Depth of Field and Camera Warning on the Canon 7D

by Marcel

Breaking the Rules…

Okay, here’s just a quick little tidbit about Depth of Field.  Previously, I wrote a post about Depth of Field.

Now remember, DOF is defined by the f/number (2.8), the lens focal length (are you shooting wide open vs. zooming in), the camera to subject distance, and the format size of the camera (whew…). 

So I wrote mainly about the f/number and will cover the others on a different post. But I wanted you to see this shot.


So what was the aperature on this shot? Guess…

Standard recommendations are to shoot fireworks at f/8 or above.

I shot this at 3.5. Now remember, I’m very far away from my subject so the differences in aperature will be much less noticeable.

I also managed to break all the other standard rules and get some shots I was pretty happy with. You can see the results here.

Are they as sharp as I’d like them to be? No, but they definitely have a Harry Potter mystical feel that I really like.

Knowing the rules helps you as a photographer when you decide to use them. Camera knowledge simply gives you more choices and more creative control over what your images will look like.

Problem with the Canon 7D

OK, now on to my horror story.

I really felt anyone who is looking to upgrade and invest in a Canon 7D should know about this.

I purchased my Canon 7D in May and did a few event shoots shooting with high ISO settings and finished a portfolio with textures, with no problems.

It’s the low ISO settings that seem to be a problem, although with only some of the cameras.

My camera is one of them and what do I always shoot my portraits at ? The lowest possible ISO of course. Then I had a whole slew of projects hit and when I went to edit my images, I thought I was going to vomit. Yup, all shot with low ISO’s.

Here’s some more information on what’s going on here and  here.

The shot below was magnified to 168%. This is the side of a cheek and a wood background. The noise (where the image looks mottled) is just unreal. The ISO was 400 and the image was properly exposed.

Canon 7D noise problems close-up-IMG_1267-2


Now look at the above firework shot below, ISO setting 1000 at night, also zoomed in 167% with no adjustments in Camera Raw.


fireworks iso


How crazy is that comparison? There is so much less noise in the shot below that should have so much more noise.

So I planned my summer so I could be up in Yellowstone to shoot for a week and a half and then I’m off to the Santa Fe Workshops for a full week …all without the camera I was planning on using.

And even if Canon does exchange my camera, I probably won’t get it in time for Santa Fe and it won’t make up for all shoots where the pictures look less than they should be. As a dedicated Canon user, I feel bamboozled. Canon knows about this problem yet has done nothing to fix it.

So if you’re thinking of buying the Canon 7D  do some test shots in the store and purchase it from a local store that has a 30 day money back policy. I hear from others, it was just the camera they had wanted, but still be careful. I’ll keep you updated. Wish me luck!

P.S. You can always share your shots with us at our 5m4m Photography Group on Flickr. Leave us a note in the comments letting us know you uploaded so we can go check them out!

Written by 5 Minutes for Mom contributing editor, Marcel Walker.

Email Author    |    Website About Marcel

I'm a photographer who specializes in modern, unique, signature portraiture. I shoot commercial and personal sessions working along the Wasatch Front and Park City Area. I am also available for travel. If you'd like to learn more about how to use your camera and Photoshop tips and tutorials on my blog at I will also have workshop dates coming soon.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel July 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Okay I have a 7D and this is the first I’ve heard of this problem. I’ve had several images that I thought I shot correctly that seemed to have way more noise than I would have expected but I’m not really experienced enough to decide if it was me or the camera. I did think it was weird that I seemed to be able to get sharper shots on my old xs. How do you recommend testing for this?


2 Janice July 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Good question Rachel.

I will ask Marcel to answer you and perhaps to post a follow up post on what she has learned about correcting the problem too.

I heard on FB that their might be a firmware update available now…


3 Marcel July 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm


I’m sorry I didn’t back to you earlier. I’m going send you some links with more information regarding the 7D. I have a workshop this next week so I’m not going to try to go through the return process until after I return and I will keep everyone updated on how that goes.

Unfortunately, this is not a firmware issue so an update won’t solve this. For more information, copy and paste the address below. There are a number of links on this issue as well.

Let’s cross our fingers we can get this taken care of!


4 Jeena July 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Would you recommend this camera? We are thinking about purchasing it. Are you happy with it?


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