Monday, October 26, 2009

A New Tool Arrives-The Canon 7d

It was basically a given with me that I was going to upgrade my DSLR battery when Canon introduced a camera in the class of the 40D that had the option to record HD video. This happened recently and I pre-ordered one so that hopefully it would ship soon after B&H re-opened from the Holidays. They were out of stock for a short time, but they got a new shipment over the weekend of Oct. 17th, and the camera shipped on Tuesday.

I am somewhat conflicted about getting a new piece of equipment as in many cases, it forces one to address a lot of issues until everything is working properly and one can actually settle down to using the equipment as a new tool for wildlife photography without having to dwell on the nuts and bolts aspect of the situation.

That being said, it was still a great thrill to receive the package from B&H last Thursday, but I restrained myself long enough to take it to my favorite photographic area for the ritual of pressing a new camera into service.

The New Arrival

I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On It!

Pristine Canon 7D-It Won't Look That Way Long With Heavy Field Use

While I do not expect this to replace the XL-H1 as my primary video acquisition camera, I do have hopes that it will enable me to shoot video clips at times I am primarily concentrating on still photography and am not carrying the camcorder. As a result some of my first tests of the camera were mounting it on a video tripod and shooting a few video clips.

Mounted On Bogen Video Tripod With Homemade Adapter

7D In Video Mode

It actually works reasonably well as a camcorder and I hope to post some clips, or a short film soon, but for today we will settle for a still image taken with it and the 300mm F4 Canon L.

Mature Easter Wild Turkey Gobblers

On the plus side, while this camera does feel slightly larger than the 40D, it has a "better" feel in the hand (I know that is entirely subjective-some may prefer the 40D). The viewfinder is brighter and overall more pleasing to look through, while the LCD is much sharper enabling one to evaluate the quality of a photograph much more readily. The camera is 18 mp, vs the 10.5 mp of the 40D.

I previously hinted at a downside and there always is one-at least from a financial standpoint. In this case there where three problems, some of which have easy work arounds. I shoot in Raw and there is no upgrade to CS3 to handle the 7D files. There is a method to convert them to DNG by the free DNG converter, but this creates an extra step and raises some concerns, so suffice it to say I did upgrade to CS4, which was another $200.oo.

The video editing program cannot handle the video files without converting them to an intermediate codec, so I had to upgrade this aspect of my editing software, which was actually quite reasonable at $70.00.

This is not the major problem, however. My Photoshop computer is an old Dell 2400 with Windows XP, which can only handle 1 GD of RAM. This worked very well with CS2 and The Canon 10D files, which were only 6.3 mp. Things really slowed down when I went to the 40D, but the system was still usable. I installed a trial version of CS4 soon after it came out and found that it slowed things down even further, so I did not purchase it.

The bottom line is that I need a much more powerful desktop. As a short term solution, I installed the CS4 on my Toshiba laptop, which has the Vista 64 Bit operating system, 4GB of memory and a 2.3 GHz AMD Turion Dual Core Processor. This system handles the 7D files and CS4 quite well, but I really don't like using a laptop for my serious photo editing.

Look for more photos and some video clips, hopefully in the near future as I explore the features of the 7D under field conditions. At this point in time, I am very impressed.


Brad Myers said...

Congrats Willard, I am sure you wil like the video feature. Not having video editing software I found to download videos from my D90 and upload to blogger they can only run between 35 and 45 seconds to keep the file size under what blogger will allow.

After shooting mostly videos the last day at Benezette and finally feeling confortable with it I wish I would have shot more videos on the trip. Hand sight is always 20/20.

Love the turkeys and I can't wait to see some video recorded from this camera.

Crokus Family said...

I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to see what you capture on that beauty! I'm hoping after I graduate in May and get back to working again I can make a few additions as well! I am taking Digital Photography as an elective in the Spring so hopefully I will learn what I need to know and make some good equipment decisions, then practice a lot, and be ready in time for next years rut!

Can't wait to see hot the video comes out!

SaraG said...

NICE, congratulations on your new equipment!!
Can't wait to see some of your photo/video work with it!!
Take care.

Anonymous said...

I read your post with some joy in my heart -- the joy is that you are spending the money and not me. LOL

I spent a ton on landscaping this summer and don't really have more to spend but I sort of lust after your new camera. I am now 75 (as of yesterday) and my lifestring is getting shorter every day. I wonder if what I got in these two Rebels will last until I no longer need a camera?

I hope so.

Nice work on the turkeys. I wish you could see the HPs I bought. I used to buy Dells all the time and now I use HPs. I get twice as much and have never had a problem with any of them.

Ranger said...

Looks great bud. I'll have to come down some evening and look at it.

Tom said...

I envy the camera and the skills you have my frind... but only in the nicest way possible, after all I get the benifit of seeing your work.
TheTurkeys struck a great pose for you there Willard.

Also thank you for your comment on my 'Macro' shots.. I was bored last week as I was left stuck in the house with a very erratic heart beat... Jane had been bought some cut flowers and I grabed the chance to practice... To get compliments from you and some of the others made my day.
Thanks Willard.

Coy said...

Looking good Bro!

HANNIBAL said...

First off Willard....I'm jealous! I've had my eye on the 7D and can't quite place the order as of yet, so I have the taste of bitterness! Not really...Congrats! I am really excited to see your first videos though! I hope it is everything they say it is! Lucky Guy!

Anonymous said...

Hope you have a blast with the new "toy", Willard. I was thinking about you as I blast across state to a photography workshop in Ohio (Cuyahoga Valley National Park) over the weekend.

sfriel said...

Congrats Willard, Hope you enjoy your new toy!!!!!

ASH's Eye said...

Congrats on the new addition to the family! Is it a girl or a boy?? Ha ha :)

Can't wait to meet it!

Camconative said...

Congrats on the equipment upgrade! Looking forward to the results. I have been drooling over the 7D in the magazines, but will have to put off any upgrades until after the holidays at least :(