The Life or Something Like it – Testing a Canon 7D

Heather Goodrich Rides The Rainforest Canon 7D Test by Jay Goodrich
The Rainforest Canon 7D Test © Jay Goodrich

I am sitting on a ferry right now. It’s now high noon. Stupid traffic.

I was up until 1am, on location on San Juan Island photographing a residence for an architecture client. It wasn’t soon after, what felt like seconds after my mind wandered to rest actually, the my iPhone began singing Seal’s Crazy, in rare acoustic b-sides remix at 6am. I wanted to catch the 8am ferry back to Anacortes, Washington so I could get some work done. That all came crashing to a halt moments later when arriving at the ferry dock to realize there was no way that concept was going to happen. Disconnected from the world and my office with the exception of what I now consider a slow 3G connection(and only acquiring that after parking at the ferry dock), I did what I very rarely do, sat down at a local joint and had breakfast. My head feels so heavy, all I want to do is sleep, but I know that there is no way that is going to happen right now, so I might as well try to get something accomplished. Even if it won’t be seen until much later.

This architecture project was a last minute insertion into a solitary free-day after the 4th of July that was supposed to be for my mental recovery. “Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.” It’s crazy the way a planned schedule changes, always a blessing in disguise. Work is work and money This crazy schedule all began a couple of Fridays ago when I received a loaner Canon 7D to try out and use for a small production film I am working on. If you want to lose tons of sleep, start thinking about actually making a short film with an HD SLR.

In order to see how this little machine works, I decided to set up a small mountain biking shoot. “Why in the world would you do that?”, You are asking. My thoughts are this--a little camera with a 1.6x crop sensor, same auto focus as my 1D Mark IV, 8 frames per second shutter, same HD video options as my 1D Mark IV, metal chassis, and tipping the scales at a lean 1.8 pounds make it extremely desirable for adventure sports photography. In order to evaluate it, I take it out for a test drive, the way I would use it in the real world.

The Rainforest Canon 7D Test by Jay Goodrich
The Rainforest Canon 7D Test © Jay Goodrich

I went a little to the extreme side of things though, I took the camera out into a rain forest on an overcast day. Nothing like throwing a 55 gallon drum of gasoline onto a bonfire. No easing out of the gate here. And. Well, after I got through missing compositions because of the small differences in layout compared to my 1D, I fell in love. I have read many of the reviews for this camera and the one negative that was continuously ringing in my head was how soft the images looked from this camera. I have to say, each to his own here, because I have no complaints. I was shooting at ISO 800 for most of the day and figured the shots would be pretty noisy, but by adding 50 points of luminance noise reduction in Lightroom, I fixed that as well. So what gives here?

I think what is going on, is that I am not one of those testers who sits in a studio and runs algorithms for a living. I don’t shoot dollar bills, rulers, and contrast scales with multiple cameras to test lens’ bokehs and sensors’ clarities down to a gnats-ass of detail. No, I take the thing out into a working environment and work with it. Along the way and during that process I ask myself a series of questions. Does it work with the way I create? Does its function to allow me to create? And does it produce a usable end result that a client would accept? In this case, I believe that this camera most certainly does in all accounts. And right now, I am thinking of taking it on a permanent vacation. I mean who is going to hunt down an AWOL photographer with a fifteen hundred dollar camera? I know, I know, my parents voices are ringing in my ears already. You will have it back, on-time Canon...Maybe.

The Rainforest Canon 7D Test by Jay Goodrich
The Rainforest Canon 7D Test © Jay Goodrich

Now I need to do another triple-shot, twelve-ounce, mocha before my head comes crashing down as the boat reaches the dock and the rest of the impatient, aggravated Seattlites have a witching ceremony on the dude who held them up from getting off of the god-damned boat, which was late, and super crowded, yet again. The Canon 7D is a great little camera for both stills and video. I am going to get one for the minute weight alone, but don’t forget an economical price tag for what I would consider a great feature set.


    Hi Jay, this is Tony, the high prhotograhy teacher. We’ve met a couple times in Seattle and the Olympic P. workshops with Art last year. My two kids were with me on the hike into Sol duk Falls. Just wondering if you recall what lens you were using with the shot of the biker framed by the two trees or the hole in the tree. Nice effect.

    Have you been to Duthie Hill mtn. bike park? Anyways. Funny posts.

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