no sports or nature etc). Also, which lenses would you recommend for these two things?

Thank you for your time,


Hi, I`m an amateur photographer and started taking photos a couple of years ago with a Canon 550D; I mostly enjoy doing street photography. I’m thinking now to buy a professional camera. I bought for the 550D camera some extra EF lenses: EFS 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, EF 100mm f/2,8Macro,etc. If I understand well, if I want to keep using properly these lenses, the best option would be the EOS 7D, not the EOS 5D MarkII. Am I right? If I buy the EOS 5D Mark II what lenses do you recommend? Thanks


Hi Matthew,

I am currently using a 40D with 24-105 f4L lens and I am looking to upgrade to get a camera with better low-light capability and video features. I am thinking in the future I will use it for 70% stills and 30% videos. Being able to shoot in low light is important to me as I try to avoid using a flash. On the other hand, I do like taking subjects in motion and I also like taking shots of my friends playing basketball in a gym. Aside from that I take different types of photos. How would you rate the low-light capability of the 7D as well as the quality of its videos? Would it be better for me to get a 7D then buy a wide angle lens (like the 10-22) or get the 5D and get telephoto lens (like the 100mm and the 70-200)?




Thanks Matthew, this really helps!


Hi! I’m currently using a 40D too and am also looking for an upgrade. I would like to know which camera   you have chosen to purchase, the 7D or 5D? And what were the pro’s/cons that made you decide to chose that one? Thanks!


Hi Mathew,

I was contemplating the same question and while doing some research I stumbled upon this review. My interest is in night and astrophotography which require long exposures and high ISO. (Just to say that I am a beginner, easing my way into this field one step at a time – so no experience so far only what I read on the subject). Is in this case a 5D a better choice, because of the low noise? I am also thinking of a 70-200 mm f/4 lens as I read that telephoto lenses are the choice for astrophotography. Is that a good choice or do you you think there are better ones for this kind of photography (and for a reasonable price).

Thank you,


AS Kharyal

Hi Mathew – I am torn between EF 16-35mm f2.8 II and 17-40mm f4 lens for Landscape and night photography.

I am using 7D with EF 24-70mm f2.8 as a kit lens currently. I will move to FF but it might take 1-2 years as I have just started photography. Looking for your valuable advise.

Appreciate your time.


Alex Bruce

Wow, this is an excellent article, thanks so much for this!  It’s without a  doubt one of the best 5D Mark II vs 7D reviews I have read.  So, here’s my specific situation, and any input you can provide would be amazing.

I am a student, working on my BS in photography.  I am currently using a Rebel Xsi but am starting to do some work professionally and think it might be time to upgrade.  Being a student, I’m unsure what branch of photography I’ll end up in, but had the following thoughts and would love to get your input:

  • I have a speedlite 430 EXII and understand the 7D will allow me to trigger my flash remotely, that sounds like a big plus!
  • I have a few years of school left and was thinking of going with the 7D for its balance of performance vs price and hopefully once I’m done with school in a few years the 5D Mark III will be available used – is this a reasonable line of thought?
  • I can see that the 5D Mark II is obviously sharper than the 7D in addition to being full frame and slightly better at high ISOs.  My question than is – yes thr 5D Mark II is better than the 7D in many ways, but is it $900 better?  In other words, all the specifics aside, which camera in your view is the better value?

Thanks for your input, and great article!

EDIT: I should add that I do my best to buy nice Canon EF lenses, but L series lenses are definitely out of my price range for the forseeable future.

Nathan Swager

Hi Mathew,

So I have no real particular thing I take photos of.  I really dont do a lot of landscape photography but do take pics of my daughter doing both ballet(not very well lit) and softball games.  Other than that just quite a few photos that consist of a little bit of everything.  I was originally thinking about going with the 5d ii but now Im thinking the 7d will be a good enough option to buy for what I need it for.  My current camera is the T2i but was looking at starting to get more L-series lenses and thought I should upgrade my camera to one of these 2 to help balance with the lenses.  Hopefully you will be able to help me out with this decision.

