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When to buy a DSLR?


I have two 7D cameras and love them. However, they are older technology. So, I purchased a mirrorless Canon EOS R. I used it once and I hate it. The buttons feel all wrong, the touch screen is too small to see without glasses, and the viewfinder lags. I also photograph sports and the blackout in the viewfinder prevents me from tracking action accurately.

I would love to buy a 5D Mark IV but it is too expensive. A 6D Mark II has its limitations but it is full frame. It is also within my price range and it would be a step up (for the most part) to my 7D cameras. Since Canon is moving away from the DSLRs, should I buy the 6D Mark II now or is there a possibility of a 6D Mark III in the near future? I know Canon is secretive about upcoming cameras, but it would be helpful to know should I buy now or wait?

While mirrorless cameras are now the rage, I think DSLR cameras do have a place in the photo world. Optical viewfinders allow for easy tracking of objects both in athletics and nature. Canon should consider keeping at least one entry, intermediate, and advanced level DSLR in their lineup. Just a thought. 



I don't think anyone who posts here knows what Canon's future plans are, but I wouldn't bank on a 6D Mark III.

If you like everything about the 7D but want newer tech that can use any EF-S lens you have look at the 90D. It seems to be unofficially considered the combined update to the 80D and 7D Mark II.



John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

Thank you, John. I will look into that option.


I agree with John, that for the higher end cameras Canon (like Nikon) is putting its efforts into MILCs.  I avoided the first iterations of MILCs from Canon (R and RP) and waited for the second generation (R5 & R6) that have eye tracking and IBIS and are MUCH better at moving subjects.  That said, I think to really avoid shutter lag one would have to fork out for the R3, which is highly regarded as a sports specific camera, but is very expensive - if you can get one.   

There are a lot of rumours swilling about out there that Canon will announce a MILC replacement for the 7DI and II - likely called the R7 (logically enough).  If so, it should retain the crop sensor and have the best of the options for shutter lag, animal and human tracking, but if so, is likely not going to be seen for some months yet.

You don't specify that you have the 7DII rather than the 7D.  If you don't have the 7DII, it is still a viable DSLR, even if not in production - you could get a refurbished one or a good condition one to keep you going. While the 90D has a better sensor and processor, the 7DII has the better tracking (why that should be is beyond me!).  I have the 7D, 7DII and 90D bodies so I hope I can speak from experience.  While I don't shoot sports, I do shoot wildlife, especially birds on the wing (being in NZ we don't have much in the way of macro mammals apart from domestic animals).


cheers, TREVOR

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
Technique will always Outlast Tech - Me


Thank you for your input. I have the original 7D. I would like to move to a full frame camera. However, in using the EOS R in shooting a sporting event, I found too often I was trying to follow the athletes and lost track of the action quite quickly as the blackout in the viewfinder appeared using high shutter speed. I cannot imagine trying to follow animals or birds specifically with the EOS R or other mirrorless cameras.

What is nice about having two 7Ds is that I can have a telephoto lens on one and a wide angle lens on the other and not have to change lenses much in the field. Given the cameras are relatively cheap, I can afford two. I am leaning toward the 6D Mark 2. It may not have as many features as the EOS R or the 5D Mark 4, but I can take pictures of just about anything. The 6D Mark 2 would be a step up from the 7D, for the most part.

I am ignorant of the more advanced mirrorless cameras and their abilities, but it seems to me with my experience with the EOS R that photographers may have difficulty shooting/tracking moving objects especially something like birds. Is this move toward total mirrorless cameras going to leave sports and nature photographers without a viable camera?



Hi Mike:

A few points of note:

The 7DII is a much more capable camera than the original 7D in many areas, but especially in tracking - and as an animal photographer I certainly appreciated that.  The 80D and 90D had better sensors, but their tracking was not on par with the 7DII.  As I mentioned, I still use the 7DII with lenses up to 960mm focal length and have success with it.  At the very least I would consider upgrading one of your camera bodies to the 7DII.

The following example will hopefully make my point.  The hardest thing to track is a birds swooping directly towards the camera, yet in this image the 7DII held its focus and I got a series of shots like this one.

7D2_1169-1.jpgCanon EOS 7DII, Canon EF 100-400 MkII @ 330mm (Equivalent FoV 528mm), f/8, 1/400sec, ISO-200, hand-held.

Much depends on the distance to your subjects and the type of lighting you will have to photograph in.  However, at the long end the smaller sensor of the  APS-C format offers significant benefits in pixel density compared to cropping the image after it is taken with a full-frame camera.  With Canon cameras the crop factor is 1.6 to use when considering equivalent focal lengths, but in terms of pixels recorded when cropping a FF image to the same FoV as an APS-C sensor, one uses the square of that to establish how many pixels one ends up with by cropping a FF image after shooting to the same Field of View as shooting with the APS-C sensor, so the pixels available are reduced by a factor of around 2.56.  That's a big reduction.  This is documented in the EOS R manual on the table about Pixel Count on the top table of P610.

