Tech review: 1D vs 7D

Canon 1D

Michael Rymer opted to shoot Face to Face on the Canon 1D. Encore managing editor Brooke Hemphill took both the 1D and 7D on a shoot out, where did her vote land? Read on.

Readers of past product reviews will recall my love for the Canon 5D which has only somewhat diminished in recent months after a three-day shoot in the snow singlehandedly playing camera and sound girl with the aforementioned camera. The whole process of lugging separate audio equipment tends to become tiresome especially with all those battery changes and memory cards to keep track of. But there are many other Canon DSLR cameras out there and I’ve now had the pleasure of playing with both the 7D and the 1D. Since everyone on the interwebs is doing it, I thought I’d do a little comparison review for you.

Obviously they are both digital SLR cameras and, as Canon continues to stress, were never specifically designed for video. I think that means us video types aren’t entitled to complain about features like sound and stuff so I’ll bypass all that jazz and talk about what the cameras can do.

Canon 7D

Picture-wise, it’s all much of a muchness with the Canons. With that shallow depth of field and white balance settings, I’m of the opinion that you’re in good hands with any of the cameras provided you know what you’re doing and that may take a little practice and manual reading. Countless video boffins have created comparison videos of the 1D, 7D and 5D which you can watch on YouTube. Despite feisty comment threads, the general consensus is that it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.

The thing that drives me crazy about the different Canon models is the change of buttons and menu structures. While on one machine you can change the ISO here, it’s slightly different over there and to record video on the 1D you firstly have to set up the live view mode in the settings menu. Then obscurely, to shoot you record via the FEL button, which when in photography mode stands for “flash exposure lock”. You learn something new everyday, which is frustrating when you have a different camera in your hand every other week.

Now that I have taken the first shot at the 1D, let’s find some redeeming features. For starters, the 1D takes a compact flash card and an SD card. So storage space is at a maximum. The 7D, well it’s just one compact flash card at a time. Battery life is the same for both cameras so nothing to fault there.

But as far as I’m concerned, none of this makes up for the bulky and frankly uncomfortable body of the 1D unit. As someone who is largely afraid of fandangled DSLR rigs, I like to hold my camera with both hands. With the 5D and 7D, this is no problem but the 1D isn’t as ergonomically friendly.

So which camera would I go with given the choice? The 7D is a clear winner for me. The shape and size are ideal for the videographer on the go while the 1D is just too darn clunky and coming in about a grand cheaper than the 5D, the 7D is an excellent choice.

COST: Canon 1D Mark IV Digital SLR Body – only $6599 – Canon 7D Digital SLR Camera $2399

SCORE OUT OF 10: I give the 7D an 8 while the 1D a 5. Both are great for picture quality but for ease of use, the 7D wins hands down.

WHO’S IT RIGHT FOR: Let’s be honest. The 1D was designed and made for a photographer, not a videographer. The 7D, on the other hand, is an ideal choice for the shooter on beer budget wanting to produce a champagne product.


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