Thanks for anything you can do to help and most of all thanks for your time,


Gary Brown


This may sound mad… and tell me if you agree! I am a total newby to photography and had a little play on a friends Canon eos 7D and I was instantly impressed! I am going on Safari in October so he recommended getting this along with a 70-200 IS Lens. I think this could set me back a good £1200 and because I have only ever used point and shoot cameras and never touched a lens I didnt know if I am making a massive mistake! please give me your honest opinion! I was thinking about swatting up on dummie guides and photography self help dvd’s etc and thought this would be a good lifetime camera if looked after!

Kind Regards


Bill Minton

I like the 70-200 + 2x teleconverter if this is something he’ll need continually going forward.  If not, another option might be to rent one or two longer focal length lenses.




I am struggling to make a decision between 7D and 5dMII. If I can get a used 5DMII for the same price as a new 7D would you recommend 5DMII over 7D without any reservations? For me performance and auto-focus speed/accuracy are of prime importance. I am mostly interested in candids and fast action. I am planning to invest in excellent lenses.



Please ignore this question, it has been answered very well in the older posts. I am going with the 7D.


This was a very helpful article! I’ve been trying to find a good comparison of these two cameras as I am ready to upgrade from my EOS rebel. I shoot mostly handheld shots, but am starting to get into landscape. I don’t shoot much action either. I think this has helped my make my final decision. Now I just need to go and hold each one in my hand and get a feel for it! Thanks you so much!


Thanks for the very helpfull article. I came across this article by searching 7D vs 5D Mark II and this article plus the post about the 5D Mark II vs 5D Mark III was just the info I needed.

Reading this post I only was more confused about which camera to choose, my answer was more like “All of the above”. Then I read the article about the new 5D Mark III and the answer was “Just get the Mark III”

I have been shooting with a Rebel X1i for a while now and now that I am being asked more often to shoot at weddings and youth sports events and still enjoy doing portraits as well as landscapes. It seems the 5D Mark III has the best of both worlds. The only gripe is that I have a Sigma 8-16MM that I love and that does not work with the full frame. What are your thoughts on this?


Thanks Mathew,

I don’t make any prints,So there is no point in me buying 5D Mark II, The photos are used only for blogging.What i want from the new camera is the additional functionality of HD video shooting.
I did see a couple of offers, and my friend picked up the 7D for $1,300 just 2 days ago,
It is looking good.Will keep your advice.

Thanks once again.


Hello Mathew,
You would have answered this question already 100times, 5d Mark II or 7D.

I am also in the same dilemma which one to buy, Full frame v/s APC. I do have the Rebel XTI which is a APC Sensor.
I generally shoot Birds, Nature,no studio shoots, its just a hobby and no money making business.
The only reason i want to upgrade is XTI doesn’t have video option.
Always heard of full frame’s superiority.
Waited for 5D Mark III but the price is bit on higher end $3,400
With 7D around(Dual Digic4 Processor,19 focus points) $1,200 v/s 5d’s Digic 4 Processor,9 Point Focus)$1,900

Could you please suggest me which one to buy among the 2. Money is not a issue, Would like to make one final investment on the body and in the future focus on lenses.



I find your advice & recommendations very helpful & informative. My dilemna- I was advised by my Photog Coach to buy the 7D as the perfect choice for studio & outdoor pics & my great need for the best camera to take pics of jewelry ( as I am a jewelry designer & Make-Up artist & need pics for my website). I am wondering why I wasn’t advised to get the 5D Mark II. Do you think I should have opted for the 5D Mark II? Will the same lenses work for both the 7D & the 5D Mark II? Thank you for your time.

Anup Singh


I am planning to buy EOS-7D but not sure which lens I should buy for candid photography. I am also interested in knowing about the lens requirement for Wild life as well as Landscape and Architectural photography.

I am intending to purchase a full frame camera later in future. Will I be able to use my lens which I am buying for EOS 7D on the full frame camera.

Thank you for your time in advance.


Anup Singh

Matthew – Thank you for your insights.

Indeed I need your help to further zero-in on few lenses.

In candid photography I am looking at street photography and Zoom lens options. Any suggestions here would be helpful. I was looking at 24~70mm f/2.8L USM or 16-35 f/2.8L as my options here.

