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5D Mk II versus D7000
Which makes better images?
© 2011 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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Canon 5D Mark II

Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 50mm f/1.4 (32 oz./907g with battery and card, but no lens). enlarge.


Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000 (27.3 oz./774g with battery, strap rings and card) and 35mm f/1.8 DX. enlarge.


December 2011   Nikon Reviews   Canon   LEICA   All Reviews


Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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A reader asks which of these two top cameras makes better images.

Answer: NEITHER!

If you're still wasting your time worrying about such trivia, I doubt you'll ever expend the hard thought required in actually making great pictures, as opposed to merely armchair shopping for cameras.

Time spent worrying about equipment is time not spent on concentrating about your image, so if you waste time comparing cameras for too long, you'll probably never make much in the way of exciting images.

Worse, when making this choice between today's two top DSLRs, you're also committing yourself to a bank of one brand of lenses or another.

Ultimately, if you have perfect lenses and are a careful worker for nature and landscape, the 5D Mk II has the full-frame advantage, as well as more pixels.

On the other hand, there are no perfect ultrawide lenses made by Canon! Their two best, the 17-40/4 L and 16-35/2.8 L II, are only mediocre compared to the newer-generation Nikon 16-35/4 VR and 14-24/2.8. Canon's best full-frame ultrawides are never that sharp in the corners if you're splitting pixels.

Worse, Canon has not yet solved the corner (lateral) color fringe problem. All current Nikon DSLRs automatically correct these color fringes, while the 5D Mark II makes these obvious with anything short of a perfect lens. (If you shoot Nikon NEF raw, this correction only happens automatically if you use Nikon's own software to process the files.)

If shooting JPGs, Canon cameras do some weird noise reduction (even when noise reduction it turned off) that make textures look a little cartonish when viewed close-up. If shooting CR2 raw, this goes away.

Both cameras do a good job of in-camera JPG highlight and shadow optimization.

Seriously, though, the really important image quality differences are very subtle. Each brand of camera renders colors and tone subtly different from other cameras. Just like film, you need to pick your camera based on how it responds to the colors, highlights and shadows of the things you want to photograph.

It's not just the camera; your choice of shooting JPG, or shooting raw and then what raw software you use, are just as much a part of the equation as the camera.

You have to try each camera (or look at files from others) and ask yourself which helps you get the images you demand the most easily. By "most easily," the artist always gets what he wants, but some tools make it much quicker, while others require far more fiddling and tweaking to get there.

Ultimately, neither the D7000 or 5D Mark II is an easy winner. It depends on the lenses you choose to field, and most importantly, your personal preferences for color and tonal rendition.

Super ultimately, spending much time on these armchair discussions takes away from one's creative development, and good photos come only from creativity and imagination. Don't waste too much time worrying which is better technically. The ergonomic factors are far more important in keeping you happy and excited in the field, and creativity springs from being relaxed. I'm not covering ergonomics here — see each camera's review and see how it fits into your own style.

Which is best depends more on you than any absolute quality number, which simply doesn't exist. Things like high ISO noise and resolution are mostly irrelevant for actual photography, where the basics of color and tone are what matter far more than detail.

Hope this helps!


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Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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