“Which Camera?” Answers « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

“Which Camera?” Answers


Saturday was yet another typically busy day of work doing what I love. I had a great swim, my longest in some time, and enjoyed a 58 degree ice bath. Again I watched lots the NHL and NBA playoff games. The Rangers evened their series with the Capitols despite one of the sickest goals ever by Ovechkin. And mazel tov to the LA Clippers who advanced by sending the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs home. Talk about grit. Chis Paul played through a pulled hamstring for 29 incredible points and the game-winning basket.

I started work on my Nature Photographer magazine San Diego article. And, I will started getting my photo gear together for the upcoming St. Augustine trip.

This blog post, the 115th in a row, took about 1 1/4 hours to prepare. It is scheduled to be published automatically at 1am on Sunday morning.

LAST CHANCE: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015. TWO FULL and TWO 1/2 DAYS: $1099. Limit 8/Openings 5.

Enjoy practically private instruction. Please call me Sunday at 863-692-0906 for St. Augustine IPT Late Registration Discount info. For complete details see the blog post here and scroll down.


Image #1: Unsharpened tight crop of Red-shouldered Hawk’s head

Image Quality/Which Camera Quiz

In the blog post here, both John Giatropoulos and Steve Soderling left comments to the effect that they were able to distinguish 1D X and 7D II images based on image quality. I doubted that they could….


Image #2: Mottled Duck head and shoulders vertical portrait

Now You Are On the Spot: Image Quality/Which Camera? Quiz

In the “Now You Are On the Spot: Image Quality/Which Camera Quiz: the first of many…” blog post here I wrote: All are invited to leave a comment and let us know which of today’s images (the two images above here) were created with a 1D X and which were created by a 7D II. And they are of course welcome to let us know why they made their choices.

The consensus was that the first image was created by the 1D X, the second with the 7D II. Steve S and John G agreed, but then John decided that both images were made with the 7D II. Some folks flopped that. Doug Doornink, who said he was counting on a trick question, thought that both were created with the 7D II.

And the answer is…

Both the Red-Shouldered Hawk and the Mottled Duck images were created with the 7D Mark II, so yes, a sneaky Pierre question….


Image #3: This is a 1:1 or 100% crop of the optimized Osprey in the grass image.

On the Spot #2

In the “On the Spot” blog post here, the question was the same: Can you tell if this image was made with the 1D X or the 7D II?

Everyone who commented got this one right: 7D Mark II


Image #4: Sandhill Crane head and neck portrait.

On the Spot Again: Image Quality/Camera Body Quiz #3

In the blog post here, I asked again, Based on image quality, can you tell if today’s image was created with a 1D X or a 7D Mark II? If yes, what led you to your choice?

Steve Soderling said “1D X.” Then he said “definitely 7 DII.” Then he said, “I really can’t tell!” Nobody else played.

Steve’s last comment summed things up quite well for ISO 400 or below images. I don’t think that many folks were or are able to differentiate between 1D X and 7D II images based on image quality seen either in 1200 pixel wide JPEGs or 1:1 crops for the ISO 400 images. It would be interesting to show Arash Hazeghi 20 very sharp RAW files, half made with the 7D II and half made with the 1D X. My gut feeling is that he might do quite well.

One factor that really throws a monkey wrench into the works is the sharpness of a given image. I will admit that the Red-shouldered Hawk image was an exceptionally sharp image. That led many folks to think 1D X…. At some point in the future I might do an 8 or ten image which camera? quiz….


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9 comments to “Which Camera?” Answers

  • Well, if you really want fair comparisons, compare full resolution, unprocessed (or processed identically) images from both bodies. That would be a much more productive and realistic exercise.

    You would still need to account for variations in AF accuracy and variations in the quality of light at the moment of the shot. The only way to compensate for these variables would be to compare many shots from each body and average out the results.

    Mind you, I am not saying that images from crop bodies cannot be “good enough”.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie, and thanks. At this point, the variation in and among photographers’ skills is far greater than the variation in the image quality good modern DSLRs and good modern lenses can deliver. It’s actually been true for a while; just look at your digital images over the past 8 years or so. There are great ones all across that time span, but you’re not using 8-year-old or even 3-year-old cameras anymore, because the newer ones make it easier to get great images. My camera/lens combinations are far better than I am, so it’s hard to imagine myself upgrading anytime soon (unless someone comes out with gear that’s as good but weighs half as much 🙂 ). Thanks again for all you do.

  • avatar Martin Mikulas


    If the images from the full body and the crop body are essentially indistinguishable, why not always go with the full body and take advantage of the wider field of view. I use a 5D Mark III and tried a 7D Mark II. I sent the 7D back because the crops on my 5D Mark III were essentially the same as those from the un-cropped 7D Mark II. I love the wider field of view for rapid acquisition of birds in flight as well as to have more options for composition. I also love the bokeh from the full body camera. For photography experiences such as those found on a safari where you are in vehicle and not free to change position, I believe the full frame camera has an advantage for obtaining the best bokeh. Thus, I believe the full frame camera is more versatile than the crop body camera.

    Martin Mikulas

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Martin,

      Virtually indistinguishable at ISO 400 or below. Usually on sunny days… The wider field of view for birds in flight means more cropping; that reduces image quality… Bokeh is rendered by the lens not the camera. It might look more pleasing to your eye with the wider field of view but if you are using the same lens at the same aperture and you zoom to the same framing, Boken with a 7D II will be identical to Bokeh from a 5D III or a 1D X. What is important is that the 5D III is working well for you. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That said one of those 50+ megapixel bodies just might be in your future… later and love and nice meeting you at DeSoto.

      ps: see you and Joan soon in Scotland!

  • If you go to dpreview.com they have a comparison tool to compare the two cameras here.


  • Hi Artie…I use both the 7D Mark2 and the 1DX; however, i put my 2X extender (500mm lens) on the 7D Mark2 last week whilst photo shooting Ospreys and boy! I was totally surprised with the sharpness and detail at a 1000mm. Both cameras are “Outstanding!” Regards, Ian

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      That’s what I’ve been saying :). Remember that intial AF acquisition with TCs will be slower with the 7D II than with the 1D X because the 1D X has a more powerful battery. a

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie,
    I tried making an image like #2 today. At 200 mm on a crop body it’s still not that easy.
    I have been paying careful attention to the info on this blog.
    I’m going to need some sharpness technique next.
    Wishing I could come on the IPT this week . But I would be late home for my wedding anniversary.
    A special date that we always keep.
    As always.