EOS 7DAs you may know, I own a Canon EOS 7D. Lately, some friends and colleagues have been asking me about the Canon EOS 7D vs. the 5D Mark II. It seems everyone wants to get into the video DSLR game. I think that everyone should. The price and the video quality are too good to pass up. Which do you choose? Both cameras are great. They have their differences, but when it comes down to decision making, in my opinion it is all about sensor size.
Sensor size on the 5D is hard to pass up. It is a full frame camera vs. the 1.6x crop that the 7D has. This means that a 35mm lens on the 5D Mark II gives you the field of view of an actual 35mm photography lens. On the 7D, a 35mm lens (usually considered a wide-angle lens) gives you close to a 50mm field of view. The larger sensor in the 5D means you can capture better images in low light, and you get a much shallower depth of field than the 7D. I find that I get a shallow enough depth of field for my tastes out of the 7D. I'm getting a greater depth of field with that camera than I've ever gotten with a video camera. So in regards to depth of field, it has not been an issue for me.
EOS 5D Mark IIthe 1.6 crop factor has been a problem for me. Lenses that are normally considered wide angle are not really that wide. The widest lens in my Nikon AI kit is 24mm. That calculates to about 38mm. It has not been huge issue, but I do find myself wishing that I had the ability to go really wide. I have contemplated getting a 5D Mark II in addition to the 7D because of the wide angle issues, but my better judgment tells me not to. The 5D Mark II has been on the market for about two years. I don't want to buy into something that could potentially be updated soon. It is still very tempting though.
When it comes to making your decision, if the crop and low light capabilities are not that important to you, then I would have to say that the 7D is a better camera for most people. I decided on a 7D. The decision was pretty easy for me because I was getting into the HD-DSLR game as an experiment, so cost was a factor. The 7D body is cheaper than the 5D body. That let me put more money towards accessories. My other reason for getting the 7D was that I wanted to shoot with drop frame timecode. 23.98, and 29.97 were not options on the 5D at the time. A firmware update has fixed that. If the update was available when I bought my camera, I would have had a really tough decision to make.
My experimental purchase worked out for me. I cannot praise this camera enough! This DSLR thing has really become a revolution in the industry. I get so excited over it. I can personally say that the camera has totally changed my attitude when it comes to my work and the way I light and compose shots. Even when I'm not shooting with a DSLR, I feel more motivated to push myself to figure out new ways to create compelling images. It has turned my "videography eye" into a much more "filmic one".
I will post a new video and production stills of a commercial shot on the 7D with Nikon AI lenses soon.