Time for a reader question, I thought. So… reader Lisa asks:
I searched through your blog before I thought about sending this email. I have been reading a lot of online information about the Canon 5DMii having focusing issues, unlike the old Canon 5D. I found nothing on your blog about focusing issues. I do a lot of pet photography for non-profit organizations and I cannot afford focusing issues, but I want to move up to a full-frame semi-pro camera (that’s affordable to me). If this is the case, what is your opinion if you’re willing to offer it up, on purchasing a used 5D to get reliable focusing as opposed to a new crop like the Canon 7D? I have been using…ah hem…my little XSi (been collecting professional lenses and saving up for a new body). Should I just invest in the 7D and wait until a new 5D comes out? I really want the full-frame, but I need focus reliability.
Excellent question, and one with a few different answers.
First: the rumours. I generally take these with a pinch of salt. Canon cameras do have the occasional focus issue, believe me – but the Mark II having such issues is more of a “meme” than reality, I think (Meme? look it up. Google is your friend.). Often, people who complain do not understand how to use the equipment. In general, I would not be put off unless you are sure that for your types of photography, a camera will not do.
Now, some notes in response to your questions.
- There is a big difference in focus systems, and the 5D MkII has the old system, while the 7D has the best focus system I have yet seen on a DSLR. Fast, flexible, great options. Much more modern than the 5D’s (either 5D).
- That 7D focus system is especially good when you are shooting sports. It is fast. For animals – if they move, a newer focus system is great. Not the most important thing, but great.
- You shoot in controlled conditions, so noise (one advantage of full frame) is less important to you I expect.
- You shoot in controlled conditions, and at f/5.6, so focus will be good too.
- The original 5D is a bit of a dust magnet. I would say a newer camera would be beneficial. Also – the focus system of the MkI and the MkII is essentially the same.
- Yes – I agree, full frame is great. But for you, I would say it makes less of a difference. Low noise, not a great issue.
So if the choice is 5D (MkI) or 7D, I would vote 7D. On the other hand, if you really want full frame, then 5D Mk II would be my choice.
The moral, for everyone here who faces similar choices: there is often no “best” choice. In this particular case, all the options are good in different ways, so you will be delighted whatever you choose.