The other lens – for Wildlife – I have made up my mind on is 70-200 f/2.8L IS II with your help.

For architectural photography, I was looking exteriors as well as for Inside church photography in almost darkness. I am also looking at capturing the depth while shooting the monuments to have a free hand in innovating my portraits.

Appreciate your time.



Hi, i’m doing studio photography as well as shooting kids in natural light . I would like to buy a camera that produce the best DOF ,good AF system , and can shoots running kids.
What to do you think is it better for me to buy the 7D ,wait until it’s replacement or switch to nikon?

Khaled Khalifa

Hello Matthew,

I’m a bit confused now, I want to upgrade from my current DSLR Canon 450D but don’t know what should be my next step?
mainly I’m in portraiture, landscape and architecture photography but occasionally shoot wildlife and close-up (No Macro).
So how should I proceed? should I go for 5DII or 7D


Hi I am just getting into the photography world and these two cameras really interest me I do photography as a hobby I lOVE it. I was wondering if you can help me decide which Canon DSLR would fit me most. I really like doing outdoor shoots with people with the grass, trees, all the nature outside. I also love capturing headshots and sometimes even macro shots. If you can please get back to me and help me decide i would appreciate it lots! Thank you!! :)

Zubair ali

hi, i am a student atm and i am studying video and photography but i do a lot of part time work doing music videos and also photography for weddings etc for clients , but i am leaning more to videos side now,how ever i have been trying to figure out which camera will benefit the quality of my videos and photography the reason i am finding it so hard is everyone i ask either says 5d or 7d it never one sides and i soon as i think am on to a winner someone come along and make me think other wise………… could you help i really am stuck for choice!!!


Matthew, I currently have a 40D and primarily take pictures of my kids in sports (lacrosse and ringette, both indoors, not great lighting). The primary lens I use is EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 Would you suggest upgrading to a new body, either 5D or 7D or go for a new lens EF 70-200 f/2.8 instead of the body? My original thought was the lens but lately I am second guessing that. My biggest problem now with my current set up is trying to work in poor lighting conditions in sports with lots of action using a not so fast lens. I know the f/2.8 lens would help with that situation somewhat, but I’m still concerned about noise. Thanks for any advice you can offer…

Bill Minton

As Matthew is well aware, I’m still very new to DSLRs, but the first thought that comes to my mind is, would using a flash be an option?


Bill, using a flash isn’t really an option. I am shooting through glass at ice level in most venues, a few years back when I tried using a flash it just bounced back and didn’t really do anything to help make the photo better or even usable. I have seen others shoot above the glass using a flash and the results were harsh. The ice was blown out.


Matthew, thanks for the reply, it did help. Last weekend my ISO ranged, at 1600 the photos had some noise but it wasn’t awful. Lower ISO the noise wasn’t as bad but the pictures were much darker and had some blur. Today I set the ISO at 1600 and the noise was much more noticeable but we were in a different arena. Lighting varies dramatically between venues. I have a 50mm f/1/8 however it hasn’t worked well for me for action, I prefer being able to zoom in and out with the action. I guess my biggest question is, will a 7D handle noise considerably better than my 40D? Right now, the 7D is on sale for a good price – do I spend the money or put it to a lens instead? Thanks!


Thanks Matt, you have given me a lot to think about. I have rented the 70-200 f/2.8 in the past and I loved it! It was an amazing lens! Still not certain what I will do, but thank you so much for all your help and insight.


I have to agree with Craig. Having been through the 7d vs. MKII tunnel and coming out of the other side with a MKII, there is a difference in IQ between the two formats that is as satisfying as 35mm film was. It was the original 5d that stopped me from ditching digital photography as a replacement media for film. IQ isn’t just about edge to edge sharpness, or the ability to use the camera like a machine gun, it is about having those other aesthetic qualities that one cannot always put their finger on easily, that drew many of us into photography in the first place. Imagined or not, I still prefer the quality of the raw files from 5dMKII and my 5d classic over the raw files of my buddy’s 7d with L series lenses files.