On the other hand, at the wide angle end a FF sensor offers benefits because there is no cropping effect of what is received by the sensor, so there is no increase in equivalent FL.  So, what does this mean?  So you will get the benefit of your wide-angle to normal or even short tele lenses.

I would suggest that you consider a 6DII for the shorter focal lengths and get a 7DII for the long telephoto use.  That way you can stay with DSLRs for the time being, but maximize your camera/lens combinations to match sensor size with focal range and field of view. Furthermore, both of these units will be available refurbished or available in good condition on the used market, and you can get them without breaking the bank.  You can still use your existing lenses, so you have minimum disruption and investment.

As to the future of MILCs?  Well, that is yet to be written, but the R3 already has reviews as an outstanding sports camera and, from the reviews I have seen, and my own limited experience with a pre-production R3 unit, that has virtually no shutter lag. 

You experienced the worst performing units when you got the R - IMHO Canon were tentatively dipping their toes in the pond of mirrorless in order to get their fabulous R-series lenses on the market.   I shoot with the R5 and R6 and find much less lag than on the first models.  The R3 is a step up again.  Given the grief that they have received from folks such as you, I am pretty confident that you will see significant improvements in future bodies, and I am personally looking forward to an R7 if one comes out.

cheers, TREVOR

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
Technique will always Outlast Tech - Me


Lots of good advice above.  I would return the EOS R, for sure.  It is not as well suited for fast action photography as other selections.  I recommend the R6, especially if you need a body right now.

The 7D2 is an excellent body, but is showing its age.  It has a top tier AF system, but not a top tier image sensor.  I do not have fast primes.  I use the 100-400 II USM, and occasionally the Sigma 150-600 C.  It is a great camera on sunny days with those lenses.  It is not my first choice for indoor photography.  

The 6D2 has a better AF ssystem than the 7D2 in low light shooting scenarios.  But, it does not have the frame rate of the 8D2.  I actually use it more often than the 7D2.  My main reason for using the 7D2 is the occasions when I want the extra reach.

The 80D is more or less a crop sensor versions of the 6D2.  the 80D falls between the 6D2 and 7D2 when it comes to low light performance.  The 90D brings low light performance to the table that nearly rivals the 6D2, plus it has a higher resolution sensor.  Most 90D owners either love it, or hate it.

As noted above, Canon will most likely not be releasing any more new high performance DSLRs.  If you need a body right now, you might want to also take a look at a used 1Dx or !Dx II, in addition to the 7D2 or 6D2.

Again, I recommend the R6.  I think it is the best choice for action photographers looking for high performance, but are on a budget.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

I agree with Waddizzle on several points.

1. I did not assume you could return the EOS R, but if you could I would certainly do so.  In NZ one cannot do that - you bought it you live with it.  That would save you some money to give you more choices.
2. If one wanted the best value camera for tracking RIGHT NOW.  I would go with the R6 - I have two of them, and swear by them as a value for money solution to moving targets. 

R62_0433 A.jpg
This image is taken hand-held as I tracked the gannet, at speed against the background clutter
Canon EOS R6 Sigma 150-600 @ 159mm, f/7.1, 1/400sec, ISO-100

The eye tracking and IBIS are brilliant.  However, I appreciate your antithapy towards MILCs, so I would suggest borrowing or renting an R6 and getting someone familiar with them to set the custom shooting settings (C1... C3) up to your needs and make sure it has the latest firmware as that is significant.  I have separate custom settings for for birds, people and other stuff.  You might choose to have settings for outdoor and indoor: with different colour balances, ISO settings etc., as an example.
Accept that there is a degree of 'bedding in' as far as getting used to a MILC goes.  In a fairly short time, I didn't notice the difference, but we are all unique and it's a personal thing.
3. As I think we can all agree, if you stick to DSLRs there are several scenarios available to you.  At this point there is information that might un-muddy the waters for us.  Specifically: the types and conditions under which you shoot sport - obviously open air baseball in daylight is a different proposition to basketball in a dimly-lit arena.  Also knowing the kinds of lenses you use might be significant. 
I shoot with telephoto lenses pretty much exclusively (check out my profile for the gear list).

My scenario of using all DSLRs may still be the way you choose to go.  While I accept that the sensor of the 7DII is not as advanced as the 80D or 90D, I personally find that the limiting factor is the ability to track moving subjects and there the 7DII is definitely superior in my experience.  If you have been happy with the 7D, then the MkII is still a step up in sensor quality.  By using that on your long tele lenses, in conjunction with the low light capability of the 6DII for closer work, you might have a very nice combination.  Again, shooting context and conditions are a big player here.

cheers, TREVOR

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
Technique will always Outlast Tech - Me


Thank you for the detailed response. I appreciate your advice. I like your pictures. Very well done. With the EOS R6, do you have shutter blackout when using high speed continuous shooting?

I don't have any noticeable blackout when I turn off all of the power-saving features.  I have them on when I am not shooting moving object, just to be conservative, but in my custom settings I can assign settings for EV performance over economy, so they come along for the ride, so to speak...

cheers, TREVOR

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
Technique will always Outlast Tech - Me
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